UK confirms Sentinel sale to US

by Gareth Jennings

The UK has sold its retired Sentinel R1 fleet to the US, though the final completion of the sale is dependent on at least one of the five grounded aircraft being returned to full-flight status. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The United Kingdom has sold its retired fleet of Raytheon Sentinel R1 Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) wide-area ground-surveillance aircraft to the United States, it was confirmed on 30 November.

Answering questions in parliament, Minister of State for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin confirmed media reports that the aircraft retired by the Royal Air Force (RAF) earlier in 2021 had been sold, reportedly for use by the US Army. He qualified his statement, however, by noting that at least one of the five unairworthy aircraft has to be returned to a flight status for the deal to be completed.

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China, Russia fly bombers to ‘counter' Quad summit

by Akhil Kadidal

A Tu-95 bomber of the Russian Air Force flies over the Sea of Japan on 24 May 2022. (Japan Ministry of Defense)

Japan and South Korea scrambled its fighters to intercept a “provocative” joint exercise by four Chinese and two Russian strategic bombers in the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea on 24 May.

The exercise appears to be a show of force by Beijing and Moscow pointed at the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the Quad), which was taking place in Tokyo on that same day. The meeting was attended by the leaders of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States.

Two Chinese Xian H-6 bombers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) were detected flying from the East China Sea to the Sea of the Japan in the morning. The H-6s were joined by two Tupolov Tu-95 strategic bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) in the sea of Japan.

The four bombers proceeded on a southwestern course. In the afternoon, two new PLA H-6s replaced the earlier two H-6s in the formation. The aircraft then flew through the Miyako Strait between Okinawa and Miyakojima islands, into the Western Pacific.

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Quick-fielding contracting model touted for US Navy Task Force 59 unmanned systems in the Middle East

by Michael Fabey

The US Navy Task Force 59 is experimenting with Saildrone platforms. (Saildrone)

The contracting model employed by US Navy (USN) Task Force 59 (TF 59) makes it possible to field, test, and evaluate unmanned systems quickly in the Middle East, according to Michael Stewart, USN Unmanned Task Force lead.

“Task Force 59 is using a fee-for-service contracting model,” Stewart said on 25 May during a media roundtable update on unmanned systems' work. “They can get stuff out there really quick. They see it, lease it, get it into the theatre and test it.”

Established by the US 5th Fleet in September 2021, TF 59 works closely with members of industry and academia as well as other experts to provide operator feedback and help drive the innovation process forward for unmanned systems.

TF 59 is testing the limits of commercial technology, Stewart noted. “They are trying to get to the leading edge of commercial [technology] and see what the gaps are.”

In particular, he cited the task force's work with Martac unmanned surface vessels (USVs) and Saildrone unmanned platforms.

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Uruguay considers L-39NG for LIFT, light attack requirement

by Gareth Jennings

Aero Vodochody is pitching its L-39NG to Uruguay as a potential replacement for its A-37 fleet. (Aero Vodochody)

Uruguay is considering the Aero Vodochody L-39NG (Next Generation) aircraft for its lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) and light attack requirements, with a delegation from the Czech Republic visiting the South American nation earlier in May.

Aero announced the visit on 24 May, saying that the Czech government is offering a package that includes six aircraft, pilot training, maintenance and support, and the building of a technical and service centre, as well as financing via the Czech Export Bank (CEB).

“In mid-May the offer was presented to Uruguayan partners by the ambassador of the Czech Republic to Argentina, Ľubomír Hladík, the director of the Departmental Agency for Intergovernmental Co-operation (AMOS), Aleš Vytečka, [and] representatives of Aero Vodochody, the CEB, and the Flight Training Centre,” Aero said.

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The United Kingdom has sold its retired fleet of Raytheon Sentinel R1 Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTO...

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