Aug 19, 2018
Extensive modifications made to the variable-geometry type include the installation of new navigation and communication equipment, targeting systems, engine controls and an updated electronic warfare suite.
UAC says that 80% of the Tu-22M3M's avionics equipment has been replaced, with the updates also enhancing commonality with Russia's remanufactured and re-engined Tu-160M bomber; the first of which was flown from Kazan for the first time last January.
Following preliminary flight checks, the lead Tu-22M3M will be transferred to the Russian air force for joint testing, UAC says.
Flight Fleets Analyzer records the service as having 67 Tu-22Ms in active service, with the oldest example being 34 years old.
HMS Queen Elizabeth, set sail to the US where fighter jets will land on its flight deck for the first time.
They are expected to carry out 500 landings and take-offs during the carrier's 11 weeks at sea.
Capt Jerry Kyd, the carrier's commanding officer, added: "Crossing a major ocean with 1,500 sailors, aircrew and marines embarked and the spectre of the first F-35B Lightning landing on the deck in September is very exciting for us all."
On leaving Portsmouth, HMS Queen Elizabeth will carry out tests in UK waters before heading across the Atlantic to the US where it will also visit New York.
Aug 18, 2018
Since 2001, Lockheed Martin has been carrying out the mammoth task of upgrading 52 C-5Ms. The last of the upgraded Super Galaxy aircraft took off from the Marietta facility Aug. 2, marking the end of the project.
The Air Force’s Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program extends the C-5M’s service lifespan into the 2040s.
Enhancement and Re-engining Program incorporates more than 70 improvements that improve reliability, efficiency, maintainability and availability and includes changes or modifications to the airframe structure; environmental and pneumatic systems; hydraulic systems, electrical system; fuel system; landing gear, and flight controls.”
The C-5M has been a part of the Air Force’s fleet since 1970. It is the largest strategic airlifting platform in the Air Force. Fully loaded, the Super Galaxy can fly at a gross weight of 800,000 pounds.
Upgraded Super Galaxy now boasts, a 22 percent increase in thrust, a shorter takeoff roll; a 58 percent improvement in climb rate and allows the C-5M to cruise — at maximum gross weight — in the Communication/Navigation/Surveillance/Air Traffic Management flight environment."
The upgrade greatly enhanced fuel efficiency and reduced the demand for tanker support.
In the traninig was evaluated the capabilities of the Albacete Air Base and the Tactical Leadership Program (TLP), to host an exercise that has the participation of a 5th aircraft generation, as are the F-22 of the USAF.
The exercise consisted of two independent missions to each other in the assigned flight zone, after carrying out the F-22 of the American Air Force a refueling mission in flight.
After the initial takeoff of two Eurofighters of the Air Force of Albacete Air Base, they carried out a mission with one of the F-22. Already in the work zone, dissimilar combat maneuvers were carried out, that is, between fighters of different characteristics.
At the same time, an F-18 of Ala 12 took off from the Air Base of Torrejón to meet in zone with the second American F-22 and perform the same type of mission.
Then the two Eurofighter of the 14th wing, in the air police mission, located the trace corresponding to the F-22 and made interception maneuvers for their subsequent identification. In the event of any offensive action of the attacking plane, they made defensive and coordination maneuvers in pairs to maintain the enemy's control zone.
Once the work was done in the sector, each American F-22 met with the couple of Spanish fighters assigned and proceeded to land at the Albacete Air Base.
Aug 15, 2018
The Singapore air force’s first Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) has arrived in the country.
Flight tracking sites indicate that the aircraft (S/N 1762) flew direct to Singapore from Madrid’s Getafe air base.
Neither the nation’s defence ministry nor the air force announced the tanker’s arrival. The aircraft’s livery, however, recognises the 50-year history of the Republic of Singapore Air Force, with ‘RSAF 50’ on the tail, and ‘Our Home, Above All’ on the engine cowling.
Flight Fleets Analyzer indicates that the jet is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 772B-60EP powerplants, and that its first flight was on 10 November 2016.
In addition to a hose-and-drogue refuelling pod on both wings, the aircraft is also equipped with a refuelling boom. The aircraft has 260 passenger seats, and can be used to carry cargo pallets.
Singapore has five additional A330 MRTT’s on order. These will replace the nation’s four obsolescent Boeing KC-135Rs, which have an average age of 55.9 years.
The arrival brings the number of in service A330 MRTTs in service to 26. Other operators include the UK, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
The Singapore arrival comes days after Canberra announced that its A330 MRTTs – designated KC-30A in Australian service – have delivered 100 million pounds of fuel (45,000t) during air-to-air refuelling missions in support of coalition missions over the Middle East.
