India and Japan demonstrate high-tempo naval interoperability at maritime exercise

by Ridzwan Rahmat

Indian MiG-29K fighters seen here at drills with the JMSDF at JIMEX 2021. (Indian Ministry of Defence)

The navies of India and Japan have further demonstrated their ability to interoperate in high-tempo operations including co-ordinated anti-submarine warfare.

The drills were carried out at the fifth iteration of the bilateral Japan‐India Maritime Exercises (JIMEX) that took place in the Arabian Sea from 6 to 8 October, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has disclosed.

The Indian Navy was represented at the exercise by the Kolkata-class guided-missile destroyer INS Kochi, the Talwar-class guided-missile frigate INS Teg, a P-8I Neptune maritime multimission aircraft, a Dornier-228 maritime patrol aircraft, and MiG-29K fighters.

The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) took part in the exercise with the Izumo-class helicopter carrier JS Kaga and its lead Murasame-class destroyer.

As part of the drills the P-8I aircraft exchanged information with the JMSDF vessels during a co-ordinated hunt for a simulated submarine that was deployed by the Japanese ships, according to an Indian MoD statement.

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US Navy seeks new ‘Aggressor' training aircraft

by Gareth Jennings

Seen in USN colours as part of Boeing's pitch for the service's Undergraduate Jet Training System requirement, the T-7A Red Hawk is likely to be one of the candidate platforms put forward for the USN's recently released Tactical Surrogate Aircraft requirement. (Boeing)

The US Navy (USN) has issued a request for information (RFI) for a new Aggressor aircraft for ‘red air' combat training.

The Tactical Surrogate Aircraft (TSA) requirement released on 21 October would see a new aircraft type perform three primary pilot training missions, namely to augment flight time and training in front-line type model series aircraft, provide adversary air support, and to serve as a flight lead aircraft for fleet replacement squadrons.

“The aircraft needs to simulate and/or replicate current and future fighter aircraft systems by providing the training environment and relevant experience to build tactical skills, systems management skills, and decision-making skills required for weapon system employment actions. These actions will be influenced by environmental information, avionics outputs, sensor data, weapon-cueing, and manoeuvre elements,” the RFI said.

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Z-20 prototype seen carrying possible anti-tank guided missiles

by Andreas Rupprecht

Images have emerged on Chinese social media platforms showing what appear to be a new prototype or variant of the Harbin Aircraft Industry Group (HAIG) Z-20 multirole helicopter carrying anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and other stores.

The images, which were released on 20 October via Weibo, show the rotorcraft carrying what appear to be eight KD-10 ATGMs and additional rocket pods mounted on stub wings that are similar in appearance to the US-made External Store Support System.

The helicopter was shown bearing what seemed to be a three-digit serial number, but the number was pixelated in all photographs. All known Z-20 prototypes bear three-digit serial numbers.

No information was provided as to when or where the images were taken.

Although images emerged in December 2020 of a Z-20 variant undergoing test flights while carrying KD-9/10 ATGMs and fitted with fuel tanks under the stub wings, the latest helicopter is speculated to be a modified prototype or a dedicated assault variant of the Z-20.

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Italy confirms P.180 EVO Plus acquisition, P.1HH cancelled

by Alessandra Giovanzanti

The Italian armed forces are procuring six new Piaggio Aerospace P.180 EVO Plus light utility aircraft, the Italian Air Force has confirmed to Janes on 20 October. (Piaggio)

The Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana – AMI) has confirmed to Janes that the country's armed forces are procuring six Piaggio Aerospace P.180 light utility aircraft to replace legacy units. Meanwhile, the P.1HH HammerHead programme has been officially cancelled.

Speaking to Janes on 20 October, a spokesperson of the press office of the AMI said that the new aircraft will be Piaggio EVO Plus models, and that these are yet to be assigned to a specific military service, be it the army, navy, air force, or Carabinieri.

However, he said that the six P.180s will replace legacy platforms and that “once the registration numbers to be retired are identified, a breakdown by service will be finalised and a decision will be made on the final configuration of the six P.180 aircraft”. Such information will likely be provided once a contract is formalised.

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