The US Naval Research Laboratory has demonstrated that its electric unmanned aerial vehicle dubbed Hybrid Tiger can stay airborne for 24 hours using multiple power sources. “The flight was effectively a performance test in worst-case conditions: temperatures falling below zero degrees Celsius, winds gusting to 20 knots, and relatively little solar energy as we approached the solar solstice Dec. 21,” Richard Stroman, one of engineers involved in the testing, said. Daytime power come from solar panels integrated onto the wings and high-pressure hydrogen fuel tank and fuel cell system provides nighttime power. The drone also had algorithms in its flight control software to take advantage of thermals to gain altitude.
The US Navy announced that it landed an Osprey V-22 aircraft for the first time on a flight deck aboard a hospital ship. The flight testing is result of a seven-month mission to expand the ship’s capabilities for landing aircraft such as the V-22 Osprey and MH-60 Seahawk. Prior to the testing, the deck of Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy was upgraded to allow for the flights to take off.
Middle East & Africa
Elbit Systems Ltd. announced that it was awarded a contract valued at about $1.65 billion for the establishment and operation of the International Flight Training Center of the Hellenic Air Force, as part of a deal between the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the Hellenic Ministry of National Defense. The company noted that the contract will be performed over a period of about 20 years and will include price indexation. As per the contract, Elbit Systems will supply new M-346 training aircraft and will maintain the entire training fleet, comprised of dozens of M-346 and T-6 training aircraft for a period of approximately 20 years.
Northrop Grumman won a $99 million contract modification, which adds scope to procure long lead items and associated services in support of the production and delivery of three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft for the government of France. The French Navy has been operating the E-2C Hawkeye since 1998 and is the only country other than the United States to operate its E-2 Hawkeyes from an aircraft carrier. This capability enables interoperability exercises that support Hawkeyes from each other’s carrier flight decks. With the US Navy’s fleet transition to E-2D squadrons, the French Navy intends to maintain interoperability and partnership by taking steps to procure three E-2D aircraft. Work will take place in New York, California, North Carolina and Florida. Estimated completion will be in April 2027.
The first P-8A Poseidon fuselage for Norway arrived at Boeing. This marked a major milestone in the production of the first of five Poseidons for the Royal Norwegian Air Force. A derivative of the Boeing 737 Next-Generation commercial aircraft, the P-8 is first assembled at Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ 737 production line, where the fuselage receives additional wiring and systems needed to support military components, equipment and operation.
Japan’s first RQ-4B Global Hawk made its maiden flight on April 15, 2021 from Palmdale, California. “The unarmed RQ-4B Global Hawk will provide Japan with on-demand intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information supporting the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s missions of protecting borders, monitoring threats and providing humanitarian assistance in times of need,” said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager, autonomous systems, Northrop Grumman, in a press release. “This successful first flight is a significant milestone in delivering Global Hawk to our Japanese allies.”
Watch: Japan’s RQ-4B Global Hawk high altitude Makes First Flight!