May 2021 news

Defense Aviation and Aerospace Industry


Spanish Air Force MQ-9A Block 5 UAVs to get US follow-on contractor logistics support

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on May 24 that the Department of Defense has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Spain of Follow-on Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) for GA-ASI MQ-9A Blk 5 Aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $110 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale.

Poland to buy Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones

According to information published by Anadolu Agency on May 25, 2021, the Polish Ministry of Defense will buy 24 armed drones from Turkey becoming the first NATO member to buy Turkish-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) Bayraktar TB2.

Mass-produced Baykar Akinci combat drone makes succesfull first test flight

The first mass-produced version of Turkey's state-of-the-art unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) Akinci, Bayrar Akinci S-1 passed its initial flight test on May 19, Daily Sabah reports. The information regarding the test flight was shared by manufacturing company Baykar’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Selçuk Bayraktar on Twitter.

Mi-28NM attack helicopter can fire new weapons and interact with drones – Part 2

The plan to upgrade Mi28N/NE and Mi-28UB to the level of Mi-28NM has been designed since 2015. It was agreed with the military command and approved by a deputy Defense minister.

US Special Forces consider amphibious version of MC-130J Commando II

The idea of an "amphibious" C-130 Hercules dating back to the1960s was not completely abandoned, Laurent Lagneau reports in Opex360, Lockheed-Martin having considered equipping the aircraft with floats. Still unsuccessful, although the US Coast Guard might have been interested. Eventually, as needs have since evolved, such a concept may well materialize, with the US Special Operations Command [USSOCOM] now deeming it relevant to the operations they expect to conduct in the years to come.

French Air and Space Force engages MQ-9 Reaper Block 5 UAV against terrorists in Africa

On Friday, May 14, 2021, the Reaper block 5, a new Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) drone operated by the Air and Space Force, took off from the Projected Air Base (BAP) from Niamey (capital city of Niger) for its first operational flight. Its very first mission was to support the soldiers of the Bison Desert Tactical Group (GTD), engaged in a major operation against the Armed Terrorist Groups (GAT) in the Nokara region of Gourma (Burkina Faso).

UK invests £1.4-billion to modernise Chinook fleet

According to information published by the UK Government on May 20, 2021, a £1.4-billion contract to modernize the Chinook fleet over the next 10 years has been agreed. The deal will see British forces benefit from 14 of the latest iconic heavy-lift helicopters.

Mi-28NM attack helicopter can fire new weapons and interact with drones - Part 1

The Russian army received Mi-28NM helicopters, an upgraded Mi-28N. The Russian Helicopters Holding has to supply 98 rotorcraft. In June, Mi-28NM will fly at MAKS-2021 airshow. Chief Designer of Combat Helicopters program of the MiL and Kamov design bureau Vitaly Shcherbina told TASS about Mi-28NM capabilities.

Bulgaria orders Saab deployable maintenance facility

Saab has signed a contract to deliver the innovative Deployable Maintenance Facility (DAM) for use by the Bulgarian Air Force. The system will provide the Bulgarian Air Force with an efficient and flexible way to optimize their infrastructure capability.

US Air Force can retire Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker in favor of KC-46 Pegasus

U.S. Transportation Command is responsible for moving people and materiel around the globe in support of the nation's defense needs. It relies, in part, on the use of the Air Force's aircraft to do that. When the Air Force hoped to retire some aircraft within the KC-135 Stratotanker fleet in order to make way for the new refueling aircraft, the KC-46 Pegasus — which was delayed — Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, commander of Transcom, thought it inadvisable. But that is no longer the case. C. Todd Lopez, DoD News, reports.

French Air Force Rafales and US F-35s perform joint flight

According to information published by the U.S. Department of Defense on May 18, 2021, a Dassault Rafale assigned to the 1/4 Gascogne Fighter Squadron, 113 Saint-Dizier-Robinson air base, France, and a U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 4th Fighter Squadron, have performed formation flight over France.

Russian Su-25SM3 pilots learning to operate Gefest computing subsystem

Sukhoi Su-25SM3 (NATO reporting name: Frogfoot-A) pilots of the Southern Military District are learning to operate the Gefest aiming system during drills in the Stavropol and Krasnodar Territories in south Russia, the Defense Ministry’s press office said. “During the maneuvers, the Su-25SM3 pilots dropped bombs from a minimal altitude during a level flight, using the Gefest aiming and navigation system that is installed on all latest versions of the Su-25 attack plane,” the press office said

France Germany and Spain agree on Future Combat Air System prototype flight in 2027

Florence Parly, French Minister of Defense, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, German Minister of Defense, and Margarita Robles, Spanish Minister of Defense, announced on May 17 the finalization of discussions on the content of the next phase of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). The first flight of a demonstrator of the new generation combat aircraft is due to take place in 2027.

BAE Systems awarded contract from US Defense Logistics Agency for advanced M-Code GPS modules

BAE Systems has received a $325.5 million contract from the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency for advanced Military Code (M-Code) Global Positioning System (GPS) modules that will provide reliable and secure positioning, navigation, and timing data with anti-jamming and anti-spoofing capabilities. The modules will help warfighters conduct operations in contested electronic warfare environments.

US deploys F/A-18D aircraft in Saudi Arabia

According to information published by U.S. Department of Defense on May 18, 2021, U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18D Hornet aircraft from Marine All Weather Fighter Squadron 224, Marine Aircraft Group 31, deployed to Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, this week as part of a dynamic force employment to enhance U.S. Central Command’s ability to deter aggression and promote security and stability within the USCENTCOM area of responsibility.

Screaming Eagles take flight in cutting-edge UH-60 Black Hawk simulator

Fort Campbell, Kentucky, is entering the latest frontier of flight simulation technology with the Army-owned and operated Black Hawk Aircrew Trainer, or BAT, a highly immersive device that the installation began using May 3. Ethan Steinquest, Fort Campbell Courier, reports.

Russian Air Force reconnaissance squadrons to be equipped with drones

The Russian Defense Ministry decided to gradually rearm reconnaissance squadrons of the Aerospace Forces with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). At present, they operate Sukhoi Su-24MR reconnaissance aircraft. They may be replaced with Inokhodets and Altius drones, the Izvestia daily writes quoting Defense Ministry sources.

Rheinmetall and Thales awarded subcontract from Lockheed Martin to deliver training services to the joint Franco-German C-130J squadron

Thales and Rheinmetall have been tasked with certifying the future training centre organization for the Franco-German C-130J Super Hercules fleet. The two companies are participating in the project as subcontractors (50/50) to Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor of the France/Germany Multinational Training Centre and manufacturer of the C-130J Super Hercules.

Argentina evaluates ISR pod on IA-58 Pucará Fénix aircraft

The Directorate General for Research and Development of the Argentinian Air Force, together with Invap, carried out the first certification and integration flights of the airborne pod designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions for the IA-58 Pucará Fénix modernized by Fadea, Gonzalo Mary reports in InfoDefensa.

Taiwan Air Force gets upgraded F-16s and test fires AIM-120 missiles

According to Taiwan News after a photo published on Instagram by Aeros808, Taiwanese F-16 fighters have been spotted in Hawaii on their way back home after being upgraded to the Block 70 variant. This photo published on May 13 showed two F-16s taking off at Daniel. K. Inoue International Airport in Honolulu, Hawaii. One of the aircraft displayed serial number 6621, which is a Taiwanese military number, and the other displayed the serial number 93-708, which is an American number, Liberty Times reported.

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