Air news

Ukraine conflict: MANPADS threat blunts effectiveness of Russian helicopter attacks

By Peter Felstead 18 March 2022
A screenshot of a Russian MoD video of a Ka-52 targeting system, showing the helicopter firing rockets indirectly into the air rather than directly at the target as would normally be expected. (Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation)  Video evidence emerged on Twitter on 16/17 March suggesting that the presence of effective Ukrainian-operated manportable air defence systems (MANPADS) is having a detrimental effect on Russian attack helicopter operations over Ukraine.  One such video clip was apparently taken by a Russian soldier on the...

Naval Group, Icarus Swarms reveal collaboration

By Richard Scott 18 March 2022
French naval shipbuilding, systems, and services prime Naval Group has signed a memorandum of understanding with tech start-up Icarus Swarms to explore the application of ‘drone swarms' for naval use.  Icarus Swarms, part of Dronisos, is a pioneer...

UK MoD seeks contractor-provided VIP helo

By Gareth Jennings 18 March 2022
The MoD is looking to replace its single AW109SP VIP helicopter with a new type from 1 April 2023. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a tender for a single contractor-provided helicopter for VIP duties out of Royal Air Force (RAF) Northolt in north London.  The Rotary Wing Command Support Air Transport (RWCSAT) capability tender issued on 17 March seeks to replace the current single Leonardo AW109SP GrandNew helicopter operated by 32 (The Royal) Squadron with a new type from 1 April 2023.  “The Defence Equipmen...

AceHawk Aerospace to offer Black Hawks for UK NMH requirement

By Gareth Jennings 18 March 2022
Teesside International Airport-based AceHawk Aerospace is to offer the UK an ML-70 variant of the Black Hawk, which it describes as being a UK-version of the AceDeck VL-60 previously developed by Ace Aeronautics in the US. (Lockheed Martin)  AceHawk Aerospace has announced that it is to offer pre-owned and upgraded Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawks for the UK's New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement.  The Teesside International Airport-based outfit announced its intent on 16 March, saying that it is to offer an ML-70 variant of the Black Hawk, which...

DARPA sets goals for Liberty Lifter heavy-lift seaplane

By Richard Scott 18 March 2022
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has revealed ambitions to develop and flight test an experimental low cost, wing-in-ground effect-capable seaplane for long-range, low-cost seaborne strategic and tactical lift.  Named Libert...

US Navy-Marine Corps completes manned-unmanned rotary-wing teaming

By Richard Scott 17 March 2022
A US Marine Corps Bell AH-1Z attack helicopter seen operating in tandem with a US Navy MQ-8C unmanned helicopter. (US DoD)  US Marine Corps (USMC) and US Navy (USN) aviation have completed a groundbreaking manned-unmanned tactical experiment, pairing Bell UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z helicopters with a Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned air system (UAS).  Undertaken on 10 March at Naval Air Facility El Centro, California, the exercise was designed to provide familiarisation and concept development of manned and unmanned rotary-wing aircraft...

Washington authorises an additional USD800 million military package for Ukraine

By Ashley Roque 17 March 2022
US President Joe Biden authorised a USD800 million military aid package for Ukraine on 16 March that includes a host of capabilities from air-defence systems to drones for the European country.  “We're going to give Ukraine the arms to fight and de...

India initiates fifth-generation AMCA fighter project

By Akhil Kadidal 17 March 2022
HAL has started assembly activities in support of its production of India's fifth-generation AMCA. (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd)  Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has launched manufacturing activities for India's fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) project.    An HAL source told   Janes   that the company has started assembly activities for the fabrication of an AMCA ‘Test Box' at its Aircraft Research and Design Centre in Bangalore.   “The main requirement of ‘Test Box' is to withstand bird impact, com...

US to supply F-15s to Egypt

By Gareth Jennings 16 March 2022
Egypt looks set to become the latest customer of the F-15 Advanced Eagle, following the disclosure of a sale on 15 March. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  The United States is to supply Boeing F-15 Eagle combat aircraft to Egypt, a senior Department of Defense (DoD) official said on 15 March.  The commander of US Central Command (USCENTCOM), General Frank McKenzie, revealed the deal during a session of the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, DC.  “In the case of Egypt, I think we have good news in that we are going to provide them with F-1...

Ukraine conflict: Procurement of Russian aircraft at risk in South and Southeast Asia

By Alessandra Giovanzanti 16 March 2022
Janes Markets Forecast estimates that the military aircraft market in South and Southeast Asia in 2022–31 will reach USD136.7 billion. (Janes)  South Asian and Southeast Asian countries are regarded by Moscow as key defence markets for its military aircraft, with Russian Mil military helicopters and Sukhoi fighter aircraft in use in the region, building upon some major defence co-operation agreements consolidated in the past decade.  However, the conflict in Ukraine is likely to adversely affect Russia's position as military aircraft supplier...

