Oct 22, 2016

Poland picks Black Hawks after end of H225M talks

Sikorsky’s Polish subsidiary PZL Mielec already appears to be benefiting from the collapse of acquisition talks between its rival Airbus Helicopters and the Warsaw government.
Last week the country’s ministry of economic development ended nearly 18 months of protracted wrangling over a 50-unit commitment for H225M Caracal helicopters. It cited irreconcilable differences about the level of industrial offset proposed, which it said needed to equal the Zl13 billion ($3.4 billion) of the main contract.
However, all three branches of Poland’s armed forces still require new helicopters and its defence ministry has wasted little time in pushing business towards PZL Mielec, which assembles the S-70i Black Hawk for the international market.
During a visit to the firm’s assembly facility, defence minister Antoni Macierewicz said it would work to quickly finalise a deal for S-70is for operation by Polish special forces.

The Afghan Air Force could receive four more Embraer A-29

The Afghan Air Force could receive four more Embraer A-29 light attack turboprop aircraft, adding to 20 already on contract, the US Air Force says in a new contracting notice.
The four aircraft would be assembled by Embraer at the company’s Jacksonville, Florida, facility, but the prime contractor could change.
Sierra Nevada teamed with Embraer to win the original bidding contest with Hawker Beechcraft, which is now part of Textron Aviation.
The USAF is considering other sources to procure up to four A-29s from Embraer for delivery to the Afghan Air Force, according to a “sources sought” notice posted on 6 October.
Sierra Nevada remains on contract to maintain the Afghan air force A-29 fleet to a mission capability rate of 80%, so any new prime contractor must continue working with the Sparks, Nevada-based company.

Germany may buy as many as six C-130Js

Germany has signalled its intention to acquire as many as six Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transports as its frustrations deepen with the underperforming Airbus Defence & Space A400M.
As part of a memorandum of understanding with France, signed by the defence ministers from both countries, the Hercules would be part of a “common air transport squadron” to be created by 2021.
“According to current demand forecasts, four to six German aircraft in the common transport squadron are planned,” says the country’s defence ministry, which would station the C-130J fleet in France.

Norway requests 12 F-35As in proposed block buy

Norway could buy 12 more Lockheed Martin F-35As for delivery in 2021 and 2022 under a new spending plan submitted to Parliament.
The proposal, if approved, would raise the total number of authorised F-35A purchases to 40 aircraft, or only 12 short of the Norwegian air force’s requirement.
The requested authorisation also would allow Norway to participate in a proposed “block buy” for the F-35’s US and international partners.
The F-35 Joint Programme Office is working to package purchases of hundreds of F-35s spread over two or three years from 2018 to 2020 into a single order commitment.

Oct 15, 2016

Russian Tu-95 and Tu-22M3 Bombers to Patrol Airspace Between Hawaii and Japan

A new division of Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 strategic bombers will soon appear in the Russian Far East to patrol the area over the Pacific Ocean inside the Japan – Hawaii – Guam triangle.
Military experts see the creation of a new air group as a clear signal to the Asia-Pacific nations and the US that Russia is serious about is current pivot to Asia.
It will be already the second heavy bomber air group in the Russian Aerospace Forces after a division of Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 bombers that have been so successful mopping up terrorists in Syria, was added last year.
The newly-formed division will include dozens of strategic and long-range bombers to be deployed in Irkutsk and Amur regions.
Soviet missile-carrying bombers patrolled those areas keeping an eye on “enemy activity.” These regular patrols were called off during the 1990s and early 2000s, but now it looks like Russian bomber flights inside the Japan-Guam-Hawaii triangle are back.
Since 2014 Russian Tu-95MS bombers have regularly been spotted off the coast of Japan which scrambled fighter planes to intercept the Russian “Bears” (NATO reporting name for the Tu-95MS). In November a pair of Tu-95MS bombers circled the US island of Guam in the Western Pacific without straying into US airspace. Even though Guam is not a US state, it has been a US unincorporated territory since 1898. This Russian military beef-up in the Pacific means that Moscow is serious about its current pivot to Asia.

USAF F-16s from Italy are quietly deployed to Djibouti

The U.S. Air Force has quietly deployed a number of KC-135s and F-16s to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, this was at the request of Africa Command.
U.S. Africa Command said it was a “precautionary measure in order to protect Americans and American interests in South Sudan if required.”

