Dec 30, 2013

HAL to build 8, then 12, Tejas fighters each year

On December 20, the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) was cleared to enter operational service with the Indian Air Force (IAF). Now Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) faces the daunting transition from handcrafting Tejas prototypes into factory-assembling the 200-fighter Tejas fleet that Defence Minister has envisioned.
HAL aims to build 12 Tejas fighters each year.
Work is already underway on the first IAF order of 20 Tejas Mark I fighters, with an order for 20 more in the pipeline once the aircraft gets "final operational clearance" next year. The first two fighters being "series produced" - they are numbered SP-1 and SP-2 - are visibly taking shape.
By end-March 2014, SP-1 will fly, and SP-2 will fly a few months later. By the end of next year four Tejas will be in production. In 2015-16, will be built six fighters, and in 2016-17, nine will be built, until an annual capacity of 12 Tejas fighters.

US Fighter Jets to Patrol Baltic Airspace

The US Air Force will patrol the airspace over the Baltic states for four months starting from January.
Four US F-15C Eagle fighter jets will replace the current Belgian F-16AM.
A round-the-clock mission to guard the airspace over Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia has been conducted since 2004 when the ex-Soviet republics joined NATO. The three states do not have their own air assets to ensure safety and security of national and NATO airspace.
Patrols have been carried out on a three- to four-month rotation basis by 14 NATO states. Deployments usually comprise four fighter planes and between 50 and 100 support personnel.

Nepal To Buy 2 Military Transport Helicopters from Russia

The armed forces of Nepal have signed a deal with Russia’s state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport to buy two Mil Mi-17V-5 military transport helicopters.
The armed forces of Nepal, which have no separate air force, have previously bought three Russian-made Mil Mi-8 helicopters.

France has begun operating one of its new RQ-9 Reaper UAVs in Mali

Earlier in 2013 France decided to buy two RQ-9s and by the middle of the year had upped the order to a dozen. This was apparently with the understanding that one or two would be available for French use in Mali before the end of the year. This was less of a problem than it appears because the U.S. was already (since January 2013) operating RQ-9s in Niger, next door to Mali and the British have their own RQ-9 operations center (where satellite links allow UAV operators to control RQ-9s anywhere on the planet) in Britain that could be used to quickly train French operators. Facilities are also available in the United States, which is also were RQ-9 ground crews are also trained. The U.S. apparently delivered on its end of the deal and France got its operators and ground support personnel up to speed on time.
France was apparently not pleased with the performance of its locally developed Harfang UAV and after a year of deliberation decided is buy American RQ-9 Reapers with the intention of getting more and standardizing on this proven UAV design. Currently two Harfang UAVs are present in Mali (operating from neighboring Niger) along with some American RQ-9s.
The MQ-9 Reaper is a 4.7 ton, 11.6 meter (36 foot) long aircraft, with a 21.3 meter (66 foot) wingspan that looks like the MQ-1 Predator. It has six hard points and can carry 682 kg (1,500 pounds) of weapons. These include Hellfire missiles (up to eight), two Sidewinder or two AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, two Maverick missiles, or two 227 kg (500 pound) smart bombs (laser or GPS guided). Max speed is 400 kilometers an hour and max endurance is 15 hours. The Reaper is considered a combat aircraft, to replace F-16s or A-10s in many situations.
The Harfang was based on the Israeli Heron Shoval UAV, which in turn is very similar to the MQ-1 and sold well to foreign customers who could not obtain the MQ-1. In addition to being one of the primary UAVs for many armed forces (Israel, India, Turkey, Russia, France, Brazil, El Salvador), the United States, Canada, and Australia have either bought, leased, or licensed manufacture of the Heron. France has bought four Harfang ("Eagle") UAVs and used them in Afghanistan, Libya, and Mali over the last four years. The RQ-9 was a more recent and more mature design, which the British think highly of. The RQ-9 has an impressive combat record in Afghanistan and elsewhere (Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia). So France decided to switch.
The U.S. will not provide Predators or Reapers weapons ready, forcing foreign users to develop their own equipment for arming the UAVs. France also, like other Predator and Reaper users, has to spend a lot of money to develop satellite link technology and set up a ground control facility (or pay to use the American one in the United States or, possibly, the new control center that just opened in Britain).

Navantia Cartagena se asegura varios meses de trabajo en la construcción del LHD para Turquía

El contrato para construir un buque de desembarco anfibio como el Juan Carlos I de la Armada Española, para Turquía, garantiza casi 78.000 horas de labor para los trabajadores de Navantia Cartagena, en sus factorías de Sistemas (50.000 h.) y Motores (28.000 h.).
La marina turca ha elegido a Navantia como socio para proporcionar “el diseño, la transferencia de tecnología, los equipos y la asistencia técnica al astillero otomano Sedef", para que lleve a cabo la construcción de este barco de la clase LHD, junto a cuatro lanchas de desembarco LCM en su propio país.
El contrato lo forman 878.000 horas y beneficiará principalmente a los astilleros de Fene Ferrol y San Fernando Puerto Real, donde recaerán 800.000 de ellas. Pero la factoría de Cartagena se beneficiará con las otras 78.000.
Navantia ha sido elegida por los turcos porque es la artífice de “un diseño ya construido y probado por la Armada Española en un buque del mismo tipo, el Juan Carlos I” y a que ha fabricado otros dos que fueron entregados a la marina australiana , el LHD Camberra y el LHD Adelaide.
Este encargo supone un balón de oxígeno que garantiza varios meses de actividad a Sistemas y Motores, tras varios años en los que la empresa cartagenera no conseguía ningún contrato externo, y a la espera de la reactivación de la construcción del los submarinos S-80 y de la entrada del Tramontana en su gran carena.
La Verdad de Murcia

