USAF B-2 bombers conclude first Australia deployment

by Akhil Kadidal

A total of six USAF B-2s have landed in Australia between January and August 2022. The unprecedented deployment of these bombers in Australia between July and August 2022 affirms the growing nature of US-Australia defence and strategic alliance following AUKUS. (Janes)

The first deployment of United States Air Force (USAF) Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit bombers to Australia has ended.

The deployment is very likely to have resulted in significant capability enhancements for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). It also sets the ground for future USAF stealth bomber operations from Australia.

Images of the deployment reveal that the B-2s co-operated with various units of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircraft, plus elements of the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Navy. The aircraft also played the role of a “hostile force” during Exercise ‘Koolendong 2022' in July.

Lieutenant Brandon Romano, a spokesperson for the US Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), confirmed to Janes on 17 August that the “B-2s had returned to their home station of Whiteman Air Force Base” in Missouri.

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Czech Army's T-72M4 CZ approaches end of service life, eyes new Leopards

by Christopher Petrov & Ben Burnett

The Czech MoD is aiming to participate in the Leopard 2A8 programme, which would represent a considerable leap in capability over the ageing T-72M4 CZ. (IMOD)

The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) will develop plans to address the approaching obsolescence of its main battle tank (MBT), the T-72M4 CZ, Colonel Jan Kerdik, head of Land Forces development division at the Czech Armed Forces, told SAE Media's Future Armoured Vehicles Central and Eastern Europe conference in Prague. The Czech army has now stated its ambition to join the Leopard 2A8 programme.

The Czech Armed Forces, which is estimated to have 30 T-72M4 CZ tanks in service, faces issues with obsolescence in particular components and a desire for modernisation that will push the T-72M4 CZ out of service in the coming years. Previous modernisation efforts announced in 2018 were aimed at delaying obsolescence-related issues only until 2025. Coupled with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, there is a strong desire to rearm Czech tank forces.

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Newport News Shipbuilding redelivers carrier George Washington

by Michael Fabey

Newport News Shipbuilding redelivered aircraft carrier USS George Washington after a ship overhaul. (US Navy)

HII's Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division redelivered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) to the US Navy (USN) after the shipyard successfully completed the ship's refuelling and complex overhaul (RCOH), HII confirmed on 25 May.

George Washington has gone through a transformation and now returns to the fleet as a fully recapitalised ship for another 25 years,” Todd West, NNS vice-president, In-Service Aircraft Carrier Programs, said in a statement.

A carrier RCOH repairs, upgrades, and modernises nearly every space and system on the ship, including tanks; the hull; shafting; propellers; rudders; piping; ventilation; and electrical, combat, and aviation support systems.

During RCOH, a carrier's two nuclear reactors are defuelled and refuelled, and the ship's propulsion plant is repaired, maintained, and upgraded.

The USN's fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget proposal includes USD1.2 billion for RCOHs to fund advance procurement of long-lead items for the USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) with the RCOH scheduled to begin in FY 2025. The FY 2024 request also funds cost to complete for USS John C Stennis

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Ukraine conflict: Canada to donate Sidewinder missiles to Kyiv

by Gareth Jennings

Canada is to donate to Ukraine older versions of its AIM-9 Sidewinder, as carried here by a Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet. (Janes)

Canada is to donate Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles to Ukraine, the Canadian defence minister announced at the 12th Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) meeting on 25 May.

Canadian Minister of National Defence Anita Anand announced the donation as part of a wider raft of support measures for the Ukrainian armed forces.

“Minister Anand … announced that Canada is donating 43 AIM-9 missiles to Ukraine from CAF [Canadian Armed Forces] inventory and noted that this donation will help Ukraine to secure its skies in the face of ongoing Russian attacks,” the Canadian Ministry of National Defence (MND) said.

The donation marks the first time that Ukraine has been earmarked to receive the Sidewinder, which is typically used as a short-range air-to-air weapon carried by combat aircraft, but which can also be used as a ground-based air-defence asset launched from the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) that Ukraine fields.

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The first deployment of United States Air Force (USAF) Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit bombers to Austra...

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