The Russian Defense Ministry has published a video showing a MiG-31 crew making a training launch of the recently disclosed Kinzhal hypersonic missile.

Taiwan’s air force confirmed that its upgraded F-CK-1C/D IDF fighter jets will be armed with indigenous anti-radiation missiles (反輻射飛彈) in a video it release on Mar. 9.

The Royal Canadian Navy has selected Puma II AE mini UAS equipped with the Mantis i45 sensor for its Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDV).

Japan has decided that it will seek foreign help in creating a successor for its F-2 fighter fleet and a request for information (RFI) will be sent out to U.S. aerospace companies this week.

Pakistan Air Force inducted AW-139 (Augusta Westland) helicopters into No 88 Search and Rescue squadron enhancing its capabilities, Radio Pakistan reported.

With the induction of this helicopter on its inventory, this Search and Rescue squadron has been renamed as No 88 Combat Support Squadron and Advanced Helicopter Training School.

To celebrate the induction of new helicopters, a ceremony was organised at the PAF Base, Shahbaz in Jacobabad. The ceremony was attended by Chief of Air staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman.THE

Pakistan Air Force inducted AW-139 (Augusta Westland) helicopters into No 88 Search and Rescue squadron enhancing its capabilities, Radio Pakistan reported.

With the induction of this helicopter on its inventory, this Search and Rescue squadron has been renamed as No 88 Combat Support Squadron and Advanced Helicopter Training School.

To celebrate the induction of new helicopters, a ceremony was organised at the PAF Base, Shahbaz in Jacobabad. The ceremony was attended by Chief of Air staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman.

The Air Chief said: “The AW-139 helicopters would considerably enhance the operational capabilities of this squadron and would serve as a conversion unit or the young pilots to train them on this system.”

China dispatched a single Y-9JB electronic warfare aircraft into Korea Strait on Feb. 27 and Yonhap reported that more than 10 fighters were scrambled by South Korea to monitor the four-hours flight by the Chinese.

Russia officially donated two An-26 transport aircraft to Nicaragua on Feb. 23. The Russian Navy commander for naval aviation, Maj. Gen. Igor Kozhin handed over the aircraft to Commander in Chief of the Army of Nicaragua, Gen. Julio César Avilés Castillo, at the ceremony.

Announcement of the movie "Zvezda" TRC on the performance by the MTR of combat missions

Japan may buy up to 40 vertical takeoff F-35B fighters

Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported in a scoop last week that the government may buy up to 40 F-35B vertical takeoff stealth fighters from the US that could operate from helicopter carriers, island bases and commercial airports.

“The government is considering operating F-35B fighter jets from about fiscal 2026, in an effort to utilize airports on remote islands and thereby improve the nation’s capability to defend the isles,” the newspaper said in a February 12 story.

The F-35B is the maritime version of the advanced US warplane that can perform vertical take-off and landings (VTOL) from the decks of warships.

The Yomiuri quoted government sources as saying that Tokyo is also weighing whether to deploy the F-35Bs aboard Izumo-class Maritime Self-Defense Force’s “destroyers” which carry helicopters and are built as de facto aircraft carriers.

The US military already operates F-35B squadrons in Japan. And the Japanese government is already buying 42 F-35A standard takeoff fighter jets to replace older-generation US fighters like the F-15 and F-4 Phantom.

“As for the F-35B, the government is planning to indicate the number of aircraft to be procured in the next Medium Term Defense Program, which is to be compiled at the end of this year. It is also mulling including related expenses in the fiscal 2019 budget plan, with a view to starting the delivery of F-35Bs from around fiscal 2024,” the Yomiuri cited its sources as saying.

MSDF helicopter flattop Izumo designed as aircraft carrier

Despite the Defense Ministry's denial that the helicopter carrier Izumo, launched in 2015, was planned to be refitted into an aircraft carrier, former Maritime Self-Defense Force executives confirmed that that is how the blueprints were drawn up.

“It is only reasonable to design (the Izumo) with the prospect of possible changes of the circumstances in the decades ahead,” a then MSDF executive told The Asahi Shimbun. “We viewed that whether the Izumo should be actually refitted could be decided by the government.”

The former executive said a consensus was reached privately among the MSDF that the Izumo should be considered for conversion into an aircraft carrier. But the MSDF couldn't explain the need publicly due to the government's view that aircraft carriers capable of launching large-scale attacks are equivalent to the military capability prohibited by the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.

Ever since the Izumo's construction, experts both in and outside Japan have pointed out the possibility of turning it into a full-fledged aircraft carrier.

However, the Defense Ministry publicly denied any plan to deploy fighter jets with strike capabilities on the Izumo and contended that it was not an aircraft carrier.

The ministry has since done an abrupt about-face and now is mulling the possibility of refitting the vessel into an aircraft carrier.

Such a reversal has inevitably raised suspicions that the ministry had this plan in mind from the beginning.