Dec 29, 2013

Boeing to deliver 28 Chinooks to US Army

Boeing will build six new CH-47F heavy-lift helicopters and remanufacture 22 more for the US Army in Fiscal 2014 under a contract announced on 26 December.
The contract signed with the Army Contracting Command includes funds for long-lead items to remanufacture 13 more Chinooks to the F-model standard in Fiscal 2015.
Boeing is in the second year of a five-year agreement to build 155 CH-47F helicopters.
The programme includes building new CH-47Fs, and replacing the fuselages and rotor systems of CH-47Ds and remanufacturing them to F-model standard.
The CH-47F adds a digital cockpit and a new airframe with reduced vibration. Honeywell is delivering more powerful T55-GA-714A turbofshaft engines for the CH-47F helicopters.
The army plans to continue operating the tandem-rotor Chinook until 2038.

Russian Air Force Received 12 Su-35 Fighter Jets in 2013

Sukhoi delivered a total of 12 advanced Su-35 multirole fighters to the Russian air force this year.
The Russian Defense Ministry ordered 48 Su-35s in 2009. The final deliveries are due in 2015.
The air force would receive 12 Su-35 fighter jets next year and 14 aircraft in 2015. The Su-35s will be based at the Dzemga airbase in Russia’s Far East.
The Su-35 Flanker-E is a heavily upgraded derivative of the Su-27 multirole fighter. It has been touted as "4++ generation using fifth-generation technology."
The aircraft, powered by two 117S turbofans with thrust-vectoring, features high maneuverability and the capability to engage several air targets simultaneously.

Russian Military Plans to Order More Yak-130 Combat Trainers

The Russian air force is planning to order an additional batch of new Yak-130 combat trainers because demand for the aircraft is growing.
The current contract with Russia’s Irkut aircraft corporation stipulates the delivery of 55 Yak-130s to the air force. A total of 42 aircraft have been delivered so far.
The Russian air force would soon form a new aerobatics team flying Yak-130s. The Yak-130 Mitten jet trainer/light attack aircraft is a subsonic two-seat aircraft developed by the Yakovlev design bureau.
The plane has been chosen as a basic aircraft for Russian air force pilot training. The first deliveries of the aircraft started in 2009.

"Spirit of Washington" B-2 Bomber rises from the ashes after fire

The "Spirit of Washington" participated in its first training mission at Whiteman Air Force Base, Dec. 16, after an engine fire in 2010 nearly destroyed the aircraft.
After three years and nine months in maintenance, the aircraft was restored to full mission-ready status.
The "Spirit of Washington" was preparing to fly a mission Feb. 26, 2010 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, when one of its four engines caught fire, resulting in significant damage to the aircraft and the engine bay.
With only 20 B-2s in the Air Force inventory, the need to save and restore the aircraft was paramount; the challenge was finding a way to accomplish the task.
The B-2's technology, combined with the limited number of aircraft, made obtaining replacement parts challenging. A percentage of the parts could be remanufactured, but other parts could only be obtained from Air Force spare parts depots.

Major Work to Replace Navy’s Super Hornet to Start in 2015

The U.S. Navy expects to undertake an analysis of alternatives for its F/A-XX next-generation replacement for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet starting in fiscal year 2015. The new aircraft and its associated “family of systems” would be expected to become operational around 2035.
The Navy does not yet know what kind of aircraft the F/A-XX will be, but the service is working on defining exactly what capabilities it will need when the Super Hornet fleet starts to exhaust their 9,000-hour airframe lives around 2035.
Though the Navy does not yet have a concrete vision for what the F/A-XX might ultimately turn out to be, there are certain attributes the service must have.
The Navy would develop the F/A-XX having fully understood the capabilities the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter and UCLASS bring to the carrier air wing.
The Air Force and Navy aircraft would share weapons and sensor technologies, even if they are different airframes. One particular area of close cooperation is aircraft propulsion where the two services are collaborating on advanced variable-cycle engine technology.
But ultimately whatever the F/A-XX turns out to be, it will be designed defeat most dangerous of adversaries anywhere on the globe.

Russian Air Force Lets MiG-31 Fly Again After Crash

The Russian Air Force will restart flight operations on Monday by its fleet of Mikoyan MiG-31 interceptor aircraft that were grounded earlier this month following a crash.
Two aircrew ejected safely from their MiG-31 in the far east of the country on December 14, after an apparent engine failure. The MiG-31 fleet was grounded two days later as a precautionary measure.

Taiwan Receive Harpoon Missiles for Submarines

The United States has begun delivery of submarine-launched Harpoon missiles this year to Taiwan. The anti-ship cruise missiles will become operational on Taiwan's two Dutch-built combat-capable submarines.
The deal reportedly includes 32 UGM-84L sub-launched Harpoon Block II missiles along with two UTM-84L exercise missiles and two weapon control systems.

Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopter enters into service with the Russian Defence Ministry

The Mi-28N Night Hunter combat helicopter, has officially entered into service with the Russian Defence Ministry. Before officially entering into service, the Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopter was operated by the Russian Armed Forces for several years.
The Ministry of Defence tested it in various conditions and developed a dedicated training and support base. Russian Helicopters has, to date, delivered several dozen Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopters to the Russian Defence Ministry.
The Mi-28N Night Hunter meets all current combat helicopter requirements, and has roused interest among potential customers. The export model is known as the Mi-28NE Night Hunter.
Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopters boast superior flight capabilities, allowing it to perform aerobatic manoeuvres. The Golden Eagles (Berkuty) helicopter aerobatics team have flown Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopters since 2012.

Turkey selects Navantia's Juan Carlos LHD design as winner of its LPD tender

Turkey's Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) just announced via press release that it selected Sedef shipyard as winner of its LPD tender and that final contract negotiations with this shipyard can now begin. Sedef shipyard in Turkey offers a design based on Juan Carlos LHD under the collaboration with Spain's Navantia.
Landing Platform Dock Project According to SSM, the Landing Platform Dock Project (LPD)’s main purpose is the acqusition of one Landing Platform Dock in order to meet the operational requirements of Turkish Naval Forces. The scope of the procurement is for: - 1 LPD and - Four Landing Craft Mechanics (LCM) - Twenty seven Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV), - Two Landing Craft Personnel Vehicles (LCVP), - One Commander Boat - One RHIB (Rubber Hull Inflated Boat) will be acquired
Juan Carlos class LHD The multi-purpose Strategic Projection Ship "Juan Carlos I" is the largest naval unit ever built in Spain. Her NATO denomination is LHD (Landing Helicopter Dock). In June 2007, Australia announced it would purchase and build two ships of the same design to become the Canberra-class landing helicopter docks.
The ship has been designed for 4 mission profiles: - Amphibious ship transporting a Marine Corps Force for landings and land support operations. - Force projection ship transporting Army forces to any theatre of operations. - Aircraft-carrier - Non-combatant operations: humanitarian aid, evacuation from crisis zones and hospital-ship in catastrophe areas.
The crew consists of 261 people: 30 officers, 49 NCOs, 59 leading seamen and 123 ratings.

Dec 28, 2013

India Signs Up For 6 More Lockheed-Martin C-130J Super Hercs

After over two years in the works, the Indian government has finally signed up with the U.S. for six more Lockheed-Martin C-130J Super Hercules special mission transports. The deal, a direct government to government contract, is said to be worth just under $1.1 billion.
The aircraft will be with minor modifications.

Dec 27, 2013

Turkey Signs Deal for Local Trainer Aircraft

The Turkish government has signed a contract for the serial production of two versions of the Hurkus, an indigenous trainer aircraft developed by the Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).
TAI said the Hurkus-A, an analog cockpit-base model, made its maiden flight Aug. 23. It has flown a total of 800 hours in 15 sorties since then.
The contract involves the production of 15 Hurkus-B, an advanced version with advanced avionics. Turkey’s military electronics specialist Aselsan will be tasked to produce military avionics for the aircraft.
TAI also said the contract involves conceptual design work for the Hurkus-C, an armed aircraft with aerial support, reconnaissance and surveillance roles.
The two-seat Hurkus will have a maximum lifespan of 10,500 flight hours, or about 35 years. The turboprop has a single 1,600-horsepower engine and can fly up to 10,577 meters (nearly 35,000 feet) at a maximum speed of 574 kilometers per hour.
The Hurkus will be equipped for day and night flying, as well as for basic pilot training, instrument flying, navigation training, and weapons and formation training. It will have good visibility from both cockpits, with a 50-degree down-view angle from the rear cockpit, ejection seats, an on-board oxygen generation system, an environmental control system, an anti-G system, and shock-absorbing landing gear for training missions.

The Hurkus will come in four variants:

■ Hurkus-A — A basic version that has been certified with the European Aviation Safety Agency. It is intended for the civilian market.

■ Hurkus-B — An advanced version with integrated avionics, including a mission computer and a cockpit avionics layout similar to F-16 and F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The Turkish Army is considering an initial order for 15 aircraft.

■ Hurkus-C — An armed version for the close-air support role, it will have a maximum weapons load of 3,300 pounds. The army has expressed interest in the Hurkus C to provide support for its attack helicopters.

■ Coast Guard Hurkus — TAI plans to offer another version 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.

Military officials said that by 2017, the Turkish trainer fleet will comprise of the batch of screeners Ankara now intends to buy, as well as the Korean-made KT-1, the Hurkus, the upgraded T-38 (T-38T) and the F-16.

By 2025, the trainer fleet will have the screeners, the Hurkus, an indigenous trainer designed and developed for the fighter Turkey intends to build, the TF-X, and a combination of the F-16s, TF-Xs and F-35s.

USAF Warns: We Could Run Out of Pilots

The Air Force is flying into gale force winds as commercial airlines start a hiring spree while military aviators struggle with low morale due to cutbacks and idle jets. And the Air Force may see a shortage as pilots vote with their feet.
Over the next year, the commercial airline industry is going to begin hiring tens of thousands of new pilots as aging flyers retire and the industry regains its economic footing. That could put dark clouds in the way of the Air Force's wild blue yonder as it tries to persuade pilots to stay in a service even as top officials worry that pilots don't have enough yoke time.

