Italy confirms P.180 EVO Plus acquisition, P.1HH cancelled

by Alessandra Giovanzanti

The Italian armed forces are procuring six new Piaggio Aerospace P.180 EVO Plus light utility aircraft, the Italian Air Force has confirmed to Janes on 20 October. (Piaggio)

The Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana – AMI) has confirmed to Janes that the country's armed forces are procuring six Piaggio Aerospace P.180 light utility aircraft to replace legacy units. Meanwhile, the P.1HH HammerHead programme has been officially cancelled.

Speaking to Janes on 20 October, a spokesperson of the press office of the AMI said that the new aircraft will be Piaggio EVO Plus models, and that these are yet to be assigned to a specific military service, be it the army, navy, air force, or Carabinieri.

However, he said that the six P.180s will replace legacy platforms and that “once the registration numbers to be retired are identified, a breakdown by service will be finalised and a decision will be made on the final configuration of the six P.180 aircraft”. Such information will likely be provided once a contract is formalised.

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Norway considers NH90 alternatives to meet coastguard requirements

by Gareth Jennings

Norway is to field 14 NH90 NFH helicopters, of which eight will be used for coastguard, and six for anti-submarine and other maritime duties. For the embarked coastguard role, the country is looking at a commercially leased alternative to meet its requirements. (NHIndustries)

Norway has issued a request for information (RFI) for alternatives to its NHIndustries NH90 helicopters that are not able to meet all of the requirements of the country's coastguard.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) told Janes on 7 December that is gauging market interest should it decide to move forward with acquiring a long-term supplemental capability to the NH90s, by leasing an embarked helicopter capability from a commercial vendor.

“The Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) is exploring opportunities to procure leased aircraft services in support of coastguard operations within the Norwegian maritime area of responsibility focusing on the igh orth the northern Atlantic, the Barents Sea, Svalbard, Jan Mayen,” the RFI stated. “The leased aircraft service will need to provide reliable and efficient embarked support to the coastguard vessels throughout the year during peacetime”

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Nammo readies SFRJ for initial THOR-ER test-firing in 2022

by Robin Hughes

Artist's impression of a THOR-ER missile powered by Nammo's SFRJ engine technology. (Nammo)

Nammo, in association with the US Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), is preparing for an initial live-fire long-range test flight of its new solid-fuel ramjet (SFRJ) motor with the US Navy's Tactical High-speed Offensive Ramjet for Extended Range (THOR-ER) missile propulsion technology demonstrator.

Jointly funded by the US Navy and US Allied Prototyping Initiative (API), and by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence and Nammo, the test will be conducted at the Andøya Test Center in Norway in early 2022.

The THOR-ER programme was launched in 2019 as a bilateral initiative between the US and Norwegian governments “to co-operatively develop and integrate advancements in solid-fuel ramjet technologies into full-size prototypes that are affordable, attain high-speeds, and achieve extended range, culminating in flight demonstrations in operationally relevant conditions”. According to the US Department of Defense (DoD), “the effort will also consider potential US and Norwegian co-production opportunities”.

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I/ITSEC 2021: Ravenswood develops new capabilities for British Army training in Kenya

by Giles Ebbutt

Ravenswood has upgraded some of its MGTS components for the British Army's TESIK contract: FREDI-T (left), O/C/M tablet (centre), ECM emulator (right). (Giles Ebbutt)

Ravenswood Solutions has developed new capabilities for its tactical engagement simulation system instrumentation for British Army training facilities in Kenya, which were showcased at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) 2021 held in Orlando, Florida, from 29 November to 3 December.

Ravenswood, in partnership with RUAG and QinetiQ, won the Tactical Engagement Simulation in Kenya (TESIK) contract in 2020, replacing Saab. Ravenswood told Janes that it was awaiting formal certification for achieving an initial operating capability, having supported three exercises in 2021 with a preliminary capability. The final acceptance tests of the new system, which is based on Ravenswood's existing mobile ground truth system (MGTS), will take place in early 2022. The first major in-service exercise with it will follow thereafter.

Ravenswood has upgraded its MGTS tracking device, the First Responder Enhanced Dismounted Instrumentation (FREDI), for the new contract. The upgraded unit, known as FREDI-T, is lighter (less than 900 g) than its predecessor, has faster update rates, and includes a multilevel personal area network (PAN) capability.

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The Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana – AMI) has confirmed to Janes that the country'...

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