Ukraine conflict: Russian bomber base hit in airstrike

by Gareth Jennings

A file photo of a Tu-95 bomber. It was reported that two such aircraft were damaged in an attack on Engels-2 airbase in the early hours of 5 December. (UAC)

A Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) airbase that houses strategic bombers was seemingly attacked on 5 December.

Engels-2 airbase, about 400 km east of Ukraine and 700 km southeast of Moscow, was apparently struck by at least one air-launched munition in the early hours of 5 December, footage from a nearby CCTV appears to confirm. The base hosts a squadron of Tupolev Tu-95 ‘Bear' and Tu-160 ‘Blackjack' bombers.

As seen in the footage, a jet-powered missile or unmanned aircraft passed low overhead a housing complex, a few km from the base before impacting the base with a large explosion a few seconds later. Given the 29 seconds from the sound of the munition overhead the CCTV camera to the impact approximately 6 km away, the projectile was travelling at about 750 km/h.


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Swiss Air Force receives first two Hermes 900 UAVs

by Gareth Jennings

The Swiss Air Force is flying operational testing sorties on two of its planned six Elbit Hermes 900 unmanned aircraft. (Armasuisse)

The Swiss Air Force has received the first two of six Elbit Systems Hermes 900 Heavy Fuel Engine (HFE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that were ordered under the Reconnaissance Drone System 15 (ADS 15) requirement.

The Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection, and Sport (VBS) announced the milestone on 30 January, approximately nine months after Israel delivered the aircraft to the Swiss Federal Office for Armaments (Armasuisse) for in-country flight trials.

“The military aviation authority has issued the necessary certification. This means that the air force can now start building up the operational capabilities for the ADS 15 reconnaissance drone system,” the VBS said.


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Aeralis, AirTanker sign MOU to explore future training opportunities

by Gareth Jennings

The latest concept art of the Aeralis modular jet, released to mark the signing of an MOU with AirTanker. (Aeralis)

Aeralis and AirTanker have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore future flying training and air combat support opportunities.

Announced on 30 January, the MOU will see the two UK-based companies identify and assess upcoming contracts in military flying training, defence operational training, and combat air support roles for the modular jet aircraft being developed by Aeralis.

“The MOU covers a range of services that AirTanker can offer, such as collaboration with overseas partners and establishing local service provision. The MOU will involve the sharing of information and regular progress updates, as well as joint workshops to explore future collaboration opportunities. The agreement aims to use the Aeralis programme to achieve significantly lower financing, acquisition, and operating costs for aircraft compared to incumbents, paving the way for enabling a wide range of ‘on-demand' operational air support services as part of the future of air force fleets,” the announcement said.


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Ukraine to receive additional tranche of UAVs

by Olivia Savage

Quantum-Systems Vector UAV, suited for a range of reconnaissance missions and capable of operating at speeds of up to 25 m/s in challenging environments, has been selected by the Ukrainian MoD. (Quantum-Systems)

Ukraine has ordered an additional tranche of reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

According to Germany-based Quantum-Systems, the company has received a contract from Ukraine's Ministry of Defence (MoD) for 105 Vector reconnaissance UAVs.

Ukraine's armed forces will receive the systems, which have been funded by the German government, the company detailed.

Quantum-Systems was unable to comment on delivery timeframes and contract value for contractual reasons.

In addition to providing the UAVs, the company will open a facility in Ukraine that will offer user training and maintenance support, Quantum-Systems said.

This is the second contract in less than a year placed by Kyiv for the company's Vector UAV. In August 2022, Ukraine ordered 33 Vector UAVs for its armed forces, financed by the German ‘security capacity building' fund.


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A Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) airbase that houses strategic bombers was seemingly attacked on 5 D...

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