Israel announces that Oron intelligence aircraft is operational

by Yaakov Lappin & Jeremy Binnie

Oron arriving at Nevatim Air Base in April 2023. (Israeli Air Force)

The Oron intelligence-gathering aircraft is carrying out missions in support of Operation ‘Iron Swords' against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on 26 March.

“The aircraft became operational quickly for use in Operation ‘Iron Swords' and has already recorded hundreds of operational flight hours and close to 100 sorties,” the MoD said in a statement.

Developed by the MoD's Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and the Israeli Air Force (IAF), the Oron is a Gulfstream G550 business jet equipped with an advanced active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar produced by IAI subsidiary Elta, as well as electro-optical and signals intelligence (SIGINT) sensors and advanced data-processing systems.

“What makes Oron unique is its ability to perform a wide range of intelligence missions in the same sortie and to transmit in real time to all relevant entities,” the MoD's statement said. It added that the aircraft can collect a larger volume of information than any other Israeli platform.


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Japan Coast Guard orders three more Airbus H225 helicopters

by Ridzwan Rahmat

A Japan Coast Guard H225 helicopter. The service has ordered three more airframes of the type. (Airbus Helicopters)

Japan's coastguard service has ordered three more Airbus H225 twin-engine helicopters.

This latest order brings the Japan Coast Guard's (JCG's) total H225 fleet to 18, including airframes that were acquired more than a decade ago, an Airbus spokesperson confirmed to Janes on 16 April.

Most recently, the JCG took delivery of three H225s in December 2023 and one in February 2024.

“The new helicopters will support territorial coastal activities, maritime law enforcement, as well as disaster relief missions in the country,” reads a statement issued by Airbus on 11 April to announce the latest JCG order.

“The Japan Coast Guard has been an active operator of the Super Puma family helicopters for three decades,” said Jean-Luc Alfonsi, managing director of Airbus Helicopters in Japan, in the media statement.

“We believe the H225 is the perfect choice for JCG's critical missions for law enforcement, as well as coastal and island protection, given its versatility in all weather conditions,” Alfonsi added.


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Australia awards contract for P-8A upgrades

by Akhil Kadidal

The Boeing P-8A is an important platform for Australia. The RAAF uses the aircraft for widespread maritime surveillance activities and for long-range submarine tracking. This photograph shows an RAAF P-8A that was deployed at Roland Garros Airport, Reunion Island, in March 2024. (Commonwealth of Australia)

Boeing has been awarded a AUD139.5 million (USD90.1 million) contract to upgrade the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF's) P-8A Poseidon fleet.

The contract, announced on 15 April, will deliver Increment 3 Block 2 software, systems, and sensor upgrades to the RAAF's P-8A fleet, improving their anti-submarine warfare (ASW), maritime strike, and intelligence-collection capabilities, according to Boeing.

The upgrade programme will commence from September 2026, the company said. The RAAF currently operates 12 P-8As, out of a total of 14 ordered, according to Janes inventory data.

“The first two aircraft to undergo the Increment 3 modification will be upgraded in Jacksonville, Florida,” Boeing said, adding that the remainder will be upgraded by Boeing Defence Australia at RAAF Base Edinburgh.

Two new P-8As (the balance of the order of 14) are scheduled to be handed over to the RAAF in 2024 and 2025, according to Boeing. Janes


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UDT 2024: IAI/Aerotor unveil APUS 25 long-range endurance quadcopter

by Kate Tringham

The APUS 25 prototype on display at UDT 2024. (Janes/Kate Tringham)

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Aerotor Unmanned Systems have joined forces to develop a novel unmanned quadcopter designed for long-range endurance missions.

The new platform, named APUS 25, was showcased for the first time at the Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) 2024 conference and exhibition, which was held in London from 8 to 10 April.

Speaking to Janes at UDT 2024, an IAI spokesperson said the vehicle incorporates new technology developed by Aerotor that promises greater flight endurance, payload carrying capacity, and manoeuvrability than comparable unmanned quadcopters on the market.

Existing multirotor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) typically have electric motors for each rotor that enable them to independently change their revolutions per minute (RPMs) for manoeuvres.

The Apus concept developed by Aerotor, however, introduces a new steering method based on a central heavy fuel internal combustion engine that powers the four blades working at a fixed RPM with a variable pitch rotor system.


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