Defence in brief: 28 November 2006

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Armed MALE

The Canadian defence force plans to arm its proposed medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) unmanned air vehicle systems. If funding is granted, a competition for up to nine MALE systems will be launched with a contract signature expected by mid-2007, says Canadian air force project director Lt Col Wade Williams. The joint UAV surveillance targeting acquisition system project is budgeted to cost C$500 million ($446 million).

Albanian scrap

Albania is to scrap 36 obsolete aircraft belonging to the country's air force and focus on modernising its helicopter inventory, say local media reports. The aircraft to be dismantled include eight Mikoyan MiG-15UTI Midget two-seat trainers, six Chengdu FT-5 trainers, 13 Nanchang CJ-6 propeller-driven trainers, eight Nanchang Y-5 utility aircraft and a Harbin H-5 target towing aircraft.

Skylite B show

Rafael's SkyLite B mini unmanned air vehicle was recently demonstrated to Australian and New Zealand military staff at the New Zealand Army's exercise and training facility at Waiouru, in co-operation with Codarra Advanced Systems, Rafael's partner in Australia and New Zealand. The SkyLite B completed several flights, some at -6°C (21°F) and in 35kt (18m/s) winds gusting to 55kt, locating and tracking ground targets and relaying stabilised imagery, says Rafael.

Sea King modified

Qinetiq's Westland Sea King helicopter has completed its first flight with advanced composite main rotor blades. Lasting for around 4min, the flight was carried out as part of the evaluation of a Carson Helicopters blade for UK Sea Kings, in a project involving Qinetiq and the Aircraft Test and Evaluation Centre at Boscombe Down, supported by the UK Ministry of Defence's Sea King and Future Rotorcraft Capability integrated project teams and AgustaWestland.