India‘s BEL enters UAV market to thwart airfield attacks

By Akhil Kadidal & Akshara Parakala 16 March 2022
An image of Bharath Electronic Limited (BEL) new tethered airbase surveillance drone. (Janes/Akhil Kadidal)  Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) is developing a tethered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to thwart future infiltration attacks on air bases.  BEL officials said that the company is working on a programme to develop the tethered UAV system, which weighs 9 kg and is designed to loiter in a fixed position above airfields and army bases, providing 360-degree surveillance capability.  “The UAV is tethered by an optical fibre cable, which als...

Heico buys GPS supplier Flight Microwave

By Marc Selinger 16 March 2022
Flight Microwave is a supplier to the US Space Force's Global Positioning System III satellite programme. (Lockheed Martin)  Lucix Corporation, a subsidiary of US-based Heico Corporation, has expanded its satellite hardware portfolio by acquiring frequency filter manufacturer Flight Microwave Corporation, Heico announced on 14 March.  Flight Microwave's products are used in the US Space Force's Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellite programme and “other key US government satellite payloads”, Heico said.  Flight Microwave, whose design...

Spain approved for MH-60R purchase

By Gareth Jennings 16 March 2022
If Spain were to go ahead with acquiring the MH-60R, it would join Australia (pictured) and other countries in fielding the type. (Commonwealth of Australia)  The United States has approved the sale of Lockheed Martin MH-60R Seahawk maritime helicopters to Spain.  The State Department approval, which was announced by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on 15 March, covers eight MH-60R helicopters, plus associated equipment, weapons, and services for an estimated USD950 million.  “The proposed sale will improve Spain's capability...

Lithuania to increase defence spending to 2.52% of GDP from 2022

By Olivia Savage & Ana-Roxana Popescu 16 March 2022
Lithuania increases defence spending for 2022. (Janes Defence Budgets)  Lithuania's parliament has discussed a draft amendment to the State Budget to increase defence spending to 2.52% of GDP for 2022, the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 14 March.  According to the government this would entail additional funding of EUR298 million (USD328.2 million). The motion has wide support and is expected to pass at its second reading on 17 March.    A spokesperson from the Lithuanian MoD told   Janes   that EUR158.5 mill...

HAL, Safran sign MOU for helicopter engine co-operation

By Akhil Kadidal 15 March 2022
India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Safran Aircraft Engines have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore opportunities for new helicopter engines in civil and military markets.  The agreement was signed during a ground-bre...

Turkey begins assembly of MIUS ‘loyal wingman' prototype

By Cem Devrim Yaylali 15 March 2022
The first MIUS prototype fuselage seen on the assembly line in images released by manufacturer Baykar Makina on 12 March. (Baykar)  Turkey has begun assembly of the Bayraktar MIUS (Bayraktar Combat Unmanned Aircraft System) ‘loyal wingman' prototype, images released by manufacturer Baykar Makina show. The images were posted to the company's official Twitter account on 12 March.  The existence of the MIUS was first unveiled in July 2021. MIUS will be a single jet-engined unmanned aircraft with a tailless, blended wing body design optimised for...

Ukraine conflict: Russia employs Forpost-R UCAV

By Miko Vranic 15 March 2022
A screenshot from a Russian MoD video showing the Forpost-R UCAV departing for a mission over Ukraine. (Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation)  Russian forces in Ukraine have been seen fielding the Forpost-R unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) for the first time.  A video released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of the Russian Federation on 13 March showed an armed Forpost-R taking off from an unidentified prepared airstrip, before the footage cut to a Ukrainian multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) being destroyed by the UCAV.  The...

Airbus presses Berlin to confirm Eurofighter portion of Tornado replacement plan

By Gareth Jennings 15 March 2022
A Eurofighter Tranche 4 combat aircraft for the Luftwaffe's Project Quadriga. Airbus is proposing a Tranche 5 variant for Germany's Tornado replacement requirement and is pressing Berlin for confirmation of a procurement. (Eurofighter)  Airbus has pressed the German government to confirm the previously announced plan to buy additional Eurofighter combat aircraft as part of the Luftwaffe's wider Tornado replacement requirement.  Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space (DS), said on 15 March that his company “needs that decision to...

UK FCG acquires nUAS from Elbit Systems and Atlas Dynamics

15 March 2022
DefendTex D40 nano-unmanned aerial vehicle. (UK MoD Crown Copyright 2021)  UK Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) Future Capability Group (FCG) acquired nano-unmanned aerial vehicles (nUAS) from Elbit Systems and Atlas Dynamics, as part of the British Army's Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) project, Dominic Ferrett, engineering manager, Future Capability Group, informed Janes on 10 March at the British Army's robotics and autonomous systems strategy launch.  According to Ferret, FCG procured five Elbit Systems' Torch-X RAS systems, comp...

German Tornado replacement decision paves way for Eurofighter ECR development

By Gareth Jennings 15 March 2022
An artist's impression of the Eurofighter ECR aircraft, development of which will now proceed following a German government decision announced on 14 March. (Airbus via Janes/Gareth Jennings)  Germany's Tornado replacement announcement on 14 March has paved the way for Airbus to formally launch the development of the Eurofighter Electronic Combat Role (ECR) platform that it first touted in 2019.  In announcing its intent to satisfy the Luftwaffe's future fighter requirements with the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and...
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