Nov 30, 2013

Venta de los Mirage F1 del Ejército del Aire a Argentina

(Vía facebook/Aeroarg, Aviación Argentina de todos los tiempos. Ricardo Burzaco)

Es muy probable que próximamente el Ministro de Defensa [de Argentina] deba definir si adquirir la oferta española de 18 Mirage F-1 (...) o la proveniente de Israel por 18 Kfir (...). El apuro de Ministro es que no quiere perder los aviones por falta de ejecución presupuestaria, además obviamente, del rédito político de requipar a la Fuerza Aérea. Consultadas altas fuentes de la misma FAA me indicaron:
Los F-1 tienen poca vida remanente (aproximadamente 10 años) pero llegarían de inmediato, con un importante arsenal armas de distinto tipo y tienen un precio inferior.
Los Kfir llegarán repasados nuevo con una vida útil de 20 años, se entregarían a los 15 meses de adquiridos, tienen una computadora de sistemas muy superior al F-1 pero su precio es el doble del F-1.
La Fuerza Aérea prefiere el Kfir y si bien el Ministro Rossi considerará seriamente la opinión especializada de la misma, habrá que ver otros aspectos políticos que puedan influir en la selección final. Por lo pronto, una delegación oficial española llegará a Buenos Aires el 3 de diciembre para intentar definir el acuerdo.

Nov 29, 2013

Il-76s for the SAAF?

A SA National Defence Force team is burning the midnight oil on an urgent study to ensure extra airlift capacity for the SA Air Force (SAAF) becomes a reality.
Ilyushin 76s (Il-76s) are top of the list to supplement the ageing C-130BZs operated by 28 Squadron.
The acquisition of at least three of the Russian transport aircraft, probably second hand, is seen as essential to providing support for South African peacekeeping and peace support deployments on the continent.
Lockheed Martin, manufacturers of the C-130, has made presentations to the SAAF as regards replacing the BZ, which has been in service for 50 years, with the new C-130J. The gap in airlift capacity became more pronounced when government bailed out of the Airbus Military A400M programme in 2009 citing cost escalations and production delays as the reasons for South Africa no longer wanting to be a risk sharing partner in the new generation airlifter.
The SAAF has never before operated Russian aircraft and, if Il-76s were acquired, it would mean an overhaul of the logistic system to keep them operational. There are also currently no SAAF pilots rated on the Il-76.
The SANDF has used chartered Il-76s to transport equipment to places like the Democratic Republic of Congo for peacekeeping missions, as it is difficult to fit aircraft like Oryx helicopters into the SAAF's C-130s without major dismantling.

China Patrols Air Zone Over Disputed Islands

China sent fighter jets on the first patrols of its new air defense zone over disputed islands in the East China Sea on Thursday, the state news agency, Xinhua, said.
The patrols followed announcements by Japan and South Korea that their military planes had flown through the zone unhindered by China.
The tit-for-tat flights between China on one side and South Korea and Japan on the other heightened the tensions over the East China Sea where China and Japan are at loggerheads over islands they both claim.
The airspace in the new zone announced by China last week overlaps a similar zone declared by Japan more than 40 years ago. Both zones are over the islands known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.
China has said that noncommercial aircraft entering the zone without prior notification would face “defensive emergency measures.”
China would take “relevant measures according to different air threats” to defend the country’s airspace, Xinhua reported.
In a direct challenge to earlier threats by China that it could take military action against foreign aircraft entering the zone, the United States sent two unarmed B-52 bombers to fly through the airspace for more than two hours overnight Monday. The Chinese military said it had monitored the flight path of the American planes, and China appeared to backpedal from its initial threats of action.
In an unusually strong editorial in English, Global Times, a newspaper that often strikes a nationalist tone, said in Friday’s editions: “Maybe an imminent conflict will be waged between China and Japan. Our ultimate goal is to beat its willpower and ambition to institute strategic confrontation against China.”
The paper said that the United States was not the target of the new zone.
Responding to the situation, the State Department said, “We have urged the Chinese to exercise caution and restraint, and we are consulting with Japan and other affected parties throughout the region.”
Analysts have said that China’s declaration of the new zone is meant to whittle away at Japan’s hold on the islands.
The South Korean government announced that it, too, had flown aircraft through the zone without alerting Beijing. Chinese officials said they had monitored the flight by what the South Koreans described as a surveillance aircraft. Like Japan, South Korea claims sovereignty over some territory in seas beneath the airspace, but Seoul enjoys warmer ties with Beijing than does Tokyo.

Swedish fighter jets to join Nato response force

The Swedish fighter squadron, ship, and roughly 120 service personnel will join the Nato force in 2014. By 2015, Sweden will contribute an additional eight Gripen fighters and an amphibious unit.
Last month, Nato agreed to let Sweden to join the Steadfast Jazz training exercise, allowing Swedish soldiers to train with the NRF, a multinational force of up to 25,000 troops that can act as a stand-alone force available for rapid deployment. The Swedish contribution could eventually participate in Nato missions.
The initial contribution of eight planes and the minesweeper will be a part of the NRF's reserve forces.
Parts of the NRF have been deployed in the past to help with security surrounding the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece in 2004 and during presidential elections in Afghanistan that same year. Finland has been a part of the NRF reserve force since 2008. Sweden declined to join at the time as there was insufficient support in parliament for Swedish participation in the Nato force.

China's aircraft carrier fleet leaves Taiwan Strait

China's Liaoning aircraft carrier battle group has passed through the Taiwan Strait and is heading for the South China Sea.
China's official Xinhua news agency said earlier in the day that the Liaoning battle group had passed through the Taiwan Strait and entered the South China Sea.
The battle group that includes two destroyers and two frigates in addition to China's only aircraft carrier departed Qindao early Wednesday for a training mission, according to a previous Xinhua report.

South Korea to decide on aerial refueling tankers in 2014

South Korea plans to move forward with the purchase of four aerial refueling tankers in 2014, which can greatly enhance the operational capabilities of its Air Force.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said in a report that it has carefully reviewed the need to procure the tanker aircraft and decided to move forward with the process.
DAPA will officially announce the bidding in January for project that aims to purchase four planes between 2017 and 2019. Boeing's KC-767 and Airbus Military's MRTTA330 are likely contenders.
With midair refueling, South Korean F-15Ks can keep station over places like Ieodo and Dokdo islets for around 80-90 minutes compared with the current 20-30 minutes.
South Korea has signed also a 500 billion won deal with Taurus Systems, a joint German-Spanish firm, to buy long-range, air-to-surface attack missile. The Taurus missile has a 500-kilometer-range and gives the user the ability to strike pin-point targets deep inside hostile territories without putting the attacking fight at risk.

