Sikorsky Showcases New Combat Rescue Helicopter| Turkey Launches Offensive Into Northeastern Syria | South Korean Army Cuts Back on Personnel
Sikorsky showcased its next generation Combat Rescue Helicopter during a ceremony at its Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida last week. The HH-60W is manufactured by Sikorsky, a unit of Lockheed Martin, and is designed to replace Air Force’s aging fleet of HH-60G Pave Hawks. During the event, United States Air Force General James M. Holmes, Commander, Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia described the HH-60W helicopter as a critical tool for the warfighter. The US Air Force program of record calls for 113 helicopters to replace the HH-60G Pave Hawk, which perform critical combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations for all US military services.
A new UNIPAC III Search and Rescue (SAR) kit for the US Navy’s P-8A is now undergoing testing. The kit can provide 100 people with food, water and communications for an extended time. The testing, which is performed at PAX, but funded by the Royal Australian Air Force ensures those rescued are found and sustained with food, water and communications for an extended time. “The test program is a perfect example of the benefits reaped when two international partners join as part of a cooperative partnership“, said Squadron Leader Nathan Mula, an Australian P-8A Flight Test Tactical officer stationed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River (PAX) in Maryland. Operated by US Navy, Australia and India, the P-8 is performing maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations around the globe. Additionally, the United Kingdom, Norway, New Zealand and South Korea have ordered the aircraft with deliveries expected through the middle of the next decade.
Middle East & Africa
The Turkish military and allied Syrian rebels launched their long-threatened offensive into northeastern Syria on October 9 with the stated objective of establishing a safe zone that has been cleared of Kurdish forces and can be used to resettle Syrian refugees. “A 30 km safe zone is okay for us. We do not have a plan to go beyond that,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu. “First we have to enter 120 km deep to clean the terrorists completely from this area. It will continue gradually until the safe zone is completed.” The offensive began with howitzers shelling suspected YPG positions across the border and airstrikes. Airstrikes were also carried out against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq under Operation ‘Claw’.
Thales and Nexter Systems teamed up to develop a new multi-role weapon system, called RAPIDFireNaval, to meet potential French Navy requirements, Jane’s reports They are eyeing DGA funding in the first half of 2020, according to Sylvain Richy, managing director of CTAI,a joint venture between Nexter and BAE Systems. RAPIDFireNaval consists of a remote-controlled turret armed with the stabilized CTAI 40 mm Cased Telescoped Armament System (CTAS) that has been qualified by France and the UK for land-based applications and has been in production since early 2016.
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will take delivery of six A-29 light attack aircraft by February 2020. The aircraft will supplement and not replace the existing OV-10 fleet. The Super Tucanos are expected to beef up the remaining North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco attack aircraft being used by the PAF in strike missions. The turboprop aircraft is designed for light attack, counter-insurgency, close air support, aerial reconnaissance missions in low threat environments, as well as providing pilot training.
The Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) confirmed in a report presented to South Korea’s National Assembly on October 11 that it plans to reduce the number of active military personnel by about 100,000 to 365,000 by 2022 as part of defense reforms aimed at creating a smaller and more technologically advanced military. Seoul, a key Washington ally, conscripts men for two years of service to defend the country from the nuclear-armed North and its much larger army, which invaded the South in 1950 backed by communist allies China and the Soviet Union. The war ended three years later in an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the South and North technically at war and the peninsula divided along the Demilitarized Zone. Citing forecast data from Statistics Korea, the Yonhap News Agency reported on the same day that one of the reasons behind the move is that South Korea’s low birth-rate is likely to lead to a decrease in the number of male citizens in their 20s to less than 250,000 after 2022, compared with about 350,000 in 2018.
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