Mojave RPAS completes RN carrier demonstration

by Richard Scott

A Mojave short take-off and landing unmanned aircraft lines up for the first landing aboard a Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier. (General Atomics)

The UK Royal Navy (RN) and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) have completed a first-of-its-kind trial of GA-ASI's Mojave remotely piloted air system (RPAS) from an aircraft carrier.

Undertaken off the US east coast on 15 November as part of the RN's Westlant 23 deployment, the demonstration saw the Mojave RPAS safely execute an unassisted take-off from, and recovery to, Queen Elizabeth-class (QEC) carrier HMS Prince of Wales. This proof-of-concept was performed to generate evidence in support of the RN's broader aspirations to introduce uncrewed air assets as part of what it terms the Future Maritime Aviation Force (FMAF).

Mojave is a variant of GA-ASI's MQ-1C Gray Eagle medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) RPAS adapted for short take-off and landing (STOL) operations. Improved STOL performance is achieved by enlarged wings with high-lift devices, a ruggedised undercarriage, and a 450 hp turboprop engine.

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Indonesia begins contract negotiations for two Scorpene Evolved submarines

by Ridzwan Rahmat

An Indian Navy Scorpene submarine. Indonesia has begun negotiations to procure the Scorpene Evolved variant of the boat, which will be equipped with lithium ion batteries. (Naval Group)

Representatives from French shipbuilder Naval Group have arrived in Jakarta to begin contract negotiations for two lithium ion batteries-equipped Scorpene Evolved diesel-electric submarines (SSKs).

Separate sources have confirmed to Janes that negotiations for the possible contract began at the Indonesian Ministry of Defense's (MoD's) office on Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat on 26 February. A major point of the discussions included how the programme would be financed should a contract materialise.

As part of its offer, Naval Group has partnered with the French government's Directorate General of the Treasury to fully fund the programme via three sources of loans, Janes has been informed.

These include a credit facility with France's Banque publique d'investissement and a direct loan from the Directorate General of the Treasury, which would fund up to 85% of Naval Group's portion of the contract.

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Spanish Navy deploys counter-UAV system on Santa María-class frigate for the first time

by Neil Dee

The Santa María-class frigate Canarias with the now-removed Meroka CIWS above the hangar. The frigate has embarked a counter-UAV system for the first time. (Spanish Ministry of Defence)

The Spanish Navy has deployed a counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system on the Santa María-class frigate Canarias (F 86) for the first time ahead of the frigate's deployment to European Union Naval Force's (EU NAVFOR's) Operation ‘Atalanta' in the Indian Ocean.

Announcing the frigate's departure from Rota on 15 February the navy said that “in this deployment, and for the first time, the ship will operate specifically designed defence assets to counter the new unmanned air threats”. The addition of the counter-UAV system is likely a response to the increased threat profile in the region as a result of the attacks against commercial shipping in the Red Sea by Yemeni rebel group Ansar Allah (commonly known as Houthis).

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Greek frigate Hydra departs for Red Sea to join Operation ‘Aspides'

by Kate Tringham

The Hellenic Navy's frigate Hydra is pictured at Salamis Naval Station prior to departing for the Red Sea on 26 February. (Hellenic MoD)

The Hellenic Navy has despatched its lead Hydra (MEKO 200 HN)-class frigate to the Red Sea where it will participate in the European Union's (EU's) new maritime security mission Operation ‘Aspides'.

The EU officially launched Operation ‘Aspides' on 19 February to help protect commercial shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden from the ongoing attacks by Iran-backed Ansar Allah (commonly known as Houthis) militants in Yemen.

Hydra (F 452) set sail from Salamis Naval Station near Piraeus, Athens, bound for the Red Sea on 26 February, the Greek Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

The ship's departure follows a decision by the Greek government earlier that day to formally approve a proposal for the country to participate in and lead ‘Aspides', in addition to sending a Greek frigate.

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The UK Royal Navy (RN) and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) have completed a first-...

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