Ukraine conflict: Biden backtracks on F-16s for Ukraine
22 May 2023
by Gareth Jennings
A graphic put out by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on 19 May to mark the announcement by US President Joe Biden that F-16s will be sent to Ukraine. (Crown Copyright)
The United States is to allow the transfer of Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft to Ukraine, President Joe Biden announced on 19 May.
The announcement, which reversed the president's earlier stated position that Ukraine did not need such jets, was made at the Group of Seven (G7) summit of world leaders in Hiroshima, Japan.
“In my private meeting with [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky I told him the United States, together with our allies and partners, is going to begin training Ukrainian pilots in fourth-generation fighter aircraft, including F-16s, to strengthen Ukraine's air force as part of a long-term commitment to Ukraine's ability to defend itself,” Biden said, adding that he had received an assurance from Zelensky that these aircraft would not be used against targets inside Russia.
US Army selects Griffon Aerospace and Textron Systems for Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Phase 2
03 October 2023
by Zach Rosenberg
Griffon Aerospace's Valiant. (Griffon Aerospace)
The US Army on 26 September selected the Griffon Aerospace Valiant and Textron Systems Aerosonde Mk 4.8 Hybrid Quadrotor (HQ) for the second phase of the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (FTUAS) competition.
Phase 2 of FTUAS is intended to advance the two designs through critical design review (CDR), the last step before building and testing a prototype aircraft.
“Following the CDR, the remaining [companies] will participate in flight demonstrations and MOSA [Modular Open Systems Architecture] third-party verification in the third agreement option period before delivering production representative weapon systems and support equipment for developmental testing and operational demonstrations,” the army said in a statement. “These systems will undergo numerous evaluation activities such as environmental testing, electromagnetic environmental effects testing, transportability testing, MOSA verification, flight-testing, and technical manual verification conducted at [corporate] and government facilities.”
The KVD-002 UCAV is capable of supporting the PLAGF's large fleet of attack and transport helicopters. (Janes)
The People's Liberation Army Ground Force's (PLAGF's) acquisition of the new KVD-002 integrated surveillance unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) has reinforced the modernisation of its airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
Since 2021 the PLAGF has focused on the acquisition of ISR or target-detection platforms such as the KVD-001 fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and HAIG Z-11WB light attack and surveillance manned helicopter, according to
inventory data. The PLAGF began inductions of these two platforms in 2021.
The KVD-002, which was unveiled for the first time during the 6th China Helicopter Exposition at Tianjin in September 2023, augments the capabilities of both the KVD-001 and the Z-11WB. Introductory text for the KVD-002 at the exposition described the UCAV as the PLAGF's “first integrated surveillance and combat system”. The KVD-002 has been developed to co-operate with helicopters in combat operations, the text added.
Sweden to upgrade Gripen C/D engines for greater performance and lower costs
03 October 2023
by Gareth Jennings
Seen in a test rig, the RM12 engine that powers the Gripen C/D is to be upgraded by GKN Aerospace. (GKN Aerospace)
Sweden is to upgrade the powerplant of its Saab JAS 39 Gripen C/D combat aircraft for greater performance and lower life-cycle costs, GKN Aerospace announced on 3 October.
GKN Aerospace currently holds the type certificate for the General Electric (GE) F404 turbofan-derived Volvo Aero RM12 engine in the Gripen C/D and has been contracted by the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to implement the upgrade in co-operation with the FMV, Saab, and GE.
“The GBP2 million (USD2.42 million) contract is the last part of a development project that GKN Aerospace has been conducting since 2019,” the company said. “In addition to enhancing key components within the engine, the development work also involves updating the engine software in the aircraft system.”
As noted in the announcement, upgraded RM12 engine testing will take place at GKN Aerospace's facility in Trollhättan, Sweden, with flight-testing undertaken by the FMV and Saab.
OSINT in support of the Defence Intelligence Enterprise (DIE) - part one
Robert Ashley Jr. former director of the DIA joins Harry Kemsley and Sean Corbett to discuss the use of open-source intelligence in the defence intelligence enterprise and the opportunities OSINT provides to intelligence communities.