Aug 9, 2018
Two USAF F-22 Raptors will exercise with Spanish Air Force on Monday, 13th August at Albacete Air Base
The exercise, the first of these characteristics with F-22 in Spain, will take place at the Los Llanos air base (Albacete).
"This is an excellent opportunity for training and instruction that allows a joint assessment of the capabilities of the three aircraft, two American and one European manufacturing, in a demanding tactical environment," sources of the Air Force.
Raptors are supposed to arrive from Spangdahlem AFB, Germany, where are currently deployed
Ejército del Aire
Aug 8, 2018
The military said that the Eurofighter Typhoon from the Spanish Air Force — part of NATO's Baltic air-policing mission — erroneously launched an AMRAAM-type air-to-air missile in a practice area in southern Estonia Tuesday afternoon.
The missile carried explosives of up to 10 kilograms (22 pounds) and was last located around 40 kilometers (24 miles) north of Estonia's second city of Tartu. It has a built-in self-destruct for such accidents, but may have landed on the ground.
Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said on Facebook “thank God no human casualties,” calling the incident “extremely regrettable.”
Aug 7, 2018
According to a pre-solicitation posted on FedBizOpps on Aug. 3, the service will put out a final request for proposals to the two competitors in December with the hopes of awarding a contract by the end of September 2019.
However, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told Defense News on Monday that service leaders have not yet made a final decision on whether to green-light a program of record. Should that happen, the pre-solicitation will ensure that the service can move as quickly as it would like to eventually procure new planes, she said.
If the new weapons program moves forward, it appears the service will limit the competition to the two aircraft currently involved in the service’s light attack experiment.
Boeing will not permit Israel Aerospace Industries to convert its B-767 planes to airborne refueling configuration.
Boeing has a clear interest in ousting IAI from the procurement program that has been taking shape at the Ministry of Defense and in the Air Force for a long time, since it is considered the leading candidate for winning the order, estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The overhauling operations of the French-made Mirage fighter jet took 25,000 man/hours of work, while the two-seat American-made F-5 fighter jet took 12,500 man/hours of work.
The two aircraft joined the Iranian Air Force fleet after being run through operational tests.
The most recent rejoining of overhauled fighter jets by Iranian experts was on July 25, in which IRGC military-technical experts overhauled and upgraded 10 Sukhoi SU-22 fighter jets.
Also on July 19, Iran reported the overhauling of an American-made F-14 tomcat at Shahid Babaei Airbase in Isfahan Province. The operation had taken 35,000 man/hours of work.
According to commander of Shahid Babaei Airbase, Mohammad Jafar Tak, the efforts put into the overhauling process of the grounded aircraft shows that the enemy’s attempts at imposing sanctions in a bid to undermine the country’s defense capabilities have been futile.
A formal solicitation is expected to be released in December, and a production contract will be awarded in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019, the document said.
The Air Force plans to request proposals from a limited number of companies including Textron and Sierra Nevada Corp., the service said in the notice that was released on FedBizOpps.
"Sierra Nevada Corp. and Textron Aviation are the only firms that appear to possess the capability necessary to meet the requirement within the Air Force's timeframe without causing an unacceptable delay in meeting the needs of the warfighter," the presolicitation said.
The chosen platform "will provide an affordable, non-developmental aircraft intended to operate globally in the types of irregular warfare environments that have characterized combat operations over the past 25 years," it added.
The move follows a U.S. military experiment known as OA-X, which kicked off last year to study the feasibility of using an off-the-shelf platform as a low-cost solution for light attack and close-air support missions. Originally, the experiment involved four aircraft including a Sierra Nevada Corp.-Embraer team’s A-29 Super Tucano; Textron Aviation’s Scorpion jet and AT-6 Wolverine turboprop; and Air Tractor Inc.’s AT-802L Longsword turboprop supported by L3’s Platform Integration Division.
Earlier this year, Textron and Sierra Nevada Corp.-Embraer had been testing their turboprop aircraft — the AT-6 and the A-29, respectively — during the second phase of the experiment. However, that phase was cut short after a Super Tucano participating in the effort crashed near Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, in late June. One pilot, Navy Lt. Christopher Carey Short, was killed, and another suffered minor injuries.
Aug 6, 2018
During the visit, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs inaugurated the F-15 aircraft production line for the Qatari Amiri Air Forces.
He also toured the company's building, which allows trainees to have on-ground experience before actually flying.
