Dec 30, 2018

Australia’s first Hobart-class destroyer completes weapons, systems evaluation

Australia's first-of-class air warfare destroyer HMAS Hobart has successfully demonstrated its ability to conduct co-operative fleet-area air defence operations.
The trials validate the Royal Australian Navy's capacity to interoperate with the US Navy in high-intensity combat operations
The trials, which included a variety of combat scenarios including evasive manoeuvres against anti-ship missiles, fighter aircraft, and surface combatants, were completed in late-2018 at an undisclosed location off the US West Coast.
In November 2018, Hobart also demonstrated its ability to establish secure data links with the USN's Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John Finn.
Australia's Hobart class is derived from the Spanish Navy's (Armada Española's) Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate.
Ridzwan Rahmat - janes

Jordan receives second Mi-26 heavy-lift helo

The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) has received into service the second of four Mil Mi-26 'Halo' heavy-lift helicopters from Russia, the service announced on 26 December.
An image of the Mi-26T was posted on the RJAF's official website some 11 months after the first was delivered to Amman in January.
Jordan ordered four of the current production-standard Mi-26T helicopters in September 2016, with two more under option. Deliveries are to run from 2018 through to the end of 2019, with the platforms to be operated jointly between the military and civil services.
While the first helicopter was shown at the SOFEX 2018 defence exhibition finished in the RJAF's current multi-tonal camouflage colour scheme, this second aircraft has been delivered in a low-visibility grey and is devoid of national markings. It is unclear if the different schemes denote the different military or civil roles.
Gareth Jennings-janes

Kazakhstan takes delivery of 4 Su-30SMs

Kazakhstan has taken delivery of four Su-30SM fighters recently. Kazakhstan has an order for 24 such examples. So far, 12 have been delivered.

Russia’s upgraded Tu-22M3 strategic missile-carrying bomber performs debut flight

Russia’s latest modernized Tupolev Tu-22M3M long-range missile-carrying bomber has performed its debut flight.
The first upgraded Tu-22M3M made the debut flight from the airfield of the Kazan-based Gorbunov Aircraft Enterprise.
This flight started the missile-carrying bomber’s flight tests. There were no weapons aboard the aircraft and the flight was brief.
The Tu-22M3M was rolled out by the Gorbunov Aircraft Enterprise on August 16.
Until now, the bomber was undergoing a series of ground-based tests, during which specialists were checking its new onboard radio-electronic equipment, carrying out the ground-based engine runs and testing compatibility of the aircraft’s artificial intelligence elements.
Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation earlier said that the upgrade of operational Tu-22M3 planes to the level of the Tu-22M3M would begin from 2019 and the first serial-produced bombers would start arriving for the troops from 2021.
According to the data of the Tupolev Aircraft Company, the Tu-22M3M features considerably greater combat potential, including the enlarged operating range.

Dec 25, 2018

Italy F-35s reach initial operating capability

Italian Air Force F-35 fighter jets have reached initial operating capability, Gen. Alberto Rosso, the country’s Air Force chief, said Nov. 30. The announcement marks the first time the aircraft has achieved the milestone in Europe.
Officials broke the news at Italy’s Amendola Air Base in southern Italy, where eight Italian F-35s are stationed, and the announcement coincided with the staging of the latest edition of the 10-nation Tactical Leadership Program — a course for mission commanders. The course is regularly held in Spain, but was moved to Amendola to help with the debut of the Italian F-35s in the program. That program involved 50 aircraft and the participation of Italy, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Belgium, France, Holland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