Nov 28, 2013

Eurofighter flies with Storm Shadow missiles

MBDA’s Storm Shadow cruise missile has been flown with a Eurofighter Typhoon for the first time. Two of the roughly 1.3t weapons were carried by the combat aircraft, using hardpoints usually occupied by external fuel tanks.

First A400M flies into retirement

Airbus Military has reduced the size of its "Grizzly" development fleet of A400M tactical transports to three, after retiring its first-flight example and placing another aircraft into storage.
First flown on 11 December 2009, MSN1 was the first of five test aircraft to be flown in support of the eight-nation A400M programme. The aircraft performed its final flight from Toulouse, France on 4 November
The aircraft will be preserved and put on public view, with Airbus's heritage department to decide on its final display location next year.
In addition to Grizzly 1's removal from use, aircraft MSN3 has also now been placed into long-term storage. It is not intended to fly again, but could be returned to flight-test duties if required.
Airbus Military's remaining three development aircraft will be used to support the ongoing introduction of additional capabilities for the A400M. Two of the type have been delivered to the French air force, with Turkey due to receive its first example before year-end. Further customers for the type are Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Spain and the UK, with a total order book for 174 aircraft.

Scorpion light strike aircraft completes pre-flight taxi trial

Textron has released video footage showing taxi testing with its Scorpion demonstrator, days before the type's expected first flight.
The Scorpion's first flight is scheduled to occur on 5 December, from the US Air Force's McConnell AFB site in Wichita.

Israel considers lease model for KC-46A tankers

Israel's defence ministry is evaluating a plan that could allow it to lease Boeing 767-based KC-46A tankers as replacements for the converted Boeing 707s now used by its air force.
The evaluation is the most recent development in an ongoing effort to provide the Israeli air force with a modern in-flight refuelling capability. This has also involved the US government offering to supply three surplus KC-135Es worth around $200 million: a proposal the service responded to by saying it would only consider more capable R-model examples powered by CFM56 engines.
Boeing and the US Air Force in August completed a critical design review for the KC-46A, with a first test example due to make its flight debut in mid-2014. The USAF plans to acquire 179 of the type to replace its oldest KC-135s.

Brand New Image of the famous Iranian F-313 Stealth Fighter Jet emerges

Earlier this year Iran unveiled the Qaher F-313 stealth fighter jet ”one of the most sophisticated fighter jets in the world,” according to Tehran.
No more images of the F-313 have been released since then, until A new photo of iranian stealth fighter F-313 Qaher has emerged on Pakistan Defense forum, an image that allegedly shows the Qaher being moved to be prepared for taxi tests.
David Cenciotti-theaviationist

French Army's NH90 TTH helicopter conducts initial naval trials

The French Army Aviation's (ALAT) NH90 tactical transport helicopter (TTH) has successfully conducted its initial naval trials onboard the second Mistral Class amphibious warfare ship, BPC Tonnerre.
Carried out at an undisclosed location, the trials enabled the helicopter's maximum take-off weight to be uprated to 10.6t, while additional trials, which are planned for March 2014, will lead to the helicopter's clearance for shipboard missions.
The helicopter's initial operational capability (IOC) is planned for mid-2014, when four NH90s will be available for operations.
The French Army has to date taken delivery of three of the total 34 NH90 helicopters, along with an option for an additional 34 aircraft, to help replace the army's ageing SA 330 Puma helicopters fleet.
Also known as Caiman, the next-generation helicopter can also be used to perform casualty and medical evacuation, electronic warfare, special operations and counter-terrorism missions, airborne command post and VIP transportation.
Around 27 NH90 Nato frigate helicopters (NFH) were also ordered by the French Navy to replace its Lynx and Super Frelon helicopters, which perform anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions.
The helicopters have been ordered by other NH90 members, including Australia, Belgium, Greece, Norway, Oman, Sweden, Spain, Finland and Italy.

Poseidon's inaugural deployment starts Friday

The inaugural deployment of the P-8A Poseidon will begin Friday when the War Eagles of Patrol Squadron 16 depart Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., for Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan.
VP-16 returned to Jacksonville from its last P-3C Orion deployment in June 2012 and began the transition into the new airframe the next month. The squadron completed the transition in January and has been preparing for the deployment ever since.
The squadron will deploy with six aircraft and 12 aircrews. However, the crews will be smaller than those flying P-3s, as each only has nine people instead of 11.
The P-8 is the first new maritime patrol aircraft to enter Navy service in over 50 years.

Taiwan's BMD Radar Gives Unique Data on China

Taiwan’s early warning radar (EWR) on the island’s west coast has gained the respect of just about everyone in the region — except China, because it is the most “powerful radar in the world,” said a Taiwan defense industry source.
Sources debate the potential power of the radar, based on Leshan Mountain near the city of Hsinchu, but all agree it is a multifaceted, ultra high frequency (UHF) radar capable of tracking air-breathing targets — including cruise missiles — and ballistic missiles at 3,000 kilometers, depending on the target.
The requirement for such a powerful surveillance platform came about at China’s instigation. During the 1995-96 Taiwan Strait missile crisis, China launched 10 DF-15 short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) into the waters north and south of the island. The intent was to discourage Taiwan from conducting its first democratic elections, but it failed.
The US responded by sending two aircraft carrier groups to the area as a show of support. At the time, China had approximately 350 DF-11/15 SRBMs, but today that number is about 1,100.
Taiwan responded to the threat by procuring Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) ballistic missile defense systems with three fire units. The units were stationed around the capital city of Taipei, leaving much of the central and southern part of the island unprotected, except for an indigenous air defense missile system, the Tien Kung 2 (Sky Bow).
In 2008, the US released 330 PAC-3 missiles, and in 2010, the US released an additional 114 PAC-3 missiles.
In 2000, the US government approved the sale of ballistic missile detection radar under the Surveillance Radar Program (SRP). Raytheon proposed an advanced UHF long-range EWR based on the AN/FPS-115 Pave Paws, and Lockheed offered the Medium Extended Air Defense System.
Raytheon won the contract in 2004 and began construction in 2009..
In late 2012, shortly after going online, the radar managed to track the launch of a North Korean missile. It is 170 kilometers from China’s coastline and directly across from China’s signal intelligence station at Dongjing Shan. This is significant because the radar reportedly has jamming capabilities.
During a war, China will do whatever it takes to destroy that radar.
“It’s not expected to last an hour during a war with China,” said one US defense industry source.
One US defense industry analyst with close ties to Taiwan’s military said the DSP has access to it.
“The US gave Taiwan free access to DSP satellites for the last 10 years. So this is quid pro quo,” he said.

Scotland Unveils Defense Plans If It Splits From U.K.

