Air news

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

By Akhil Kadidal 12 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...

On approach: UK progresses Protector programme

By Tim Ripley 12 May 2022
The UK is set to acquire 16 Protector RG1 UAVs, seen here in its SkyGuardian demonstrator guise, to replace 10 Reaper UAVs that are approaching the end of their airframe lives. (Crown Copyright)  In the third quarter of 2023, the UK Royal Air Force...

UK launches future military rotorcraft study

By Gareth Jennings 12 May 2022
With the MoD shortly replacing its ageing fleet of Puma helicopters, it is looking to its future requirements via the Rotorcraft Concepts and Tactical Aviation Research effort announced on 11 May. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched an effort designed to address its future military rotorcraft needs from the late 2030s.  Led by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the Rotorcraft Concepts and Tactical Aviation Research effort announced on 11 May is geared at identifying concepts for future rotor...

Indo Pacific 2022: Australia begins trials of Oceanwatch payload on S-100 UAVs

By Ridzwan Rahmat 11 May 2022
A mock-up of the S-100 Camcopter, seen at Indo Pacific 2022 with the PT-8N Oceanwatch sensor (forward) and the MX-10 electro-optical turret. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)  The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has equipped its S-100 Camcopter rotor-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with the PT-8 Oceanwatch sensor payload.    A representative from the RAN's 822X Squadron who spoke to  Janes  at the Indo Pacific 2022 exhibition in Sydney confirmed that the payload has been mounted in addition to the UAV's existing Wescam MX-10 electro-opti...

F/A-18s to demonstrate ability to operate from Indian aircraft carriers

By Akhil Kadidal 11 May 2022
A US Navy F/A-18E takes off from a mock-up of a UK aircraft carrier ramp at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland in August 2020. Two F/A-18Es are set to conduct ski jumps from India's Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF), which has a slightly steeper ramp, from May to June 2022. (US Navy/Erik Hildebrandt)  Boeing, which will demonstrate the ability of the F/A-18E Super Hornet to operate from Indian aircraft carriers, expressed confidence that the aircraft will exceed the requirements for India's multi-role carrier-borne fighters (MRCBF) p...

Defence Space 2022: UK Space Command details future plans

By Olivia Savage 11 May 2022
More satellites will be procured by the end of 2022 as part of project ‘MINERVA'. (MoD Crown Copyright 2022)  Having reached initial operating capability in April, the Commander of UK Space Command, Air Vice-Marshal Paul Godfrey, outlined the command's future plans.  In relation to project ‘MINERVA', AVM Godfrey said at Defence Space 2022 in London that the next set of satellites would be procured by the end of 2022, for launch in 2024. The new systems will further explore on-orbit processing and will have the capability to task other satell...

Uruguay in negotiations to acquire A-29 Super Tucanos from Brazil

By Gabriel Porfilio 11 May 2022
Acquiring the A-29 Super Tucano would provide increased capabilities to the Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya (FAU) as it looks to replace its Cessna A-37B Dragonfly light attack aircraft and Pilatus PC-7U Turbo Trainers. (Embraer)    Uruguay is in active talks to buy 12 Embraer A-29 Super Tucanos from Brazil in a nearly USD40 million deal, sources in Brazil told  Janes.  The specific aircraft had previously been offered to Portugal and Ukraine and have had their frames and engines overhauled to zero hours, according to the sources. The sale wo...

USMC issues Force Design 2030 updates, vows enhanced stakeholder communication

By Ashley Roque 10 May 2022
USMC Commandant General David Berger speaks to marines and sailors during a town hall event in Bahrain in December 2019. The service has released a revised Force Design 2030 plan, seeking to better communicate with a variety of stakeholders. (USMC)  The US Marine Corps (USMC) has updated its Force Design 2030 road map with senior leaders, vowing to better communicate plans, and detailing initial infantry battalion changes, plans to maintain a larger number of MV-22 medium tiltrotor squadrons, and more.  The service released the updated docume...

Defence Space 2022: Virgin Orbit to launch the UK's Prometheus 2 satellites

By Olivia Savage 10 May 2022
Prometheus 2 ‘shoe-size' satellites – approximately 30 cm in length, 20 cm in width, and 10 cm in height – are scheduled to be launched this summer in Cornwall. (MOD Crown Copyright 2022)  The UK's Prometheus 2 CubeSats will be launched in collaboration with Virgin Orbit this summer.  Speaking at the Defence Space 2022 conference in London, Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin said that the Prometheus 2 CubeSats will be launched this summer – in partnership with the US National Reconnaissance Office – using Virgin Orbit's launcher so...

Indo Pacific 2022: Australia outlines plans to operate 12 S-100 flights across four ship types

By Ridzwan Rahmat 10 May 2022
The S-100 Camcopter, which is in service with the Royal Australian Navy, is seen here at Indo Pacific 2022. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)  The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has outlined a plan to operate up to 12 S-100 Camcopter flights across four ship types as part of an initial programme to equip the service with wider rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capabilities.  Speaking to Janes at the Indo Pacific 2022 exhibition, a representative from the RAN's 822X Squadron explained that a flight comprises between one and two S-100 UAV units, and...

South Korea to improve operational capabilities of UH-60s

By Akhil Kadidal 10 May 2022
South Korea has announced a programme to upgrade various survival, navigation, and communication equipment of UH-60s in the army and air force. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  Sikorsky H-60 helicopters in the service of the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) and Army (RoKA) will be upgraded to increase operational capabilities.  In an announcement on 27 April, the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced the draft of a performance improvement programme for UH-60P Black Hawks and HH-60P Pave Hawk special operations he...