U.S. expedites delivery of missiles, drones to Iraq amid violence

The United States has delivered dozens of Hellfire air-to-ground missiles to Iraq in recent weeks and plans shipments of Scan Eagle drones next year amid a surge in violence.
Al Qaeda-linked militants have stepped up attacks on government and anyone seen to be supporting it. The United Nations estimates that more than 8,000 people have been killed in attacks in Iraq this year.
About 75 Hellfire missiles were delivered to Iraq last week, and a shipment of 10 unmanned Scan Eagles surveillance drones is due next year.
The U.S. has already said the first of 18 F-16 fighter jets promised to Iraq will be delivered in the fall of 2014, with the entire order to be shipped over the course of two years.

Dec 25, 2013

Russia to Test-Fly New Bomber in 2019

The Russian Air Force plans to begin test flights of a new strategic bomber in 2019. Development work will begin in 2014, and the first test flights are scheduled for 2019. The aircraft should enter service in 2025.
The new bomber, known as PAK-DA, is planned to carry hypersonic missiles. The bomber is also to feature modern stealth technology and be built by Tupolev.
Russia’s strategic bomber force comprises one leg of its nuclear triad and consists of 63 Tu-95 variants and 13 supersonic Tu-160s, which combined can carry more than 850 cruise missiles. Russia also flies the intermediate-range Tu-22M.
The Tu-95MC is expected to remain in service until at least 2040. The Tu-95 first flew in the Soviet Union in 1956 and is powered by four NK-12 engines based on a Nazi wartime project and the most powerful propeller engine ever built.

Brazil selects IAI 767 tanker to replace KC-137s

The Brazilian air force has selected Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to convert two Boeing 767-300ER airliners into aerial refueling tanker transports.
The converted aircraft, will replace the country's existing Boeing 707-derived KC-137s. Brazil's two KC-137s were built in the 1960s but only entered service with the country's air force in 1986.
The aircraft need to be replaced because of high operating costs and high fuel consumption. The aircraft's excessive engine noise also played a factor in Brazil's decision to replace the KC-137.
Brazil has been looking for a replacement tanker since 2008 under the KC-X2 programme. Boeing, Airbus Military and IAI had been invited to submit bids.
The award comes nearly three years after IAI delivered to Colombia a 767-200 modified into a tanker.
IAI's Bedek division performs the tanker modifications. The company offers refueling by probe-and-drogue and a fly-by-wire boom, although it was not clear which
configuration Brazil selected.


Poland To Buy 8 Jet Trainers From Alenia Aermacchi

Poland selected the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 jet trainer for its pilot training requirement, with a deal for eight aircraft scheduled to be signed in early 2014.
Alenia Aermacchi beat competition from the BAE Systems Hawk and the KAI T-50 and covers a ground-based training system including flight simulators.
The deal also includes training, technical and logistical support.
The Polish ministry of defense has also taken an option for a further four aircraft.
Italy has also ordered the M-346, bringing total orders to 48.

New planes arrive at Russian air base in Kyrgyzstan

A unit of Sukhoi Su-25 fighter bombers has arrived at Russia's Kant Air Base in Kyrgyzstan. The unit includes a Su-25UB dual cockpit plane.
In 2013, Kant Air Base crews took part in two international counterterrorism exercises, used unguided aircraft-launched missiles on more than 200 occasions, used aircraft guns on more than 300 occasions, and dropped some 80 bombs.
The average number of flight hours for the air base's pilots stands at 128, and 148 for young pilots.

Brazil could produce Gripens sold in in South America and Africa

The Swedish government is working on a joint strategy with Saab to extend the Gripen-E combat fighter offer to Brazil to include a radically up-scaled industrial dimension that would see Brazil become the primary production base for future Gripen-E sales to South America and Africa through a joint venture with Embraer.
Sweden plans to convene an inter-departmental meeting between ministers pivotal to the Gripen-E sale to Brazil in January.
The Swedish government has already confirmed that part of the 36 Gripen-E combat aircraft earmarked in Saab’s preliminary sale contract will be manufactured at a new plant Brazil. This facility would produce the Gripen-E or two seat Gripen-F aircraft in support of any future sales to other South American and African countries.
The two governments are also discussing an interim solution, ahead of the delivery of the first Gripen-Es in 2018, under which Brazil could lease Gripen C/D one or two seat combat aircraft from the Swedish Air Force’s existing or surplus fleet and stock.
The Swedish Air Force’s current stock of older version Gripens includes around 87 Gripen-C aircraft and 50 Gripen-A fighters dating to the mid-1990s. The lease proposal is likely to include a possible conversion of Gripen-As to Gripen-C type status which would be funded by the Swedish state.

Marines positioned to respond to South Sudan if needed

About 150 Marines were dispatched to the Horn of Africa from Spain on Monday to be positioned to provide security or evacuate Americans from violence-racked South Sudan.
The move follows an incident Saturday in which three aircraft were hit by ground fire as they attempted to rescue Americans.
The aircraft turned back, but another effort Sunday was successful in evacuating Americans from Bor in South Sudan.
The Marines arrived in Djibouti from their base in Moron, Spain. They are from a force of more than 500 Marines established this year to more quickly respond to crises in Africa. The special purpose "air-ground task force" is trained to provide security for U.S. property and evacuate Americans when needed. They are capable of responding to a crisis within six hours of notification.
Security in South Sudan has been deteriorating for the past week and hundreds of Americans and other foreigners have been evacuated in recent days, the State Department has said. The country plunged into chaos after an attempted coup triggered fighting between rival ethnic groups.

