Estonia orders long-range loitering munitions from IAI
05 May 2023
by Nicholas Fiorenza
Estonia has ordered long-range loitering munitions from IAI. (ECDI)
Estonia has ordered long-range loitering munitions from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI) and the Israeli company announced in a joint press release on 2 May. The ECDI and IAI said it was one of the most expensive defence procurements Estonia has undertaken, “significantly increasing its indirect fire capabilities”. An ECDI spokesperson told Janes on 5 May that the contract is valued at over EUR100 million (USD110 million), declining to give the exact amount.
The IAI sent a press release with photos of its Mini Harpy and Harop loitering munitions, and ECDI's photos from the signing of the contract included a mock-up of a Mini Harpy at the ceremony. However, the spokesperson only stated that the ECDI is acquiring “products from the IAI family of loitering munitions… We cannot specify the quantities of the ammunition to be procured”.
In addition to long-range loitering munitions, Estonia is procuring extended-range artillery ammunition, anti-ship missiles, and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs).
Anduril unveiled a reusable, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) air vehicle on 1 December. The twin turbojet-powered vehicle, dubbed Roadrunner, can be fitted with modular payloads, while the Roadrunner-M (Munition) is intended as a counter-unmanned aircraft
The company said in a statement that the Roadrunner is capable of “high subsonic speeds and extreme maneuverability”, though specifications were not immediately available.
The Roadrunner can be launched from a dedicated container, which Anduril described as a “networked, automated hangar”, and comes equipped with three extendable landing legs such that it can be recovered should it not be expended during a mission.
“This … shift in thinking allows for large-scale defensive launches at … low cost, increasing redundancy for higher probability of lethality and enhancing the ability to simultaneously engage many targets,” said the company.
The craft can be networked, such that a single operator could control multiple Roadrunners.
Anduril had not responded to questions at the time of publication.
The US Air Force said the Bell Boeing CV-22B involved in the mishap was an aircraft from the 353rd Special Operations Wing. The unit operates its CV-22Bs from Yokota Air Base near Tokyo. (US Air Force)
A Bell Boeing CV-22 Osprey of the US Air Force (USAF) has crashed in Japanese waters.
In a statement later on 29 November US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) said the CV-22B Osprey from the 353rd Special Operations Wing was involved in the “mishap”.
The aircraft was “performing a routine training mission off the shore of Yakushima Island, Japan, with eight airmen on board,” the AFSOC statement said, adding that the aircraft had taken off from Yokota Air Base.
According to AFSOC, the crew's condition was “unknown” as of 0030 h local time on 30 November. “Emergency personnel are on scene conducting search-and-rescue operations. The cause of the mishap is currently unknown,” AFSOC said.
In a press conference in Tokyo later on 29 November Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Hiroyuki Miyazawa said the CV-22 “made an emergency water landing off the coast of Yakushima” at 1440 h local time.
A model of the Airbus SIRTAP UAS, displayed in Paris at Eurosatory 2022. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)
Spain has acquired the Airbus SIRTAP unmanned aircraft system (UAS), the manufacturer announced on 29 November.
The Spanish Ministry of Defence (MoD) has contracted nine systems comprising a total of 27 air vehicles and nine ground control stations. Two simulators have also been acquired.
“Airbus has signed a contract with the Spanish Ministry of Defence for the development and acquisition of SIRTAP, a high-performance tactical UAS that will reinforce the tactical capabilities of the Spanish Army and the Air and Space Force,” Airbus said. The MoD said that the contract value was “close to” EUR495 million (USD543 million).
Having originally launched SIRTAP with Colombia, this contract with Spain now formally kick-starts Airbus' development of the UAS that is being billed as sitting midway between the light tactical and medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) classes.
Claire Chu, Janes senior China analyst joins Harry Kemsley and Sean Corbett to discuss how China's economic activity projects influence globally and what she learnt as part of the recent US Congressional staff delegation to China.