Air news

UK Rivet Joint fleet ups tempo for Black Sea ops

By Richard Scott 03 February 2023
The UK's RC-135W Rivet Joint fleet has been operating at almost 200% of the normal tempo. (Crown Copyright)  UK Royal Air Force (RAF) RC-135W Rivet Joint signals intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft have been operating at nearly three times their normal operating tempo to support intelligence-gathering operations in the Black Sea theatre, according to the service's senior operations officer.  Delivering the annual Sir Sydney Camm Lecture at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London on 1 February, Air Marshal Harvey Smyth, deputy commander (operation...

DARPA selects General Atomics and Aurora Flight Sciences to design wing-in-ground effect lifters

By Zach Rosenberg 03 February 2023
Aurora Flight Sciences' Liberty Lifter concept. (Aurora Flight Sciences)  The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on 1 February selected two companies to design wing-in-ground effect (WIG) concepts for Phase 1 of the Liberty Lifter programme.  The 18-month contract is intended to advance designs from both General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) and Aurora Flight Sciences through preliminary design review (PDR), plus an additional three months for presentation and manufacturing planning.  The Liberty Lifter is intended...

South Korean army showcases future fighting force

By Kapil Kajal 02 February 2023
The RoK Army has created an Army Tiger Demonstration Brigade to test manned-unmanned operations that leverage technologies including AI and unmanned systems such as this 6×6 unmanned surveillance vehicle developed by Hanwha Defense. (Hanwha Defense)  The Republic of Korea (RoK) Army has showcased a new combat unit known as the Army Tiger Demonstration Brigade (ATDB) in a training exercise with the United States.  The exercise was held in Paju city, near the North Korean border. The US Army's quick reaction unit known as Stryker Brigade Combat...

German Navy receives final Sea Lion helicopter

By Kate Tringham 02 February 2023
The 18th and final NH90 Sea Lion naval utility helicopter ‘79+51' arrives at the German Navy's airbase in Nordholz on 31 January 2023. (Bundeswehr/Julia Kelm)  The German Navy has received its final NH90 Sea Lion naval utility helicopter.  The delivery completes the contract for a total of 18 aircraft awarded by Germany's Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support of the German Armed Forces (BAAINBw) to NHIndustries in June 2015.  Germany selected the Sea Lion, which is based on the NH90 NATO Frigat...

India test-flies Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle

By Kapil Kajal 02 February 2023
The HSTDV, seen here from a test in September 2020, uses an Agni-1 short-range ballistic missile as the solid rocket booster to place the vehicle into the altitude needed to ensure the operation of the scramjet. (DRDO)  India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has conducted a flight test of the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV).    A DRDO official confirmed with   Janes  that the test was conducted from APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the northeastern coast of Odisha. However, the DRDO...

Bell 360 Invictus awaiting engine for scheduled 2023 first flight

By Zach Rosenberg 02 February 2023
The Bell 360 Invictus demonstrator, pictured in July 2021 at the halfway mark of construction, is now past 95% completion. (Bell)  The Bell 360 Invictus demonstrator, Bell Helicopters' entry for the US Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) contest, is 95% complete, according to Keith Flail, Bell's director of future vertical lift.  The helicopter is scheduled to begin ground testing in March–May 2023, with first flight scheduled for later in the same year – pending delivery of its General Electric (GE) T901 engine from the US D...

Swiss Air Force receives first two Hermes 900 UAVs

By Gareth Jennings 31 January 2023
The Swiss Air Force is flying operational testing sorties on two of its planned six Elbit Hermes 900 unmanned aircraft. (Armasuisse)  The Swiss Air Force has received the first two of six Elbit Systems Hermes 900 Heavy Fuel Engine (HFE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that were ordered under the Reconnaissance Drone System 15 (ADS 15) requirement.  The Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection, and Sport (VBS) announced the milestone on 30 January, approximately nine months after Israel delivered the aircraft to the Swiss Federal...

Aeralis, AirTanker sign MOU to explore future training opportunities

By Gareth Jennings 30 January 2023
The latest concept art of the Aeralis modular jet, released to mark the signing of an MOU with AirTanker. (Aeralis)  Aeralis and AirTanker have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore future flying training and air combat support opportunities.  Announced on 30 January, the MOU will see the two UK-based companies identify and assess upcoming contracts in military flying training, defence operational training, and combat air support roles for the modular jet aircraft being developed by Aeralis.  “The MOU covers a range of service...

Lockheed Martin rolls out first KC-130J for Germany

By Gareth Jennings 27 January 2023
The first KC-130J Hercules tanker-transport aircraft for Germany was rolled out of Lockheed Martin's Marietta production facility in Georgia on 26 January. (Lockheed Martin)  The first Lockheed Martin KC-130J tanker-transport aircraft for Germany was rolled out of the company's Marietta production facility in Georgia on 26 January.  The Luftwaffe has to date received two ‘stretched' C-130J-30 airlifters that it operates with the French Air and Space Force (Armee de l'Air et de l'Espace: AAE) as part of the joint C-130 air-transport squadron....

RAF grounds Hawk T2 training jets following engine problem

By Gareth Jennings 27 January 2023
All 28 of the RAF's Hawk T2 jet trainer aircraft have been grounded while the MoD investigates an engine issue. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has grounded its fleet of BAE Systems Hawk T2 training aircraft following a runway engine incident at the type's homebase in North Wales.    The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed the temporary flight suspension to   Janes   on 26 January, saying the precautionary measure had been put in place pending the result of an investigation into a ground-based engine issue...