Putin Says Missiles Not Deployed in Kaliningrad

President Vladimir Putin dismissed reports that his country has deployed missiles in its Kaliningrad region, saying Russia has other ways to counter a planned U.S. missile shield.
Germany’s Bild-Zeitung this week reported that Russia deployed the missiles in recent months in the exclave between Poland and Lithuania, two NATO and European Union members. Russia’s Defense Ministry said Dec. 16 that it had placed tactical rockets in its “western district”.
Russia is locked with the EU in a struggle for influence in Ukraine, where President Viktor Yanukovych is facing the biggest protests in a decade after rejecting an EU accord in favor of closer Russian ties. Russia two days ago cut the price of natural gas paid by Ukraine by a third and offered to buy $15 billion of its neighbor’s debt.
Satellite images showed Iskander missiles, known as SS-26 in NATO code, in Kaliningrad, Bild said on Dec. 14. The Iskanders can deliver conventional or nuclear warheads in a range of about 500 kilometers (310 miles), which would encompass the Lithuanian, Latvian and Polish capitals, it said.
Russia said in 2011 that it may respond by deploying Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad if the U.S. built a planned missile-defense system in Europe.

Dos nuevos aviones no tripulados para el Ejército del Aire

El Escuadrón de Zapadores Paracaidistas (EZAPAC) es la segunda unidad del Ejército del Aire en operar estos sistemas, tras el Escuadrón de Apoyo al Despliegue Aéreo (EADA), y la primera y única entre las unidades de operaciones especiales de nuestras Fuerzas Armadas.
Este modelo recibido por el EZAPAC, el WASP AE, es un micro-avión no tripulado (UAS) que se adapta especialmente al ámbito de este tipo de operaciones, ya que tienen un bajo peso y un pequeño tamaño (1,25 Kilogramo y 1.02 metros de envergadura). Esto le permite ser utilizado por un equipo desplegando a pie, y conseguir visión directa sobre objetivos con una baja probabilidad de detección, principalmente por la baja firma acústica de su motor y por su silueta en forma de pájaro.
Este sistema, interoperable con el sistema RAVEN (ya en servicio en el EADA) tiene la capacidad de volar a 5 Kilómetros del operador, con una autonomía de 50 minutos, disponiendo de capacidad de visión tanto en el espectro visible cómo en el infra-rojo.
El día 18 de diciembre el Mando Aéreo Logístico del Ejército del Aire (MALOG) recibió dos aviones no tripulados WASP AE en las instalaciones del EZAPAC, Unidad que, como Unidad de Operaciones Especiales del EA, será la encargada de desarrollar la capacidad de estos sistemas como herramienta para la misión de integración de capacidades aire-suelo en el ámbito de las operaciones especiales.

Dec 23, 2013

Brazil may wait over four years for new fighters, says Saab

Brazil is not likely to receive the first of its new fighter jets from Saab AB for more than four years, underscoring the need for stopgap aircraft in coming years.
Brazil's Gripen NG should arrive after Sweden takes the first deliveries of the next-generation aircraft in early 2018.
That will leave the Brazilian air force waiting to replenish an old, shrinking fleet.
While Brazil waits, the country is negotiating with Sweden to lease existing Gripen C/D, in order to offset the loss of a dozen Mirage fighters at the end of this year.
The Swedish air force is flying 98 Gripens, according to Saab's website, and has ordered the upgrade of 60 Gripen C to the next-generation model, with deliveries beginning in 2018.
The Swiss armed forces have also ordered 22 of the newest Gripens.

South Korea unlikely to finalize Lockheed F-35 order until summer 2014

South Korea is unlikely to finalize any orders for the F-35 stealth fighter jet until the summer or fall of 2014.
South Korea's military chiefs last month said Seoul would buy 40 Lockheed F-35 fighters, with the first planes to be delivered in 2018, despite the fact the only Boeing Co's F-15 fighter met the competition's price target.
They say an additional 20 fighters to be acquired could be different models.
Europe's Eurofighter also bid for the order. Both Boeing and Eurofighter have said they remain willing to supply smaller numbers of jets to Seoul, if asked.
The sources said the military chiefs' decision requires Seoul to redo part of its acquisition process and also take another look at the budget, which in turn will defer any move to finalize F-35 orders until the second half of 2014, months later than expected.
Despite the delay, South Korea is not expected to change the decision to buy F-35s.

Chinese Black Hawk clone Z-20 airborne

The first F-35A for the RAAF is standing on its on wheels

The first F-35A for the RAAF is standing on its on wheels for the first time.
The first aircraft, dubbed AU-1 by Lockheed Martin and the future A35-001 with the RAAF, was lifted by an overhead crane from an EMAS station where its forward and rear fuselage sections were joined to the wing-centre fuselage assembly, to final assembly, where its control surfaces are added and final systems and engine are installed.
AU-1 is due to roll out of the factory in July next year and, alongside sistership AU-2, initially will be based at Luke AFB, Arizona as part of the US Air Force’s F-35 training system being established there.

Dec 21, 2013

Russian Military Confirms Plans for IL-112 Light Transport Plane

Russia will sign a contract on the development of the Il-112V light transport plane next year.
The development of the twin turboprop aircraft, designed to carry six tons of cargo to a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), was canceled in 2011, but revival of the Il-112 program was early this year.
The Ilyushin aircraft maker earlier announced plans to build 62 Il-112s to replace the aging fleet of An-26 military transport aircraft in service with the Russian air force.

