IFC 2022: Airbus reveals ‘heavy loyal wingman' concept for FCAS

by Gareth Jennings

An Airbus briefing slide showing the modular nature of the heavy RC concept. (Airbus via Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Airbus has showcased a new modular concept for an armed ‘heavy loyal wingman' to be operated as part of the wider Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

Shown at the International Fighter Conference 2022 (IFC 2022), taking place in Berlin on 16 November, the Remote Carrier (RC) concept features a common fuselage with interchangeable mission and weapon systems to suit the needs of the mission.

As depicted in the artwork, the heavy RC features three interchangeable radar payloads for air-to-air, air-to-ground, and electronic attack, respectively. An internal weapons bay can carry jamming pods or a range of munitions or effectors, including two MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAMs), two GBU-54 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), four MBDA Select Precision Effects At Range-Electronic Warfare (SPEAR-EW) effectors, or two smaller ‘light' RCs.


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Swiss Air Force receives first two Hermes 900 UAVs

by Gareth Jennings

The Swiss Air Force is flying operational testing sorties on two of its planned six Elbit Hermes 900 unmanned aircraft. (Armasuisse)

The Swiss Air Force has received the first two of six Elbit Systems Hermes 900 Heavy Fuel Engine (HFE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that were ordered under the Reconnaissance Drone System 15 (ADS 15) requirement.

The Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection, and Sport (VBS) announced the milestone on 30 January, approximately nine months after Israel delivered the aircraft to the Swiss Federal Office for Armaments (Armasuisse) for in-country flight trials.

“The military aviation authority has issued the necessary certification. This means that the air force can now start building up the operational capabilities for the ADS 15 reconnaissance drone system,” the VBS said.


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Aeralis, AirTanker sign MOU to explore future training opportunities

by Gareth Jennings

The latest concept art of the Aeralis modular jet, released to mark the signing of an MOU with AirTanker. (Aeralis)

Aeralis and AirTanker have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore future flying training and air combat support opportunities.

Announced on 30 January, the MOU will see the two UK-based companies identify and assess upcoming contracts in military flying training, defence operational training, and combat air support roles for the modular jet aircraft being developed by Aeralis.

“The MOU covers a range of services that AirTanker can offer, such as collaboration with overseas partners and establishing local service provision. The MOU will involve the sharing of information and regular progress updates, as well as joint workshops to explore future collaboration opportunities. The agreement aims to use the Aeralis programme to achieve significantly lower financing, acquisition, and operating costs for aircraft compared to incumbents, paving the way for enabling a wide range of ‘on-demand' operational air support services as part of the future of air force fleets,” the announcement said.


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Ukraine to receive additional tranche of UAVs

by Olivia Savage

Quantum-Systems Vector UAV, suited for a range of reconnaissance missions and capable of operating at speeds of up to 25 m/s in challenging environments, has been selected by the Ukrainian MoD. (Quantum-Systems)

Ukraine has ordered an additional tranche of reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

According to Germany-based Quantum-Systems, the company has received a contract from Ukraine's Ministry of Defence (MoD) for 105 Vector reconnaissance UAVs.

Ukraine's armed forces will receive the systems, which have been funded by the German government, the company detailed.

Quantum-Systems was unable to comment on delivery timeframes and contract value for contractual reasons.

In addition to providing the UAVs, the company will open a facility in Ukraine that will offer user training and maintenance support, Quantum-Systems said.

This is the second contract in less than a year placed by Kyiv for the company's Vector UAV. In August 2022, Ukraine ordered 33 Vector UAVs for its armed forces, financed by the German ‘security capacity building' fund.


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Airbus has showcased a new modular concept for an armed ‘heavy loyal wingman' to be operated as part...

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