Sep 27, 2020

USS Carl Vinson Preparing for First F-35C Deployment

Next year, the most advanced carrier air wing in history will sail to the Pacific aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). Last week, the Carrier Air Wing 2 took the first steps in getting its new F-35C Joint Strike Fighters and CMV-22B Ospreys integrated into the air wing and aboard the carrier. 
Vinson went to sea with its air wing for the first time in this deployment cycle, following a lengthy maintenance availability to upgrade the ship to support the Navy’s first deployment of its fifth-generation fighter and a new cargo aircraft to support it. 
Though there are still some little details to work out – moving the new F-35C Joint Strike Fighter safely around the deck, practicing with new firefighting equipment designed for the large nacelles on the CMV-22B Osprey – ship and air wing officials say they’re ready to spend this workup cycle figuring out how to leverage the F-35C’s stealth and data-sharing capabilities to make this advanced carrier air wing as lethal as possible.

The first Brazilian Gripen has flown in Brazil

September 24, the first Brazilian Gripen E, designated by Brazilian Air Force (FAB) as F-39 Gripen, concluded its first flight in Brazil. 
The aircraft flew from the airport in Navegantes to Embraer´s facility in Gavião Peixoto. 
The official presentation of the aircraft is scheduled to take place during the Aviator’s Day and the Brazilian Air Force Day ceremony in Brasilia, celebrated on the 23rd of October. 

Sep 26, 2020

Canada receives its first new search and rescue CC-295 aircraft

The new fleet will be called Kingfisher. Within the First Nations of the Northwest, the kingfisher has long been recognized for its speed and agility, as well as its keen searching and hunting skills. 
Found all across Canada, the kingfisher well represents the abilities of our own search and rescue crews to accomplish their lifesaving role. Specifically designed to perform search and rescue missions across Canada, the aircraft is equipped with integrated sensors that will allow crews to locate persons or objects from more than 40 kilometers away, even in low-light conditions. 

Its communications systems will increase interoperability with other search and rescue assets, such as the CH-149 Cormorant. The fleet of 16 aircraft will be replacing the CC-115 Buffalo and CC-130H Hercules fleets in their search and rescue role at four locations across Canada, and represents a value of $2.4 billion. The aircraft received earlier this month will remain at 19 Wing Comox while the RCAF completes aircrew training, followed by operational testing. 

During the transition period and while the CC-295 Kingfisher is being operationalized, fixed-wing search and rescue services will continue through existing fleets, along with the CH-149 Cormorant and CH-146 Griffon helicopters. The delivery of this aircraft marks an exciting new chapter in Canada’s long and proud search and rescue history, and this project has created hundreds of new jobs for Canadians. 
The CC-295 contractor, Airbus Defence and Space, continues to make investments into the Canadian aerospace and defence industry through the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy. Strategic work packages directly related to the aircraft are providing Canadian companies the opportunity to participate in global supply chains and creating high-value jobs. canada


Sep 22, 2020

First Brazilian Gripen arrives in-country

The first Saab Gripen E for Brazil arrived in-country on 20 September, having been shipped from Norrköping in Sweden. 
This first Gripen E is a flight test instrumentation (FTI) aircraft (serial number FAB4100) that has been flying in Sweden since August 2019. Now in Brazil, FAB4100 will undergo further testing at the Gripen Flight Test Center (GFTC) in Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo, before being officially presented to the country at the air force’s Aviator Day event in Brasília on 23 October. 
The Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira: FAB) has ordered an initial batch of 28 Gripen Es and eight twin-seat Gripen Fs to be delivered through to 2024. Saab is to build 13 aircraft at its facility in Linköping, Sweden, with the remaining 23 being built in Brazil. 

USAF's F-16s from 555TH FS 'Triple Nickel' Aviano AB head to Bulgaria for Thracian Viper exercise

Six F-16s from the 555th Fighter Squadron at Aviano Air Base in Italy arrived in Bulgaria Friday for training exercises with the Bulgarian, Greek and Romanian air forces. 
Other airmen and units from U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa ― including airmen from the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing at Ramstein Air Base, about 150 airmen from the 555th, and additional Aviano airmen ― are also joining the 555th for Thracian Viper 20, USAFE said in a Friday release. 
Thracian Viper, which began Friday and will run until Sept. 25, is a multilateral training exercise that aims to improve the allies' ability to work with and fight alongside Bulgaria, the release said. It is taking place at Graf Ignatievo Air Base in Bulgaria. 

