US approves air-launched weapons package for Finland

by Gareth Jennings

Finland has been approved for a multimillion-dollar weapons package to equip its fleet of Hornet fighters. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The United States has approved the sale to Finland of 88 air-launched weapons valued at an estimated USD323.3 million.

Announced on 28 November, the package comprises 40 Raytheon AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and 48 Raytheon AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) cruise missiles, as well as related equipment, training, and support.

“It is vital to the US national interest to assist Finland in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defence capability. The proposed sale will improve Finland's air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons capabilities and will positively impact US relations with countries in the Nordic region. Finland intends to use these defence articles and services for its fighter aircraft fleet,” the approval notification said.

As noted by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which announced the proposed sale, the missiles will be carried by the Finnish Air Force's fleet of 55 Boeing F/A-18C and seven F/A-18D Hornet fighters. These Hornets are to be replaced by 64 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft from 2026.

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Ukraine conflict: German Patriots in Poland reach IOC

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Luftwaffe Patriot air-defence systems deployed close to Zamość on the Polish-Ukrainian border have reached IOC. (Bundeswehr/Lars Koch)

Luftwaffe Patriot air-defence systems deployed to Poland have reached an initial operational capability (IOC), a German Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson told Janes on 4 February. Three Patriot firing units with around 350 military personnel had been deployed close to Zamość near the Polish-Ukrainian border, the spokesperson added.

The Luftwaffe announced the deployment to Poland of two of the three assigned Patriot squadrons of Flugabwehrraketengeschwader (Surface-to-Air Missile Wing) 1 based in Bad Sülze, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, on 23 January. Each squadron consists of a fire-control station, multifunctional radar, power supply vehicle, radio relay station, radio mask station, resupply vehicle, and launch vehicles.

The MoD spokesperson told Janes, “The Patriots will defend Polish airspace and reinforce the integrated NATO air defence on the eastern flank as a contribution to NATO enhanced Vigilance Activities (eVA).”

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Upgrade and retention of Tranche 1 Eurofighters ‘technically feasible', BAE Systems tells UK Parliament

by Gareth Jennings

Currently destined for retirement in 2025, the UK's Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoon force could be extended according to BAE Systems. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

There is no technical reason why the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) could not upgrade and retain its fleet of Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, BAE Systems told the country's parliamentary Defence Select Committee in January.

In a written response to the committee submitted on 23 January, the lead UK contractor in the Eurofighter consortium said that it would be “technically feasible” to bring the RAF's remaining 30 Tranche 1 jets up to a standard where they could be retained in service rather than retired in 2025, as currently planned.

“It is technically feasible to bring a Tranche 1 aircraft to the standard of a Tranche 2 or Tranche 3 aircraft. BAE Systems has previously provided data to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) that outlines the scope of structural and avionic modifications that would be required,” BAE Systems said, noting that it has not been asked to provide an assessment of the non-recurring design effort, or associated costs, to implement such an upgrade.

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Indo-Russian venture completes production of AK-203 first batch

by Kapil Kajal

The AK-203 assault rifle is chambered for 7.62×39 rounds and can use ammunition and magazines that exist within the Indian Army supply chain. The weight of the rifle is 3.8 kg, the length is 690 mm with a folded butt and 930 mm with an extended butt, and the rate of fire is 700 rds/min. (Janes/Kapil Kajal)

Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) – a joint venture between Russia and India to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles for the Indian Armed Forces – has completed the production of the first batch of rifles in Korwa Ordnance Factory in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh.

Alexander Mikheev, director general of Russian defence export agency Rosoboronexport, which is one of the stakeholders in IRRPL, said that the joint venture has produced the first batch of 7.62 mm Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles and the beginning of deliveries to the Indian Army is expected soon.

India's Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande recently said that the joint venture will produce 5,000 AK-203 rifles by March 2023.

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The United States has approved the sale to Finland of 88 air-launched weapons valued at an estimated...

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