US Navy establishes first CMV-22B squadron

The US Navy (USN) has begun the transition from the C-2A Greyhound carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft to a modified variant of the Bell-Boeing MV-22 tiltrotor with the commissioning of Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron 30 (VRM 30) as its first CMV-22B squadron.
The USN in 2015 selected the CMV-22B tiltrotor to meet its Airborne Resupply/Logistics for Seabasing (AR/LSB) requirement, eschewing the alternative option of a life extension for the legacy C-2A Greyhound COD aircraft. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) awarded the Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office a USD151 million contract in March 2016 for nonrecurring engineering associated with CMV-22B development/engineering change proposal (ECP) embodiment.
According to the navy, the CMV-22B acquisition approach is based on the re-use of a mature platform - in the shape of the MV-22B Block C aircraft - adapted with ECP modification to integrate a series of navy-specific subsystems/requirements: the ECP will add extended range capability with aft/forward external conformal fuel tanks on wings and sponsons, a public address system for use while transporting passengers, fuel jettison capability, cargo bay and loading ramp lighting, and secure beyond-line-of-sight communications with a high frequency (HF) radio.

Proposal to base Singapore F15 fighter jets at New Zealand rejected

A proposal to base Singapore jets at Ōhakea has been rejected because of infrastructure problems at the airbase.
Minister of Defence Ron Mark said both sides concluded the proposal could not proceed, as without significant spending Ōhakea could not host the F15 squadron.
Mark said the concept had received strong support from local and central government and he was disappointed at the outcome.
"I took a hard look at official advice on multiple aspects of the proposal throughout the year."

Japan wants to sell old F-15s to US to fund F-35 purchases

The Japanese government is considering selling some F-15 jets to the U.S. to raise funds for purchases of cutting-edge F-35 stealth fighters, Nikkei has learned, with Washington in turn weighing the sale of those outdated planes to Southeast Asian countries.
Several Japanese officials have revealed that discussions are underway for what would be the nation's first sale of used defense equipment to the U.S. Tokyo sounded out Washington on the possibility of such a sale as part of negotiations to purchase 105 F-35 jets from the U.S. The two sides are trying to iron out such details as the number of F-15s to be sold and their prices.
By arranging such a sale with Washington, Tokyo hopes to quell public criticism of expanding defense spending amid efforts for fiscal consolidation. Turning to Washington would also help Japan, as it lacks experience in selling defense equipment to third countries.
Japan's roughly 200 F-15s form the core of the Air Self-Defense Force's air defense capabilities. About half the fleet has undergone modernizing overhauls, including updates to electronic equipment, but the 100 or so fighters being eyed for a sale are an older design that cannot receive the electronics upgrades. The government decided at a cabinet meeting last Tuesday to gradually swap these out for more capable F-35s.

Dec 6, 2018

Australia's First F-35A JSF Heads for RAAF Amberley

The F35s have been a while coming and not without plenty of controversy. Now this week the first two RAAF F35s are headed for their new home in Australia.
Australia is eventually getting 72 F35s over the next five years and at $125 million each, Australia gets what is considered the most lethal warplane ever built.

Nov 16, 2018

UK confirms new deal for 17 F-35Bs

The UK Ministry of Defence has ordered its next 17 Lockheed Martin F-35Bs, as part of a 255-unit, multinational framework agreement announced by the US Department of Defense.
Confirming the development on 15 November, the MoD said: "The 17 new F-35B aircraft will be delivered between 2020 and 2022." This corresponds with the programme's 12th through 14th lots of low-rate initial production.
A total of 16 F-35Bs have so far been delivered to the UK, for use with the Royal Air Force's 617 Sqn at Marham in Norfolk and during test activities being performed in the USA. Two other aircraft have yet to be handed over from previous commitments, meaning total orders for the UK now stand at 35 units.
The nation maintains a total commitment to acquiring 138 F-35s over the life of the programme.

First Airbus A330 delivered to South Korean Air Force

The first Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport for the Republic of Korea Air Force has landed in South Korea for its acceptance tests.
According to a news release from the manufacturer, the aircraft, which was piloted by a joint Airbus and Air Force crew, arrived at Gimhae Air Base in Busan after a ferry flight from the Airbus Final Assembly Line in Getafe, Spain, with a stop in Vancouver, Canada.
It will now undergo ground and flight tests in Gimhae. The Air Force will be supported by a team from Airbus, which will be based in South Korea for the duration of the tests and until the aircraft is officially handed over to the customer.
This aircraft is the first of four ordered by South Korea.