Sep 21, 2020

Germany to form A400M Multinational Air Transport Unit with Hungary

Germany is establishing a new multinational unit to operate the Airbus A400M transport aircraft, with Hungary committed as its first partner.
The Bundeswehr announced on 17 September that the Multinational Air Transport Unit (MNAU) was being established at Wunstorf Air Base in northern Germany, home to the Luftwaffe’s A400M force. 
This new international unit will relocate to Lechfeld Air Base in the far south of the country with 10 of the Luftwaffe’s 53 contracted A400Ms, as well as additional A400Ms that might be provided by partner nations. 

Romania received the first batch of Patriot surface-to-air missiles from the US.

Romania has received the first batch of Patriot surface-to-air missiles from the US. 
According to a Reuters report, the induction of the missile system will help Romania enhance its air defences as it seeks to upgrade its weaponry to Nato standards. 
Romania has already decided to increase defence spending to 2% of its gross domestic product (GDP), as suggested by the US to all Nato members to combat external threats. 

OUTBREAK of COVID-19 on Royal Navy's HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier is currently in Portsmouth after her scheduled departure yesterday was postponed. It comes after ‘fewer than 10’ sailors tested positive on September 7. 
That delayed her departure from Portsmouth Naval Base until two days later. She then returned to her homeport on Sunday to collect supplies for F-35B fighter jet trials. Now the Royal Navy has confirmed ‘additional positive cases’ onboard the £3.1bn warship. 
Her remaining 1,000-strong crew are following Public Health England guidelines. Some who tested positive last week have since been cleared to return to work having tested negative. 
A Royal Navy spokesman said: ‘Retesting the ship’s company has confirmed a number of additional positive cases. ‘Those individuals have been removed from the ship and the remaining ship’s company continue to follow PHE guidelines.’ ‘The timing of sailing of our ships is dependent upon a number of factors. The decision to sail rests with the captain.’ 
The ship is listed as being due to sail from Portsmouth on Friday at around 1pm-2pm. 

Four A-29s have arrived in Philippines

Four out of the six new Embraer Defense and Security A-29 "Super Tucano" close-air support aircraft, which are intended to beef up the Philippine Air Force (PAF)'s close-air support capabilities, have landed in Clark Air Base, Angeles City, Pampanga on Saturday. 
Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said the four aircraft have landed in Clark Air Base around 1:06 p.m. while the other two are still in New Delhi, India, awaiting for clearance and would be flown to the Philippines at a later date. 
Embraer company pilots flew the aircraft from the company airfield in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and made fueling stops in the Canary Islands, Portugal, Malta, Egypt, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, India, Thailand, and Vietnam before landing in the Philippines. 

Jul 20, 2020

Indonesia wants to buy Eurofighters from Austria

After initial clearance from the United States State Department to buy an MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, news broke that Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto intended to buy jet fighters from Austria.
Austrian newspaper Die Presse reported on Sunday that Prabowo had sent a letter to his Austrian counterpart Klaudia Tanner offering to buy the country's 15 Eurofighter Typhoon jet fighters.
The letter was dated July 10 and arrived at the Austrian Defense Ministry late last week, Die Presse reported.

Jul 16, 2020

Russian Shtorm aircraft carrier to potentially be fitted with S-500 anti-aircraft systems

According to some sources, the Russian aircraft carrier "Project 23000E Shtorm", which is planned to enter service with the Russian Navy in the next decade, will be equipped the S-500 Prometheus anti-aircraft missile system.
The S-500 Prometey also known as 55R6M "Triumfator-M", is a Russian surface-to-air missile/anti-ballistic missile system under development by the Almaz-Antey Air Defence Concern. Initially planned to be in production by 2014, it is currently targeting 2021 for the first delivery.
The Prometheus S-500 is expected to have an extended range of up to 600 km (an improvement of 200km over the S-400) and simultaneously engage up to 10 targets.
Project 23000E or Shtorm is a proposal for a supercarrier designed by the Krylov State Research Center for the Russian Navy. The cost of the export version has been put at over US$5.5 billion, with development expected to take ten years.