The Scottish government has outlined plans for the country’s national defense if the country votes to declare independence from the United Kingdom next September.
The Scottish National Party—which is leading the calls for independence—plans and give the British government until 2021 to dismantle the infrastructure in Scotland that supports the U.K.’s nuclear capability, as well as establish its own defenses with air, land and marine forces.
The document states that if Scotland becomes independent, it would inherit a share of the U.K.’s defense assists, which would help it establish a defense force. According to the document, a 2007 U.K. Defense Ministry report estimated that the total value of its assets and investments was £93 billion. The document states that based on population, Scotland’s share of those assets would be around £7.8 billion. The Scottish government believes it could fund the country’s defense and security for £2.5 billion a year, with a focus on maritime capabilities including the rapid re-establishment of an airborne maritime patrol capability.
Scotland’s total forces could reach 15,000 regular and 5,000 reserve personnel over the decade following independence, with the air force using 12 Eurofighter Typhoons, for quick reaction alert, and a tactical air transport squadron using six C-130J Hercules. There also would be a helicopter squadron.
An independent Scotland also would have to establish capabilities to deal with cyberwarfare and counter-terrorism.
Anthony Osborne-aviationweek

Nov 27, 2013

China carrier steams towards disputed South China Sea for drills

China sent its sole aircraft carrier on a training mission into the South China Sea on Tuesday amid maritime disputes with the Philippines and other neighbors and tension over its plan to set up an airspace defense zone in waters disputed with Japan.
The Liaoning,has conducted more than 100 exercises and experiments since it was commissioned last year but this is the first time it has been sent to the South China Sea.
The Liaoning left port from the northern city of Qingdao accompanied by two destroyers and two frigates.
This is the first time since the Liaoning entered service that it has carried out long-term drills on the high seas
The timing of the drills is bound to raise eyebrows with its neighbors, given the overlapping maritime disputes. China has lodged formal protests with the United States and Japan after both criticized its plan to impose new rules on airspace over disputed waters in the East China Sea.
On Tuesday, Australia said it had summoned China's ambassador to express concern over its imposition of the Air Defense Identification Zone.
China also claims almost the entire oil- and gas-rich South China Sea, conflicting with claims from Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Vietnam.
That dispute is one of the region's biggest flashpoints amid China's military build-up and the U.S. strategic "pivot" back to Asia.
Though considered decades behind U.S. technology, the Liaoning represents the Chinese navy's blue-water ambitions and has been the focus of a campaign to stir patriotism.

China Explains Handling of B-52 Flight as Tensions Escalate

Responding to the flight of two unarmed American B-52 bombers through China’s new air defense zone over the East China Sea, the Chinese government said Wednesday it had monitored the planes but had decided not to take action despite the American refusal to identify the aircraft.
At a briefing in Beijing, the Foreign Ministry said the quiet reaction to what was a clear test by the United States of the new zone was “in accordance” with the rules announced by the Chinese Defense Ministry. China’s response to foreign aircraft in the new zone would depend on “how big the threat” was, the spokesman said.
Japan’s main civilian airlines also disregarded the new defense zone Wednesday, flying through the airspace claimed by China without notifying the Beijing authorities.
Tensions in the region have escalated since Beijing published a map of a new “air defense identification zone” on Saturday that overlapped with an air defense zone of its archrival, Japan, increasing the possibility of an encounter between Japanese and Chinese aircraft and heightening the dispute over islands in the East China Sea that both countries claim.
The Chinese declaration brought the United States, a treaty ally of Japan, directly into the dispute when Washington dispatched the B-52 bombers to the area overnight Monday.
The abrupt declaration by China of its air defense zone unnerved Asian countries and was criticized by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan as a “dangerous attempt” to change the status quo in the East China Sea by coercion.
China said it would require foreign aircraft flying through the zone to identify themselves or face possible military interception. The Pentagon said the B-52 bombers, which took off from Guam, were on a long-planned exercise, but Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that Washington had no intention of changing its procedures by notifying China of United States Air Force flights through the zone.
The Chinese Ministry of Defense, which released the coordinates of the new zone, said Wednesday that it had monitored the flight path of the two B-52 bombers and noted that they flew about 125 miles east of the Diaoyu Islands from 11 a.m. to 1:22 p.m. on Tuesday.

INS Vikramaditya Aircraft Carrier Sails Out From Russia to India

India’s Vikramaditya aircraft carrier left northern Russia on Tuesday, embarking on a long voyage to its permanent base half way across the world.
The Vikramaditya, refurbished Russian carrier known as the Admiral Gorshkov, will make a short stop for refueling in the White Sea then proceed to the port of Murmansk, where the warship will stay for several days stocking up on fuel and other supplies before heading to a naval base in Karwar in southwestern India.
The aircraft carrier, which was handed over to the Indian navy on November 16, will be accompanied by an Indian tanker and a frigate on the voyage, which is expected to take about two months.
The Vikramaditya carrier, which is now five years past its original 2008 delivery date, was supposed to have been handed over to India in December 2012, but last year’s sea trials revealed that the vessel’s boilers were not fully functional.
Mikoyan MiG-29K
The Indian Navy has already taken delivery of some of the carrier's MiG-29K naval fighter aircraft, which were completed before their parent ship was ready for sea.

U.S. sends B-52s over China-claimed waters

An American carrier battle group and a flotilla of Japanese warships will arrive Wednesday near a vast stretch of ocean claimed by China in what is shaping up as a test of how Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the USA will stand up to the challenge.
The joint U.S.-Japan exercises in the sea are a direct challenge to China's claim. On Tuesday, the U.S. military said two Air Force B-52 bombers flew over the sea without notifying Beijing despite China's demand that it be told if anyone plans to fly military aircraft over its self-claimed "air defense zone."
The aircraft took off from Guam on Monday, part of a regular exercise.
China has been laying claim to nearly 1 million square miles of ocean known as the East China Sea, insisting that the sea's energy resources and fisheries belong to China. Much of the ocean territory it claims is hundreds of miles from its shore, including waters off the coasts of Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
On Saturday China went further than ever, announcing it had designated much of the sea as an air defense zone it controls. The zone includes the Japan-held Senkaku Islands, a string of uninhabited islets that China calls the Diaoyus.
The challenge represents a test for Abe, a conservative party prime minister elected in 2012 who has vowed to shift Japan's deferential military posture to a more muscular stance that recognizes its right to defend itself.
On Tuesday, Abe directly confronted China, stating he would not recognize the Chinese air zone over the East China Sea or any of its claims to the Senkakus.
For the United States' part, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the Chinese action represents a "destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo" and "will not in any way change how the United States conducts military operations in the region."
To that end, the U.S. Navy arrived in force Tuesday off the coast of Japan for a complex exercise in which Japanese naval ships and U.S. fighter jets, warships and submarines will practice scenarios for a possible attack on Japan.
China issued a protest with Japan and the U.S. government over the exercises and opposition to China's self-claimed right to an air defense zone over the sea.
Earlier this year, Japan scrambled fighter jets when Chinese planes flew near the Senkaku islands, a rich fishing ground annexed by Japan in 1895 and purchased by the legislature in 2012. Chinese interceptor aircraft conducted the first flights into the zone after it went into force at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Nov 26, 2013

Israel's Blue Flag exercise takes off

The Israeli-hosted "Blue Flag" multinational exercise has got under way, involving 50 fighter aircraft from seven of the host nation's squadrons, and Greece, Italy and the USA.
Different missions are being flown over a vast area of southern Israel, which has been closed to all other air traffic, with observers from 20 countries also taking part.
Israeli air force takes part with its Boeing F-15s and Lockheed Martin F-16s, along with Italian AMX and Panavia Tornado IDS strike aircraft and US Air Force F-15Es.

