UK to stand-up 30 Sqn as second operational A400M unit

by Gareth Jennings

The RAF is to shortly stand-up 30 Squadron at its second operational A400M unit after 70 Sqn. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The United Kingdom is to name 30 Squadron as its second operational unit for operating the Airbus Defence and Space (DS) A400M Atlas transport aircraft.

The new unit is set to be stood up at the type's main operating base at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire later in the month, it was announced on 9 September by the official heading up delivery of the type's capabilities to the Royal Air Force (RAF).

With 70 Sqn the RAF's only current operational unit for the A400M, 206 Sqn is rolling out the aircraft's capabilities while 24 Sqn is training crews. While it had long been anticipated that 30 Sqn would be named as the type's second operational unit, the announcement on the official twitter account is the first official confirmation that this will be the new unit and that its reconstitution (it was previously assigned the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules until its disbandment in 2016) is imminent.

As previously explained to Janes


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IRGC unveils UGVs

by Jeremy Binnie

Most of the UGVs that were displayed were EOD robots. (Defapress.ir)

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) shed some light on its robotics programmes when it displayed dozens of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) during a ceremony to hand over equipment to explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams on 20 September.

More than 30 UGVs were seen displayed in photographs of the event, most of which were a tracked type configured as an EOD robot with a manipulator arm fitted with a camera and disruptor. The same type was also seen configured with a different sensor package and labelled as the ‘Hafez fire-fighting robot'.

Several more of this type of UGV were displayed without sensors or effectors and one was mocked-up with two small forward-firing rockets or missiles.

A much larger eight-wheeled UGV labelled as the ‘Qasim' was positioned as the centrepiece of the display. This was shown carrying a multicopter unmanned aircraft but was sufficiently large that it could potentially be used to carry weapons, casualties, or supplies.

A smaller tracked robot with flippers to enable it to travel over obstacles was labelled as the ‘Fajr cameraman robot'.


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DSEI 2021: British Army demonstrates progress with HED-powered prototypes

by Peter Felstead

A HED-equipped Jackal 2 high-mobility patrol vehicle and Foxhound protected patrol vehicle demonstrating silent running outside the ExCel Centre at DSEI 2021. (Janes/P Felstead)

Evidence that the power and mobility advantages of vehicles powered by hybrid electric drive (HED) are approaching real-world utility on the modern battlefield was in evidence at this month's DSEI exhibition in London in the form of three vehicles demonstrated by the British Army.

The three vehicles – a Jackal 2 4×4 high-mobility patrol vehicle, a Foxhound 4×4 protected patrol vehicle and a MAN SV 4×4 6-tonne tactical truck – each featured various commercially available HED systems supplied by UK firm Magtec. The Jackal, for example, has a four-cylinder Cummins diesel instead of the original vehicle's six-cylinder powerpack; a 150 kW electric generator; a 60 kW/hr battery; and four traction motors each rated at 50 kW driving the wheels.


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France to cut Sahel force by up to 3,000 in two years

by Jean-Marc Tanguy

Task Force Sabre, France's special operations force in the Sahel, will remain largely untouched by the cuts. (Jean-Marc Tanguy)

French officials have revealed new details of the planned drawdown in the Sahel region that was announced by President Emmanuel Macron in June.

France currently has about 5,500 troops committed to Operation Barkhane: its mission is to counter Islamist militants in the Sahel since 2014. This number will be cut to “between 2,500 and 3,000” by 2023, according to Colonel Pascal Ianni, the spokesperson for the French Armed Forces Staff. But the reduction could be accelerated after France's presidential election in April 2022, depending on who is elected.

Most of the personnel to be withdrawn will be ground forces, with the presence in Mali effectively reduced from three battalions to one.

The drawdown is now under way, with a source close to French Defence Minister Florence Parly telling Janes that Macron ordered it to be completed by the end of this year.

The three main bases in northern Mali (Timbuktu, Tessalit, and Kidal) are being evacuated and will be transferred to the UN mission in Mali and Malian Armed Forces (FAMa).


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