• Covid-19: Airbus pauses Spanish production in line with royal decree

    Airbus has temporarily closed its operations in Spain in line with a royal decree limiting movement and industrial activity in the country. The move, announced by the company on 30 March, will see all non-essential work at its Spanish facilities cease until 9 April as the country’s government

  • Covid-19: Airbus establishes coronavirus airbridge from China to Europe

    Airbus has used one of its A300-200 aircraft to fly personal protection equipment from China to Europe, the company announced. The airlift, which took place over three days between 26 and 28 March, saw an A330 that is currently being converted into a multirole tanker transport (MRTT) platform for

  • Covid-19: UK establishes helicopter-hubs to support virus fight

    The United Kingdom has established two hubs from which military helicopters will be able to provide assistance to civil authorities the length of the country during the coronavirus pandemic. The hubs at Kinloss Barracks in Scotland and Royal Air Force (RAF) Benson in England will see Boeing Chinook

  • North Macedonia becomes NATO's 30th member

    North Macedonia was formally accepted as NATO's 30th member state on 27 March, when it deposited its instrument of accession with the US State Department in Washington, DC. This was marked by the firing of six artillery pieces from Ilinden barracks in Skopje. This was followed by a flag raising

  • Royal Navy shadows Russian warships in English Channel

    The Royal Navy (RN) reported on its website on 26 March that nine of its vessels had completed a “concentrated operation” shadowing seven Russian warships in the English Channel and North Sea. The development came as RN specialists and planners and other UK armed services were preparing

  • Australia begins construction of third Arafura-class OPV

    The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced on 27 March that construction work had begun on the third of 12 Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) on order for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Unlike the first two ships of the class, which are being built at the Osborne Naval

  • French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle deploys to North Sea region for first time in 10 years

    Key Points The French Navy aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle is conducting its first deployment to the eastern North Sea region in a decade As part of the deployment, the carrier strike group exercised with Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 The French Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier FS

  • IrvinGQ develops airdrop cage for THeMIS UGV

    UK-based aerial delivery equipment and parachute developer IrvinGQ has developed ATAX, an airdrop system that can deliver Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System (THeMIS) unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), Estonia’s Milrem Robotics announced on 26 March. The ATAX is a modular, rapid-rig/de-rig,

  • BAE touts Sceptre fast jet mission management tool for multidomain applications

    BAE Systems is pitching its Sceptre mission management tool for fast jets as a core campaign planning tool for multidomain operations. Speaking to Jane’s on 26 March, Louise Aiken, head of Mission Planning Programmes, and John Loader, Operational Requirements Specialist, said that the Sceptre

  • Covid-19: Czech IFV contract threatened by budget cuts

    The Czech Republic is preparing big cuts in defence spending and strategic contracts in its state budget as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. “I do not think we need the new tracked infantry fighting vehicles [IFVs] immediately but we need other items for this war [against Covid-19],”

  • Covid-19: Piaggio Aerospace extends deadline for Expressions of Interest in company

    Italian aviation technology firm Piaggio Aerospace announced on 24 March that is was extending a deadline for Expressions of Interest (EoI) in acquiring the company to 4 May. The extension comes in response to the current Covid-19 crisis, with the original closing date for the EoI being 3 April.

  • Covid-19: Spain’s military lab to manufacture drugs to counter pandemic

    The Spanish government is reported to have ordered a Ministry of Defence (MoD) laboratory to start producing drugs for civilian use during the Covid-19 crisis. Paracetamol, antiviral drugs for injections, and disinfectants are on the list to “guarantee the supply of essential products”,

  • Covid-19: UK MoD monitoring effect of coronavirus on specific procurement programmes

    The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is monitoring the effect of coronavirus on specific procurement programmes, and is working with industry to mitigate any potential fallout from the global pandemic. Speaking to Jane’s on 25 March, an MoD spokesperson noted that manufacturing shutdowns and

  • Gripen E/F shifts focus from flight to sensor tests

    Saab has shifted the focus of its Gripen E/F testing away from basic flight trials towards the aircraft’s tactical and sensor suites as the programme ramps up ahead of the first upcoming deliveries to Sweden and Brazil. Speaking at Saab’s annual Gripen Seminar on 26 March, the

  • Raid on suspected DHKP-C cell in Athens finds high-powered firearms, indicates group's intent to continue attacks in Turkey

    Key Points The Greek counter-terrorism service raided two locations in the capital Athens on 19 March, detaining 26 suspected members of the Turkish Marxist-Leninist Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi (DHKP-C) militant group. The raid was the largest targeting the group recorded outside

  • Covid-19: Romanian Air Force airlifts coronavirus supplies from Germany and Turkey

    The Romanian Air Force (For?ele Aeriene Romane – FAR) mobilised its fixed-wing air mobility assets to airlift urgent coronavirus supplies from Germany and Turkey on 24 March. A Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules and a Leonardo C-27J Spartan transport aircraft from the 901st Squadron and

  • Covid-19: Czech Republic and Slovakia mobilise SALIS to deliver emergency equipment

    The Czech Republic and Slovakia are both using the NATO Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) programme to airlift in emergency equipment from China during the coronavirus crisis, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has announced. The first SALIS flight using an Antonov

  • Covid-19: NATO co-ordinates assistance to Spain, Ukraine

    Spain and Ukraine have sent requests to NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), the alliance has announced. "On 23 March the EADRCC received a request for international assistance from the armed Forces of Spain in their response to the global pandemic of the

  • Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions to produce ammunition for US F-35 programme

    A joint venture (JV) between Rheinmetall Defence Australia (RDA) and Australian munition and weapon systems specialist NIOA announced on 25 March that it is set to produce and supply medium-calibre ammunition for the US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme. Called Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions

  • Belarus hosts joint exercise with UK Royal Marines

    Belarus hosted Exercise ‘Winter Partisan’ on the Losvido training area in the northeast of the country close to Vitebsk on 1–14 March along with the UK Royal Marines’ 42 Commando and the UN peacekeeping brigade of the Belarusian 103rd Guards Airborne Division, the Belarusian