Australia to replace lost Growler

by Gareth Jennings

Australia will again field 12 Growler electronic attack aircraft, now that a loss replacement platform has been approved by the US. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft that caught fire and suffered serious damage during an aborted take-off in 2018 is to be replaced.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 30 September that a single Growler will be sold to Australia for USD125 million, bringing the RAAF's fleet back up to 12 aircraft.

“This proposed sale will allow Australia to effectively maintain its current force projection capability that enhances interoperability with US forces well into the future and maintain their original primary level of aircraft authorised. This aircraft would replace Australia's EA-18G A46-311 aircraft lost in an accident at Nellis Air Force Base [AFB],” the DSCA said.

The lost Growler from 6 Squadron was one of four that had deployed to Nellis AFB in Nevada from their homebase of RAAF Amberley, Queensland, in January 2018. The fire on take-off destroyed the aircraft, although both crew members escaped without injury.

The RAAF is set to declare full-operating capability for its Growlers in 2022.


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ILA 2022: War in Ukraine driving Eastern European interest in contractor-supplied helicopters

by Gareth Jennings

IDA Group displayed one of its Black Hawk helicopters at the ILA 2022 event in Berlin. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The ongoing war in Ukraine is driving Eastern European interest in acquiring contractor-supplied light attack and transport helicopters, a provider told Janes on 23 June.

Speaking at the ILA Air Show in Berlin, Lukas Hollnsteiner, International Defense and Aerospace Group (IDAG) director of sales, said that with many Eastern European countries operating Warsaw Pact-era helicopters, hostilities between Ukraine and Russia mean that it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain these helicopters in an airworthy condition.

“Ukraine has certainly changed things, with the Mi-8 and Mi-17 types flown across Eastern Europe being in limbo [in terms of their sustainment and support],” Hollnsteiner said.

Based in Titusville in the US, Budapest in Hungary, Prague in the Czech Republic, and Košice in Slovakia, IDAG is the exclusive supplier to Eastern Europe of the MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI) MD 530F light helicopter, and also provides surplus US Army UH-60 Black Hawks.


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UK cancels Mosquito ‘loyal wingman'

by Gareth Jennings

An artist's impression of the Mosquito ‘loyal wingman' that has been cancelled in favour of achieving the same additive capabilities by other means. (Crown Copyright)

The United Kingdom has cancelled its Mosquito ‘loyal wingman', deciding instead on a “change of direction” for the Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft (LANCA) programme from which it was being developed.

Announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 24 June, the decision by the Royal Air Force (RAF) Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) not to take the Mosquito beyond its current design phase was decided on the basis that the desired additive capabilities can be better achieved by other means.

“The decision was informed by parallel analysis and capability experimentation conducted by the RAF and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl),” the MoD said in a statement. “The accumulation of analysis concluded that more beneficial capability and cost-effectiveness appears achievable through exploration of smaller, less costly, but still highly capable additive capabilities.”


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ILA 2022: Airbus promotes H145M D3 enhancements and pitches further improvements to international market

by Gareth Jennings

As a major operator of the H145M, the German armed forces could benefit from a raft of enhancements proposed by the manufacturer Airbus. (Airbus)

Airbus Helicopters has highlighted the latest enhancements it has rolled into the D3 standard of its H145M medium-twin rotorcraft, and is proposing a raft of additional improvements in an effort to attract new operators to the type.

Speaking to Janes and other defence media ahead of ILA 2022, Constance Pinsdorf, senior programme manager H145 governmental business, said that with the current D3 standard of the H145M providing superior capabilities over the upgraded D2 and original C2 standards,improvements that are earmarked will provide further capabilities.

“Due to the fact we are based on a civilian version, which is really successful and really mature, we have a long history [of developing this type], and I am confident that we have a mature system that is working for the customer,” Pinsdorf said. “We have come from the C2 and D2 versions to the D3 version, [and] we are now taking the D3 evolution to the next stage.”


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A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft that caught fir...

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