Air news

South Korea to start trial operations of ‘grenade-launching' and ‘small modular' UAVs in 2022

By Alessandra Giovanzanti 03 August 2021
The South Korean military will begin trailing two new types of locally sourced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the first half of 2022.  South Korea's Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) announced on 3 August that it will acquire an undisclosed number of “grenade-launching” and “small modular” UAVs through a fast-track procurement process ahead of the pilot trials, adding that new technologies developed in the civilian UAV sector will be applied for this project.  South Korea's military plans to trial both ‘grenade-launching...

Baykar Makina unveils MIUS UCAV concept

By Cem Devrim Yaylali 03 August 2021
Turkish unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufacturer Baykar Makina has unveiled concept drawings of its MIUS (Turkish for National Unmanned Aircraft System) unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV).  The MIUS will be a single-engine unmanned aircraft. The airframe features a tailless, blended wing body design optimised for reduced radar cross-section (RCS). The aircraft has two canards but no horizontal stabilisers and two canted vertical stabilisers. The air intakes are located on each side of the fuselage.  Concept art of the MIUS unmanned comba...

US Navy completes first AARGM-ER live fire test milestone

By Robin Hughes 02 August 2021
The US Navy (USN), in association with Northrop Grumman, conducted the first live fire test of an AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) over the sea test range at Naval Air Station Point Mugu in southern California on 19 July.  Launched from from an F/A-18F Super Hornet multirole combat aircraft, the Flight Test Vehicle (FTV) event was conducted using a telemetry round, without a warhead. The USN said the live fire test successfully demonstrated the long-range capability of the missile's new design, althou...

KAI to support Boeing in upgrading RoKAF's E-737 AEW&C aircraft

By Alessandra Giovanzanti 02 August 2021
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) signed a KRW18 billion (USD15.6 million) contract with Boeing on 28 July to support the US company in upgrading the Republic of Korea Air Force's (RoKAF's) four Boeing E-737 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft with new mission systems.  The contract, which was announced by KAI on 30 July, formalises the company's participation in the RoKAF's ‘E-737 AEW&C Performance Improvement Project', which is led by Boeing and includes upgrades to both the identification friend-or-foe (IFF) and Link 16 tact...

Image suggests China is producing fourth batch of J-15 fighter aircraft

By Andreas Rupprecht & Gabriel Dominguez 02 August 2021
China's Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) seems to be continuing production of the J-15 carrier-borne multirole fighter, with a recently released image showing an aircraft that appears to be from the fourth production batch.  The photograph, whic...

UK defence secretary wants ‘volume' Tempest production

By Tim Ripley 02 August 2021
The UK government envisages ‘volume production' of the Tempest Future Combat Air System (FCAS) at BAE Systems sites in northwestern England.  UK defence secretary Ben Wallace announced the launch of the Tempest FCAS (photo of mock-up) concept and assessment phase during a visit to BAE Systems' Warton site on 29 July. (BAE Systems/Ray Troll)  Visiting the company's Warton site in Lancashire on 29 July to formally announce the launch of the FCAS concept and assessment phase, UK defence secretary Ben Wallace told Janes that significant numbers o...

Indonesia increases amount of foreign defence loans approved for 2021

By Ridzwan Rahmat & Andrew MacDonald 02 August 2021
The Indonesian Ministry of Finance (MoF) has granted approval for the country's armed forces (Tentara Nasional Indonesia: TNI) and defence ministry to obtain up to USD5.8 billion in foreign loans for the 2021 financial year.  Permissions to source for foreign loans have been approved for a total of 31 procurement, upgrades, and maintenance programmes across all three services of the TNI, according to documents and circulars that have been provided to Janes by Indonesian government sources.  The approvals have been granted after consultations...

Update: USAF conducts first test of ARRW warhead, but second booster test flight fails

By Robin Hughes 02 August 2021
The US Air Force (USAF) 780  th  Test Squadron, based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida has successfully conducted the first arena test of the warhead intended to equip the Lockheed Martin AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) prototype conventional hypersonic glide weapon system.   Intended to collect lethality data on developmental AGM-183A weapon, the detonation test was designed and conducted “to ensure the customer's data requirements were met using new and improved test tools, technologies, and techniqu...

India's DRDO develops system to counter micro and mini UAVs

By Rahul Bedi 30 July 2021
Indian Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt confirmed on 28 July that the government-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a system designed to detect, track, and neutralise micro and mini unmanned aerial vehicl...

USN starts flight test of MQ-4C in Multi-INT configuration

By Richard Scott 30 July 2021
The US Navy (USN) has completed the first test flight of a Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in its latest hardware and software configuration.  According to the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), several Triton assets have been modified into the IFC-4 configuration in support of an initial operational capability in 2023. A single test asset is in the current IFC-3 configuration to support sustainment of deployed systems as well as risk reduction for IFC-4.  Flight testing of the MQ-4C in IFC-4 configuration began...

