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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.
flightglobal

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.
janes

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.
raf

Croatia in talks with Sweden, U.S. on new fighter jets

Croatia is in talks with Sweden and the United States on buying fighter jets to modernize its air force.
Zagreb was close to striking a deal on buying a squadron of used and refitted F-16 fighter jets from Israel, but eventually Israel informed Croatia it could not sell the planes as it could not secure an approval from the United States.
Israel had been in competition with several countries bidding for Zagreb’s business and its most serious competitor was reported to have been Sweden’s SAAB offering new Gripen planes. .
Croatia joined the NATO alliance in 2009 and the EuropeanUnion in 2013. Its air force has a squadron of Russian-made MiG-21 jets dating from its past within old Yugoslavia, but they are outdated and only a few are operational at the moment.
reuters

May 18, 2019

Morocco will acquire AH-64 Apache helicopters within the next two years.

Morocco will acquire AH-64 Apache military helicopters from the US within the next two years. How many helicopters Morocco will receive is unknown.
The deal to purchase the Apache helicopters has been underway since April last year, but the timeframe of delivery has only just been revealed
Morocco has a pressing need for new sophisticated attack helicopters.
The Moroccan government considered two helicopter models, the US made AH-64 Apache, and the Turkish made T-129 ATAK helicopter, finally settling for the US model mid last year.
Last week, the U.S. State Department cleared a potential foreign military sale of 24 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to Qatar, in a deal that could be worth up to $3 billion.
Morocco will be the second African country to own the helicopter, after Egypt, which bought a fleet in 1995.
moroccoworldnews

Angola has taken delivery of all 12 Su-30Ks

Angola has taken delivery of all 12 Su-30Ks, aircraft upgraded to SM standard.
All 12 Su-30K fighters ordered by Angola has been delivered by the 558th Aviation Repair Plant of Belarus. The aircraft were modified to the Su-30SM standard and can fired the RVV-AE (AA-12) air-to-air missile.
tass

May 14, 2019

Spain recalls 'Mendez Nuñez' frigate from US Navy strike group over Gulf tensions

Spain has recalled a frigate accompanying a U.S. aircraft carrier to the Middle East because of rising tensions between Washington and Tehran, the defense ministry said Tuesday, May 14.
“For the moment the frigate Mendez Nuñez has left the combat group of the USS Abraham Lincoln,” a ministry spokesperson told AFP, confirming a report in the Spanish daily El Pais.
“It’s a temporary withdrawal, decided by Defense Minister Margarita Robles, as long as the American aircraft carrier is in this zone,” the spokesman added.
He said the Spanish frigate had joined the aircraft carrier’s strike group for a military exercise.
“No possible confrontation or warlike action is envisaged [by Spain] and it is for this reason that the participation is suspended for the moment,” he added.
thedefensepost

May 7, 2019

General Dynamics unveils their guided missile frigate proposal for U.S. Navy, based on Spanish F-100 design

Major United States shipyard General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, has unveiled their guided missile frigate proposal under the FFG(X) program for the U.S. Navy.
The concept of new guided missile frigate was unveiled during annual Sea-Air-Space, the largest maritime exposition in the United States.
In February 2018, the U.S. Navy awarded General Dynamics Bath Iron Works a $14.9 million contract for the concept design of the Navy’s planned Guided Missile Frigate (FFG(X)).
Bath Iron Works’ proposed design is based on a family of AEGIS Guided Missile Frigates designed by the Spanish shipbuilder Navantia.
The Navy’s initial request for proposals in November required that frigate designs be based on an existing hull form that is already in service. The Navy has said the requirement will make the planned production of 20 frigates more affordable and bring the ships to the fleet more quickly. The Detail Design and Construction award is planned to be in 2020.
Bath Iron Works designed the Navy’s prior frigate, the Oliver Hazard Perry class, and built many of the hulls. Bath Iron Works partnered with Navantia in the 1980s to adapt the Oliver Hazard Perry design for construction by the Spanish shipbuilding industry and for use by the Spanish Navy.
defence-blog

Czech Republic to replace their Mi-24 with Bell UH-1Y/AH-1Z or Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters.