Poland reveals bid values for AJT acquisition

Alenia Aermacchi, BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin UK have submitted offers for the Polish air force's advanced jet trainer (AJT) requirement, but only one of the rivals has come in below Warsaw's revised price estimate for a purchase.
The Polish defence ministry's inspectorate of armament on 20 November opened bids submitted by the three companies, respectively for the M-346, Hawk and T-50.
An earlier programme estimate of zlotych (Zl) 1.5 billion ($484 million) had been set, but defence ministry representatives now say that a sum of only Zl1.2 billion has been allocated for the purchase of an AJT system.
According to the defence ministry, the prices of the individual offers submitted are almost Zl1.17 billion from Alenia Aermacchi (M-346 pictured), just over Zl1.75 billion from BAE Systems and slightly more than Zl1.8 billion from Lockheed Martin UK.
With pricing offers now in, the last step in the acquisition process will be for the air force to assess whether they meet the criteria stated in its tender documentation. Evaluation elements include price, life cycle cost and so called “bonus parameters”. Warsaw – which has previously outlined a requirement for eight new aircraft, plus related ground-based training systems – plans to sign an agreement with the winning contender in the first quarter of 2014.

Pentagon clears BAE to create upgrade for Korean F-16s

The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress about phase one of an upgrade for 134 South Korean Lockheed Martin F-16 C/D Block 52 aircraft, with the work to be conducted by BAE Systems.
In 2012, BAE defeated Lockheed Martin in a competitive bidding process to upgrade the avionics for South Korea’s F-16 fleet. A separate radar competition saw Raytheon's Advanced Combat Radar (RACR) defeat Northrop Grumman’s Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR). As part of its upgrade programme, BAE will integrate RACR into the aircraft.
Phase two of the upgrade will see BAE's upgrade programme implemented across the South Korean F-16 fleet.
BAE expects Seoul to sign the letter of agreement for both the avionics and radar upgrades by the end of 2013.
This will set the stage for BAE to upgrade two F-16s – one single-seat C-model aircraft and one two-seat D-model. After extensive testing, BAE will then develop upgrade kits that will be shipped to South Korea. It is deciding between Samsung Techwin or Korea Aerospace Industries for the performance of the in-country upgrade work.
The upgrades of operational aircraft could begin in 2017, with four to six aircraft receiving the modifications each month.

Northrop Grumman Delivers Additional MQ-8C Fire Scout to the U.S. Navy

Northrop Grumman Corporation has delivered the second MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter to the U.S. Navy after completing final assembly.
The aircraft is joining the first one delivered to Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, Calif., to conduct flight testing before using the system for operational missions in 2014.
The MQ-8C Fire Scout is the Navy's newest unmanned helicopter that can fly twice as long and carry three times more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance payloads than the existing variant.
Including the two test aircraft, 14 new Fire Scouts are currently under contract to be built. The Navy's current plan is to purchase 30 MQ-8C Fire Scouts.

Russian Eastern Military District to Receive 40 Helicopters by 2014

Over 40 new Mi-8AMTSh and Ka-52 helicopters will be delivered to air bases in the Russia's Eastern Military District by the end of this year.
The new helicopters are expected to replace the existing fleet of aging Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters and significantly boost combat capabilities of army aviation in Russia’s Far East.
The Eastern Military District is one of the four operational strategic commands of the Russian Armed Forces.
The Mi-8AMTSh ‘Terminator’ is an upgraded, armored version of the famed Mi-8 combat transport helicopter. It can be armed with a mix of Igla (Grouse) air-to-air missiles, Shturm-V (Spiral) air-to-surface missiles, 23-mm gun pods, and rocket pods equipped with 80-mm unguided rockets.

UK Shows Interest in Buying Another C-17

Britain has added its name to the list of countries vying to get their hands on the last of the Boeing C-17 Globemaster IIIs being produced.
The UK has acquired the first eight in a piecemeal fashion since the first four aircraft became operational in 2001 under a lease arrangement.
The upcoming closure of the C-17 assembly line has forced the UK’s hand on deciding whether to buy, as a number of nations are scrambling to purchase machines as white tails and not yet assigned to customers.
Until now, most of the nations with extra C-17s on their shopping list were reckoned to be in the Arabian Gulf region.
A purchase by the British would bring the Royal Air Force close to the 10 C-17s it originally said it needed for its airlift requirements.
The cash for the British purchase could come from defense budget underspend. At least one previous C-17 purchase has been funded that way.
The addition of a C-17 would boost Air Force airlift assets following the withdrawal from service last month of its C-130K special forces fleet, meaning some of the remaining C-130J aircraft will have to step in to bridge the capability gap. The UK will receive the first of 22 Airbus A400M airlifters next year.
The C-17 fleet has been stretched by the air bridge demands of Afghanistan and elsewhere. This year, two aircraft were diverted from Britain’s withdrawal effort in Afghanistan to provide assistance to French forces deploying to Mali; last week one of the aircraft was in the Philippines delivering aid to victims of the typhoon.
Boeing officials in September said that C-17 production would end in 2015. US Air Force production finished this year.
The remaining aircraft are all for international customers. The company is building 13 of the 22 remaining planes on its own dime in anticipation of orders coming through.
Boeing officials would not say which countries want the aircraft. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are all said to be interested.
Since Boeing announced it would close the line, existing customers have expressed interest in additional aircraft.

