May 2021 news

Defense Aviation and Aerospace Industry


GA-ASI wins contract to update Italian Air Force MQ-9 RPA

According to information published on May 31, 2021, the Italian Air Force has partnered with the U.S. Government and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) to provide a mid-life update to its fleet of MQ-9 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and Ground Control Stations (GCS) as part of a Foreign Military Sales agreement.

Russian helicopters to increase footprint in India

Russia is increasing the footprint of its rotary-wing aircraft in India, according to Russian officials. In late May, Director General of Rosoboronexport arms exporting company (a subsidiary of state corporation Rostec) Alexander Mikheev told the TASS news agency that the enterprise had formed a program to localize the manufacturing of Kamov Ka-226T light utility helicopter in India.

US Army researching enhanced lethality for future aircraft

As the U.S. Army progresses with its large-scale aircraft modernization initiatives, researchers are developing a capability to enable greater lethality by integrating automated scanning and detection of enemy targets. Dan Lafontaine, DEVCOM C5ISR Center Public Affairs, reports.

MD Helicopters awarded US contract for Afghan Air Force MD 530F helicopter support

The U.S. Department of Defense announced on May 28 that MD Helicopter Inc., Mesa, Arizona, was awarded a $14,500,000 modification to contract W58RGZ-17-C-0038 to provide contractor logistics support for the Afghanistan Air Force fleet of armed MD 530F rotary-wing aircraft. Work will be performed in Mesa, Arizona; Kabul, Afghanistan; and Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2021.

Croatian government confirms buy of 12 Rafale fighter jets

According to information published by Reuters on May 28, 2021, the Croatian government will buy 12 Dassault Rafale F3-R fighter jets to modernize its Air Force in a deal worth 999 million euros, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said.

Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod integrates with Kuwait F-18 Super Hornet

Lockheed Martin, in conjunction with the U.S. Navy, completed its first flight test integrating Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet for the Kuwait Air Force. Sniper ATP will be located on Weapon Station 5, an area on the aircraft where pods or weapons attach and is expected to be fielded with the aircraft in late 2023.

Boeing to provide C-17 training for the Royal Air Force

According to a press release published by Boeing on May 27, 2021, the company will continue training Royal Air Force (RAF) C-17 aircrew and engineers at the C-17 International Training Centre (ITC) in Farnborough, delivering a technology-enabled program under a new Synthetic Training Service (STS) contract through 2040.

Northrop Grumman BAMS-D surpasses 40,000 flight hours

Northrop Grumman announced on May 27 that its autonomous high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) Broad Area Maritime Surveillance-Demonstrator (BAMS-D) system surpassed 40,000 flight hours during a routine mission in the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) area of operations on April 13, 2021.

RAF Lightnings performs flights on Exercise Atlantic Trident

According to information published by the UK Air Force on May 27, 2021, RAF F-35B fighters from the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth have been flying in a major international air exercise for the first time since the Carrier Strike Group sailed from the UK on its seven-month-long deployment.

Spanish companies partner for unmanned vehicles of Future Combat Air System

Sener Aeroespacial, GMV and Tecnobit-Grupo OESIA set up a joint venture Satnus Technologies SL to lead from Spain the development of new technology for unmanned vehicles of Europe’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

Restructuring British Army combat aviation

A Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) paper has been published on the restructuring of combat aviation in the British Army. The report studied the new model of combat aviation within the Army, and the threats against aviation across the world, stating that combat aviation is a ‘unique capability within the British Army.’

Hypersonic missile for Su-34 and Tu-22M3 bombers to be tested from 2022

Russia has to begin trials in 2022 of a new small hypersonic missile designed in the framework of Ostrota R&D. The new weapon will make the aircraft a part of Russian non-nuclear deterrence, the Izvestia daily writes quoting Defense Ministry sources.

Indonesia interested in Dassault Rafale fighter jets

According to information published by BFM TV on May 20, 2021, Indonesia could buy thirty-six Rafale fighter jets from the French firm Dassault. Negotiations between the two countries are currently in the final stages.

First in-line Il-76MD-90A assembled and handed over for testing in Ulyanovsk

The first heavy transport aircraft Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A, assembled at the new assembly line at the Ulyanovsk-based Aviastar-SP (part of Rostec's UAC), was transferred to the flight test station of the aircraft factory.

Philippine Air Force to receive first 2 Turkish T129 attack helicopters in September

According to Daily Sabah, the first two units of T129 Tactical Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopters (ATAK) manufactured by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for the Philippines are expected to be delivered in September, the Department of National Defense (DND) of the Southeast Asian country announced on May 25.

Serbian Air Force says farewell to its MiG-21 fighters

The Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Dr. Nebojsa Stefanovic and the Commander of the Air Force and Air Defense, Lieutenant General Dusko Zarkovic, attended on 21 May at the military airport "Colonel Pilot Milenko Pavlovic" the event "Trace in Infinity" which symbolically ended the MiG-21 life in the Serbian Air Force.

Hensoldt successfully tests collision warning system

According to a press release published by Hensoldt on May 25, 2021, Sensor solutions provider is vigorously pushing ahead with the development of a collision warning system for civil and military drones: after the radar sensor as the core element of a collision warning system was already successfully tested in flight as part of the ProSA-n (military) and KoKo2 (civil) study programmes, work on the software required for interaction with an autopilot is well advanced.

Russia to deploy Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback bombers in Arctic

The Russian Defense Ministry will deploy a squadron of Su-34 frontline bombers at airfields in Franz-Joseph Land Archipelago and Novosibirsk Islands. Infrastructure is being built there to accommodate them. The bombers will reinforce Russian defense in the Arctic and along the Northern Sea Route, the Izvestia daily quotes Defense Ministry sources as saying.

Saab to upgrade German Air Force Tornado radar warners

Saab has received an order from Panavia Aircraft GmbH to upgrade the radar warning equipment on the Tornado aircraft operated by the Luftwaffe (German Air Force). The order value is approximately 400 million SEK.

Croatia may buy French Rafale fighter jets

According to information published by Jutarnji List on May 20, 2021, Croatia has selected the Dassault Rafale F3-R as its new multirole jet fighter with an official announcement expected by the end of this month.

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