Bell urges UK to wait for ‘next-generation' 525 for NMH

by Gareth Jennings

A model of the 525 Relentless displayed at the IQPC International Military Helicopter conference in London. Bell is to pitch the platform for the UK's New Medium Helicopter requirement. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) should wait for the Bell 525 Relentless so as to field “a next-generation rotorcraft capability” for its New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement, Joel Best, director of EUMECAA global military sales and strategy, told Janes on 16 February.

Speaking at the IQPC International Military Helicopter conference being held in London from 15–17 February, Best said that Bell absolutely intends to bid its 525 for the UK NMH requirement, and with its current certification process with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on track to conclude in the fourth quarter of 2022 (subject to all FAA submittals and approvals being returned in a ‘reasonable' timeframe), the MoD would not need to delay for long.

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Sweden to acquire additional GlobalEye AEW&C aircraft, accelerate entry into service

by Gareth Jennings

With two GlobalEyes now under contract, Sweden is to acquire an additional aircraft and accelerate the type's entry into service. (Saab)

Sweden is to add to its order of two Saab S 106 GlobalEye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, at the same time as fast-tracking the type's entry into service.

The Swedish government made the disclosures as part of a wider announcement of military aid to Ukraine published on 29 May. In the announcement, the government said that its commitment to donate one of the Swedish Air Force's (SwAF's) two Saab ASC 890 AEW&C airframes would be backfilled by an increased and accelerated order of the GlobalEye.

“The donation [of a Saab ASC 890 AEW&C aircraft] will entail a temporary decrease of Sweden's defence capability, which will be addressed by procuring additional S 106 GlobalEye aircraft and advancing previous orders for two new GlobalEye aircraft,” the government announcement on the military aid package to Ukraine said.

The Swedish government contracted Saab in June 2022 to deliver two GlobalEye aircraft, with the option for two more. In response to a request for further information on the latest announcement, the SwAF told Janes

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Kuwait making progress on moving airbase

by Jeremy Binnie

Kuwaiti Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Bandar Al-Muzain inspects the new Abdullah al-Mubarak Air Base site. (Kuwait Armed Forces)

The Kuwait Armed Forces revealed that progress is being made on relocating Abdullah al-Mubarak Air Base when they announced on 28 May that Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Bandar al-Muzain had inspected the project.

Abdullah al-Mubarak is the airbase at Kuwait International Airport, but it is in the process of being moved due to a major expansion of the civilian airport.

The Kuwait Armed Forces released photographs showing Lt Gen Al-Muzain inspecting a hangar with one of the air force's Sikorsky S-92A VIP passenger helicopters and a second larger hangar that is under construction.

The photographs enabled the new Abdullah al-Mubarak site to be identified next to Cargo City, which was opened in May 2019 as an interim location for the US Air Force's presence at the Kuwaiti airbase. The new bases are located between the old airport and the new third runway.

For more information on Cargo City, please seeUS opens interim cargo terminal at Kuwait International Airport .

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Hungary to adapt L-39NG for future Gripen training needs

by Gareth Jennings

Under the terms of an MOU signed between Aero Vodochody and Saab, the L-39NG (pictured) is to be adapted to meet the future Gripen training requirements of the Hungarian Air Force. (Aero Vodochody)

Hungary is to adapt the Aero Vodochody L-39NG aircraft to meet the future advanced jet trainer requirements of its Saab Gripen combat fleet.

The Czech and Swedish airframers announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 29 May, with the two companies working to explore options to adapt the L-39NG to meet the Gripen C/D training needs of the Hungarian Air Force (HuAF).

“The primary objective of the co-operation, where Saab has the role of subcontractor to Aero Vodochody, is to conduct a feasibility study for a modification of the L-39NG aircraft to enable Hungarian pilot training from basic to advanced training,” the MOU announcement said. “The results of the first phase of the collaboration will be subsequently used for a comprehensive joint study aimed at developing a new pilot interface and avionics system for the L-39NG aircraft to make it compatible with the Hungarian Gripen fighter aircraft.”

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