JASDF aircraft intercepted foreign aircraft over a 1,000 times in 2021

by Akhil Kadidal

A Japanese P-3C Orion surveillance plane flies over the main island of the disputed Senkaku-Diaoyu archipelago. The uninhabited islands have become a focal point for Japan-China military flights. (PA)

Fighter aircraft of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) scrambled 1,004 times in response to foreign aircraft approaching the country's airspace in fiscal year (FY) 2021.

Data released by the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) on 15 April shows that the scrambles constituted a 38% increase compared with FY 2020. The latest figures are second to a record high of 1,168 JASDF scrambles conducted in FY 2016.

Tokyo's announcements come amid regional tensions in East Asia, between Japan and neighbouring countries.

According to the MoD, JASDF fighters responded 722 times to movements by Chinese aircraft. This comprises 72% of all scrambles. The MoD added that this is the second-largest yearly total, following 851 scrambles in 2016.

In particular, JASDF scrambled fighters 12 times to intercept People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF) aircraft as they crossed the Miyako Strait, according to Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi who spoke at a press conference.

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China shows concept of tailless future fighter jet

by Akhil Kadidal

China displayed a concept model of a future stealth fighter jet at Airshow China 2022 in Zhuhai on 6 November 2022. (CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

The Chinese aviation industry has revealed a concept of the country's next-generation fighter jet.

A video released on 31 January in the WeChat video channel of the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) showed three twin-engined aircraft in flight. The aircraft appeared to resemble the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) J-20 fifth-generation, multirole fighter aircraft but without tailfins or the frontal canard.

The diamond-delta wing of the concept aircraft also appeared similar to the wings of the J-20 but slightly larger. Citing experts, the state-owned newspaper, Global Times , speculated that the concept aircraft is China's next-generation fighter jet.

The CGI imagery shown in the video appears to be connected to a model of a tailless, next-generation fighter displayed at Airshow China 2022 held at Zhuhai in November.

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Indian Army issues RFI for life extension of Smerch rockets

by Kapil Kajal

The Indian Army seeks to extend the life of 300 mm rockets used with the BM-30 Smerch Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS). In the image, the employees of Russian arms company Splav can be seen loading a 300 mm rocket in Smerch MLRS. (Splav)

The Indian Army has released a tender to support its programme for the life extension of 300 mm rockets used with the BM-30 Smerch Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).

According to a request for information (RFI) by the Indian Army, the service seeks to identify private Indian vendors for participating in the proposal for life extension of all variants of Smerch ammunition, and facilitate the preparation of request for proposals (RFP).

The Indian Army proposed the life extension of four variants of 300 mm Smerch rockets, the RFI added. The four variants are 300 mm 9M55S fuel-air explosive (FAE) warhead, 300 mm 9M55F high explosive (HE) fragmentation significant wave height (SWH)-70 km, 300 mm 9M528 HE fragmentation SWH-90 km, and 300 mm 9M55K cluster warhead.

The Indian Army said that the life-extension methodology of any ammunition depends on its design configuration, composition and quantity of explosives ,

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Luftwaffe progresses Büchel Air Base refit ahead of F-35 arrival

by Gareth Jennings

An artist's impression of the F-35 in Luftwaffe markings, shown at ILA Berlin Air Show 2022. (Lockheed Martin via Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The Luftwaffe is progressing work to upgrade Büchel Air Base ahead of the arrival of the first Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) later this decade.

The Inspector of the Air Force, Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, visited the base, which is planned to accommodate all 35 of the Luftwaffe's F-35As, on 6 February, with the service's official Twitter account noting that work is moving forward.

“Things are progressing in Büchel at the [Tactical Air Wing 33]. Runway and infrastructure are made fit for the future and F-35,” the Luftwaffe posted.

Located near Bonn, Büchel Air Base currently accommodates Panavia Tornado Interdiction Strike (IDS) aircraft of Tactical Air Wing 33. Although not confirmed, it is understood that this location is where the NATO nuclear weapons that the aircraft will carry are stored.

While the Bundeswehr has not disclosed the specific work to be undertaken at Büchel Air Base, Lockheed Martin recently outlined to Janes the general work that an airbase would typically need to undergo prior to receiving F-35s.

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