Saudi land forces inaugurate UH-60M Black Hawks

by Jeremy Binnie

The Royal Saudi Land Forces inaugurated its UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters at King Khalid Military City. (Saudi Ministry of Defense)

The Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) held an inauguration ceremony for its UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters in the northern region, the Saudi Ministry of Defence announced on 14 December.

It released a photograph showing two Black Hawks at a location that could be identified as an apron close to the runway at King Khalid Military City in northern Saudi Arabia. Both were fitted with mounts for electro-optical sensors on their noses and 7.62 mm door guns. A similarly equipped Black Hawk was shown inside a hangar.

The RLSF previously operated only older S-70A-1 and UH-60L Black Hawk variants, but the US Department of Defense announced in January 2018 that it had awarded a USD193 million contract to Sikorsky to deliver nine UH-60M helicopters for the RSLF's Airborne Special Security Forces, a previously unknown unit, and another eight for the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG). The contract was expected to be completed by 31 December 2022.

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Poland operates F-16s from roadway for first time

by Gareth Jennings

A Polish Air Force F-16D touches down on a 2 km stretch of Route 604 on 25 September, marking a first for the type in national service and a return to roadway operations for the service for the first time in 20 years. (General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces)

Poland operated its Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft from a public roadway for the first time during exercises on 25 September.

The event took place on a 2 km closed-off section of the Route 604 national highway between the towns of Ruskowo and Przeździał Wielki in the northeast of the country, and marked the start of a series of such exercises involving the F-16 and MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum' fighter that will run through to 3 October.

As well as being a first for Poland's F-16 force, the roadway exercise marks a return to dispersed operations for the Polish Air Force –known officially as the Air Force Inspectorate (Inspektorat Sił Powietrznych: ISP) – for the first time in over 20 years.

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New US Army rifles expected to be fielded on time despite fume fixes

by Meredith Roaten

The US Army's XM7 rifle uses 6.8 mm ammunition. The rifle will be delivered to soldiers for a limited user test in October. (US Army)

The US Army will deliver the XM250 automatic rifle and the XM7 rifle to a unit in the 101st Airborne Division by the second quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2024, according to army officials.

The 101st Airborne Division received the first deliveries of the weapon on 20 September and will test those weapons in limited user tests starting in October, officials said during a media day at Aberdeen Proving Ground. The weapon is expected to reach the first unit equipped milestone in early 2024 despite toxic fume issues that the service is addressing, Doug Bush, US assistant secretary of the army for acquisition, logistics, and technology, told reporters on 19 September.

On the media day, soldiers demonstrated two weapons from the Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) family of systems. SIG Sauer's XM7 (previously known as XM5) NGSW-Rifle (NGSW-R) will replace the M4/M4A1 carbine weapon, and the company's XM250 NGSW-Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR) will replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).

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NATO to adopt SAPIENT as C-UAS standard

by Olivia Savage

At the ‘TIE23' exercise, SAPIENT enabled the integration of companies' C-UAS sensory information into 12 different command-and-control applications. (Janes/Olivia Savage)

NATO will adopt the Sensing for Asset Protection with Integrated Electronic Networked Technology (SAPIENT) protocol developed by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) as a C-UAS (counter-unmanned aircraft system) standard, Janes learnt at NATO's Exercise ‘C-UAS Technical Interoperability' 2023 (TIE23) in Vredepeel, Netherlands, held from 12 to 22 September.

A year-long ratification process will begin in 2024 with 14 countries required to approve it before it is formally adopted as a NATO Standardisation Agreement (STANAG), Cristian Coman, chief scientist for the Joint Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance division at NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency), told Janes and other media representatives at the exercise.

SAPIENT was developed by the UK's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) as an open standard that allows the fusion and integration of autonomous sensory information into a single integrated picture. The MoD has already adopted it as a standard for C-UAS.

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The Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) held an inauguration ceremony for its UH-60M Black Hawk utility h...

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