Refitting the Izumo, the Maritime Self-Defense Force's largest vessel, into an aircraft carrier had been considered since late 2000 to bolster the nation's defenses against China’s increasing maritime advances around Japan’s southwestern islands, according to the MSDF executives.

Equipped with a flat deck from bow to stern, helicopters can land on and take off off from the five spots of the flight deck at a time. The Izumo's basic design was formulated from 2006 through 2008.

In 2008, Chinese naval vessels and other warships passing through the waters between the main Okinawa island and Miyakojima island, which lies to the southwest, were spotted for the first time. At that time Chinese government vessels intruding on Japan’s territorial waters became common.

According to MSDF executives at that time, the MSDF saw the need to secure Japan’s competitive edge in the airspace to counter possible China’s maritime expansion in the East China Sea.

However, the runway at the Air Self-Defense Force Naha Base is the only one that allows ASDF aircraft to take off and land in and around Okinawa.

Therefore “the plan to construct the Izumo was settled with its future conversion in mind to prepare for any possible contingency of the unavailability of the ASDF Naha Base,” according to one of the executives.

In those days, the U.S. F-35B stealth fighters, which could take off and land vertically, were in development, leading to a design conception of the Izumo on the premise that it could be converted to handle landings and takeoffs of the F-35B and other aircraft, such as the Osprey transport aircraft.

The approximately 250-meter long Izumo’s elevator connecting the deck with the hangar was designed to accommodate the F-35B fighter, which measures about 15 meters in length and about 11 meters in width.

Paint that can withstand the exhaust heat generated from F-35 fighter jets during landings and takeoffs was selected for the deck of the Izumo. It has also been expected to retrofit the Izumo with a sloping deck for takeoffs, the former MSDF executives said.

If the Izumo is converted to enable landings and takeoffs of the F-35B, the vessel can be utilized to refuel U.S. stealth fighter jets anywhere in the world at any time, including during military emergencies under the new national security legislation.

Even if it is designated a “defensive” aircraft carrier or with some other terminology, the refitted Izumo would be a vessel capable of attacking enemy targets. 

To fully protect the country's vast maritime domains and resources, the Philippines needs four more modern frigates aside from the two contracted with South Korean shipbuilder, Hyudai Heavy Industries (HHI).

This was the remark of Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-command Rear Admiral Robert Empedrad when asked how many more modern warships the Navy needs to fully secure the country’s maritime domains.

Empedrad issued this statement during the Frigate Acquisition Project hearing at the Senate last Feb. 19 where issues concerning the brand of combat management system (CMS) to be installed were discussed.

"Based on our Modernization Program, we will require six of the frigates until 2028 – that is our Third Horizon. Apat pa after we get these two ships," he said.

The frigates, presently being built by HHI, will be armed with weapons capable of neutralizing surface, sub-surface and air threats aside from its electronic warfare ability.

These ships have a contract of PHP18 billion, including their weapons systems and munitions.

In the same hearing, the Navy chief said there are also plans to install a CMS and upgrade the weapon systems of the three Hamilton-class cutters acquired from the US Coast Guard.

Indonesia has acquired four units of Wing Loong I UAVs with surface strike capabilities. Aircraft will be inducted with the country’s first composite UAV aviation squadron in West Kalimantan (photo : Sina)

The Indonesian government has acquired four strike-capable Wing Loong I medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (MALE UAVs) from Chinese state-owned aerospace and defence company Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

A contract for the aircraft was signed in 2017, and the UAVs will be operated by the Indonesian Air Force’s (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Udara’s: TNI-AU’s) Aviation Squadron 51 (Skadron Udara 51), multiple sources from within the TNI headquarters in Cilangkap confirmed separately with Jane’s between 22 and 25 February.

Aviation Squadron 51 is based near the city of Pontianak in West Kalimantan, and the unit shares a runway with the Supadio International Airport. The squadron currently operates Israeli-made Aerostar tactical unmanned aircraft system (UAS) equipped with stabilised, gimbal-mounted electro-optic and infrared (EO/IR) sensor for surveillance missions. With the induction of the Wing Loong I, the unit will be Indonesia’s first composite UAV squadron with two different aircraft types.

The Wing Loong I was developed and manufactured by AVIC’s Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute (CADI) subsidiary. It has a length of 8.7 m, a height of 2.8 m, and features a wingspan of 14 m. The aircraft has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 1,150 kg and a payload capacity of 200 kg.

The UAV is powered by one piston engine, and has a service ceiling of 7,500 m (24,600 ft). It has a maximum range of approximately 108 n miles (200 km), and an endurance of about 20 hours. Payloads that can go on board the Wing Loong I include the DH-3010 search-and-rescue (SAR) radar, and the AVIC Luoyang LE380 EO/IR turret.

Jane’s reported that Indonesia has acquired four Wing Loong I armed unmanned aerial vehicles and these will be based in West Kalimantan.

A Russian researcher disclosed on Zvezda television that the country is working on a supersonic unmanned combat aerial vehicle.