F-35, Eurofighter ECR back in the mix for Germany

by Gareth Jennings

Seen mocked up in Luftwaffe markings in this artist's impression, the F-35 is once again being considered by Germany as a potential solution to its Tornado replacement requirement. (Lockheed Martin via Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Germany is again eyeing the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and Eurofighter Electronic Combat Role (ECR) as potential solutions to its Tornado replacement requirement.

It was reported on 8 January that the country's newly installed Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht had told Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz that the previously discounted F-35 and overlooked Eurofighter ECR were again being considered as replacements for the Luftwaffe's Panavia Tornado Interdiction and Strike/Electronic Combat Reconnaissance aircraft.

“The aim is to clarify again whether buying the more modern F-35 aircraft could be an alternative, and whether the Eurofighter [Electronic Combat Role (ECR)] could [also] be considered for a second task for the Tornado fleet [of] electronic combat,” Lambrecht was reported by the Deutsche Presse-Agentur to have told Scholz.


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Hungary discussing potential Gripen E buy from Sweden

by Gareth Jennings

Already an operator of the Gripen C/D, Hungary is now in discussions to acquire the follow-on Gripen E (pictured) combat aircraft from Sweden. (Saab)

Hungary is discussing with Sweden the possibility of acquiring Gripen E combat aircraft to add to the Gripen C/Ds it already operates, a senior Saab official said on 20 May.

With the Hungarian Air Force (HuAF) flying 14 leased Gripen C/Ds, to which in Februaryit added an order of four additional Gripen C aircraft, Åsa Thegström, vice-president and deputy head of Aeronautics at Saab, told reporters at the company's Linköping production facility in southern Sweden that talks are now being held for a potential sale of the latest Gripen E to the Eastern European country.

“We are having interesting discussions with Hungary regarding the Gripen E,” Thegström said. Deputy head of marketing and sales for the Gripen at Saab, Richard Smith, added that the HuAF is looking at the possible acquisition to fulfil its requirement to get back to two front-line operational squadrons, noting that the timeline for such a procurement is not yet known.

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Netherlands acquiring new radios and C4I system under Foxtrot

by Olivia Savage

L3Harris Technologies' AN/PRC-160 HF manpack radio, which enables forces to transmit video, voice, and data up to Top Secret Level, has been selected for the Netherlands Armed Forces. (L3Harris Technologies)

The Netherlands Ministry of Defence (MoD) is equipping its armed forces with the AN/PRC-160 HF manpack radio from L3Harris Technologies in a bid to upgrade its tactical communications as part of the Foxtrot communications programme.

The authority is also planning to acquire a new tactical command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) network for its special operations forces (SOF).

Both are new requirements stipulated in the Defence Projects Overview (DPO) 2024, published on 15 May, which provides an outline of all the planned materiel, IT, and real estate projects valued over EUR25 million (USD27.2 million).

With regard to the radio requirement, the MoD is undertaking a new, comprehensive programme to replace its ageing high-frequency (HF) communication equipment across the armed forces. Radios such as the HF7000 long-range radio, which has reached the end of its technical service life, will be replaced with L3Harris Technologies' AN/PRC-160 radio.

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Singapore Army inducts Colt's Infantry Automatic Rifle

by Kapil Kajal

Singapore Army's new light machine gun. (Singapore Ministry of Defence/Janes)

The Singapore Army has initiated inducting Colt's Infantry Automatic Rifle 6940 (IAR6940) as its new section automatic weapon (SAW) to replace ST Engineering's 5.56 mm Ultimax 100 Mk2 light machine gun (LMG), which has been in service since 1982.

The service began induction of the IAR6940 LMGs – which were evaluated and procured in partnership with the state-owned Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) – in April, the Singapore Army said in a social media post on 20 May.

According to the Singapore Army, the IAR6940, locally termed as IAR6940E-SG, is a closed-bolt rifle that provides “enhanced lethality, improved ergonomics, and customisation to better suit the needs of our soldiers”.

The rifle is fitted with “new” sighting systems such as a red dot sight paired with a 3x magnifier scope, the Singapore Army said.

“The combination of these two sighting systems assists our soldiers to acquire targets more rapidly and accurately,” the service added. The rifle is also equipped with a multi-purpose laser aiming device (LAD), which has four modes: visible, infrared laser, infrared illuminator, and white-light torch, the service said.

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