Apr 20, 2019

Pentagon eyes F-35 sales to Spain amid tensions with Turkey in F-35 deal: U.S. official

The United States is considering expanding sales of Lockheed Martin Corp-made F-35 fighter jets to five new nations including Romania, Greece and Poland as European allies bulk up their defenses in the face of a strengthening Russia, a Pentagon official told Congress on Thursday.
In written testimony submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives and seen by Reuters, Vice Admiral Mathias Winter - the head of the Pentagon’s F-35 office - said that “future potential Foreign Military Sales customers include Singapore, Greece, Romania, Spain and Poland.”
News of the new customers coincides with U.S. tension with F-35 development partner Turkey over Ankara’s plans to buy a Russian missile defense system.
Foreign military sales like those of the F-35 are considered government-to-government deals where the Pentagon acts as an intermediary between the defense contractor and a foreign government.
Other U.S. allies have been eyeing a purchase of the stealthy jet including Finland, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

Russia would be Turkey’s ‘first best choice’ for fighter jets if its F-35 plan flops

If U.S. officials were to expel Turkey from the multinational group that builds the F-35 Lightning II, Turkish defense officials said they likely would pursue Russian fighter jet technology.
Washington has threatened to expel Ankara from the multinational program if Turkey deploys the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile system on its soil.
If Turkey accepts the S-400, “no F-35s will ever reach Turkish soil. And Turkish participation in the F-35 program, including manufacturing parts, repairing and servicing the fighters, will be terminated, taking Turkish companies out of the manufacturing and supply chain for the program.

USAF F-35A deploys to Middle East for first time

The Air Force’s most advanced fighter jet has, for the first time, been deployed to the Middle East.
U.S. Air Forces Central Command said in a release that F-35A Lightning IIs from the 388th Fighter Wing and the 419th Fighter Wing, both at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, arrived at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates Monday.
The F-35′s arrival comes a little more than a month after B-1B Lancer bombers completed their deployment at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which left the Air Force with no bomber presence in the Middle East. The joint strike fighters will bolster the Air Force’s firepower in the region as the coalition carries out airstrikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and scattered remnants of the Islamic State.


RAF aircrew have commenced the flying phase of training to fly the Poseidon MRA Mk1 (P-8A), the UK’s new maritime patrol aircraft.
Pilots, Weapons System Officers and Weapons Systems Operators have entered the simulator and flying phase of their six-month course. Meanwhile engineering personnel are similarly progressing through their course at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida.
The personnel, from CXX Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth, are being trained by a mix of US Navy and RAF P-8A ‘seedcorn’ one-way exchange instructors on a course which covers a substantial range of topics. This includes being trained to fly at medium and low level over the sea, so that the mission crew can train in Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Warfare.

The US and Japan still can't find a missing F-35, and its 'secrets' may be in danger

The US and Japan have been conducting a tireless, around-the-clock search for a missing F-35 for a week, but so far, they have yet to recover the downed fighter or its pilot. A life is on the line, and the "secrets" of the most expensive weapon in the world are lost somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.
A Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter flown by 41-year-old Maj. Akinori Hosomi disappeared from radar last Tuesday, April 9. No distress signal was sent out as the aircraft vanished roughly 85 miles east of Misawa Air Base.
The disappearance is the first crash of the F-35A and the first time a third-party user has lost an F-35, making this a uniquely troubling situation for everyone involved.

Russia completes deliveries of SU-35 fighter aircraft to China

Russia has completed the delivery of 24 Sukhoi Su-35 'Flanker-E' multirole fighter aircraft to China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).
Russian defence conglomerate Rostec had previously been quoted as saying that China had received the first 4 Su-35 platforms in 2016 and a further 10 in 2017 as part of a contract for 24 aircraft estimated to be worth about USD2.5 billion.
In November 2015, Rostec announced that Beijing had signed the contract to purchase the Su-35s, making China the first foreign customer of the Russian-built aircraft, which is claimed to be an upgraded and highly manoeuvrable '4++ generation' fighter with characteristics and performance close to those of upcoming 'fifth-generation combat aircraft'.
The Russian-Sino agreement reportedly includes not only the sale of the aircraft but also the delivery of, among other things, ground support equipment and spare engines

