Air news

Update: Israel advances CH-53K helicopter, KC-46A tanker procurements

By Gareth Jennings 04 January 2022
An artist's impression of an Israeli Air Force KC-46A tanker passing fuel to an F-15 Eagle. (Israeli MoD)  Israel has advanced the procurement of both the Lockheed Martin CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopters and Boeing KC-46A Pegasus aerial refuelling tankers, with the announcement on 31 December that further agreements have been signed with the United States.  The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced the milestones, noting that the agreements cover the purchase of 12 helicopters and two tankers.  “The procurement of these platf...

UAE to equip MRTTs with Israeli countermeasures

By Gareth Jennings 04 January 2022
The UAE AFAD's fleet of five A330-200 MRTT aircraft is to be equipped with the Israeli-built J-MUSIC defensive aids and PAWS electronic warfare suites. (Airbus)  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is to equip its fleet of Airbus A330-200 MultiRole Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft with Israeli defensive aids.  Elbit Systems announced on 3 January that its recently established Elbit Systems Emirates subsidiary has been awarded USD53 million to supply the UAE Air Force and Air Defence (AFAD) with directed infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) and electron...

New US Navy SSAT buy includes sales to Japan, Saudi Arabia

By Richard Scott 04 January 2022
The US Navy's BQM-177A Subsonic Aerial Target provides realistic threat representation for developmental and operational testing of major DoD and international weapon systems. NAVAIR on 23 December issued a contract to Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems to provide 65 units of the target. (US Navy)  Japan and Saudi Arabia are set to receive quantities of the US Navy's (USN's) new BQM-177A Subsonic Aerial Target (SSAT) as part of a third full-rate production (FRP) order placed with Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems.  Awarded by the US Naval Air System...

US legislation moves F-35 sustainment, acquisition away from the Joint Program Office

By Pat Host 29 December 2021
A USAF F-35A seen on 16 December. Legislation signed into law on 27 December directs the Pentagon to transfer all F-35 sustainment and acquisition activities from the F-35 JPO to the USAF and USN. (US Air Force)  US legislation signed into law on 27 December directs the Pentagon to transfer all Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II sustainment and acquisition activities from the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) to the US Air Force (USAF) and US Navy (USN).  The fiscal year (FY) 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) re...

Lockheed Martin to design and develop F-35 variant ‘tailored' for foreign customer

By Gareth Jennings 29 December 2021
Unlike all other customers of the F-35, Israel fields its own test aircraft used to develop national-specific capabilities. (Israeli Air Force)  Lockheed Martin has been contracted to design and develop a variant of its F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) geared towards the requirements of an unspecified foreign customer.  The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced on 27 December that the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) had been awarded USD49 million to support its work on an F-35 variant “tailored” for an undisclosed Foreign...

Netherlands declares IOC for F-35

By Gareth Jennings 29 December 2021
The first of at least 46 F-35As for the Royal Netherlands Air Force seen over the US. With 24 aircraft now delivered, the service has declared IOC for the type. (Lockheed Martin)  The Netherlands has declared initial operating capability (IOC) for its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft.  Announced on 27 December, the milestone sees the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) become the 12th global military service to declare its F-35s ready for operations.  “Our F-35 squadron has attained IOC. With thi...

NATO reports fall in interception of Russian aircraft over previous year

By Gareth Jennings 29 December 2021
Turkish Air Force F-16s participated in NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission in 2021, accounting for a number of the 290 interceptions of Russian aircraft that the alliance reported across Europe during the year. (NATO Allied Air Command)  NATO has reported a fall in the number of Russian military aircraft that were intercepted by alliance air policing missions in 2021.  The Allied Air Command disclosed its interception figures for the year on 28 December, noting that there had been 290 interceptions of Russian military aircraft over the previo...

Spain orders H135 helicopters

By Gareth Jennings 29 December 2021
Spain has ordered 36 Airbus H135 helicopters for use by the armed forces and police/civil guard.  Announced on 23 December, the order includes 18 helicopters for the air force and navy to augment the 16 already operated by the army. Deliveries will...

NAVAIR confirms FMS contract for French E-2D Advanced Hawkeye buy

By Richard Scott 29 December 2021
A model of an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye in French Navy markings, displayed at the Berlin Security Conference in November. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  Northrop Grumman has been contracted by the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to manufacture and deliver three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye (AHE) carrier-borne airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for the French Navy.  Awarded on 21 December, the USD353.6 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract marks the second export success for the E-2D AHE variant after Japan. France had signed a L...

Netherlands retires CH-47D Chinooks

By Gareth Jennings 23 December 2021
A Dutch CH-47D seen on operations in Afghanistan. The variant has now been replaced in RNLAF service by the latest CH-47F standard Chinook. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) has retired the last of its Boeing CH-47D Chinook heavy-lift transport helicopters.  The service announced the event on 22 December, noting that after more than 25 years of CH-47D operations, the variant has been replaced by the latest CH-47F-model Chinook.  “It's a wrap. The workhorse CH-47D retired, [with] the last training flight and final...

