April 2021 news

Defense Aviation and Aerospace Industry


Northrop Grumman successfully completes first flight of RQ-4B Global Hawk for Japan

According to information published on April 16, 2021, Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully completed the first flight of Japan’s RQ-4B Global Hawk on April 15, 2021, from Palmdale, California. With an unmatched combination of range, endurance, and payload capability, Global Hawk is the only platform that provides greater data collection flexibility than space or medium-altitude assets.

ZALA Aero unveils first Russian quadcopter invulnerable to electronic warfare systems

Russia’s ZALA Aero (part of the Kalashnikov Group within the state tech corporation Rostec) has developed the country’s first quadcopter ZALA 421-24 invulnerable to electronic warfare systems, ZALA Aero Special Projects Head Nikita Khamitov told TASS during the new drone’s presentation on April 15.

Rostec proposes to use artificial intelligence to ensure flight safety

Rostec's subsidiary, JSC RT-Techpriemka, and the Flight Safety Service of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation intend to implement a project to introduce advanced machine learning in the production and operation of military aircraft. The use of artificial intelligence will make it possible to carry out long-term planning of product quality and predict the need for equipment repair with high accuracy. A new approach to collecting and analyzing data will increase forecast accuracy by up to 90%.

Lockheed Martin to provide global, persistent support for warfighters with new tactical ISR satellites

Lockheed Martin is addressing the accelerating demand for space-enabled warfighting capabilities with a new line of rapid, integrated and affordable tactical Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) satellites. These satellites, based on Lockheed Martin’s LM 400 mid-size bus, enable tactical warfighters to track moving targets at long ranges and operate in contested and denied environments on compressed timelines at the scale of battle.

Pentagon completes its first counter drone technology demonstration

Technology developers came together to show their latest in counter drone technology during a demonstration at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.

Sikorsky S-97 Raider helicopter performs first flight demos for US Army officials

The Sikorsky S-97 RAIDER helicopter flew two demonstrations before Army officials and Soldiers at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama this week. The events offered a glimpse at Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company's bid for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program, part of the U.S. Army's Future Vertical Lift (FVL) effort to revolutionize its aircraft fleet. 

Russian ZALA Aero latest drones tested in extreme Antarctic conditions

Unmanned aerial vehicles produced by Russia’s ZALA Aero (part of the Kalashnikov Group within the state tech corporation Rostec) have been tested in extreme Antarctic conditions, ZALA Aero Special Projects Head Nikita Khamitov told TASS on April 15.

France orders 8 additional H225M Caracal helicopters

The French Minister of Armed Forces, Florence Parly, has announced that the Armament General Directorate (DGA) has signed an order to purchase eight additional H225M "Caracal" helicopters.

US Air Force new combat search and rescue helicopter HH-60W Jolly Green II completes developmental testing

The US Air Force’s new combat search and rescue helicopter, the HH-60W Jolly Green II, completed its developmental test program April 13.

Hybrid engine and artificial intelligence for Zala 421-16E5G UAV

Russia’s ZALA Aero (part of the Kalashnikov Group within the state tech corporation Rostec) has developed the world’s first light unmanned aircraft ZALA 421-16E5G outfitted with a hybrid powerplant combining an electric motor and an internal combustion engine, ZALA Aero Special Projects Head Nikita Khamitov told TASS during the drone’s presentation on April 15.

Leonardo airborne SDR selected by Boeing for NATO E-3A AWACS fleet

Leonardo has been contracted by Boeing to provide its new software-defined radio, the ‘SWave Airborne SDR SRT-800’ for NATO’s fleet of E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft. One of the few military assets that is owned and operated directly by NATO, the AWACS fleet is being modernized by Boeing to maintain its operational viability through 2035 under the Final Lifetime Extension Programme (FLEP).

Airbus signs major integrated support contract with Egypt for C295

The Egyptian Air Force, the largest C295 fleet operator worldwide, has recently signed a five-year services contract with Airbus for the performance-based support of its fleet, composed of a total of 24 aircraft.

Russian military interested in advanced Il-114-300 transport plane

The advanced Ilyushin Il-114-300 turboprop transport plane has aroused interest of Russia’s military, First Deputy Chairman of the Military and Industrial Commission’s board Andrei Yelchaninov said in an interview with the Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily.

Royal Netherlands Air Force received its first Chinook F / CAAS helicopter

The first Chinook F/CAAS was handed over to Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF). This is another important step in the transition to the 5th generation air force. A total of 20 Chinooks will be modernized or replaced.

Poland buys five ex-US Air Force C-130H Hercules airlifters

Polish Minister of National Defense Marisz Blaszczak announced that on April 12, 2021, Poland signed an intergovernmental agreement with the United States on the acquisition of five Lockheed C-130H Hercules military transport aircraft from the US Air Force.

DARPA selects performers for Phase 1 of Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations program

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has awarded contracts for the first phase of the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) program. The goal of the DRACO program is to demonstrate a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) system above low Earth orbit in 2025. The three prime contractors are General Atomics, Blue Origin, and Lockheed Martin.

US Marine Corps to acquire two MQ-9A Reaper UAVs

The US Marine Corps (USMC) will acquire two MQ-9A Reaper medium-altitude, long-endurance UAVs and related systems. The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) disclosed that it had awarded GA-ASI a $13.06 million contract modification related to the procurement of the two Reaper air vehicles and other UAS equipment.

Russian troops to start receiving Okhotnik strike drone in 2024

Deliveries of Russia’s latest heavy Okhotnik drone to the Russian troops are scheduled to begin in 2024, said Andrey Yelchaninov, the first deputy chairman of the Board of the Russian Military-Industrial Commission.

US Air National Guard tests LITENING pod for precision airdrops

The Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center C-130 Hercules Detachment from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, and the 182nd Airlift Wing from Illinois, visited Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, to test a high-resolution, multi-sensor pod, April 5-13, 2021.

Bell started the production of AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters for Bahrain

Bell hosted a delegation from the Kingdom of Bahrain to mark the start of production of AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters built as part of the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Delegates toured the Bell Amarillo production facility to observe the production line and ceremoniously sign the aircraft’s frame destined to join the Royal Bahraini Air Force.

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