Apr 2, 2020

Airbus suspends Spanish production as outbreak restrictions tighten

Airbus is suspending most of its production in Spain for more than a week, as it continues its efforts to address the coronavirus situation.
Spain has been particularly hard-hit among European countries.
Airbus says it is to suspend the “majority of production” until 9 April, in the aftermath of new measures imposed by the Spanish government from 30 March.
The measures restrict all non-essential activity across the country.

Turkish defense ministry sends COVID-19 supplies to Italy and Spain

Turkey on Wednesday sent health supplies including masks to Italy and Spain, the two European countries worst hit by the novel coronavirus, the defense ministry said.
“Health supplies prepared to fight COVID-19 together, and with the hopes of seeing brighter days were sent en route to Spain and Italy” by a military plane, the ministry tweeted in English.
An accompanying video clip showed a Turkish military A-400M cargo plane preparing to take off.
The defense ministry posted the same message in Turkish, Spanish and Italian.
The supplies including masks, overalls and anti-bacterial fluids, produced in the defense ministry’s factories and sewing facilities.
Local resources were being sent “on the instructions of President” Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the ministry statement.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed over 30,000 people in Europe, more than three-quarters of the deaths registered in Italy and Spain

Boeing gets contract to build 6 P-8As for South Korea and 4 New Zealand

The U.S. Navy awarded Boeing [NYSE: BA] a $1.5 billion production contract for the next 18 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. The contract includes eight aircraft for the U.S. Navy, six aircraft for the Republic of Korea Navy and four aircraft for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
The Republic of Korea Navy and Royal New Zealand Air Force acquired the aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process and will receive the same P-8A Poseidon variant designed and produced for the U.S. Navy. The Royal New Zealand Air Force is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2022 and the Republic of Korea Navy is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2023.

USS Theodore Roosevelt Sailors will be quarantined in Guam hotels

The governor of Guam announced Wednesday the territory will provide vacant hotel rooms to house crew from the USS Theodore Roosevelt who do not have coronavirus.
Nearly 100 sailors have tested positive for COVID-19 since the San Diego-based aircraft carrier docked at Guam last week, and the ship’s captain appealed to the Navy to provide shore housing for his crew to prevent further cases.
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Rear Adm. John Menoni, commander of the Navy’s Joint Region Marianas, announced the quarantine plan at news conference in Hagatna, the island’s capital.

Mar 18, 2020

Perú to double number of C-27Js Mi-17s

Peru intends to acquire a range of new fixed- and rotary-wing transport aircraft across its armed forces, in part to bolster the country’s resources to cope with humanitarian relief operations.
The South American country’s shopping list includes additional Leonardo C-27J battlefield transports, heavy transport aircraft – including for in-flight refuelling – more Viking Aircraft DHC-6 Series 400 Twin Otters, plus a substantial number of Mil Mi-17 helicopters.
Peru’s air force already operates four C-27Js and, will buy another two before the end of 2020, with six more to follow over the next three years. In addition, the Peruvian army is considering the twin-turboprop to replace a fleet of three Antonov An-32Bs, all of which are approaching 30 years old.
Peru already operates a substantial fleet of Mi-8/17-series helicopters across the three branches of its armed forces, as well as the country’s national police, and will stick with the Russian-built rotorcraft for future purchases to maintain commonality.

Covid-19: ILA Berlin Airshow cancelled

This year’s ILA Berlin Airshow was cancelled on 18 March as a result of the increasing spread of the coronavirus, the organisers announced.
The event, held every two years at the Berlin ExpoCenter Airport in the outskirts of the German capital, was due to go ahead from 13 to 17 May.
Gareth Jennings-janes


