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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PLANAF deploys H-6J in mine-laying, bombing drills in South China Sea

by Alessandra Giovanzanti

The People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force's (PLANAF's) Xi'an Aircraft Corporation H-6J long-range strategic bombers have been recently spotted carrying out sea mine-laying and bombing drills as part of a live-fire exercise in the South China Sea.

According to video footage released by the state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) on 3 December, several aircraft took off at night and arrived at the designated area in the South China Sea at dawn, where they practised laying sea mines and dropping bombs on targets located on islands and reefs.

The aircraft carried out two waves of bombing, and were refuelled and resupplied with munitions between the two sorties at Guiping Mengshu Air Base, according to the CCTV report.

The video also shows at least one H-6J carrying YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles under its wings, besides the sea mines and bombs carried in its belly, thus confirming that the aircraft can perform both traditional bomber tasks and stand-off long-range maritime strike roles.

According to Janes'

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Update: Russia deploys Bastion coastal defence system at new military facility in disputed Kuril Islands

by Jon Grevatt & Mark Cazalet & Kosuke Takahashi & Shaurav Gairola

A Bastion coastal defence missile system is pictured launching an Oniks missile in the Arctic in 2018. Russia has deployed the same system to Matua, an island in the Kuril chain in the northwest Pacific Ocean. Ownership of this chain of islands is disputed by Russia and Japan. (Russian MoD)

The Russian military has deployed its K-300P Bastion-P mobile coastal defence missile system in the Kuril Islands, a chain in the northwest Pacific Ocean, the ownership of which is disputed by Japan and Russia.

The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on 2 December that the Bastion-P deployment signals the start of deployments from a new Russian military base on Matua, an uninhabited volcanic island near the centre of the Kuril chain that is not claimed by Japan.

In a statement, the MoD said that Bastion-P systems have been deployed “for the first time … on Matua” to provide round-the-clock “monitoring [of] the adjacent waters and straits”. It said the missile system and associated personnel, equipment, and materiel were delivered to the island by landing ships from the Primorsk Flotilla of the Pacific Fleet's diverse forces.

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Myanmar military offensives lose momentum

by Anthony Davis

More than one month after Myanmar's military (Tatmadaw) launched major offensives in the west and northwest of the country, drives aimed at crushing increasingly assertive anti-regime resistance forces risk losing momentum amid widening hostilities.

The difficulty of pinning down multiple locally based resistance groups operating in small, largely autonomous units, and a need to disperse the already thin-stretched Tatmadaw assets across a dauntingly wide area of operations appear to have precluded tactical concentrations of superior forces and blunted the overall effectiveness of army operations.

Since late October at least three co-ordinated offensives involving an estimated 30,000 troops have triggered escalating clashes with the so-called People's Defence Forces (PDFs) across much of Chin State and two areas of neighbouring Sagaing Region, according to the local media.

The earliest offensive, ‘Operation Anawrahta', focused primarily on Chin State on Myanmar's western border with India where an aggressive coalition of PDFs and the Chinland Defence Force (CDF) has operated with the Chin National Army (CNA), a longstanding ethnic organisation that, after the military coup of February, abandoned its 2015 ceasefire with the Tatmadaw.

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The Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana – AMI) has confirmed to Janes that the country'...

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