Air news

Taiwan's AIDC develops new trainer aircraft

By Akhil Kadidal 10 January 2024
Taiwan's AIDC's new basic trainer aircraft programme – the design for which is pictured above – aims to compete to replace the RoCAF's Beechcraft T-34C aircraft by the early 2030s. (AIDC)  Taiwan's Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) has completed the first stage-design of a new basic trainer aircraft, the company announced on 10 January.  The basic trainer – which AIDC plans to introduce into the Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) by 2033 – aims to replace the service's 36 Beechcraft T-34C Turbo-Mentor trainer aircraft, whic...

South Korea to mass-produce TAipers anti-tank missiles

By Akhil Kadidal 10 January 2024
South Korea's domestically developed TAipers anti-tank missile is scheduled to start replace the Republic of Korea's (RoK's) military stocks of ageing TOW missiles from 2024. (Janes)  South Korea is preparing to mass-produce its domestically developed TAipers (‘Tank Snipers' or Cheongeom) air-launched anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs).    The TAipers will go into mass production from 2024 to 2031, a spokesperson from South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) told  Janes  . According to the agency, the prog...

US to upgrade Lajes to support Poseidon MMA

By Gareth Jennings 10 January 2024
A US Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft takes off from Lajes Field in the Azores. The base provides a stopping point for aircraft to commute back and forth between the US and Europe and is to be upgraded to support P-8A operations, though it is not clear if this describes the current transient flights or represents a plan to launch anti-submarine warfare missions from the islands. (DVIDS)  The US Department of Defense (DoD) is to upgrade Lajes Field in the Azores to support the Boeing P-8A Poseidon multimission maritime aircraft (MMA).  Disclosed in...

United Launch Alliance launches Vulcan rocket on maiden flight

By Zach Rosenberg 09 January 2024
ULA's Vulcan rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral on 8 January, launching the Peregrine lunar lander into a trans-lunar injection orbit. (ULA)  United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched its first Vulcan launch vehicle the morning of 8 January, paving the way for a slate of national security, scientific, and private launches.  The rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station's Space Launch Complex-41 at 0218 h local time, putting the privately operated Peregrine lander on a path towards the moon. Vulcan launched in the VC2S configurat...

Aurora Flight Sciences begins construction of X-65 CRANE experimental aircraft

By Zach Rosenberg 09 January 2024
An artist's rendering of Aurora Flight Sciences' CRANE design. The first flight is scheduled in 2025. (DARPA)  The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selected Aurora Flight Sciences to build the X-65 Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) experimental aircraft, intended to test the viability of manoeuvring without external flight surfaces, according to a 3 January statement from the organisation.  Component tooling and part fabrication have begun at Aurora Flight Sciences' facilities in West Virginia...

Australia disassembling MRH90 fleet

By Akhil Kadidal 08 January 2024
The potential market for parts and systems harvested from the MRH90 Taipan is large as 13 operators continue to operate more than 450 NH90 variants worldwide. (Commonwealth of Australia)  The Australian government has started the process of disassembling its fleet of NHIndustries MRH90 ‘Taipan' helicopters.  Janes understands that the decision to dismantle and scrap the 45-strong fleet was made after no other countries or parties expressed interest in acquiring the helicopters as a whole.  Speaking to Janes, an Australian Department of Defenc...

Germany drops opposition to Saudi Eurofighter sale

By Gareth Jennings 08 January 2024
With a German minister saying Saudi Arabian Eurofighter combat aircraft have been intercepting Houthi missiles bound for Israel, Berlin has dropped its previous opposition to a follow-on sale to the Kingdom. (BAE Systems)  Germany has dropped its long-standing opposition to a follow-on sale of Eurofighter combat aircraft to Saudi Arabia, it was reported on 8 January.  German Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock announced the shift in policy in comments made to journalists during a visit to Israel, Agence France-Presse (AFP),...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...
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