Air news

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...

South Korea selects KC-390 for acquisition

By Akhil Kadidal 05 December 2023
An Embraer rendering of the KC-390 shows the aircraft with the emblem of the Republic of Korea Air Force's 251st Tactical Air Support Squadron (of the 5th Tactical Transport Wing), which is based at Gimhae, near the southern city of Busan. (Embraer)  The South Korean government has announced that it has selected the Embraer KC-390 Millenium transport aircraft for its Large Transport Aircraft-II (LTA-II) acquisition programme.  The decision was made during the 157th Defense Acquisition Program Committee meeting on 4 December, according to the...

Japan becomes observer on Eurodrone project

By Gareth Jennings 04 December 2023
A mock-up of the Eurodrone displayed at the Paris Air Show 2023. Japan has now joined the programme as an observer. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  Japan has attained official observer status on the Eurodrone project, the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) announced on 30 November.  The letter of approval was presented in Berlin by OCCAR Executive Administration Director Joachim Sucker to the Japanese Ambassador to Germany, Hidenao Yanagi.  Also known as the European medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) remotely piloted air system...

South Korea launches first military spy satellite

By Oishee Majumdar 04 December 2023
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket (pictured) launched South Korea's first military reconnaissance satellite on 1 December. The satellite is expected to strengthen the RoK Armed Forces' early warning capabilities against potential North Korean threats. (SpaceX)  South Korea has launched its first military reconnaissance satellite using SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.  The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the reconnaissance satellite was launched from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on 1 December, South Korea's Ministry of National Defense (MND) announc...

Still facing hurdles for Pillar 1, AUKUS countries detail Pillar 2 ambitions

By Michael Fabey 04 December 2023
Despite concerns over submarine-building capacity to meet AUKUS Pillar 1 needs, AUKUS countries are moving ahead with Pillar 2 efforts. (Janes/Michael Fabey)  While questions remain about the ability of Australia, the UK, and the US (AUKUS) to meet submarine requirement commitments for their AUKUS Pillar 1 agreement, the trio of defence partners detailed more specific Pillar 2 ambitions on 1 December.  Defence and government officials underscored plans aimed to better develop technology related to autonomous operations, electronic warfare (EW...

US approves possible sale of air-launched munitions for RoKAF F-35s

By Akhil Kadidal 04 December 2023
A Republic of Korea Air Force Lockheed Martin F-35A drops a GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb during a training exercise in November 2022. (South Korea MND)  The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sales (FMS) of munitions for South Korea's Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs.  In an announcement on 1 December the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said that the South Korean government had requested the purchase of a range of air-launched munitions for the Republic of Korea Air Force's (RoKAF's) F-35. The...

UK surveillance aircraft searching Gaza for hostages

By Gareth Jennings 04 December 2023
A file photo of the Shadow ISTAR aircraft taken at its home base in the UK. The UK Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the Shadow ISTAR aircraft is flying in the Gaza region in support of efforts to locate hostages taken by Hamas. (Crown Copyright)  The United Kingdom has deployed surveillance aircraft to the Gaza region to help in the search for British nationals taken hostage by Hamas, the UK defence minister announced on 3 December.  Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps said, “Unarmed UK aircraft will begin carrying out surveilla...

Anduril unveils Roadrunner VTOL and C-UAS

By Zach Rosenberg 04 December 2023
Anduril's Roadrunner-M C-UAS vehicle. (Anduril)    Anduril unveiled a reusable, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) air vehicle on 1 December. The twin turbojet-powered vehicle, dubbed Roadrunner, can be fitted with modular payloads, while the Roadrunner-M (Munition) is intended as a counter-unmanned aircraft    system (C-UAS).   The company said in a statement that the Roadrunner is capable of “high subsonic speeds and extreme maneuverability”, though specifications were not immediately available.  The Roadrunner can be l...

Maiden flight for German Sea Tiger helo

By Gareth Jennings 01 December 2023
The first of 31 Sea Tiger helicopters for the German Navy departed Donauwörth production facility on its maiden flight on 30 November. (Airbus)  The NHIndustries (NHI) NH90 Sea Tiger for the German Navy (Deutsche Marine) made its maiden flight on 30 November.  The milestone took place at Airbus Helicopter's Donauwörth production facility in southern Germany, ahead of flight trials and delivery to the navy in 2025.  The Sea Tiger is an enhanced version of the German-specific Sea Lion that is itself an enhanced version of the NH90 NATO Frigate...

British Army soldiers embed with Japanese army for first time

By Nicholas Fiorenza 01 December 2023
A Gurkha from 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles with an L85A3 5.56 mm assault rifle (right) next to a Japan Ground Self-Defense Force 1st Airborne Brigade paratrooper with a Howa Type 20 5.56 mm assault rifle (left) during Exercise ‘Vigilant Isles' in Somagahara Camp, Japan, on 15 November. (Crown copyright)  British Army soldiers embedded with the Japan Ground Self‐Defense Force (JGSDF) for the first time during Exercise ‘Vigilant Isles 23' in Japan from 15 to 26 November.  The Japanese embassy in London said on its website on 26 November that the exerc...

