KAI proposes FA-50 for RTAF fighter requirement

by Akhil Kadidal

The KAI FA-50 is a tandem-seat light-attack aircraft in service with Poland and the Philippines, in addition to South Korea. (KAI)

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has proposed a sale of its FA-50 light fighter aircraft to the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), which seeks to acquire new combat aircraft from fiscal year (FY) 2025.

Janes understands that KAI's proposal is in response to an unofficial request for proposals (RFP) issued by the RTAF in the second half of 2023. In its 2024 White Paper, the RTAF detailed a plan to procure 12–14 fighter aircraft to replace ageing Lockheed Martin F-16A/Bs of its 102 Squadron from FY 2025 to FY 2034.

The RTAF's aircraft procurement plan was to be presented to the Thai cabinet on 2 April. However, an RTAF source told Janes on 3 April that the Thai government did not accept the RTAF's proposed budgetary request. “The air force will try again in May,” the source added.

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UK continues to open up A400M tactical capabilities, with low-level paradrop now cleared

by Gareth Jennings

A paratrooper exits one of the two side doors of the A400M during a demonstration of the aircraft's low-level parachuting capabilities. (Crown Copyright)

The United Kingdom continues to open up the tactical capabilities of the Royal Air Force's (RAF's) Airbus A400M Atlas C1 fleet, with the announcement on 14 April that the airlifter is now cleared for low-level parachuting.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that the clearance had been awarded after trials in the US in 2023 were followed by a capability demonstration by the Air and Space Warfare Centre in March.

“In a series of day and night sorties, paratroopers were dropped simultaneously from both side exit doors over Everleigh Drop Zone on Salisbury Plain [in southern England],” the MoD said, adding, “24 Squadron and the Airborne Delivery Wing will now train their instructor cadre, aircrew, and despatchers before the broader airborne force.”

As noted in the announcement, the capability demonstration involved the RAF, the British Army, Defence Equipment and Support, and Airbus.

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UDT 2024: Type 212 NFS lithium-ion battery system tests move forward

by Neil Dee

A graphic depiction of the NFS U212 submarine. (OCCAR)

Tests of the lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery system for the Italian Navy's Improved Todaro (Type 212 NFS)-class submarines are moving forward, according to the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), which manages the programme.

Speaking at the Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) 2024 conference and exhibition in London on 10 April, Commander Alessandro Irvia, Platform Officer, U212 Near Future Submarine (NFS) Programme, confirmed that a thermal propagation test conducted on 9 April had achieved positive results. The thermal propagation test was the latest in a series of tests conducted to ensure the safety of the new Li-ion battery system.

During the thermal propagation test, Cdr Irvia said that no flame or explosions were produced, only gas was released.

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Hensoldt to consider Eurofighter EK Step 2 options after buyout of ESG

by Gareth Jennings

A mock-up of the Eurofighter EK displayed at the ILA 2022 airshow in Berlin. The proposed escort jammer pod is seen in the foreground. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Hensoldt is considering how to proceed with its plans to offer a new airborne electronic attack (AEA) capability to Germany, following its recent acquisition of Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH (ESG).

A company representative told Janes on 12 April that having previously proposed a joint solution with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems for Step 2 of the Eurofighter Elektronischer Kampf (EK) electronic combat, Hensoldt is considering its position as it waits on the Luftwaffe's requirements and in light of its procurement of ESG on 2 April.

“We consider Eurofighter EK Step 2 as an important capability enhancement, which is still on the [Luftwaffe's] agenda. However, requirements and details of implementation are still under consideration [by the customer]. Therefore, we are monitoring closely the developments before drawing conclusions with regard to our further positioning,” the representative said.

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