The project, dubbed Ababeel, aims to develop the Qatari Amiri Air Forces' capabilities as part of its plans to modernise its fleet of fighter jets to protect the country's capabilities.
HE Dr al-Attiyah and US Secretary of Defence James Mattis signed the Letter of Intent in June 2017 for Qatar purchasing 36 fighter jets (F-15) in a deal worth $12bn.
Spain’s industry ministry last week approved a 750 million-euro ($880 million) loan for Hisdesat to finance the replacement satellites while the defense ministry is ready to pay 1.4 billion euros over a period of 15 years from 2023 as the new satellites’ most important client.
The satellites will have resilience to nuclear events and interference, and will comply with NATO and EU requirements.
Hisdesat’s biggest investor is satellite operator Hispasat SA with 43 percent and the Spanish defense ministry has 30 percent, according to the company’s website. Airbus Defense & Space has a 15 percent stake, while Indra Sistemas SA and Sener are smaller equity holders. The company’s biggest customers after Spain are the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon.
Hisdesat is putting in place a new generation of satellites at a time when Spain is leading the development of an EU-wide command system that will allow troops from the bloc to communicate without relying on third-party contractors or local capabilities. It’s also heading up a project to pool government satellites that could also contribute to the new system.
Aug 4, 2018
The nine-year-old development programme for the twin-engined tanker-transport had been on track until an “operational issue” caused the first of two flight test aircraft to overrun a runway in Brazil, leading to heavy damage to the landing gear and fuselage.
Embraer had planned to deliver the third KC-390 to the Brazilian air force by the end of the year, but that aircraft will now be diverted to help the company complete the flight test campaign in the absence of the first prototype.
The fourth KC-390 to roll-off Embraer’s assembly line will now be the first of 28 aircraft delivered to the Brazilian air force.
Jul 29, 2018
SPANISH AIR FORCE A400M IN YIBUTI FOR THE FIRST TIME, SUPPORTING COUNTER PIRACY EUNAVFOR MISSION "ATALANTA"
A400M has brought back home members of 31º rotation or Destacamento Orión.
Jul 17, 2018
Under the leadership of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the Pentagon has clamped down on talking about cutting-edge capabilities in development, citing concerns about giving potential foes too much information.
Nevertheless, some details have emerged about the ongoing programs, one each from the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy. And in light of European plans for new fighter designs, it is worth revisiting what is, and isn’t, known about the American efforts.
In 2016, the U.S. Air Force unveiled its “Air Superiority 2030” study, which posited that although the service would need a new air superiority fighter jet — called Penetrating Counter Air — as soon as the 2030s, it would be just as important that the new plane fit into a "family of systems” of space, cyber, electronic warfare and other enabling technologies.
The service then initiated an analysis of alternatives in 2017 to further drill down on Penetrating Counter Air concepts and to refine its requirements, but the service’s top uniformed officer sounds interested in a disaggregated mission aproach.
Jul 16, 2018
A Letter of Agreement for the surveillance drones could have been signed at the Farnborough International Airshow.
The deal for the MQ-9 Reaper drones, made by California-based General Atomics, was first approved by the U.S. State Department back in 2015.
The Dutch government said the intent to purchase was announced in 2016 as part of the Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle program. The deal was opposed by some Dutch lawmakers on July 5.
“We are working with partners and others to try to find a solution,” Saab CEO Håkan Buskhe said during an interview at the Royal International Air Tattoo. “We are confident that we have a good system. … We are good in integration and could deliver according to time [constraints], probably much more affordably with better technology.”
Defense News was the first to report that Saab and Airbus specifically had discussed a partnership that would bring together Saab’s Erieye radar and an Airbus aircraft.
Buskhe declined to confirm whether the company was in talks with Airbus, instead saying more broadly that it was speaking to a number of platform providers.
“First of all our sensors and our system integration is fantastic. We can see stealth aircraft from hundreds and hundreds of kilometers and follow them and target them and the same mode for land, air, at the same time,” he said.
Its GlobalEye aircraft — a modified Bombardier Global 6000 business jet with a suite of integrated sensors including an extended-range version of the Erieye radar, and that’s one one option, but “we are also open if there would be other platforms," he added.
“We don’t compromise quality and efficiency,” he said. “From that, we are open to discussions to bring that technology for example into the U.K. and build them that.”
The United Kingdom is considering an order of new airborne early warning planes to replace its aging Boeing E-3D Sentry aircraft. In June, the Times newspaper reported that the U.K. government preferred to sole source the Wedgetail from Boeing.