South Korea begins receiving Taurus cruise missiles

South Korea has received its first lot of Taurus KEPD 350K cruise missiles during a ceremony at the headquarters of Taurus Systems in Schrobenhausen, Germany, it was announced on 14 October.
An undisclosed number of missiles were formally handed over to the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) during the event, which took place on the same day as the announcement. The RoKAF signed a contract for the Taurus KEPD 350K in November 2013, with reports putting the number at either 170 or 180 missiles.
The Taurus KEPD 350K is being integrated onto the RoKAF's Boeing F-15K Slam Eagle fleet. According to MBDA Deutschland (the lead company in the Taurus Systems consortium, which also includes Saab Dynamics), this work is now in its final stages.
The missile is an enhanced version of the Taurus KEPD 350 fielded by Germany and Spain on its Panavia Tornado, and Boeing EF-18 Hornet and Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft respectively. Sweden is looking at integrating it onto its Saab JAS 39 Gripens also.

Sep 25, 2016

India signs 36-unit Rafale contract

India has concluded a deal to acquire 36 Dassault Rafale fighters, with a contract signed in New Delhi by the nation’s defence minister, Manohar Parrikar, and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian on 23 September.
Finalisation of the contract brings to a close a long-running acquisition process to equip the Indian air force with the Rafale, which was selected as the winner of its medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) tender in 2012, defeating the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Eurofighter Typhoon. Other previous candidates for the deal included the Lockheed Martin F-16, RAC MiG-35 and Saab Gripen.
The air force was originally slated to acquire 126 aircraft via the programme, but the original deal ran aground over cost concerns. It was revived by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to France in 2105, when he declared that 36 aircraft would be acquired in “fly-away” condition from Dassault. This was keeping in view the “critical operational necessity” of the service, he said at the time.
It remains to be seen if India will decide at a later date to acquire additional fly-away examples of the type, or whether production could be transferred to India at a later date – as was the intention under the original MMRCA tender.

US State Department Clears Sale of KC-46A Tankers to Japan

The US State Department on Wednesday approved a potential $1.9 billion sale of KC-46A refueling tankers to Japan, moving Boeing one step closer to finalizing its first international deal for the aircraft.
According to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency notice, the proposed deal includes four KC-46A aircraft, the associated Pratt & Whitney Model 4062 engines needed to power the plane, plus one additional spare. Japan would also receive training and support as part of the agreement.
Those aircraft will be equipped with the ALR-69A Radar Warning Receiver and Miniaturized Airborne GPS Receiver — both from Raytheon — as well as Northrop Grumman's AN/AAQ-24(V) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures system.
Japan announced its intention to buy the KC-46 last October. The agreement was a major coup for Boeing, which has fought to find its first foreign customer for the tanker.

Roll Out of Japan Air Self Defense Force’s First F-35A

Senior Japanese and U.S. government officials joined Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) to celebrate the roll out of the first Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) F-35A Lightning II, marking a major milestone in Japan’s enhanced national defense and strengthening the future of the U.S-Japan security alliance.
The ceremony was attended by more than 400 guests from both governments, militaries and defense industries.
Kenji Wakamiya, Japan’s State Minister of Defense spoke at the event, saying, “With its low observability and network capability, the F-35 is the most advanced air system with cutting-edge capability as a multi-role fighter. As the security environment surrounding Japan has become increasingly severe, because of its excellence, it is very significant for the defense of Japan to commit to acquiring the F-35 year by year. Given that the United States Government has designated Japan as a regional depot in the Asia-Pacific area, introduction of F-35A to Japan is a perfect example, enhancing the Japan-US alliance.”
Japan’s F-35 program includes 42 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing aircraft, acquired through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program. The first four aircraft are built in Fort Worth and the remaining 38 aircraft will be built at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Final Assembly & Check-Out facility in Nagoya, Japan, where aircraft assembly is underway. Maintenance training for the first JASDF F-35A technicians is underway at Eglin AFB, Florida, and the first JASDF F-35A pilots are scheduled to begin training at Luke AFB, Arizona, in November.

