General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) has teamed with EDGE to integrate smart weapons into the MQ-9B SkyGuardian aerial drone. The partnership will see the Abu Dhabi company’s precision-guided and guided-glide munitions integrated into the unmanned system for increased firepower.
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.
Middle East and Africa
Naval Group has delivered the UAE Navy’s first Gowind-class multi-mission corvette, the “Bani Yas,” in Lorient, France. The vessel is part of a 2019 contract seeking two new platforms for the service. Although the deal amount was not disclosed, a report from Defense News stated that the UAE invested $850 million in the orders.
According to Defense Post, the Spanish government has approved the purchase of 68 AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM missiles for its Eurofighter Typhoon, Boeing FA-18EF Hornet combat jets and NASAM air defense system. The $107-million purchase includes 20 captive missiles and a logistical package for the support and maintenance of the weapon.
The Austrian government is planning to purchase long-range air defense missiles. The purchase is to be made as part of the European air defense system “Sky Shield”. The US air defense system “Patriot” and the US-Israeli system “Arrow 3” are considered possible options.
On November 14, the US Security Cooperation Agency announced that the State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Republic of Korea of Standard Missile 6 Block I (SM-6 Blk I) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $650 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale. The SM-6 missile is being offered in three variants namely SM-6 Block I, SM-6 Block IA and SM-6 Dual I. Block I was initially deployed onboard the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, which is built around the Aegis combat system. The new variant is powered by a highly sophisticated rocket booster and advanced rocket motors.
WATCH: Europe’s plan to booster its air defense | DW News