Air news

Turkey flies Kaan fighter for first time

By Gareth Jennings 21 February 2024
Screengrab of a video showing the first flight of the Kaan combat aircraft on 21 February 2024. (Presidency of the Republic of Turkey)  Turkey has flown its Kaan National Combat Aircraft (MMU) for the first time, Turkish Aerospace (TA) announced.  The domestically developed ‘fifth-generation' fighter departed TA's Ankara facility for its approximately 15-minute maiden flight on 21 February. For the flight, the Kaan MMU was accompanied by a Turkish Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon chase plane.  “We have carved another development...

Singapore Air Show 2024: Elbit unveils new Hermes 650 tactical UAV

By Akhil Kadidal 21 February 2024
According to Elbit Systems, the Hermes 650's front-engine configuration is designed to support several capabilities such as short take-off, increased endurance, and the ability to support a diverse payload. (Elbit Systems/Janes)  Elbit Systems unveiled its new front-engine Hermes 650 Spark tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on 21 February at Singapore Air Show 2024.    Speaking to   Janes  , vice-president and head of Business Development and Marketing at Elbit Systems, Ziv Avni described the Hermes 650 as being in the one-...

Singapore Airshow 2024: China develops VTOL electric cargo UAV

By Akhil Kadidal 20 February 2024
The Aerospace Times Feipeng Company Limited's FP-981C vertical take-off landing unmanned aerial vehicle. (Janes)  China is developing a new vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for short-range cargo transport tasks.  A representative of the Aerospace Times Feipeng Company Limited said the UAV, called the FP-981C, is being developed to transport cargo and supplies in “complex environments”.    “The developmental programme of the FP-981C started in 2022, and the UAV is currently involved in flight-testing,” th...

Ghana Air Force makes case for Super Tucano acquisition

By Jeremy Binnie 20 February 2024
The Super Tucano that was demonstrated at Air Force Base Accra in Ghana on 19 February 2024. (Ghana Air Force)  The Ghana Air Force hosted an event to promote the A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft to the defence minister and other senior officials and officers on 19 February.  The demonstration was put on by Embraer, the Super Tucano's designer, and Sierra Nevada Corp (SNC), which produces the aircraft for US Foreign Military Sales customers, at Air Force Base Accra and was live-streamed by the air force via YouTube.  In his speech, Air...

Singapore scrambles F-16s to investigate ‘aircraft of interest'

By Ridzwan Rahmat 19 February 2024
A Republic of Singapore Air Force F-16 aircraft. The service scrambled two airframes on 12 February in response to an aircraft of interest. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) scrambled two of its F-16s on 12 February after the service detected an “aircraft of interest”, the country's Ministry of Defense (MINDEF) has confirmed.  In response to questions from Janes, MINDEF disclosed that two F-16s took off from the Tengah Air Base at about 1449 h local time on 12 February to investigate the aircraft. The day was l...

UK to review Chinook buy in Q1 2024

By Gareth Jennings 19 February 2024
The UK is to review plans to buy 14 new H-47 ER Chinooks to augment its existing fleet of older model helicopters (pictured). (Janes/Patrick Allen)  The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to review its plan to acquire new Boeing H-47 Extended Range (ER) Chinook helicopters later in the first quarter (Q1) of 2024, ahead of any decision on final numbers.  Minister of State at the MoD James Cartlidge made the disclosure on 15 February, telling the House of Commons, “The Review Note for the Chinook extended range helicopter programme is due to be as...

India clears USD10 billion defence procurement

By Kapil Kajal 19 February 2024
India has cleared various defence equipment aquisitions, including the procurement of heavyweight torpedoes to enhance the attacking capabilities of Kalvari-class submarines, as shown in the above picture. (Ministry of Defence, India)  India's Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has approved the procurement of various defence equipment worth INR845.6 billion (USD10.19 billion) for the Indian Armed Forces and the Indian Coast Guard.  The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement on 16 February that...

UK reports ‘positive progress' on NMH

By Gareth Jennings 19 February 2024
Through the NMH programme, the UK is looking to replace its ageing Puma HC2 helicopters with up to 44 new rotorcraft. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  The UK government has said “positive progress” is being made on the New Medium Helicopter (NMH) programme to replace the Airbus SA 330E Puma HC2 in military service.  Answering questions in the House of Commons, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) James Cartlidge said on 13 February that the effort to replace the Puma HC2s with up to 44 new rotorcraft should enter into its second half shor...

US approves air-launched munitions for Italy

By Gareth Jennings 19 February 2024
Italy has been approved to buy further SDB II and AIM-120C-8 air-launched munitions to be carried by its combat aircraft types, such as the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. (Italian Air Force)  The US government has approved the sale of air-launched munitions to Italy for an estimated USD219.3 million.  In two separate approval notifications posted by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on 15 February, the US Department of State cleared the sale to Italy of RTX GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) II (also known as StormBreaker)...

SDA, MDA launch new missile warning satellites

By Carlo Munoz 16 February 2024
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, on 14 February 2024. (US Space Force )  The Pentagon's Space Development Agency (SDA) and Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully launched several new low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites on 14 February, marking key milestones for each agency's premiere missile warning and missile tracking satellite programmes.  The US Department of Defense (DoD) confirmed that two Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) satellites and...

Air Mobility Command looks to expand beyond tanking and airlift missions

By Zach Rosenberg 16 February 2024
The new KC-46's communications capabilities far exceed those of the KC-135s, and Block 1 upgrades are set to connect the tanker to yet more networks. Eventually the tankers may double as battle management nodes. (Senior Airman Kimberly Barrera)  General Mike Minihan, commander of the US Air Force's Air Mobility Command (AMC), intends to rapidly move the unit beyond traditional airlift and air-to-air tanking missions, he told reporters on 14 February at an Air Force Association conference.  Gen Minihan told reporters that turning airlifters an...