Diehl-Raytheon win contract for Sidewinders for an undisclosed customer

Raytheon has announced its joint venture company with Diehl of Germany has been contracted to supply AIM-9L/I-1 tactical Sidewinder missiles to an unidentified company.Information on the number of missiles to be refurbished and supplied was not disclosed.

France to use unarmed U.S.-made drones to hunt al Qaeda in Mali

France will deploy its first U.S.-made unarmed surveillance drones to West Africa by the end of the year, as it seeks to "eliminate all traces of al Qaeda".
France's military intervention in Mali in January exposed its shortage of surveillance drones suitable for modern warfare, forcing it to rely on the United States to provide French commanders with intelligence from drones based in neighboring Niger.
Paris said in June it would buy 12 Reaper reconnaissance drones built by privately owned U.S. firm General Atomics to eventually replace its EADS-made Harfang drones.
Niger gave permission in January for U.S. surveillance drones to be stationed on its territory to improve intelligence on al Qaeda-linked Islamist fighters in the region.
France intervened in Mali at the start of the year as Islamist forces, who seized control of the north in the confusion following a military coup in March 2012, pushed towards the capital Bamako.

India’s Home-Grown Supersonic Fighter Jet

India’s air force is set to receive the country’s first locally-designed and developed supersonic fighter jet, the Tejas, in a significant milestone for its aerospace industry as it tries to phase out the aging and accident-prone MiG-21 jet fleet.
State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. plans initially to produce eight of the single-engine multi-role fighter jets a year from 2014, and to double production rate at a later stage.
Conceived in 1983 as the Light Combat Aircraft program, the project to develop the Tejas was delayed for several years because of difficulties related to developing the jet from scratch, which resulted in an escalation in the cost. The aircraft has been designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency among other government agencies with Hindustan Aeronautics as the principal partner. It has a digital fly-by-wire flight control system and composites were used extensively to develop its airframe to provide strength and offer lower radar visibility.
The aircraft is powered by a General Electric Co. engine– received the first so-called initial operational clearance from the Indian government in Jan. 2011. The second initial operational clearance –which means the fighter is ready to operate in all conditions–was awarded on Friday, paving the way for its series production by Hindustan Aeronautics and induction into the fleet of the air force, according to the company. The Tejas will not be combat-ready until 2015 when it receives its final operational clearance
The Soviet-era MiG-21 has been the combat backbone of India’s air force for 50 years with nearly 1,000 planes in the fleet. However, a spate of accidents in which some of which killed several young air force pilots, and the armed forces push to upgrade its weaponry, led the government to initiate steps to retire the MiG-21.
The induction of advanced supersonic jets such as the Tejas forms part of a modernization drive of the Indian armed forces–including its army and navy, as neighbors China and Pakistan also upgrade their military capabilities. India’s military comprises mainly aging Soviet-era equipment, including helicopters and infantry combat vehicles.
One of India’s key defense projects is the potential acquisition of 126 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault Aviation S.A. of France. Commercial talks are continuing with Dassault.
India is also jointly developing a fifth-generation fighter jet with Russia, and is also upgrading its fleet of other fighter jets including the Mirage-2000 and MiG-29.
A total of 254 MiG-21 planes are currently in service with India’s air force. The air force plans to phase out the MiG-21 in a staged manner, and replace it with the Tejas.

Dec 20, 2013

UAE Backs out of Typhoon Discussions

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has quit discussions with BAE Systems over the possible purchase of 60 Typhoon fighter jets according to a BAE statement.
No reason for the scrapping of the talks has been given, but UAE sources said it was connected with easing of tensions in the Arabian Gulf region.
The British company has been leading talks for the Eurofighter consortium on a possible sale of the Typhoon to the UAE in competition with the Dassault Rafale and the Boeing F/A-18.
One industry source said the two sides had been unable to agree on price or close the gap on other aspects of the negotiations, including the industrial collaboration package.
In addition to the fighter talks, a defense agreement expected to be penned between the UK and the UAE has been put on hold regarding the UK assisting the UAE in marketing defense equipment to Europe, the source added.
The potential sale to UAE was a key export campaign in the Eurofighter consortium effort in the Middle East and elsewhere in an effort to keep production lines open beyond 2018.
The UAE originally preferred the Rafale but opened up the bidding to Typhoon and the F/A-18 after the two sides fell out over a range of issues.
In recent months, the Typhoon was reckoned to be ahead of its rivals in the bidding.

Dec 19, 2013

Taiwan Grounds New US-Made Apache Helos Over Malfunction Fears

Taiwan Wednesday grounded its new fleet of US-made Apache attack helicopters for checks after a notice from Washington warning the model could malfunction.
The US will pay for testing and repair fees.
It is just five days since Taiwan’s military displayed the new AH-64E Apache helicopters to the public.
Taiwan last month received the first six of 30 Apache helicopters bought from the US while the remainder will be delivered by the end of 2014.
The Taiwanese army is the first force outside the United States to introduce the AH-64E variant.

