The BETA Technologies Alia electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft marked a historic moment with its first official test flight from Eglin Air Force Base on November 7, 2023. The primary objectives were to assess battery performance over designated distances and power configurations, and to evaluate the logistical aspects of consecutive flights with an electric aircraft. For the test, Alia pilots covered 68 nautical miles to Tyndall AFB, landing and promptly returning to Duke Field, north of Eglin. Notably, the aircraft recharged using the Defense Department’s sole aircraft charging station, taking approximately one hour for a full recharge. This unique process mirrors military flight operations, resembling the concept of “hot-pitting,” where an aircraft refuels between missions, except with Alia, the “fuel” is electricity.
BAE Systems Technology won a contract modification (P00020) in the amount of $14,599,740 to a previously awarded and announced contract (N00030-22-C-6001) to exercise fiscal 2024 options to provide support services for the US Trident II D5 Strategic Weapon Systems program, Attack Weapon System program, and the Nuclear Weapon Security program. This contract award also benefits a foreign military sale to the United Kingdom. Work will be performed in Rockville, Maryland (58.2%); Washington, DC, (23.8%); Saint Mary’s, Georgia (3.3%); Cape Canaveral, Florida (2.3%); Rochester, United Kingdom (1.7%); Bremerton, Washington (1.3%); Portsmouth, Virginia (1.0%); and various other locations (less than 1% each, 8.4% total). Work is expected to be completed Sept. 30, 2024, and will be incrementally funded.
Middle East and Africa
The UAE’s EDGE Group has announced plans to equip the Rafale F4 fighter aircraft and India’s Tejas Light Combat Aircraft with locally produced precision-guided munitions. An official from EDGE subsidiary Al Tariq told Breaking Defense the fourth-generation French jets could soon fire Mk81, Mk82, and longer-range Mk83 guided bombs.
The French Army has taken delivery of 16 additional Griffon multi-role armored vehicles, increasing its fleet to 533 vehicles. According to the country’s defense acquisition arm, 13 of the newly delivered Griffons are in the troop transport variant, while the remaining three are in the command post version. The vehicles are expected to provide the army with improved speed and maneuverability in conducting a wide variety of missions.
The US State Department has approved the potential foreign military sale of two missile systems to South Korea for $702.1 million. The first request, approved on November 14, was for up to 38 Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) Block I missiles manufactured by Raytheon.
Saab has received the Indian government’s clearance to build a manufacturing facility in the country for the latest generation of its Carl-Gustaf M4 rifles. First announced in 2022, the facility is expected to bolster arms production in the Asian nation and provide necessary support to the Indian Army and other customers.
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