September 2023 news

Defense Aviation and Aerospace Industry


Aeralis showcases modular light jet aircraft design at DSEI 2023

At DSEI 2023, UK-based aircraft developer Aeralis is showcasing its modular light jet aircraft design. The spotlight is on the Advanced Jet Trainer, the first in a series of variants based on this design, marking an advancement in military aviation.

MBDA and Leonardo secure £10M deal for Spear-EW Jamming Missile

At DSEI 2023, MBDA and Leonardo were awarded a contract by the UK Ministry of Defence to develop the Spear-EW, an electronic-attack variant of MBDA's Select Precision Effects At Range Capability Three (Spear-3) air-to-surface missile. This £10 million ($12 million) project aims to enhance the electronic warfare capabilities of the UK's armed forces.

Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider stealth bomber continues progression to flight test

The U.S. Air Force announced on September 12 that the B-21 Raider has commenced engine runs as part of its ground test program at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, California, facility. Engine testing is an essential milestone for the program as the world’s first sixth-generation aircraft continues on the path to flight test.

Boeing to conduct trials of DARPA's Glide Breaker hypersonic program

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Boeing a $70.6 million contract to advance to the second phase of the "Glide Breaker" hypersonic interceptor program. This milestone comes more than a year after DARPA initially solicited proposals for technologies capable of defending against hypersonic threats.

US Air Force to modernize KC-135 tanker fleet with drone launch capabilities for combat operations

The concept of launching drones from KC-135 tankers is being explored by the U.S. Air Force's Air Mobility Command (AMC). According to General Mike Minihan, head of the AMC, these drones could serve as decoys, and remote sensors, help forces navigate to their destinations, explore new landing locations, and even assist in the rescue of downed pilots.

Saab to integrate additional functionality into Swedish Gripen E fighter

Saab and the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) have entered into an agreement regarding new functionality and adjusted delivery schedules for Gripen E and Gripen C/D. The agreement relates to the period 2023-2030 and the order value is approximately SEK 5.8 billion.

Elbit Systems upgrades Israeli Defense Forces drone fleet with Skylark 1 eVTOL

Israel's Defense Forces (IDF) are set to modernize their drone capabilities by replacing the Skylark 1 miniature Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) with the more advanced Skylark 1 eVTOL, developed by Elbit Systems. The IDF has been operating the Skylark since 2008, and the new platform is expected to significantly enhance the tactical capabilities of the ground forces.

General Atomics takes the lead in DARPA's LongShot UAV Program

General Atomics announced on September 7, 2023, that it had been selected by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a drone that can be deployed from fourth-generation fighter aircraft and equipped with air-to-air missiles. The drone is part of DARPA's LongShot initiative, which aims to extend the engagement range and operational effectiveness of current fighter jets and bombers. The company is targeting the commencement of flight tests for this drone by December 2023.

Modernizing electrical power systems in US Army Aviation by 2030

In order to equip the U.S. Army of 2030 with cutting-edge capabilities for its combat aviation brigades, Army Aviation is undertaking a once-in-a-generation modernization strategy. This ambitious initiative encompasses investments ranging from targeted updates to the existing fleet to the design of new Future Vertical Lift (FVL) aircraft. Reporting on these transformative changes is Cindy Mitchell, representing the U.S. Army.

Rolls-Royce set to complete F130 engine tests for B-52J nuclear bomber

On September 7, 2023, Rolls-Royce announced that it is close to completing the first phase of testing for its F130 engines, designed for the U.S. Air Force's B-52J Stratofortress nuclear bombers. The company plans to conclude this phase by the end of 2023 and initiate flight tests in 2024. The F130 engines are expected to extend the operational lifespan of the B-52 by 30 years.

Singapore Air Force upgraded F-16C/D+ fighter now armed with Python-5 air-to-air missiles

Echoed by, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has made a public announcement regarding the enhancement of its F-16C/D+ fighter jets, equipping them with one of the world's most advanced guided missiles. A display panel at the Paya Lebar Air Base, the venue for RSAF's upcoming 55th-anniversary open house on Saturday (Sep 9) and Sunday, proudly showcases the integration of Python-5 missiles into its Lockheed Martin F-16 C/D/D+ fighter aircraft.

Indonesian Air Force plans to acquire Airbus A330 MRTTs for air refueling

Indonesia has announced plans to acquire a minimum of two Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transports (MRTTs) to enhance its in-flight refueling capabilities. The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) is looking to improve its operational flexibility with the new aircraft, as it prepares to integrate new combat planes, including 42 Rafales and 24 F-15EXs, into its fleet.

Royal Netherlands Air Force RNLAF expands use of Elbit Systems DIRCM to Gulfstream G-650ER VIP aircraft

Elbit Systems Ltd. has delivered a self-protection suite to the Royal Netherlands Air Force's (RNLAF) Gulfstream G-650ER VIP Aircraft. The delivery was carried out within a year of signing and after comprehensive flight acceptance tests.

Lockheed Martin presents first F-16C Block 70 to Slovak Defence officials

Lockheed Martin has rolled out the first F-16C Block 70 Fighting Falcon for the Slovak Armed Forces. The event took place at Lockheed Martin's Greenville production facility in South Carolina on September 6, 2023. Slovak Defence Minister Martin Sklenár and other high-ranking officials were in attendance.

BAE Systems successfully flight tests next-generation vehicle management computer for F-35 Lightning II

BAE Systems’ next-generation vehicle management computer was successfully flight-tested on the F-35 Lighting II fighter. The test demonstrated a technology upgrade for all three F-35 variants that will increase computer performance and address obsolescence issues. Testing occurred at Naval Air Station Patuxent and Edwards Air Force Base.

Israel plans to acquire an additional squadron of 25 F-35s

On September 3, 2023, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant officially requested the acquisition of a third F-35 squadron from Lockheed Martin. This move aims to increase Israel's F-35 fleet to a total of 75 aircraft.

Royal Thai Air Force commissions Dominator XP Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) announced the commissioning of the Dominator XP Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) at a ceremony held at Takhli Air Base on September 1, 2023. The event presided over by ACM Alongkorn Wannarot, Commander-in-Chief of the RTAF, showcased aircraft tail number 506 as the centerpiece.

Iran takes delivery of Russian Yak-130 training Jets with Su-35 fighters to follow

As confirmed by official statements from the Iranian Air Force and photos released on September 2, 2023, via the ProjectMeshkat Twitter account, Iran has reportedly taken delivery of a batch of Russian-made Yakovlev Yak-130 jet trainers. This acquisition is a component of Iran's broader arms contracts with Russia and precedes the country's anticipated receipt of Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets.

Taiwan Air Force to get more advanced Wan Chien air-to-ground missiles

The Taiwan Air Force is allocating an additional NT$501.74 million (US$15.73 million) to extend the procurement of Wan Chien air-to-ground cruise missiles until 2028, according to Taiwan's National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on September 2. The new order suggests that Taiwan is not only extending the life of its indigenous missile program but also potentially enhancing its capabilities.

Myanmar junta sends stern message to Pakistan over unusable JF-17 Thunder fighter jets

According to a report from BT Business Today, Myanmar's military junta is reportedly displeased with the Chengdu JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter jets designed by China but manufactured and supplied by Pakistan between 2019 and 2021, as these aircraft have been deemed "unsuitable for operations." Currently, 11 of the JF-17 planes are non-operational due to technical issues. General Min Aung Hlaing, the leader of Myanmar's military junta, expressed his dissatisfaction with Pakistan's former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of the Pakistani Army, General Asim Munir.

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