South Korea: No plans to swap T-50 Trainers with A400 Spanish Air Force Transports

Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) denied the reported plan, saying "no discussion is underway" between Seoul and Madrid over the aircraft swap deal.
The defense procurement agency's reported plan to sign a military aircraft swap deal with Spain is drawing attention here, as it would mark the first time for a Korean manufacturer to export trainer jets to Europe.
Under the plan, Korea is expected to sell 30 KT-1 basic trainer jets and 20 T-50 advanced trainer jets, manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), to Spain. The European country also reportedly plans to sell four to six A400M Airbus transport planes to Korea as part of the aircraft exchange deal.
The reported contract, if signed, raises hopes for Korea and KAI to tap deeper into Europe and raise its global profile in the defense industry.
But Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) denied the reported plan, saying "no discussion is underway" between Seoul and Madrid over the aircraft swap deal.
"Spanish military and government authorities have yet to contact us via official routes over the deal," an official from DAPA said Sunday. After reports over the possible swap deal surfaced in recent weeks, the defense procurement agency has contacted Spain to confirm whether the country is considering the deal, but the Spanish government denied the rumor, according to the official.


Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group has delivered the first Royal Bahraini Air Force C-130J aircraft.
The Bahrain Defence Force recently purchased two Royal Air Force C-130J aircraft from the UK Ministry of Defence and contracted Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group to carry out depth maintenance, ensure entry into service and provide elements of an initial operational capability set up.
After completing a depth maintenance inspection in Cambridge, United Kingdom, which included some minor modifications and a full aircraft repaint, #702 was delivered to the customer. It is anticipated that the aircraft could attend the prestigious Bahrain Air Show on the 14th November 2018.

Oct 31, 2018

Royal Air Force Typhoon jets scramble to intercept Russian bombers

On 31st October 2018, RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon fighter aircraft scrambled to monitor two Russian strategic bombers approaching UK airspace.
“Typhoon fighters … were scrambled today as a precautionary measure against a potential incursion into UK area of interest by one or more unidentified aircraft,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said.
“At no time was there a threat to UK airspace ..,” he added.

Spanish Air Force awards contract to TAURUS for aircraft KEPD 350 weapon system

The Spanish Ministry of Defence (MOD) and TAURUS Systems GmbH (TSG) signed a contract on 26th September in Madrid for an upgrade and maintenance of the operational capability of the TAURUS KEPD 350 Weapon System used by the Spanish Air Force.
The contract value is just below 30 million Euros.
The TAURUS KEPD 350 has been in the inventory of the Spanish Air Force for 10 years. It is today operated on the EF-18 fighter aircraft.

Canada issues fighter draft RFP

The Canadian Government has released a draft request for proposals (RFP) for the competition to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) Boeing F/A-18 (CF-18/CF-188) Hornet fighter jets. Draft RFPs were issued by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to all five eligible suppliers on 26 October.
According to an official announcement from PSPC, the five suppliers will provide feedback on the draft in around eight weeks’ time, enabling PSPC to draft the final RFP. The Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) to replace the RCAF’s Hornet fleet was originally outlined in Ottawa’s 2017 defence policy document ‘Strong, Secure, Engaged’, where the government outlined a plan to procure 88 aircraft through a competition.

Iraq Receives Six More Korean T50 Jets

The Iraqi government announced on Sunday that it had received another shipment of the Korean-made T50 fighter jets.
Country’s ministry of defense confirmed the arrival of the third batch in Iraq in an online statement.
Iraq signed a contract in 2013 with South Korea to purchase 24 T-50 jets. It has so far received 18 of them .

