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

Boeing Will not Deliver 18 KC-46 Tanker To USAF In 2018 As Innitially Planned

Boeing’s KC-46 tanker program will miss a major contractual deadline to deliver 18 ready-to-go aircraft to the US Air Force next year.
Due to ongoing issues with the KC-46’s refueling systems, Boeing will not be able to deliver the 18 certified tankers to the Air Force as planned by August 2017, a major contractual obligation known as Required Assets Available, or RAA.
It is unclear what impact this delay will have on Boeing's contract to replace the Air Force's aging KC-135s. Both company and service officials said they are continuing to assess the implications.

May 7, 2016

U.S. seeks to approve A-29 Super Tucano Sale for Nigeria in Boko Haram fight

The U.S. administration is seeking to approve a sale of as many as 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft to Nigeria to aid its battle against the extremist group Boko Haram, U.S. officials say.
Washington also is dedicating more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to the campaign against the Islamist militants in the region and plans to provide additional training to Nigerian infantry forces.
The sale could offer Nigeria a more maneuverable aircraft that can stay aloft for extended periods to target Boko Haram formations.

Australia is spending $640 million on naval supply ships made in Spain

The Turnbull government’s massive spend on Australia’s naval capability continued today after signing a deal to spend $640 million on two naval replenishment ships built in Spain .
Unlike recent announcements by the prime minister about building submarines and other ships in Australia, today’s decision to give the contract to Madrid-based Navantia was low key.
Defence minister Marise Payne confirmed Navantia as the preferred tenderer, beating South Korea’s Daewoo, for the two auxiliary oiler and replenishment (AOR) vessels in March.
Australia’s current supply ship, HMAS Success, launched in 1984, will reach its end of life in 2021, and needs to be replaced urgently.
The navy’s other supply ship, HMAS Sirius, is a former commercial oil tanker commissioned in 2006 and does not have the capability for other supplies. Navantia, which build the Royal Australian Navy’s two newest vessels, the landing helicopter dock ships, Canberra and Adelaide, will build two 19,500-tonne dual tanker and supply ships.
The contract stipulates that $130 million of the build will involve local industry for combat and communication systems, and elements of the onboard cranes. And an initial $250 million, five-year sustainment contract, also signed with Navantia, will be undertaken in Australia.

Apr 30, 2016

Lockheed Martin reveals lower than expected F-35 production

Production of F-35 fighter jets came in below expectations during the first quarter. Only six units were produced between January and March.
Output was slowed by several "administrative" factors. These included the process of transitioning between production lots and of getting acceptance for certain software. Lockheed's operational performance also suffered. Although sales were up, earnings dropped to USD794 million, down from USD878 million during the same quarter last year.

Airbus Reports A400M Engine Gearbox Problems Will Cause Delays

Airbus faces a potentially heavy financial hit due to problems on the engine gearbox of the A400M. Aibus is now facing a serious challenge for production and customer deliveries of the A400M due to new, unexpected issues on the engine propeller gearbox. Airbus warned there could be a “significant” cost in repairing the gearbox.
A deep industrial and technical study is underway to find short- and long-term solutions, the company said. Negotiations with clients are continuing on a revised schedule for installing mission capabilities and delivery of the aircraft.
The four turboprop engines on the A400M are built by a European consortium comprising ITP of Spain, MTU of Germany, Rolls-Royce and Safran. Avio Aero, an Italian subsidiary of General Electric, builds the gearbox.

Apr 23, 2016

F-35B May Be In Spanish Navy's Future

The Spanish Navy has a midterm problem to tackle or maybe it would be more accurate to say it has a dilemma the country’s next defense minister must solve: Should the force continue with fixed-wing combat aviation and, if yes, is the F-35B the solution?
According to Admiral Chief of Naval Staff Jaime Muñoz-Delgado, "Our fleet of Harrier aircraft has a useful life until the period between 2025 and 2027. And there is only one short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) option on the market: Lockheed Martin's F-35B. This is the reality."
The Spanish naval chief registered the concern Tuesday during a meeting with reporters. The problem with this solution is a limited defense budget.
Nowadays the "Armada Española" has a fleet of 12 AV-8B Harrier II Plus attack planes that formed the core of the 9th Aircraft Squadron more than 30 years ago.
The Spanish Navy Harriers can carry out missions ashore or from the landing helicopter dock Juan Carlos I.
In November 2014, the Ministry of Defense extended the agreement to support the Harrier program after approving an investment of €47.6 million (US $54.1 million) between 2014 and 2024.
"There isn't an official plan or proposal to pursue the acquisition of F-35Bs but the problem will be there in 10 years," Muñoz-Delgado stressed.
He mentioned the possibility of a joint strategy with the Spanish Air Force, which in the 2020s will need to start thinking about replacing its F-18s.
The US Marine Corps' F-35B reached initial operational capability last July 31. The variant is also being delivered to the UK, and the Italian Air Force will also operate it.
Esteban Villarejo defensenews

