Australia to acquire 10 MQ-28A Ghost Bats

by Akhil Kadidal

Australia said it will acquire 10 MQ-28A Ghost Bats autonomous aerial unmanned vehicles. These “loyal wingmen” are currently undergoing rigorous testing intended to improve flight performance. (Boeing)

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will acquire 10 MQ-28A Ghost Bat autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles, following additional funding by the government.

The programme is set to receive an additional investment of AUD454 million (USD319.6 million), as announced by Australia's Liberal Party on 15 May. The funding will also fast-track the induction of the first Ghost Bats by 2024–25, according to Peter Dutton, former defence minister. The programme has already been the beneficiary of AUD150 million in investment since 2017.

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) told Janes that the previous phase of the programme had contracted for three Ghost Bats for the RAAF under the Loyal Wingman-Advanced Development Programme.

“The funding recently announced by the Australian government provides for a further seven MQ-28A for the Royal Australian Air Force, leading to a total of ten MQ-28A Ghost Bats owned by the RAAF,” the DoD said.


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Algeria parades converted T-62 tanks

by Jeremy Binnie

Two of the T-62s with Berezhok turrets in the military parade in Algiers on 5 July. (AFP via Getty Images)

The Algerian People's National Army (ANP) unveiled the T-62 tanks that it has converted into fire-support vehicles during the parade marking the 60th anniversary of the country's independence on 5 July.

The parade included 10 of the conversions, which involved replacing the tank's original turrets with the Russian-made Berezhok turret that has been used to upgrade many of the ANP's BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles. This involved fitting an additional armoured collar around the T-62's turret ring to accommodate the smaller diameter of the Berezhok.

A T-62 hull fitted with this collar, but not the new turret, was seen in Algerian media coverage when ANP Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Saïd Chengriha visited the Central Logistics Base in Blida on 1 December 2020.

The facility was previously shown fitting Berezhoks to BMP-1s. The Russian media reported in 2015 that Algeria had placed a second order with KBP, Tula, for 360 Berezhoks for BMP-1s and quoted the company's general director as saying that more than 400 had been delivered under the first contract.


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Decreasing margins: The Indian Air Force's dwindling air superiority

by Akhil Kadidal

For decades, the Indian Air Force concentrated its military air infrastructure and units against Pakistan. However, since 2015 China has been accelerating the building of new airports and airbases near India's border. (Janes)

For decades, the Indian Air Force (IAF) commanded an advantage in air superiority against regional adversaries such as Pakistan and China. However, a mix of domestic policies and technological advances by Beijing is eroding India's tactical advantages.

As the world's fourth largest air force, according to Janes data, the IAF comprises 1,713 manned aircraft plus more than 232 surveillance and attack unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). However, its combat strength is more modest than these numbers suggest.

About 29% of its aircraft (511) are ageing or obsolete, Janes data shows. Most of these dated platforms are combat aircraft, including the Cold War-era Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 air-defence fighters and Sepecat Jaguar deep-strike aircraft.


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Sikorsky Raider X prototype 90% complete, engine delivery expected in November

by Gillian Rich

The Sikorsky Raider X was 90% complete in June 2022 at the company's West Palm Beach facility. The aircraft is shown here with the turreted cannon under the nose and with the weapons bay door open, with the modular effects launcher attached. (Sikorsky)

Sikorsky said that the prototype Raider X, its submission for the US Army's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) programme, is 90% complete and the company has 98% of parts on hand for the build.

The company is waiting for the T901-GE-900 Improved Turbine Engine (ITE) from General Electric to arrive in November 2022.

The ITE is “the last significant piece of our helicopter that hasn't been installed”, Pete Germanowski, FARA chief engineer at Sikorsky, told reporters on 28 June.

The army announced on 23 March that it conducted the first ‘light-off' off General Electric's T901 First Engine to Test (FETT), meaning power was produced by igniting fuel in the engine.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air-platforms/latest/australia-to-acquire-10-mq-28a-ghost-bats

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will acquire 10 MQ-28A Ghost Bat autonomous unmanned aerial ve...

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