An artist's impression of the Protector RG1 in UK service. The type will be flown by 31 and 13 squadrons. (GA-ASI via Janes/Gareth Jennings)
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has named 13 Squadron as its second unit to operate the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9B Protector RG1 medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, made the announcement on 15 September, noting that 13 Squadron will join 31 Squadron (both former Panavia Tornado GR4 units) in fielding the certified UAV from the type's main operating base at RAF Waddington.
“I am delighted to announce that the second squadron to operate this new aircraft will be XIII  Squadron. Equipped with Protector, squadron personnel will be capable of operating anywhere in the world providing the United Kingdom with an operational advantage by delivering intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance effect at range and speed,” ACM Wigston was quoted as saying.
A Falcon 9 launches from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, carrying the DART spacecraft on its terminal mission to the Didymos binary asteroid system. (NASA)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission payload out of Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on 24 November 2021, the first tangible mission under the US banner of ‘planetary defense'.
The spacecraft is on a circa10-month journey to cover the 6.8 million miles to the binary asteroid system Didymos, where it will deliberately impact on the 160-m diameter moonlet Dimorphos, orbiting the main Didymos asteroid.
It is anticipated that the 610 kg DART's 6.6 km/s impact will deflect Dimorphos' orbit around Didymos by several minutes, which will be ascertained by terrestrial sensors. This will in turn be verified by a European Space Agency mission named Hera, which is set to launch in 2024 and conduct high-resolution surveys of the Didymos pair from 2026.
This marks the first attempt by humanity to deliberately interfere with celestial bodies and to defend the planet from hazardous impacts.
Brazil receives series-production F-39 Gripen fighters
25 November 2021
by Victor Barreira
The four series-production F-39E fighters received by Brazil on 24 November join the F-39E FTI aircraft received in 2019. (Sgt Bianca/FAB)
The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has achieved a major milestone in the ambitious and complex effort to modernise its air combat capability with the formal receipt of an initial four series-production Saab F-39E Gripen multimission fighters.
The jets were accepted by FAB Commander Lieutenant Brigadier Carlos de Almeida Baptista Junior at the Saab Aeronautics plant in Linköping, Sweden, on 24 November.
The aircraft will be subsequently be shipped to Brazil for the FAB's Jaguar Squadron, located at the Anápolis base of Wing 2 in the State of Goiás.
The FAB's Procurement and Acquisition Center (COPAC) purchased a package of 36 Gripen NG aircraft (28 single-seat F-39Es and eight dual-seat F-39Fs) as well as two flight simulators on 24 October 2014 for SEK38.9 billion (USD4.25 billion) to meet the FAB's F-X2 requirement.
The last two fighters are scheduled to be delivered to the FAB in 2026.
Berlin Security Conference 2021: MBDA in dialogue with Germany for Enforcer Air missile for helicopters
24 November 2021
by Gareth Jennings
MBDA continues to pitch its Enforcer missile to the German government as a possible air-to-surface solution for helicopters. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)
MBDA is continuing talks with the German government over the possible acquisition of the helicopter-launched Enforcer Air precision-guided missile, as deliveries of the baseline shoulder-launched version are set to commence.
at the Berlin Security Conference 2021, Head of Sales and Marketing, Guido Brendler, said MBDA continues to pitch Enforcer Air to Germany in particular, and to the wider light attack helicopter market more generally. This is happening, he said, as the company prepares to hand over to the Bundeswehr the first shoulder-launched missiles that were contracted in late 2019.
“We are in talks with Airbus [for integration aboard the H145M operated by German special forces]. Enforcer Air is dependent on the core [shoulder-launched Enforcer] product, but that is on track with the first missiles set to be delivered this year, as we speak”, Brendler said on 24 November, adding, “The small precision guided missile requirement is there, and certainly Germany is our first gateway market [for Enforcer Air] as our reference customer [of Enforcer]”.
The Power of Geography: A conversation with Tim Marshall
In this episode of the Janes podcast, Tim Marshall, journalist and author of The Power of Geography, in conversation with Terry Pattar, examine how our politics, demographics, economies and societies are determined by geography.
Tim Marshall w...