Canada's fighter jet tender competition takes off next month again

The politically charged competition to replace Canada's aging fleet of fighter jets will rocket forward at the end of May as the federal government releases a long-anticipated, full-fledged tender call.
There are four companies in the running: Saab of Sweden, Airbus Defence and Space out of Britain, and the American firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Once the request for proposals is released, the manufacturers will have until the end of the year to submit bids.
It was the former Conservative government that kicked off the effort to replace the three-decade-old CF-18s in 2010, an attempt that was shot down in a dispute over the way the F-35 fighter was selected.
The program became mired in politics when the Liberals promised during the 2015 election campaign not to buy the stealth jet. A final decision will now have to wait until after this fall's election.

Hungary, augmented by the United Kingdom and Spain, will lead 50th NATO Baltic Air Policing detachment

Hungary is scheduled to be the lead nation for NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission at Šiauliai, Lithuania, together with augmenting nations Spain and the United Kingdom.
From May 2019 Hungary will take over the lead of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission deploying their JAS-39 Gripen fighter aircraft to Šiauliai, Lithuania. This is the second time since 2015 that Hungary will deploy their Gripen fighters and an air force detachment to lead the mission out of Lithuania.
The Spanish Air Force will also fly their F-18 fighters out of Šiauliai Air Base; their detachment augments the mission under NATO’s Assurance Measures. This is the sixth time Spain has deployed under the mission – twice as lead nation in 2006 and 2016 and three times as augmenting nation at Ämari in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
The Royal Air Force is the second augmenting nation and will fly their Eurofighter aircraft out of Ämari Air Base in Estonia. The United Kingdom was the third nation to lead the mission in 2004 and have since augmented once in Siauliai in 2014 and twice in Ämari in 2015 and 2016.

Mar 31, 2019

South Korea receives second A330 MRTT

South Korea has received the second of four Airbus Defence and Space (DS) A330-200 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft ordered in 2015, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Seoul announced on 28 March.
The aircraft is expected to become operational with the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) within a month, the MND said, adding that the two remaining platforms are expected to be delivered in November and December this year. The RoKAF officially introduced its first A330 on 30 January.
The tanker-transport aircraft, which is known as the KC-330 Cygnus in RoKAF service, is expected to extend the reach of the RoKAF’s strike aircraft into North Korea and improve strategic operations beyond the Korean Peninsula.
Gabriel Dominguez-janes

India concludes price negotiations to acquire 62 C295 transport aircraft

India's Ministry of Defence (MoD) has concluded price negotiations to acquire a total of 62 Airbus Defence and Space C295 medium transport aircraft (MTA) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).
The MoD's Contract Negotiation Committee (CNC) concluded consultations with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) - which is in a joint venture (JV) with Airbus for the MTA programme - to procure the 62 platforms for around EUR2.8 billion (USD3.15 billion).
They said the aircraft deal - which would include 56 platforms for the IAF to replace the service's ageing fleet of Avro 748M transports, and six for the ICG - is expected to be signed after a new Indian government assumes office following general elections set to begin on 11 April.
The MTA programme envisages the direct import of 16 C295s and the local assembly/licence-building of the remaining 46 aircraft at a facility set up by the JV near Bangalore. In keeping with the 2013 MTA tender, 24 of these will be imported in kit form for local assembly and include a 30% indigenous content. The level of indigenous content is then expected to double to 60% in the remaining 22 platforms.
Delivery of the first locally assembled C295 is expected to begin within 60 months of the contract being signed, industry sources said.
Rahul Bedi janes


RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon fighter aircraft scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth, with an RAF Voyager from RAF Brize Norton, to monitor two Russian Blackjacks approaching UK airspace las 29th, March.
The RAF worked closely with NATO partners to monitor the Russian aircraft as they passed through a variety of international airspace before they were intercepted over the North Sea. The ighters escorted them from the UK’s area of interest and ensured that they did not enter UK sovereign airspace.

