Air news

Germany places record order for H145M helicopters

By Gareth Jennings 14 December 2023
The H145M LKH will bridge the Tiger in the light attack role, as Germany considers its longer-term replacement options. (Airbus)  Germany has placed the largest ever order for Airbus H145M battlefield support helicopters, with the Bundeswehr contracting the rotorcraft and accompanying weapons systems to partially replace its Airbus Tigers and to support its special forces.  Announced on 14 December, the contract that will be funded primarily from the EUR100 billion (USD108 billion) special fund covers 62 (with an option for a further 20) heli...

At full speed: Hypersonix prepares DART AE for future heights

By Jon Grevatt 14 December 2023
The DART AE is a 3.5 m long single-use hypersonic vehicle powered by a SPARTAN scramjet engine that, according to developer Hypersonix Launch Systems, has a top speed of Mach 7 and a range of 1,000 km. (Hypersonix Launch Systems)  Australian firm H...

All UK Minerva satellites to launch by 2026

By Olivia Savage 14 December 2023
Being built by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Titania is a demonstrator satellite exploring the validity of using optical laser technology to transfer data to and from space at speeds equivalent to superfast broadband. (Crown Copyright 2022)    All UK Space Command's operational concept demonstrator satellites under project Minerva and part of the wider ISTARI programme will launch by 2026,   Janes  learnt.   The first of this – Tyche – will launch in summer 2024, while Titania and Oberon will launch in 2025 fo...

STOL shipmate: Mojave comes on board

By Richard Scott 13 December 2023
GA-ASI's Mojave STOL RPAS demonstrator takes off from HMS   Prince of Wales  on 15 November.  (Crown Copyright)  The UK Royal Navy's (RN) ambitions to introduce a hybrid carrier air wing blending both crewed and uncrewed aircraft moved a step closer during November 2023 with a first flight demonstration of a tactical short take-off and landing (STOL) remotely piloted air system (RPAS) from a Queen Elizabeth-class (QEC) carrier.  Performed from HMS Prince of Wales towards the end of the ship's Westlant 23 deployme...

Spain to increase buy of extended-range AMRAAMs for Eurofighters, Hornets, NASAMS

By Gareth Jennings 13 December 2023
Spain is buying extended-range AMRAAM missiles to equip Eurofighter and Hornet (pictured) fighters, as well as its ground-based NASAMS air defence. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  Spain is to expand its procurement of extended-range Raytheon AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) for its fleet of Eurofighter (C16 in national service) and Boeing EF-18 (C15) Hornet combat aircraft, as well as for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) ground-based air-defence system.  With 68 AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM missiles havin...

LED displays gain ground for military simulator technology

By Giles Ebbutt 12 December 2023
IDSI's Visionflex Direct View curved LED display showcased at I/ITSEC 23. (Giles Ebbutt)  New display technology using LED (light emitting diode) panels, which offer advantages over traditional projector-based systems, was evidenced at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) 2023 in Orlando.    Immersive Display Solutions Inc (IDSI) showcased its Visionflex Direct View (DV) curved LED display. Andrew Jamison, IDSI general manager – special projects, told   Janes   that the display consi...

First RAAF KC-30A gets comms-cyber upgrade

By Akhil Kadidal 12 December 2023
Australia's fleet of Airbus A330 (KC-30A) MRTTs is receiving improved communications, tactical datalink, and encryption systems to bring the fleet to the latest “enhanced A330 MRTT” standard. (Commonwealth of Australia)  The first Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airbus KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) has received a communications and cyber upgrade.  Australia's fleet of seven KC-30As are having their secure high-frequency (HF) and very-high frequency (VHF) radios, encryption device, and tactical datalink systems enhanced under the...

Poland inducts first Merlin ASW helicopters

By Gareth Jennings 12 December 2023
Poland began receiving into service the first of its Leonardo AW101 Merlin helicopters on 8 December. (General Command of the Polish Armed Forces)  Poland has begun inducting into service the first of four Leonardo AW101 Merlin helicopters it ordered in 2019 to satisfy its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) requirements.  The Polish Navy and the General Command of the Armed Forces announced the milestone on 8 December, saying that three helicopters are now with the Naval Aviation Brigade at Darłowo. The fourth of...

PLAAF J-16 brigade adopts AR for maintenance

By Akhil Kadidal 11 December 2023
The PLAAF has introduced an augmented reality (AR)-assisted maintenance programme for an air brigade newly equipped with SAC J-16 aircraft, coupled with “intelligent” warehousing to improve sustaining and support. This photo shows a J-16 in flight during the 2022 Zhuhai Air Show. (Qian Baihua/VCG via Getty Images)  Another Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) air brigade has converted from legacy aircraft to new 4.5-generation Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-16 fighter aircraft. During the transition, the brigade also adop...

Belgium receives first F-35

By Gareth Jennings 11 December 2023
The first of 34 F-35A aircraft for Belgium was formally presented on 10 December 2023. (Lockheed Martin)  Belgium formally received its first Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) during a roll-out ceremony at the Fort Worth production facility in the United States.  Aircraft AY-01/FL001 was presented to the Belgian government and military leaders on 10 December, ahead of delivery to the international F-35 training school at Luke Air Force Base (AFB) in Arizona in early 2024.  News of the handover came days after the B...