Russian Navy Gets New MiG-29K/KUB Carrier-Based Fighters

The Russian navy has taken delivery of its first four series-produced MiG-29K/KUB carrier based fighter jets.
The Russian Defense Ministry signed a contract with MiG in February 2012 for delivery of 20 MiG-29K and four MiG-29KUB fighters by 2015.
The aircraft will be deployed on Russia's sole serving carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, based in Murmansk with the Northern Fleet.
The Admiral Kuznetsov currently operates Sukhoi Su-33 naval fighter aircraft.
The MiG-29K is a naval variant of the MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jet, and has folding wings, an arrester tail-hook, strengthened airframe and multirole capability thanks to its Zhuk-ME slotted array radar.
Unlike the Su-33, which is capable of air defense missions only, the MiG-29K can be armed with a wide variety of air-to-surface as well as air-to-air weaponry and laser-designation systems.
The aircraft is also capable of “buddy” refueling other MiG-29Ks.
So far, the aircraft has only entered service with India, for use on the refitted Russian-built carrier INS Vikramaditya, which was handed over to the Indian Navy on November 15.

12 China-Made Helicopters Delivered to Cambodia

Twelve Chinese-built Zhi-9 (Z-9) utility helicopters, which Cambodia had purchased from China, were delivered to the Royal Cambodian Air Force on Monday.
The helicopters will be used to serve training in order to strengthen capacity for the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces in defending territorial integrity and in cracking down on offenses in remote areas, and they will also be used for humanitarian activities such as disasters.

Nov 25, 2013

Peru Orders 2 Alenia Aermacchi C-27Js

Peru has ordered two C-27J tactical transport aircraft from Alenia Aermacchi.
The aircraft has been selected by the Peruvian Air Force after a three-year Peruvian Ministry of Defense selection procedure.
During tests, the aircraft undertook troop and civilian transport, materials and medicine transport, medevac operations, airdrops, search and rescue, humanitarian, homeland security and civil protection missions.
The C-27J has already been ordered by Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, Morocco, Mexico, the US, Australia and by an undisclosed African country for a total of 74 aircraft. The aircraft has also been selected by Slovakia and the contract is under negotiation.

Taiwan to receive two US-made frigates in 2015

The R.O.C. military is scheduled to receive its first batch of two Perry-class frigates from the United States in 2015 to replace its existing fleet of aging frigates.
The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Wednesday approved legislation paving the way for the U.S. to sell four Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates to Taiwan.
R.O.C Armed Forces could receive the first two ships of the four-vessel order in 2015.
The R.O.C. Navy currently operates eight U.S.-made Knox-class frigates that were built in the 1960s, and later transferred to Taiwan in the 1990s.
The Taiwan military is also considering the option of building its own warships.
Taiwan will design and build one salvage ship prototype and another amphibious warfare ship sometime between 2015 and 2018.
The Amendments Act passed Wednesday in Washington would authorize the sale of four frigates to Taiwan, namely the USS Taylor (FFG-50), USS Gary (FFG-51), USS Carr (FFG-52) and USS Elrod (FFG-55).
The four warships were commissioned between 1984 and 1985 and, except for the USS Gary, which was decommissioned in March, are all in active service.

US Navy Completes Initial Development of New Carrier Landing System

The U.S. Navy has completed the initial development of the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS).
The system is designed to aid pilots landing in inclement weather conditions and will eventually replace the current Instrument Carrier Landing System (ICLS).
The Navy had tested the JPALS onboard the USS George Bush (CVN-77) earlier in July to verify the system’s capability to support manual landings. The latest testing onboard the Roosevelt was to demonstrate the system’s ability to support automatic “hands-off” landings on board a carrier.
While the initial development is now complete, the Navy still has work to do to finish all seven increments of the JPALS capability. The system will also eventually support flight operations onboard amphibious assault ships and U.S. Air Force airfields.
NAVAIR’s immediate focus however will be to continue developmental work for supporting the F-35C and unmanned aircraft onboard a carrier. JPALS is particularly important for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program.
While the Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) uses a similar prototype ship-relative GPS-based landing system technology, it is not the same system as an operationally deployable JPALS..
The Navy will be the first service to field the new landing system on the F-35C.
Eventually, the USAF and the USMC will also use the JPALS for their operations.

El Príncipe suspende su viaje a Brasil por una avería en el A-310 que tenía que desplazarlo

El Príncipe de Asturias ha suspendido su viaje de dos días a Sao Paulo por una avería en uno de los flaps o alerones del avión, que ha obligado a renunciar al despegue.
La aeronave, un Airbus A-310 de la Fuerza Aérea Española, estaba preparada para partir de la base aérea de Torrejón en torno a la una de la madrugada, pero, siete horas más tarde, los técnicos no habían logrado completar con éxito la reparación.
El origen de la avería era un sensor que, al provocar un cortocircuito, impedía el normal funcionamiento de uno de los flaps del ala izquierda, por lo que los técnicos intentaron resolver el problema con la sustitución de esa pieza por otra extraída de un avión del mismo modelo sometido a revisión en las instalaciones de Airbus en la localidad madrileña de Getafe.
El otro Airbus A-310 pertenece también a la Fuerza Aérea y ambas aeronaves están dedicadas a los desplazamientos de miembros del Gobierno y de la Familia Real.
Fuentes de la Casa del Rey han explicado que, pese a haberse sustituido la pieza averiada, la reparación exige "una calibración absolutamente exacta" que requiere un tiempo de ajuste del que ahora no se dispone, por lo que el piloto ha decidido suspender el vuelo.
Durante las labores de reparación, el Príncipe y la tripulación han permanecido en el interior del avión, mientras que los integrantes de la delegación y los periodistas que acompañaban a don Felipe han aguardado el resultado de los trabajos en las salas de espera de las instalaciones de la base.
El vuelo tenía una duración prevista de casi once horas.

Italian Navy Receives First NH90 NFH in Full Operational Capability

The Italian Navy has taken delivery of its first NH90 NFH helicopter in Full Operational Capability configuration. The helicopter will be assigned to the 5th Helicopter Squadron of the Italian Navy.
The Italian Navy has ordered 56 NH90s, 46 of which in the NFH variant.
The five previously delivered Step A (MOC, Meaningful Operation Capability) helicopters will begin to be retrofitted to bring them to the final configuration.

Boeing Delivers 3rd P-8I to India

The third Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft for the Indian Navy arrived today in India, on schedule.
The aircraft departed Boeing Field in Seattle for Naval Station Rajali, where it joined two P-8Is currently undergoing flight trials and testing. The first P-8I arrived in India in May.
The P-8I is one of eight aircraft Boeing is building for the Indian Navy as part of a contract awarded in 2009. Based on the company’s Next-Generation 737 commercial airplane, the P-8I is the Indian Navy variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing has developed for the U.S. Navy. The P-8I incorporates not only India-unique design features, but also India-built subsystems that are tailored to the country’s maritime patrol requirements.

Indian Carrier INS Vikrant to be commissioned by 2017

India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, formally launched in August this year, will be commissioned by 2017.