South Korea's first F-35A stealth jet fighters arrives Cheongju AB

The first two F-35 stealth fighter jets for South Korea arrived at 2:35 p.m. Friday at a military air base in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province.
The arrival came after the United States approved a plan to export Lockheed Martin's latest F-35 jets to South Korea. South Korea had agreed to buy 40 F-35A stealth jets. The complete delivery of the jets will be done by 2021. In 2014, the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) clinched the deal, which has a value of 7.4 trillion won ($6.5 billion).
The first batch of the jets departed from Luke Air Force Base in Arizona on March 22 (local time). After maintenance and technical checks, the jets will go into operation in April or May, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
Eight more F-35As are expected to arrive in South Korea by the end of this year. The arrival of the stealth jets helped the country join the ranks of Asia's few radar-evading warplane operators that include China, Japan and Russia.

Mar 28, 2019

Morocco To Buy 25 F-16C/D Block 72, and upgrading existing fleet

The U.S. State Department has cleared Morocco for a major increase to its F-16 fleet, including both sales of new planes and upgrades to older models.
The two potential deals cover the purchase of 25 F-16C/D Block 72 fighters, estimated at $3.787 billion, as well as upgrades to the country’s existing 23 F‑16s to the more advanced F‑16V Block 52+ configuration, estimated at $985.2 million. Combined, the two sales could net American contractors roughly $4.8 billion.
The new F-16 request represents the single largest notification of fiscal 2019. It is also the second largest purchase requested by Morocco, which in November requested new Abrams tanks.
In addition to the 25 new jets, the larger package includes 29 Pratt & Whitney F100-229 engines; 26 APG-83 active electronically scanned array radars; 26 modular mission computers; 26 Link 16 systems; 40 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems; 30 M61 Al Vulcan 20mm guns; 40 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles; 50 GBU-49 bombs; 60 GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs; and assorted other equipment.
The upgrade package includes much of the same equipment, with similar quantities of AESA radars, Link 16 systems and weapons. The configuration improves the radars and avionics on the older jets.

Mar 23, 2019

Bolivian Air Force to upgrade UH-1H helicopters

The Bolivian government has authorised a budgetary increase of BOB47.7 million (USD6.8 million) to upgrade the air force’s Bell UH-1H ‘Huey’ helicopters for counter-narcotics operations.
The funding, which was approved on 19 March, is in addition to an initial BOB82.7 million that was granted in late 2018. Under the upgrade, 11 of the air force’s 15 helicopters are to be modernised to the Huey II standard that includes a more powerful engine, new dynamic parts (such as rotors, transmissions, and gearboxes), new wiring, and an optional ‘glass’ cockpit.

UK signs E-7 airborne early warning contract

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed plans to acquire five Boeing 737-based E-7 airborne early warning and control system aircraft, with the platforms to be modified by Marshall Aerospace & Defence Group.
The E-7 system – already operated by the Royal Australian Air Force, plus South Korea and Turkey – is based on the 737NG airframe, and powered by CFM International CFM56 engines. Its mission equipment includes a Mesa active electronically scanned array produced by Northrop Grumman, plus onboard operator stations.
Each E-7 will be flown with a crew of two pilots and 10 mission operators, according to the MoD. It describes the type as having an operating ceiling of 41,000ft, and a range of up to 3,500nm (6,470km). The type also will feature commonality with the RAF's future fleet of nine 737NG-based P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, the first of which is scheduled for delivery later this year.

Kazakhstan Border Service places order for Airbus C295

The Border Service of the Republic of Kazakhstan has signed a firm order for one C295 medium transport aircraft.
Through this new agreement, which includes training, spares and ground support equipment, the overall C295 fleet operating in Kazakhstan will increase to nine aircraft.
The new C295, in transport configuration, will play a vital role in border control activities and homeland security operations due to its demonstrated reliability and cost efficiency in operation at low temperatures.
With this new order, the Border Service of Kazakhstan becomes the 31st operator of the C295 and brings the total number of orders up to 13 aircraft in the CIS.

Mar 20, 2019

Australia to obtain four G550s equipped for EW mission

Canberra will obtain four modified Gulfstream G550 business jets that will be modified for the electronic warfare (EW) mission in the USA.
The aircraft will be designated the MC-55A Peregrine.
"The Peregrine is a new airborne electronic warfare capability that will be integrated into Defence's joint warfighting networks, providing a critical link between platforms, including the [Lockheed Martin] F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, [Boeing] E-7A Wedgetail, EA-18G Growler, Navy’s surface combatants and amphibious assault ships and ground assets to support the warfighter,” says defence minister.

