Air news

USAF issues AWACS replacement RFI

By Gareth Jennings 09 February 2022
The US Air Force has issued its RFI to replace the E-3G AWACS aircraft. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  The US Air Force (USAF) has issued a request for information (RFI) to replace its ageing fleet of Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, with the goal of fielding prototype aircraft by 2028.  Released on 8 February, the RFI is geared at replacing the USAF's fleet of 31 E-3G AWACS with a new solution entirely, previously identified by the service as being the Boeing E-7A Wedgetail.  “This RFI is issued to identify i...

Thales to integrate secure SATCOM system onto French military tanker aircraft

By Olivia Savage 09 February 2022
Thales's SATCOM stations are to be integrated into fuselage of French Airbus A330 Phénix Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft (pictured). (Thales Group)  The Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA) has awarded Thales and its partners a contract for the development, integration, and support of aircraft satellite communications (SATCOM), Thales announced on 8 February.  The contract dubbed ‘Mélissa' will involve the delivery of resilient high-speed satellite stations for French Armed Forces Airbus A330 Phénix Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT)...

Armed variant of Z-20 helicopter could be refuelling-capable

By Alessandra Giovanzanti 09 February 2022
Chinese state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) released footage suggesting that it is developing an armed, aerial refuelling-capable variant of the Harbin Aircraft Industry Group (HAIG) Z-20 medium multirole helicopter.  On 31 Ja...

Italy completes deliveries of HH-139B CSAR helos

By Alessandra Giovanzanti 09 February 2022
The Italian Air Force received its last HH-139B on 31 January 2022. The first helicopter (shown here) was delivered on 30 November 2020. (Italian Air Force)  The Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana: AMI) has received the last of the 17 Leonardo HH-139B helicopters that it had ordered for combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) duties.    Speaking to   Janes  on 9 February, an AMI spokesperson said that the 17th helicopter was delivered on 31 January 2022, about 14 months after the first HH-139B helicopter.   “The AMI...

Dstl trials seek to harden sensors against laser attack

By Peter Felstead 09 February 2022
The UK Ministry of Defence's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has conducted a series of trials to assess how sensors can be hardened against laser attacks, the lab revealed on 2 February.    Dstl confirmed to  Janes...

Lockheed Martin flies unmanned Black Hawk for first time

By Gareth Jennings 09 February 2022
Lockheed Martin has flown its Optionally Piloted Vehicle (OPV) Sikorsky UH-60A/S-70 Black Hawk testbed helicopter for the first time, with a 30-minute test flight being conducted out of the US Army installation of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. (Lockheed Martin)  Lockheed Martin has flown its Optionally Piloted Vehicle (OPV) Sikorsky UH-60A/S-70 Black Hawk testbed helicopter for the first time, the company announced on 8 February.  The 30-minute flight, which took place at the US Army installation of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, saw the OPV Black Hawk...

NATO concludes ‘Neptune Strike 2022' vigilance exercise

By Kate Tringham 09 February 2022
‘Neptune Strike 22' highlighted the natural evolution of NATO's ability to integrate the high-end maritime warfare capabilities of a carrier strike group to support the defence of the alliance. (US Navy)  A US Navy (USN) carrier strike group (CSG) was successfully placed under NATO command for the first time since the end of the Cold War during the recently concluded exercise ‘Neptune Strike 2022' in the Mediterranean Sea.    During the NATO-led vigilance activity, which took place from 24 January to 4 February in the Adriatic Sea, the c...

UK selects Dassault Falcon as ‘Royal' replacement aircraft

By Gareth Jennings 08 February 2022
The Dassault Falcon 900LX will replace the now-retired BAe 146 in the VVIP role for the UK. (Dassault)  The United Kingdom has selected the Dassault Falcon to replace the recently retired BAe 146 aircraft operated by the Royal Flight of the Royal Air Force (RAF).  The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced a GBP80 million (USD109 million) order for two Falcon 900LX aircraft for 32 Squadron (The Royal) on 8 February, noting that the tri-jets will be provided by Bristol-based Centreline under a GBP80 million (USD108 million) contract.  “The contra...

Japan to upgrade 68 F-15J Eagles under JSI programme

By Kosuke Takahashi 08 February 2022
An artist's impression of the JSI configuration for Japan's fleet of upgraded F-15J Eagle fighters. (Boeing)  The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) plans to upgrade 68 Boeing-Mitsubishi F-15J Eagle fighter aircraft through the Japan Super Interceptor (JSI) programme, it confirmed on 4 February.  The MoD also said that the estimated life-cycle costs of the 68 Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) aircraft over 30 years – including the upgrade – will amount to JPY646.5 billion (USD5.6 billion).  An MoD document said the upgrade includes the int...

US Navy completes second live-fire test with AARGM-ER

By Robin Hughes 08 February 2022
An AARGM-ER air-to-surface missile is launched from a US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet in the second live-fire test of the weapon system at the US Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Point Mugu Sea Range, southern California, on 21 January. (US Navy)  The US Navy conducted a second live-fire development test (DT2) of the Northrop Grumman AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) from an F/A-18F Super Hornet at the US Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), Point Mugu Sea Range, southern Califor...

