Air news

Serbia showcases modernised combat aircraft, debuts armed UAV

By Igor Bozinovski 04 May 2022
A modernised MiG-29SM seen at an event hosted by the Serbian Air Force and Air Defence at Batajnica air base, near Belgrade. (Igor Bozinovski)  Serbia showcased its first modernised MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum' and SOKO Orao combat aircraft, and debuted the Pegaz armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the Štit (Shield) 2022 military power demonstration held on 30 April at Batajnica air base.  10 MiG-29s were seen at the event near Belgrade. Of Serbia's fleet of 11 single-seat and 3 twin-seat aircraft, six single-seat jets have to date been modernised to...

RAAF tanker refuels JASDF fighter for first time

By Akhil Kadidal 04 May 2022
An RAAF KC-30A MRTT aircraft refuels a JASDF Mitsubishi F-2A over Japan in April 2022. (Australian Department of Defence)  A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) KC-30 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) successfully refuelled a Mitsubishi F-2 aircraft of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) for the first time.  The refuelling was conducted as part of an air-to-air refuelling test programme held from 4 to 27 April. The programme involved nine flights between the KC-30A and the F-2. The flights were conducted under various conditions, includin...

Ukraine conflict: Ukraine reports sinking two Russian patrol ships during UAV strike

By Kate Tringham 03 May 2022
The Russian Navy operates a fleet of 17 Project 03160 Raptor fast patrol boats.   (Nikolai Novichkov)  Ukraine claims that it has sunk two Russian Navy patrol ships during an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) strike on 2 May.  Video footage released by the Armed Forces of Ukraine on its official Twitter account shows what appears to be a Ukrainian Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) striking two Russian Navy Project 03160 Raptor-class fast patrol boats in the Black Sea. The footage, dated 2 May, shows the successful engagement of...

Schiebel S-100 UAV selected for Australian navy requirement

By Julian Kerr 03 May 2022
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has selected Schiebel's Camcopter S-100 rotary-wing UAV for Block One of its Sea 129 Phase 5 project. The RAN has already operated the S-100 (pictured) since 2018. (Schiebel )    The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has selected Schiebel's S-100 Camcopter for an initial phase of the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) programme to acquire a maritime unmanned aircraft system (MUAS), a ministerial spokesperson confirmed to   Janes   on 3 May.   The S-100 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will now...

Japan to use C-2 airlifter for stand-off EW aircraft

By Akhil Kadidal 02 May 2022
Japan is set to use its indigenously developed Kawasaki C-2 airlifter as the base platform for its stand-off EW aircraft. Pictured here is the separate RC-2 ELINT version of the aircraft. (Japanese Air Self-Defence Force)  A new stand-off electronic warfare (EW) aircraft being developed by Japan will be based on the Kawasaki C-2 transport aircraft, according to an official source.  The platform has been in development since the start of 2021. It is being designed to interfere with an adversarial power's electromagnetic spectrum outside the th...

KC-46A tanker refuels Spanish E/F-18s for first international aircraft refuelling

By Gillian Rich 02 May 2022
A USAF KC-46A Pegasus refuelled a Spanish Air Force E/F-18 Hornet. (Staff Sergeant Nathan Eckert)  A US Air Force (USAF) Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker refuelled Spanish E/F-18 Hornets (called C-15s in Spain) on 18 April at Morón Air Base, Spain, as part of its first employment concept exercise (ECE), the USAF said on 27 April.  “They pushed hard to run the aircraft through its paces during the ECE, including supporting a bomber task force, refuelling US fighters over Eastern Europe, and completing the first-ever refuelling of an international...

GA-ASI, Leonardo fly Seaspray maritime radar on MQ-9 UAV

By Gareth Jennings 29 April 2022
The Leonardo Seaspray AESA radar is housed in an underfuselage pod for both the MQ-9A test aircraft (pictured) and the MQ-9B SeaGuardian UAV. (GA-ASI)  General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) and Leonardo have integrated and flown the Seaspray 7500E V2 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar on an MQ-9A Reaper Block 5 testbed, the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) manufacturer announced on 26 April.  The flight of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) took place on 14 April, ahead of the eventual integration of the radar aboard th...

