UK ‘continues to review' Puma retirement date

by Gareth Jennings

The MoD ‘continues to review' the out-of-service date of the 23 Puma helicopters operated by the RAF, a spokesperson told Janes . (Crown Copyright)

The UK has not yet decided on an out-of-service date for the Westland-Aerospatiale SA 330E Puma HC2s, with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) telling Janes on 20 December that its planning in this regard “is under continual review”.

With the New Medium Helicopter (NMH) replacement for the Puma and three other aircraft types scheduled to enter service from 2025, the MoD declined to confirm reports that the 23 Royal Air Force (RAF) Pumas located at RAF Benson in England will serve as an interim replacement for the five Army Air Corps 212s used for training in Brunei and the three RAF 412s used for search and rescue and other duties in Cyprus.

All three types, as well as the Airbus Dauphins used by the Special Air Service, are scheduled to be replaced under the NMH that was officially launched with an industry day held on 25 November.

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Japan to conduct combustion flight test of scramjet engine

by Akhil Kadidal

ATLA is working to develop a scramjet engine to power various hypersonic vehicles, including a cruise missile. (ATLA/Japan MoD)

Japan is preparing to conduct the first combustion flight test of its in-development scramjet engine. The engine is intended to power various hypersonic vehicles to bolster the country's ability to defend outlying islands.

Speaking to Janes , Japan Ministry of Defense's (MoD's) Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Agency (ATLA) said that the flight test will be conducted on 23 July 2022 at the Uchinoura Space Center of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The flight is expected to provide critical information to advance the project.

“The aim of this research project is to acquire a model that estimates [the] in-flight combustion phenomenon in [the] scramjet engine,” ATLA said, adding that results will be compared with data obtained from ground-based wind tunnel tests.

The agency added that it will also build and evaluate a numerical model analysis to “correct and predict data during the actual flight”.

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India tests Abhyas HEAT system at low altitudes

by Jon Grevatt

India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited won a contract in late 2021 to start building the Abhyas High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (pictured above) for the Indian military. The system was tested at low altitudes on 29 June. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

India has tested its locally developed Abhyas High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) off the country's east coast.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) in New Delhi said that the test – on 29 June – demonstrated the Abhyas system's performance at low altitude including capability at “sustained levels” and “manoeuvrability”.

The test was carried out a few months after state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) announced that it had won a contract to mass produce the Abhyas for the Indian military.

In a statement, the MoD said that in the recent test the Abhyas target was flown from a ground-based controller in a “pre-designated low-altitude flight path” that was monitored by tracking sensors including radar and electro-optical targeting systems.

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India tests locally developed laser-guided ATGM

by Jon Grevatt & Shivanand B M

An Indian Army Arjun MBT is pictured above test-firing a locally developed laser-guided anti-tank guided missile. This test was carried out in September 2020 to assess capability at longer ranges. Tests on 28 June were conducted to validate firing at shorter ranges, the MoD said. (DRDO)

India test-fired on 28 June its locally developed laser-guided anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) from an Arjun main battle tank (MBT), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in New Delhi said.

It said that the tests were intended for evaluating the weapon's ability to engage with targets at shorter ranges. Earlier trials of the ATGM were intended for validating its ability at longer ranges.

In a statement, the MoD said that the ATGM test was conducted by the Indian Army and the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at the KK Ranges near Ahmednagar, western India. The ranges are operated by the army's Armoured Corps Centre and School (ACC&S).

The MoD said the test is part of continuing trials to evaluate the ATGM from the Arjun MBT's 120 mm rifled gun. It also said that the weapon is being developed for other platforms but did not elaborate.

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The UK has not yet decided on an out-of-service date for the Westland-Aerospatiale SA 330E Puma HC2s...

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