The Royal Navy has now received back into service all 25 HC3/3A Merlin helicopters that have been upgraded to the maritime HC4/4A Merlin Commando standard. (Janes/Patrick Allen)
The UK has upgraded the last of its Leonardo Merlin HC3/3A (latterly the interim iHC3/3A standard) transport and assault helicopters for littoral use by the Royal Navy (RN) and Royal Marines (RM).
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced the milestone on 2 December, saying all 19 HC3 and six HC3A Merlin helicopters are now at the HC4/4A Commando Merlin standard, and ready to support 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines and other UK forces through to their planned out-of-service date (OSD) of 2030.
“The 25 aircraft have been updated by Leonardo Helicopters under the Merlin Life Sustainment Programme (MLSP) negotiated by Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), the procurement arm of the UK Ministry of Defence,” the MoD said.
Bundeswehr selects Rohde & Schwarz for major digital radio programme
08 December 2023
by Olivia Savage
Rohde & Schwarz has officially been named as the chosen vendor for the Bundeswehr's multibillion-euro digital radio programme. The company has already delivered units to the Bundeswehr, which are based on the SVFuA dual-channel, multiband radio (pictured in the vehicular variant). (Rohde & Schwarz)
Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) has officially been named as the chosen vendor for the German Bundeswehr's major Combat Net Radio (CNR) programme, the company announced on 7 December.
In December 2022 the Bundeswehr signed a multibillion-euro contract with an unnamed company for the supply of CNRs for the military's tanks, combat vehicles, and trucks under the wider Digitisation of Land-Based Operations (D-LBO) programme. R&S was widely purported to have been selected for the CNR (often referred to as the digital radio programme); however, Thales lodged a complaint against the selection process, delaying the announcement.
It is believed that approximately EUR2.9 billion (USD3.1 billion) has been earmarked for the procurement of over 30,000 radios under the CNR programme.
The UK stood up 809 NAS as its second front-line F-35B unit at RAF Marham on 8 December 2023. (Janes/Gareth Jennings )
The UK stood up its second operational squadron for the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning combat aircraft on 8 December.
The Royal Navy's (RN's) 809 ‘Immortals' Naval Air Squadron (NAS) was reconstituted at the home of the Lightning Force at Royal Air Force (RAF) Marham in Norfolk.
The squadron joins the RAF's 617 ‘Dambusters' Squadron as the UK's two front-line units for the ‘fifth-generation' short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) jet, with 207 Sqn serving as the operational conversion unit (OCU) at the same location, and 17 Test and Evaluation Sqn at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California.
As with 617 Sqn, 809 NAS is drawn from both the RAF and the RN, with both services performing land- and carrier-based operations of the aircraft.
A visual comparison of the new Taurus KEPD 350K-2 (in foreground) and KEPD 350K precision-attack cruise missiles. The KEPD 350K-2 uses a new wing design and improved dynamics to retain the 500 km range of the older and larger KEPD 350K. (Janes)
A smaller version of the Taurus Systems KEPD 350K air-launched precision‐attack cruise missile being planned for the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 fighter aircraft could enter production two years after full-scale development is launched.
Designated as the KEPD 350K-2, this all-weather-capable missile is being developed to meet “increasing demand” for air-to-ground missiles for light combat aircraft and short-range fighters, according to Taurus. The company has signed an agreement with LIG Nex1 to jointly develop the new missile.
“From Taurus' perspective, once the full-scale development is launched, we can be ready for production in 36–48 months, depending on the time it requires for the integration on the platform,” a Taurus company spokesperson told
Claire Chu, Janes senior China analyst joins Harry Kemsley and Sean Corbett to discuss how China's economic activity projects influence globally and what she learnt as part of the recent US Congressional staff delegation to China.