Ecuadorian Navy loses IAI Searcher UAV

By Alejandro Sanchez 29 April 2022
Part of the lost IAI Searcher retrieved by the Ecuadorian Navy. (Ecuadorian Navy.)  An IAI Searcher reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operated by the Ecuadorian Navy splashed-down in the Pacific Ocean, 4 n miles from Manta, Ecuador, while returning to base after participating in a counter-drug trafficking operation on 20 April, the navy reported on 21 April. The service said that the Searcher suffered “an issue” that required the platform to splash-down, without providing further details.  On 21 April the navy released photos on Tw...

IT²EC 2022: Lockheed Martin progresses F-35 trainer programme

By Olivia Savage 29 April 2022
Lockheed Martin is open to discussions with customers for its MRT LITE trainer (pictured). (Lockheed Martin)  Lockheed Martin's F-35 Mission Rehearsal Trainer Lightning Integrated Training Environment (MRT LITE) system is configurable for all three F-35 variants (F-35A conventional take-off and landing variant, the F-35B short take-off/vertical landing variant, and the F-35C carrier variant) and is available with the latest unclassified software, according to company representatives.  The company is open to discussions with customers to disco...

China looks to bolster PLA's logistics as its unmanned systems market swells

By Oishee Majumdar 29 April 2022
According to   Janes   data, China's unmanned systems market is set to grow fivefold by 2031.   (Janes Markets Forecast)  China's defence-based unmanned systems market will continue to grow at an unprecedented rate with Beijing focusing efforts to bolster innovation and expand the functions of unmanned systems to new areas.  In particular, China's national media has highlighted the increasing use of unmanned systems by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) for logistical operations. For example, earlier in April the...

Switzerland receives first Hermes UAVs from Israel ahead of flight trials

By Gareth Jennings 29 April 2022
The first of two Hermes 900 UAVs received by Switzerland has been assembled ahead of flight trials and handover to the air force later in the year. (VBS)  Switzerland has received from Israel the first two of six Elbit Systems Hermes 900 Heavy Fuel Engine (HFE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that were ordered under the Reconnaissance Drone System 15 (ADS 15) requirement.  The Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection, and Sport (VBS) announced the milestone on 29 April, noting that the two UAVs and two ground control stations (GC...

Thales consortium wins French DGA C-UAS contract

By Olivia Savage 29 April 2022
A Thales- and CS Group-led consortium is to deliver C-UAS platforms to the French DGA to reinforce security for the 2024 Olympics and 2023 Rugby World Cup. (Thales and CS Group)  The French defence procurement agency (DGA) has awarded a contract to a consortium led by Thales and CS Group to develop a counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (C-UAV) system, Thales announced on 29 April.  The counter-unmanned aircraft systems (C-UASs) capability dubbed ‘Parade' will be able to detect, classify, and safely neutralise micro and mini UAVs and can be easil...

Tekever reveals VTOL-capable variant of AR3 UAV

By Akshara Parakala 29 April 2022
Tekever AR3 with hot-swappable VTOL capability. (Tekever)  Portuguese company Tekever Autonomous Systems has unveiled a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) variant of its AR3 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with integrated synthetic aperture radar (SAR) at AUVSI Xponential 2022 in Orlando.  The conventional fixed-wing AR3 UAV has been fitted with four electrically powered rotors, two on each wing, which enables VTOL operations making it more suitable for vessel-based maritime missions and difficult terrain environments. The AR3 VTOL has port a...

