UK continues to open up A400M tactical capabilities, with low-level paradrop now cleared

by Gareth Jennings

A paratrooper exits one of the two side doors of the A400M during a demonstration of the aircraft's low-level parachuting capabilities. (Crown Copyright)

The United Kingdom continues to open up the tactical capabilities of the Royal Air Force's (RAF's) Airbus A400M Atlas C1 fleet, with the announcement on 14 April that the airlifter is now cleared for low-level parachuting.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that the clearance had been awarded after trials in the US in 2023 were followed by a capability demonstration by the Air and Space Warfare Centre in March.

“In a series of day and night sorties, paratroopers were dropped simultaneously from both side exit doors over Everleigh Drop Zone on Salisbury Plain [in southern England],” the MoD said, adding, “24 Squadron and the Airborne Delivery Wing will now train their instructor cadre, aircrew, and despatchers before the broader airborne force.”

As noted in the announcement, the capability demonstration involved the RAF, the British Army, Defence Equipment and Support, and Airbus.


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Netherlands acquiring new radios and C4I system under Foxtrot

by Olivia Savage

L3Harris Technologies' AN/PRC-160 HF manpack radio, which enables forces to transmit video, voice, and data up to Top Secret Level, has been selected for the Netherlands Armed Forces. (L3Harris Technologies)

The Netherlands Ministry of Defence (MoD) is equipping its armed forces with the AN/PRC-160 HF manpack radio from L3Harris Technologies in a bid to upgrade its tactical communications as part of the Foxtrot communications programme.

The authority is also planning to acquire a new tactical command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) network for its special operations forces (SOF).

Both are new requirements stipulated in the Defence Projects Overview (DPO) 2024, published on 15 May, which provides an outline of all the planned materiel, IT, and real estate projects valued over EUR25 million (USD27.2 million).

With regard to the radio requirement, the MoD is undertaking a new, comprehensive programme to replace its ageing high-frequency (HF) communication equipment across the armed forces. Radios such as the HF7000 long-range radio, which has reached the end of its technical service life, will be replaced with L3Harris Technologies' AN/PRC-160 radio.


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Singapore Army inducts Colt's Infantry Automatic Rifle

by Kapil Kajal

Singapore Army's new light machine gun. (Singapore Ministry of Defence/Janes)

The Singapore Army has initiated inducting Colt's Infantry Automatic Rifle 6940 (IAR6940) as its new section automatic weapon (SAW) to replace ST Engineering's 5.56 mm Ultimax 100 Mk2 light machine gun (LMG), which has been in service since 1982.

The service began induction of the IAR6940 LMGs – which were evaluated and procured in partnership with the state-owned Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) – in April, the Singapore Army said in a social media post on 20 May.

According to the Singapore Army, the IAR6940, locally termed as IAR6940E-SG, is a closed-bolt rifle that provides “enhanced lethality, improved ergonomics, and customisation to better suit the needs of our soldiers”.

The rifle is fitted with “new” sighting systems such as a red dot sight paired with a 3x magnifier scope, the Singapore Army said.

“The combination of these two sighting systems assists our soldiers to acquire targets more rapidly and accurately,” the service added. The rifle is also equipped with a multi-purpose laser aiming device (LAD), which has four modes: visible, infrared laser, infrared illuminator, and white-light torch, the service said.


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PAC-3 MSE integrated with Aegis defeats target in flight test

by Michael Fabey

A rendering of a PAC-3 missile, which Lockheed Martin is working to integrate with the Aegis combat system. (Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin launched a Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptor from an MK-70 containerised launch platform to engage a cruise missile target in flight at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, the company confirmed on 20 May.

The test, executed with multiple Department of Defense services and components, marked the first time PAC-3 MSE was launched in this configuration utilising the Virtualized Aegis Weapon System to intercept a live target, Lockheed Martin said in a statement.

Noting that such technology is meant to counter “evolving threats”, Tom Copeman, Lockheed Martin's vice-president of Strategy and Naval Programmes, said in a statement, “These systems could deliver a proven Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability with growing capacity to the US to help defend against advanced, manoeuvrable threats.”

For more information on earlier integration efforts of this capability, please seePAC-3 interceptor communicates with the AN/SPY-1 radar for first time .


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The United Kingdom continues to open up the tactical capabilities of the Royal Air Force's (RAF's) A...

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