RAF personnel arrive in US to participate in Exercise Red Flag

// Credit: G3-Working Dog Kennel System. Credit: G3 Systems

RAF personnel arrive in US to participate in Exercise Red Flag

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has sent more than 300 personnel to the US for Exercise Red Flag. RAF Typhoons will take part in exercises with combat aircraft from the USAF and the Royal Australian Air Force.

During the exercise, the RAF detachment will participate in complex combat air operations, including operating against simulated ground-based air defence systems and cyber and space-based threats. It will also face aggressor aircraft to simulate a peer adversary.

The contingent includes Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth-based 1 (Fighter) Squadron and RAF Coningsby-based 41 Test and Evaluation Squadron. It is supported by Voyagers from 10 Squadron and 101 Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton, along with ground support staff from across the RAF. The exercise aims to enable participants to hone their competencies in a high-threat and challenging environment against a near-peer opponent.


4-2 AB in South Korea receive AH-64E V6 Apache helicopters

The US Army has deployed the newest variant of its Apache attack helicopter to the 4th Battalion (Attack) and 2nd Aviation Regiment at Camp Humphreys, in South Korea. The 4-2 Attack Battalion is the first OCONUS unit to receive the V6 rotorcraft.

This is the first unit outside the continental US to receive the newest variant, dubbed the AH-64 Version 6 (V6) helicopter. Fielding of the newest variant started in November last year, and since then, the unit has received 12 out of a total of 24 aircraft.

D Company commander Captain Timothy Iuchs said: “The fielding of the new AH-64E V6s Apache aircraft is a turning point for 4-2 Attack Battalion, and we are thrilled to deploy this airframe.”


North Korea confirms test-firing of two tactical guided missiles

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has confirmed that it test-fired two tactical guided missiles on 17 January. The missiles hit a target island, located in the East Sea of Korea.

State-run Korean Central News Agency reported on 18 January that the test-firing was carried out as part of a plan by the “Academy of Defence Science, the Second Economy Commission and other institutions”.

It was intended to “selectively evaluate tactical guided missiles being produced and deployed” and to assess the accuracy of the weapons. The missiles were launched from the western area of North Korea. This latest firing is the fourth missile test carried out by North Korea this month. The North Korean launches were detected by both Japan and South Korea.


DARPA selects research teams to develop NVGs under ENVision programme

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has chosen research teams for the enhanced night vision in eyeglass form (ENVision) programme. Of the ten industry and university teams that were selected, five teams were picked for the two technical areas. The ENVision programme will use recent advances in planar optics and transduction materials to develop new direct-view night-vision (NV) systems.

These systems showcase an increased field of view and improved visual access across infrared bands, all contained in a low-torque eyeglass form factor. According to DARPA, current NV systems are heavy, which burden the user and limit the wearer’s agility, as well as lead to chronic injury due to prolonged use.


Russia conducts military drills amid tensions with Ukraine

Russia has reportedly started military training exercises in the southwestern part of the country, amid ongoing tensions with neighbouring Ukraine. Approximately 3,000 personnel are participating in the exercises that include live-fire drills, Reuters reported, citing the country’s defence ministry. Russian news agency TASS also confirmed the commencement of the tactical drills. It added that the drills began in the Voronezh, Belgorod, Bryansk, and Smolensk Regions.

The training activities will include qualification firing from small arms and armoured vehicles’ guns amid mock enemy action. Up to 300 items of military hardware will be involved in the military manoeuvres, including BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles and T-72B3 tanks.

The Russian Ministry of Defence also announced that the Southern Military District will participate in seven joint international exercises in 2022. This includes INDRA-2022 with the Indian contingent, naval drills with Egypt and Kazakhstan, and military exercises on foreign territories.


Lockheed selects Alabama and Georgia to manufacture LMXT strategic tanker

Lockheed Martin has selected the US states of Alabama and Georgia as the manufacturing locations for its LMXT strategic tanker aircraft. The tanker is being offered as a US-built, allied interoperable solution for the upcoming KC-Y ‘Bridge Tanker’ programme competition of the US Air Force. LMXT was unveiled in September last year.

The decision to build the LMXT in Mobile, Alabama; and Marietta, Georgia will create skilled aerospace work and support job growth in the states.

Lockheed Martin chairman, president and CEO James Taiclet said: “Establishing this production work in Alabama and Georgia confirms Lockheed Martin’s commitment that the LMXT will be built in America, by Americans, for Americans. Construction of the tanker will be carried out in two phases.

USMC selects L3Harris Falcon IV manpack and handheld radios

L3Harris Technologies has been awarded a contract to supply its Falcon IV family of manpack and handheld radios for the US Marine Corps (USMC).

The ten-year, single-award infinite-delivery, infinite-quantity contract is valued at $750m. The devices will enable secure and resilient communications to help USMC fulfil its mission efficiently.

The firm-fixed-price contract was competitively procured by the company. It covers the purchase of multi-channel handheld (MCHH) and vehicular radio systems. Under the contract, the scope of work includes provision for MCHH radios, MCHH-vehicle installation kits (VIKs) comprising amplifier, antennas, and mounts; and MCHH accessories. The VIK will be used to deploy the MCHH into a high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicle and a joint light tactical vehicle.