Oct 26, 2018

Belgium is also in negotiations to purchase a pair of MQ-9 Predator

Alongside its plans to acquire Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters, Belgium is also in negotiations to purchase a pair of medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned air vehicles.
The country's defence ministry says the government has approved the start of negotiations with the USA over the requirement.
Although it does not specify which UAV it hopes to acquire, images released by Brussels show a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9B Sky Guardian – a NATO-standard variant of the B-model Predator.
Belgium describes them as "reconnaissance" assets, suggesting that they will not carry weapons.

Italy will cut €450 from its planned defense spending in 2019, F-35 purchases 'slowed'

Italy will cut €450 million (U.S. $512.3 million) from its planned defense spending in 2019 by suspending helicopter and missile purchases and canceling an office move by the defense ministry to help shore up social welfare and tax cuts, a defense source has told Defense News.
Italy’s total outlay on defense in 2019 will be announced in parliament in the next few days, as Rome’s populist government seeks support by members of parliament for its state budget, which contains billions of euros for a new wage for the unemployed.
To free up funds to cover spending, Rome has made its cut to the defense budget, just as most European states are increasing their military outlay.
During 2019 all ongoing purchases of NH-90 helicopters for the Italian Army and Navy will be suspended, the source said.
The source added that F-35 purchases would be “slowed” in order to spread out payments. Italy is currently planning to buy 90 aircraft.

F-35 officially wins Belgian fighter contest

Belgium has officially selected the F-35 as its next-generation fighter, becoming the 13th country to join the program, the Belgian government announced Thursday.
With that decision, Lockheed Martin has defeated a bid by the governments of Spain, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom for the Eurofighter Typhoon, as well as an informal offer by France for the Dassault Rafale and an option for Belgium to upgrade its existing F-16s.
Belgium plans to buy 34 F-35As to replace F-16 inventory, which numbers about 54 jets. The U.S. State Department has already approved the deal, which has an estimated value of $6.5 billion.

United Kingdom Cleared To Buy 16 H-47 Chinooks

The Government of United Kingdom has requested a possible sale of sixteen (16) H-47 Chinook (Extended Range) helicopters; thirty-six (36) T-55-GA-714A engines (32 installed, 4 spares); forty-eight (48) embedded GPS inertial navigation units (32 installed, 16 spares); twenty (20) common missile warning systems (16 installed, 4 spares); twenty-two (22) radio-frequency countermeasures (16 installed, 6 spares); nineteen (19) multi-mode radars (16 installed, 3 spares); nineteen (19) electro-optical sensor systems (16 installed, 3 spares); forty (40) M-134D-T mini­ guns, plus mounts and tools (32 installed, 8 spares); and forty (40) M240H machine guns, plus mounts and tools (32 installed, 8 spares). This sale also includes communications equipment; navigation equipment; aircraft survivability equipment; initial training equipment and services; synthetic training equipment; support package including spares and repair parts; special tools and test equipment; aviation ground support equipment; safety and air worthiness certification; technical support; maintenance support; technical and aircrew publications; mission planning system equipment and support; and, project management and governance; U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistic and program support. Total estimated cost is $3.5 billion.

Belgium chooses Lockheed's F-35 over Eurofighter according Reuters

Belgium has chosen Lockheed Martin’s (LMT.N) F-35 stealth jets over the Eurofighter Typhoon to replace its aging F-16s, news agency Belga cited government sources.
The country has been deliberating for months over a multibillion-dollar purchase of 34 new fighter jets, with the latest deadline for a decision being Oct. 29.
A defense ministry spokeswoman declined to comment on the government’s decision and did not confirm the end-October deadline.
Lockheed spokeswoman Carolyn Nelson did not confirm that a decision had been made but said the company remains confident that the F-35 is the right choice for Belgium.
If confirmed, the decision will make Belgium the 12th country to buy the radar-evading F-35 jets and could help to strengthen the U.S. aerospace company’s position in forthcoming tenders in Switzerland, Finland and Germany.
The decision, the likely outcome of which was reported by Reuters last Friday, had been expected in July before the NATO summit in Brussels. The order for jets due for delivery from 2023 is estimated to be worth 3.6 billion euros.

