This week’s Quwa Premium article is a recap of some defence news items from around the world. Besides a basic overview of the news, this article also offers short-form analysis of each issue.
The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) will start receiving the first of seven former Belgische Luchtmacht/Belgian Air Force C-130H Hercules transport aircraft. The first aircraft (CH-12/4483), now refurbished and overhauled, recently flew at Melsbroek Air Base in Belgium. The PAF will be taking delivery of it shortly.
Two third-party contractors – SABENA Aerospace and Blue Aerospace – are facilitating the sale to Pakistan by taking on the refurbishing and overhauling work.
The Belgian Air Force had operated a total of 12 C-130s since 1972. Since 2020, Belgium has been phasing its C-130Hs out with the Airbus A400M (of which, it has seven aircraft on order).
The 7 ex-Belgian C-130Hs will join the PAF’s existing fleet of 14 C-130B/Es. In turn, observers expect the PAF to raise a third C-130 squadron. In addition to the aircraft, the PAF is also acquiring spare parts and engines, propellers, and ground support equipment (GSE) from Belgium.
Assuming the PAF will continue operating its existing C-130B/Es alongside the C-130Hs, the PAF’s Hercules fleet will grow to 21 aircraft and, potentially, result in a third squadron…
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On 16 July 2022, Damen Shipyards Group held the steel cutting ceremony for the first of two additional offshore patrol vessels (OPV) for the Pakistan Navy (PN).
Termed “OPV-II”, this is a follow-up to the two Yarmouk-class offshore patrol vessels already in service with the PN. These additional OPVs were likely an option in the original contracted signed in 2017.
Neither the PN or Damen Shipyards Group have given a timeline for the delivery of these ships. However, based on the previous program, the PN could receive the two OPVs in around 3 years, or by 2025. Like the preceding two OPVs, the OPV-IIs will be built in Romania.
Based on Damen’s OPV 2600 design, the OPV II could have a displacement of 2,600 tons, making it larger than the 2,300-ton Yarmouk-class OPV…
On 19 July 2022, South Korea conducted the maiden test flight of its indigenous KF-21 Boramae multi-role fighter. The test flight reportedly happened at Sacheon, the location of the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (ROKAF) 3rd Flying Training Wing.
Work on the KF-21 (then known as the KFX) kicked off in 2011. Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) in 2019 and began producing the first prototype in 2020.
KAI rolled out the first KF-21 prototype in April 2021 and, in turn, the maiden test flight took place over a year later. KAI is aiming to push the KF-21 to production from 2026. The launch variant – i.e., Block-I, will be configured for primarily air-to-air. However, the Block-2, which KAI hopes to start manufacturing from 2028, will have air-to-surface capabilities.
KAI recently secured an order for 48 F/A-50s from Poland and is hoping to win Malaysia’s light fighter bid. Basically, it seems that KAI is building serious momentum and could emerge as a major supplier of combat aircraft through the 2020s and beyond, especially once the KF-21 comes online…
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