DECember 2023 news

Defense Aviation and Aerospace Industry


India joins elite group of nations with indigenous fying-wing UAV modeled on B-21 Raider

On December 15th, A. Bharat Bhushan Babu, the Spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of Defence, shared a tweet that was subsequently echoed and commented by NC Bipindra in EurAsian Times. This announcement celebrated India's entry into an exclusive group of nations possessing the ability to deploy flying wing technology. The milestone was achieved through the successful testing of the Autonomous Flying Wing Technology (AFWT) Demonstrator in its final configuration. This scaled-down version of an advanced unmanned combat aerial vehicle, modeled after Northrop Grumman’s B-21 Raider, marked a significant achievement for India.

United States approves sale of 35 Black Hawk helicopters to Greece

The United States has recently authorized a military agreement with Greece, which includes the delivery of 35 UH-60 M Black Hawk helicopters along with a variety of other military equipment, estimated at a value of $1.95 billion.

US Approves $224 Million Arms Sale to Japan for AIM-120C-8 Air-to-Air Missiles

Washington, D.C., United States, December 16, 2023 – The U.S. State Department has approved a significant Foreign Military Sale to Japan, for the supply of Advanced Medium-Range AIM-120C-8 Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and related equipment, valued at an estimated $224 million. This strategic decision aims to reinforce political stability and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific region.

Germany signs record deal with Airbus for 82 H145M helicopters

On December 14, 2023, the German Army and Airbus Helicopters finalized a contract for the acquisition of up to 82 H145M helicopters. This agreement includes 62 firm orders and an option for 20 additional helicopters, making it the biggest contract for the H145M model and the HForce weapon management system. The contract also encompasses a seven-year support and service package, aimed at facilitating the integration of these helicopters into service.

Rheinmetall and Airbus transfer another simulator for Airbus A400M to German Air Force

The tech enterprise Rheinmetall and the European aeronautics and space company Airbus have transferred an A400M cargo hold simulator to the Bundeswehr’s 62nd Air Transport Squadron (LTG 62) at Wunstorf in Lower Saxony. The Cargo Hold Part Task Trainer (CPTT) complements existing simulators and training systems at the German Air Force’s A400M Training Centre. In Wunstorf, cargo hold crews already train (among other things) on the advanced Cargo Hold Trainer Enhanced (CHT-E).

US Department of Defense invests in AH-64 Apache modernization programs

On December 13, the U.S. Department of Defense revealed that Lockheed Martin Corp., headquartered in Orlando, Florida, had been granted a $74,045,265 contract modification (Contract W58RGZ-21-C-0016) as part of the AH-64 Apache Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor Performance Based Logistics program. The scope of this contract modification encompasses various logistical enhancements for the AH-64 Apache platform.

French hypersonic glider VMaX's inaugural flight enabled by close collaboration with US Navy

In the 1960s, Laurent Lagneau recalls in Opex360, France embarked on an ambitious project called VERAS (Experimental Vehicle for Aerothermodynamics and Structural Research) to develop an experimental glider capable of reaching hypersonic speeds, exceeding Mach 5. This endeavor aimed to achieve this feat by launching the glider with a Diamant A rocket from the Landes Testing Center in Biscarrosse. However, despite its technical aspirations, budgetary constraints eventually led to the project's abandonment in 1971.

Lockheed Martin gets US DoD contract for Lot 17 helmet-mounted display requirements in support of F-35

The U.S. Department of Defense on December 12 announced that Lockheed Martin, Fort Worth, Texas, is awarded a $174,635,020 firm-fixed-price modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. This modification exercises an option to procure Lot 17 helmet-mounted display requirements in support of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, F-35 Cooperative Program Partners, and Foreign Military Sales customers.

French DGA tests next-generation L-16 tactical data link on board A400M Atlas

Now indispensable in coalition military operations, especially within a NATO framework or network, Link 16 (L16) allows for the exchange of complex and encrypted tactical information among multiple units, whether they are airborne, naval, or ground units, as explained by Laurent Lagneau on Opex360.

