Seoul’s ADEX escapes the worst of Covid-19 cancellations

by Gareth Jennings

As the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition 2021 is staged at Seoul Airport on the outskirts of the South Korean capital from 19 to 21 October, Gareth Jennings explores the expected developments at the show…

ADEX, as the event is popularly known, is rapidly becoming one of Asia-Pacific's most influential and prestigious aviation, aerospace and defence events, along with Aero India, Avalon in Australia, the Singapore Air Show, and the China Air Show in Zhuhai in China.

For organisers, the biennial show has been fortunate to escape the worst of the Covid-19 cancellations and postponements that have blighted other similar events over the last couple of years, with the previous ADEX in 2019 having been staged just ahead of the global shutdown, and this latest iteration coming just on the back of it. There will, however, be a reduced international participation at this year’s event as global travel restrictions remain place.


With Covid-19 having also taken the gloss off previously announced defence budget increases (in 2021, nearly USD500 million was shaved off defence expenditure for the year to help pay for the pandemic), South Korea in general and the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) in particular will be keen to once again being showing their wares to the world at this 14th running of ADEX.

Although the RoKAF has increasingly taken on an expeditionary role in recent years, it remains the threat from North Korea that drives the service's procurement and modernisation plans (for instance). To this end, the RoKAF's acquisition planning is focused primarily on strengthening its air combat capabilities with the latest precision strike and air defence assets, and ADEX will bring the latest news on a planned follow-on buy of the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), as well as latest developments on the KF-21 Boramae (previously known as KF-X) programme in particular. 

With a keen focus on military affairs, Janes interconnected intelligence spans across the globe. For those with a particular eye for South Korean aviation, please see below for our latest analysis of the country’s developments….

  • ADEX 2021: KF-21 Boramae to take centre-stage (read more)
  • ADEX 2021: Uncrewed aircraft to feature strongly in Seoul (read more)
  • ADEX 2021: Persistent threat from North Korea drives RoKAF modernisation (read more)
  • South Korea to buy 1,000 more UAVs by 2027 (read more)
  • South Korea advances space force plans (read more)
  • South Korean military to deploy VTOL UAVs for coastal surveillance and reconnaissance (read more)
  • South Korea testing several new missiles amid tensions with Pyongyang (read more)
  • South Korea to start trial operations of ‘grenade-launching' and ‘small modular' UAVs in 2022 (read more)
  • KAI to support Boeing in upgrading RoKAF's E-737 AEW&C aircraft (read more)    
  • Korean Air begins research on RoKAF-commissioned project to launch space rockets using commercial aircraft (read more)
  • Korean Air to bid for second Baekdu ISR project (read more)

Japan to send pilots to Italian flight training school

by Gareth Jennings

JASDF pilots will join other international students in training with Leonardo and the Italian Air Force on the T-346A aircraft. (Leonardo)

Japan is to send its military pilots to train at the AMI's International Flight Training School (IFTS). It was announced on 26 October.

Following recent similar agreements with Germany and Qatar, the AMI and Leonardo have secured a deal for the JASDF to undertake advanced pilot training (Phase IV) at the IFTS, located at the 61st Wing's Lecce Galatina Airbase in southern Italy.

“The Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, General Alberto Rosso, and the Chief of Staff of the JASDF, General Shunji Izutsu, have signed today an important technical arrangement on the training of Japanese military pilots,” as well as training student pilots, Leonardo said, adding that the agreement could also see Japanese instructors working at the IFTS. Leonardo did not say when the first JASDF personnel are scheduled to arrive at the IFTS.

As noted in an announcement, the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana – AMI) and Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) enjoy a close relationship, with both air forces operating the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and Boeing KC-767 tanker.

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Platform Aerospace offers VTOL-capable Vanilla Unmanned aircraft for US Army programmes

by Pat Host

The Platform Aerospace Vanilla Unmanned Group 3 aircraft on display at the 2021 AUSA trade show in Washington, DC. The aircraft is displayed with Logos Technologies' RedKite electro-optical wide-area motion imagery pod (foreground) and BlackKite infrared WAMI pod (background). Platform Aerospace is adding VTOL rotors to the Vanilla for an unspecified Pentagon customer and offering the capability for US Army programmes. (Janes/Pat Host)

Platform Aerospace is offering a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) variant of its Vanilla Unmanned ultra-long endurance Group 3 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for US Army programmes, according to a company executive.

Greg Pappianou, company chief growth officer, told Janes on 22 October that these programmes do not include the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System, which had VTOL UAVs such as the L3Harris FVR-90 hybrid quadcopter participate in a capstone rodeo in early 2021. Platform Aerospace wants to deliver this VTOL capability for a Pentagon customer, which Pappianou declined to specify, and then offer the Vanilla VTOL variant as an additional product offering.

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PTDI delivers second of nine NC212i aircraft to Indonesian Air Force

by Gabriel Dominguez

PTDI announced on 26 October that it had delivered the second of nine NC212i aircraft on order for the Indonesian Air Force. (PTDI)

State-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) announced on 26 October that it has delivered the second of nine NC212i aircraft ordered for the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) in late 2017.

The troop transport aircraft – with tail number AX-2127 – was delivered that same day in a ferry flight from PTDI's delivery centre hangar in Bandung, West Java, to the Abdulrachman Saleh Air Force Base in Malang, East Java, the company said in a statement, adding that this platform will also be assigned to “Air Squadron 4, Air Wing 2”, which is headquartered at the base.

These aircraft are part of an order placed by the Ministry of Defence in Jakarta on 29 December 2017 for nine NC212is in different configurations. Of the nine aircraft, four will be available in the troop transport configuration, another four in aerial photography and artificial rainmaking configuration, and one in the navigation training configuration, according to the company.

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