Update: KAI, Northrop Grumman partner to develop VTOL UAVs
25 January 2023
by Oishee Majumdar
assesses that the design of the new VTOL UAV by KAI and Northrop Grumman could be influenced by the US company's MQ-8C UAV (pictured).
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) signed an agreement with Northrop Grumman to develop vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can be operated from warships and coastguard vessels.
Janes understands that the Republic of Korea (RoK) Navy plans to acquire around 20 of these VTOL UAVs.
The UAVs will be used for “territorial defence missions” such as persistent surveillance, reconnaissance, and target acquisition in the maritime environment, KAI said in a media release on 19 January.
The capabilities offered by Northrop Grumman can enable military operators to deploy multiple UAVs in real time, and simultaneously “share intelligence information between air and ground forces”, a company spokesperson told Janes on 25 January.
KAI expects to reduce the time period and “risks” involved in the research and development (R&D) of VTOL UAVs by partnering with Northrop Grumman.
Lockheed Martin flies first production F-35s equipped with TR-3 upgrade
30 November 2023
by Zach Rosenberg
US Air Force F-35A Lightning II. F-35 deliveries with TR-3 upgrades are scheduled to begin as soon as April 2024. (US Air Force/Staff Sgt Zade Vadnais)
Lockheed Martin has flown the first production F-35s equipped with Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3) hardware and software upgrades, the manufacturer confirmed on 28 November. F-35 deliveries to customers have been paused until TR-3 is judged to be sufficiently mature.
“We are now flying TR-3 software on F-35 production jets in Fort Worth and flight test continues at Edwards Air Force Base and Naval Air Station Patuxent River,” the company told
on 28 November.
The TR-3 software upgrade first flew in January 2023 aboard a US Air Force test aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base. The US Department of Defense's F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) declined to specify the number of F-35s flying with TR-3 today, citing operational security.
“The JPO and Lockheed Martin agree that the acceptance of TR-3 aircraft should fall in the April 2024 to June 2024 timeframe based on risks as we understand them today,” the JPO told
on 28 November.
Israeli MoD Director General Eyal Zamir signed the final contract for the AWS sale to Germany on 23 November. (IAI)
The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on X (formerly Twitter) on 23 November that its Director General, Eyal Zamir, signed the final contract for the USD3.6 billion sale of the Arrow Weapon System (AWS) to Germany earlier the same day. In addition to the AWS and Arrow 3 missiles, the contract includes an initial package of spare parts and training of Luftwaffe crews.
German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius and his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, signed a joint declaration of intent in Berlin on 28 September on Germany's AWS procurement for the Luftwaffe. This was followed by approval by the budget committee of the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, of the procurement of AWS and Arrow 3 missiles, announced by the German MoD on 19 October.
The procurement will be funded by the EUR100 billion (USD109 billion) Zeitenwende special fund approved by Germany after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.
An F-35A fires an AIM-9X missile from the its external wing against an aerial drone target at Point Mugu Test Range, California. (US Air Force)
The US State Department has approved the potential sale of Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II+ short-range infrared-guided air-to-air missiles (AAMs) to South Korea.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said on 15 November that the possible Foreign Military Sales (FMS) is worth USD52.1 million and features 42 AIM-9X Block II+ missiles, training missiles, guidance units, and associated equipment. The DSCA said Congress has been informed of the deal.
“The proposed sale will improve the Republic of Korea's (RoK's) capability to meet current and future threats while further enhancing interoperability with the United States and other allies,” said the DSCA. “Korea will have no difficulty absorbing these articles into its armed forces.”
The RoK Air Force is already a well-established operator of the AIM-9X Block II version. This missile is integrated onto the RoK Air Force's Boeing F-15K Slam Eagle, Lockheed Martin KF-16 Fighting Falcon, and F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft.
Claire Chu, Janes senior China analyst joins Harry Kemsley and Sean Corbett to discuss how China's economic activity projects influence globally and what she learnt as part of the recent US Congressional staff delegation to China.