Indonesian Air Force receives eight Airbus H225M helicopters

On December 1, 2023, the Indonesian Air Force took delivery of a batch of eight Airbus H225M tactical transport helicopters. These helicopters were officially transferred to Air Force Chief of Staff (Kasau) Marshal TNI Fadjar Prasetyo by the Indonesian Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto at Atang Sendjaja Air Base in Bogor, West Java province, Indonesia.

Royal Malaysian Air Force reinforces air surveillance with Thales’ new Ground Master 400α radar

Thales has signed on 8 December 2023 a letter of award for the supply of a GM400α long-range radar delivered with a complete station infrastructure to the Royal Malaysian Air Force, in the presence of the Ministers of Defence of both Malaysia and France.

Boeing to supply six remanufactured MH-47G Block II Chinooks to US Army Special Operations Aviation Command

The U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command (USASOAC) has awarded Boeing a contract to produce six remanufactured MH-47G Block II aircraft as a part of the Army’s modernization efforts. With the deal valued at $271M, Boeing has 42 MH-47G helos under contract with USASOAC.

Taiwan finalizes development of Sky Sword III air-to-air missile

Taiwan has recently completed the Sky Sword III, a new air-to-air missile. This development, significantly enhancing the country's air defense, is slated for mass production next year, featuring improved range and speed over its predecessor, the Sky Sword II.

Chinese Navy's Fujian aircraft carrier advances with tests of J-35 stealth fighter

The recent progress of the Chinese Navy is evident in the Fujian aircraft carrier, a Type 003 model. Tests include electromagnetic catapults with two red cars and an aircraft similar to the J-35 stealth fighter on deck, as reported by passengers flying over the carrier.

Greece's Air Force purchases 14 Leonardo AW139H helicopters for Super Puma replacement

According to CNN Greece on December 10, 2023, the Hellenic Air Force selected the Leonardo AW-139H, a variant of the AW139 helicopter, as the replacement for its 12 AS332C Super Puma helicopters in search and rescue (SAR) operations. This decision comes after an evaluation process that included several other models, including the Airbus H-175 and the UH-60 Black Hawk.

Bolivia approves purchase of two multipurpose emergency helicopters

On November 29, 2023, Bolivia's President, Luis Alberto Arce Catacora, took a step to enhance the country's emergency response capabilities by signing the Decreto Supremo N° 5074. This decree approves the provision of two multipurpose helicopters to the Bolivian Air Force for preferential use in civil defense, disaster response, emergencies, and other activities that benefit the Bolivian population.

Belgium celebrates Rollout of First F-35A Multirole Fighter Jet

On December 10, 2023, a significant event unfolded in the history of the Belgian Air Force: the official presentation of Belgium's first F-35A Lightning II. The rollout ceremony, held at Lockheed Martin's F-35 production facility, not only underscored an important milestone for the Belgian Armed Forces but also strengthened the alliance between the United States and Belgium, a key NATO ally.

Lockheed Martin's successful live fire test paves way for Spike NLOS integration on AH-64E Apache

Lockheed Martin successfully fired eight Spike NLOS all-up rounds (AURs) over five days from the U.S. AH-64E V6 Apache at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. The successful live fire event clears the Spike NLOS Long Range Precision Munitions Directed Requirement (LRPM DR) system for Airworthiness Release (AWR) for the U.S. Apache platform, which paves the way for starting to equip the system into the U.S. Army’s current AH-64E V6s.

Bangladesh Army to receive US-made Boeing Insitu RQ-21A Blackjack UAVs

The United States has confirmed the transfer of RQ-21A Blackjack Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to Bangladesh Army. This development was jointly announced by Mira Resnick, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Regional Security in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, and Peter Haas, the US Ambassador to Bangladesh. The discussions surrounding this transfer have been ongoing since August 2023, marking a pivotal moment in US-Bangladesh defense relations.

ExpoDefensa 2023: Gripen full-scale model marks Saab's effort to win Colombian Kfir replacement

Saab, the Swedish defense company, is participating in ExpoDefensa 2023 with a focus on presenting a solution to replace the aging Israeli-made Kfir combat aircraft. The centerpiece of their showcase is a full-scale replica of the Gripen multirole-fighter aircraft, a key asset in Saab's bid for a contract with the Colombian Air Force.

Page 2 of 4