Sep 24, 2016

USAF F-35A Catches Fire at Mountain Home Air Force Base

An F-35A caught fire during an exercise at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, the Air Force confirmed to Defense News.
The incident took place at around noon and involved an F-35A aircraft from the 61st Fighter Squadron located at Luke Air Force Base, the service said in a statement. No serious injuries seem to have been sustained by the pilot or nearby crew.
"The pilot had to egress the aircraft during engine start due to a fire from the aft section of the aircraft," Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said in an email. "The fire was extinguished quickly. As a precautionary measure, four 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit Airmen, three Airmen from the 366th Maintenance Group and the 61st Fighter Squadron pilot were transported to the base medical center for standard evaluation."
Seven F-35As from Luke AFB, which is one of the bases responsible for joint strike fighter pilot instruction, had deployed to Mountain Home to conduct surface-to-air training from Sept. 10 to 24.
The root cause of the event is under investigation.

Sep 18, 2016

15 F-35 Models Grounded Due to Wiring Issue

The US Air Force has ordered the grounding of 13 F-35A models, as well as a pair of Norwegian F-35As, following the discovery of "peeling and crumbling" coolant tube insulation.
The issue appears to have been with a supplier of coolant lines, which are installed in the wings of the jet. During a routine maintenance check, it was discovered that the insulation on the lines were in some cases decomposing, which left residue in the fuel itself, according to a release from the Norwegian government on the grounding.
The issue has been traced back to the insulated coolant tubes manufactured by one particular provider that have only been installed in the wing fuel tanks of the 15 aircraft — 10 from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, two US and two Norwegian F-35As at Luke AFB, Ariz., and one plane at Nellis AFB, Nev.
The problem was first discovered this summer during depot maintenance of an F-35A being prepared for initial operational capability.

Sep 3, 2016

South Korea mulls purchase of four Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft

The South Korean military may buy four Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft in the wake of the successful test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) by North Korea on 24 August, the Korea JoongAng Ilbo newspaper quoted a senior government official as saying on 1 September.
"North Korea is preparing a number of strategic ways to attack the South using its submarine fleet on top of the SLBM development," said the official.
"We are discussing whether to purchase the latest maritime patrol aircraft to detect North Korean submarines to prevent surprise attacks from under water," he added.

Chilean Navy inducts new observation aircraft

The Chilean Navy (Armada de Chile) has received into service the first of seven Vulcanair P68 Observer 2 twin-propeller aircraft, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 1 September.
The first of the Italian-built aircraft (designated Naval Aircraft 321 in Chilean service) arrived at the Naval Air Base at Concon on 1 July, ahead of its induction as a search and rescue, maritime police, medical aero-evacuation, and liaison platform in place of the now retired Cessna O-2 Skymaster.
While the MoD did not disclose when the remaining aircraft will be delivered, it did say that they type will begin operations with VC-1 Squadron in early 2017, flying from Puerto Montt and Iquique initially before being transferred to Talcahuano.

British Officials Consider Reprieve for Sentinel Fleet

Plans to ax one of the five Sentinel R1 ground surveillance aircraft operated by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) may temporarily be put on hold as officials consider reprieving the jet until a longer-term decision on the fleet's future can be made.
The RAF had been proposing to cut one of the aircraft from the fleet of Raytheon-developed Sentinel aircraft by early October as part of a broader bid to generate cash savings that under new government rules can be ploughed into other equipment budgets rather than being handed back to the Treasury.
One government source said it is now “ likely that the fifth aircraft it will be retained until the end of the financial year” to give time for a decision on longer-term plans for the aircraft.

China and Ukraine agree to restart An-225 production

China and Ukraine have signed an agreement to recommence production of the Antonov An-225 'Cossack' strategic airlifter, media from both countries have reported.
The agreement signed between the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and Antonov on 30 August gives China access to the aircraft's designs and technologies for the purposes of domestic production, according to China's STCN news organisation and the Ukrainian Business Channel (UBR).
Powered by six Progress D-18T engines and having demonstrated a world-record payload of 253.82 tonnes, the An-225 (named Mriya in Ukraine) is the largest transport aircraft ever to have flown.