USAF basing revised bomber count on 'minimum' of 100 B-21s

US Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) expects to complete an analysis of its bomber force numbers by the end of this calendar year, but already says that number will be based around a “minimum” operational requirement for 100 Northrop Grumman B-21s.
The major command’s chief Gen Robin Rand said at the Air Warfare Symposium in February that America’s needs somewhere between “175 and 200” combined strategic and conventional bombers.
The command counts 159 bombers in its inventory today including the B-1B, B-52H and B-2A.
“AFGSC continues to analyse the required future bomber force structure which includes successfully fielding a minimum of 100 B-21s,” an AFGSC spokeswoman says in an email. “AFGSC is very focused on ensuring we are ready with properly trained operators and maintainers for the B-21. The minimum of 100 B-21s that we intend to field will fly with a mix of legacy bombers and the total number of bombers required is still being evaluated.”
The air force has moved forward with its $80 billion bomber acquisition after teammates Boeing and Lockheed Martin unsuccessfully challenged the selection of Northrop.
The secretive B-21 aircraft, powered by an undisclosed Pratt & Whitney engine, will enter service sometime in the mid-2020s. It will replace the B-1 and B-52, and eventually the Northrop B-2.

B-52 Bombers Carry Out First Airstrikes Against ISIS in Iraq

The U.S. Air Force's B-52 Stratofortresses on their first combat deployment to the Mideast since the 1991 Gulf war have conducted their initial airstrikes against ISIS, military officials said Wednesday.
"On Monday, this iconic platform conducted its first mission against an [ISIS] weapons storage facility in Qayyarah" in northwestern Iraq south of Mosul, said Army Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman in Baghdad for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.
Earlier this month, the B-52s, flying out of the al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar, replaced B-1 Lancer bombers in the Air Force inventory for precision-guided bomb attacks against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and for close-air support missions for local forces. The B-1s returned to the U.S. for maintenance and upgrades.
The Eisenhower-era B-52s last conducted airstrikes in the Mideast from a base in Saudi Arabia against Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s. The aircraft also flew operational missions against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Japan's X-2 fifth-generation demonstrator makes maiden flight

The MHI X-2, formerly ATD-X, 'Shinshin' (Spirit) fifth-generation fighter technology demonstrator made its maiden flight on 22 April.
The milestone, which took place a day later than scheduled because of poor weather, saw the experimental aircraft depart from Nagoya Airport before conducting a series of flight characteristics trials. It landed at the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's (JASDF's) Gifu Air Base, some 50 km to the north.
MHI has been developing the aircraft's airframe since 2009.

India Air Force Jets Arrive In Alaska To Red Flag 'Aggressors'

Red Flag ALASKA 16-1 that begins April 28. The Indian Air Force's contingent (4 x Su-30MKI, 4 x Jaguar Darin II, 2 x Il-78M & 2 C-17 Globemaster III) arrived on April 16 amd have been on routine practice runs at the base with USAF jets.
The joint exercise will involve simulated interdiction, attack, air superiority, defence suppression, airlift, air refueling and reconnaissance aircraft -- all profiles the IAF has proven to be formidable at in past Red Flags/Cope India/Thunder exercises.

Apr 17, 2016

French Navy Atlantique shows new designation ability over Iraq

A French Navy Dassault Atlantique 2 (ATL2) maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) has conducted a target designation mission for the first time in Iraq.
Flying from Jordan the ATL2 with a forward air controller (FAC) on board the aircraft conducted 'buddy lasing' for a fighter aircraft striking an insurgent target in Iraq.
The aircraft is one of three French Navy Atlantiques equipped with an L-3 Wescam MX-20 digital electro-optical/infrared turret as part of an upgrade begun in 2013 to enable the aircraft to designate GBU-12 and GBU-51 Paveway 500 lb guided bombs.

Russian Air Force Modernised Bombers TU-95M TU-160 M1 To Debut on Victory Day Parade

The Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) is to showcase its modernised strategic bombers at the Victory Day flypast over Moscow for the first time on 9 May.
Rehearsals on 13 April saw a Tupolev Tu-160M1 'Blackjack' bomber and three Tu-95MS 'Bear' bombers with external weapons pylons for the carriage of Kh-101/102 cruise missiles practising their overflights of the capital city ahead of the annual event

Apr 12, 2016

Mexico orders more Black Hawk helos

Sikorsky has been awarded a USD54.9 million contract to build seven "uniquely configured" UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters for Mexico, the US Department of Defense (DoD) announced on 12 April.
The contract is due to be completed on 28 February 2019.
The UH-60M is already in service with the Mexican Air Force, navy, and Federal Police, although this latest contract notification does not disclose an end user.
The UH-60M is the newest Black Hawk variant in service, and incorporates more powerful and reliable General Electric T700-GE-701D engines, enhanced rotor blades, and a fully digital 'glass' cockpit.

