BAE to fly T-650 heavy-lift UAS in drive to electric propulsion

by Gareth Jennings

Seen at its unveiling at the DSEI exhibition in late 2021, the T-650 heavy-lift UAS should fly for the first time in the coming weeks. (Janes/Richard Fowler)

BAE Systems plans to fly the T-650 all-electric heavy-lift unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that it first unveiled in September 2021 in the coming weeks, a company official said on 24 May.

Neil Appleton, head of Electric Products, BAE systems, told Janes and other defence media that it will fly a demonstrator version of the T-650 that it is developing with Malloy Aeronautics before the end of the third quarter of 2022.

First showcased at the 2021 DSEI exhibition in London, the T-650 is an electrically powered heavy-lift UAS capable of lifting 650 lb (295 kg) out to a range of 30 km (or a radius of 15 km), at 140 km/h. As Appleton noted, BAE envisages a range of applications for the UAS, including automated resupply, casualty evacuation, anti-submarine warfare using the Sting Ray torpedo, maritime mine countermeasures using the Archerfish expendable mine clearance ordnance, maritime search and rescue, surveillance tasks, and close air support.

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Chadian Air Force unveils Aksungur UAV

by Jeremy Binnie

Chad's new Aksungur is seen warming up for take-off in a still from a video released by the AAT. (Armée de l'Air Tchadienne)

The Chadian Air Force (AAT) has revealed it has received at least one Turkish Aerospace (TUSAŞ) Aksungur unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

It released a video on 21 April that included footage of an Aksungur with AAT markings and the Turkish-format serial 23013 taking off from Adji Kosseï Air Base at N'Djamena International Airport armed with eight MAM-L small laser-guided bombs. The video also featured AAT personnel being trained by TUSAŞ in Türkiye.

The AAT operates at least two TUSAŞ Anka UAVs and three TUSAŞ Hürkuş-C turboprop light-attack aircraft, which were unveiled when President General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno visited Adji Kosseï Air Base in July 2023.

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US Navy accepts first two Textron T-54 deliveries

by Zach Rosenberg

The first of two Textron T-54s delivered to the US Navy, intended to replace the T-44s. The deliveries were announced on 22 April. (US Navy)

US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) accepted delivery of the first two Textron T-54 Multi-Engine Training System (METS) aircraft at Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas, the service announced on 22 April. The aircraft are set to begin training students at NAS Corpus Christi's Training Air Wing Four in boreal spring 2025, the US Navy (USN) told Janes .

The USN intends to operate 64 of the Textron King Air 200-based aircraft, which will replace the Textron T-44 as the service's main twin-engine pilot training aircraft. Deliveries are set to run through 2026, and the aircraft is meant to operate until 2055.

“This aircraft brings modernised training to student naval aviators and prepares them for the advanced aircraft they will fly in the fleet,” said Captain Duane Whitmer, USN programme manager.

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US Department of State approves Basler BT-67 sale to Argentina

by Zach Rosenberg

The BT-67 is no stranger to Antarctica's harsh climate. This picture displays a Basler BT-67 (re-engined DC-3) in polar configuration equipped with snow skids. (Basler)

The US Department of State has approved Argentina's request to purchase Basler BT-67s, support equipment, and training for up to USD143 million, the department announced on 18 April.

“The proposed sale will … [provide] additional capacity for airdrop and airlift operations to service Antarctica during the winter season,” the announcement read. “This will reduce the burden on other airlift assets in Argentina.”

The number of aircraft to be purchased is unknown, but the deal includes spare engines, ground handling equipment, transport, and personnel training. Basler and the Argentine Ministry of Defense had not responded to Janes questions at the time of publication.

Argentina maintains nearly a dozen research bases on Antarctica, according to the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship. Argentina's air force operates several aircraft types capable of operating in Antarctica, including four Lockheed Martin C-130Hs and seven de Havilland DHC-6s.

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BAE Systems plans to fly the T-650 all-electric heavy-lift unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that it fi...

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