The Pentagon has started a daily dialogue with its top vendors as it attempts to measure and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the defense industry. Meanwhile, Boeing and Lockheed Martin said production on major acquisition systems like the KC-46 tanker and F-35 strike fighter will continue.
Boeing has directed all staff who can telecommute during the pandemic to do so; however, production and fabrication on the KC-46, F-15, F/A-18, and T-7 continue, with enhanced hygiene on the production line.
Similarly, production of the F-35 will continue despite temporary line stoppages in Italy and Japan, and the Pentagon is staying in regular contact with its top vendors.
Italy’s F-35 Final Assembly and Check-Out (FACO) facility closed March 16 and 17 for a “deep cleaning,” according to a source familiar with the program, but production of parts and other line activities will resume on March 18. Japan’s F-35 FACO in Nagoya also was closed March 9-13, but is back up and running again, sources said. One reported that Nagoya, run by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, was already well ahead of its production goals so there should be “no impact” from the temporary stand-down.
Lockheed is not anticipating “any significant impact on the supply chain” from its worldwide vendors, according to a source familiar with the program.

Mar 15, 2020


Amid the current coronavirus outbreak in Spain, many readers have enquired about an alleged statement signed by the Spanish Government, the Spanish Air Force, Andalucía's regional government and Malaga County Council that claims "military helicopters" are going to fumigate all towns in Málaga on March 14 at 23:00 due to COVID-19. However, the Ministry of Defence and the County Council have both denied that is going to happen.
The Spanish Ministry of Defence told that they are not going to fumigate Málaga or any other Spanish town,

Mar 13, 2020

Boeing starts ‘Air Force One’ modifications of 747-8

Boeing has begun modifications to the first of two commercial 747-8 airliners which are to be turned into US Air Force (USAF) VC-25B aircraft.
Known by its “Air Force One” call sign when the US president flies aboard, two VC-25B are to operate as the USA’s top executive transports for the next 30 years. Modifications are being done at Boeing’s San Antonio, Texas facility, says the USAF.
“The first phase of aircraft modification involves cutting out large skin and structure areas in both the forward and aft lower lobes of the aircraft and then installing two newly manufactured superpanels,” says the service. “The superpanels contain structural upgrades and cutouts for the VC-25B lower lobe doors, including internal airstairs for mission requirements.”
The USAF is working to replace its current fleet of presidential aircraft, two 747-200-based VC-25A aircraft delivered in 1991, with two 747-8s originally built for Russian carrier Transaero, which filed for bankruptcy in 2015 before it could take delivery. The commercial airliners need extensive retrofits to be transformed into the VC-25B configuration.

Germany withdraws Tornados from Jordan, deploys radar system in Iraq

In its capacity as a member of the international coalition against Daesh, Germany will withdraw its Tornado reconnaissance aircraft in Jordan and instead install a radar system for air defense in western Iraq.
The jets have until recently been used against Daesh across Syria and Iraq; however, the German Council of Ministers has since adopted amendments that envision changes in the mandate of 700 soldiers serving within the framework of the international coalition.
The country's Tornado reconnaissance jets in Jordan are scheduled to be withdrawn at the end of the month. However, in order for the Tornado jets to retreat, another country must be able to take over reconnaissance flights, according to the plan adopted by the Council of Ministers.

US extends carrier strike group Middle East mission, sends Patriot missile defense system to Iraq

The U.S. military extended the deployment of two aircraft carrier strike groups in the Middle East and has begun moving Patriot air defense missile systems into Iraq after an attack blamed on a Hashd al-Shaabi militia.
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved his request to extend the deployment of the USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group, which has been in CENTCOM’s area of operations since December. “We’re gonna keep them for a while,” McKenzie said, declining to specify how long.
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier joined the USS Truman and the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group in the CENTCOM area of operations earlier this month.
Typically only one carrier strike group operates in CENTCOM’s area of responsibility, and keeping the Truman in theater marks the first period of extended dual U.S. carrier operations in the region since April 2012.

Feb 24, 2020

Israel strikes Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza and Syria

Israeli aircraft struck the Islamic Jihad militant group in both the Gaza Strip and Syria late Sunday.
In the latest tit-for-tat violence ahead of a fresh general election in the Jewish state, the Israeli Air Force targeted “Islamic Jihad terror sites” throughout Gaza and near the Syrian capital Damascus, a February 23 military statement said.
It followed more than 20 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza, themselves a response to the killing of a Jihad militant along the Gaza-Israel border.

