Americas

The US Navy seeks to upgrade its fleet of autonomous underwater sensor gliders, devices used to provide data to attack submarines. The system would improve the current Littoral Battlespace Sensing Glider, which generally deploy from oceanographic survey ships and would measure water conditions in areas to help fleet operational planning or hunt enemy submarines. The request of proposals was announced this week. The new LBS-G drone will be expected to operate for 90 days at a time, dive to 657 feet, spend much of its time at the bottom of the sea, surface when it needs to transmit data to a satellite and take water samples every two seconds.

The first of 17 B-1B bombers to be retired this year took its final flight, to Davis-Monahan Air Force Base, in Arizona last week. It was given to the 309th Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group at a section of the base known as “the boneyard,” intact but covered in protective coatings pending further disposition, which means it likely will be cannibalized and used for spare parts. Not all 17 Lancers will go to the boneyard, once they retire. One will go to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., for testing, although AFGSC did not say if the jet will conduct air or static ground tests.

Middle East & Africa

Saab announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has received its third Saab GlobalEye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. The delivery of the third of the five Bombardier Global 6000 business jet-based platforms that were contracted to the UAE Air Force and Defense (AF&D) under the Swing Role Surveillance System (SRSS) programme came about 10 months after the first was handed over in late April 2020 and five months after the second was delivered in September 2020. The GlobalEye platform is built around the Saab Erieye Extended Range (ER) S-band (2–4 GHz) radar that is housed in the same external dorsal ‘plank’ as the company’s original Erieye system.

Israel inked a letter of acceptance (SPEAK) with the United States for the procurement of two Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft, and plans further similar agreements to enhance its qualitative military edge (QME) in the region. According to the Ministry of Defense, the LOA for the tankers was signed over the previous weekend. It added that it intends to enter into similar agreements for the standing up of a third squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35I Adir combat aircraft, the replacement of its Sikorsky CH-53D Yasur heavy-lift helicopters, the procurement of advanced munitions, “and more”.

Europe

According to Jane’s, the Italian Air Force has showcased for the first time the new multirole mission of its Eurofighter combat aircraft. The service showed a Eurofighter from 36 Wing laden with a mix of air-to-air and air-to-surface weaponry. This loadout comprised a pair of IRIS-T short-range and four AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles in the air-to-air role, as well as two Paveway II precision-guided bombs and a Litening targeting pod for the air-to-surface role.

Asia-Pacific

India reportedly started reinforcing its defenses along its north-eastern border with China as military tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors continue in the Himalayas. India is bolstering defenses in the North East with reorientation of existing troops, raising of new armored units to take on the Chinese challenge and a fresh focus on increasing connectivity to ASEAN neighbors.

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