USAF F-22 Raptors are back in Europe

F-22 stealth jets are back in Europe for more exercises with NATO and partner allies, U.S. European Command announced Monday.
The Raptors deployed to RAF Lakenheath, England, from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and will continue training in Europe until May, EUCOM said. The exact number of fighter jets and airmen was not disclosed.
The multirole fighter aircraft will forward deploy from the United Kingdom to NATO bases to "maximize training opportunities, affirm enduring commitments to NATO allies, and deter any actions that destabilize regional security."
In August, the Air Force deployed four F-22s to Europe for the first time ever as part of the European Reassurance Initiative — a Pentagon effort designed to allay European partners' fears about Russian aggression in the region.

Mar 27, 2016

Indian Navy prepares to retire its Sea Harriers

The Indian Navy (IN) has retired its fleet of Sea Harriers. A flight of six single-seat Sea Harrier FRS Mk 51s was officially 'disembarked' from INS Viraat , the IN's 57-year-old, 23,900-tonne Centaur-class aircraft carrier, on 6 March, prior to the Sea Harriers being officially retired from service on 22 March.
The most recent figures available put the IN's Sea Harrier strength at 10 or 11, with two of these two-seat.
IN officials told IHS Jane's that keeping the Sea Harriers operational for an air-defence role and/or training purposes would have been "logistically problematic and hugely expensive".
"Even readying ... six Harriers to participate in the IN's International fleet Review [IFR] in February in Visakhapatnam by cannibalising five other platforms was a major feat," said a senior naval officer. He added that keeping them functioning for longer would be impossible.
The surviving aircraft will probably be mothballed at INS Hansa, the navy's shore-based facility at Dabolim in Goa, before being dispatched to various naval stations around the country to serve as exhibits.
The IN originally acquired a total of 30 Harriers as the air arm of Viraat (ex-HMS Hermes ). But over the years 15 of them crashed, killing eight pilots. The last Harrier fatality occurred in August 2009 in the Arabian Sea off the Goa coast.
In 2008-09 India's state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) partially upgraded the Harriers by replacing their Sea Fox radars with Israeli ELTA EL/M-2032 multimode fire control radars and arming them with Rafael Derby beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles.

Plagued by problems, F-35 nowhere near ready to fly

The F-35 is the Pentagon’s great stealth hope for the future of air combat. With the most recent software failures, however, US officials are voicing concerns about the program, which is estimated to cost $1 trillion over its lifetime.
The fighter jet “remains immature and provides limited combat capability,” Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, adding that the F-35 has “many unresolved significant deficiencies.”
Gilmore reported that the F-35’s latest operating system has 931 open documented deficiencies, 158 of which are Category 1 – classified as those that could cause death, severe injury, or severe illness. He called the current testing and deployment schedule “unrealistic” and estimated that the software won’t be ready before late 2018.
Of particular concern is the fighter’s onboard computer, known as the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS). When the latest version of the software was delivered for testing last month, “it was so unstable that productive flight testing could not be accomplished,” Gilmore testified.
Three out of five F-35s currently considered operational have been grounded due to software problems. There are mechanical problems too – notably, the ejector seat that may kill pilots weighing less than 136 pounds (62 kg) and has “serious problems” with those weighing over 165 pounds (75 kg). For pilots weighing anywhere in between, about a quarter of all aviators, the evaluators estimated a 23 percent probability of death during ejection, and a 100-percent probability of neck injury.
Air Force Lieutenant-General Christopher Bogdan, the leading officer on the F-35 program, defended the troubled jet, arguing that developmental testing was “progressing steadily.” He gave the odds of pilots suffering a neck injury at 1 in 200,000.

BAE progresses pre-delivery trials of Saudi Hawks

Pre-delivery trials of the first of 44 BAE Systems Hawk Mk 165 Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) aircraft for Saudi Arabia are progressing ahead of the start of deliveries in the coming weeks, as shown by an image of aircraft 2101 flying in national livery.
A photograph taken at BAE Systems' Warton facility in the north of England on 23 March shows the aircraft (serial ZB101 while in the UK) performing the final phases of flights trials in the standard colours and markings of the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF), having previously only been seen in factory primer. The second aircraft, 2102 (ZB102), also flew.
The aircraft is the first of an initial batch of 22 Hawk AJTs that the RSAF ordered in 2012 to replace the Hawk Mk 65 and Mk 65A platforms currently in service. An order for a further 22 aircraft was first reported in February after it appeared in BAE Systems' preliminary annual report for 2015.
The Hawk AJTs are being acquired because their 'glass' cockpits more closely resemble those of the Eurofighter Typhoon and Boeing F-15SA Eagles onto which the RSAF's student pilots will transition. Its acquisition is part of a wider revamp of the service's pilot training capabilities, which includes 55 new Pilatus PC-21s and 25 Cirrus SR22 primary training aircraft.