Russian Air Force suffers significant losses in Wagner mutiny

by Gareth Jennings

A screenshot from a video shared by the Wagner paramilitary group's social media accounts shows its convoy seemingly being hit with an airstrike. (Wagner/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) suffered significant losses during the seeming mutiny of the Wagner Group on 24 June.

Footage posted online during the event showed a number of fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft types of the VKS being shot down by Wagner forces during the mercenary group's short-lived insurrection against the Russian military and political leadership.

While not possible to verify, open source footage and images indicate that one Kamov Ka-52 ‘Havoc-B' attack helicopter, four Mil Mi-8 ‘Hip' transport helicopters, one Mil Mi-35 ‘Hind-E' assault helicopter, and one Ilyushin Il-22 ‘Coot' airborne command-and-control aircraft were downed during the event. Janes has been able to ascertain that these include an Mi-8MTPR-1 electronic warfare platform, an Mi-35M, and an Il-22M11 airframe.

If correct, these aircraft losses would amount to about 29 VKS crew members killed (two for the Ka-52, three for each Mi-8 and the Mi-35, and 12 for the Il-22).

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Singapore Airshow 2024: Chinese AR-500 rotary-wing UAV gets teeth

by Akhil Kadidal

A model of AVIC's new AR-500W rotary-wing UAV displayed at Singapore Airshow 2024 shows that it is armed with a substantial missions and weapons payload. (Janes/Akhil Kadidal)

The Aviation Industry Corporation of China's (AVIC's) AR-500 rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) being developed for naval (including carrier-borne) operations appears to be now armed with missiles and a heavy gun.

The model of an export variant of the UAV, the AR-500W, was unveiled during the Singapore Airshow 2024 held from 20 to 25 February. This AR-500W model was shown with two CM-502KG missiles on either side of the body, under stub wings, and a potential 12.7 mm heavy machine gun in a ventral position. The model also contained an electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) pod.

The CM-502KG is an air-to-surface missile commonly integrated with Chinese UAVs. China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) earlier said that the CM-502KG is a lightweight missile with a 25 km range. Its 11 kg warhead is optimised for precise strikes against land- or sea-based targets, the company added.

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Collins concerns: Australian submarines face upgrade challenge

by Julian Kerr

HMAS Waller sails through Sydney Harbour as the boat prepares to berth at Fleet Base East, Sydney. Commissioned in July 1999, HMAS Waller is the third of six RAN Collins-class submarines. (Commonwealth of Australia)

Although planning is well-advanced for the Life of Type Extension (LOTE) planned for all six of the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) conventionally powered Collins-class submarines, some question marks hang over the schedule and implementation of the multibillion-dollar programme.

The LOTE will keep the Collins-class boats operationally capable and available into the 2040s, supporting the RAN's transition to nuclear-powered submarines, initially with three Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) acquired from the United States as soon as the early 2030s, while retaining the option to seek two more if needed.

In addition, construction of Australia's first SSN-AUKUS, based on the UK's next-generation design and incorporating technology from all three AUKUS partner countries (Australia, the UK, and US), will begin at Osborne in South Australia at the end of this decade. Delivery of the first Australian-built SSN-AUKUS to the RAN is anticipated in the early 2040s.

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Singapore Air Show 2024: Elbit unveils new Hermes 650 tactical UAV

by Akhil Kadidal

According to Elbit Systems, the Hermes 650's front-engine configuration is designed to support several capabilities such as short take-off, increased endurance, and the ability to support a diverse payload. (Elbit Systems/Janes)

Elbit Systems unveiled its new front-engine Hermes 650 Spark tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on 21 February at Singapore Air Show 2024.

Speaking to Janes , vice-president and head of Business Development and Marketing at Elbit Systems, Ziv Avni described the Hermes 650 as being in the one-tonne category of UAVs and fitting in between the company's Skylark family of miniature UAVs and the Hermes 900 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE).

According to Avni, the UAV is currently in flight-testing, with Elbit Systems already under contract to produce an unspecified number of UAVs for an undisclosed customer country.

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