US cleared to complete T-6C sale to Argentina

A 30-day Congressional notification period has closed on a proposed sale of 24 Beechcraft T-6C Texan trainers to the Argentine air force, clearing the way for the US government and industry officials to complete negotiations on the estimated $300 million deal.
Coming only two months after the final delivery to the US Navy under the 20-year-old Joint Primary Aircraft Training Systems (JPATS) programme, the proposed T-6 sale to Buenos Aires offers a timely lifeline to the T-6C production line in Wichita, Kansas.
“We look forward to continuing our conversations with Argentina to offer the Beechcraft T-6C military trainer,” Beechcraft says.
By late June, Beechcraft had delivered more than 400 T-6 Texan IIs to the US Air Force and nearly 300 to the Navy, replacing an aging fleet of Cessna T-37s and Beechcraft T-34s. The company also has received a recent order from the UK Ministry of Defence to supply T-6 trainers for replacing Embraer Tucanos.

Aug 30, 2016

Luke AFB receives Air Force’s 100th F-35 on heels of IOC announcement, unit activation

The F-35 Lightning II program took another huge step forward Aug. 26 when the Air Force’s 100th F-35, designated AF-100, arrived here following the recent announcement of the fifth-generation jet fighter’s initial operational capability.
“This marks a milestone and shows the fact that the F-35 program has continued to grow, progress and support initial operational capability,” said Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, the 56th Fighter Wing commander. “It is also a ‘scare factor’ for our enemies that we are able to produce such an incredible platform at such a high production rate and that it’s getting out in the field in larger and larger numbers.”
Luke Air Force Base received its first F-35 in March 2014 and developed the training and tactics for the program. The fleet has since grown to more than 40 F-35s at the base, including those of partner nations such as Australia and Norway. The base also recently activated its third F-35 unit -- the 63rd Fighter Squadron.

Aug 27, 2016

First Japan Air Self Defense Force F-35A Makes First Flight

The first Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) F-35A successfully completed its maiden flight here today. The jet, known as AX-1, took off at 1112 and landed at 1246 local time. The flight was piloted by Lockheed Martin’s F-35 test pilot Paul Hattendorf.
Japan is on record to purchase 42 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing, or CTOL, aircraft, acquired through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program. The first four aircraft are in assembly in Fort Worth and are anticipated to deliver before the end of 2016. The remaining 38 aircraft will be assembled at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries final assembly & check-out facility in Nagoya, Japan. Aircraft assembly is also underway at the Nagoya facility. Maintenance training for the first Japan maintainers has already begun at Eglin AFB, Florida, and training of the first JASDF F-35 pilots will begin at Luke AFB, Arizona, in November 2016.

Aug 26, 2016

Sin fecha para el segundo Escuadrón de Eurofighter para el Ala 14 de Albacete

El programa para completar el armamento del Ala 14 en la Base Aérea de los Llanos con Eurofighter continúa, pero la dotación no será «a corto plazo»
Más de cuatro años después de que los primeros Eurofighter llegaran al Ala 14 de la Base de Los Llanos todavía se espera la dotación del segundo escuadrón, el 141, si bien ya se ha completado la plantilla de 18 aviones para el primero, el 142. Los planes de Defensa y del Ejército del Aire pasan por ir dotando al segundo escuadrón del mismo sistema de armas, pero se trabaja sin fecha concreta.

Aug 13, 2016

Singapore, France could Receive First Airbus MRTT in 2017

Airbus Defence and Space (DS) expects that the next new Airbus A330-200 Multirole Tanker Transport (MRTT) will be delivered to either the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) or the French Air Force.
"The next [MRTT] is either [for] Singapore or France," Fernando Alonso, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus DS, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur in early August.
"Australia has bought two additional ones. Those are something quite special as they are second-hand ones," he added, referring to the two former Qantas-operated A330 airliners that are being converted into MRTT platforms by Airbus DS. However, he did not provide exact time frames for the deliveries.

Aug 6, 2016


The U.S. State Department has approved a possible $300 million foreign military sale to Argentina for T-6C Texan aircraft.
Buenos Aires requested 24 of the trainer aircraft, as well as spare engines, initial spare parts, support equipment, communications equipment, studies and surveys, contract logistics support and technical services, aircraft technical publications, aircraft ferry and support, life support equipment, initial maintenance training, initial pilot training, follow-on training, alternate mission equipment, Air Force Material Command services and travel, unclassified minor modifications and engineering change proposals, ground-based training system, operational flight trainer and operational flight trainer spare parts.