One member of Parliament — Julian Lewis, who heads its Defence Committee — wrote an open letter to British Defence Procurement Minister Guto Bebb, urging the Ministry of Defence to open a wider competition, citing Boeing’s 2017 pursuit of tariffs against Bombardier that would have hurt a plant in Northern Ireland.
However, on July 12, Reuters reported that the MoD still leaned toward the sole-source plan and intended to award Boeing a contract for four to six Wedgetail aircraft in the coming weeks, valued at an estimated $1 billion.
If the United Kingdom does end up sole sourcing the Wedgetail, Buskhe said, Saab would “respect the government’s decision” and look for other potential business opportunities.
Jul 8, 2018
“We would like to take delivery of the aircraft by 2020 or shortly thereafter,” Brigadier General Petr Hromek, the recently appointed commander of the ACR air forces, told media on 18 June.
Brig Gen Hromek said the two C-295s would replace two obsolete Russian-made Yakovlev Yak-40 jet airliners currently in service with the ACR and used in the VIP transport role, and are scheduled for retirement by 2020 when their airframes reach the end of their service lives.
Jiri Kominek janes
Speaking at the company’s Warton facility in northern England, a senior programme official said that the first Typhoons that have been modified to carry the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) and MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile have been returned to their operational units, ahead of the capability being officially cleared for use by 2019.
“There are 26 aircraft now at the first phase of the Project Centurion standard, and the pilots will start training in a few weeks’ time,” Eurofighter Delivery Director Andy Flynn said, adding, “We now have to go through the approval process, which should be complete by the end of the year.”
The Project Centurion configuration is intended to combine the already-delivered Raytheon Paveway IV precision-guided bomb, and the Storm Shadow, Meteor, and Brimstone on the Typhoon FGR4 in time for the retirement from RAF service of the Panavia Tornado GR4 in early 2019. The first phase aircraft that are being delivered have been fitted with the Typhoon Phase 2 Enhancement (P2E) upgrade that comprises the Meteor and the Storm Shadow. Phase 2 of Project Centurion covers the Typhoon Phase 3 Enhancement (P3E) upgrade of the Brimstone, and with trials now continuing this final Project Centurion configuration should also be ready for fielding by the end of 2018 .
The RAF fields 51 Tranche 1, 67 Tranche 2 and about 10 of its planned 40 Tranche 3 Typhoons. The 24 Tranche 1 Typhoons that are to be retained will be used in an air defence role only and will not receive the Project Centurion upgrade.
Trenta comes from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement which has always been critical of NATO member Italy’s order for 90 of the planes, saying the money could be better spent to boost welfare and help the sluggish economy.
Some 5-Star officials said last year that Italy should cancel the order for the fighters.
Jul 7, 2018
The company had been in negotiations with a potential buyer for the A400M with an undisclosed country.
Airbus expects to demonstrate by the end of the year the plane’s ability to refuel helicopters in mid-air, one of several features whose delivery has been delayed.
The Royal Moroccan Navy does not have launching platforms for this kind of missiles on its ships and has no land to sea vectors at all. All indications are that these six missiles will be used with the RMAF F16C for anti-ship missions.
The only ship theoretically capable of shooting Harpoons is the Descubierta corvette but which has not been delivered to Morocco with this capability. In addition Corvette Colonel Errahmani serves today as school boat for the Royal Fleet. The ship has recently been disarmed and only keeps her guns.
The F16 is currently the only vector that can carry this type of missile, each aircraft has the ability to take two missiles under its wings on the hard points 3 and 7.
In February, Ottawa requested seven examples for use in non-flying activities such as software testing, static training, and spares, says Australia’s Department of Defence.
The deal is subject to US export controls. If approved, it will bring to 25 the number of former RAAF Hornets sold to Ottawa. Should export approvals be received, negotiations would determine delivery timings.
In December 2017, Canberra confirmed that it will sell Ottawa 18 F/A-18 A/B Hornets for an undisclosed sum.
The first two “classic” Hornets will be delivered to Canada in 2019, at which point the Royal Australian Air Force’s transition to the Lockheed Martin F-35 will be well underway.
The Royal Canadian Air Force requires airframes to fill a capability gap during a pending process to obtain 88 new combat aircraft to replace its 85 Boeing CF-18 A/B fighters.
In February 2018, Ottawa announced that five bidders – Boeing, Dassault, Eurofighter, Lockheed Martin, and Saab – are eligible to replace the CF-18s.
Canada’s previous Harper government had selected the F-35 to replace the CF-18 fleet in 2009, but in 2015 the incoming Trudeau government cancelled this. Initially, the RCAF announced plans to buy 24 F/A-18E/Fs as an interim solution, then select a permanent CF-18 replacement in the early 2020s.