Ukraine to receive additional tranche of UAVs

By Olivia Savage 27 January 2023
Quantum-Systems Vector UAV, suited for a range of reconnaissance missions and capable of operating at speeds of up to 25 m/s in challenging environments, has been selected by the Ukrainian MoD. (Quantum-Systems)  Ukraine has ordered an additional tranche of reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).  According to Germany-based Quantum-Systems, the company has received a contract from Ukraine's Ministry of Defence (MoD) for 105 Vector reconnaissance UAVs.  Ukraine's armed forces will receive the systems, which have been funded by the Ger...

Japan, Sweden sign deal for possible GCAP co-operation

By Jon Grevatt 26 January 2023
An artist's impression of the Global Combat Air Programme aircraft formed as a result of a merger of the UK-Italian Tempest and Japanese F-X projects. (Crown Copyright)  Japan and Sweden have signed an agreement that could enable the Scandinavian country to play a role in the new Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP).  The two countries signed the ‘Agreement on the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology' in late December 2022, about two weeks after GCAP partners – Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom – announced the joint fighter aircraft...

Italian industry signs up to GCAP future fighter project

By Gareth Jennings 26 January 2023
Although launching GCAP activities in December 2021, Italian industry officially signed up to the programme alongside Japan and the UK on 26 January. (Crown Copyright)  Italian industrial partners officially signed up to the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) on 26 January.  Leonardo, which heads GCAP development on behalf of Italian industry, announced the development, saying that the concept, assessment, and demonstration activities that will underpin Italy's participation in the programme are now under way.  “The team of Italian companies...

Ukraine conflict: Analysis – Momentum builds for Western fighter transfers to Kyiv

By Gareth Jennings 26 January 2023
An increased willingness from the West to supply Ukraine with advanced modern weaponry could now see the much-anticipated transfer of combat aircraft such as the F-16. (US Air Force)  Momentum is building for a long-awaiting transfer of Western combat aircraft to Kyiv, with at least one NATO country stating publicly it stands ready to respond to Ukrainian requests.  With the seemingly intractable issue of the transfer of main battle tanks having been resolved with the announcement by the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on 25 January that he wil...

F-16 Block 70 makes maiden flight, first aircraft destined for Bahrain

By Gareth Jennings 25 January 2023
The first F-16 Block 70 shortly after departing on its maiden flight on 24 January. As well as being a first for the wider programme, it also marked an important milestone for Bahrain, which is due to receive this particular aircraft in the coming months. (Lockheed Martin)  The first Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 Fighting Falcon made its maiden flight on 24 January, ahead of its delivery to Bahrain.  The twin-seat F-16D conducted its first test flight out of Lockheed Martin's new Greenville facility in South Carolina, with the manufacturer sa...

Update: KAI, Northrop Grumman partner to develop VTOL UAVs

By Oishee Majumdar 25 January 2023
Janes  assesses that the design of the new VTOL UAV by KAI and Northrop Grumman could be influenced by the US company's MQ-8C UAV (pictured).  (US Navy)  Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) signed an agreement with Northrop Grumman to develop vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can be operated from warships and coastguard vessels.  Janes understands that the Republic of Korea (RoK) Navy plans to acquire around 20 of these VTOL UAVs.  The UAVs will be used for “territorial defence missions” such...

Royal New Zealand Air Force retires P-3K2 Orion aircraft

By Tim Fish 24 January 2023
A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft is pictured at RNZAF Base Auckland in Whenuapai on 24 January. The service's fleet of three P-3K2s is being retired at the end of January following 57 years of service. (Tim Fish)  The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) will retire the last three of its P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) at the end of January 2023 after 57 years of service.  At RNZAF Base Auckland in Whenuapai on 24 January, No 5 Squadron, which operates and maintains the aircraft, completed a final f...

Indonesia considering acquisition of AASM-Hammer for Rafale

By Akhil Kadidal 24 January 2023
France's Safran Group has offered the AASM-Hammer smart bomb to Indonesia for integration in the Dassault Rafale, KAI T-50I, and potentially the KAI KF-21 jet. (Safran)  The Indonesian government is in talks with France's Safran Group for the potential acquisition and domestic assembly of Armement Air‐Sol Modulaire (AASM) Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range (Hammer) smart guided bombs.  The Indonesian Ministry of Defense's (MoD's) Directorate General of Defense Potential said that it had discussed Safran Group's offer of the air-to-s...

US, Turkey continue talks to settle F-35 dispute

By Gareth Jennings 24 January 2023
The first of six F-35As that Turkey officially received before being expelled from the programme in 2019. Washington and Ankara are now holding talks to settle outstanding legal issues. (Lockheed Martin)  The United States and Turkey held a second round of talks geared at settling outstanding issues related to Ankara's expulsion from the international Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme.  The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced the continuation of talks on 23 January, saying that talks had taken place i...

KAI, Northrop Grumman partner to develop VTOL UAVs

By Oishee Majumdar 24 January 2023
Janes  assesses that the design of the new VTOL UAV by KAI and Northrop Grumman could be influenced by the US company's MQ-8C UAV (pictured).  (US Navy)  Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) signed an agreement with Northrop Grumman to develop vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can be operated from warships and coastguard vessels.  Janes understands that the Republic of Korea (RoK) Navy plans to acquire around 20 of these VTOL UAVs.  The UAVs will be used for “territorial defence missions” such...
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