China test-flies ‘improved' carrierborne UAV

by Akhil Kadidal

With several design changes and potentially a new engine, the AR-500CJ (depicted at the top) appears to be larger than the AR-500C variant, which first flew in 2020. However, AVIC has not disclosed the dimensions of the AR-500CJ. (Janes)

China has claimed the successful test-flying of a new vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) intended for service aboard the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's larger surface vessels. This includes aircraft carriers.

In an announcement on its official blog on 10 August, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) said that its AR-500CJ unmanned helicopter had made its first flight at Poyang in Jiangxi province.

The aircraft was developed by the company's China Helicopter Research and Development Institute (CHRDI). According to AVIC, the AR-500CJ is a “comprehensive improvement” over the earlier lightweight AR-500B shipborne UAV developed by the company.

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NATO seeks to optimise SOF airframes to match peer adversaries

by Andrew White

Croatian ‘Hip'-series helicopters at the NATO Multinational SOF Aviation Centre in Zadar, Croatia. (Croatian MoD)

NATO Special Operations Forces (SOF) is considering how to best optimise their aviation capabilities as attention shifts from counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency campaigns to operations against peer adversaries.

Addressing the Global SOF Europe Symposium in Budapest, Hungary, on 6 October, Lieutenant Colonel René Van Riet, Royal Netherlands Air Force, NATO SOF Headquarters Air Development Programme (ADP), said SOF aviation capabilities across the alliance were not as well developed as land capabilities are.

“No, we don't have enough aviation assets,” he said. “ADP has already existed for 10 years, and we're still at the beginning of building that capability within all the countries,” he added, describing how the ADP continued to encourage NATO members to learn from partner forces operating mature Special Operations Air Task Units.

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Japan, South Korean, US navies conduct ballistic missile exercise after Pyongyang's show of force

by Ridzwan Rahmat

The Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Chancellorsville (foreground) along with the JMSDF destroyer JS Chokai (background) and Republic of Korea Navy guided-missile destroyer ROKS Sejong Daewang conduct a trilateral ballistic missile defence exercise in the Sea of Japan on 6 October. (US Navy)

The navies of Japan, South Korea, and the US have conducted a joint ballistic missile defence (BMD) exercise in response to Pyongyang's recent show of force.

The drills were conducted in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) on 6 October, according to a statement released by the US Pacific Fleet on the same day. It was done as a response to North Korea's launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) that flew over Japan on 4 October, said the service.

“This exercise enhances the interoperability of our collective forces and demonstrates the strength of the trilateral relationship with our Japan and Republic of Korea allies, which is forward-leaning, reflective of our shared values, and resolute against those who challenge regional stability,” the service added in its statement.

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Spain launches Hornet and Harrier replacement efforts

by Gareth Jennings

Spain has a need to replace its Hornet (pictured) and Harrier aircraft, for which both the Eurofighter and F-35 are being considered. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Spain has launched its national Boeing EF-18 Hornet and McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II replacement efforts, with fiscal year (FY) 2023 funding now allocated to both projects.

The General State Budget published on 6 October disclosed that EUR220 million (USD216 million) has been allocated for the year to commence the process of replacing the Hornet (referred to in the document under its C-15 national designation) in Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire Español [EdAE]) and Harrier (VA.2) in Spanish Navy (Armada) service.

According to the document, EUR130 million is earmarked for the Hornet replacement in FY23, with a further EUR90 million to replace the Harrier and for Phase 2 of the Hornet replacement. In all, EUR10.75 billion is to be allocated to both projects up to 2028.

The disclosure of the allocation of funding for the Hornet and Harrier comes about 11 months after the Spanish Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed to Janes

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China has claimed the successful test-flying of a new vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned ...

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