Air news

UK seeking overseas pilot training to mitigate backlog

By Gareth Jennings 10 October 2022
With the UK struggling to address a backlog in its pilot training pipeline, the MoD is looking at a number of options including sending students overseas. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  The United Kingdom is seeking overseas training slots to help mitigate the backlog in its military pilot training programme, with a government minister saying it has already had to send “a small number” of student flight crew to the United States.  Answering questions in the House of Commons, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, James Heappey, said that additiona...

Malaysia to award Leonardo with contract for two maritime patrol aircraft

By Ridzwan Rahmat 10 October 2022
Malaysia will soon award a contract for two ATR 72MP units to Leonardo for its maritime patrol requirements. (Leonardo)  The Malaysian government has finalised a tender to procure two maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) for the country's air force and will soon award a contract for this programme to Leonardo.  The matter was disclosed by the country's Defence Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, via an official social media channel on 9 October. The disclosure came two days after the country tabled its defence budget for 2023, which has increased by a...

Indra to install satcom terminals for Norwegian military

By Olivia Savage 07 October 2022
Indra to implement satcom antennas (pictured) to enable the Norwegian military to access the WGS constellation directly. (Indra)  Indra was awarded a contract by the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency to install satellite communication (satcom) ground segments as part of the Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) satellite constellation.  Indra plans to implement X- and Ka-band nodes (antennas), “which will act as a gateway between user terminals at various locations for the WGS constellation”, the company announced on 6 October.  These WGS-certified...

NATO seeks to optimise SOF airframes to match peer adversaries

By Andrew White 07 October 2022
Croatian ‘Hip'-series helicopters at the NATO Multinational SOF Aviation Centre in Zadar, Croatia. (Croatian MoD)  NATO Special Operations Forces (SOF) is considering how to best optimise their aviation capabilities as attention shifts from counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency campaigns to operations against peer adversaries.  Addressing the Global SOF Europe Symposium in Budapest, Hungary, on 6 October, Lieutenant Colonel René Van Riet, Royal Netherlands Air Force, NATO SOF Headquarters Air Development Programme (ADP), said SOF aviation...

Spain launches Hornet and Harrier replacement efforts

By Gareth Jennings 07 October 2022
Spain has a need to replace its Hornet (pictured) and Harrier aircraft, for which both the Eurofighter and F-35 are being considered. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  Spain has launched its national Boeing EF-18 Hornet and McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II replacement efforts, with fiscal year (FY) 2023 funding now allocated to both projects.  The General State Budget published on 6 October disclosed that EUR220 million (USD216 million) has been allocated for the year to commence the process of replacing the Hornet (referred to in the document under...

Czech Republic submits letter of request to buy F-35

By Gareth Jennings 06 October 2022
The Czech Republic is to enter into negotiations with the US government for the acquisition of 24 F-35s to replace its leased Gripens. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  The Czech government has submitted a letter of request to the United States for the procurement of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).  The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced the move on 3 October, noting that the letter of request for an offer is a non-binding solicitation that indicates interest in opening up negotiations for a purchase.  “The Czech gov...

Luftwaffe concludes Indo-Pacific deployment

By Akhil Kadidal 06 October 2022
The Luftwaffe deployed a small contingent of Eurofighters to Japan between 28 and 30 September for joint drills. The deployment reflects Japan's role as an important partner for Germany in the region. (Bundeswehr/Christian Timmig)  The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) has concluded its deployment of Eurofighters and support aircraft in the Indo-Pacific region. The deployment, titled ‘Rapid Pacific 2022’, potentially sets the stage for future flights into the region by the Luftwaffe.  A Luftwaffe spokesperson told Janes that the detachment returne...

MBDA Akeron LP missile to arm Eurodrone

By Gareth Jennings 06 October 2022
Seen at the ILA Berlin Air Show in June, a mock-up of the Eurodrone was equipped with general bombs and air-to-surface missiles that the French DGA has said will be the GBU-49 and Akeron LP, respectively. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  The MBDA Akeron LP missile has been selected to equip the Eurodrone medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).  The French Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) procurement agency made the announcement on 6 October, saying that the Missile Haut de Trame (MHT), as the Akeron LP was previousl...

SpearUAV unveils Viper micro-tactical loitering munition

By Robin Hughes 06 October 2022
SpearUAV is developing a new, micro-tactical loitering munition with a precision-strike capability. (SpearUAV)  SpearUAV has detailed the development of an ultra-lightweight micro-tactical loitering munition (LM) for small tactical units − squad level and below − with a precision-strike capability against moving and stationary line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight targets.  A company spokesperson provided Janes with an update of this company-funded initiative that is the latest addition to its unmanned air system (UAS) capabilities, which in...

US Navy begins converting former RAF E-3D into E-6B trainer

By Gareth Jennings 05 October 2022
A former RAF E-3D being converted into a surrogate E-6B trainer for the US Navy at Lake Charles Airport in Louisiana. (NAVAIR)  The US Navy (USN) has begun conversion of a Boeing E-3D Sentry Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) aircraft into a surrogate trainer for the service's E-6B Mercury long-endurance command, control, and communications (C3) fleet.  The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) announced the commencement of conversion work on 4 October, noting that the former UK Royal Air Force (RAF) E-3D will have a number of ext...