Shoigu outlines Russia's military priorities for 2022

By Nikolai Novichkov 23 December 2021
The Russian Ministry of Defence leadership met in Moscow on 21 December with the participation of President Vladimir Putin.  Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu reported that the Russian armed forces received more than 5,000 weapons in 2021, with delive...

Philippine Army to boost its aircraft capabilities

By Alessandra Giovanzanti 23 December 2021
The Sikorsky HH-60 Black Hawk MEDEVAC helicopter (shown here in US Army markings) is one of the platforms mentioned by the Philippine Army among those aircraft types required to expand the capabilities of its aviation regiment. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  On 15 December the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Lieutenant General Andres Centino, said that the manned airborne capabilities of the Philippine Army (PA) aviation regiment will be expanded as part of the broader Philippine Armed Forces Modernization Program (AFMP...

Indonesia excludes Su-35 from fighter aircraft acquisition plans

By Alessandra Giovanzanti 23 December 2021
Indonesia has announced that it will not procure Su-35 multirole combat aircraft , but instead has shortlisted the Dassault Rafale and the Boeing F-15EX for the Indonesian Air Force's combat aircraft requirement. (Sukhoi)  The Indonesian government has announced that it will not proceed with the acquisition of Sukhoi Su-35 ‘Flanker-E' multirole combat aircraft. It has instead shortlisted the Dassault Rafale and the Boeing F-15EX Eagle II for the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU), Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo said on 22 December.  Speaking to...

Update: France orders H160M helos for armed forces

By Gareth Jennings 23 December 2021
France has ordered 169 H160M helicopters to equip all three branches of the country's armed forces. (Airbus Helicopters)  France has contracted Airbus to begin production of the H160M Guépard (Cheetah) helicopter for the country's military, with an award disclosed by the Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly, on 22 December.  Airbus Helicopters is to build 169 H160Ms, plus options, for the French Air and Space Force, the French Army Light Aviation, and the French Navy from 2027, Parly announced. It was revealed separately by the Europe...

Rapid Dragon completes system-level flight-test series

By Robin Hughes & Pat Host 23 December 2021
Airmen and riggers with the 1st Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron load a Rapid Dragon Palletized Weapon System aboard an MC-130J Commando II at Hurlburt Field, Florida, on 13 December, 2021. (USAF)  The US Air Force Rapid Dragon Program successfully completed its final system-level flight test on 16 December with “a live fire of a current inventory cruise missile armed with a live warhead” as part of an airdropped palletised weapon system at the Eglin Air Force Base Overwater Test Range, Florida.  Previously designated the Palle...

United States embarks on asteroid redirect planetary defence mission

By Pat Host 22 December 2021
An artist's illustration of NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft, from behind. The US launched its DART mission to investigate requirements for preventing a hazardous asteroid from hitting Earth. (NASA)  The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has begun its quest to investigate requirements for preventing a hazardous asteroid from hitting Earth.  The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission will be the first demonstration of a kinetic impactor technique to change the motion of an asteroid in space. The...

France orders H160M helos for armed forces

By Gareth Jennings 22 December 2021
France has ordered 169 H-160M helicopters to equip all three branches of the country's armed forces. (Airbus Helicopters)  France has contracted Airbus to begin production of the H160M Guépard (Cheetah) helicopter for the country's military, with an award disclosed by the Minister for the Armed Forces on 22 December.  Airbus Helicopters is to build 169 H160Ms, plus options, for the French Air and Space Force, the French Army Aviation, and the French Navy from 2027, French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly announced. It was revealed...

Embraer's Eve eVTOL business to become public company

By Marc Selinger 22 December 2021
Embraer's Eve business is developing all-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft. (Embraer)  Brazil's Embraer plans to turn its Eve electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft business into a publicly held company to raise money for its growth, Embraer announced on 21 December.  Eve will change its status by merging with Zanite Acquisition Corporation, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company that is focused on the aviation sector. The combined entity will use the “Eve” name and trade on the New York Stock Exc...

Brazilian Navy accepts final H135 helicopter

By Victor Barreira 22 December 2021
The Brazilian Navy H135 (UH-17 in local service) that completed the delivery process to the service in December 2021. It is the third and final H135 due to the service. (Victor Barreira)  The Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil) has completed the process of accepting delivery of its third and final Airbus Helicopters H135 (UH-17 in Brazilian service) lightweight twin-engine multipurpose helicopter, according to a service spokesperson.  Three second-hand H135s and associated five-year support packages were purchased in February 2019 from Helibra...

Korean Air signs agreement to develop stealth UAVs

By Alessandra Giovanzanti 22 December 2021
A stealthy, tailless UAV demonstrator developed by Korean Air that was unveiled by ADD in August 2020. On 22 December, Korean Air announced that it has signed an agreement with KRTI to continue developing technologies for low-visibility UAVs. (Korean AIr)  Korean Air announced on 22 December that it has signed an agreement with Korea Research Institute for Defense Technology Planning and Advancement (KRIT) to research low-observable technologies for the next generation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).  The company said in a statement that...
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