AUKUS members eye development of joint electronic warfare capabilities

By Carlo Munoz 08 December 2023
EW officers monitor a simulated test in the Central Control Facility (CCF) at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The CCF is used to oversee EW mission data flight-testing. Portions of their missions are likely to expand under the new Air Force Cyber Command. (US Air Force)    Members of the trilateral security co-operative between Australia, the UK, and the US (AUKUS) have agreed to kick off    collaborative development of advanced combat technologies, with an eye towards commonality and interoperability, beginning with electroni...

UK stands up second operational F-35B squadron

By Gareth Jennings 08 December 2023
The UK stood up 809 NAS as its second front-line F-35B unit at RAF Marham on 8 December 2023. (Janes/Gareth Jennings )  The UK stood up its second operational squadron for the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning combat aircraft on 8 December.  The Royal Navy's (RN's) 809 ‘Immortals' Naval Air Squadron (NAS) was reconstituted at the home of the Lightning Force at Royal Air Force (RAF) Marham in Norfolk.  The squadron joins the RAF's 617 ‘Dambusters' Squadron as the UK's two front-line units for the ‘fifth-generation' short take-off and vertical la...

Taurus-LIG Nex1 developing KEPD 350K-2 for FA-50

By Akhil Kadidal 08 December 2023
A visual comparison of the new Taurus KEPD 350K-2 (in foreground) and KEPD 350K precision-attack cruise missiles. The KEPD 350K-2 uses a new wing design and improved dynamics to retain the 500 km range of the older and larger KEPD 350K. (Janes)  A smaller version of the Taurus Systems KEPD 350K air-launched precision‐attack cruise missile being planned for the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 fighter aircraft could enter production two years after full-scale development is launched.  Designated as the KEPD 350K-2, this all-weather-capab...

First remanufactured Apache helos arrive in Netherlands

By Gareth Jennings 07 December 2023
The first of 28 Royal Netherlands Air Force AH-64D Apaches to be converted to the latest AH-64E standard seen at its rollout in March 2022. (Netherlands Ministry of Defence)  The first Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters to be remanufactured to the latest AH-64E Apache Guardian standard have arrived back in the Netherlands.  The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) said on 7 December that the first two of 20 helicopters to be operated in the Netherlands (a further eight will be sent to Fort Cavazos – formerly Fort Hood – in Texas f...

US Air Force and Navy ground V-22 Osprey fleets

By Zach Rosenberg 07 December 2023
The US Air Force said that the Bell Boeing CV-22B involved in the mishap was an aircraft from the 353rd Special Operations Wing. The unit operates its CV-22Bs from Yokota Air Base near Tokyo. (US Air Force)  The US Air Force (USAF) and US Navy (USN) grounded their respective V-22 fleets on 6 December, the services said in separate statements. The grounding follows the 29 November crash of a USAF CV-22 near Yakushima, Japan.  “Preliminary investigation information indicates a potential materiel failure caused the mishap, but the underlying cau...

Italy flies first Block 5 Reaper

By Gareth Jennings 06 December 2023
A file photo of an Italian Reaper unmanned aircraft. The country is upgrading its fleet to the latest Block 5 standard. (GA-ASI)  The Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana: AMI) has flown its first Block 5 version of the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9A Reaper unmanned aircraft system (UAS).  The manufacturer announced the milestone on 5 December, saying the first flight of the remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) took place some weeks earlier on 9 November.  “The new RPA was delivered to the [AMI], along with a n...

Wing Loong II UAV being developed for diverse roles

By Akhil Kadidal 06 December 2023
The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) is improving the capabilities of its Wing Loong II unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to handle multiple applications.    During a recent flight demonstration of the UAV for the state-owned newspaper,  Global Times  , Li Yidong, chief designer at AVIC Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), said the applications of the Wing Loong series of UAVs “are still expanding”.   The demonstration showed the Wing Loong II's ability to climb, cruise, and operate at low altitude. Li said, “In the future, the [UAVs]...

Sweden completes NH90 SAR upgrade

By Gareth Jennings 06 December 2023
Sweden has now received back into service seven NH90 search-and-rescue helicopters following an upgrade programme. (Swedish Air Force)  Sweden has received back into service the final NHIndustries (NHI) NH90 – Helikopter (HKP) 14 in national service – search-and-rescue (SAR) helicopter upgraded to the final operating capability (FOC) standard.  NHI announced the milestone on 5 December, saying the last of seven SAR-configured NH90 Tactical Troop Transport (TTT) helicopters to be upgraded in partnership with Patria had been delivered back to t...

Update: US CV-22B Osprey crashes in Japanese waters

By Akhil Kadidal 05 December 2023
The US Air Force said the Bell Boeing CV-22B involved in the mishap was an aircraft from the 353rd Special Operations Wing. The unit operates its CV-22Bs from Yokota Air Base near Tokyo. (US Air Force)  A Bell Boeing CV-22 Osprey of the US Air Force (USAF) has crashed in Japanese waters.  In a statement later on 29 November US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) said the CV-22B Osprey from the 353rd Special Operations Wing was involved in the “mishap”.  The aircraft was “performing a routine training mission off the shore of Yakushim...

Portugal eyes F-35 buy

By Victor Barreira 05 December 2023
With many of its European allies, including Norway (pictured), fielding the F-35A, Portugal is now eyeing the type also. (Royal Norwegian Air Force)  The Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II aircraft could emerge as the next combat aircraft in the inventory of the Portuguese Air Force (FAP).  The Chief of Staff of the FAP, General João Guilherme Rosado Cartaxo Alves, described the F-35A as the preferred choice to replace the Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon on 27 November.  Speaking at the SAE Media Group Military Airlift and Air-to-Ai...
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