The Boeing deal fell through, however, amid Boeing’s (ultimately unsuccessful) trade complaint with the US Commerce Department against Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier over allegedly unfair pricing on a sale of CSeries aircraft to Delta Air Lines. The Canadian government reacted strongly against Boeing, cancelling the interim fighter deal.
The RAAF operates 55 single seat F/A-18As and 16 two-seat F/A-18Bs that were acquired in the 1980s. This fleet will be retired by 2022 in favour of the F-35A, of which Canberra has committed to 72 examples.
Jul 1, 2018
“The Luftwaffe is at a low point,” Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, who took over as chief of staff of the air force about a month ago, told 200 industry executives, military officers and lawmakers at an event in Berlin on Wednesday evening.
Gerhartz said his assessment followed visits to various air force sites and discussions with troops that revealed serious deficits in the readiness of aircraft and other equipment.
“Aircraft are grounded due to a lack of spare parts, or they aren’t even on site since they’re off for maintenance by the industry,” he said. He said a 400-hour inspection of the Eurofighter combat jets now took a total of 14 months, twice as long as planned, and this was unacceptable.
His comments followed recent reports by the defence ministry and the German parliament’s military ombudsman that revealed significant gaps in military equipment and personnel.
A February ministry report showed only 39 of 128 Eurofighter jets were available for training and combat use last year on average, and just 26 of 93 older-model Tornado fighter jets.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) are finalising budget plans for 2019, but Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, from the SPD, has been resisting moves to accelerate increases in military spending.
Merkel this month forecast steady increases in German military spending in coming years, in line with Berlin’s pledge to meet a NATO target of moving towards spending 2 percent of economic output by 2024, but she gave no details.
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has been pressing for increased spending after Scholz’s previous longer-term plan called for military outlays to edge lower after reaching 1.3 percent of economic output in 2019, up from 1.2 percent now.
Von der Leyen has pledged that German military spending will reach 1.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2025.
Gerhartz urged lawmakers at the Wednesday event to back a more sustainable spending plan that would allow the air force to rebuild its equipment and improve planning for new weapons and upgrades to existing systems.
af.reuters Sabine Siebold Writing by Andrea Shalal
The Luftwaffe reported on 25 June that an A400M of its Lufttransportgeschwader (Air Transport Squadron) 62 has conducted aerial refuelling of Spanish Air Force EF-18s to demonstrate the German aircraft’s capabilities to do so.
The German A400M recently flew from its base at Wunstorf to Zaragoza, from where it took off the next day to dispense 14 tonnes of fuel to a total of 10 EF-18s through air-to-air refuelling pods mounted on its wings tips. After a second day of testing, the German A400M’s aerial refuelling capability was proven, according to the Luftwaffe.
Earlier in June, the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), the French defence procurement agency, reported that its flight trials unit had conducted a campaign demonstrating a French Air Force A400M’s capability to refuel Rafale combat aircraft. This included tests simulating a failure of the A400M’s engine and flight controls, in the dark with night-vision goggles, and with the Rafale in various configurations.
A contract for the construction of five frigates is expected to be awarded this year and Navantia is already working on some elements of the ships’ systems and design.
The potential sale of US military equipment to Spain is worth an estimated $860.4 million and includes five MK7 Aegis weapon systems with computing infrastructure, fire control systems, baseline VII MK 41 vertical launching systems.
Jun 30, 2018
“We are discussing with the government the final contract,” the Brazilian airframer’s chief executive Paulo Cesar Silva said at a pre-Farnborough air show media briefing in Lisbon on 26 June.
It comes just over a year after Portugal opened negotiations to buy five KC-390s, with an option for a sixth, with deliveries starting in 2021.
Four nations – other than Brazil – originally committed to the military aircraft, which flew for the first time in 2015. However, progress with Argentina, the Czech Republic and Chile appears to have stalled.
Embraer is exhibiting the KC-390 at this year's Farnborough air show, as well as the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford that immediately precedes it.
Jun 24, 2018
Although not a nuclear power, Germany hosts some U.S. nuclear warheads under NATO’s nuclear-sharing policy and operates a number of Tornado warplanes that can deliver them. New jets will need to be certified by Washington to carry out nuclear missions, a process which can take years.
Germany’s defence ministry sent a letter to the U.S. Defense Department in April asking whether certification of the European jets was possible, how much it would cost, and how long it would take, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Top U.S. Air Force and Pentagon officials are working to respond to the German query.