BAE Systems contracted to manufacture seekers for LRASM Lots 4/5

By Robin Hughes 30 July 2021
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has contracted BAE Systems Electronic Systems in Nashua, New Hampshire to manufacture additional next-generation seekers for the AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) programme.  Awarded in late April, the USD117 million contract will deliver the new seeker assemblies for LRASM production Lots 4 and 5, with initial deliveries beginning in mid-2022. “Following design improvements conducted under a Diminishing Sources/Affordability contract, BAE Systems is producing next-generation seekers for L...

Growing demands on Afghan Air Force take toll on aircraft fleet

By Gabriel Dominguez 29 July 2021
As the fighting in Afghanistan intensifies, the Afghan Air Force's (AAF's) aircraft are being overtaxed owing to an increase in close air support operations as well as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), and aerial resupply missions now that the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) largely lack US air support.  In his latest quarterly report to the US Congress published on 29 July, US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko quoted the Train, Advise, and Assist Command-Air (TAAC-...

US naval leaders note USS America benefits in ‘Talisman Sabre 21'

By Michael Fabey 29 July 2021
Amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) is shining in its first ‘Talisman Sabre' exercise off the Australian coast, according to US naval officials.  The ship “brings a wide variety of additional options, speed, logistics, flight deck space, an...

US Air Force awards AeroVironment contracts for Puma 3 AE, Raven products

By Pat Host 29 July 2021
The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded AeroVironment a pair of firm-fixed-price contracts totalling nearly USD16 million to procure the company's Puma 3 AE (All Environment) unmanned aerial system (UAS) and spares, and the RQ-11B Raven small UAS spares, the company announced on 22 July.  AeroVironment's RQ-11B Raven UAS in Portuguese Army service. The USAF placed contracts with AeroVironment to procure Raven spares and Puma 3 AE systems and spares. (Portuguese Army)  The orders were received on 19 April and 6 May. The Puma 3 AE systems and spare...

US pursuing ‘integrated deterrence' strategy in Asia-Pacific region, says Austin

By Gabriel Dominguez 28 July 2021
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin has said the United States is pursuing an “integrated deterrence” strategy in the Asia-Pacific region that will rely on stronger defence co-operation and enhanced co-ordination with allies and partners to better meet a range of regional challenges, including “the spectre of coercion from rising powers”.  In a speech given on 27 July in Singapore as part of a tour of Southeast Asian countries including Vietnam and the Philippines, Lloyd described ‘integrated deterrence' as Washington's “new, 21st-century...

Russia unveils Kh-59MKM upgrade variant air-to-surface missile

By Nikolai Novichkov 28 July 2021
The Raduga Design Bureau, a subsidiary of Russia's state-owned JSC Tactical Missiles Corporation (KTRV), unveiled an upgraded derivative of the TV-guided Kh-59MK extended-range air-to-surface missile at the MAKS 2021 International Aviation and Space Salon, held in Zhukovsky on 20–25 July.    With an all-up weight of 930 kg, the new Kh-59MKM is 5.7 m in length, 380 mm in diameter (with a slightly larger nose section diameter of 420 mm), and a has wingspan of 1.3 m. While the Kh-59MKM airframe retains the same airframe dimensions as the ea...

Embraer begins KC/C-390 unpaved runway tests

By Pat Host 28 July 2021
Embraer announced on 23 July that it would start unpaved runway tests with its KC/C-390 Millennium transport aircraft.  Embraer has announced plans to perform unpaved runway tests with its KC/C-390 Millennium transport aircraft. (Embraer)  The company said on Twitter that it would use a 1,800 m runway at Gavião Peixoto in Brazil and that assessments would be performed over the coming weeks to analyse the aircraft's operation. An unpaved runway is any runway used for take-off and landing where the surface layer is not a paved smooth hard surfa...

MINUSMA reinforcements will enable new forward base concept

By Jeremy Binnie 27 July 2021
The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) needs additional personnel in part so it can implement a new forward operating base concept, according to a UN Secretary-General report released on 23 July.  The report was...

UK buys 13 more Protector RPAS

By Nicholas Fiorenza 27 July 2021
The UK has ordered 13 more Protector RG Mk1 Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS), UK Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin announced during a visit to the GKN Aerospace centre of excellence at Cowes on the Isle of Wight on 22 July.  The UK has ordered 13 more Protector RG Mk1 RPAS. (GA-ASI)  General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) said on its website later the same day that the UK Ministry of Defence was exercising a clause in the original contract for three Protector RPAS announced in July 2020, bringing the total number of s...

AFRL seeks SDA for Mayhem hypersonic weapon system in follow-up RFI

By Robin Hughes 27 July 2021
The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has issued a follow-up Request for Information (RFI) to identify potential industry sources with the necessary expertise, capabilities, and experience “to competently and competitively respond to requirem...
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