Maiden Flight of the First Australia C-27J

The Royal Australian Air Force’s first C-27J Spartan has successfully completed its maiden flight in Italy.
The first two C-27J’s are expected to arrive in Australia in 2015. The C-27J Spartan capability is expected to achieve initial operational capability in in late 2016..
The C-27J Spartan is intended to complement the capabilities of the current C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster fleets and has common infrastructure, engines, avionics and cargo handling systems with the C-130J Hercules.
The C-27J Spartan replaces the Caribou, which was retired from service in 2009.
Air Force has re-established Number 35 Squadron to operate the ten C-27J aircraft.

Saab To Upgrade 60 Gripens for Sweden

Saab has been given the go-ahead to modify Gripen C fighters to the new-generation E standard.
Saab said the order to begin serial production for 60 of the significantly upgraded Gripen E version would allow initial deliveries to get underway in 2018 and be completed by 2026.
Gripen E offers an active, electronically scanned array radar supplied by Selex ES, more weapons along with improved avionics and engine performance.
Switzerland has selected the new aircraft standard and is on course to purchase 22 machines subject to a referendum on the procurement expected next year.
A modified D-model trainer is already test-flying the latest updates and an E standard aircraft is in production ahead of a first flight in 2015. A further two test aircraft will also be added to the program.

Saab to integrate Meteor on Gripen E

Saab has received an order from Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for the integration of the weapon system Meteor on Gripen E.
The received order is an addition to the agreement with FMV, announced on 15 February 2013, which includes the development and modification of Gripen E for Sweden during the period 2013-2026.
Meteor is a Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) developed to enable engagement of airborne targets at long distances. The missile is the result of a European collaborative project involving Sweden, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Great Britain. At the end of June 2013 Saab in cooperation with FMV conducted the first test firing of the serial production configuration of Meteor. Gripen was thereby the first combat fighter system in the world with the capability to fire this version of Meteor that has been developed for Gripen, Eurofigther and Rafale.

The Brazilian government selects Gripen NG

The Brazilian government announced the selection of Gripen NG. The announcement today will be followed by negotiations with the Brazilian Air Force aiming at a procurement of 36 Gripen NG.
The offer presented to the Brazilian Government by Saab includes Gripen NG, sub-systems for Gripen NG, an extensive technology transfer package, a financing package as well as long term bi-lateral collaboration between the Brazilian and Swedish Governments.
The announcement will be followed by negotiations with the Brazilian Air Force aiming at a procurement of 36 Gripen NG. After finalized negotiations an agreement can be reached between Saab and Brazil and an order for Gripen NG placed.
If Brazil procures the Gripen system it will be joining the countries operating the Gripen System today: Sweden, South Africa, Hungary, Czech Republic, Thailand and the UK Empire Test Pilot School (ETPS). Switzerland has also selected Gripen as a future fighter jet. During August and September 2013 both chambers of the Swiss Parliament voted yes to the procurement of Gripen. A referendum on the procurement is expected in 2014.

Production of improved version of JF-17 aircraft launched

Pakistan Prime Minister performed the inauguration of the manufacturing of Block 2 of JF-17 at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.
Block 2 jets come with air-to-air refuelling capability, improved avionics, enhanced load carrying capacity, better weapon carriage and enhanced data link and electronic warfare capabilities.
Production of Block 2 is expected to continue till 2016 after which manufacture of Block 3 is planned which may have new engine and different weaponry.
The aircraft jointly produced by Pakistan and China in 2003 was inducted into the Pakistan Air Force in 2007.

First Dutch F-35 pilot takes to skies

The first Netherlands pilot took to the skies in the F-35A Lightning II, making the Netherlands the second partner country to operate the fifth-generation multirole fighter.
The Netherlands currently has two aircraft stationed in Eglin AFB where they will continue to train pilots for operational testing and evaluation of the aircraft starting 2015. The Netherlands' aircraft and personnel are incorporated into the U.S. Air Force's 58th Fighter Squadron at the 33rd Fighter Wing.

Nigeria unveils locally made drone

Nigeria unveiled its own drone on Tuesday, appropriately named “GULMA,” (Hausa word for gossip).
The unmanned aerial vessel was designed and constructed by the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) in collaboration with other local institutions.
Analysts believe the UAV would be deployed to monitor the activities militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram, which has been operating in the rugged mountains and forests of Nigeria’s North east.

Dec 18, 2013

Ruag to supply Dornier 228NG transports to Venezuela

The Venezuelan air force is to field 10 Dornier 228 turboprops for passenger transport duties, with Switzerland-based airframer Ruag Aviation having confirmed its receipt of a contract from the government in Caracas.
An initial two “pre-owned” 228-212s sourced from the commercial sector are due to be delivered by early 2014, while eight new-build examples in the improved 228NG configuration will follow from the third quarter of the same year. Signed in early October, Venezuela’s order represents Ruag’s first Latin American success for the new production standard, with the deal also covering personnel training, ground support equipment and spare parts.
Ruag 228NGs are in current active use with the Bangladesh navy (2) and German navy (1). Venezuela’s commitment for eight new aircraft will enable Ruag to produce a second batch of the type at its Oberpfaffenhofen site in Germany.

