UK deploys Poseidon to Iceland on first overseas visit

by Gareth Jennings

An RAF Poseidon MRA1 seen at Keflavik Airbase during the type's first overseas visit in UK service. Poseidons operated by the UK, the US and Norway will be used to plug the GIUK Gap against increased Russian maritime activity in the region. (Crown Copyright)

The United Kingdom has deployed a Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA1 maritime multimission aircraft (MMA) to Iceland for the type's first overseas visit.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) announced the detachment of the Poseidon and an Airbus A400M Atlas transport aircraft to Keflavik Airbase on 12 October, noting that the MMA had taken part in a training sortie in the GIUK gap that runs between Greenland, Iceland, and the UK.

“During the visit, Air Officer Commanding 1 Group, Air Vice-Marshal Allan Marshall, met with senior personnel from the Icelandic government and the British Ambassador to discuss opportunities to enhance Poseidon MRA1 training and operations in the region. NATO Ambassadors, from Poland and Norway also attended the visit to discuss the shared interests of NATO members in the region,” the RAF said.

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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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The United Kingdom has deployed a Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA1 maritime multimission aircraft (MMA) to ...

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