Air news

Poland clears AW149 helicopters for operations

By Gareth Jennings 08 January 2024
With three of 32 AW149 helicopters so far received, Poland has cleared the type for operations. (Armaments Agency)  Poland has formally cleared for operational use the first of the Leonardo AW149 armed battlefield utility helicopters it has received.  The Armaments Agency (AA) made the announcement on 5 January, saying that with deliveries of 32 helicopters ongoing, the AW149s so far received “passed all required tests and acceptances and have been approved for operation”.  With three helicopters received to date, the AW149 is now being field...

Australia signs contract extension for Super Hornets, Growlers

By Akhil Kadidal 08 January 2024
Australia's extension of a sustainment contract for its Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers (pictured) is expected to support further upgrades for both variants. Australia will potentially operate the Super Hornets until at least 2030. (Commonwealth of Australia)  The Australian government has signed a AUD600 million (USD402.6 million) contract extension with Boeing Defence Australia to sustain and upgrade the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF's) F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler fleet.  The five-year contract will ensure...

Mali inaugurates more Bayraktar TB2 UAVs

By Jeremy Binnie 05 January 2024
One of the Bayraktar TB2 UAVs that was displayed during the reception ceremony on 4 January. (Presidence Mali)  The Armed Forces of Mali (FAMa) held a reception ceremony for another consignment of Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on 4 January.  Media coverage of the event showed five TB2s, some of them armed with MAM-L laser-guided bombs, lined up on the apron next to the presidential pavilion at Bamako's Modibo Keita International Airport. The FAMa released a photograph showing one had the serial TZ-17D.  The FAMa p...

Hermeus completes Quarterhorse subsystem vehicle ground testing

By Zach Rosenberg 05 January 2024
Quarterhorse Mk 0, Hermeus' ‘dynamic iron bird'. (Hermeus)  Hermeus has completed tests of its first Quarterhorse hypersonic unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) – a ground test article dubbed “Mk 0”, according to a statement by the company. The ground tests are intended to pave the way for flight-testing later in 2024.  Testing of what the company calls its “dynamic iron bird” took place at the US Air Force's (USAF's) Arnold Engineering Development Complex in Tullahoma, Tennessee, over a 37-day time span. Among other tasks, the craft demonstrated g...

US confirms AH-6i sale to Thailand

By Gareth Jennings 05 January 2024
Thailand's earlier approval for the Boeing AH-6i light attack helicopter has now been firmed up into a confirmed sale. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  The US Department of Defense (DoD) has confirmed the sale of eight Boeing AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance rotorcraft to Thailand, with a related contract notification posted in late December 2023.  With US State Department approval for the sale having been granted in September 2019, US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) disclosed that it is to award BAE Systems a contract to integrate the Advanc...

Aselsan's new electro-optical systems achieve important milestones in 2023

By Olivia Savage & Kasthurica Panigrahy 04 January 2024
Mass production of Aselsan's new electro-optical reconnaissance, surveillance, and targeting system, ASELFLIR-500, has begun and it is expected to be integrated onboard the Bayraktar TB3 unmanned combat aerial vehicle and the TCG   Anadolu  multi-purpose amphibious assault ship.  (Janes/Olivia Savage)  Aselsan's latest electro-optical systems – ASELFLIR-500, DORUK-2, and TULGAR – achieved important production and delivery milestones in 2023.  According to Aselsan's General Manager Ahmet Akyol on 31 December, the...

Spain signs for C295 MPA, MSA

By Gareth Jennings 04 January 2024
An artist's impression of the C295 MPA and MSA in Spanish service. (Airbus)  Spain has signed for 16 Airbus C295 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) and maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA), the manufacturer announced on 20 December 2023.  The EUR1.695 billion (USD1.853 billion) deal came six months after Jean-Brice Dumont, head of Military Air Systems at Airbus Defence and Space, announced during the Paris Air Show in June 2023 that the Spanish Ministers Council had approved the budget for the acquisition of six MPA and 10 MSA-variant C295s.  “Th...

US Army purchases prototype for HADES deep-sensing programme

By Zach Rosenberg 04 January 2024
Bombardier's depiction of the HADES prototype aircraft. (Bombardier)  The US Army has purchased a Bombardier Global 6500, with options for two more, to serve as a prototype for the High Accuracy Detection and Exploitation System (HADES) deep-sensing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) system, the service announced on 3 January.  The Global 6500 is to be the army's first service-owned ISR-converted business jet. Although other converted business jets operate on the army's behalf, and more are set to enter service via the Army...

South Korean air force receives first TA-50 Block 2 aircraft

By Akhil Kadidal 03 January 2024
The KAI TA-50 Block 2 includes improved avionics and a radar system, in addition to the capability to integrate combat air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry. The aircraft pictured is a TA-50 Block 1 aircraft in service with the RoKAF. (Korea Aerospace Industries)  The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has delivered the first Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) TA-50 ‘Golden Eagle' Block 2 lead-in fighter trainer/light attack aircraft to the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF).    DAPA said on 1 January that the delivery was...

US DoD confirms Nigerian AH-1Z buy

By Gareth Jennings 03 January 2024
Seen in US Marine Corps service, the AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter will shortly be flown by the Nigerian Air Force also. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  The US Department of Defense (DoD) has confirmed the sale of the Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter to Nigeria, with a related contract notification posted on 19 December.  Having been approved for the sale of 12 helicopters in 2022, Nigeria's procurement was confirmed with the announcement that Northrop Grumman had been awarded a USD7.7 million contract modification “for the production and delivery...

