Australia loses MH-60R helicopter in Philippine Sea mishap

by Ridzwan Rahmat

An Australian MH-60R helicopter seen with an Mk 54 torpedo during a firing serial in Florida. (Royal Australian Navy)

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has lost one of its MH-60R Seahawk helicopters in a mishap over the Philippine Sea.

The helicopter was conducting a “routine flight overnight” from the Hobart-class air warfare destroyer HMAS Brisbane at the time of the incident, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced on 14 October.

Brisbane is on a regional deployment with the Anzac-class frigate HMAS Warramunga .

The helicopter conducted an emergency landing in the water in the midst of this operation, and all three crew members onboard the aircraft have been rescued with minor injuries.

Brisbane and Warramunga are continuing to search the area for any debris from the ditched aircraft, which will aid in determining the cause of the incident, said the DoD.

“With the aircrew safe, investigating the circumstances that led to the helicopter-ditching is the priority at the moment,” said Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Mark Hammond, in the DoD announcement.


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US Navy seeks new ‘Aggressor' training aircraft

by Gareth Jennings

Seen in USN colours as part of Boeing's pitch for the service's Undergraduate Jet Training System requirement, the T-7A Red Hawk is likely to be one of the candidate platforms put forward for the USN's recently released Tactical Surrogate Aircraft requirement. (Boeing)

The US Navy (USN) has issued a request for information (RFI) for a new Aggressor aircraft for ‘red air' combat training.

The Tactical Surrogate Aircraft (TSA) requirement released on 21 October would see a new aircraft type perform three primary pilot training missions, namely to augment flight time and training in front-line type model series aircraft, provide adversary air support, and to serve as a flight lead aircraft for fleet replacement squadrons.

“The aircraft needs to simulate and/or replicate current and future fighter aircraft systems by providing the training environment and relevant experience to build tactical skills, systems management skills, and decision-making skills required for weapon system employment actions. These actions will be influenced by environmental information, avionics outputs, sensor data, weapon-cueing, and manoeuvre elements,” the RFI said.


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UN experts report Eritrean-trained unit operating in Somalia

by Jeremy Binnie

The UN panel of experts that monitors Somalia has established that an Eritrean-trained unit is operating in Somalia outside the country's formal security structure.

In a report released on 15 October, the panel said that the Federal Government of Somalia has recruited approximately 929 Somalis for military training in Eritrea. This figure was derived from documents obtained by the panel, as well as interviews with relatives of the recruits and security officials with inside knowledge. It noted that Somali National Security Advisor Abdisaid Ali said in a 13 August television interview that 5,000 Somalis had been sent for training in Eritrea.

The men are being recruited for a shadowy unit reportedly called the Dufaan that is not part of Somalia's security architecture, with some being told they would be trained in Qatar or Turkey, rather than Eritrea.

At least 450 have returned to Somalia, according to three sources cited by the panel. Although it is unclear what command structure they are operating under, they may have been involved in the fighting between rival Somali National Army units in Mogadishu after President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed extended his term for two years in April.


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Italy confirms P.180 EVO Plus acquisition, P.1HH cancelled

by Alessandra Giovanzanti

The Italian armed forces are procuring six new Piaggio Aerospace P.180 EVO Plus light utility aircraft, the Italian Air Force has confirmed to Janes on 20 October. (Piaggio)

The Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana – AMI) has confirmed to Janes that the country's armed forces are procuring six Piaggio Aerospace P.180 light utility aircraft to replace legacy units. Meanwhile, the P.1HH HammerHead programme has been officially cancelled.

Speaking to Janes on 20 October, a spokesperson of the press office of the AMI said that the new aircraft will be Piaggio EVO Plus models, and that these are yet to be assigned to a specific military service, be it the army, navy, air force, or Carabinieri.

However, he said that the six P.180s will replace legacy platforms and that “once the registration numbers to be retired are identified, a breakdown by service will be finalised and a decision will be made on the final configuration of the six P.180 aircraft”. Such information will likely be provided once a contract is formalised.


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The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has lost one of its MH-60R Seahawk helicopters in a mishap over the ...

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