Azerbaijan to buy M-346 Master jet

Azerbaijan is to buy an undisclosed number of Leonardo M-346 Master trainer and light attack aircraft, the country's president announced on 20 February.
Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov and Leonardo Executive Director Alessandro Profumo exchanged a 'declaration by agreement' between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Leonardo for the acquisition of "an integration system for M-346 aircraft", the website for the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, announced.
No details pertaining to a contract value or delivery timelines were disclosed.

Feb 21, 2020

Airbus makes Tranche 3 Eurofighter offer to Colombia

Airbus has formally offered the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft to the Colombian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Colombiana: FAC) to replace its ageing fleet of Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) Kfirs. The company has offered 15 Tranche 3 aircraft (12 single-seat and 3 twin-seat) to Colombia.
Colobia is currently evaluating and examining proposals from several countries and manufacturers for its air superiority fighter replacement programme. According to the air force, the Eurofighter, Lockheed Martin F-16V Block 70/72 and Saab JAS 39 Gripen E/F have been shortlisted as a potential replacement for its Kfirs.

Sikorsky wins contract to build six more VH-92A ‘Marine One’ helicopters

Sikorsky has won a $471 million contract from the US Navy (USN) to build six production VH-92A presidential helicopters.
The helicopters are to be operated by the US Marine Corps (USMC) and are to replace the Sikorsky VH-3D, popularly known by its call sign of “Marine One” when the US president flies aboard.
The USN plans to buy 23 examples of the VH-92A as part of its programme of record.
Sikorsky will deliver the six VH-92A helicopters in 2022 and 2023.

India approved the purchase of 24 MH-60R for its Navy

India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has approved the purchase of 24 Sikorsky MH-60R helicopters for its navy.
A green light from the CCS is the final step before the inking of a formal contract under India’s procurement process.
Deliveries are expected within five years of contract signature. Media reports suggest the deal could be consummated during a visit to India by US president Donald Trump from 24 to 25 February.
The MH-60R will be acquired via the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route and provide anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities, which has also contracted for weapons such as AGM-114 Hellfire, Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System, Mk54 torpedoes, and two types of crew served guns.

US Air Force hopes for major KC-46 fix by March

After more than a year of deliberations, the U.S. Air Force is hoping to have a fix in hand for the KC-46 tanker’s most critical technical problem by the end of March, the service’s top general told Defense News in an exclusive interview.
The hope is for the Air Force and Boeing to sign off next month on a finalized design for the KC-46’s Remote Vision System, or RVS — a series of cameras and sensors that allow its users to steer the aircraft’s boom into a plane for aerial refueling.
For several years, the KC-46 program has grappled with a critical deficiency involving the RVS, which is manufactured by Rockwell Collins. Under certain lighting conditions, the imagery is difficult to see and sometimes distorted, making it difficult for operators to safely move the boom without scraping the aircraft receiving fuel.

French-German fighter program FCAS cleared for technology demos, Spain remains a spectator

France and Germany this week advanced their joint combat aircraft program, signing an agreement that allows five technology demonstrations to move ahead.
The second iteration of the so-called Implementing Agreement covers work on the main aircraft of the Future Combat Air System, its propulsion system, accompanying drones, the data architecture and the simulation environment, according to a German Defence Ministry spokeswoman.
Florence Parly and Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the French and German defense ministers, respectively, signed the document on Feb. 20. The Spanish deputy defense secretary, Angelo Olivares, also attended the signing ceremony to catch up on a program cooperation agreement signed by France and Germany last summer.
Spain joined the FCAS program after France and Germany had already launched it. With this week’s agreement covering work by French and German contractors only, Spain’s industry for now remains a spectator to what all countries involved say is a three-nation affair.

