Update: Russia-China moving towards closer bomber co-operation

by Akhil Kadidal

In a boost to interoperability, long-range Chinese and Russian bombers landed in each other's airbases for the first time, as part of a joint air patrol.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD), the drills began on the morning of 30 November. Two Chinese H-6K bombers were observed as they flew over the East China Sea.

“After passing through the Tsushima Strait, [the Chinese aircraft] advanced into the Sea of Japan [East Sea]. It was confirmed that it flew north towards the continent,” the MoD said in a statement.

“Around the same time, two presumed Russian aircraft flew southwards into the Sea of Japan [East Sea] before reversing and flying back towards the continent,” the Japanese MoD added. Information on the flightpaths appears to show the two Russian aircraft flying briefly along a parallel route of the Chinese aircraft. The flight prompted a substantial scrambling of air assets from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) and the US Forces Japan.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) issued a statement saying that it had deployed Boeing F-15K jets as an anticipatory measure against a potential unforeseen situation.

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Northrop Grumman integrating M-Code into precision artillery

by Carlo Munoz

Several US Army conventional 155 mm artillery projectiles outfitted with Northrop Grumman's Precision Guidance Kit. (US Army/Northrop Grumman)

US defence company Northrop Grumman will begin integrating Military Code (M-Code) global positioning system (GPS) capability into the company's precision guidance systems for medium- and long-range artillery systems.

CAES, a Northern Virginia-based company specialising in advanced radio frequency (RF) technologies, will carry out the M-Code GPS integration work into Northrop Grumman's Precision Guidance Kit (PGK), according to a 23 January statement by the RF technology firm.

Valued at USD24 million, the integration deal will see CAES-developed GPS antennas designed to send and receive signals across the M-Code band combined into PGKs slated for the US Army. The company will produce roughly 80,000 M-Code-enabled GPS antennas for PGK integration, the 23 January statement said.

“M-Code GPS antennas help improve security and anti-jamming of military navigation. Implementing this technology will make PGK one of the largest programmes within the US DoD integrating this critical capability,” CAES officials said in the statement.

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RAF grounds Hawk T2 training jets following engine problem

by Gareth Jennings

All 28 of the RAF's Hawk T2 jet trainer aircraft have been grounded while the MoD investigates an engine issue. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has grounded its fleet of BAE Systems Hawk T2 training aircraft following a runway engine incident at the type's homebase in North Wales.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed the temporary flight suspension to Janes on 26 January, saying the precautionary measure had been put in place pending the result of an investigation into a ground-based engine issue.

“Post a recent issue on the runway involving a RAF Hawk T2 engine, as a precautionary measure, flying has been temporarily paused pending the results of the technical investigation,” the MoD told Janes .

The RAF has 28 Hawk T2 advanced jet trainer (AJT) aircraft providing fast jet pilot training at RAF Valley on the island of Anglesey.

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Lockheed Martin rolls out first KC-130J for Germany

by Gareth Jennings

The first KC-130J Hercules tanker-transport aircraft for Germany was rolled out of Lockheed Martin's Marietta production facility in Georgia on 26 January. (Lockheed Martin)

The first Lockheed Martin KC-130J tanker-transport aircraft for Germany was rolled out of the company's Marietta production facility in Georgia on 26 January.

The Luftwaffe has to date received two ‘stretched' C-130J-30 airlifters that it operates with the French Air and Space Force (Armee de l'Air et de l'Espace: AAE) as part of the joint C-130 air-transport squadron.

With the Luftwaffe contributing three KC-130J and three C-130J-30 aircraft, the AAE is providing two KC-130Js and two C-130J-30s for a combined fleet of five KC-130Js and five C-130J-30s. France has received all of its aircraft, while Germany's deliveries are due to be complete by the end of 2024.

The C-130 air-transport squadron at Évreux-Fauville Air Base in northern France will have unrestricted exchange of aircraft, aircrews, and maintainers, as well as technical and logistical support based on a common pool of spare parts and a common service support contract. “Ten aircraft, two nations, one association – there has never been anything like this in Europe,” the Bundeswehr has previously said.

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In a boost to interoperability, long-range Chinese and Russian bombers landed in each other's airbas...

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