Air news

Update: Leonardo flies first production standard AW609 tiltrotor

By Gareth Jennings 20 October 2022
The maiden flight for a production standard AW609 tiltrotor took place out of Leonardo's Philadelphia production facility on 13 October. (Leonardo)  Leonardo has flown a production standard AW609 tiltrotor for the first time, the company announced on 19 November.  The milestone took place on 13 October at the company's Philadelphia production facility in the US, and saw aircraft AC5 perform an initial in-flight evaluation of its systems and general handling.  As noted by Leonardo, AC5 will be retained by Leonardo contributing to customer demo...

Poland leases Reaper UAS as interim unmanned ISR solution

By Gareth Jennings 20 October 2022
An image of a Reaper with Polish markings accompanied the leasing announcement by Mariusz Błaszczak, deputy prime minister and defence minister. (Ministry of National Defence via Twitter)  Poland is to lease a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Reaper as an interim solution until it can field its own national medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) capability.  Mariusz Błaszczak, the country's deputy prime minister and defence minister, made the disclosure on 21 October, announcing on his offic...

Defexpo 2022: L&T focuses on UAV development

By Oishee Majumdar 20 October 2022
L&T's rotary-wing VTOL UAV (pictured above) has been developed to conduct surveillance and logistics operations. (Janes/Oishee Majumdar)  Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Defence has developed a rotary-wing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can support the Indian Armed Forces in surveillance and logistics operations.    Discussions are under way for the UAV to be tested by the Indian Armed Forces in the coming months, a source familiar with the matter told   Janes  at Defexpo 2022 being held at Gand...

Defexpo 2022: India, UK launch defence industry group

By Jon Grevatt 19 October 2022
A new India-UK working group is expected to focus on technologies to support Indian air combat programmes including the proposed Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, a computer-generated image of which is pictured above. (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd)  India and the United Kingdom (UK) have launched a forum to support enhanced co-operation between the two countries' defence industrial bases.  The inaugural meeting of the new defence industry Joint Working Group was held on the side-lines of the DefExpo 2022 exhibition in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, on 18...

Defexpo 2022: India's HAPS conducts test flights

By Akhil Kadidal 19 October 2022
A model of the solar-powered High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) being developed in India, at Defexpo 2022 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, on 19 October. (Janes/Akhil Kadidal)  A scale model of a High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) being developed in India has conducted two test flights. Developers said preparations are under way to build a full-scale model for additional flight testing.  Speaking to Janes at DefExpo 2022, held at Gandhinagar, Gujarat, from 18 to 22 October, a spokesperson of the startup, NewSpace Research and Technologies Pvt L...

Hensoldt and Rafael to team on Eurofighter EK requirement for Germany

By Gareth Jennings 19 October 2022
A full-scale mockup of the Eurofighter EK was displayed at the ILA Airshow in June. Hensoldt and Rafael are to team up    on developing the podded jammer solution for the aircraft.  (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  Hensoldt and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems are to offer a joint solution to Germany for the new airborne electronic attack (AEA) capability it seeks to field from 2028.  German and Israeli defence contractors signed a teaming agreement in Tel Aviv on 18 October, setting out to integrate Hensoldt's Kalaetron A...

Defexpo 2022: AMCA ready to be rolled out in three years if approved

By Akhil Kadidal 19 October 2022
A model of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's proposed Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, pictured at Defexpo 2022 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. (Janes/Akhil Kadidal)  India's fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) can be rolled out in little more than three years if the government sanctions the project, senior project leaders said.  The AMCA represents India's efforts to develop a viable domestic fifth-generation stealth fighter to match China's CAIG J-20 Mighty Dragon and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jets. Hi...

Niger receives two AB412 helicopters

By Jeremy Binnie 19 October 2022
The two ex-Guardia di Finanza AB212 helicopters are handed over at Air Base 101. (Forces Armées Nigériennes)  Italy has transferred two AB412 helicopters to the Niger Armed Forces (FAN), it was announced on 18 October.  The FAN said a reception ceremony was held for the two helicopters at Air Base 101 in Niamey and that another two would follow. They will be used by the air force for transporting troops and logistics, as well as medical evacuation, it added.  It released photographs showing the two helicopters painted in the colours of Italy...

Leonardo flies first production standard AW609 tiltrotor

By Gareth Jennings 19 October 2022
The maiden flight for a production standard AW609 tiltrotor took place out of Leonardo's Philadelphia production facility on 13 October. (Leonardo)  Leonardo has flown a production standard AW609 tiltrotor for the first time, the company announced on 19 November.  The milestone took place on 13 October at the company's Philadelphia production facility in the US, and saw aircraft AC5 perform an initial in-flight evaluation of its systems and general handling.  As noted by Leonardo, AC5 will be retained by Leonardo contributing to customer demo...

Serco awarded contract extension for UK BMD system

By Olivia Savage 19 October 2022
Pictured is RAF Fylingdales Raytheon AN/FPS-132 UEWR SSPAR, capable of detecting ballistic missile attacks and conducting general space surveillance and satellite tracking. (DVIDS/Robert Lingley)  The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded Serco a contract extension for the Solid State Phased Array Radar (SSPAR) at Royal Air Force (RAF) Fylingdales, North Yorkshire.  This contract extension is the second of two three-year options, which will run from 2023 to 2026, the company stated on 18 October.  SSPAR forms part of the UK and US ballisti...

