MARCH 2021 news

Defense Aviation and Aerospace Industry


B-2 Spirit integrates with NATO ally to participate in a series of Bomber Task Force missions

Three B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, along with more than 100 Airmen, civilians and contractors, arrived at Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal, to participate in a series of Bomber Task Force missions in the high North European region.

France and Italy to develop new generation of SAMP/T air defense system

The contract for the development of the SAMP/T NG (Surface-to-Air Missile Platform/Terrain New Generation) for France and Italy has been signed on March 19 at OCCAR premises in France (Paris area) in the presence of the French Air and Space Force staff, the Italian Army staff, the OCCAR Director and National representatives of the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) and of the Italian Armament Directorate (SGD). OCCAR has awarded the contract, by delegation of DGA and SGD, to the Franco-Italian consortium Eurosam; backed by its three shareholders MBDA France, MBDA Italy and Thales.

US approves foreign military sale of AGM-114R Hellfire missiles to South Korea

The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Republic of Korea of AGM-114R Hellfire Missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $36 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on March 19.

Textron Systems awarded contract by the US Army to upgrade Shadow tactical UAS

Textron Systems Corporation, a Textron Inc. company, announced on March 18 it received a contract for up to $607 million from the U.S. Army to provide contract logistics support, field services, and engineering support along with the retrofit of the existing Shadow Block II Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS) to the upgraded Block III configuration. This award follows a highly successful Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation (FOT&E) of the Block III configuration by the Army in late 2020.

BIRD Aerosystems to provide additional Airborne Missile Protection Systems to the Czech Air Force

BIRD Aerosystems, the leading developer of Airborne Missile Protection Systems (AMPS) and Airborne Surveillance, Information, and Observation (ASIO) solutions, has been awarded a new contract by the Czech Republic. Under the contract, BIRD Aerosystems will provide additional AMPS-MV systems with the patented MACS (Missile Approach Confirmation Sensor) for the Czech Air Force Mi-17 fleet. This project is a part of the overall modernization of the Czech Mi-17 transport helicopter fleet.

France orders air-to-air MICA NG missiles to MBDA

During the weekly press briefing on March 18, the spokesperson for the French Ministry of the Armed Forces highlighted the order for 367 New Generation Combat and Self-Defense Interception Missiles (MICA NG).

First EA-18G inducted for Growler capability modification

The F/A-18 & EA-18G Program Office (PMA-265) commenced the five-year Growler Capability Modification (GCM) program at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Washington. This kicks off the first major effort to upgrade the capabilities of the EA-18G Growler in the history of the platform.

Airbus delivers seventh H145 for the German Armed Forces SAR service

Airbus Helicopters has handed over the seventh and last H145 for the search and rescue (SAR) service of the Bundeswehr to the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) on time. The previously delivered helicopters are used for training and field testing and are available 24/7 at the Niederstetten and Nörvenich air bases for rescue operations. Operations with the new H145 LUH SAR will begin shortly, as planned, at the third SAR station in Holzdorf.

Rostec to unite UAC, Sukhoi and MiG into a single aircraft construction corporate center

Rostec Corporation said it would unite the UAC (United Aircraft Corporation) , Sukhoi and MiG Companies into a single aircraft construction corporate center in order to consolidate control of aircraft programs and other UAC assets.

USA: E-2D achieves mission capable goal 5 months ahead of target

The E-2D community reached its mission capable goal five months ahead of schedule recently thanks to efforts made by the E-2/C-2 Airborne Command & Control Systems Program Office (PMA-231) and the Airborne Command & Control Logistics Wing (ACCLOGWING).

RQ-4 Global Hawk brings ISR capabalities to US Marine Corps

Pilots and sensor operators from 348th Reconnaissance Squadron provided RQ-4 Global Hawk support to II Marine Expeditionary Force’s 2nd Intelligence Battalion’s field exercise February 2021, held at Bouge, North Carolina.

US Army completes demonstration of AH-64E helicopter equipped with SPIKE NLOS missiles

On March 17, the US Air Force has publicly released an image of a US Army AH-64E Apache attack helicopter loaded with two Israeli-made Spike NLOS missiles. 

France tests the integration of Scorpion helmet sight for Rafale F4

At the end of January 2021, the DGA Flight Tests center of expertise carried out compatibility tests on the Thales Scorpion helmet sight at the Cazaux site (Gironde) with the parachute evacuation of a Rafale pilot. This test campaign is part of the process of integrating this equipment on the Rafale to the F4 standard.

Saudi Arabia in discussion to buy armed drones from Turkey

On March 16, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Saudi Arabia has requested to buy armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Turkey.

US DoD working with Norway to develop high-speed propulsion technologies

The US Defense Department and the Norwegian Ministry of Defense jointly announced in April that they will partner on the development of an advanced solid fuel ramjet that could find use in supersonic and hypersonic weaponry.

Aerovel raises $2.5M to support continued development of its Flexrotor UAS

Aerovel, manufacturer of Flexrotor, the most advanced Group 2 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft, announced that it has raised $2.5 million in Series B capital. The investment is from undisclosed leaders in aviation. Aerovel is using the funds to accelerate growth, increase production capacity and hire additional engineers.

AeroVironment get $45M modification contract for Switchblade Weapon System for the UK

AeroViroment Inc., Simi Valley, California, was awarded a $44,961,750 modification to contract W31P4Q-20-C-0024 for the Switchblade Weapon System

Kratos SRP-4 vehicle team supports US Space Force sounding rocket launch

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. , announced on March 12 that its Sounding Rocket Program (SRP)-4 launch vehicle team under subcontract to Space Vector Corporation, successfully launched a scientific experiment for the U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. It was the first launch of a sounding rocket vehicle under SRP-4, an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract that was awarded to the Space Vector Corporation in partnership with Kratos in December of 2018.

Rafale fighter jets on F3-R standard put into operational service

On March 8, 2021, the operational commissioning of the Rafale F3-R combat aircraft was decided by Admiral Pierre Vandier, Chief of the Navy Staff and Air Force General Philippe Lavigne, Chief of Staff of the Air and Space Army. The modernization of combat aviation capabilities is one of the priorities of the LPM. As such, 2.7 billion euros are devoted, over the 2019-2025 period, to the development of the new Rafale standards.

US approves foreign military sale of CH-47 pilot training and logistic support to the Netherlands

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the Netherlands of CH-47 Pilot Training and Logistics Support and related equipment for an estimated cost of $125 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on March 16.

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