MARCH 2023 news

Defense Aviation and Aerospace Industry


Elbit Systems marks 20 years of operating elementary trainer aircraft fleet of Israeli Air Force

Elbit Systems Ltd is marking 20 years of operating the sixteen Grob G-120-AI aircraft fleet of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) that was established by Elbit Systems in 2002 as a multi-year Private Finance Initiative (PFI) program under which the Company procures, operates and maintains the fleet, providing the IAF with training flight hours. Since the start of operations, high customer satisfaction level has earned Elbit Systems with follow-on contracts to continue delivering this service to the IAF for two consecutive 10-year periods.

Czech aircrew completes US Marine-led training ahead of AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom helicopters delivery

Members of the U.S. Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron (HMLAT) 303 and the H-1 Light/Attack helicopters program office (PMA-276), recognized a group of airmen from the Czech Republic Air Force during a ceremony on Feb. 9 for completing maintenance and flight training on the H-1 family of the aircraft.

ILIAS supplies first F-35 Fleet Management solution for Royal Australian Air Force

In collaboration with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, and Lockheed Martin Australia, the ILIAS Solutions team presented the first F-35 Fleet Management solution to the RAAF, and successfully integrated RAAF F-35 data with the ILIAS Defense Platform; enabling a modern user interface and providing an intuitive set of Fleet Management visualizations and planning, scheduling, and decision-making tools.

South Korean KF-21 fighter prototypes successfully conduct first gun and medium-range missile firing tests

On March 28, South Korea announced it had successfully carried out the first armament tests on two prototypes of its homegrown KF-21 fighter, the state arms procurement agency said, in a step to vet its combat capabilities, Yonhap news agency reports. The prototypes underwent separate tests over the waters off the country's southern coast after they took off from the Air Force's 3rd Flying Training Wing in Sacheon, 300 km south of Seoul, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

Airbus achieves in-flight autonomous guidance and control of drones from A310 MRTT tanker aircraft

Airbus Defence and Space and the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Airbus UpNext, on March 28 announced that they have achieved in-flight autonomous guidance and control of a drone using an A310 MRTT. In a first step towards Autonomous Formation Flight and Autonomous Air-to-Air refuelling (A4R), the technologies demonstrate a significant breakthrough for future aerial operations involving manned and unmanned assets.

US Army selects Northrop Grumman with Shield AI for Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System Prototype

Northrop Grumman, teamed with Shield AI, has been chosen by the U.S. Army to participate in the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) competition, Increment 2, to replace the long-serving RQ-7B Shadow tactical unmanned aerial system (UAS).

Baykar unveils new Bayraktar TB3 sea-based Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

According to information published by Daily Sabah on March 27, 2023, Baykar, the Turkish defense company known for its Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs), is set to unveil its latest platform designed for naval operations.

North Macedonia to consider returning its 12 Mi-24 Hind combat helicopters to Ukraine

According to Ukrinform, the government of North Macedonia will consider the decision to transfer 12 Mi-24 combat helicopters to Ukraine at a meeting on March 29, after the General Staff has completed an analysis of the proposal.

French Air and Space Force boosts capabilities of its Mirage 2000D RMV fighters

Two mid-life updated Mirage 2000D RMVs (rénovés à mi-vie) have been deployed on the N’Djamena BAP (Chad) since the beginning of March. The new capabilities of the fighter-bomber reinforce the air capabilities of the French forces in the Sahel. Zoom on this renovation.

Slovakia receives offer of 12 new AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and Hellfire II missiles from the United States

On March 23, the Slovakian Ministry of Defence confirmed that the US has offered to provide 12 new AH-1Z Viper combat helicopters along with AGM-114 Hellfire II air-to-ground missiles to the Slovak Republic Armed Forces. The offer is valued at over $1bn, of which around $660m will be provided to Slovakia from the US’ FMF funding initiative.

NATO Secretary General welcomes launch of MRTT multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft fleet

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on 23 March 2023 welcomed the launch of a multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft fleet (MRTT) that is "now ready for a full range of missions" at Eindhoven Air Base in the Netherlands.

Northrop Grumman demonstrates platform agnostic in-flight connectivity for US Air Force

Northrop Grumman successfully demonstrated the technical capability to connect a full aircraft ecosystem. The company showcased its Software Programmable Open Mission Systems Compliant (SPOC) multifunction processor in a flight test for the U.S. Air Force, highlighting the ability to integrate existing and future platforms using advanced data links.

Indonesia reportedly purchased 12 Turkish TAI Anka UAVs

According to information published by MaxDefense Philippines on March 22, 2023, Indonesia reportedly purchased 12 TAI Anka Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

US Air Force to buy JSM cruise missiles to arm F-35 Lightning II fighters

In 2022, reminds, Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace (KDA) made huge strides with its NSM (Naval Strike Missile) cruise missile, which became the de facto replacement for Harpoon anti-ship missiles on surface ships around the world. In 2023, the victorious pace of the products of the Raytheon-Kongsberg consortium continued on the planet.

1st production Boeing CH-47F Chinook Block II intended for US Army enters final assembly stage

The first production CH-47F Block II Chinook helicopter has reached the final assembly phase of production, the last step in production before the aircraft will be delivered to the U.S. Army. This is the first of many CH-47F Block II aircraft, the newest variant of the trusted Chinook helicopter series.

Russian Su-35 Flanker-E fighters intercept US B-52H bombers over Baltic Sea

Russia scrambled two Su-35 fighters of the Western Military District (some sources mention a single Su-35) to intercept two US Air Force B-52H bombers (some sources mention one B-52H) over the Baltic Sea, the Russian National Defense Control Center told on Monday, March 20: “On March 20, 2023, radars of the Western Military District Air Defense force on duty detected two airborne targets over the Baltic Sea, flying towards the state border of the Russian Federation. The targets were identified as two U.S. Air Force B-52H strategic bombers,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

UK offers to help Poland protect its airspace following donation of MiG-29s to Ukraine

As reminded by Laurent Lagneau in Opex360, Poland announced last week that it would donate four MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets to Ukraine, with six more to come. Slovakia also followed suit, indicating that it would donate 13 similar aircraft that were retired on August 31st, 2022, after an agreement with Warsaw and Prague was reached to secure their airspace.

Turkish Aerospace unveils Anka 3 UCAV Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle

The Anka 3 Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) is a next-generation drone developed by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). The prototype was unveiled on February 28, 2022, during a ceremony attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Northrop Grumman to produce MESA Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array sensor for US Air Force E-7 Wedgetail

Northrop Grumman will enter into the production of the Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) sensor for the U.S. Air Force E-7 Wedgetail aircraft. As part of the E-7 weapons system, the combat-proven MESA sensor will provide critical long-range sensing, detection and identification in challenging environments equipping the U.S. Air Force with simultaneous air and maritime sensing capabilities, critical early warning and air battle management capabilities.

FN Herstal to equip US Air Force HH-60W next generation combat rescue helicopter

In 2016, the U.S. Air Force launched a major program for 113 helicopters to replace their ageing HH-60G Pave Hawk. Lockheed Martin won the competition with their newly designed HH-60W “Whiskey”, built on the state-of-the-art UH-60M Black Hawk.

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