Singapore to acquire eight F-35A fighters in addition to 12 F-35B variants

by Ridzwan Rahmat

A Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft takes off with a payload of GBU-12 bombs during an exercise in 2021. Singapore is procuring eight F-35A airframes in addition to the 12 F-35Bs announced earlier. (Commonwealth of Australia)

Singapore will procure eight conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variants of the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft in addition to the 12 F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) versions it is acquiring.

The matter was confirmed by Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen during a parliamentary address on 28 February and through statements issued via his and the Ministry of Defence's (MINDEF's) official social media channels on the same day.

“Globally, there are close to 2,500 F35s on order, a healthy pipeline. Because of that, the F-35 is now priced more competitively, comparable to the F-15EX. Its battlefield successes have prompted more countries to jump onboard the programme. MINDEF will capitalise on this window of opportunity to accelerate our F-35 programme,” Ng said.


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US Navy begins European Triton operations

by Gareth Jennings

A file photo of a Triton UAV. The US Navy HALE UAV has joined the US Air Force Global Hawk and NATO Phoenix UAVs now operating out of Sigonella in Italy. (US Navy)

The US Navy (USN) has commenced operations of its Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime System (BAMS) in the European theatre, with the first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) departing Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella in Sicily for its first sortie on 17 April.

The milestone was logged by online flight tracking services about two weeks after the USN announced in late March that the first of an undisclosed number of UAVs had arrived in its Sixth Fleet area of operations.

Derived from the Block 30 RQ-4N naval variant of the RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) UAV, the Triton has been developed to provide the USN with a persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability in support of a full range of military operations that includes signals intelligence, communications relay, and search and rescue.


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Navy League 2024: Australia's Hypersonix Launch Systems prepares to demonstrate DART scramjet-powered aircraft for DIU

by Jeremiah Cushman

A computer-generated image of the Hypersonix Launch Systems scramjet-powered DART hypersonic testbed. (Hypersonix Launch Systems)

Hypersonix Launch Systems, headquartered in Brisbane, is building a hypersonic test vehicle for the Defense Innovation Unit's (DIU's) hypersonic and high-cadence testing capabilities (HyCAT) programme. DIU issued a solicitation for the project in September 2022. Hypersonix Launch Systems was awarded a contract for scoping the work in March 2023, and a launch contract in September 2023, Matt Hill, Hypersonix Launch Systems CEO, told Janes on 9 April at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space 2024 global maritime exposition in National Harbor, Maryland.

The programme calls for an airborne test vehicle “that can maintain speeds above Mach 5 with a manoeuvrable/non-ballistic flight profile and at least a three-minute flight duration with near-constant flight conditions”, according to a DIU statement in April 2023.

Construction of the first DART air vehicle is under way, and Hypersonix Launch Systems recently completed the component-level preliminary design review, Hill said. Rocket Lab will provide the launch capabilities for the system for the initial test flight.


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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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Singapore will procure eight conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variants of the Lockheed Marti...

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