Boeing and USAF ink deal for F-15EX fighter jet

The U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a nearly $1.2 billion contract to build the first lot of eight F-15EX advanced fighter jets to help the service meet its capacity requirements and add capability to its fighter fleet. The award also covers support and one-time, upfront engineering costs. Already under construction at the Boeing F-15 production facility in St. Louis, the first two jets deliver next year.
The F-15EX will replace the oldest F-15C/Ds in the service’s inventory. Eight F-15EX aircraft were approved in the fiscal year 2020 budget and 12 were requested in the FY21 budget. The Air Force plans to purchase a total of 76 F-15EX aircraft over the five-year Future Years Defense Program.
The F-15EX is a two-seat fighter with U.S.-only capabilities. It features a deep magazine that can carry a load of advanced weapons. The platform also requires minimal transitional training or additional manpower and little to no infrastructure changes, ensuring the continuation of the mission.
The most significant difference between the F-15EX and legacy F-15s lies in its Open Mission Systems (OMS) architecture. The OMS architecture will enable the rapid insertion of the latest aircraft technologies. The F-15EX will also have fly-by-wire flight controls, a new electronic warfare system, advanced cockpit systems, and the latest mission systems and software capabilities available for legacy F-15s.

Jul 15, 2020

US approves sale of 105 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to Japan

The US Department of State has approved a potential USD23.11 billion Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Japan of 105 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft along with related equipment and services, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 9 July.
Tokyo, which has already ordered 42 conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35A aircraft, has requested to buy 63 more units of this variant along with 42 units of the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B.

UK signs £65m contract for first three Protectors

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has ordered its first three of a planned 16 Protector RG1 unmanned air vehicles from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, with the £65 million ($82 million) contract announced on 15 July.
Also including three ground control stations and support equipment, the launch production order follows what the MoD describes as a “successful development phase” activity performed by General Atomics in the USA.
With its first production order now in place, the MoD says operations with the Protector fleet will start by mid-2024. The type will replace the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) current General Atomics Reapers.

Spain to receive new Eurofighters under Project 'Halcon'

Spain is set to receive new Eurofighter combat aircraft to augment its existing fleet and to begin the process of replacing its Boeing EF-18 Hornet fleet.
The proposed deal that the government is currently negotiating with Airbus, announced on 9 July, will involve an initial 20 Eurofighters being delivered to the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire Español [EdAE]) to replace Hornets based on the Canary Islands.
The deal, which Airbus is expected to be signed in 2021, would be the first part of a wider plan to retire the service’s Hornets with the latest-standard Eurofighters between 2025 and 2030, dubbed Project ‘Halcon’ (Falcon).
These Tranche 3+/Tranche 4 Eurofighters (company officials have used both designations) would be of the latest Tranche 3 standard, and will also feature an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and other modifications. For Spain, the AESA would be ‘Radar 1’, development of which is being led by Hensoldt and Indra.
This new Eurofighter procurement and the retirement of the Hornets is part of a wider modernisation plan for the EdAE’s combat fleet that is called Road Map 2035++.
The EdAE currently fields 73 Eurofighters, comprising 19 Tranche 1, 34 Tranche 2, and 20 Tranche 3 aircraft, as well as 91 EF-18A and EF-18B Hornets. The Road Map 2035++ seeks to manage these fleets out to, and beyond, the introduction of the New-Generation Fighter that Spain is to develop alongside France and Germany as part of the wider Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

May 10, 2020

USAF B-1s fly to Baltics to train with Danish fighters

Two B-1B Lancer bombers flew from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota to the Baltic region Tuesday to take part in a Bomber Task Force mission and train with the Danish air force.
In a Wednesday release, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa said that the pair of B-1s, from Ellsworth’s 28th Bomb Wing, conducted integration and interoperability training with Danish F-16s over Bornholm Island, which is in the Baltic Sea and is part of Denmark.
The bombers also flew over Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and helped Estonian joint terminal attack controllers practice close air support on the long-range, long-duration mission.

Spanish Air Force Airbus A400M suffers birdstrike while landing at Zaragoza Air Base

On 7 May, a Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire) Airbus A400M Atlas military transport was damaged following a bird strike. The aircraft was on approach to Zaragoza Air Base, located around 262 km northeast of Spain’s capital Madrid.
Nobody got injured in the incident but the aircraft suffered substantial damage to its under-fuselage near one of the aft wheel wells.


