27 Jan 16. Singapore hones fighter aircraft, UAV co-operative capabilities in air-to-surface competition. Key Points:
• The RSAF has introduced a UAV collaboration component in a biennial weaponry competition
• The new component may be a sign the RSAF is close to attaining full operational capability of its Heron 1 UAVs
In a bid to improve the integrated air-to-ground strike capabilities of its platforms and airmen, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has for the first time included an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) component in the biennial ‘Hotshot Challenge’ air-to-surface competition.
The competition, which involves four RSAF squadrons comprising a total of 15 F-16 and four F-15SG fighter aircraft, is being held from 25 January to 3 February at the Tengah Air Base and Pulau Pawai live-firing range in Singapore.
IHS Jane’s was on site at the Pulai Pawai range on 27 January to witness the air-to-ground strike component of the competition, where participating aircraft were tested on their ability to perform air-to-ground strafing and deploy unguided munitions at designated targets on the ground from 10°, 30°, and 45° angles.
“In this Hotshot series there are actually two elements that we have introduced. The first one is the integrated combat turn-around for the logistics side,” said Colonel Linus Tan, commander of the RSAF’s Fighter Group, in response to questions from the media.
He added that logistics support is a very crucial aspect of the RSAF’s combat operations. Participants in the logistics part of the competition are judged on how fast they perform tasks such as loading ammunition and refuelling participating fighters.
“The other aspect of what we have introduced is that we have expanded the UAV collaboration with the fighters,” said Col Tan. Although he did not specifically name the type of UAV being deployed in the competition this year, Col Tan made reference to the RSAF’s deployment of its IAI Heron 1 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAVs at the ‘Forging Sabre’ exercise in Arizona in the United States in December 2015. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 Jan 16. Romania outlines fleet modernisation plans. Key Points:
• The Romanian Navy’s modernisation programme is shaping its future fleet
• Enduring budget challenges, however, may still affect the progress of this programme
The Romanian Navy’s modernisation programme, which aims to shape the fleet for the coming decades, is approaching a critical phase, according to senior officials speaking at the IQPC Surface Warships Conference 2016 in Bucharest, Romania.
“We are aiming to create a more credible and more flexible force for the naval defence of the country”, Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Alexandru Mirsu explained.
In his remarks, the admiral discussed the current security situation in the Black Sea region in the context of significant levels of geostrategic change. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Jan 16. Nigeria re-militarises two Alpha Jets. The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) announced on 26 January that it has successfully armed two of the four demilitarised Alpha Jets bought from the United States in 2015.
To help meet the urgent requirement for additional strike aircraft to support counter-insurgency operations in northeast Nigeria the NAF launched a programme to remilitarise the aircraft, which had been limited to training by their inability to carry weapons, said a statement released in the name of NAF spokesman Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa.
Gp Capt Famuyiwa said some foreign companies asked for USD20,000-30,000 to carry out initial assessments of the project, so the NAF decided to form its own team to carry out the work.
“The model worked on the ground, and has since been mounted on the Alpha Jets, and test flown successfully,” he said. “This feat is a major research and development breakthrough for the NAF and the nation as a huge foreign exchange saver, given the project only cost about N400,000 [USD2,000].”
Cpt Famuyiwa did not detail