Ukraine reportedly strikes Russian airbase

by Gareth Jennings

Seen in Armenian service, the Soviet-era OTR-21 Tochka close-range ballistic missile system was reportedly used by Ukraine to attack a Russian military airfield on 25 February. (Ministry of Defence of Armenia)

Ukraine reportedly attacked a Russian airbase on 25 February, marking the first time that Kyiv conducted an offensive military action outside of its national borders since Russia launched its renewed invasion of the country on 24 February.

The stated attack, the supposed aftermath of which was widely circulated on social media along with images of damaged and burning facilities and aircraft, saw Millerovo Air Base (AB) in Russia's Rostov region seemingly struck with multiple ballistic missiles fired from Ukraine.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) of Ukraine had not responded to a Janes request for conformation and comment at the time of publication. However, a senior Janes Russia and open-source intelligence (OSINT) analyst confirmed that the location shown in the aftermath images of the burning facility is Millerovo AB, some 20 km inside the Russian border with Ukraine.

According to reports, the base was hit by an undisclosed number of surface-launched OTR-21 Tochka (SS-21 ‘Scarab'/9M79) ballistic missiles, with imagery showing facilities and at least one Sukhoi Su-30SM ‘Flanker-H' combat aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) 31st Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment on fire.

As noted by Janes Weapons: Strategic, the Tochka is a close-range ballistic missile (CRBM), with its 9M79 missiles having a range of between 15 and 70 km. The 9M79-series missiles can be armed with unitary high-explosive blast fragmentation and submunition warheads. The Ukrainian Ground Forces is understood to have received or inherited 500 such missiles, although it is not known how many remain in its inventory.

India issues tender for 97 additional Tejas Mk 1As

by Akhil Kadidal

The first production Tejas Mk 1A, from the IAF's initial order of 83 aircraft (placed in 2021), prepares for take-off from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited airport in Bangalore on 28 March 2023. (HAL)

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a tender to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the procurement of 97 additional Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk 1A fighter aircraft.

The potential acquisition has an initial proposed value of INR650 billion (USD7.7 billion), an industry source told Janes on 12 April. The possible acquisition of the 97 aircraft is in addition to the 73 Mk 1As and 10 trainers ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2021.

The source added that the tender document for the 97 Mk 1As was issued in March 2024.

The document, which is akin to a request for quote (RFQ), will be assessed by HAL, the source said. Janes understands that HAL has three months to respond to the document. The source added that the “value of the proposed acquisition could change”.


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China tests HH-100 cargo UAV

by Akhil Kadidal

AVIC's new HH-100 cargo-delivery unmanned aerial vehicle is being designed for a maximum take-off weight of 2 tons. (AVIC/Janes)

The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) is preparing its HH-100 large cargo unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for flight-testing.

The UAV, which has a planned maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 2 tons, completed its high-speed automatic taxiing test at Yangchang airport in southwest China's Sichuan Province on 3 April and is being readied for its maiden flight, AVIC announced on 7 April. The programme is part of China's decade-long focus on developing unmanned logistics and cargo-transport capabilities, Janes assesses.

State-owned media said that the HH-100 prototype was fully assembled in December 2023, before being transferred to Yangchang. Taxiing tests began at the end of February 2024. The state-owned newspaper, Global Times , published a video on 7 April showing the UAV undergoing its high-speed ground trials. The UAV “demonstrated stable performance during the test”, the newspaper said.


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New Zealand plans P-8A deployment to enforce North Korea sanctions

by Akhil Kadidal

The planned deployment of an RNZAF Boeing P-8A Poseidon to Japan in mid-April 2024 to participate in the enforcement of sanctions against North Korea, is the sixth such RNZAF deployment since 2018. (New Zealand Defence Force)

New Zealand has said that it will deploy a Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to Japan for the first time in support of UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions on North Korea and assist with the monitoring and surveillance of illegal ship-to-ship transfers by Pyongyang.

The deployment will see the P-8A conduct maritime surveillance and reconnaissance patrols “over international waters looking for violations of the sanctions resolutions, including illicit ship-to-ship transfers of banned goods such as oil and coal”, said Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour, commander of the Joint Forces New Zealand, on 10 April.

According to the Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD), the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-8A will operate from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa from mid-April to early May.

The deployment comprises several “firsts” for the RNZAF's P-8As, according to the Air Component Commander, Air Commodore Andy Scott.


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