V-22 Ospreys bound for Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) units arrive in Japan at Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, May 8, 2020. The V-22 off-load marked the first time JGSDF V-22s arrived on Japanese soil.

May 8, 2020

First German government A350 arrives for outfitting in Hamburg by Lufthansa

Airbus has transferred the first of three A350-900s for the federal German government to Hamburg for outfitting at the Lufthansa Technik facility.
The aircraft flew from the airframer’s Hamburg Finkenwerder plant to the city’s main international airport on 7 May.
It bears the civil registration D-AGAF but will be re-registered with the government’s special air wing as ‘10+03’.
Two other aircraft – to be designated ‘10+01’ and ‘10+02’ – are still undergoing manufacture.

US approves upgrade of Egypt's Apaches to AH-64E

The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale of a refurbishment package for 43 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters owned by Egypt.
The estimated $2.3 billion deal is not final, but was announced via a required notification by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency to the US Congress on 7 May.
Egypt intends to use these refurbished AH-64 helicopters to modernise its armed forces to address the shared US-Egyptian interest in countering terrorist activities emanating from the Sinai Peninsula, which threaten Egyptian and Israeli security and undermine regional stability,” says the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
Over the last couple of decades, the USA has helped Egypt put down a Bedouin insurgency, which has used attacks on civilians and kidnappings of tourists to further its cause.
The deal would also come with weapons: Hellfire missile launchers, 2.75in tube rocket launchers, and M230 chain guns.

May 1, 2020

Turkey Flies Medical Aid to Coronavirus-Stricken U.S.

A Turkish military plane carrying medical supplies and protective equipment was heading for the United States on Tuesday to deliver aid to its NATO ally battling the coronavirus outbreak.
The United States, which has the highest death toll and reported cases in the global pandemic, welcomed the "generous donation" of 500,000 surgical masks, 4,000 overalls, as well as disinfectant, goggles and face shields.
The aid comes at a potentially pivotal time in U.S.-Turkish relations, which have been strained by disputes over Iran sanctions, Syria policy and Turkey's acquisition of Russian missile defence systems.
Turkey had planned to deploy the S-400 missile defences this month, but a senior Turkish official said that Ankara will delay the move - which would likely trigger U.S. sanctions - while it tackles the coronavirus and tries to support the economy.

U.S. Approves Sale of AH-64E Apache, AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopters to Philippines

The U.S. State Department has approved a possible sale six AH-64E Apache and six AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters to the Government of the Philippines.
The Government of the Philippines has requested to buy six (6) AH-1Z attack helicopters; fourteen (14) T-700 GE 401C engines (12 installed, 2 spares); seven (7) Honeywell Embedded Global Positioning Systems/Inertial Navigation (EGIs) w/Precise Positioning Service (PPS) (6 installed, 1 spare); six (6) AGM-114 Hellfire II missiles; and twenty six (26) Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) all up rounds.

Italian Fincantieri Wins $795M Contract for US Navy FFG(X) Frigate Program, beating Spanish Navantia F-110

The Navy awarded a $795-million contract to Fincantieri to begin building a new class of guided-missile frigates, in the first new major shipbuilding program the service has started in more than a decade, the Navy announced today.
Fincantieri beat out what was originally four other competitors, who were asked by the Navy to take a mature parent design and evolve it to meet the Navy’s needs for potential high-end warfare. Fincantieri, which will build its frigate at its Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin, based its FFG(X) design on the FREMM multi-mission frigate already operated by the French and Italian navies.
Source says that Spain didn't win contract with the Navy because of the current Spanish Social Communist government and the withdrawal of F-104 'Mendez Nuñez' from U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group, last May 2019, amid tensions with Iran.

Apr 30, 2020

UAE receives first Saab Global Eye early-warning aircraft

Saab has delivered its first GlobalEye early-warning plane to the United Arab Emirates.
The aircraft arrived in Dubai during the late morning of April 29 following a brief stopover in Bulgaria on its way from Sweden.
GlobalEye is able to provide ground, air and maritime surveillance.
UAE has two more GlobalEye on order.

