Saudi National Guard inaugurates Dirab Air Base

by Jeremy Binnie

A still from a video released by the Saudi Arabian National Guard shows an aerial view of Dirab Air Base. (Saudi Arabian National Guard)

The Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) inaugurated its new training base for its aviation wing at Dirab on the southwest outskirts of Riyadh on 19 January even though the facility needs remedial work.

The SANG announced that the base was opened by Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, the minister of national defence, and released photographs and a video showing AH-64R Apache, AH-6i, and UH-60M helicopters had been deployed there for the occasion, in addition to the MD 350F helicopters the SANG uses for training. Prince Abdullah was given a tour of the facilities that included several flight simulators.

The problems with the base were detailed in a series of notices released on the US government's System for Award Management website looking for a contractor to fix them, most recently on 7 January.


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US approves Chinook sale to Egypt

by Gareth Jennings

Egypt has been cleared to buy the latest CH-47F Chinook helicopter, as fielded by the US Army and other international customers. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The United States has approved the sale of Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to Egypt, announcing a potential USD2.6 billion sale on 26 May.

The US Department of State approval covers the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of 23 helicopters, as well as related equipment (including defence weapons and countermeasures), spares, training, and support

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a Major Non-NATO Ally that continues to be an important strategic partner in the Middle East,” the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said. “The proposed sale will improve Egypt's heavy lift capability. Egypt will use this enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defence and deter regional threats,” it added.

The Egyptian Air Force (EAF) fields 19 CH-47D Chinooks, the first of which it received in 1999. These are operated by 18 Squadron of the Kom Awshim Tactical Helicopter Regiment at Kom Awshim, approximately 50 km south of Cairo.


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Australian Army makes HIMARS procurement bid

by Jon Grevatt

Australia has requested to procure 20 M142 HIMARS launchers from the US government, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on 26 May. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The US Department of State has approved the possible sale of Lockheed Martin's M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) to Australia.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said on 26 May that the Foreign Military Sale of 20 M142 launchers and associated weapons and equipment is estimated to cost USD385 million. The proposed deal needs approval by the US Congress.

In addition to the M142s, equipment in the deal include 30 M30A2 guided multiple launch rocket systems (GMLRS), 30 M31A2 GMLRS unitary high-explosive pods, 30 XM403 extended range alternative warhead pods, and 10 M57 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) munitions.

DSCA said the proposed deal supports US security objectives in the Indo-Pacific. “The proposed sale will improve Australia's capability to meet current and future threats, and will enhance interoperability with US forces and other allied forces,” it added.


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Japan in talks with BAE on development of F-X fighter

by Akhil Kadidal

Joint UK-Japan development of technologies for BAE's Tempest sixth-generation fighter programme, including engines, is expected to benefit Japan's F-X fighter. (Team Tempest)

Japan is in talks with BAE Systems to develop the country's sixth-generation F-X fighter aircraft project, with a consensus on co-operation expected by the end of 2022.

The UK and Japanese governments are to “continue discussions around potential future fighter subsystem collaboration throughout 2022”, under the conditions of a memorandum of collaboration (MOC) signed in December 2021.

Janes had learned that according to the MOC, BAE is to engage with Japanese companies, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), to potentially develop these subsystems. BAE is said to be working “closely with Japanese industry and supporting the UK government in this positive, ongoing process” of discussions.

MHI is the prime Japanese contractor for the F-X project, which plans to replace MHI's own F-2 fighter aircraft by 2035.

The decision to finalise the joint UK-Japan co-operation in the project by December 2022 was made by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a meeting at 10 Downing Street on 5 May.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/defence/latest/saudi-national-guard-inaugurates-dirab-air-base

The Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) inaugurated its new training base for its aviation wing at D...

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