Taiwan seeks US technical support for next-generation fighter

by Akhil Kadidal

Taiwan's next-generation fighter is almost certainly intended to become the primary air combat asset for the Republic of China Air Force. This is because the latest Lockheed-Martin F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft currently on order are believed to be an unequal match for Chinese fifth-generation aircraft in certain aspects. (Annabelle Chih/Getty Images)

Taipei is seeking US technical assistance for its next-generation fighter aircraft project amid the Taiwan air force's declining combat strength.

Speaking at the 2023 Taiwan-US Defense Industry Forum on 3 May, Kai-Hung Hu, the chairman of the Taiwanese aviation manufacturer Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) said that the company is seeking US assistance to enhance its technical capabilities.

The next-generation fighter aircraft project was first made public in 2017, according to Janes data. This aircraft is intended to provide Taiwan's Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) with fifth-generation technologies and features.

“When it comes to the development of the next-generation fighter, we hope the United States supports Taiwan to develop it itself, including the engine, avionics, control systems, environmental controls, and so on, which are all an opportunity for Taiwan-US co-operation,” Hu said at the forum.

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US approves possible sale of air-launched munitions for RoKAF F-35s

by Akhil Kadidal

A Republic of Korea Air Force Lockheed Martin F-35A drops a GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb during a training exercise in November 2022. (South Korea MND)

The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sales (FMS) of munitions for South Korea's Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs.

In an announcement on 1 December the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said that the South Korean government had requested the purchase of a range of air-launched munitions for the Republic of Korea Air Force's (RoKAF's) F-35. The proposed sale has a value of USD271 million, according to the DSCA.

The munitions include 39 AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) and 86 Mk 84 General Purpose (GP) 2,000 lb bombs for the GBU-31V(1) Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), 70 BLU-109C/B 2,000 lb bombs for the GBU-31V(3) JDAM, and 342 Mk 82 500 lb GP bombs for the GBU-12 Paveway II or GBU-54 Laser JDAM (LJDAM).

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Canada selects Poseidon MMA

by Gareth Jennings

The Royal Canadian Air Force will operate 14 P-8A Poseidon multimission maritime aircraft, with the option to acquire a further two at a later date. (Boeing)

Canada has selected the Boeing P-8A Poseidon multimission maritime aircraft (MMA) to fulfil its Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft (CMMA) requirement.

The decision was announced on 30 November, with the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) saying that up to 16 Poseidons (14, plus an option for an additional two) will be acquired. These will replace the Royal Canadian Air Force's (RCAF's) fleet of 14 ageing Lockheed CP-140 Auroras that are to be retired in 2030.

“The P-8A will replace Canada's current maritime patrol aircraft, the CP-140 Aurora, which has been in service for more than 40 years. As it ages, the CP-140 aircraft is becoming increasingly difficult to support, expensive to sustain, and less operationally relevant in comparison to the threats against which it must defend. This procurement will allow Canada to seamlessly transition to a replacement capability, thereby ensuring that Canada can continue to meet its domestic needs and international obligations,” the DND said.

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US State Department official underscores industry involvement, data sharing for AUKUS

by Michael Fabey

Australia, the UK, and the US are looking for more streamlined processes to share submarine-building technology for AUKUS. (Janes/Michael Fabey)

Australia, the UK, and the US will need to depend on industry and more streamlined processes for sharing data and technology for their AUKUS agreement to succeed, according to US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Bonnie Jenkins.

“There's no way we're going to do this without industry being involved,” Jenkins said during a 27 AUKUS discussion at the Atlantic Council.

As the countries work towards the AUKUS Pillar 1 milestones to help Australia develop a nuclear-powered submarine fleet, the industries involved in these efforts will have to develop ways to more quickly share information and technology, she acknowledged, including some legislative changes.

“We recognise we need to work on some of our export controls and find a way to share information in a more streamlined process, a safer process,” she said.

AUKUS would be breaking new ground in government-industry relations, requiring seamless transfers and sharing of information while protecting the data.

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