CNES awards Thales Alenia Space contract to develop DFMC SBAS prototype

By Olivia Savage 08 February 2022
Thales Alenia Space has been awarded a contract by the French Space Agency (Centre national d'études spatiales: CNES) to develop a dual-frequency multi-constellation (DFMC) satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) prototype, the company announced...

India seeks SWIFT aerial target for navy, army

By Robin Hughes 07 February 2022
The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a request for information for the prospective procurement of an indigenously developed, remotely piloted aerial target system capable of simulating supersonic sea-skimming anti-ship/cruise missile thr...

Jordan approved for further F-16 purchase

By Gareth Jennings 07 February 2022
Jordan is set to receive 16 of the latest variant F-16s to add to the 61 older models (pictured) it already fields. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  The United States has approved the sale of further 16 Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft to Jordan, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 3 February.  The State Department approval covers 12 single-seat F-16C Block 70 and four twin-seat F-16D Block 70 aircraft, as well as related equipment, weapons, services, and training for an estimated USD4.21 billion.  “This p...

Greece progresses F-35 procurement plans

By Gareth Jennings 07 February 2022
The Hellenic Air Force is set to join the international F-35 operator community, with a team from the US Air Force programme office scheduled to visit Athens in February to provide the Greek government with informational briefings on the requirements for moving forward with the programme. (Commonwealth of Australia)  Greece's plans to acquire the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) are set to take a step forward, with a team from the programme office scheduled to visit the country in February.  The US Ambassador to Gr...

Boeing rolls out first Poseidon MMA for South Korea

By Gareth Jennings 07 February 2022
The first of six Poseidon MMAs for the Republic of Korea Navy was rolled out from the Boeing paint shop on 3 February. (Boeing)    Boeing presented the first of six    P-8A Poseidon multimission maritime aircraft (MMA) for South Korea on 3 February.   Aircraft 921 (tail number 230921, construction number 170023) was rolled out of the Boeing paint shop near Seattle in the livery of the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN).  With South Korea's Foreign Military Sales procurement having been approved in September 2018, which the count...

UK orders H135 helos for undisclosed role

By Gareth Jennings 04 February 2022
The UK has ordered five H135 helicopters. While the type is already used by the Defence Helicopter Flying School (pictured), these new helicopters will not be used for training but for an undisclosed role. (Crown Copyright)  The United Kingdom has ordered five Airbus H135 helicopters for an undisclosed role.  Airbus Helicopters announced the sale on 2 February, with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) telling Janes it was unable to provide further details as to their intended purpose.  “We cannot comment on programme specifics for the H135s,” a min...

First-production Triton at IFC-4 standard delivered to USN

By Richard Scott 03 February 2022
The first IFC-4 standard Triton for the US Navy. (Northrop Grumman)  The US Navy (USN) has taken delivery of the first Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) configured to Integrated Functional Capability 4 (IFC-4) standard.  Aircraft B8 was delivered to Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, on 1 February. IFC-4 supports a so-called Multi-Intelligence (Multi-INT) configuration that endows the MQ-4C with a signals intelligence (SIGINT) capability.  An integral element of the USN's plan to recapitalise its mari...

Lockheed Martin holds Hercules handover ceremony for Germany

By Gareth Jennings 03 February 2022
A ceremony to mark the earlier official handover of the first Hercules to the Luftwaffe was held at the Marietta production facility in the US on 1 February. (Bundeswehr)  A ceremony to mark the handover of the first Lockheed Martin KC/C-130J Hercules aircraft for Germany was held at the Marietta production plant in the United States on 1 February.  Announced by the Bundeswehr, the event was held few weeks after the formal handover of the first of six KC/C-130Js to the Luftwaffe took place at the same location on 23 December 2021.  News of th...

Croatia receives first Black Hawks

By Gareth Jennings 03 February 2022
One of two new UH-60M Black Hawks delivered to Zagreb on 3 February. As the latest variant Black Hawk, the UH-60M will significantly enhance Croatia's helicopter capabilities. (Croatian Ministry of Defence)  Croatia has received two new Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters from the United States, the country's Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 3 February.  The delivery of helicopters, which was also reported by the US Embassy in Zagreb, was flown into the capital aboard a US Air Force Boeing C-17A Globemaster III airlifter.  “I...

AIM-120D AMRAAM launched from F-15EX Eagle II

By Robin Hughes 03 February 2022
An F-15EX Eagle II, assigned to the USAF 40th Flight Test Squadron out of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, prepares to fire an AIM-120D AMRAAM during a Weapons System Evaluation Program (WSEP) mission near Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, on 25 January 2022. (US Air Force)  The US Air Force (USAF) conducted the first release of an air-launched missile from a Boeing F-15EX Eagle II next-generation multirole combat aircraft over the Gulf of Mexico on 25 January.  Pursuing a Kratos Defense & Security Solutions BQM-167A Skeeter subscale aerial tar...
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