UK awards Protector training contract

By Gareth Jennings 05 October 2022
An MQ-9B seen at a recent capability demonstration held out of RAF Waddington, home of the future Protector force. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  The United Kingdom (UK) has awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) a contract to undertake operator training for the MQ-9B Protector RG1 medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).  Announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 4 October, the Protector Training Conduct (PTC) award will cover instruction for the first 33 mission crews during a period of 19 months runnin...

Malian Su-25 crashes

By Jeremy Binnie 05 October 2022
The Su-25 that was inaugurated on 9 August crashed less than two months later. (Présidence de la République du Mali)  Mali's recently delivered Su-25 ground attack aircraft crashed in the vicinity of Gao airport at around 0930 h local time on 4 October, the Armed Forces of Mali (FAMa) confirmed later that day.  FAMa identified the aircraft as TZ-20C, and said it was returning from a mission in support of local civilians when it crashed.  In a subsequent update, FAMa indicated that the Su-25 crashed into the airbase, adding that the pilot an...

US Navy fast-tracks contract for MQ-9 SkyTower II airborne network extension

By Richard Scott 05 October 2022
An artist's rendering showing an MQ-9A Block 5-25 in VMU-1 colours. The SkyTower ANE pod is carried beneath the MQ-9A's left wing stores station. (NAVAIR)  The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has fast-tracked an order to provide US Marine Corps (USMC) MQ-9A Reaper unmanned air systems (UASs) with an improved airborne network extension (ANE) capability.  In a 3 October announcement, NAVAIR said it had awarded an USD8.4 million contract to multiple vendors for delivery of the SkyTower II (ST II) capability. ST II is a podded ANE solution...

India's Light Combat Helicopter inducted into service

By Akhil Kadidal 04 October 2022
Senior defence officials and officers inducted the HAL Light Combat Helicopter Prachanda into service on 3 October 2022. From left: Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari (chief of Air Staff), Air Marshal Vikram Singh (air officer commanding-in-chief of South Western Air Command), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan. (Janes/Akhil Kadidal)  The Indian Air Force (IAF) has inducted the first production units of the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the air f...

Sweden to receive thermal cameras to bolster littoral surveillance

By Olivia Savage 04 October 2022
The Jaegar Searcher 300 mm cooled MWIR thermal zoom lens camera. (Silent Sentinel)  Silent Sentinel will provide its long-range thermal cameras to the Swedish Armed Forces.  The British threat-detection company was awarded a contract by Kongsberg Norcontrol to deliver its Jaegar multisensor platforms to the Swedish Armed Forces to bolster littoral security along the country's coastline, Silent Sentinel announced on 3 October.    A Silent Sentinel spokesperson told   Janes   that the company would deliver its Jaegar Searcher the...

Development of RASH-2H glide munition approaches completion

By Huw Williams 04 October 2022
The RASH-2H (left) is a clean-sheet design, while the RASH-2M (middle) and RASH-1M (right) use modified mortar bombs. (EDGE Group)  Abu Dhabi-based ADASI is in the “final stages of development and qualification” of its RASH-2H guided munition.  Speaking during a media briefing, Mohamed Al Nuaimi, senior programme manager, engineering and technology at ADASI, said that the RASH-2H will soon enter production.  Al Nuaimi said that the munition is a clean-sheet design, while the earlier RASH-1M and RASH-2M add a guidance kit to mortar bombs that...

France to receive long-awaited Patroller UAVs

By Victor Barreira 04 October 2022
The first Patroller UAVs are to be delivered to the DGA shortly. (Safran)  The Tactical Drone System (Système de Drone Tactique: SDT) for the French Army is soon to achieve a major milestone with delivery of the first Safran Electronics & Defense Patroller fixed-wing tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the French defence procurement agency (Direction générale de l'armement: DGA).  An initial five UAVs and two ground control stations will be delivered to the DGA in December, the company's press officer, Pascal Debergé, told Janes.  The...

French Navy boosts ISTAR with Aliaca UAV

By Victor Barreira 04 October 2022
Survey Copter, which is owned by Airbus Defence and Space, is developing an improved version of the Aliaca with increased range and autonomy. (Victor Barreira)  The French Navy is boosting its ability to conduct airborne day-and-night intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions from surface ships thanks to the Survey Copter Aliaca fixed-wing tactical mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).  The electrically powered UAV was deployed from the PHM Commandant Ducuing (F795) patrol ship during NATO's maritime un...

Morocco flying BlueBird UAVs

By Jeremy Binnie 03 October 2022
Moroccan personnel stand next to a BlueBird WanderB-VTOL UAV during Exercise ‘Maroc Mantlet 2022' at the Kenitra airbase. (Maroc Agence Presse)  The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces are using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) made by the Israeli company BlueBird Aero Systems, it was confirmed during the ‘Maroc Mantlet 2022' disaster-response exercise.  Local media coverage of the exercise held at the 3rd Royal Air Force Base in Kénitra from 12 to 22 September showed Moroccan personnel displaying a WanderB with a second one disassembled in its box a...

Thai navy orders Hermes 900 UAVs

By Akhil Kadidal 30 September 2022
The Royal Thai Navy's order of Hermes 900 Maritime unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is expected to strengthen the navy's blue water and littoral operations. (Elbit Systems)  The Royal Thai Navy has placed an order for Hermes 900 maritime unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Israel.  In a statement on 28 September, Elbit Systems Ltd cited the value of the contract at THB4.6 billion (USD120 million). The company added that the medium-altitude long-range (MALE) UAVs will be equipped with a maritime radar, an electro-optic payload, satellite commun...
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