Air news

USSOCOM progresses Maritime Precision Engagement-Munition programme

By Andrew White 20 May 2022
Switchblade 600 is part of AeroVironment's emerging family of tactical loitering missile systems. (AeroVironment)  US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is preparing to conduct development tests with the Altius 700 airframe as part of the Maritime Precision Engagement-Munition (MPE-M) programme, officials have confirmed.  Addressing delegates at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) on 17 May, representatives from the Program Executive Office (PEO) of Special Operations Forces (SOF) Warrior said the Area-I Altius 700 – a...

Northrop Grumman finalises development of Hatchet miniature strike munition

By Robin Hughes 20 May 2022
Northrop Grumman has finalised the development of the Hatchet miniature precision strike munition. (Northrop Grumman)  Northrop Grumman has declared the development of its Hatchet miniature precision strike munition ‘finalised' following a series of end-to-end live all-up round (AUR) tests at an undisclosed US government test range on 11 May.  During the US Department of Defense (DoD)-sponsored live-fire event, multiple Hatchet AURs were released from an undisclosed Group 3 tactical unmanned aircraft system (TUAS) against a static target, sim...

NGRC ‘need for speed' to drive unconventional rotorcraft design

By Gareth Jennings 19 May 2022
A model of the Airbus RACER concept, showcasing the pusher-propeller configuration that should enable it to achieve the high-speed flight required of the NGRC requirement. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  The high-speed requirements that NATO has set out for its Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) will necessitate the development of an unconventional rotorcraft design, a senior industry official has noted.  Speaking at Airbus Helicopters' Marignane facility in southern France, Matthieu Louvot, executive vice-president of Airbus Helicopters Pro...

Gilmour develops engine to increase defence payload capacity of Eris rocket

By Oishee Majumdar 19 May 2022
The test-firing of ‘Phoenix' liquid rocket engine by Gilmour Space. Phoenix will power the third stage of Gilmour's Eris rocket, which intends to carry military and commercial payloads to LEO towards the end of 2022. (Gilmour Space Technologies)  Australian rocket company Gilmour Space Technologies has developed a liquid rocket engine called ‘Phoenix' that will power “the third and final stage” of its Eris rocket to orbit, a spokesperson for the company has told Janes.  Phoenix is a regeneratively cooled, 3D-printed liquid rocket engine that...

UK names ‘Royal' Dassault Falcon aircraft Envoy IV

By Gareth Jennings 19 May 2022
The first of two Falcon 900LX VIP aircraft seen at RAF Northolt for pre-delivery induction tests on the same day that the MoD named the type Envoy IV. (Crown Copyright)  The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has named the Dassault Falcon VIP aircraft to be operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) Envoy IV.  Announced on 18 May, the name reflects the diplomatic mission of the two jets in transporting royal and senior government/military leaders, and also harks back to the original Envoy aircraft flown by the RAF in the 1930s and 1940s.  The MoD announ...

UK invites bids for New Medium Helicopter requirement

By Gareth Jennings 19 May 2022
Under NMH, the UK is seeking to replace the Puma HC2 (pictured), and three other helicopter types. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has invited bids for the New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement to replace the Airbus Helicopters Puma HC2 and three other types.  The solicitation issued on 18 May calls for offers of up to 44 platforms for between GBP900 million and GBP1.2 billion (between USD1.1 billion and USD1.5 billion) over a seven-year contract timeframe.  “New Medium Helicopters intends to rationalise its existing...

Chinese helicopters with high-altitude capability achieve milestones

By Akhil Kadidal 18 May 2022
China's AC313A helicopter conducted its maiden flight on 17 May. With improved engines and high-altitude performance, this helicopter, which is an upgraded version of the Z-8 helicopters in PLA service, is likely to also be used by the Chinese military. (VCG/VCG via Getty Images)  Two of China's domestically manufactured helicopters with high-altitude capabilities have achieved significant developmental milestones, according to state-owned media.  The Chinese national broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported on 15 May that a Harbi...

KAI developing next-generation high-speed helicopter

By Akhil Kadidal 18 May 2022
KAI is developing a high-speed advanced helicopter as part of its ‘next-generation high-mobility helicopter' project. The aircraft is being designed to fit a South Korean military requirement to replace UH-60s. (Korea Aerospace Industries)  A new high-speed helicopter being developed by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) intends to replace Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks in service with the Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Forces.  Designated as the ‘next-generation high-manoeuvre helicopter', an industry source told Janes that KAI is conducting resea...

Airbus prepares to build H160M prototype, notes ‘concrete' international interest

By Gareth Jennings 18 May 2022
With the French Armed Forces to receive 169 H160M helicopters until 2037, Airbus will shortly be building the first of two flying prototypes. (Airbus Helicopters)  Airbus is to start assembly of the first of two flying prototypes of the H160M Guépard (Cheetah) helicopter for the French Armed Forces, and has noted strong interest in the six ton-class rotorcraft from the international market.  Speaking at Airbus Helicopter's Marignane production facility in Southern France on 18 May, head of the H160M programme, Vincent Chenot, said that the bu...

WingXpand begins trials of its expandable wing UAV

By Akshara Parakala 17 May 2022
WingXpand UAV in flight with extended wings and conventional tail. (WingXpand)  A new WingXpand unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is to be unveiled at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida, WingXpand told Janes on 11 May ahead of the event.  The WingXpand UAV is a new type of fixed-wing platform with a patented expandable wing that is fully collapsible. Its original 2.13 m (7 ft) wingspan can be reduced by 60% in less than two minutes to fit the UAV into a backpack. It has a monocoque straight tapered wing integrated...

