Quick-fielding contracting model touted for US Navy Task Force 59 unmanned systems in the Middle East
26 May 2022
by Michael Fabey
The US Navy Task Force 59 is experimenting with Saildrone platforms. (Saildrone)
The contracting model employed by US Navy (USN) Task Force 59 (TF 59) makes it possible to field, test, and evaluate unmanned systems quickly in the Middle East, according to Michael Stewart, USN Unmanned Task Force lead.
“Task Force 59 is using a fee-for-service contracting model,” Stewart said on 25 May during a media roundtable update on unmanned systems' work. “They can get stuff out there really quick. They see it, lease it, get it into the theatre and test it.”
Established by the US 5th Fleet in September 2021, TF 59 works closely with members of industry and academia as well as other experts to provide operator feedback and help drive the innovation process forward for unmanned systems.
TF 59 is testing the limits of commercial technology, Stewart noted. “They are trying to get to the leading edge of commercial [technology] and see what the gaps are.”
In particular, he cited the task force's work with Martac unmanned surface vessels (USVs) and Saildrone unmanned platforms.
RAF grounds Hawk T2 training jets following engine problem
27 January 2023
by Gareth Jennings
All 28 of the RAF's Hawk T2 jet trainer aircraft have been grounded while the MoD investigates an engine issue. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has grounded its fleet of BAE Systems Hawk T2 training aircraft following a runway engine incident at the type's homebase in North Wales.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed the temporary flight suspension to
on 26 January, saying the precautionary measure had been put in place pending the result of an investigation into a ground-based engine issue.
“Post a recent issue on the runway involving a RAF Hawk T2 engine, as a precautionary measure, flying has been temporarily paused pending the results of the technical investigation,” the MoD told
The RAF has 28 Hawk T2 advanced jet trainer (AJT) aircraft providing fast jet pilot training at RAF Valley on the island of Anglesey.
Lockheed Martin rolls out first KC-130J for Germany
27 January 2023
by Gareth Jennings
The first KC-130J Hercules tanker-transport aircraft for Germany was rolled out of Lockheed Martin's Marietta production facility in Georgia on 26 January. (Lockheed Martin)
The first Lockheed Martin KC-130J tanker-transport aircraft for Germany was rolled out of the company's Marietta production facility in Georgia on 26 January.
The Luftwaffe has to date received two ‘stretched' C-130J-30 airlifters that it operates with the French Air and Space Force (Armee de l'Air et de l'Espace: AAE) as part of the joint C-130 air-transport squadron.
With the Luftwaffe contributing three KC-130J and three C-130J-30 aircraft, the AAE is providing two KC-130Js and two C-130J-30s for a combined fleet of five KC-130Js and five C-130J-30s. France has received all of its aircraft, while Germany's deliveries are due to be complete by the end of 2024.
The C-130 air-transport squadron at Évreux-Fauville Air Base in northern France will have unrestricted exchange of aircraft, aircrews, and maintainers, as well as technical and logistical support based on a common pool of spare parts and a common service support contract. “Ten aircraft, two nations, one association – there has never been anything like this in Europe,” the Bundeswehr has previously said.
Japan, Sweden sign deal for possible GCAP co-operation
26 January 2023
by Jon Grevatt
An artist's impression of the Global Combat Air Programme aircraft formed as a result of a merger of the UK-Italian Tempest and Japanese F-X projects. (Crown Copyright)
Japan and Sweden have signed an agreement that could enable the Scandinavian country to play a role in the new Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP).
The two countries signed the ‘Agreement on the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology' in late December 2022, about two weeks after GCAP partners – Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom – announced the joint fighter aircraft programme on 9 December.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) told
that the agreement provides a formal framework for deeper bilateral defence-technology engagement. The MoD said the accord will initially facilitate talks between Japan and Sweden to identify areas of collaboration, including – potentially – GCAP.
“The details of defence equipment and technology co-operation with Sweden, including the next-generation fighter development, will be determined through the exchange of views between [the countries] in the future,” said a Japanese MoD spokesperson. “Therefore, at this point, it is premature to mention what areas it is possible to co-operate in.”
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