JANUARY 2024 news

Defense Aviation and Aerospace Industry


Russian Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik unmanned strategic bomber ready for mass production as soon as 2025

According to information shared on Russian social media on January 29, 2024, Russia is set to commence serial production of the S-70 'Okhotnik' ('Hunter') unmanned strategic bomber in the Novosibirsk region. As announced by Vice-Governor Sergei Semka, the final stage of state trials is slated for completion in the second half of 2024, with production expected to begin as early as 2025.

Senegal to buy South Korean KAI FA-50 Light Combat Aircraft

Senegal is making strides in bolstering its air capabilities with the acquisition of FA-50 Fighting Eagle light combat aircraft from South Korea, according to a report by Lionel Ekene in Military Africa. Although the exact number and total value of the aircraft remain undisclosed, it is rumored that Senegal has ordered up to four FA-50s for an estimated $147 million.

Northrop Grumman starts production of sixth-generation B-21 Raider stealth bomber

On January 22, 2024, the U.S. Department of Defense marked a significant milestone by commencing low-scale production of the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider stealth bomber, Airforce Technology reports. This cutting-edge aircraft is being assembled at the U.S. Air Force Plant 42 in southern California, where six additional units are currently in various stages of construction. This momentous event marks the culmination of the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program, which had its inception back in 2011 to create a sixth-generation stealth bomber.

Croatia to acquire eight UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters in $500 Mn deal

On January 26, 2024, the US State Department approved a potential Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Government of Croatia, involving the acquisition of eight UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, along with various related equipment and services, with an estimated cost of $500 million.

Czech Republic and US sign $6.6 Bn deal for 24 F-35 fighter jets

On 29 January 2024, the Czech Republic signed a monumental agreement with the United States for the acquisition of 24 F-35 fighter jets, marking the largest single military purchase in the country's history. Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová and U.S. Ambassador Bijan Sabet officially sealed the deal, valued at approximately 150 billion Czech koruna (about $6.6 billion U.S. dollars).

Lockheed Martin delivers 75th APY-9 radar for Northrop Grumman-built E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

Lockheed Martin has delivered the 75th APY-9 radar under its contract with Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Navy's E-2D Advanced Hawkeye program. This radar system represents a significant advancement in sensor capability, enhancing the U.S. Navy's information dominance.

Etienne Lacroix acquires Milton drone manufacturer

As part of its equipment manufacturer strategy, the French Etienne Lacroix Group (€150M in sales) is boosting its position as a pyrotechnic systems integrator by acquiring the Bordeaux-based drone manufacturer Milton.

Training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s in United States

The Pentagon has disclosed new details on the training of Ukrainian pilots and maintenance personnel in the United States, as Ukraine prepares to receive F-16s in 2024.

US State Department clears sale of 40 F-35A fighters to Hellenic Air Force

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency on January 26 announced that the State Department made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Greece of F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $8.6 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this sale.

Brunei's Air Force welcomes new Airbus C295MW medium tactical transport aircraft

On January 25, 2024, the Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF) welcomed the arrival of Airbus C295MW aircraft during an official ceremony at the Rimba Air Base. The event was presided over by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah and attended by representatives from Airbus Defence and Space, along with senior military officials.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems' Gray Eagle 25M UAS completes maiden flight

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) achieved a significant milestone on December 5, 2023, as they successfully conducted the inaugural flight of the Gray Eagle 25M (GE-25M) Unmanned Aircraft System at their El Mirage, California flight facility. This achievement is a pivotal moment in the ongoing Gray Eagle modernization program, aligning with the U.S. Army's efforts to develop Multi-Domain Operations (MDO)-capable GE-25Ms for both active duty and National Guard units.

HX-21 completes V-22 Osprey sea trials aboard HMS Prince of Wales

In November 2023, the V-22 Test Team at Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) TWO ONE conducted an extensive series of Dynamic Interface (DI) Ship-Air Test Trials aboard the United Kingdom's HMS Prince of Wales. This ship is the second of the Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

Ukrainian Main Directorate of Intelligence receives Mi-2 AM1 helicopter from Polish benefactors

The Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine's Ministry of Defense recently received a Mi-2 AM1 medical helicopter as a generous donation from Polish supporters, according to reports from Militarnyi. This valuable contribution was made possible through the Zbroimy Ukrainę volunteer initiative, a charitable campaign launched by compassionate citizens of Poland to aid the Ukrainian Security and Defense Forces following Russia's full-scale invasion.

Germany to deliver 6 Sea King Mk41 helicopters to Ukraine

Germany is set to significantly enhance Ukraine's military capabilities with the transfer of six Sea King Mk41 helicopters, marking the first time the country has made such a donation. These helicopters, around 50 years old and phased out in favor of the NH 90 NTH Sea Lions in 2020, are slated for delivery starting in the second quarter of 2024.

French Ministry of Interior orders 42 Airbus H145 helicopters for law enforcement and rescue missions

In late 2023, the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) placed an order for 42 brand-new Airbus H145 helicopters on behalf of the Ministry of Interior, marking the beginning of a significant procurement initiative. The delivery schedule is set to commence in 2024, and these helicopters serve various critical roles within the French defense and security landscape.

US Central Command launches retaliatory airstrikes on Hezbollah military bases in Iraq

On January 24, 2024, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that it had conducted airstrikes against facilities used by the Kataib Hezbollah (KH) militia group in Iraq. This action was in response to previous attacks attributed to KH, including one on the al-Asad Airbase in western Iraq on January 20.

UMEX 2024: US company Aerovel showcases Flexrotor UAS after successful US Navy evaluation

At the UMEX 2024 exhibition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Aerovel, a US-based company recently acquired by Airbus Helicopters, showcases its Flexrotor small tactical unmanned aerial system (STUAS). This system, which has been recently tested by the US Navy in the Persian Gulf, could represent a new development in unmanned aerial technology for a variety of applications.

Lockheed Martin delivers first C-130J-30 Super Hercules to Georgia Air National Guard

Lockheed Martin delivered the first of eight C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical airlifters to the Georgia Air National Guard during a ceremony today, commemorating a new era in Hercules operations for this longtime C-130 Hercules operator.

Saab receives order from Boeing to produce T-7A aft fuselages

Saab has received an award from Boeing to produce T-7A aft fuselage systems. The order value for Saab is USD 101.7 million (approximately SEK 1 billion) and the order was booked in the fourth quarter of 2023.

South Korean F/A-50 soon to be fitted with compact version of Taurus cruise missile

The South Korean fighter aircraft F/A-50 is set to be equipped with a compact version of the Taurus cruise missile. Currently, the South Korean Air Force possesses the KEPD 350 Taurus cruise missiles, exclusively intended for its F-15K fighter-bombers.

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