South Korea signs agreement for additional F-35s

By Akhil Kadidal 02 January 2024
South Korea regards its Lockheed Martin F-35A fleet as being a critical component of its ‘Three-Axis' kill-chain system. (South Korea Ministry of National Defense)  South Korea has signed a letter of acceptance (LOA) to acquire additional Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation fighter aircraft.  The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said on 1 January that the LOA was signed in December. Janes previously reported in September 2023 that South Korea had requested a sale of as many as 25 F-35As from the US government...

MiG to develop new affordable jet trainer for Russia

By Gareth Jennings 29 December 2023
An artist's rendering of the MiG-UTS shows it to be similar in appearance to the L-39 it is intended to replace. This is based largely on earlier design work done in the 1990s on the MiG-AT that is now being carried over. (Rostec)  Russia's Mikoyan (MiG) design bureau is developing a new affordable jet trainer aircraft to be used by the country's aviation forces, the Rostec conglomerate announced on 28 December.  The MiG-UTS will be a twin-seat, single-engined aircraft that will form part of a wider training system being developed.  “We have...

NATO intercepts of Russian aircraft return to pre-Ukrainian war levels

By Gareth Jennings 29 December 2023
A UK F-35B flying from HMS   Queen Elizabeth  intercepted a Russian Ilyushin Il-22 Coot special mission aircraft on 6 October. NATO has reported a drop in alliance interceptions of Russian military aircraft for 2023 compared with the spike of 2022, with numbers now at about the same level as before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.  (Royal Norwegian Air Force)  The number of NATO intercepts of Russian military aircraft fell in 2023 to approximately the same levels as before the war in Ukraine was...

Turkey flies Anka 3 UCAV

By Cem Devrim Yaylali 29 December 2023
The Anka 3 UCAV flew for the first time on 28 December. (Turkish government)  The Turkish Aerospace (TA) Anka 3 flying-wing unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) made its maiden flight on 28 December.  The flight over Ankara lasted for 70 minutes, during which the UCAV reached a height of 8,000 ft and a speed of 150 kt.  The existence of a low-observable, jet-powered UCAV was first made public in December 2022. The first taxi tests were performed in April 2023.  According to TA, the maximum take-off weight of the Anka 3 is 6.5 tons. The UCAV...

South Korea approves plan to procure Lynx replacement

By Akhil Kadidal 29 December 2023
South Korea's fleet of 22 Westland WG13 Lynx Mk 99 maritime helicopters has been operational with the RoK Navy since 1991. (NurPhoto via Getty Images)  South Korea has approved a plan to replace the country's ageing Westland WG13 Lynx Mk 99 maritime helicopter fleet amid other decisions on future rotary-wing-related acquisitions.  During its 158th meeting on 29 December, the Defense Acquisition Program Committee backed a “basic strategic plan” to replace the Republic of Korea (RoK) Navy's 22 operational Lynx Mk 99s. The Lynxes, which entered...

South Korea to develop new fighter aircraft engine

By Akhil Kadidal 28 December 2023
The 15,000 lbf-class turbofan engine to be developed by South Korea could potentially lead to a domestic powerplant for the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) T-50/FA-50 trainer/light fighter and unmanned combat aerial vehicles. (Janes/Akhil Kadidal)  South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has announced that it has launched a research programme to develop a 15,000 lbf-class turbofan engine for fighter aircraft.  In a statement on 26 December, DAPA said it plans to complete the development of the engine by the mid-to-lat...

Portuguese Air Force eyes additional transport and ISR capabilities

By Victor Barreira 28 December 2023
With five KC-390 aircraft already on order, the Portuguese Air Force is considering the procurement of a sixth aircraft as part of a wider revamp of its capabilities. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  The Portuguese Air Force (FAP) is looking to strengthen its transport and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities through the acquisition and modernisation of existing aircraft.  The Director of the Engineering and Programs Directorate, Brigadier General João Rui Ramos Nogueira, told Janes that a sixth KC-390 Millennium tanker-t...

PZL Mielec turns out 100th Polish-built Black Hawk

By Gareth Jennings 28 December 2023
The 100th Polish-built Black Hawk helicopter rolled off the PZL Mielec production line in late November. (PZL Mielec)  Lockheed Martin's subsidiary, PZL Mielec, recently turned out the 100th S-70 Black Hawk helicopter to be built at its facility in southern Poland.  Announced at the end of November, the milestone helicopter was an S-70i for the Polish Armed Forces (as well as the S-70i, the plant also builds the S-70M with the difference between the two being one of certification).  News of the achievement came about 14 years after the compan...

Ukraine conflict: Netherlands makes first F-16s available for Ukraine

By Gareth Jennings 28 December 2023
On 22 December the Netherlands said it had made the first 18 F-16s available to Ukraine, with more potentially to follow. (Royal Netherlands Air Force)  The Netherlands has released to Ukraine the first 18 Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft, with others potentially to follow.  Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren made the announcement on 22 December, saying that with the export approvals in place, the jets are being prepared for delivery. No details on the delivery timeline were provided, except that it would happen when t...

Luftwaffe C-130Js to have special operations capabilities

By Victor Barreira 28 December 2023
German C-130Js are to be equipped for the SOF role, a senior Luftwaffe official has disclosed. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)  Germany is to equip its Lockheed Martin C-130J transport aircraft for the special operations forces (SOF) role, it was revealed in late November.  The Head of the Air Transport/Jet/Unmanned Aircraft System Branch at the German Air Force Command, Colonel Stefan Kleinheyer, made the disclosure during the SAE Media Group Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling conference in Lisbon, Portugal.    The SOF capabilities con...
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