Rohde & Schwarz to provide radio systems for German Navy helicopters

The German Navy has turned to Rohde & Schwarz to equip its NH90 Multi-Role Frigate Helicopters with Soveron family airborne radios that contain embedded COMSEC. This comes as the German Navy is set to receive 31 MRFH, a naval variant of NH90.

These helicopters are used to provide close-range protection, anti-surface warfare, transport, as well as for search and rescue missions. Each of the aircraft will have three VHF/UHF transceivers, as well as spare components.

Soveron airborne transceiver leverages NATO-standardised communications algorithms for naval applications. The interfaces of the transceiver can connect external devices or an external encryption device and guard the naval distress frequency.

BAE Systems signs support agreement for Norway’s CV90 fleet

BAE Systems has signed a new seven-year agreement to support the availability and continuous modernisation of Norway’s CV90 infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) fleet. As part of the new agreement, BAE will support, sustain, and maintain the readiness and availability of the Norwegian Army’s 144 CV90 IFVs.

Signed with the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation (NDLO), the agreement also covers components and equipment procurement, as well as management and engineering work.

NDLO head Major General Lars Christian Aamodt said: “We are pleased to sign this contract to further secure the CV90 fleet for the future, both for ongoing sustainment and incremental capability upgrades.”

US approves sale of MQ-9 communications sensor suite to France

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of MQ-9 Communications Intelligence Sensor Pod Suites to France. Approved by the State Department, the FMS includes associated equipment and is estimated to be worth $88m.

Under the sale package, France has requested to buy eight Communications Intelligence Sensor Pod Suites, expanding upon the five suites in the original $71m FMS.

The sale package also includes ground handling equipment, spare parts, accessors, cryptographic devices, and other related equipment. Services such as engineering, technical and other associated elements of logistical and programme support were also requested by France.

According to the DSCA, the sale is expected to support US interests overseas and enhance France’s capability to meet existing and future threats by ensuring the French Air and Space Force’s operational readiness.

BAE Systems will serve as the prime contractor of the FMS while General Atomics Aeronautical Systems will support system integration.


US Navy plans to use UAS for cargo transport

The US Navy is assessing the feasibility of using uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) for cargo transport between vessels or from ship to shore. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division has acquired a logistics UAS prototype to demonstrate the transfer of cargo over long ranges. The vehicle will be tested and upgraded for military sealift requirements.

Naval Group delivers first Suffren-class submarine to French Navy 

French shipbuilder Naval Group has delivered the first of six Suffren-class nuclear attack submarines for the French Navy. This delivery marks an important milestone in the Barracuda programme, which upgrades the submarine component of France's nuclear deterrent.

Iran unveils domestic ballistic missile launcher

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps has reportedly unveiled a domestically built ballistic missile launching system. Tasnim news agency reported that the air force manufactured thdine automated system, which is used for launching long-range ballistic missiles.


Australian Navy tests robots for counter-disaster operation

The Royal Australian Navy has tested robots in a simulated counter-disaster operation. As part of exercise Autonomous Warrior Genesis, the navy tested uncrewed land, air and sea vehicles in response to a simulated humanitarian relief scenario.

US and Japan complete exercise Keen Sword 21 

US Indo-Pacific Command units and the Japan Self-Defense Force have completed exercise Keen Sword 21, a joint-bilateral field training exercise in Japan. It involved maritime and air operations, amphibious landings, missile defence exercises, resupply, cyber and space operations.

Royal Air Force concludes Exercise Crimson Warrior 

The Royal Air Force has concluded Exercise Crimson Warrior, a three-week training operation involving fast jets, helicopters and unmanned air systems with involvement from the British Army, US Air Force and US Marines. Exercise Crimson Warrior has been adapted from Cobra Warrior with missiodinns being added to support the F-35B and helicopters that form part of the Carrier Strike Group Air Wing.

In brief

Fabri-Kal launches Recycleware Containers to expand sustainability

Food packaging solutions provider Fabri-Kal has expanded its sustainable product offerings with the launch of its new Recycleware Containers. Manufactured in the US, the products contain a minimum of 20-50% post-consumer recycled PET material and are recyclable.

Burger King and TerraCycle’s Loop to pilot new reusable packaging 

Fast-food chain Burger King has partnered with TerraCycle’s circular packaging service, Loop, to pilot new reusable packaging. The partnership is part of the brand’s Restaurant Brands for Good framework to help reduce packaging waste.

Stora Enso launches take-away bowls for food service packaging 

Pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso has partnered with wholesale company Tingstad to market its new food service take-away bowls, PureFiber. The packaging is designed to replace plastic on-the-go food packaging. It is free from plastic and PFAS.

H&M presents new Looop garment-to-garment recycling system

Swedish clothing-retail company H&M is introducing a garment-to-garment recycling system that helps transform old textiles into new ones. Known as Looop, the container-sized machine promotes circularity in fashion and keeps unwanted garments from turning into waste.