Lockheed Martin‘s ARRW completes boosted hypersonic flight test after three failures

By Gillian Rich 17 May 2022
A B-52H Stratofortress conducts a captive-carry flight test of the AGM-183A ARRW. The 14 May boosted flight test comes after three failed attempts and several captive-carry tests. (US Air Force/Matt Williams)  Lockheed Martin‘s AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) completed a boosted flight test on 14 May, the US Air Force (USAF) announced on 16 May.    The hypersonic weapon was released from a Boeing B-52H Stratofortress and its booster ignited. The USAF said the booster burned for the “expected duration, achieving hypers...

Update: China's Liaoning sorties more than 100 aircraft near Japan, Taiwan

By Akhil Kadidal 16 May 2022
A PLAN J-15 fighter aircraft takes off from China's   Liaoning  aircraft carrier in the East China Sea in May 2022. CAIG Z-18 ASW helicopters can also been seen on the deck of the carrier.  (Japan Ministry of Defence)  The aircraft carrier Liaoning of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) navy flew more than 100 sorties in six days in a series of drills near Japan and Taiwan.  In a press conference on 11 May, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said that the drills involved flights by Shenyang Aircraft Corpora...

South Korea to acquire 40 training helicopters

By Akhil Kadidal 16 May 2022
South Korea has signed a contract for 40 new Bell 505 helicopters for basic flight training. The announcement comes seven years after the requirement was first announced. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  South Korea has signed a KRW170 billion (USD132.6 million) deal with Bell Textron Asia to purchase 40 helicopters for basic flight training by 2025.  According to the country's Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), the deal, which was signed on 6 May, is for 40 Bell 505 Jet Ranger X helicopters plus eight simulators.  The helicopters are t...

France seeks mini attack drones

By Nicholas Fiorenza 13 May 2022
France's DGA and AID have released two calls for projects for low-cost mini attack drones such as the Switchblade (pictured) that the US has supplied to Ukraine. (AeroVironment Inc)  The Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA), the French defence procurement agency, and the L'Agence de l'Innovation de Défense (AID), the country's defence innovation agency, have released two calls for projects for low-cost mini attack drones. French Ministry of Armed Forces spokesperson Hervé Grandjean told a press conference on 12 May that the first call is fo...

Kaman Kargo UAV full-scale test expected in second half of 2022

By Gillian Rich 13 May 2022
A rendering of the Kaman Kargo UAV for the US Marines. (Kaman)  Aerospace company Kaman said it is on track to fly a full-scale model of its Kargo unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the latter half of third quarter.  Kaman flew a half-size model in June 2021 to test the new drivetrain designed for the UAV. The transmission for the full-size model is in manufacturing and will be delivered to Kaman “very soon“, Romin Dasmalchi, Kaman's senior director of government relations, told Janes during the Modern Day Marine 2022 conference in Washington,...

Rafael unveils AeroSpike stand-off air-to-surface missile

By Robin Hughes 13 May 2022
Rafael is pitching AeroSpike as the SOPGM solution for AFSOC's future ‘Armed Overwatch' platform. (Rafael Advanced Defense Systems)  Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has disclosed development of an advanced lightweight stand-off air-to-surface missile specifically designed for use with fixed-wing aircraft.  The new internally funded missile development, designated AeroSpike, is a derivative of the ground-launched Spike LR2 multi-purpose surface-to-surface guided missile system, adapted to the air-launched role by Rafael's Air-to-Surface Direct...

IAF strikes target with extended-range BrahMos missile

By Akhil Kadidal & Rahul Udoshi 13 May 2022
An IAF Sukhoi Su-30MKI has launched an ER version of the BrahMos cruise missile. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  An extended-range (ER) variant of India's air-launched BrahMos-A missile has successfully struck its designated target.  The Indian Air Force (IAF) said in a statement that a Sukhoi Su-30MKI launched the missile on 12 May. This is the first launch of the ER variant from an Su-30MKI.  “The launch from the aircraft was as planned, and the missile achieved a direct hit on the designated target in the Bay of Bengal region,” the IAF said.  An IA...

General Atomics announces MQ-9B STOL upgrade for carrier operations

By Gillian Rich 13 May 2022
General Atomics is developing an MQ-9B STOL UAV kit for operations off any flat-deck carrier or amphibious ship. (General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc)  General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) said on 10 May that it is developing a kit to provide short take-off and landing (STOL) capability on its MQ-9B SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian unmanned aerial systems (UASs).  The MQ-9B STOL option will utilise a wing and tail kit that can be installed on the platform in the hanger or on a flight line in less than a day, according to the c...

Indo Pacific 2022: EOS launches marine version of R400S Mk 2 remote weapon station

By Julian Kerr 12 May 2022
EOS has launched its R400-M RWS (pictured) at the Indo Pacific 2022 exhibition in Sydney. (Janes/Julian Kerr)  Australian company Electro Optic Systems (EOS) formally launched its R400 Marine (R400-M) remote weapon station (RWS), mounting a 30 mm cannon, at the Indo Pacific 2022 exhibition in Sydney on 11 May.  The R400-M RWS is in production for an undisclosed overseas customer, and offers the firepower and specialised ammunition natures possible for weapons up to and including a 30×113 mm calibre cannon but in the weight and form factor of...

Pentagon Budget: Analysis shows future need for 12 aircraft carriers, US Navy leadership acknowledges

By Michael Fabey 12 May 2022
The US Navy warns that new carriers like the USS   Gerald R Ford   (CVN 78) may not enter the fleet fast enough to maintain an 11-carrier fleet.  (Michael Fabey)  Although the US Navy (USN) force of 11 aircraft carriers meets existing operational requirements, studies show a need to add another ship to accommodate future requirements, according to USN officials.  That acknowledgement comes in the wake of earlier USN warnings that the number of carriers could dip below the current 11 carriers in the coming years, w...
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