French To upgrade Rafale to F3-R Standard

A research and development deal is due soon as part of an announced upgrade of the Rafale fighter to F3-R standard, including a new-generation laser targeting pod.
The DGA signed with Thales at the end of December a contract for derisking work on a new-generation laser targeting pod. The electronics company supplies the Damocles infrared pod that fits on the Rafale and Mirage 2000D.
The government plans a major R&D effort for programs set out in the 2014-19 multiyear budget law.
Those other programs include the Scorpion project for modernizing Army kit, an underwater drone to replace the Navy’s minehunter ships, Musis spy satellite to replace the Helios 2 system, and cooperation on the Italian Cosmo-Skymed and German SAR Lupe satellite programs.

X-47B completes round of carrier tests

The U.S. Navy has finished another round of carrier tests for the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator. The UAV demonstrated deck handling, carrier landings in high winds, and control systems.
The tests, which took place Nov. 9-19, also marked first time two X-47Bs operated at sea at the same time. While one UAV operated around the carrier Theodore Roosevelt, another conducted flights between ship and shore.
The Navy will continue testing of the X-47B through fiscal 2014.

Ex-RAAF Hercules aircraft handover to Indonesia deferred

The Indonesian decision to suspend military exercises with Australia has triggered the postponement of a handover ceremony in which Australia was to gift Jakarta with four C-130 Hercules aircraft.
The handover was to be held on Tuesday at the RAAF base in Williamtown, NSW.

Russia to Deliver SU-30K Fighter Jets to Angola

Russia’s state arms export monopoly said Friday that it will deliver 12 Su-30K fighter jets to a nation in southern Africa.
Earlier this year, it was widely reported in Russian media that Moscow had agreed to supply 18 of the jets to Angola.
The Su-30K fighters in question are a batch of aircraft initially supplied to India in the late 1990s, prior to Delhi receiving the more advanced multirole Su-30MKI variant. They were returned to Russia in 2007 and have since lain idle in a Belarusian repair plant.

Nov 24, 2013


Se piensa desde tiempos immemoriales que Gibraltar no dispone ni le hace falta un ejército, ya que le basta y sobra con reclamar la presencia de la Royal Navy cuando es necesario. A primera vista, los gibralterños, " los llanitos", parecen dedicarse a sus negocios, algunos de ellos muy criticados por España, delegando en tercerossu defensa y asuntos exteriores. Era o debería ser una de las ventajas de ser británico. Sin embargo, Gibraltar dispone de unas fuerzas armadas, que además realiza maniobras con tropas marroquíes.

Gibraltar dispone de un regimiento formado mayoritariamente por gibraltareños, cuya misión principal es la defensa de la Roca, lo que no impide que tenga algunos de sus efectivos desplegados en Afganistán o que participe en la instrucción de tropas africanas: hace algunas semanas entrenó a tropas de Gambia para una eventual intervencón en Mali, algo que finalmente no ocurrió.

Otro hecho que desmiente el estereótipo, es que el grueso del Regimiento se encuentra dem maniobras en lugares desérticos limítrofes com o el Sáhara, a no muchos kilômetros de Marrakech, Marruecos. Allí se entrenan en tácticas de combate y prueban nuevo armamento, conjuntamente con tropas marroquíes.

"Nos permite formarmos en terrenos áridos y con temperaturas extremas, y al mismo tiempo es un motivo para estrechar relaciones diplomáticas com o Marruecos", según su jefe, el Teniente Coronel Ivor Lopez. En las operaciones participan soldados llanitos con paracaidistas marroquíes con apoyo de helicópteros.

Para ciertos patriotas españoles, la peor de las pesadillas es ver maniobras conjuntas entre Marruecos y los llanitos. Pues ahí está: Se realizan anualmente desde el año 2000. La foto de Fabian Picardo, el ministro principal, inspeccionando las tropas o practicando con un fusil de franco-tirador causó mas de una irritación al otro lado de la valla, en España.

Por lo tanto, toda suposición de que el Regimiento de Gibraltar es uno de esos ejércitos de adorno, entrenados para desfiles en actos protocolarios, propios de territorios pequeños con estatutos privilegiados, con uniformes para papel cuché, no es cierta. Y no son los territórios del Sáhara los únicos escenarios donde se ejercita.

Tropas de Gibraltar intervinieron en la guerra do Iraq, en los Balcanes, Irlanda do Norte y en Sierra Leona, intervinieron durante mas de un año en Afeganistán. Colaboraron en la instrucción de tropas de Nigéria y Gambia. Forman parte del ejército británico, pero su función principal es la defensa de Gibraltar, sobre la cual tiene competencias exclusivas desde 1990, cuando se retiraron las unidades exteriores de la Roca.

Tal vez la milícia sea una parte del sentimiento británico de los gibraltareños. Aceptar su propia defensa no es una conquista que los aproxima a la independencia, o un gesto de autodeterminación. En Gibraltar se entiende como un acto de integración: recibir el título "Real" (desde 1999 se denomina Regimento Real de Gibraltar) o hacer la guardia en el Palacio de Buckingham, en Saint James o en la Torre de Londres (en abril y mayo de 2012) están entre las actuaciones militares que mas orgullo causan entre la población de Gibraltar.

Porque el pasado militar de los llanitos es casi tan antiguo como su prorio pasado (Se celebran 300 años del Tratado de Utrecht), desde que los primeros voluntarios se presentaron para defender la Roca del asedio de España y Francia en 1755 y crearan un cuerpo local conocido como "Guardia Genovesa".

Hasta una centena de llanitos, participaron en las campañas británicas en Egipto y Sudán, encargados del transporte por lo que fueron conocidos como los Carreteros del Rey. Aquellos carreteros compraban los burros en Málaga, hecho que motivó una queja del gobernador civil de la ciudad por el mal estado en que estaban dejando la carretera, con tanto transporte de animales. De aquella campaña (1884-86) proceden las primeras condecoraciones recibidas por gibraltareños.

Fue con motivo de la Primera Guerra Mundial cuando se formó el Primer Cuerpo de Voluntarios de Gibraltar, que se ofreció al Reino Unido para combatir en la defensa de la Roca. Con la Segunda Guerra Mundial la Fuerza de Defensa de Gibraltar (GDF), fue destinada a la artillería antiaérea, siendo esta fuerza el antecedente del Regimento de Gibraltar (1958), formado íntegramente por reservistas hasta 1971, año en que finalizó el servicio militar obligatorio. En 1991 el Regimento pasó a ser un Cuerpo de Infantería, dedicado a la Defensa a la defensa de Gibraltar.

Cuenta actualmente con unos 400 hombre, de los cuales 225 son militares profesionales y 167, reservistas o militares a tiempo parcial.
Tito Vallejo (Ernest Vallejo Smith es su nombre completo) fue uno de los últimos carreteros del Rey, y hoy a los 65 años, es un estudioso de la história del Regimento, despues de pasar media vida como militar em sus filas. Sus doi abuelos fueronmilitares, el español como marinero del acorazado "Alfonso XII" y el inglês en el ejército britânico, con las tropas del Mariscal Montgomery en la campaña de África.

