KAI developing next-generation high-speed helicopter

by Akhil Kadidal

KAI is developing a high-speed advanced helicopter as part of its ‘next-generation high-mobility helicopter' project. The aircraft is being designed to fit a South Korean military requirement to replace UH-60s. (Korea Aerospace Industries)

A new high-speed helicopter being developed by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) intends to replace Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks in service with the Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Forces.

Designated as the ‘next-generation high-manoeuvre helicopter', an industry source told Janes that KAI is conducting research and development of the new air platform.

The project was initiated after the issuance of a requirement by the South Korean government. “The Republic of Korea military is planning to replace the currently operating UH-60 helicopters with domestic high-mobility helicopters,” the source added.

Janes has learned that KAI is reviewing the required performance of the helicopter based on operational requirements announced by the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA). The project team is considering the aircraft's performance in relation to the US Future Vertical Lift (FVL) plan.

The US FVL programme will develop a family of high-speed military rotorcraft for the US armed forces.

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Poland signs for AW149 helicopters

by Gareth Jennings

Poland is acquiring 32 AW149s to replace ageing Mi-2 and W-3 helicopters. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

Poland has signed for Leonardo AW149 helicopters, two weeks after the country's defence minister said a deal would be sealed “in the near future”.

Signed at the PZL-Świdnik production plant in southeastern Poland on 1 July, the deal covers 32 helicopters to be delivered from 2023 to 2029, as well as spares, support, and training.

“The AW149 helicopters, in a configuration corresponding to the needs of the Polish Armed Forces, will be equipped with, among others,[electro-optical] systems, machine guns, guided and unguided missiles, and self-defence systems. The armament, depending on the variant of the helicopter's use, may be installed in the cabin or on the helicopter's hardpoints,” the Polish government said, adding that the helicopters will be used for troop and cargo transport, command-and-control, medical evacuation, and combat search-and-rescue.

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Greece submits letter of request for F-35

by Gareth Jennings

With an Italian aircraft displayed at the recent ILA Air Show in Berlin, the F-35 is set to acquire a new European customer with Greece having submitted a letter of request to the US government. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Greece's plans to acquire the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) have taken a step forward, with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis saying on 30 June that a letter of request (LOR) had been sent to the United States.

According to Reuters, Mitsotakis made the disclosure at the NATO Madrid Summit in Spain, saying that Greece intends to buy 20 F-35As to equip two squadrons, and that further procurement batches may follow.

With the LOR now submitted, Mitsotakis said that, subject to the usual processes, deliveries are expected to begin from 2027 or 2028.

The Hellenic Air Force (HAF) is looking to acquire the F-35A as part of a wider ramp-up of its combat aviation forces, which has seen delivery of Dassault Rafales from France and upgrades to its existing fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons.

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Japan to conduct combustion flight test of scramjet engine

by Akhil Kadidal

ATLA is working to develop a scramjet engine to power various hypersonic vehicles, including a cruise missile. (ATLA/Japan MoD)

Japan is preparing to conduct the first combustion flight test of its in-development scramjet engine. The engine is intended to power various hypersonic vehicles to bolster the country's ability to defend outlying islands.

Speaking to Janes , Japan Ministry of Defense's (MoD's) Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Agency (ATLA) said that the flight test will be conducted on 23 July 2022 at the Uchinoura Space Center of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The flight is expected to provide critical information to advance the project.

“The aim of this research project is to acquire a model that estimates [the] in-flight combustion phenomenon in [the] scramjet engine,” ATLA said, adding that results will be compared with data obtained from ground-based wind tunnel tests.

The agency added that it will also build and evaluate a numerical model analysis to “correct and predict data during the actual flight”.

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