US Navy fire-safety processes questioned

by Michael Fabey

The USN is not using lessons learned properly from fires like those aboard USS Bonhomme Richard , according to a government report. (US Navy)

The US Navy (USN) needs to do a better job of harnessing its lessons learned to prevent fires on vessels that are being worked on, according to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).

“Navy organisations collect and analyse lessons learned from fires through a number of processes,” the GAO said in its report, Navy Ship Fires: Ongoing Efforts to Improve Safety Should Be Enhanced , released on 20 April.

“However, the navy does not have a process for consistently collecting, analysing, and sharing these lessons learned,” the GAO added. “As a result, the navy has lost lessons learned over time – such as steps that a ship can take to improve fire safety.”

And also, lost lessons learned can translate to other bigger losses, the GAO said.

“The navy reported more than USD4 billion in estimated damages from fires that occurred onboard ships undergoing maintenance from May 2008 through December 2022,” the GAO added.

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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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