"Los llanitos siempre sentimos que la defensa de nuestro território debía ser algo nuestro, que no teníamos que depender de que viniese un soldado de Escocia para que nos defendiera, además tambiém queríamos participar en la Defensa del Império. Para las personas de mi generación, era un orgullo hacer el servicio militar en este regimiento." Vallejo vivió el cambio de funciones, cuando se vivió la transformación en una Fuerza de Infantería para la defensa de su Território. "Los soldados llanitos han servido en muchos lugares, pero creo que nunca nos enviaron a Irlanda del Norte, por nuestro carácter latino. Habríamos respondido a las agresiones".

Desde el 21 de septiembre pasado ostenta el mando del Regimiento el Teniente Coronel Ivor Lopez. Su currículum muestra que ha estado en zonas de esteve em zonas de conflcito como Irlanda del Norte y Afganistán, formando a oficiales del Ejército afgaano. Prestó servicio en Canadá, Chipre, Kenia, Kuwait, Senegal y Gambia, ademas de en Marruecos.

Entre las misiones encomendadas al Regimiento, López destaca la Fuerza de Reacción Rápida, una unidad de diez homens que debe estar lista pronta para la acción en cualquier parte del territorio y con todo el armamento disponible en un tiempo máximo de una hora. Otra unidad de 20 hombres debe estar lista para hacerlo en un máximo de cuatro horas. Sas tropas tambien tienen competencias especiales en asuntos antiterroristas, sobre todo en desativación de explosivos, tanto em Gibraltar como em cualquiera otra parte: es una de las singularidades de esta unidad.

Michel Medeiros-O Informante

Nov 22, 2013

Eurofighter Aims for AESA Radar Contract by Mid-2014

Eurofighter is targeting the middle of 2014 to secure a deal with the fast jet’s European partner nations to develop an active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar for the Typhoon.
The deal will involve the development of a production-standard AESA radar by the Selex ES-led Euroradar consortium.
A mid-year contract signing means it would be close to a two-year wait since the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) , which manages the program on behalf of the British, German, Italian and Spanish governments, issued Euroradar a request for proposals to develop the AESA system.
The drawn-out effort to make a production-standard AESA radar available to the Typhoon partners and export customers has drawn criticism from many quarters .
The slow pace of capability improvement approvals on Typhoon is partly responsible for a determination by industry and partner government to change the construct of Eurofighter and possibly NETMA to make the approval process more agile as the emphasis of the program begins to move away from production of aircraft for the European partners toward meeting export customers’ requirements.
Typhoon has already been sold to Austria, Oman and Saudi Arabia; the aircraft is involved in export competitions in Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Kuwait.
Development work on the Selex radar, known as Captor-E, has been continuing, partly funded by industry. Typhoon test aircraft IPA7 is almost ready to start shakeout flights following modifications to make it capable of testing an AESA radar.
The first flight is expected before the end of the year, after which the machine will be fitted out with a development standard radar in the first quarter of next year.
Typhoon’s strike weapons capabilities are on track to allow flight test campaigns with Storm Shadow and Taurus cruise missiles to get underway.
In the case of Storm Shadow, Alenia Aermacchi is expected to flight test the weapon at the Decimomannu air base in Sardinia imminently; a similar campaign on the Taurus is scheduled to get underway in December.
Eurofighter’s capability full integration clearance for Storm Shadow is planned for 2015.
The weapon is already used by the Saudis, British and Italians on Tornado strike aircraft.
Integration work on the MBDA Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air weapon is already going full tilt.
The latest standard of Typhoons, known as Tranche 3, now starting to come off the assembly lines in all four European partner nations, are being fitted for but not with conformal fuel tanks.
The first Tranche 3 aircraft, a Royal Air Force machine, is due to fly by the end of the year.

South Korea to obtain 40 F-35As

South Korea will obtain 40 Lockheed Martin F-35A fighters under its F-X III requirement.
A report by state news agency Yonhap quotes the country’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) as saying that Seoul will obtain 40 F-35s starting in 2018, with an option to buy 20 more aircraft.
The deal will be conducted through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales mechanism.
Deliveries will begin in 2018.
Seoul will also obtain an additional 20 fighter aircraft of unspecified type, but the timeframe and details of this acquisition are not clear.
This additional requirement would appear to leave room for Boeing and Eurofighter, which pitched the F-15 Silent Eagle and Eurofighter Typhoon in the original 60 aircraft F-X III competition, to make a significant sale in South Korea.
The original F-X III requirement called for Seoul to obtain 60 new fighters. The only aircraft to come in under the DAPA’s budget of won (W) 8.3 trillion ($7.7 billion) budget was Boeing’s proposed F-15SE, an upgraded version of the venerable type with low observable features and other improvements.
In September, however, Seoul decided to re-tender the competition following the air force’s reiteration that it wants a stealth aircraft to fill the requirement.

Russia's Baltic Fleet to Receive An-140 New Transport Plane

The An-140-100 transport plane will be put in service with Russia’s Baltic Fleet by the end of this year.
A total of eight An-140 planes will be put in service with all four Russian fleets. The navy received the first An-140 plane in April.
The plane, developed as a replacement for the outdated An-24 and An-26 cargo aircraft, can carry up to 6 metric tons of cargo for a range of over 2,000 kilometers, and can be used for patrol, military transport and spec-ops missions.
The Russian military has outlined plans to continue buying the An-140s to meet the pressing need for lightweight tactical cargo planes.

Three J-15 fighters can take off simultaneously from Liaoning carrier

During its three-week exercise in open seas, Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier was able to launch three Shenyang J-15 fighters simultaneously from its flight deck.
The Liaoning has a total of three jet blast deflectors. While two parallel deflectors are located immediately forward of the island superstructure, a third is located closer to the stern of the ship. With all three positions fully operational, the aircraft carrier is capable of launching three J-15s from its forward ramp at the same time.
The ability of Liaoning's crew to disassemble and reassemble J-15 jet engines aboard the carrier was tested as well during the three-week test mission.
However, The PLA Navy Air Force is unable to transfer new fighter engines to the Liaoning through a carrier onboard delivery aircraft like the Northrop Grumman C-2 operated by the US Navy. The Chinese defense ministry did not mention whether Liaoning was able to launch or recover fighters at night.