The US Department of State has given its approval to potential deals that could equip the Czech Republic with Bell UH-1Y/AH-1Z or Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters.
Detailed by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on 3 May, a possible Foreign Military Sales purchase by Prague could involve either an initial four AH-1Zs or 12 UH-60Ms.
Armaments proposed for the AH-1Z include the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile and a nose-mounted 20mm cannon, while the UH-60M would feature BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System guided rockets and machine guns.
Prague had previously expressed an interest in acquiring up to 12 UH-1Ys. Bell completed production of the type for the US Marine Corps last year, with no export orders yet secured for the type.
flightglobal

May 4, 2019

ISRAEL AIR FORCE OPENS SECOND F-35 SQUADRON

The Israel Air Force opened a second squadron of F-35 stealth fighter jets, The Jerusalem Post has learned. The squadron will be called “Defenders of the South.” According to industry sources, Israel will have 20 F-35I fighter jets by 2020.
The IAF currently has 14 F-35 Adir aircraft and is expected to receive a total of 50 planes to make two full squadrons by 2024.
The IAF is also now considering whether to purchase an additional 25 F-35s to give Israel a total of 75 stealth fighter jets.
jpost

Sweden sends Gulfstream S102B Korpen electronic intelligence (ELINT) surveillance aircraft to RAF Akrotiri

Sweden has dispatched one of its Gulfstream S102B Korpen electronic intelligence (ELINT) aircraft to the Mediterranean to operate from a UK airbase on Cyprus.
The Korpen was tracked by open source monitoring of its ADS-B transponder as it flew down into the central Mediterranean and then landed at Royal Air Force (RAF) Akrotiri on 29 April.
A Swedish Ministry of Defence spokesman confirmed the deployment to Cyprus, saying that “the aircraft is on a signal reconnaissance mission in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea”.
The spokesman declined to provide further details of the mission or its duration.
An RAF source told on 30 April that the service “often assists allied nations with fuel and stopovers, so this is nothing unusual”.
This is the second deployment of an S102B to the Mediterranean after one of the Swedish Air Force’s (SwAF's) two Korpens, which are normally assigned to 73 Signals Intelligence at Linköping in southern Sweden, operated from Cyprus for just over a week in April–May 2018.
Tim Ripley, janes

May 1, 2019

Egypt reportedly orders AW149 helicopters instead of NH90

Egypt is believed to have ordered AW149 helicopters to use aboard its naval vessels, choosing the Leonardo Helicopters product over the competing NH90.
According to France’s La Tribune, Egypt informed France last week that it had chosen the AW149, with the order believed to cover around 20 helicopters. Leonardo has neither confirmed nor denied the contract.
France was hoping to sell the NH90 to Egypt after a string of sales that has included 24 Rafale fighter jets, two Mistral class landing helicopter docks (LHDs) and four Gowind class corvettes since 2014.
Egypt was looking at acquiring 20-30 NH90 for use aboard its naval vessels but it will also fly the AW149 on land-based troop transport and search and rescue missions.
defenceweb

F-35 full mission capability rate only 27% due to parts shortages

Only 27% of F-35 fighters worldwide were full mission capable between May and November 2018, according to a study conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Some 52% of the stealth fighters were mission capable – able to perform at least one mission – over the same period.
The operational F-35 Lightning II fleet should reach an 80% mission capability rate by September 2020, Vice Admiral Mathias Winter, executive officer of the Joint Programme Office (JPO) said in prepared testimony before the US House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee on 4 April. Reaching an 80% mission capability rate was mandated by former Defense Secretary James Mattis for key combat aircraft, including the F-35, Lockheed Martin F-22, Lockheed Martin F-16 and Boeing F/A-18.
flightglobal

Polish defense minister: F-35 acquisition ‘not far away’

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said April 29 that the Polish government aimed to sign a deal to station U.S. troops in Poland this year, and a contract to purchase F-35 fighter jets was “not far away” from being signed.
Blaszczak’s announcement in an interview with local broadcaster TVP indicates that Warsaw could aim to negotiate on the potential troop deployment in parallel with the aircraft acquisition. Poland has pitched for the United States to build a permanent military base in the country, offering to pay at least $2 billion toward the project, dubbed “Fort Trump.”
On April 25, during her visit to Warsaw, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said that a U.S. Air Force team was to be sent to Poland in May to demonstrate the capabilities of the F-35 to Polish defence ministry officials
defensenews

U.S. Air Force F-35As conduct first combat employment

Two U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft conducted an air strike at Wadi Ashai, Iraq, in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, April 30.
This strike marked the F-35A’s first combat employment.
The F-35As conducted the airstrike using a Joint Direct Attack Munition to strike an entrenched Daesh tunnel network and weapons cache deep in the Hamrin Mountains, a location able to threaten friendly forces.
The F-35As, recently deployed from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, joined the Combined Forces Air Component team in the U.S. Central Command area of operations on April 15.
af.mil

Turkish first aircraft carrier on fire TCG ANADOLU Sedef Shipyard

A fire broke out aboard the Turkish Navy’s future landing helicopter dock (LHD) Anadolu at a shipyard in Tuzla, Istanbul, on April 30.
Fire aboard the ship, which is being constructed by shipbuilder Sedef for the Turkish Navy, was contained by shipyard workers and firefighters.
No injuries or fatalities were reported in the incident, according to Turkish reports. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.
TCG Anadolu is currently in dry dock and was expected to be launched in 2019. Depending on the extent of the damage sustained in the fire, the launch could potentially be delayed.
navaltoday

