First US Flight of T-50A Scheduled for 11/17 | Israel Spicing Up F-16C/D Fighters | Russian Combat Gear with Active Exoskeleton in Works
- The first US flight of the T-50A advanced jet trainer will take place on November 17 at Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Pilot Training facility in Greenville, South Carolina. Developed jointly by LM and Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI), the trainer is an upgraded version of the T-50 Golden Eagle and is being offered to the USAF’s T-X trainer competition. It was expected that RoKAF Chief of Staff Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo and Vice Defense Minister Hwang In-moo would witness the flight, but due to the recent political turmoil at home, will not make the trip. South Korean President Park Geun-hye is under increased pressure to resign following allegations that she let her friend Choi Soon-sil, a shamanist cult leader, have extensive access and influence over government policy and decision making.
- Aurora Flight Sciences is to develop an unmanned Huey helicopter for cargo delivery. The company has already tested their aerial cargo/utility system (AACUS) on two other helicopters and are now looking to develop an unmanned UH-1H Huey with their Tactical Autonomous Aerial Logistics System (TALOS). Commercial applications being mulled over by Aurora include for civilian first responders flying in storms or nighttime.
Middle East & North Africa
- F-16C/D fighters from the Israeli Air Force 101 Fighter Squadron are being integrated with the Rafael Spice 1000 precision guided munition. The munition is a 453kg (1,000lb) bomb equipped with a guidance kit, with pop-out wings that extend its range to more than 100km (54nm). The IAF expects to reach full operational capability with the Spice 1000 in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Israel’s Defense Ministry is looking to outsource testing the Arrow missile defense system and Shavit rocket to private companies with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Rafael both bidding for the tender.
- The Royal Navy is expected to be left without an anti-ship missile strike capability between 2018-2020. Such a gap is being caused by the planned retirement of the Sea Skua missile in early 2017 and the 2018 retirement of the SWS60 Harpoon. A limited anti-ship capability will only return when the Sea Venom/ANL lightweight anti-ship missile is equipped on the Wildcat HMA.2 helicopter in late 2020. No funded program is in place by the UK for a Harpoon replacement, however.
- Russia’s third-generation Ratnik (Warrior) combat gear will feature an active exoskeleton, which will significantly increase the physical power of soldiers wearing it. It will be introduced within the next 5-7 years. The active exoskeleton mechanism’s hinges are equipped with electric and hydraulic drives, to enhance the possibilities of the musculoskeletal system. A passive exoskeleton that does not contain wire and will not be connected to the body of the serviceman will also be included. It will serve to reduce the load on joints and will reduce the likelihood of injury. Designers will create systems to display information and target designation on the visor or goggles.
- US troops in Europe have received their largest ammo delivery in over 20 years. 600 shipping containers were delivered to the Miesau Army Depot in Germany late last month for storage and distribution to USAF and Army forces. The buildup is seen as a way of reassuring anxious European allies, especially in eastern Europe, against a believed security concern posed by Russia.
- While some commercial jet deals are slowly making their way toward Iran, a Russian diplomat has said that military acquisitions are not so simple. Tehran’s plans to acquire Russian fighters such as the Sukhoi Su-30SM may be difficult due to UN Resolution 2231, which would refer such defense deals to the Security Council. Levan Dzhagaryan, the Russian Ambassador to Iran, made the comments but also stated that Moscow is “ready to cooperate with Iran on this sensitive issue, but only under permitted areas.”
- A joint venture agreement has been finalized between Elbit Systems and Adani Enterprises to manufacture UAVs for the Indian market. The joint venture will pitch Elbit’s Hermes 450 and 900 systems in an effort to break the stranglehold currently held by fellow Israeli firm IAI. Having recently joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), New Delhi is forging ahead with procuring armed UAVs in order to tackle militants operating in areas such as the disputed region of Kashmir.
GoPro Cockpit footage of a Croatian Air Force MiG-21:
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