China deploys UAVs near Taiwan, Japan

by Oishee Majumdar

The flight path of the UAVs deployed by the PLA near Japan's south-western islands and Taiwan on 4 August. (Japan Ministry of Defense)

Japan's Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that it spotted Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) near Taiwan and Japan's Nansei/Ryuku islands on 4 August.

According to the MoD, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) deployed one BZK-005 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV, a TB-001 MALE UAV, and at least one other unmanned aircraft near the East China Sea area.

The BZK-005 and TB-001 UAV flew over the Miyako Strait, which is located between Japan's Miyako and Okinawa islands, more than once reaching the south of the Sakishima islands before reversing back on the same route, the MoD said.

The other unmanned aircraft was seen flying off the northeastern coast of Taiwan and continued to circle over the “high seas”, the MoD added.

The MoD said that the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) dispatched fighter jets from its Southwestern Air Command Support Flight to intercept the UAVs.

Janes analysis of the BZK-005 UAV image shared by the Japanese MoD indicates that it is the modernised BZK-005E variant.


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Details emerge on mesh hybrid networking system for EU's UGV programme

by Alexander Stronell

Three THeMIS UGVs pictured during iMUGS testing in Belgium in June 2022. (Janes/Alexander Stronell)

Details on the mesh communications system in development as part of the Integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System (iMUGS) programme, the European Defence Fund's (EDF) project for a common unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), have been revealed to Janes.

Speaking to Janes, an industry source familiar with the iMUGS communications effort provided details on the objectives and testing of the hybrid networking system.

The iMUGS sub-project for a mesh communications system is being undertaken by Finnish telecommunications company Bittium, part of the consortium of companies led by Estonia's Milrem Robotics.

“We are developing communications, which is based on mesh technology and which allows all the vehicles, the troops … [to be] part of one big network, and all the traffic is based on IP [internet protocol traffic],” the source told Janes. “There's no predefined structure, so you can add vehicles or nodes, and you can remove [them],” he added.


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China test-flies ‘improved' carrierborne UAV

by Akhil Kadidal

With several design changes and potentially a new engine, the AR-500CJ (depicted at the top) appears to be larger than the AR-500C variant, which first flew in 2020. However, AVIC has not disclosed the dimensions of the AR-500CJ. (Janes)

China has claimed the successful test-flying of a new vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) intended for service aboard the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's larger surface vessels. This includes aircraft carriers.

In an announcement on its official blog on 10 August, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) said that its AR-500CJ unmanned helicopter had made its first flight at Poyang in Jiangxi province.

The aircraft was developed by the company's China Helicopter Research and Development Institute (CHRDI). According to AVIC, the AR-500CJ is a “comprehensive improvement” over the earlier lightweight AR-500B shipborne UAV developed by the company.


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RAF continues roll-out of A400M capabilities with first operational aerial refuelling

by Gareth Jennings

The view of the A400M receiver aircraft from the Voyager mission controller console. (Crown Copyright)

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is continuing the process of rolling out the capabilities of the Airbus A400M C1 Atlas, announcing on 11 August the first operational aerial refuelling of the airlifter.

For the milestone, an A400M received fuel from an Airbus Voyager KC3 tanker via the centreline hose reserved for large aircraft receivers. The airlifter was refuelled 900 n miles southwest of Ascension Island, extending its 4,100 n miles range to accommodate the remaining 2,600 n miles to Mount Pleasant Airfield on the Falkland Islands.

“The execution of long-range air-to-air refuelling by front-line crews is a major milestone for Atlas. The ability of this aircraft to operate at significant range from the UK, demonstrates our enhanced and resilient force sustainment capabilities,” said Wing Commander Stuart Patton, Officer Commanding 30 Squadron.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air-platforms/latest/china-deploys-uavs-near-taiwan-japan

Japan's Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that it spotted Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles (UA...

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