Turkey launches new bid for light trainer aircraft

Turkey has issued a Request for Proposals (RfP) for the contract that foresees the off-the-shelf purchase of a small fleet of trainers to replace the fleet of ageing SF 260s used in the Turkish Air Force for preliminary training.
Turkey still operates with nearly 40 SF 260s assembled by TAI in the early 1990s. For preliminary training purposes the Air Force operates Cessna 172s.
Potential bidders are the U.S. Beechcraft and Cirrus, Austria’s Diamond, Germany’s Grobe, Czech Zlin and Italy’s Aermacchi.
Meanwhile, Turkey has silently phased out a fleet of 48 F-5 lead-in trainer aircrafts, which Israel’s Elbit upgraded and delivered in the early 2000s.TAI is upgrading nearly 60 T-38 basic trainers to replace the F-5s and the older T-38s.
The Defense Industry Executive Committee, the ultimate decision-maker in defense procurement, decided Sept. 26 to make an order for the serial production of the Hürkuş, Turkey’s first indigenous basic trainer aircraft.
Turkey’s first indigenous basic trainer aircraft has been approved for flight testing, with the maiden flight planned within the next year.
The Hürkuş, also developed by TAI, has been undergoing tests for runway-holding, steering and braking time limits.
TAI is manufacturing four prototypes of the Hürkuş for a round of tests. The first prototype successfully went through engine tests in February, the second is being tested for static durability and cabin pressure, the third is being assembled, and the fourth will be tested for metal fatigue.
The two-seat Hürkuş will have a 35-year service life, or 10,500 flight hours. The turboprop aircraft has a 1,600-horsepower engine that can fly at an altitude of 10,577 meters at a maximum speed of 574 kilometers per hour.
The Hürkuş will come in four variants:
Hürkuş-A: A basic version that has been certified with EASA, according to CS-23 requirements and is intended for the civilian market.
Hürkuş-B: An advanced version with integrated avionics, including a mission computer and cockpit avionics layout similar to F-16 and F-35 fighters. The Turkish Army is considering an initial order of 15 aircrafts.
Hürkuş-C: An armed version for close-air support, which will have a maximum weapons load of 3,300 pounds. The Turkish Army has expressed interest in the Hürkuş-C to provide support for its attack helicopters.
The Coast Guard version: TAI plans to offer another version of the Hürkuş to support the Turkish Coast Guard’s maritime patrol activities. The aircraft’s back seat would be occupied by an operator for a forward-looking infrared sensor.

The Netherlands buys four MQ-9 Reaper UAV for foreign roles

The Dutch defence ministry is buying four MQ-9 Reaper.
The MQ-9 Reaper drones must be fully operational by the end of 2017.
The drones can also carry weapons but the Netherlands does not need that capacity at present.
The Netherlands already has smaller drones that are being used for some time to spot marijuana plantations.

RQ-4 Block 40 Global Hawk deploys to war for first time

An RQ-4 Block 40 Global Hawk took off from Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., and flew into war for the first time Sept. 19, 2013 being the first time this specific model has been deployed into war.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system with an integrated sensor suite that provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, capability worldwide.
Global Hawks are produced in four distinct blocks or models: Block 10, 20, 30 and 40. Block 40 uses the Radar Technology Insertion Program, an active electronically scanned array radar.
On Sept. 5, the RQ-4 achieved 100,000 flight hours.

Nov 21, 2013

Boeing confirms launch deal for armed AH-6i

Boeing has received the green light to start building AH-6i light attack helicopters for an undisclosed customer trhought FMS [Foreign Military Sales] program.
Derived from the AH-6 Little Bird , the i-model has been the subject of previous FMS requests from Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Boeing declines to name its launch buyer.
The United Arab Emirates has now received seven F-model examples from a 16-unit order.

US Air Force Seeks Laser Weapons for Next Generation Fighters

The U.S. Air Force has released a new request for a high-powered laser weapon that could be mounted on a next-generation air dominance fighter in the post-2030 era.
USAF is particularly interested in lasers that would be at technology readiness level four (TRL4) by October 2014. That means the basic components are already integrated enough to work together in a lab. But the USAF wants the laser to be at TRL5 or better by 2022, which means the system’s components could be integrated with reasonably realistic supporting elements to be tested in a simulated environment.
The USAF is interested in three categories of lasers. These include low-power lasers for illuminating, tracking, targeting, and denying/defeating enemy sensors, moderate-power laser protective weapons system, which would presumably eliminate incoming missiles and high-powered lasers for offensive operations against other aircraft or ground targets.
The development of directed energy weapons are an ongoing trend with the Department of Defense. The U.S. Navy has been working on a shipboard solid-state laser that would be demonstrated onboard the USS Ponce (AFSB-(I)-15) in fiscal year 2014 to defend the vessel against threats like small boats.
In the past, the Missile Defense Agency and USAF tested a large chemical laser onboard a modified Boeing 747 to conduct boost phase intercepts of ballistic missiles. Similarly, the USAF tested a chemical-laser weapon from a Lockheed C-130H in 2009. If the AFRL’s project bears fruit, the new laser weapons could find themselves on a next-generation F/A-XX replacement for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

Hongdu Lijian stealth UAV maiden flight

The Lijian stealth UAV from Hongdu has made its first flight on Nov. 21 at 13:00 local time. The flight was 20 minutes.

Nov 20, 2013

Egypt Receives 1st US-Built Missile Craft

While most military sales to Egypt remain on hold, the US is going ahead with the transfer of four new fast missile craft.
The S. Ezzat, first of the Ambassador III class, was transferred Tuesday to the Egyptian Navy at a ceremony in Pensacola, Fla..
The second ship, F. Zekry, is nearly complete, with delivery planned for December.
Two more FMCs, the M. Fahmy and A. Gad, remain under construction, and are expected to be delivered in 2014.
The 62-meter FMCs have been built under a US Navy-managed program funded largely under the Foreign Military Sales program. Begun in 2001, the program moved forward in fits and starts until the first construction contracts were awarded in Sept. 2008.
The stealthy, 700-ton ships are powered by three MTU diesels and designed for a top speed of 41 knots. The FMCs are armed with eight Harpoon surface-to-surface missiles and an OTO Melara 76 mm gun, with self-defense provided by a Rolling Airframe Missile launcher and a Close-In Weapon System Block 1B. They are designed to operate at sea for up to eight days.
The ships are specifically designed to defend the Suez Canal region.
The Egyptian Navy operates several classes of fast missile ships, built in the Soviet Union, Germany and Britain, but the last was delivered in 1982.
Delivery of the ships was questionable after the Egyptian military overthrew the country’s elected government in July. A State Department review of all US military aid programs to Egypt was held, and some major US programs have been suspended, including the transfer of F-16 jet fighters, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, and M1 Abrams main battle tanks.
Some programs, however, have been allowed to go ahead, particularly those helping Egypt to uphold peace treaty obligations with Israel, and assets to fight counterterrorism and security in Sinai.