PLA's drills intended to show capabilities to invade Taiwan

by Akhil Kadidal

Taiwan air force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets prepare to take off from Hualien Air Force Base on 6 August 2022. The aircraft were scrambled to monitor PLA live-fire drills around the island. (Annabelle Chih/Getty Images)

A series of drills conducted by China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) recently are intended to demonstrate its warfighting capabilities to invade Taiwan.

The drills, which began on 4 August, were officially started to illustrate Beijing's displeasure over a 2 August visit by the US House of Representatives Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. However, the state-owned newspaper, Global Times, said on 6 August that the military drills not only promote reunification of Taiwan with the mainland but also “rehearsed a potential real operation”.

Between 4 and 7 August, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) disclosed 113 incursions by PLA aircraft into the country's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). Out of these, at least 78 incursions involved PLA aircraft crossing the median line. This line is the de facto sea border separating China from Taiwan.

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Development of RASH-2H glide munition approaches completion

by Huw Williams

The RASH-2H (left) is a clean-sheet design, while the RASH-2M (middle) and RASH-1M (right) use modified mortar bombs. (EDGE Group)

Abu Dhabi-based ADASI is in the “final stages of development and qualification” of its RASH-2H guided munition.

Speaking during a media briefing, Mohamed Al Nuaimi, senior programme manager, engineering and technology at ADASI, said that the RASH-2H will soon enter production.

Al Nuaimi said that the munition is a clean-sheet design, while the earlier RASH-1M and RASH-2M add a guidance kit to mortar bombs that also feature modified fuzes to enable their air-launched profile.

According to company data, the RASH-2H is fitted with an 11.6 kg high-explosive fragmentation warhead that is made up of 10,700 fragments and has a lethal radius of up to 60 m. Like the RASH-1M and RASH-2M, the newest member of the family utilises global positioning system (GPS) and inertial navigation system (INS) guidance. However, it can also undertake a cursor-on-target engagement via an optional electro-optic/infrared payload in the nose of the munition that uses an ultra-high frequency (UHF) datalink. Al Nuaimi said that a semi-active laser (SAL) seeker is on the product road map for the RASH-2H.

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France to receive long-awaited Patroller UAVs

by Victor Barreira

The first Patroller UAVs are to be delivered to the DGA shortly. (Safran)

The Tactical Drone System (Système de Drone Tactique: SDT) for the French Army is soon to achieve a major milestone with delivery of the first Safran Electronics & Defense Patroller fixed-wing tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the French defence procurement agency (Direction générale de l'armement: DGA).

An initial five UAVs and two ground control stations will be delivered to the DGA in December, the company's press officer, Pascal Debergé, told Janes.

The company was awarded a EUR350 million (USD343 million) contract on 5 April 2016 to supply 14 Patroller UAVs, six ground control stations, and associated training and support to increase the intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability of the 61st Artillery Regiment, replacing the Safran Sperwer UAV.

The Patroller is a medium-altitude, long-endurance platform based on the Stemme ECARYS ES15 utility aircraft that can operate for up to 15 hours at an altitude of 16,000 ft, with a line-of-sight range of 180 km and a maximum speed of 200 km/h.

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French Navy boosts ISTAR with Aliaca UAV

by Victor Barreira

Survey Copter, which is owned by Airbus Defence and Space, is developing an improved version of the Aliaca with increased range and autonomy. (Victor Barreira)

The French Navy is boosting its ability to conduct airborne day-and-night intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions from surface ships thanks to the Survey Copter Aliaca fixed-wing tactical mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The electrically powered UAV was deployed from the PHM Commandant Ducuing (F795) patrol ship during NATO's maritime unmanned systems exercise ‘Dynamic Messenger 22' that took place in Portugal in late September.

In all, 22 UAVs, ground control stations, training, and a 10-year support package were purchased in the last quarter of 2020 by the French defence procurement agency (Direction générale de l'armement: DGA) for EUR19.7 million (USD19.5 million) to meet the requirements of the Système de Mini Drones aériens embarqués de la Marine (SMDM) programme.

Each SMDM system is made of two UAVs. The initial three systems were received in June, with deliveries to be complete at the beginning of 2023.

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