Top Aces' F-16s will begin providing ‘Red Air' contractor-based training for the US Air Force from October. (Top Aces)
The first privately owned Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft have been contracted to provide ‘Red Air' Aggressor training for the US Department of Defense (DoD).
Top Aces Corporation announced the deal on 12 September, saying that the 29 F-16A/B ‘Netz' jets it acquired from Israel and upgraded will provide the US Air Force (USAF) with adversary air training under the Combat Air Force Contracted Air Support (CAF CAS) programme.
“Top Aces will begin training in support of USAF [Lockheed Martin] F-35A [Lightning II] and [Lockheed Martin] F-22 [Raptor] fleets next month. Valued at up to USD175 million, this five-year contract will significantly enhance the training of fifth-generation combat pilots,” the contractor said. The training will be flown out of Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida and Luke AFB in Arizona.
A still from the trailer for the documentary shows a jet-powered version of the Shahed-136 being launched. (Islamic Republic News Agency)
A previously unseen jet-powered variant of Iran's Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was shown in a trailer for a television documentary that premiered on 26 September.
The underside of the one-way attack UAV was shown as it was launched probably from a rack mounted on a vehicle. While it had the same vertical stabilisers as the Shahed-136, it did not have a piston engine or a propeller and had only one pitot tube, instead of two. A UAV that was presumably the same type was then shown hitting a target. This clearly had an air-intake for a small jet engine on top.
The UAV was not identified in the trailer and the full documentary was not available online at the time of publication. The part that was made available began with clips from foreign news broadcasts referring to the Shahed-136 being used against Ukraine, even though the Iranian government officially denies supplying them to Russia.
The first of 16 Protector air vehicles was loaded onto an An-124 transport aircraft for delivery to the UK on 29 September. (GA-ASI)
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) has delivered the first MQ-9B Protector RG1 medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to the United Kingdom.
The first of a planned 16 Protector RG1 air vehicles was loaded onto an Antonov An-124 airlifter at the company's Poway production facility in southern California on 29 September, ahead of its transatlantic crossing to Royal Air Force (RAF) Waddington in England.
The Protector is the UK-specific variant of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian, which is also known as the SeaGuardian in its dedicated maritime fit. It is designed to provide a step change in unmanned operations for the RAF, given that it will be a sovereign capability that the UK fully owns, whereas the previous MQ-9A Reaper was an urgent operational requirement for Afghanistan that was largely controlled by the United States.
Ukraine conflict: Draganfly tasked with UAV training, systems take on mine clearance duties
28 September 2023
by Akshara Parakala
Draganfly's Commander 3 XL is operational in Ukraine. (Janes/Akshara Parakala)
Draganfly has been awarded a multi-year contract by Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs to develop training programmes for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations.
Speaking to Janes, Draganfly's chief operating officer, Paul Mullen, said the five-week training programme will help UAV operators develop their intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) mission skills, as well as those for search-and-rescue (SAR) tasks.
The company has developed the training programme with operators of Draganfly and other UAVs in Ukraine.
According to a company announcement, the contract was awarded by Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs on behalf of non-governmental organisation (NGO) Heal-Corp and the Ukrainian National Academy of Internal Affairs. Mullen said the training will be provided on Draganfly UAVs, including the Draganflyer Commander2 and Commander 3 XL.
Since March 2022 Draganfly UAVs have been used to provide situational awareness and support humanitarian aid efforts, and since early 2023 they have been employed in mine detection and clearance tasks.
Mullen said the UAVs have been equipped with ground-penetrating radar (GPR), magnetometers, and multispectral and hyperspectral sensors to detect mines.
OSINT in support of the Defence Intelligence Enterprise (DIE) - part one
Robert Ashley Jr. former director of the DIA joins Harry Kemsley and Sean Corbett to discuss the use of open-source intelligence in the defence intelligence enterprise and the opportunities OSINT provides to intelligence communities.