Mar 9, 2019

USAFE declares Polish Reaper detachment to be fully operational

The USAF in Europe (USAFE) has declared its Polish-based detachment of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to be fully operational.
The announcement on 7 March came some 10 months after the USAFE began operating the medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV out of Miroslawiec Air Base in northwestern Poland "as a visible expression of US efforts to enhance regional stability".
As noted by the USAFE, the declaration of full-operating capability (FOC) was marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 52nd Expeditionary Operations Group (EOG) Detachment 2 at Miroslawiec (the 52nd EOG comes under the auspices of the 52nd Fighter Wing located at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany).
Gareth Jennings-janes

Diamond nine formation marks end for RAF Tornados

The UK Royal Air Force has drawn to a close 40 years of service by its Panavia Tornado strike aircraft, with a final formation flight involving nine GR4-model examples conducted from the service's Marham base in Norfolk on 28 February.
Now that operational activities with the Tornado GR4 have concluded, the last two units to have flown the type – 9 and 31 squadrons – will be formally disbanded in mid-March. These will subsequently be reformed, respectively equipped with the Eurofighter Typhoon and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Protector RG1 remotely piloted air system.
The RAF says its Tornado force logged a combined 185,603h on deployed operations between 1990 and the end of January, when its final combat sorties were performed in support of the coalition campaign over Iraq and Syria. This commitment is now being fulfilled by the service's Typhoons, as its first Lockheed Martin F-35Bs work towards achieving full operational capability status.
Having entered UK service in 1979, the Tornado GR1 was first used in combat by the RAF during the first Gulf War, in 1991, when 60 of its aircraft were forward-deployed for missions flown from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The type was also used during operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Libya.

Singapore to order four F-35s, with options for eight

Singapore plans to place a firm order for four Lockheed Martin F-35s, with options for an additional eight aircraft.
“We have announced our plans to replace our F-16s, which will face obsolescence post 2030, with the F-35s,” said defence minister.
“This will mean the RSAF fighter fleet will consist of F-35 and [Boeing] F-15SGs if plans come to fruition a decade or so from now.”
Singapore will issue a letter of request for four aircraft and options for eight. He stressed that the US congress must approve the sale, but the deal has the blessings of the both President Donald Trump and the US Department of Defense.
Singapore Defence Minister made no mention of which variant Singapore will obtain, although the country is believed to be interested in the F-35B short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) variant. He also did not say when the Republic of Singapore Air Force will receive the jets.

Israel to buy more F-15s and F-35s

In the coming months, IDF Chief of Staffwill face one of the most important decisions the Israeli defense establishment has ever made: how to spend $11 billion on buying dozens of new top-of-the-line aircraft that the Israel Air Force will use for many decades into the future from the US arms industry.
The arms procurement plan, one of Israel's largest ever, will tie up almost one quarter of US defense aid money in the coming decade. It includes a new squadron of attack planes, 5-7 cutting-edge aircraft for airborne refueling, and transportation helicopters to replace the Yasur (Sea Stallion) helicopters used by the air force for four decades. All of these will be accompanied by additional investment in new systems to be installed on the aircraft, development of special equipment, operating and maintenance infrastructure, etc.
The most important Israeli decision involves a choice between two attack planes: the F-35 Adir (stealth fighter) manufactured by Lockheed Martin and the new F-15 manufactured by Boeing. Lockheed Martin is offering Israel a third squadron of F-35s, plus new transportation helicopters and airborne refueling planes made by European company Airbus under a strategic cooperation agreement between the two companies. Boeing is offering Israel a no less attractive package: a squadron of 25 new F-15s, plus airborne refueling planes developed for the US Air Force and advanced transportation helicopters.
Israel has made three purchases of the F-35 in the past decade, 50 planes altogether, at $100-110 million per plane. Israel will have two squadrons of these planes by 2024. Lockheed Martin has supplied the air force with 14 of the places so far, and the planned rate of supply in the future is six planes per year.
The IDF and the Ministry of Defense estimate that the final decision will be made this summer. At the same time, defense sources say that they already detect signs that the general tendency is in favor of Boeing's offer, with the key work being mix: Israel needs both Lockheed Martin's stealth fighters and Boeing's bombers. If there were no budget constraints, the air force would probably choose both options.

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.