NIDV, Embraer sign co-operation agreement on C-390, A-29 aircraft for the Netherlands

By Gareth Jennings 01 December 2023
Seen in Portuguese colours and markings, the KC-390 will be flown by the Netherlands also. (Embraer)  Netherlands Industries for Defence and Security (NIDV) and Embraer have agreed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) geared at co-operation between the respective national defence sectors in general, and specifically related to the Brazilian-built C-390 Millennium transport aircraft and A-29 Super Tucano light attack and trainer aircraft.  Signed on 30 November, the MOU followed the Netherlands' recent selection of the C-390 airlifter to meet i...

Parting shot: PAF inducts JF-17 Block III aircraft

By Akhil Kadidal 01 December 2023
The Block III version of the Pakistan-China-developed JF-17 fighter aircraft includes several improvements over earlier aircraft, according to the Pakistan Air Force. (Janes)  The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has started to induct into service the latest version of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC)/Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) JF-17 ‘Thunder' fighter aircraft.  The PAF said in mid-November that the new Block III aircraft provides the PAF with several improved capabilities over the earlier Block II version. These include, it said, “sup...

Canada selects Poseidon MMA

By Gareth Jennings 01 December 2023
The Royal Canadian Air Force will operate 14 P-8A Poseidon multimission maritime aircraft, with the option to acquire a further two at a later date. (Boeing)  Canada has selected the Boeing P-8A Poseidon multimission maritime aircraft (MMA) to fulfil its Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft (CMMA) requirement.  The decision was announced on 30 November, with the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) saying that up to 16 Poseidons (14, plus an option for an additional two) will be acquired. These will replace the Royal Canadian Air Force's...

Unmanned systems begin to dominate military operations in Gulf

By Michael Fabey 01 December 2023
The US Navy conducted another exercise in the Gulf using unmanned systems such as the MAST-13 USV. (US Navy)  Recent events underscore how military operators are beginning to increasingly test and deploy unmanned systems in the Gulf.    US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) utilised Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS   Indianapolis   (LCS 17) as a staging base and command centre on 27 November for a host of unmanned systems during live weapons firing exercises in the international waters of the central Gulf, US Navy (US...

US CV-22B Osprey crashes in Japanese waters

By Akhil Kadidal 30 November 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...

Lockheed Martin flies first production F-35s equipped with TR-3 upgrade

By Zach Rosenberg 30 November 2023
US Air Force F-35A Lightning II. F-35 deliveries with TR-3 upgrades are scheduled to begin as soon as April 2024. (US Air Force/Staff Sgt Zade Vadnais)  Lockheed Martin has flown the first production F-35s equipped with Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3) hardware and software upgrades, the manufacturer confirmed on 28 November. F-35 deliveries to customers have been paused until TR-3 is judged to be sufficiently mature.    “We are now flying TR-3 software on F-35 production jets in Fort Worth and flight test continues at Edwards Air Force Base...

Bundestag approves Eurofighter EK

By Gareth Jennings 30 November 2023
Displayed as a mock-up at the ILA Berlin Air Show in 2022, the Eurofighter EK has now been approved by the Bundestag. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  The German Bundestag has approved development of the Eurofighter Elektronischer Kampf (EK) electronic warfare (EW) aircraft for the Luftwaffe.  The Luftwaffe and Airbus (Germany's lead contractor in the Eurofighter consortium) announced the budgetary committee approval on 29 November, saying 15 aircraft will be upgraded for electronic attack (EA) and suppression/destruction of enemy air defence (SEAD/D...

UK to equip Poseidon MRA1 with Sting Ray torpedo

By Gareth Jennings 30 November 2023
The Sting Ray torpedo is to be integrated aboard the RAF's fleet of Poseidon MRA1 aircraft. (Crown Copyright)  The United Kingdom is to arm its fleet of Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA1 maritime multimission aircraft (MMA) with the domestically developed Sting Ray torpedo.  The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced the decision on 30 November, saying the British-built Sting Ray will be used alongside the US-built Mk 54 torpedo that was delivered as part of the US government's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) package.  “The programme to integrate Sting Ray...

SAMI, Embraer to co-operate on C-390 for Saudi Arabia

By Gareth Jennings 29 November 2023
With a Royal Saudi Air Force requirement to replace its ageing C-130 Hercules airlifters, the C-390 Millennium (pictured) is a possible contender. (Embraer)  Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and Embraer have agreed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) geared at co-operation between the respective national defence sectors in general, and specifically towards promoting the Brazilian built C-390 Millennium transport aircraft to the kingdom.  Signed on 29 November, the MOU will see both companies work to develop Saudi Arabia's defence indu...
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