OCTOBER 2023 news

Defense Aviation and Aerospace Industry


Spanish Navy eagerly awaiting decision on purchase of F-35B fighter-bombers

In Opex360, Laurent Lagneau reminds us that the Spanish Navy (Flotilla de Aeronaves, FLOAN) has been equipped with AV-8B Harrier II fighter-bombers for nearly 40 years. Currently, there are 13 aircraft in service with the 9th Aeronautical Squadron, which operates from the amphibious assault ship Juan Carlos I. Their retirement is planned for around 2030, with maintenance assured until 2028.

Polish Army receives first two Leonardo AW149 multirole helicopters

On October 30, 2023, in a move to modernize its airborne forces, the Polish Army took delivery of its first two Leonardo AW149 multi-role helicopters. The ceremony, held at the 7th Airborne Division facility in Nowy Glinnik, was chaired by the Minister of National Defense, Mariusz Błaszczak. This marks the first delivery of the 32 AW149 multi-role support helicopters ordered from PZL-Świdnik, a subsidiary of Leonardo.

Iranian Army test-fires homegrown Heydar air-to-ground missile from attack helicopter

A Bell 214 attack helicopter of the Iranian Army Ground Force has successfully test-fired the domestically-developed Haydar air-to-ground missile during a two-day massive military exercise that took place in the country’s central province of Isfahan, Iran Press TV reports.

Kuwait Air Force receives four more Eurofighter Typhoon multirole fighters

On October 27, 2023, the Kuwaiti Air Force welcomed four additional Eurofighter Typhoons, bringing its collection to 13 out of the 28 aircraft it has ordered, as reported by Kuwait's official news agency.

Korea Aerospace Industries demonstrates cutting-edge know-how with KF-21 fighter jet

The KF-21, South Korea's domestically developed fighter jet, made its inaugural public appearance at ADEX 2023, an annual international defense exhibition held at Seoul Air Base in early October. Produced by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the KF-21 captivated the audience with a thrilling aerial display, highlighting its exceptional agility during an impressive five-minute airshow. Following the aerial demonstration, the KF-21 was showcased to both domestic and international spectators.

Dangerous interception of US Air Force B-52H bomber by Chinese J-11 fighter

On October 24, 2023, a J-11 pilot from the People's Republic of China executed a perilous interception of a U.S. Air Force B-52 aircraft, which was carrying out routine operations in international airspace over the South China Sea. During this nighttime interception, the Chinese pilot displayed unprofessional conduct, approaching the B-52 at an unchecked speed, flying below, ahead, and within just 10 feet of the aircraft, endangering both planes. There are concerns that the pilot seemed unaware of the imminent collision risk.

117 Soviet-era fighter aircraft of Kazakhstan Air Force put up for auction

As per the announcement provided on Kazakhstan's electronic platform for the sale of state-owned assets, the initial price for the entire collection exceeds one billion tenge (equivalent to over 1.5 million US dollars), as reported by Militarnyi. The state entity responsible for selling this aircraft equipment is "Kazarnaulyexport" (Kazspecexport).

US Australia and Japan unite to develop next-generation military drones

According to Nikkei Asia on October 26, 2023, the United States and Australia announced their intent to collaborate with Japan in the development of next-generation military drones, with a particular focus on a collaborative combat aircraft. US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made this joint announcement following their White House meeting, underlining the importance of exploring trilateral cooperation with Japan in the domain of unmanned aerial systems.

Polish Air Force receives two more South Korean KAI FA-50 fighter jets

The Polish Air Force has welcomed the addition of two more FA-50 fighter jets from South Korea, landing at Warsaw Okecie. This brings the total number of FA-50s received to 8, with plans to complete the delivery of 12 units by year's end, as stated by Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.

Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail to patrol supply routes of military aid to Ukraine

Ukrainska Pravda echoes a U.S. call to Australia to deploy a Royal Australian Air Force Boeing E-7A Wedgetail electronic warfare aircraft in Germany to protect the international flow of aid to Ukraine. It comes into operation this week, as scheduled.

Pakistan Air Force deploys Chinese-made arsenal in multinational air war games

As reported by China Arms on October 25, 2023, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) utilized a range of Chinese-made military equipment during the Indus Shield 2023 multinational air exercise. This exercise, which saw the participation of air force units from 14 nations, including China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, aimed to showcase the capabilities of the Pakistan Air Force and foster international cooperation in the field of aerial warfare.

USMC F-35B flight trials continue aboard HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier

This October month, an F-35B Lightning II short takeoff vertical landing (STOVL) fighter jet piloted by a test pilot is involved in shipborne rolling vertical landings and takeoffs aboard the British aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.

British Army’s new AH-64E Apache attack helicopter passes battlefield test

The first regiment flying the British Army’s new AH-64E Apache attack helicopter has been declared ready for frontline duty: 3 Regiment Army Air Corps (3 Regt AAC) has been put through its paces on Exercise Iron Titan, testing every aspect of the unit from its logistics and command and control procedures to the maintenance and operation of the state-of-the-art AH-64E in the field.

Russian MiG-31K crew officially able to program target designation to Kinzhal hypersonic missile while flying

Russian hypersonic missiles Kinzhal (Dagger) can receive target designation in the air and get it changed if necessary without landing the aircraft for this operation by a ground crew

US Air Force AFCENT A-10 F-15 and F-16 units in Middle East grow to 6 squadrons amid rising tensions

The U.S. Air Force has strengthened its deployment in the Middle East as concerns mount over escalating threats to American forces and allies in the region, according to an announcement made on October 24, echoed by Chris Gordon in Air and Space Forces. The arrival of more F-16 Fighting Falcons from the New Jersey Air National Guard's 119th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron expands the U.S. Air Force's combat capabilities in the Central Command (CENTCOM) area of operations.

US clears $100 Mn deal for AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM missiles for Lithuania

The U.S. State Department has approved a potential foreign military sale to Lithuania. The deal, estimated to be worth around $100 million, includes the acquisition of AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), along with associated equipment and support services. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has officially notified Congress of this potential sale.

US approves nearly $1 Bn JAGM Joint Air-to-Ground Missile sale to United Kingdom

The United States Department of State has granted authorization for a potential arms sale to the United Kingdom, involving nearly one billion dollars worth of Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles (JAGM). The decision was disclosed on October 23 by the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

Saab to upgrade Swedish Air Force JAS Gripen C/D fighters

Saab has received an additional order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to ensure the continued operation and capability enhancement of Gripen C/D. The order is valued at SEK 579 million.

Russia receives new batch of Sukhoi Su-35S multirole fighters

The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has manufactured and transferred a new batch of multi-role Su-35S fighters to the Russian Ministry of Defense. The aircraft were produced at the Yuri Gagarin Aeronautical Factory in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, a subsidiary of UAC.

Saudi Arabia considers purchasing French Dassault Rafale jets

Saudi Arabia is considering the purchase of 54 multi-role Dassault Rafale fighter jets from France, marking what could be the kingdom's first-ever acquisition of a French combat aircraft. According to reports from the French financial newspaper La Tribune, Riyadh has officially requested a complete quote from Dassault Aviation and has set a deadline of November 10 for the company's response.

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