17 February 2022
by Nicholas Fiorenza
Belgium will send 25 members of its Special Operations Regiment to the DRC in the spring to train the African country‘s 31st Rapid Reaction Brigade (photo of Belgian soldier training DRC troops). (Belgian MoD)
Belgium plans to send a military detachment to support the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by improving the capabilities of its rapid reaction brigade, the Belgian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website on 15 February.
The DRC made a request in October 2021 for Belgian military support in the areas of land navigation, tactical combat casualty care, and counter-improvised explosive device techniques. Belgium will send 25 members of its Special Operations Regiment to Lwama in Kindu in the spring to train the DRC‘s 31st Rapid Reaction Brigade.
During the first four weeks, the Belgians will train Congolese trainers, followed by eight weeks during which experts from both countries will exchange experiences. The Belgians will also provide intensive coaching to the Congolese with the objective of 31st Brigade trainers being able to provide basic training anywhere in the DRC.
22 March 2023
by Amael Kotlarski & Jeremy Binnie
Egyptian naval special forces display weapons that include an Akeron MP to a Qatari delegation at their base in Abu Qir. (Egyptian Ministry of Defense)
An Egyptian naval special forces unit is the first confirmed export customer for the MBDA Akeron MP anti-tank guided missile system, a video released by the Egyptian Ministry of Defense on 18 March revealed.
The video showed a high-level Qatari military delegation visiting several Egyptian units, including one that identified itself as the naval Special Forces Brigade, which displayed weapons and equipment that included an Akeron MP with a launcher and missile tube in tan rather than the usual green.
Developed for the French Army's requirements under the name Missile Moyenne Portée (MMP), the Akeron MP is a fifth-generation weapon that can be employed in the anti-tank, anti-structure, and anti-personnel role at ranges of more than 4 km.
It has three operating modes: lock-on-before-launch (LOBL), fire-observe-and-update, and lock-on-after-launch (LOAL)/non-line-of-sight (NLOS). Before launching a missile, the operator can select either a low trajectory for a direct attack or a high trajectory for a top attack.
22 March 2023
by Gareth Jennings
Slovakia is to receive new AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters in exchange for transferring its MiG-29s to Ukraine. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)
Slovakia is to receive Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters from the United States, in exchange for transferring its MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum' fighter fleet to Ukraine.
Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď made the announcement on 22 March, saying that 12 helicopters would be provided, as well as Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire II air-to-surface missiles.
“Thanks to our responsible defence policy, relationship with the US, and also clear support of Ukraine, we received this offer first,” Naď said on his official Facebook page. “This offer is hugely advantageous and will significantly increase the defence potential of the Slovak Republic. We currently do not have combat helicopters, so it would be a completely new combat capability.”
Naď added that the transfer is also indirect compensation from the US government for the late delivery of the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft Slovakia ordered.
The deal is valued at a little over USD1 billion, of which the Slovak government will pay USD340 million over 3–4 years, with the remainder covered by the US Foreign Military Financing (FMF) scheme.
21 March 2023
by Akhil Kadidal
The introduction of SAC J-11s in the China's flight academies has allowed the PLAAF to enhance the combat readiness of its graduating pilots. The aircraft in this photograph is shown taking off for a training session in eastern China's Zhejiang province in late August 2021. (Feature China/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force (PLAAF) and the PLA Navy (PLAN) are recruiting women to “strengthen the quality” of the “pilot talent pool”, state-owned media has said.
The PLAN announced in February that it will recruit female cadet pilots to fly carrier-based aircraft “for the first time in its recently launched 2023 recruiting programme”.
In a report on 20 February, the PLA's China Military Online said that “state cadets who pass the selection procedures … will have a chance to become China's first female carrier-based aircraft pilots”. According to China Military Online, the selection process will test the physical and psychological qualities of the candidates and their flying talent.
Belgium plans to send a military detachment to support the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by imp...
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