Feb 17, 2020

Ejército del Aire Spanish F18 Fighter Jets On Exercise Eagle Eye Over South Spain

Through the skies of Spain’s Costa Del Sol this week F18 fighter jets are on exercise burning through the skyline.
Residents on the Costa del Sol were woken today morning as the powerful jets flew over wondering what was taking place as low level simulated dog fight drills were performed.
The planes will be joined by the Spanish Navy in the Med on the exercise with over 900 sailors taking part as well as the air crews ” battling” in the skies.
Frigate ‘Admiral Juan de Borbon’ will also be seen off the Costa del Sol as it joins in the “war games”

USS Gerald R. Ford’s EMALS cleared for all aircraft

The US Navy’s (USN) newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R Ford, has been cleared as operationally safe for launching and recovering all naval aircraft types using its Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG).
The aircraft carrier, known also as CVN 78, completed at-sea compatibility testing with EMALS and AAG, demonstrating launch and recovery with the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, Northrop Grumman C-2A Greyhound, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and McDonnell Douglas T-45 Goshawk

France, Germany launch FCAS demonstrator phase

A Franco-German future combat air system (FCAS) initiative formally launched at last year’s Paris air show has secured approval to move into its demonstrator phase.
Finalised by Paris and Berlin on 12 February, the initial framework contract “covers a first period of 18 months and initiates work on developing the demonstrators and maturing cutting-edge technologies,” its industry partners say. The intention is for flight tests to begin “as soon as 2026”, they add.
Dassault will lead work on a proposed Next Generation Fighter, supported by Airbus Defence & Space as its main partner. Such an asset would be operated alongside unmanned remote carriers, being pursued by the Airbus unit and European guided weapons specialist MBDA.
Safran and MTU Aero Engines are to develop a new propulsion system to power the new fighter, while a so-called combat cloud developed by Airbus and Thales will underpin networked operations.
Approval for the Phase 1A activity came after the completion of work conducted during a joint concept study initiated in early 2019.

Feb 16, 2020

Cyprus signs deal with France to buy Exocet and Mistral missiles

Cyprus has ordered French surface-to-air Mistral missiles as well as Exocet anti-ship missiles in a €240 million arms deal, the Defence Ministry confirmed on Friday.
French newspaper La Tribune reported the missile deal on Thursday and the Defence Ministry confirmed the deal, but said it could not go into any detail due to the sensitive nature of “national security.”
It said the missile purchase was “part of the upgrade of the National Guard’s operational capability” and “contracts were signed related to upgrading specific weapons systems at an estimated cost of €240 million.”
According to La Tribune, Cyprus signed contracts with the European multinational MBDA for the supply of Mistral and Exocet missiles.

Jun 22, 2019

KC-390 delivery to Brazil delayed a few months

Embraer plans to deliver its first KC-390 transport to the Brazilian air force in the next few months, after a further slight delay from its original plan to hand over the aircraft at the end of 2018.
The twin-turbofan military transport the company plans to deliver to Brazil was at the show on 16 June, conducting a demo flight for journalists and standing on static display.
Embraer's delivery delay is the result of an incident involving one of two KC-390 prototypes that overran its runway during a test in Gaviao Peixoto, Brazil in 2018. To complete its flight testing regime, the airframer decided to reassign its third production aircraft, which was intended to be the initial example delivered to the Brazilian air force. In July 2018, Embraer said it believed the incident would cause a six-month delay, although it is now likely to take a few months longer.
The firm says aircraft number nine is now in production. The company expects to produce military transports at a pace of 12 per year, but says with a third shift and some changes to its supply chain a higher production rate is possible. The Brazilian air force has ordered 28 examples of the aircraft.

