Air news

China's J-15 naval jet appears with indigenous WS-10 engines

By Akhil Kadidal & Prasobh Narayanan 25 November 2022
China appears to have fitted at least one SAC J-15 naval fighter with a domestic WS-10B Taihang engine. The potential maturity of this powerplant could free China from its dependency on Russia for combat jet engines. (AFP/Getty Images)  A Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-15 ‘Flying Shark' naval fighter has been fitted with what appears to be a pair of domestically developed engines.  The aircraft was spotted in a video imagery of a hangar at an SAC factory. The footage was aired on 23 November during a China Central Television (CCTV) new...

Update – Changing the guard: Concern over US withdrawal of F-15 jets from Okinawa

By Akhil Kadidal 25 November 2022
The withdrawal from Okinawa of two USAF squadrons equipped with F-15C Eagles has alarmed US Republican lawmakers who said the move could embolden a militarily resurgent China. (US Air Force photo/Staff Sgt Kyle Johnson)  The withdrawal of two squadrons of US Air Force (USAF) Boeing F-15C fighter jets from Okinawa has prompted concerns of a decline in US force capability in the Indo-Pacific region.  The US Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) announced the withdrawal in a statement on 28 October. “Starting in November [2022] the Department of Defense wi...

UK MoD issues PQQ for ISR space project

By Olivia Savage 25 November 2022
Project Oberon will comprise a cluster of three SAR-based satellites as part of the ISTARI programme. (Airbus)  The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) for Project Oberon, a programme that seeks high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites.  According to the PQQ released by the MoD on 24 November, the contract will involve a cluster of three satellites equipped with an active SAR payload and, at a lower priority, passive radio frequency (RF) functionality, which the supplier will be re...

Turkish future fighter comes together ahead of ‘victory day' roll-out

By Gareth Jennings 24 November 2022
Screenshot from Turkish Aerospace video showing the TF-X/MMU future fighter prototype on the assembly line. (Turkish Aerospace )  Turkish Aerospace (TA) is progressing assembly of its Turkish Fighter Experimental (TF-X)/National Combat Aircraft (MMU), ahead of its planned roll-out on 18 March 2023.  Footage of the production line featuring the TF-X/MMU prototype was released by the company on 23 November, showing the advanced ‘fifth-generation' combat aircraft in an advanced state of assembly.  The emergence of the footage came four months af...

South Korean F-35s training to destroy North Korean ICBM launchers

By Akhil Kadidal 24 November 2022
A South Korean Air Force F-35 fighter jet drops a GBU-12 precision bomb during joint air drills in response to North Korea's ICBM launch on 18 November. (South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images)  South Korean Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters have started training to destroy North Korean missile launchers amid continuing provocations by Pyongyang.  The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said that four F-35As began training to drop GBU-12 Paveway II precision-guided bombs at Pilseung Shooting Range in Gangwon...

Autonomous UAV winch trialled at AWE for British Army

By Olivia Savage 24 November 2022
Sparrow (pictured), attached to a third-party UAV, which is lifting a 5 kg mock payload. (Janes/Olivia Savage)  A novel air-ground payload transfer device intended for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has been trialled at the British Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE) Sustain & Protect (S&P) programme at Portsmouth Naval Base.  During AWE on 22 November, BMT Global demonstrated Sparrow, a prototype robotic unit that enables the autonomous delivery and collection of payloads from a UAV.  Attached to a UAV, Sparrow can autonomously descend and as...

Elbit launches Lanius search-and-attack quadcopter

By Yaakov Lappin 23 November 2022
Elbit classifies the Lanius as a short-range loitering munition. (Elbit Systems)  Elbit Systems has unveiled a small unmanned quadcopter designed to locate, identify, and attack enemy personnel.  Based on a racing quadcopter, the Lanius is highly manoeuvrable and capable of flying inside buildings. The battery-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has a maximum take-off weight of 1.25 kg, a payload weight of 150 g, an operational speed of up to 72 km/h when flying outdoors, and an endurance of seven minutes, according to information released...

HAAWC torpedo wing kit achieves IOC with USN

By Richard Scott 23 November 2022
An artist's rendering of a HAAWC weapon being released from a P-8A Poseidon at altitude. (Boeing)  The US Navy (USN) has confirmed an initial operational capability (IOC) for its High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC), paving the way for fleet introduction on the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.  Designed to enable the deployment of the MK 54 lightweight torpedo from P-8A aircraft operating at altitude, the HAAWC programme introduces the Boeing-developed MK 14 MOD 0 adaptor wing kit to enable the torpedo...

US military backs claim that Iranian UAV hit tanker

By Jeremy Binnie 23 November 2022
An image released by the US Navy's 5th Fleet shows some of the parts of Shahed-136 that were recovered from   Pacific Zircon  .  (US 5th Fleet)  The US Navy's 5th Fleet released evidence to support its assertion that an Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was used to attack a tanker in the north of the Arabian Sea on 15 November.  “The aerial drone that hit the commercial tanker was identified as a Shahed-136 UAV, fitting a historical pattern of Iran's increasing use of a lethal capability directly or through it...

Ukraine conflict: UK sending helicopters to Kyiv

By Gareth Jennings 23 November 2022
The UK is providing Ukraine with three surplus Sea King helicopters, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  The United Kingdom is donating surplus Westland Sea King helicopters to Ukraine as part of a wider raft of military support measures revealed on 22 November.  The planned transfer of the former military helicopters was made by UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace during a meeting with NATO allies in Oslo, Norway.  The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the first delivery of Sea King helicopters had arrived in Ukraine, fol...