Spain Awards Lockheed Martin $519m For F-110 5 Aegis & SPY-7 Radar Systems

The U.S. Navy, on behalf of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customer Spain, has awarded Lockheed Martin a $519.1 million contract to support AEGIS and SPY-7 systems for the future F-110 frigates of the Spanish Navy.
The contract covers the procurement of AEGIS fire control loop development, Solid State S-Band Radar Processing Group, tools and test equipment, and spares for five new multi-mission frigates operating the AEGIS combat system.This FMS contract will support the in-development Bonifaz-class (F-110) Frigates of the Spanish Navy and their SPY-7 radar.
The contracted work will be performed mostly in the US and is expected to be completed by April 2030.
Spain is obligating $90.7 million in FMS funding at the time of the award.
Navantia and the Spanish Ministry of Defense have signed the contract for the construction of five F-110 frigates for the Spanish Navy in April 2019.
F-110 frigates are set to replace the Spanish Navy’s Santa Maria-class frigates which have been in service for over 30 years. F-110 frigates will be fitted with the Aegis combat system integrating a new solid-state S-band radar by Indra. Lockheed Martin and Indra have been collaborating since 2009 to develop a state-of-the-art S-band solid state radar for Spain’s F-110 Frigate Program.

Royal Air Force Typhoons intercept 2 TU-142 - RAF Chief mocks Russia's planes as 'relics of the Cold War'

The quick reaction alert (QRA) Typhoons were monitoring the Russian Tu-142 BEAR-F maritime patrol aircraft while they operated in the UK’s "area of interest" this morning.
The head of the Royal Air Force dismissed two Russian patrol aircraft as "relics of the Cold War" in a rare public rebuke after British jets were forced to scramble to intercept them. The Typhoon fighters launched from an airbase in Lossiemouth, Moray, as the Russian planes flew close to Norway, the Ministry of Defence said.
The Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) jets were supported by a refuelling tanker aircraft, which flew from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
Working with the Norwegian air force, the jets tracked the Tu-142 'BEAR-F' aircraft, which stayed in international airspace over the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea.
The Russian activity at a time of crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic was condemned by Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff.
"These Russian bombers are relics of the Cold War, do not comply with international air traffic regulations and are a hazard to civilian and military aircraft," he said.
"Despite the global pandemic, the Royal Air Force and our allies continue to ensure Russian military flights pose no threat to NATO and UK airspace."

Apr 28, 2020

Spain prepares to take lead for Baltic Air Policing mission

Spain is to take over responsibility for leading NATO's Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission, with four Boeing EF-18M Hornet fighters recently arriving at Šiauliai Airbase in Lithuania.
From 1 May the Spanish fighters of Wing (Ala) 15, based at Zaragoza, will be supported by UK Eurofighter Typhoons also operating out of Šiauliai Airbase, and by French Dassault Mirage 2000s flying from Ämari Airbase in Estonia.
These three nations will conduct air policing of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian airspace through to the end of August, at which time they will be relieved by other NATO members.
The NATO BAP mission is part of a wider enhanced air policing mission that includes the recently constituted southern air policing mission based in Romania, as well as similar missions that cover Albania, Belgium, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Slovenia.

Pentagon releases videos of encounters between UFOs and Navy pilots

After verifying the authenticity of the footage years ago, the Pentagon has finally released three videos of separate encounters between Navy pilots and unidentified flying objects.
The videos — two were taken in January 2015, while the third dates back to November 2004 — were released “in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos,” Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said.

USAF US NAVY US MARINES F-35's will have to live with limits on supersonic flights

An issue that risks damage to the F-35’s tail section if the aircraft needs to maintain supersonic speeds is not worth fixing and will instead be addressed by changing the operating parameters, the F-35 Joint Program Office told Defense News in a statement Friday.
The deficiency, first reported by Defense News in 2019, means that at extremely high altitudes, the U.S. Navy’s and Marine Corps’ versions of the F-35 jet can only fly at supersonic speeds for short bursts of time before there is a risk of structural damage and loss of stealth capability.
The problem may make it impossible for the Navy’s F-35C to conduct supersonic intercepts.

Apr 27, 2020

Moroccan Harpoon Block II missiles to be ‘non-coastal’ versions

The Boeing AGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles that the United States has approved for the Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF) are the “non-coastal target suppression” version, according to an arms sale notification published by the US Federal Register on 27 April.
This reduction in capability was not mentioned when the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 14 April that the US State Department had approved the sale of 10 AGM-84Ls for an estimated USD62 million for use by the RMAF’s F-16 multirole fighters.
The AGM-84L was designed to have a substantially improved ability to find target ships sailing close to shore or in congested waters.