US Coast Guard to Get 14 C-27Js from Air Force

Coast Guard aviation is poised to get a much needed boost if the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2014 — which calls for the service to get 14 of the Air Force’s C-27J Spartan medium-sized military transport aircraft — is passed.
The Senate is expected to vote, and pass, the House-approved bill on Dec. 17.
The Coast Guard had been battling the Forest Service for the aircraft transfer over the past several months. The NDAA stipulates the Coast Guard must transfer seven of its HC-130H Hercules transport aircraft to the Air Force.
Coast Guard aviation has been shortchanged in the service’s budget the past two fiscal years. The fiscal 2014 budget didn’t have any funding to purchase new aircraft in the service’s $909 million acquisition budget.
During a Dec. 11 hearing before the House Transportation subcommittee on Coast Guard and maritime transportation, Vice Adm. John Currier, the Coast Guard vice commandant, said the service will stop its purchases of HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft at 18 because it will get the C-27Js. The program of record was 36 of the maritime transportation aircraft.

T-X Requirements Under Review

The newly appointed head of US Air Force Air Education and Training Command (AETC) acknowledged last week that funds for a replacement trainer won’t be coming in the near future, but said the T-X program remains a priority for his staff.
Timetable confirms there won’t be much movement on the T-X program in the next two years, despite heavy interest from industry. In 2014 and 2015 there are no plans for T-X.
Three competitors have offered off-the-shelf designs: the Hawk Advanced Jet Training System, a joint program of BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, L-3 Link Simulation & Training and Rolls-Royce; Lockheed Martin’s offering of the Korean Aerospace Industries T-50; and the T-100, a collaboration between General Dynamics and Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi.
This month, Boeing and Saab announced they would be teaming on a clean-sheet design for the program.
The Air Force is eyeing an initial operating capability date of 2023 or 2024 for the winner of the T-X competition, which will replace the service’s T-38 trainers with 350 new models.
There could be life for the T-38 after T-X, perhaps as an opposition plane during training missions.

Norway approves next round of F-35 acquisition

Norway's parliament authorised the latest tranche of spending on its acquisition of 52 Lockheed Martin F-35, approving funding for the next batch of six aircraft.
Oslo's spending plan includes NKr4 billion to acquire six conventional take-off and landing F-35As for delivery to the Royal Norwegian Air Force in 2018. The remaining NKr1.9 billion will cover the purchase of four simulators, armour-piercing ammunition from Norway-based Nammo for test and integration work on the aircraft, Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and the first package of deployable spares for the JSF.
Norway had already committed to ordering its first 10 F-35As, including four examples for pilot training which will be based in the USA, to start replacing its in-service fleet of Lockheed F-16AM fighters.

First UK A400M enters final assembly

The UK’s first A400M has entered final assembly at Airbus Military’s San Pablo site in Seville, Spain, ahead of the type’s scheduled delivery to the Royal Air Force from September 2014.
The main fuselage for MSN16, entered the join-up stage in late November. The nose section for the RAF’s second of 22 examples, MSN17, has also arrived at the site, with its fuselage due to arrive by late this month or early January.
Ordered to replace part of the RAF’s now-retired fleet of Lockheed Martin C-130K tactical transports, the UK’s A400M will be flown from RAF Brize Norton air base.

Airbus Military reveals more details of C295 firefighter programme

Airbus Military has completed a second round of tests of its prototype C295 firefighting aircraft which will provide detailed data on the performance of its water dropping system.
Following earlier testing of the system, the company conducted seven water drops at a special range near Cordoba, Spain using ground equipment designed to measure the dispersal pattern of the water.
The trials were successfully completed and showed good initial promise. In the coming weeks the data will be examined in detail to enable decisions to be taken on the final configuration of the C295 firefighter.
In the trials the aircraft carried one 3,500 litre tank and the water was gravity-ejected through two dispensers in the belly.
The planned configuration would offer double that capacity with two 3,500 litre tanks being deployed using a roll-on/roll-off system which would permit the aircraft to be used for transport purposes when not required for firefighting duties.

U.S. Government Agencies Fighting Over Who Gets C-27J Aircraft/C-295 offerd to Canada

The C-27J tactical airlifter, once a castoff from the USAF, has become a hot commodity in the U.S. government’s aircraft fleet.
The USAF’s decision early this year to mothball its 21 brand-new, twin-engine C-27Js—labeling the Alenia Aermacchi transports a niche capability too expensive to sustain alongside its other airlifters—triggered an interagency squabble between the U.S. Forest Service, bent on using them as much-needed firefighting tankers, and the U.S. Coast Guard, which was intent on employing them to plug a gap in maritime patrol capability.
Seven of those aircraft have are going to be dedicate to Army Special Operations Command for use in parachute-aided free-fall training, replacing aging CASA C212.
With the Coast Guard seeking 14 aircraft and the Forest Service seven, officials at the Pentagon, the Homeland Security Department and the Agriculture Department were left haggling over the allocation.
Meanwhile, Airbus Military has put out this news release on its C295 aircraft, which like the C-27J, is a contender for the RCAF’s FWSAR program. The company noted that it had completed a second round of tests of its prototype C295 firefighting aircraft which will provide detailed data on the performance of its water dropping system.
Following earlier testing of the system, the company conducted seven water drops at a special range near Cordoba, Spain using ground equipment designed to measure the dispersal pattern of the water.
The trials were successfully completed and showed good initial promise, confirming the aircraft’s highly satisfactory handling during the drop procedure. In the coming weeks the data will be examined in detail to enable decisions to be taken on the final configuration of the C295 firefighter.
In the trials the aircraft carried one 3,500 litre tank and the water was gravity-ejected through two dispensers in the belly.