IMH 2024: Leonardo, Bell to explore tiltrotor options for NGRC next-gen rotorcraft

by Gareth Jennings

Leonardo and Bell are to leverage their respective AW609 (pictured) and V-22/V-280 tiltrotors for the NATO NGRC programme. (Leonardo)

Leonardo and Bell signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 29 February geared at evaluating tiltrotor options for the NATO Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) programme.

The European and US companies will pool their combined tiltrotor knowledge on the AW609 and V-22 Osprey/V-280 Valor respectively, as they look to secure the fifth concept study of the NGRC effort to develop the next generation of rotorcraft for 2035 and beyond. Leonardo will take the lead for the effort, with Bell acting in support.

The NGRC programme sees European NATO members France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK (with Canada now an observer country and set to join soon, while the US and Spain are observer countries) developing a new medium-lift rotorcraft to replace more than 900 medium platforms that will reach the end of their life cycles in the 2035–40 timeframe. With a required cruise speed of 220 kt, speed is the defining objective of this NGRC effort.

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US Army deploys Mid-Range Capability in Philippines

by Kapil Kajal

The MRC weapon system (pictured above from its trials in June 2023) is a containerised version of the Mk 41 VLS that can be integrated and fired from the bed of a M983A4 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck. (US Army)

The US Army's 1st Multi-Domain Task Force (1MDTF) has deployed its Mid-Range Capability (MRC) weapon system – also known as the Typhon Weapons System – at Northern Luzon in the Philippines as part of Exercise ‘Salaknib 24', the US Army Pacific said in a press release on 15 April.

This deployment aims to enhance the Philippines' maritime defence capabilities, while bolstering interoperability and readiness within the US-Philippine Alliance, the US Army Pacific said.

The MRC – made up of four launchers, a battery operations centre (BOC), a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle BOC support vehicle, and battery reload capability – reached the Philippines aboard the C-17 Globemaster III airframe, the US Army Pacific added.

According to the US Army Pacific, the 1MDTF's MRC is a land-based, ground-launched system that enhances multidomain fires. The MRC launchers can fire the Standard Missile (SM)-6 and the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM).

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First KC-390 airlifter arrives in Hungary ahead of official handover

by Gareth Jennings

Seen on its maiden flight in February, the first KC-390 for Hungary arrived in the country on 12 April to allow national personnel to become acquainted with the aircraft before it is officially handed over later in 2024. (Embraer)

The first of two Embraer KC-390 Millennium tanker-transport aircraft for Hungary arrived in-country on 12 April.

The milestone, which is intended to provide the Hungarian Defence Force familiarisation time with the type ahead of its official handover later in 2024, was marked by an event at Kecskemét Air Base that was attended by Hungarian government and military officials, including State Secretary for Defense Policy Zsolt Kutnyánszky.

“This short period is an excellent opportunity for Hungarian professionals to get acquainted with the technology long before the aircraft [officially] arrives,” Kutnyánszky was quoted by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as saying.

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Taiwan test-fires Sky Sword II air-defence system

by Kapil Kajal

A mock-up of the Sky Sword II – locally known as TC-2 land-based missile – is pictured at TADTE 2023. The missile structure consists of the active radar seeker, followed by the electronics section, proximity fuze, warhead, and rocket motor, ending in the exhaust. (Janes/Kapil Kajal )

The Republic of China Army (RoCA) test-fired a land-based short-to-medium-range air-defence system known as the Sky Sword II for the first time in Pingtung County, the Taiwan Ministry of National Defense (MND) said via its Military News Agency on 16 April.

The test was conducted by the RoCA's 43rd Artillery Command and 21st Artillery Command to verify the effectiveness of the system, the MND said. The Sky Sword II system “successfully hit the target” during the test, the MND added.

Sky Sword II is a medium-range air-to-air missile (AAM) for Taiwan's fighter aircraft. Based on the Sky Sword II AAM design, the island's state-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) developed a land-based Sky Sword II air-defence system and a naval variant known as Sky Sword II N.

An NCSIST official told Janes

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Leonardo and Bell signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 29 February geared at evaluating til...

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