USAF To Receive first KC-46 in Mid-November

McConnell Air Force Base is gearing up for an event next month to mark the arrival of its first Boeing KC-46 air refueling tanker, though Boeing and McConnell officials aren’t confirming it as a delivery date.

France begins studies for Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier replacement

France will make a decision on the replacement of its flagship aircraft carrier the Charles de Gaulle at the start of 2020.
The carrier has been in service since 2001 but Paris is looking to build a vessel that would take into consideration expected technological advances post-2030 and be capable of carrying a planned new Franco-German fighter jet.

Oct 20, 2018

Falcon 2000MSA ready for delivery to Japan coast guard

The aircraft – the first of five for the coast guard – is developed from the Falcon 2000LX. The aircraft is due to enter service in the first half of 2019.


Portugal has ordered five Leonardo Helicopters AW119Kx light-singles for multirole missions in a deal worth over €20 million ($23 million).
To be operated by the nation's air force, deliveries of the helicopters are due to begin from Leonardo's Philadelphia, Pennsylvania production facility in late 2018, running until 2020.
A further two aircraft are covered by options, the manufacturer says.
The AW119Kx helicopters will be used to perform a wide range of roles including training, medical evacuation, troop transport and short-range maritime search and rescue.
Portugal currently operates a fleet of eight Aérospatiale SA316 Alouette III light helicopters in the role.

F-35s return to flight operations after fuel tube problem

After a fuel tube problem sidelined all operational F-35 aircraft last week, more than 80 percent of jets have been cleared to return to flight, the F-35 joint program office stated Monday.
In a Oct. 15 statement, the JPO confirmed that the U.S. services and international partners have completed inspections of their F-35 inventories for faulty fuel tubes. The aircraft that are not impacted by the bad tubes — which are a component in Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine — are back in flying status.

HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in New York

Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth today made waves in the Big Apple beginning a historic week-long visit to New York.
The ultimate symbol of British naval power dropped anchor within sight of the Statue of Liberty and the skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan for seven days in New York’s Upper Bay – in full view of Ellis and Liberty Island tourists and thousands of commuters on the Staten Island ferry.
The visit – on the back of three weeks of intensive maiden trials with the new F-35 Lightning jet – allows the ship to host several high profile national and international events.

Philippines Air Air Force likely to buy JAS-39 Grippen

After a thorough study and research, the Department of National Defense (DND) is most likely to buy the Swedish-made Gripenmulti-role supersonic jet fighter for the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana made this disclosure in an exclusive interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on the sidelines of the book launching of former President Fidel V. Ramos at the Manila Hotel on Sunday.
Lorenzana said aside from being cheaper and less expensive in maintenance cost, the Gripen has been proven to be an excellent supersonic fighter aircraft.
The PAF has been scouting for over a decade of what jetfighter aircraft it would buy to replace the US-made F5A/B jet interceptors that retired in 2005 due to old age and lack of spare parts.
Since the F-5s were pulled from service, the Air Force tried to acquire advanced jetfighters such as the supersonic F-16 from the United States, but no progress was made.
Lorenzana said the United States government offered anew to sell F-16 fighter jets to the Philippines.
The offer, Lorenzana added, was made by US Defense Secretary James Mattis when the DND secretary visited Washington last month.
Lorenzana confirmed the US offer, but said the F-16 supersonic jetfighter interceptors are too expensive.
In comparison, the Gripen costs less and has the same capability with other multi-role jetfighters, including the F-16.
Since F-5s were put out of service, the PAF has no multi-role jetfighters in its arsenal, although it had bought from South Korea a dozen of F-50 jets but the planes’ capability is limited compared with the Gripen, F-16 and similar aircraft.
The acquisition of multi-role jetfighters, Lorenzana said, is badly needed to protect the country’s airspace.