The MQ-4C Triton has arrived in Guam, the US Pacific Fleet announced. Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP) 19, the first Triton UAS squadron, will operate and maintain two aircraft as part of an early operational capability to further develop the concept of operations and fleet learning associated with operating a high-altitude, long-endurance system in the maritime domain. The MQ-4C Triton is a broad area maritime surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aircraft system unveiled by Northrop Grumman for the US Navy. The UAS will complement the Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force family of systems, delivering SIGNET (signals intelligence), C4ISR and maritime strike capabilities.
The US Army secretary along with senior Army officials are expected to visit Sikorsky’s facility in West Palm Beach, Florida on February 20 to view a flight demonstration of the SB-1. Developers from Bell Textron demoed their part-aircraft, part-helicopter, the Bell V-280 Valor, to leaders, who will ultimately choose the force’s newest chopper. In addition to the Valor, the Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant is expected to demo as well and show further airlift capabilities next month at Sikorsky’s facility in West Palm Beach, Florida. The SB-1 Defiant is a technology demonstrator for a medium-lift utility helicopter. Future uses of this type of air vehicle could include attack and assault, troop transport or MEDEVAC. The fuselage of Defiant will be made of composite materials for achieving superior strength and weight reductions. It will integrate a retractable type landing gear for less drag during flight.
Middle East & Africa
After the Israeli Defense Ministry and the Finance Ministry reached an agreement on a budget increase for the Israeli Defense Forces, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett announced on January 26, that he has approved the IDF’s multi-year plan, called “Momentum”. According to an agreement between the IDF, the Defense Ministry and the Finance Ministry, the IDF was granted an additional budget of about $577.9 million for a period of two years. “The ‘Momentum’ multi-year plan is intended to create a more flexible, smarter and deadlier IDF. The plan is based on the principle of quickly and powerfully defeating the enemy on multiple and complex fronts. The plan uses the advantages of the State of Israel and its power, while taking a discerning view of the challenges and risks, first and foremost the Iranian threat. We will not be deterred. On the contrary, we will continue to act, at any time and anywhere,” Bennett said.
The first full-scale conversion course of five French Navy helicopter pilots graduated on January 17 at Lanvéoc-Poulmic Air Base, Jane’s reports. The ceremony confirms that the fleet of four leased Airbus Helicopters Dauphin N3s is now fully up to speed. The four helicopters have been introduced to temporarily replace the outdated Aerospatiale Alouette IIIs in service with 22 Squadron until the Airbus Helicopters H160M Guépard enters service in 2028. The French Navy has decided to further increase the number of Dauphins in service by leasing an extra 12 aircraft from Héli-Union. The additional aircraft will enable the service to retire the Alouette III and operate a more modern type offering better payload and range.
HMS Glasgow, a Type 26 Frigate in build for the Royal Navy on the Clyde, is starting to look shipshape. The Type 26 represents the future backbone of the Royal Navy. Eight of the class are planned, starting with HMS Glasgow. The UK Government say they are committed to eight of the type, this was outlined in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review. The Type 26 program currently employs more than 1,200 people in the UK supply chain, with a number of contracts already in place for the manufacture of major equipment for the first three ships. In total, there are already 33 UK and international companies working in the supply chain to deliver the Type 26 ships.
Royal Thai Air Force chief Maanat Wongwat says his service has up to four C-130s on standby in case the government wants to evacuate 64 Thais now in Wuhan, China. Each aircraft will have medical teams on board. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said on Sunday the government was considering a plan to help Thai citizens in Wuhan. The chinese city is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, which began in december and now counts 80 deaths as well as thousands of people infected. Thailand’s evacuation plan will be clearer when the Rapid Response Center comprising officials from several agencies holds talks on Monday at the Foreign Ministry.
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