First F-16 rolls off new production line

By Gareth Jennings 23 November 2022
The first F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft has rolled off the new production line in Greenville, South Carolina, Lockheed Martin announced on 21 November.  In a message posted from its official Twitter account titled, ‘Guess who's back‘, Lockheed Martin heralded, “a new era of Falcon is about to take flight”, with a video showing the first Block 70 aircraft for Bahrain being rolled out of the facility.  ”I am thrilled to share the first F-16 Block 70 jet has completed the Final Assembly and Checkout (FACO) and paint phases at our producti...

UMS Skeldar hones sense-and-avoid for V-200 UAS

By Gerrard Cowan 22 November 2022
A file photo of the V-200 UAS. UMS Skeldar has refined the unmanned aircraftʼs detect and avoid technology as part of the wider European Detect and Avoid System project. (UMS Skeldar )    UMS Skeldar aims to make further size, weight, and power (SWaP) reductions to the detect and avoid (DAA) technology used by its V-200 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) following recent live flight demonstrations, the company told   Janes  .   The demonstrations took place in October, with the V-200 proving automatic manoeuvre capability aroun...

Indian Army progresses integrated warfare strategy

By Kapil Kajal 22 November 2022
The Indian Army exercised with the K9 Vajra-T self-propelled howitzer along the border with Pakistan. (Janes/Kapil Kajal)  The South Western Command (SWC) of the Indian Army has conducted an Integrated Battle Group (IBG) exercise along the country's western border with Pakistan.  The integrated firepower exercise took place on 21 November and was conducted by the SWC's Chetak Corps (X Corps) at the Mahajan Field Firing Range (MFFR) in the Thar Desert, Rajasthan.    During the exercise, attended by   Janes  , the Indian Army pe...

Update: First C-130J-30 for Indonesia produced

By Akhil Kadidal 22 November 2022
The first of five C-130J-30s ordered by Indonesia conducts its first test flight on 27 October 2022. (Lockheed Martin)  The first of five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30s ordered for the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) has conducted its first test flight, and the aircraft is being prepared for delivery in 2023.  Lockheed Martin told Janes that the first aircraft (serial number A-1339) is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2023. The remaining four aircraft will be delivered through 2024, a Lockheed Martin spokesperson said. The company add...

Future Armoured Vehicles Survivability 2022: IMOD outlines plans for Phase 2 of Carmel programme

By Sonny Butterworth 21 November 2022
Interior of a Carmel armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) prototype, showing touchscreen controls and crew layout. Phase 2 will see an Eitan AFV equipped with a single panoramic screen at the front of the vehicle and four separate operator stations, each with a 24-inch screen. (Janes/Mark Cazalet)  The Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD) provided further details on the aims, concepts, and timeline for Phase 2 of its Carmel Future Combat Vehicles (FCV) programme at the SAE Media Group Future Armoured Vehicles Survivability 2022 conference.  Speaking...

Partners break FCAS/SCAF demonstrator deadlock

By Gareth Jennings 21 November 2022
An artist's impression of the New Generation Fighter and Remote Carrier loyal wingmen that sit at the heart of the Next-Generation Weapon System element of the Future Combat Air System. (Airbus)  The national partners heading up the trinational Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de Combat Aérien du Futur (SCAF) have broken the deadlock surrounding the demonstrator phase of the project.  The governments of France, Germany, and Spain issued statements on 18 November heralding the breakthrough in industrial workshare negotiations that had s...

Turkish ‘loyal wingman' conducts taxi and take-off trials ahead of first flight

By Gareth Jennings 21 November 2022
The Baykar Kizilelma ‘loyal wingman' prototype conducting taxi and take-off trials ahead of a first flight anticipated in 2023. (Baykar)  Turkey has conducted taxi and take-off trials of its domestically developed Baykar Kizilelma ‘loyal wingman' prototype, ahead of a first flight anticipated in 2023.  The manufacturer released footage of the trials of the unmanned aircraft, formerly referred to as the Bayraktar MIUS (Bayraktar Unmanned Combat Aircraft System), on 20 November, noting that the test had actually exceeded its planned parameters....

First C-130J-30 for Indonesia produced

By Akhil Kadidal 21 November 2022
The first of five C-130J-30s ordered by Indonesia conducts its first test flight on 27 October 2022. (Lockheed Martin)  The first of five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30s ordered for the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) has conducted its first test flight, and the aircraft is being prepared for delivery in 2023.  Lockheed Martin told Janes that the first aircraft (serial number A-1339) is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2023. The remaining four aircraft will be delivered through 2024, a Lockheed Martin spokesperson said. The company add...

Update – Airshow China 2022: New airborne stand-off weapons unveiled

By Rahul Udoshi 18 November 2022
The new AKF98A stand-off missile seen fitted onto a PLAAF Xi'an JH-7A2 fighter and a Shenyang J-16 fighter at the Airshow China 2022. Although the designation of the two missiles is identical, both feature design differences suggesting two different configurations or versions. (Janes)  Two new air-to-surface weapons were unveiled at the Airshow China 2022 exhibition, which concluded on 13 November. The systems – not previously seen publicly – included the AKF98A and the AKF088C.  According to Janes analysis, the AKF98A appears to be an autono...

Elbit Systems UK signs MOU with Draken Europe to deliver UAS services

By Olivia Savage 18 November 2022
Draken Europe and Elbit Systems UK will collaborate on delivering contractor-owned UAS services. The Hermes 900 Starliner will be one of the systems meeting this agreement. (Elbit Systems UK)  Elbit Systems UK and British company Draken Europe have signed an agreement to collaborate on and support the delivery of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) services.  The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to meet a growing market interest for contractor-operated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) UAS services, Elbit...
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