Update: USAF reveals B-21 Raider stealth bomber following years of secret development

by Zach Rosenberg

The B-21 Raider was unveiled to the public during a 2 December 2022 ceremony in Palmdale, California. (US Space Force Public Affairs)

The US Air Force (USAF) unveiled the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider stealth bomber on 2 December at the company's factory at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, where the aircraft was built. At least five B-21s (not including the completed example unveiled) are in various stages of production.

“If you want to talk about integrated deterrence in action, well, just look at this aircraft,” said Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin II, introducing the aircraft. “The B-21 looks imposing, but what's under the frame and space-age coatings is even more impressive.” Austin went on to praise the B-21's range, stealth, maintainability, and adaptability – but nearly all specifications were withheld and only the aircraft's front was displayed, presumably to hide the engine outlets from public view.

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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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Italian industry signs up to GCAP future fighter project

by Gareth Jennings

Although launching GCAP activities in December 2021, Italian industry officially signed up to the programme alongside Japan and the UK on 26 January. (Crown Copyright)

Italian industrial partners officially signed up to the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) on 26 January.

Leonardo, which heads GCAP development on behalf of Italian industry, announced the development, saying that the concept, assessment, and demonstration activities that will underpin Italy's participation in the programme are now under way.

“The team of Italian companies that will participate in the development of the new GCAP have signed a contract to support the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD) in the programme's new concept and assessment phase and related demonstration activities,” Leonardo said, adding that it is joined by Elettronica, Avio Aero, and MBDA Italia in progressing technology development in support of the multinational project.

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Royal New Zealand Air Force retires P-3K2 Orion aircraft

by Tim Fish

A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft is pictured at RNZAF Base Auckland in Whenuapai on 24 January. The service's fleet of three P-3K2s is being retired at the end of January following 57 years of service. (Tim Fish)

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) will retire the last three of its P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) at the end of January 2023 after 57 years of service.

At RNZAF Base Auckland in Whenuapai on 24 January, No 5 Squadron, which operates and maintains the aircraft, completed a final flypast of the three aircraft in formation. Two of the aircraft will then fly to RNZAF Base Woodbourne where the fleet is being put into storage.

The decommissioning of the last three P-3K2 Orions from the original fleet of six aircraft is taking place about six months early, before the replacement fleet of four P-8A Orion MPAs has been stood up for operations at No 5 Squadron's new home at RNZAF Base Ohakea.

Wing Commander Glen Donaldson told Janes

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The US Air Force (USAF) unveiled the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider stealth bomber on 2 December at th...

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