Iraq returns CH-4 UAV to service

by Jeremy Binnie

One of the IAAC's CH-4s displayed with AR-1 missiles and FT-9 bombs at Balad Air Base. (Iraqi Ministry of Defence)

The Iraqi Army Aviation Command (IAAC) has returned its first Chinese-made CH-4 armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to service, it was announced on 8 August, when Minister of Defence Juma Enad Saadoun visited the IAAC area of Balad Air Base.

The Iraqi Ministry of Defence (MoD) released a video showing Saadoun being shown a ground control station and watching a CH-4 armed with AR-1 laser-guided missiles and FT-9 bombs take-off.

Saadoun said in the video that the UAVs played a large role in the war against the Islamic State extremist group, but were put in storage in 2017 because of their age. A contract was signed with the manufacturer in 2021 to return them to service and the work began about a month ago, he said.

The Iraqi MoD unveiled the CH-4s in October 2015 but did not reveal how many it had acquired.


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Indra to install satcom terminals for Norwegian military

by Olivia Savage

Indra to implement satcom antennas (pictured) to enable the Norwegian military to access the WGS constellation directly. (Indra)

Indra was awarded a contract by the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency to install satellite communication (satcom) ground segments as part of the Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) satellite constellation.

Indra plans to implement X- and Ka-band nodes (antennas), “which will act as a gateway between user terminals at various locations for the WGS constellation”, the company announced on 6 October.

These WGS-certified antennas will utilise the constellation to provide satcom services, the announcement added.

According to information disclosed by the company to Janes, the terminals will enable the Norwegian military to access the WGS constellation directly and facilitate the “sharing of satellite communication between military users”.

The company added that “these terminals are to be used by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, nevertheless, as they are WGS-certified, other end-users in the WGS constellation can acquire these terminals from Indra”.

They were unable to detail the value and delivery timeframes of the contract.


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SpearUAV unveils Viper micro-tactical loitering munition

by Robin Hughes

SpearUAV is developing a new, micro-tactical loitering munition with a precision-strike capability. (SpearUAV)

SpearUAV has detailed the development of an ultra-lightweight micro-tactical loitering munition (LM) for small tactical units − squad level and below − with a precision-strike capability against moving and stationary line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight targets.

A company spokesperson provided Janes with an update of this company-funded initiative that is the latest addition to its unmanned air system (UAS) capabilities, which include the Ninox 103 underwater submarine-launched and the Ninox 40 MT (micro-tactical) UASs.

The new Viper concept provides for a series of different calibre, lightweight, modular payloads, optionally recoverable, low acoustic/radar cross-section/thermal signature, folding quadcopter intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR)/LM systems housed in ruggedised, ready-to-deploy, hermetically sealed ‘smart' capsules. Each capsule is furnished with an integrated proprietary launch mechanism, and the capsule also acts as a wireless router between the encapsulated loitering system and the user command-and-control (C2)/ground station.


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US Navy fast-tracks contract for MQ-9 SkyTower II airborne network extension

by Richard Scott

An artist's rendering showing an MQ-9A Block 5-25 in VMU-1 colours. The SkyTower ANE pod is carried beneath the MQ-9A's left wing stores station. (NAVAIR)

The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has fast-tracked an order to provide US Marine Corps (USMC) MQ-9A Reaper unmanned air systems (UASs) with an improved airborne network extension (ANE) capability.

In a 3 October announcement, NAVAIR said it had awarded an USD8.4 million contract to multiple vendors for delivery of the SkyTower II (ST II) capability. ST II is a podded ANE solution designed to provide cross-domain communications and data relay capability for the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Unmanned Aircraft System Expeditionary (MUX) MQ-9A Block 5-25 Reaper Medium Altitude Long-Endurance air vehicle.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air-platforms/latest/iraq-returns-ch-4-uav-to-service

The Iraqi Army Aviation Command (IAAC) has returned its first Chinese-made CH-4 armed unmanned aeria...

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