Qatar Emiri Air Force receives first Typhoons, readies aircraft for QRA duty
16 August 2022
by Tim Ripley
Qatari Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft at BAE Systems Warton site. (Tim Ripley)
Four Qatari Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft are to depart from BAE Systems Warton site “within days” to take up quick reaction alert (QRA) duty ahead of the FIFA World Cup in November and December.
The Qatar Emiri Air Force's (QEAF's) first Typhoons were officially accepted into service by Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, Qatar's deputy prime minister and minister of state for defence affairs, in a ceremony at Warton on 15 August.
Speaking at the Warton event, Cliff Robson, BAE Systems Group managing director – Air, said that the aircraft would be operational from “day one” of their arrival at Dukhan Airbase in Qatar, where the company has established support facilities.
Robson described BAE Systems contract with Qatar as a “turnkey solution” and said it would be providing training and support “for years to come.”
US Navy fast-tracks contract for MQ-9 SkyTower II airborne network extension
05 October 2022
by Richard Scott
An artist's rendering showing an MQ-9A Block 5-25 in VMU-1 colours. The SkyTower ANE pod is carried beneath the MQ-9A's left wing stores station. (NAVAIR)
The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has fast-tracked an order to provide US Marine Corps (USMC) MQ-9A Reaper unmanned air systems (UASs) with an improved airborne network extension (ANE) capability.
In a 3 October announcement, NAVAIR said it had awarded an USD8.4 million contract to multiple vendors for delivery of the SkyTower II (ST II) capability. ST II is a podded ANE solution designed to provide cross-domain communications and data relay capability for the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Unmanned Aircraft System Expeditionary (MUX) MQ-9A Block 5-25 Reaper Medium Altitude Long-Endurance air vehicle.
The Su-25 that was inaugurated on 9 August crashed less than two months later. (Présidence de la République du Mali)
Mali's recently delivered Su-25 ground attack aircraft crashed in the vicinity of Gao airport at around 0930 h local time on 4 October, the Armed Forces of Mali (FAMa) confirmed later that day.
FAMa identified the aircraft as TZ-20C, and said it was returning from a mission in support of local civilians when it crashed.
In a subsequent update, FAMa indicated that the Su-25 crashed into the airbase, adding that the pilot and a member of the ground crew were killed and eight military personnel were injured, two seriously. The crash also caused minor injuries to two civilians. It said an investigation had been launched, but there was no indication that the crash was caused by hostile action.
The AFP reported seeing a video of the aircraft crashing at high speed and cited a military official as saying the pilot who was killed was Russian.
An MQ-9B seen at a recent capability demonstration held out of RAF Waddington, home of the future Protector force. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)
The United Kingdom (UK) has awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) a contract to undertake operator training for the MQ-9B Protector RG1 medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
Announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 4 October, the Protector Training Conduct (PTC) award will cover instruction for the first 33 mission crews during a period of 19 months running until March 2024. The contract is valued at GBP25.9 million (USD29.4 million).
News of the award follows on the back of recent milestones for the Protector programme for the Royal Air Force (RAF) in September. These included the official handover of the first air vehicle to the MoD ahead of delivery to the UK, as well as the launch of public consultations for an airspace change to enable the UAV to be flown at its main operating base of RAF Waddington.