Chile buys three Boeing E-3D Sentry aircraft from UK

by Santiago Rivas

Chile has acquired three former RAF Sentry AEW1 aircraft, one of which will be used for spares. (Crown Copyright)

The Chilean Air Force (FACh) has purchased three Boeing E-3D Sentry airborne early warning Mk 1 (AEW1) aircraft from the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) for an undisclosed amount, FACh sources told Janes .

The aircraft, one of which will be used for spare parts, will replace the FACh's single Boeing 707-385C that was modified in Israel for AEW missions, called IAI Phalcon in Israel and Cóndor in Chile.

The RAF retired the last of its E-3D in 2021, when the FACh started negotiations to buy three. A source told Janes that crews and technicians were sent to the UK in late 2021 to inspect the aircraft and create training courses on their operation. The E-3Ds could fly to Chile this year, the source added.

The 707 Cóndor is near the end of its operational life. Built in 1965 it served as Boeing's demonstrator and testbed before being sold in 1969 to LAN Chile airline and then to the FACh in 1990.

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Singapore Airshow 2024: Chinese AR-500 rotary-wing UAV gets teeth

by Akhil Kadidal

A model of AVIC's new AR-500W rotary-wing UAV displayed at Singapore Airshow 2024 shows that it is armed with a substantial missions and weapons payload. (Janes/Akhil Kadidal)

The Aviation Industry Corporation of China's (AVIC's) AR-500 rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) being developed for naval (including carrier-borne) operations appears to be now armed with missiles and a heavy gun.

The model of an export variant of the UAV, the AR-500W, was unveiled during the Singapore Airshow 2024 held from 20 to 25 February. This AR-500W model was shown with two CM-502KG missiles on either side of the body, under stub wings, and a potential 12.7 mm heavy machine gun in a ventral position. The model also contained an electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) pod.

The CM-502KG is an air-to-surface missile commonly integrated with Chinese UAVs. China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) earlier said that the CM-502KG is a lightweight missile with a 25 km range. Its 11 kg warhead is optimised for precise strikes against land- or sea-based targets, the company added.

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Collins concerns: Australian submarines face upgrade challenge

by Julian Kerr

HMAS Waller sails through Sydney Harbour as the boat prepares to berth at Fleet Base East, Sydney. Commissioned in July 1999, HMAS Waller is the third of six RAN Collins-class submarines. (Commonwealth of Australia)

Although planning is well-advanced for the Life of Type Extension (LOTE) planned for all six of the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) conventionally powered Collins-class submarines, some question marks hang over the schedule and implementation of the multibillion-dollar programme.

The LOTE will keep the Collins-class boats operationally capable and available into the 2040s, supporting the RAN's transition to nuclear-powered submarines, initially with three Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) acquired from the United States as soon as the early 2030s, while retaining the option to seek two more if needed.

In addition, construction of Australia's first SSN-AUKUS, based on the UK's next-generation design and incorporating technology from all three AUKUS partner countries (Australia, the UK, and US), will begin at Osborne in South Australia at the end of this decade. Delivery of the first Australian-built SSN-AUKUS to the RAN is anticipated in the early 2040s.

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Singapore Air Show 2024: Elbit unveils new Hermes 650 tactical UAV

by Akhil Kadidal

According to Elbit Systems, the Hermes 650's front-engine configuration is designed to support several capabilities such as short take-off, increased endurance, and the ability to support a diverse payload. (Elbit Systems/Janes)

Elbit Systems unveiled its new front-engine Hermes 650 Spark tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on 21 February at Singapore Air Show 2024.

Speaking to Janes , vice-president and head of Business Development and Marketing at Elbit Systems, Ziv Avni described the Hermes 650 as being in the one-tonne category of UAVs and fitting in between the company's Skylark family of miniature UAVs and the Hermes 900 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE).

According to Avni, the UAV is currently in flight-testing, with Elbit Systems already under contract to produce an unspecified number of UAVs for an undisclosed customer country.

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The Chilean Air Force (FACh) has purchased three Boeing E-3D Sentry airborne early warning Mk 1 (AEW...

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