EndureAir Systems showcases Vibhram UAV at North Tech Symposium

By Amit Kalra 10 May 2022
EndureAir Systems‘ Vibhram rotary-wing small UAV, pictured above, has a maximum take-off weight of 12.5 kg. (EndureAir Systems)  Indian firm EndureAir Systems exhibited its indigenous ‘Vibhram' rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the North Tech Symposium 2022, an annual event of the Northern Command of the Indian Army, held at Udhampur, in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir, from 6 to 7 May.  The Vibhram is a multirole UAV developed in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK). The UAV can be deployed in va...

Australia details Romeo, Apache helicopters acquisitions

By Akhil Kadidal 09 May 2022
Australia details acquisition costs of 12 MH-60Rs for the Royal Australian Navy. The aircraft will replace half a dozen MRH-90s in naval service. (Commonwealth of Australia)  The Australian Government has detailed its plans to acquire an additional 12 new Sikorsky MH-60R Romeo and 29 new Boeing AH-64E Apache armed reconnaissance helicopters (ARHs).  In a statement on 9 May, Australia's ruling Liberal Party said it has invested more than AUD2.5 billion (USD1.76 billion) in the maritime helicopters, which will replace the Royal Australian Navy'...

France orders additional TALIOS pods for Rafale aircraft

By Olivia Savage 09 May 2022
Thales TALIOS targeting pod on Rafale aircraft. (Thales Optronique)  The French Defence Procurement Agency (Direction Générale de l'Armement: DGA) has ordered an additional 21 TALIOS (TArgeting Long-range Identification Optronic System) pods from Thales to integrate on Dassault Rafale aircraft, the company announced on 6 May.  Deliveries of the additional pods are expected between 2024 and 2025, following completion of the original contract for 46 TALIOS systems, Thales said.  TALIOS, first developed in 2008, is an airborne, open-architecture...

Sikorsky eyes Eastern Europe for Black Hawk sales amid Russia's war in Ukraine

By Gillian Rich 09 May 2022
Sikorsky sees foreign military sales helping continue Black Hawk production as Eastern Europe rethinks its Soviet helicopter fleets. (Lockheed Martin)  Sikorsky expects to have the 5,000th UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter on its production line in the fourth quarter of 2022, and the company said that foreign military sales (FMS) could help keep the line running while the US Army turns its attention to the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programme.  “The Black Hawk is still very ubiquitous and in demand around the world. Australia recent...

Poland signs biggest UAS deal in its history

By Jakub Link-Lenczowski 09 May 2022
The Gladius that is the subject of Poland's largest deal for unmanned aircraft. (Polish MND)  The Polish Armaments Agency has signed a PLN2 billion (USD450 million) contract on the strike-reconnaissance unmanned aircraft system (UAS), dubbed Gladius.  The deal was signed on 6 May by the Armaments Agency Chief Col Artur Kuptel and WB Group's president Piotr Wojciechowski.  “Gladius is a complex strike-reconnaissance [system] developed,” Wojciechowski said during the ceremony.  WB Group is to deliver four strike-reconnaissance UAS battery modul...

Update - WB Group reveals multimission quadcopter

By Jakub Link-Lenczowski 06 May 2022
An artist's impression of the X-Frontier VTOL quadcopter recently showcased by Poland's WB Group. (WB Group)  Polish company WB Group revealed a prototype of a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during the Polsecure trade fair in Kielce in late April.  The system, dubbed X-Frontier, is designed for both surveillance and combat missions and could be operated by troops on the field, or remotely as a part of an automated detection system.  The cylinder-shaped platform with four detachable rotors could be...

Leonardo pitches M-345 to Slovakia

By Gareth Jennings 06 May 2022
The M-345 is billed as having the capabilities of a jet trainer with the operating costs of a turboprop. (Leonardo)  Leonardo is pitching its M-345 High Efficiency Trainer (HET) to Slovakia as a potential replacement for the country's Aero L-39CM/L-39ZAM advanced jet trainer aircraft.  The Slovak Air Force (Vzdušné sily Slovenskej Republiky: VSR) has a requirement to replace its small fleet of Czechoslovak-era Aero L-39CM/L-39ZAMs with up to eight new advanced jet trainer aircraft as it prepares to receive its new Lockheed Martin F-16V Block...

UK sets out scope for expanded Fleet Helicopter Support Unit

By Richard Scott 05 May 2022
The FHSU service is delivered by British International Helicopters using two Airbus AS365 N2 Dauphin II helicopters. (Janes/Patrick Allen)  The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has set out an indicative requirement for an expanded Fleet Helicopter Support Unit (FHSU) to deliver a crewed rotary-wing service to the Royal Navy (RN).  Besides providing support to operational sea training needs in the South Coast Exercise Areas (SCXAs) and wider UK flight information region, the capability requirement may additionally encompass a land-based maritime a...

Northrop Grumman releases new future UAV concept art

By Gareth Jennings 05 May 2022
The latest concept art for Model 437, the unmanned version of the Model 401, shows a sleeker design than a previous rendering released in late 2021. (Northrop Grumman)  Northrop Grumman has released new concept art of a future unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which shows a sleeker design to that previously shown in late 2021.    The artist's rendering, released to   Janes  on 5 May, shows an unmanned version of the Model 401 manned experimental prototype developed by Northrop Grumman subsidiary, Scaled Composites.   Although...
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