Boeing debuts the USAF's first test T-7A Red Hawk trainer

By Gillian Rich 29 April 2022
Boeing rolls out its first T-7A Red Hawk jet in St Louis, Missouri. (Boeing/Eric Shindelbower)  Boeing unveiled its first test T-7A Red Hawk trainer for the US Air Force (USAF) at its factory in St Louis, Missouri, on 28 April. The aircraft will be used to replace the service's Northrop Grumman T-38 Talon for training fighter and bomber pilots.    The test aircraft is the first of five for the USAF's engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) programme phase. All five EMD aircraft should make their first flight and join the developm...

HAL commences airframe fatigue testing of Tejas Mk1

By Akhil Kadidal 28 April 2022
The IAF's LCA Tejas fighter aircraft is set to undergo main airframe fatigue testing at a newly established facility, which will demonstrate the capability of the airframe to withstand four times the service life. (HAL)  The Indian Air Force's (IAF's) Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark I aircraft are set to undergo main airframe fatigue testing.  According to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the aircraft will be tested at the newly established Main Airframe Fatigue Test (MAFT) facility at its Ground Test Centre, at the Aircraft Resear...

USAF retires F-15Cs from Europe

By Gareth Jennings 28 April 2022
Four of the final F-15Cs in Europe perform a farewell flypast over RAF Lakenheath on their return to the US on 27 April. (US Air Force)  The US Air Force (USAF) has retired its Boeing F-15C Eagle aircraft from Europe, with the last aircraft departing Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath in the UK on 27 April.  RAF Lakenheath marked the occasion, noting the nearly 30-year service of the air superiority fighter at the home of the 48th Fighter Wing in the UK.  “Today we bid farewell to our F-15C fleet. Since its arrival here in 1994, the Eagle has h...

USAF selects the E-7 Wedgetail to replace its ageing AWACS fleet

By Gillian Rich 28 April 2022
The E-7 was developed for the Australian Defence Force. Boeing has said that India, Japan, and Qatar have shown interest in the E-7. (Boeing)  The US Air Force (USAF) announced on 26 April that it had selected the Boeing E-7 Wedgetail to replace its Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.  The USAF plans to award a contract in fiscal year 2023 and requested USD227 million in research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) funds for the programme starting in its FY 2023 budget. The service said the money wou...

Pentagon budget 2023: USMC details plans to field three MRIC batteries

By Ashley Roque 27 April 2022
A USMC G/ATOR radar. In 2019 the USMC conducted a live-fire event to demonstrate initial ‘interoperability' of an Iron Dome launcher and Tamir interceptor with the G/ATOR and a CAC2S. The service is now testing out this Medium Range Intercept Capability prototype with plans to begin fielding it in 2026. (USMC)  US Marine Corps (USMC) leadership wants to spend USD1.2 billion on ground-based air defence (GBAD) systems during the next five years, with plans to begin fielding a new mobile capability to the force in 2026 that is centred around si...

India's TAPAS UAV on path to user evaluation trials

By Akhil Kadidal 27 April 2022
HAL is preparing to produce five TAPAS MALE UAVs for user validation trials to start in October 2022. (Janes/Akshara Parakala)  India's Tactical Airborne Platform for Aerial Surveillance (TAPAS) medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have completed a series of flight trials and are moving towards user evaluation trials.  Sources in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) said that eight prototypes of the TAPAS UAV have been built so far and the platform has comple...

Northrop Grumman to compete for FVL (MS) requirement for US Navy

By Gareth Jennings 27 April 2022
As the provider of the MQ-8C (pictured), Northrop Grumman feels it is well placed to bid for the USN's FVL (MS) requirement that will replace both this and the MH-60 airframes in the 2030s. (Northrop Grumman)  Northrop Grumman is to compete for the US Navy (USN) Future Vertical Lift (FVL) (Maritime Strike [MS]) requirement to replace the service's fleet of Sikorsky MH-60R/S Seahawk and Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout platforms in the 2030s.    A company spokesperson told  Janes  on 26 April that it had responded to the requ...
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