Poland opts for efficiency over power in AW149 engine selection

By Gareth Jennings 18 October 2022
In Polish service, the AW149 will be powered by the GE CT7-2E1 engine in preference to the Safran Aneto-1K engine. (Leonardo)  Poland has chosen a more efficient General Electric (GE) engine to equip its fleet of Leonardo AW149 helicopters, selecting the powerplant over a more powerful one offered by Safran.  US-based GE Aerospace announced the decision on 17 October, saying that its CT7-2E1 turboshaft powerplant will equip the 32 AW149 twin-engined helicopters ordered by the Polish Ministry of National Defence (MND) in June.  “As part of the...

Euronaval 2022: SonoFlash prepares for qualification trials

By Kate Tringham 18 October 2022
SonoFlash is on track to be fully qualified in 2024. (Thales)  The development of Thales' SonoFlash combined active/passive A-size sonobuoy is nearing completion as the system gears up for qualification trials in the coming months.  Speaking to media during a pre-Euronaval 2022 briefing on 11 October, Rozenn Thierry, head of Thales' SonoFlash programme, said the sonobuoy was on track to start qualification trials with France's Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) in 2023, with a view to delivering the first production units to the French Na...

Euronaval 2022: Survey Copter takes the wraps off Aliaca ER UAS

By Richard Scott 18 October 2022
Aliaca ER features twice the range and endurance of the current Aliaca Evo air vehicle. (Survey Copter )  French unmanned aircraft system (UAS) house Survey Copter has unveiled an extended-range (ER) variant of its Aliaca mini-UAS offering double the range and endurance of the current Aliaca Evo air vehicle, the company announced ahead of the Euronaval 2022 exhibition in Paris.  Known as Aliaca ER, the new variant replaces the electric propulsion of its progenitor with a small thermal engine. Flight-testing and qualification activity has alre...

Former RAF pilots found to be training Chinese counterparts

By Gareth Jennings 18 October 2022
At a time when political and military tensions with China are at their most fraught in decades, it has emerged that UK and maybe other Western military pilots have been selling their expertise to help train their PLAAF counterparts. (People's Liberation Army Air Force)  Former UK Royal Air Force (RAF) frontline combat pilots have been found to be training their counterparts from the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in China.  The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) exposed the practice, informing a number of national media outlets that it...

Ukraine conflict: Kyiv teases new long-range response to Russian ‘suicide drone' attacks

By Gareth Jennings 17 October 2022
An image of what appears to be part of the nosecone of an unmanned combat aerial vehicle was released by Ukroboronprom hours after the latest Russian use of Iranian loitering munitions on Kyiv, on 17 October. (Ukroboronprom)  The Ukrainian government has developed a long-range strike capability that it is close to employing in response to Russian attacks using Iranian-sourced loitering munitions, the state-owned defence holding company Ukroboronprom announced.  An image of what appeared to be part of the nosecone of an unmanned combat aerial...

US Air Force deploying MQ-9s in Japan

By Akhil Kadidal 17 October 2022
The US Air Force is preparing to operate MQ-9 Reapers from a base in southern Japan for the first time. The deployment will benefit the intelligence collection of the Japan-US alliance. (US Air Force/Senior Airman Daniel Snide)  The United States Air Force (USAF) is deploying General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the first time in Japan.  Eightunarmed MQ-9 UAVs will deploy to Kanoya Air Base in Kagoshima prefecture for maritime intelligence collection, “especially from the East China...

Euronaval 2022: Rohde & Schwarz to launch new naval electronic support solution

By Olivia Savage 17 October 2022
The F222 Baden-Württemberg-class frigate of the German Navy is pictured here. An earlier variant of the R&S electronic solution can be seen on top of the vessel. (CPIZ Marine/Gottschalk)  Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) will launch its new naval electronic support (ES) solution at Euronaval 2022, which will be held from 18 to 21 October 2022 in Paris.  The solution uniquely combines radar electronic support measures (R-ESM) and communication ESM (C-ESM) into a single antenna, increasing reaction time and enhancing situational awareness, the company sa...

Netherlands to open third F-35 base in response to ‘deteriorating world security situation'

By Gareth Jennings 14 October 2022
Seen in the US, Dutch F-35As will be locating to De Peel Air Base as well as Leeuwarden and Volkel air bases under plans announced by the MoD on 14 October. (US Air Force)  The Netherlands is to open a third airbase to accommodate the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft, “due to the deteriorating security situation in the world”.  The Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) made the announcement on 14 October, saying that the decommissioned De Peel Air Base in the southeast of the country will be reopened to serve a...

Ukraine conflict: ‘Drones' engage in first recorded unmanned aerial combat

By Gareth Jennings 14 October 2022
A still from video footage taken by another ‘drone' that appears to show the first air-to-air combat involving only unmanned aircraft. (Armed Forces of Ukraine via Twitter)  Unmanned systems have engaged each other in combat for the first time, footage released from Ukraine appears to show.  A 16 second clip of two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or ‘drones' as they are colloquially known, duelling in the skies of the Ukrainian battlefield marks the first time that an engagement entirely between unmanned systems has been recorded not just in...

Pakistan integrating TB2 into air-defence network

By Akhil Kadidal & Akshara Parakala 13 October 2022
A Ukrainian Bayraktar TB2 UAV with its mobile ground control stations in the background. Previous satellite imagery has identified one TB2 at the PAF's Murid Air Force Base. (Ukroboronprom)  The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has been working to integrate new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) assets into its air-defence network. This includes the country's recent acquisition of the Baykar Bayraktar (Standard-Bearer) TB2 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) tactical UAV.  In a statement on 28 September, the PAF said that it conducted an operational air...
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