Bangladesh to receive additional surplus UK C-130J airlifters

The sale of additional UK-surplus Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transport aircraft to Bangladesh has been confirmed by a support contract announced by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (ADG) on 20 June.
The Asian nation is to receive an undisclosed number of aircraft to add to the two already confirmed via a previous support contract for Marshall ADG. With the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) looking to divest itself of nine 'short-bodied' C-130Js (designated C5 in UK service), all but four aircraft have already been earmarked for customers.
The acquisition of the C-130Js will enable the Bangladeshi Air Force to retire the four C-130Bs that it has fielded since 2001 (these were acquired secondhand from the United States), at the same time as augmenting its three Antonov An-32 'Cline' and three L-410UVP-200 transport aircraft that date from 1989 and 2015 respectively.
Gareth Jennings - janes

Russian Su-24 buzzing Spanish carrier Juan Carlos I as it was about to launch AV-8Bs during NATO BALTOPS 2019

Flagship of the Spanish Navy Juan Carlos I was buzzed by a Russian Su-24 this week while the amphibious assault ship was preparing to launch its AV-8B fighters during Exercise Baltops.

Saudi Arabia interested in A400M

The Royal Saudi Air Force is currently considering the Airbus Military A400M Atlas medium lift transport aircraft.
Chief Executive Officer of Saudi Arabia Military Industries, Dr Andreas Schwer, told Jane's of the country's interest in the platform to fulfil a need for the transportation of armoured vehicles by the country's military.
"The focus of the Saudi Air Force and other local customers has changed from a 10-tonne payload platform to higher capacity platforms. There's a shift in focus on our side to bigger aviation platforms…but we might shift priority to a bigger model [aircraft]," Schwer said.
Saudi Arabia currently operates the Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules for transport, with approval for the acquisition of 25 C-130J aircraft given in 2012 by the US Congress. Progress on the acquisition of the C-130J platform has, however, been slow to materialise.
"The C-130 payload is 20 tonnes, and the An-132D is a 10-tonne payload, so you need to acquire a bigger platform. The Air Force is looking to go into the 40-tonne size, and that is why we are in intense discussions with Airbus over the A400M."
The development of the An-132D programme had also changed following the acquisition of elements of Taqnia and the King Abdulaziz Centre for Science & Technology (KACST) by SAMI, with SAMI now examining the commercial and export potential of the aircraft before proceeding further with the programme.
Development of the An-132D had been between Taqnia, KACST, and Ukraine's Antonov. The An-132D was based on a legacy An-32 'Cline' transport aircraft that had been modernised to Western standards. Production was planned to take place in Saudi Arabia, with the aircraft to be sold to commercial and military users for operations in austere environments.

May 25, 2019

Greek navy takes initial reactivated P-3B

Greece has received its first revived Lockheed Martin P-3B Orion as part of a “rebirth” of the country’s maritime patrol capability as it brings stored aircraft back to service.
Following work performed by Hellenic Aerospace Industries (HAI), the initial aircraft, described as an “interim” step, was presented to Greece’s navy on 17 May.
An additional four aircraft are scheduled to be modernised under the effort, which includes a mid-life upgrade to extend the service life of the turboprop type by 15,000h and the installation of new mission equipment.
Athens purchased six ex-US Navy P-3Bs in 1996, parking them in 2009 amid financial cutbacks.

Mauritania receives CN-235 transport aircraft from UAE

The Mauritanian military announced on 13 May that it had received a transport aircraft from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The aircraft could be identified as one of the CASA/IPTN CN-235M-110 transport aircraft that the UAE acquired from Indonesia in the 1990s.
The Mauritanian military described it as a Spanish-Indonesian aircraft designed for reconnaissance, parachuting, troop and cargo transport, and medical evacuations. It also released a photograph showing a medium transport aircraft with four-blade propellers.
Airbus announced in November 2017 that the UAE Air Force and Air Defence had ordered five of its C295 transport aircraft to replace its existing CN235s.

First overseas deployment of RAF F-35Bs to Cyprus for EXERCISE LIGHTNING DAWN

The Royal Air Force’s newest fighter left its home base for RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus to take part in its first overseas exercise following introduction.
Several F-35B Lightning aircraft from 617 Squadron, flew from their base at RAF Marham in Norfolk to spend six weeks at RAF Akrotiri as part of Exercise Lightning Dawn.
Owned and operated by the RAF, the Lightning Force is jointly manned by both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.