US approves sale of CH-47Fs to South Korea

by Akhil Kadidal

The acquisition of CH-47Fs by South Korea will give the army access to aircraft with superior flight performance (compared with the CH-47Ds in service). The CH-47F also has improved avionics. (US Army/Captain Frank Spatt)

The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sales (FMS) of 18 Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters and related equipment to South Korea.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on 6 December. The State Department said that the Republic of Korea (RoK) had requested to buy the 18 CH-47F helicopters and 42 T55-GA-714A engines earlier in 2022. Six of these engines will be used as spares.

The US State Department said that the potential sale has a value of USD1.5 billion.

Janes had reported in July that South Korea intends to procure the helicopters for the army. The CH-47Fs are intended to replace the army's fleet of ageing CH-47D International Chinooks. South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has told Janes that the acquisitions are being made as part of Seoul's ‘Heavy Utility Helicopter-II (HUH-II)' project.


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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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UK Rivet Joint fleet ups tempo for Black Sea ops

by Richard Scott

The UK's RC-135W Rivet Joint fleet has been operating at almost 200% of the normal tempo. (Crown Copyright)

UK Royal Air Force (RAF) RC-135W Rivet Joint signals intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft have been operating at nearly three times their normal operating tempo to support intelligence-gathering operations in the Black Sea theatre, according to the service's senior operations officer.

Delivering the annual Sir Sydney Camm Lecture at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London on 1 February, Air Marshal Harvey Smyth, deputy commander (operations), added that operations over the last year had put crews “well within harm's way”.

Operated by No 51 Squadron at RAF Waddington, the three Rivet Joint aircraft – ZZ664, ZZ665, and ZZ666 – form part of a wider enterprise between the RAF and the United States Air Force (USAF). As part of the RAF's Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) Force, the RC-135W fleet is used to monitor, collect, and analyse communications and radar signals of interest.


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The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sales (FMS) o...

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