US Navy, BAE Systems to upgrade MQ-25 on-board computing

By Carlo Munoz 16 February 2024
Boeing's MQ-25A Stingray UAV tanker that the company is developing for the US Navy. (Boeing)  BAE Systems has been selected to execute upgrade and modernisation work for the US Navy's (USN's) MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial refueller, with programme officials aiming to increase on-board computing performance and revamp several legacy components and subsystems aboard the unmanned aerial system (UAS).  The overall modernisation programme envisioned for the MQ-25's vehicle management system computer (VMSC), in the end, “improves aircraft perform...

Sri Lanka Air Force plans new aircraft acquisitions

By Akhil Kadidal 16 February 2024
A Bell 212 and three Bell 412EP helicopters of the Sri Lanka Air Force's No 4 (VVIP/VIP) Helicopter Squadron fly over Colombo on 4 February 2024. Sri Lanka is planning to induct new helicopters to bolster its rotary-wing capabilities. (Pushpa Kumara/Anadolu via Getty Images)  The head of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) has announced the launch of several programmes to induct new aircraft and technologies.  Air Marshal R A Udeni P Rajapaksa, Commander of the SLAF, said during a press conference on 14 February that the SLAF is moving away from i...

US Air Force hits turbulence on Boeing E-7 acquisition negotiations

By Zach Rosenberg 15 February 2024
Artist's impression of the Boeing E-7/E-7A Wedgetail in UK Royal Air Force colours. The USAF's E-7 version is largely based off the UK's version. (Boeing)  The US Air Force (USAF) is “having a hard time getting a price agreement with Boeing” on purchasing E-7 Wedgetails, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall told reporters on 13 February.  The service intends to purchase 26 E-7s through 2032 to replace the Boeing E-3 as its sole airborne early warning aircraft type. Two E-7s are on contract.  Speaking separately, USAF Assistant Secretary f...

Indonesia backtracks on Mirage 2000-5 acquisition

By Akhil Kadidal 14 February 2024
Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) Dassault Mirage 2000-5s (on the far left and far right) operate with QEAF Dassault Rafales and US Air Force Boeing F-15Es over Doha in 2020. The QEAF has since withdrawn its 12 Mirages in service, leading to Indonesia's interest in procuring the fleet. (USAF/Staff Sgt Justin Parsons)  Indonesia has withdrawn from a contract to procure the Qatar Emiri Air Force's (QEAF's) combined force of 12 Dassault Mirage 2000-5 fighter aircraft.  On 15 June 2023 the Indonesian Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced a EUR733 millio...

Collaborative Combat Aircraft programme set to downselect from five contractors

By Zach Rosenberg 14 February 2024
GA-ASI's Gambit UAV concept. Though the companies involved in the CCA programme have been tight-lipped about their submissions, GA-ASI's may be based off the Gambit concept revealed in 2022. (GA-ASI)  The US Air Force (USAF) is set to downselect contractors on the Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) programme from five current potential providers to two to three “within the next few months”, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall told reporters on 13 February on the sidelines of the Air Force Association conference. A further winnowing is...

Portugal receives former German Orion MPA

By Victor Barreira 14 February 2024
One of six former German Navy P-3C Orion MPA that are being transferred to the Portuguese Air Force. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  The first of six Lockheed P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) acquired from Germany arrived in Portugal on 9 February, the Portuguese Air Force (Força Aérea Portuguesa: FAP) announced.  Portugal acquired six P-3C Capability Upkeep Program (CUP) Orion aircraft of the German Navy's Marinefliegergeschwader 3 ‘Graf Zeppelin' Squadron in September 2023.  The contract is worth approximately EUR45 million (USD48.5 millio...

Bell Helicopters tests high-speed VTOL propulsion transition on ground sled

By Zach Rosenberg 13 February 2024
Bell's HSVTOL concepts with folded rotors on display on 21 September 2021 at the Air Force Association's annual conference. (Janes/Pat Host)  Bell Helicopters tested the high- and low-speed transitions of its High-Speed Vertical Take-off and Landing (HSVTOL) concept on a ground-based sled at Holloman Air Force Base (AFB), New Mexico, the company announced on 8 February.  Bell's HSVTOL concept entails transitioning from rotary propulsion to jet propulsion in mid-air, a mode of flight never tested before. The New Mexico tests, conducted at Holl...

Update: Dutch court orders F-35 exports to Israel to stop

By Gareth Jennings 13 February 2024
An Israeli Air Force F-35I seen being loaded with JDAM precision-guided bombs for use against targets in the Gaza Strip. (Israeli Air Force)  A court in the Netherlands has ruled that the country should stop all exports to Israel related to the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme.  Announced on 12 February, the ruling from the Dutch appeals court said all national industries involved in the international F-35 programme must cease the transfer of parts to Israel within seven days due to the risk of them being...

Update: Azerbaijan unveils first Akinci UAV

By Jeremy Binnie 13 February 2024
The Baykar Bayraktar Akıncı UAV that was unveiled on 9 February. (President of the Republic of Azerbaijan)  Azerbaijan unveiled its Bayraktar Akıncı unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on 9 February when President Ilham Aliyev visited what was described as the Azerbaijani Air Forces' (HHQ's) UAV academy.  The Ministry of Defence reported that Aliyev was briefed on the facilities that have been created at the academy for training personnel and viewed an Akıncı taking off and landing.  Photographs released by the president's office showed an Akıncı w...
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