Apr 28, 2019

Australian Tigers operate overseas for first time

Australia has deployed its Airbus Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) overseas for the first time, with a detachment participating in joint training exercises with Malaysia.
Four Australian Army Tiger ARHs were airlifted to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM) air base at Subang on a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifter on 21 April, before embarking for training exercises aboard the HMAS Canberra landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious assault ship.
Australia operates 22 Tiger ARH helicopters, with deliveries running from December 2004 through to December 2011. The ARH is a hybrid variant of the Tiger that is based on the French HAP (Hélicoptère d'Appui et de Protection), with an undernose Giat 30-781 30 mm cannon, roof-mounted sight, and provision for underwing 70 mm rocket pods, but with added anti-tank capability.
Apart from being the first overseas deployment of the Tiger, the exercises aboard HMAS Canberra mark a major milestone for the helicopter given that until very recently Australian auditors were recommending that it not be operated aboard ships due to performance limitations.
Gareth Jennings- Jane's 360

Eighth KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft to the U.S. Air Force

Boeing said on 20 April that it has delivered the eighth KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft to the U.S. Air Force.
McConnell houses Airmen that are certified on both the KC-135 and the KC-46. Even with the addition of the KC-46, the fuel shop will continue to maintain the KC-135.
defence-blog

Romania to buy additional F-16 fighter jets from Portugal

According to media reports in recent weeks, Romanian Armed Forces decided to buy five F-16 fighter jets from Portugal.
Romania will buy five more F-16 aircraft from Portugal and the acquisition procedure could be completed this year, according to Romanian defense minister.
Romania Insider has reported on 19 April that Romania bought 12 F-16 multirole aircraft from Portugal in 2013 and will buy five more to have a complete squadron of 17 fighters.
The five F-16s will be second-hand, modernized in Portugal.
Commenting on the news that the U.S. is considering selling F-35 fighters to five new nations, including Romania, Romanian defense minister said that, at the moment, this would be “a bit too much” for Romania.
defence-blog

Japan reassures US on F-35 purchase despite crash

The recent crash of an F-35A stealth fighter jet will not stop Tokyo's plans to buy more of the aircraft, which is crucial to strengthening defense capabilities and maintaining a strong relationship with its ally, the U.S., Japan's defense minister said after meeting his American counterpart.
The Japanese government is positioning the mainly U.S.-developed F-35 as the backbone of its air force, replacing aging F-4s and F-15s that have become difficult to keep up to date. After its initial order of 42 F-35As, the cabinet last year approved plans to buy another 105 jets. This includes 42 F-35Bs, which are capable of vertical takeoff and landing and could be deployed from a destroyer that Japan is converting into an aircraft carrier.
nikkei

State Owned Indonesia Pertamina Company wants to buy Airbus A400 to be operated by subsidiary

State-owned oil and gas holding company Pertamina plans to buy Airbus A400 aircraft to be operated by PT Pelita Air Service (PAS), an airline owned by Pertamina and PT Pertamina Pedeve Indonesia, an official has said.
State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Ministry undersecretary for financial, survey and consulting services Gatot Trihargo did not reveal details on the plan, such as the number of aircraft to be purchased.
The official said Indonesia had used the Airbus A400 for natural disaster mitigation in the past.
With the new planes, PAS could transport cargo to Papua as well as other remote regions, the official noted, adding that the plane was expected to arrive this year or next year.
thejakartapost

Greece wants to buy 3 MQ-9s

The Greek Defense Ministry has reportedly agreed to buy three US-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), commonly referred to as drones, in order to boost its defense capabilities and improve reconnaissance over the Aegean.
According to a report on ANT television station on Wednesday, the deal, estimated to be approximately 50 million euros, involves the purchase of the General Atomics “MQ-9 Reaper” (also called the “Predator B”) and the construction of two ground control stations.
greekreporter

Poland signs contract for four AW101s for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) Missions

Leonardo announced today that it has signed a contract valued at approximately 380 mln EUR (1.65 bn PLN) that will significantly enhance the Polish Navy’s helicopter capability. Through its fully owned Polish company and main industrial presence in the country, PZL-Świdnik, Leonardo will supply four AW101s and a comprehensive integrated logistics and training package to the Polish Ministry of National Defence (MoD).
PZL-Świdnik, acting as the prime contractor and responsible for the entire contract execution.
leonardocompany

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.
reuters

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.
defensenews

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.
airforcetimes

RAF AIRCREW HAVE COMMENCED FLYING PHASE OF TRAINING FOR P-8A POSEIDON

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.
raf

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.
businessinsider

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
janes

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.
cbc.ca