B-21 Raider – The US Air Forces’ Next Generation Bomber
On 2 December 2022, the US Air Force publicly unveiled its new bomber, the B-21 Raider. The aircraft is the first new, long-range strike bomber in a generation; it is designed to be the multifunctional backbone of the modernized bomber fleet. Although the B-21 will be the most expensive aircraft in history, it is designed to be more affordable to operate over its service life.
US Army Selects Sig-Sauer to Produce the Next Generation Assault Weapon Family
Sig Sauer has won a 10-year contract with the U.S. Army with an initial delivery order worth $20.4 million and a ceiling value of $4.7 billion. Under this contract, the company will supply a family of weapons of up to 250,000 rifles and light machine guns. The XM5 Rifle will replace the M4/M4A1 carbine within the close combat force, and the XM250 Automatic Rifle will replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). Having won the handgun contract in 2017, that makes Sig Sauer the premier supplier of small arms providers to the Army's close combat and special operations forces.
US Army Upgrades Gray Eagle to Support Multi-Domain Operations
General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) began the first installation of factory upgrades to a Gray Eagle-Extended Range (GE-ER) Unmanned Aircraft System to enhance its capabilities to support Multi-Domain Operations (MDO). Under the current program, the U.S. Army-funded program includes two aircraft. Flight tests and qualifications will start later this year.
Gambit – an Air-Launched Drone for Manned-Unmanned Teaming
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), introduced today an 'Autonomous Collaborative Platform' (ACP) called Gambit. “Gambit will usher in a new era, where UAS work collaboratively with manned aircraft to detect, identify and target adversaries at range and scale across the battlespace.” GA-ASI President David R. Alexander said.
The World’s Largest Unmanned Naval Exercise was Launched Today in the Middle East
Today, the Middle East's International Maritime Exercise (IMX) 2022 began. It is the region’s largest maritime exercise and the world's largest unmanned exercise with more than 80 unmanned systems from ten nations participating.
Multi-Drones Provide Situational Air Picture for Joint Multi-Domain Ops
General Atomics has recently conducted a flight demonstration of two Avenger unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), each equipped with Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod IRST21, an Infra-Red Search & Track pod designed to detect aerial targets at long range, without using radar.
Israel to Get the First of 12 New CH-53K Helicopters By 2026
Israel has signed an order for more than two billion $ for the purchase of 12 CH-53K helicopters, with an option to purchase six more. The first helicopters will arrive in Israel by 2026 and will replace the old CH-53D Yasur helicopters, that are planned for decommissioning in 2025.
Iran Intensifies Drone Attacks Throughout the Middle East
Iran is intensifying drone attacks in the region, directed against rival forces including the US, Saudi, and Emiratis as well as at civilian ships in the Gulf. Most targets are still unprotected and suffer significant damage and sometimes casualties under such attacks. Aware of the risk of UAS and loitering weapons for many years, Israel has developed effective countermeasures which are now being considered by its allies in the region.
US Army Deploys the Iron Dome to Guam
The US Army is deploying one of the new Iron Dome batteries to Guam, to be tested as part of the Island's defense against cruise missiles. This deployment is far away from the hot spots in Syria and Iraq, where US forces suffer repeated attacks and could use Iron Dome's combat-proven capabilities to defeat missiles and drone attacks.
HevenDrones to use Plug Power’s Hydrogen Power to Fly its Heavy Drones
HevenDrones, an Israeli developer of heavy drones announced an alliance with US-based Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG), for the development and commercialization of hydrogen fuel-cell-powered heavy-lift drones and related support equipment and infrastructure required for their operation. Together, the companies plan to provide an integrated solution to power and refuel HevenDrones’ next-generation fleet with the key objective of providing extended flight times and range.
SOCOM Places a First Order for Switchblade 600 Loitering Missiles
AeroVironment announced today the receipt of a contract for its new Switchblade 600 loitering missile. The order was received from the Special Operations Command. The allocates $26 million for the delivery of weapons and their integration of the new weapon on specialized maritime platforms operated by US Special Operations Forces. Completion is expected by the end of 2022.
Israel Selects CH-53K to Replace its 50 Year Old Stallions
Israel selects Lockheed Martin Sikorsky CH-53K Yasour helicopters as the IDF’s new heavy-lift aircraft, as part of the IDF’s “Tnufa” (Momentum), multi-year plan. These will replace the “Yassur” helicopters employed by the IAF since the late 1960s.
SPIKE SR Performs Live Firing in the USA
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. has demonstrated the SPIKE SR Short Range guided missile at the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) 2021 earlier this month. The demonstration assessed SPIKE SR as a precision munition system for infantry squads, for which portability and simplicity of operation are essential.
Second B-21 Under Construction
The first B-21 Raider bomber is expected to roll out early next year and fly in the middle of 2022. The production of the second B-21 stealth bomber is already underway at Northrop Grumman’s facility in Palmdale, Calif.,