Jul 2, 2016

Russian Frigate Again Plays Games With US Ships

The same Russian frigate that, according to the US Navy, spent more than an hour June 17 maneuvering erratically and unsafely near a US aircraft carrier and destroyer in the Mediterranean Sea was at it again Thursday, this time near a different carrier. And this time, the ship’s reputation as a dangerous driver was anticipated.
The Yaroslav Mudryy, a Project 1154 Neustrashimy-class frigate wearing pennant number 777 was, according to a US Navy report, conducting shadowing operations of the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group as the flattop was flying combat operations against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq.
The Russian frigate closed on the cruiser San Jacinto, operating as the carrier’s air defense commander, in an action a Navy message characterized as “abnormal, [un]safe and unprofessional.”

Jun 11, 2016

Malaysia Takes Delivery of its Third A400M

RMAF took official delivery of its third A400M airlifter at the Airbus Defence and Space facility in Seville.
It is yet to be determined when the A400M will fly to Subang airbase, the home of 22nd Skn, but based on previous two A400Ms, it is likely that the aircraft will make it home by July.
The 03 was supposed to be delivered in April but was delayed after engine and air-frame problems were in discovered in German and French A400ms.
RMAF had never officially confirmed whether its A400Ms were also affected by the problems but the first aircraft was seen in its hangar in early March with its engine panels opened.
The 22nd Skn currently operates two A400Ms, the first arrived in March, 2015 while the second in late December. The fourth and final aircraft is expected to be delivered by year end.
It is expected with the fourth A400M delivered, 22 Skn will ramped up its operational use of the air-lifters. Although the squadron had conducted test loading of Army vehicles, mostly 4X4s trucks, it had yet to conduct flights carrying them.
Currently, the two A400Ms of the 22 Skn mostly carry personnel and their belongings. The longest known trip so far is to Korat airbase in Thailand, in support of the Air-Thamal 2016, the annual exercise between RMAF and the Thai Air Force.

May 28, 2016

TAI in Talks to Upgrade Pakistani F-16s

Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is negotiating with Pakistan to upgrade 74 Pakistani Air Force (PAF) F-16 fighters, company officials said.
“The negotiations are being held through our Pakistani representative,” a TAI official said. “We are hopeful about an eventual deal in view of our excellent relations with PAF.”
If finalized the deal will involve upgrades on a batch of 74 PAF F-16 aircraft, including 14 fighters Pakistan will acquire from Jordan.

Vietnam May Request F-16s, P-3 Orions From US

With the lifting of the US arms embargo to Vietnam, a US defense industry source indicates Hanoi is seeking to improve its air defense and maritime security capabilities with the procurement of F-16 fighter aircraft from the US Pentagon’s excess defense articles (EDA) program and refurbished P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, armed with torpedoes.

F-22 Restart for US Air Force Not 'A Wild Idea'

Although US Air Force and industry officials have repeatedly dubbed reviving Lockheed Martin’s F-22 production line as a nonstarter, the service’s outgoing chief of staff said Thursday it might not be such a crazy idea after all.
Gen. Mark Welsh's comments marked the first time since Congress floated the idea last month that Air Force leadership has acknowledged an F-22 restart as anything but pie in the sky.

Pentagon says China aircraft intercept violated 2015 agreement

The Pentagon has concluded that an intercept of a U.S. military aircraft by Chinese fighter jets last week over the South China Sea violated an agreement the two governments signed last year, a U.S. defense official said on Thursday.
The Pentagon findings contradict what the Chinese Defense Ministry said earlier in the day.
Last year, the United States and China announced an agreement establishing rules of behavior to govern air-to-air encounters and creating a military hotline.

May 27, 2016

First Two Dutch F-35s Land in the Netherlands

The Netherlands' first two F-35s landed at Leeuwarden Air Base on Monday, marking the fifth-generation jet's first eastbound transatlantic crossing.
The jets, made the journey from Edwards Air Force Base.
This appearance comes just weeks before Lockheed Martin's joint strike fighter is scheduled to make its international debut at the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom