Jan 31, 2014

Iraq requests Apache helicopter purchase

Iraq’s continuing military transformation could be advanced further, through a potentially $4.8 billion deal for 24 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.
“This proposed sale supports the strategic interests of the United States by providing Iraq with a critical capability to protect itself from terrorist and conventional threats, to enhance the protection of key oil infrastructure and platforms, and to reinforce Iraqi sovereignty,” the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency says. Its message to Congress was disclosed in a notification published on 27 January.
Expected roles for an Iraqi Apache fleet would include flying close-air support and armed reconnaissance and anti-tank warfare missions. Baghdad’s request includes 12 Northrop Grumman APG-78 Longbow fire control radars and 480 Lockheed Martin AGM-114R Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.
An Apache acquisition would come on top of the Iraqi army’s previous purchase of the Mil Mi-28 from Russia. Baghdad has signed a firm order for 12 of the type, and has previously shown interest in acquiring a further 28.
Iraq’s defence spending in the post-Saddam Hussein era has included numerous foreign military sales deals with the USA. These have included orders for Lockheed-built F-16C/D and IQ-model fighters and C-130J tactical transports, Beechcraft King Air 350 transport and reconnaissance aircraft and T-6A trainers, plus Cessna 208s in utility, reconnaissance and light-attack configurations.

US Bunker-Buster Bomb Upgrades Effective, Tester Finds

Upgrades that let the U.S. military’s most powerful precision-guided bomb hit more deeply buried targets have been successful, according to the Pentagon’s top weapons tester.
The Air Force in May and July dropped the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator made by Boeing Co. from B-2 stealth bombers on targets to evaluate an upgrade called the Enhanced Threat Modification.
Based on those exercises, the penetrator, called a bunker-buster, is capable of effectively” attacking “selected hardened, deeply-buried targets.
The bomb, which can be dropped only from the B-2, would be counted on if the U.S. carried out military strikes on some Iranian nuclear facilities.
The 20.5-foot-long bomb carries more than 5,300 pounds of explosives and is guided by Global Positioning System satellites.


The Royal Navy has sent additional personnel to Gibraltar to strengthen its Gibraltar Squadron in response to Spanish maritime incursions into British territorial waters.
The Gibraltar Squadron has increased from two to three crews – around 25 sailors in total – to enable 24-hour coverage, although the number of vessels they operate remains the same.
The decision to increase personnel was revealed in a response to a question in the House of Lords and came as Headquarters British Forces Gibraltar announced that the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond was scheduled to arrive in Gibraltar on Sunday for a week-long visit as she sets out on a six month operational deployment to the Gulf.
The British Government has so far ruled out deploying larger naval vessels permanently in Gibraltar but has said repeatedly that Royal Navy warships will continue to call regularly at the Rock.
The Gibraltar Squadron’s third crew was sent to Gibraltar late last year following a rise in the number of incursions by Spanish state vessels into British Gibraltar territorial waters.
HMS Diamond is the third of six Type 45 air defence destroyers and is one of the most sophisticated warships in the world.

New Tests Find Significant Cracking In The F-35

The U.S. Defense Department’s newest and most advanced fighter jet has cracked during testing and isn’t yet reliable for combat operations, the Pentagon’s top weapons tester said in new report.
The entire F-35 fleet was grounded last February after a crack was discovered in a turbine blade of an F-35A. While the order was subsequently lifted, more cracks have been discovered.
Durability testing of the F-35A, the USAF, and the F-35B, the US Marines Corps revealed “significant findings” of cracking in engine mounts, fuselage stiffeners, and bulkhead and wing flanges, according to the document.
The F-35C, the Navy’s version, has also had cracks in the floor of the avionics bay and power distribution center and, like the F-35B.
The hardware problems, along with ongoing delays in software development, among other issues, led Pentagon to conclude that the fifth-generation fighter jet’s “overall suitability performance continues to be immature, and relies heavily on contractor support and workarounds unacceptable for combat operations” adding that, “Aircraft availability and measures of reliability and maintainability are all below program target values for the current stage of development.”
The Joint Strike Fighter program is the Pentagon’s most expensive acquisition effort, estimated last year to cost $391 billion to develop and build 2,457 F-35 Lightning IIs. The single-engine jet is designed to replace such aircraft as the F-16, A-10, F/A-18 and AV-8B.
The Pentagon this year plans to29 F-35s, including 19 for the Air Force, six for the Marine Corps, and four for the Navy. The department in fiscal 2015 wants to purchase 42 of the planes.
The Marine Corps had expected to begin operational flights of the aircraft in 2015, followed by the Air Force in 2016 and the Navy in 2019.
The Corps’ schedule depends on using a more limited version of the software, known as Block 2B, designed for use with such precision-guided weapons as the AIM-120C Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, GBU-32/31 Joint Direct Attack Munition and GBU-12 Paveway II bomb.
The first operational flights, however, will probably be delayed because the aircraft’s software won’t be ready in time due to ongoing glitches, according to the report.

Russia accused by the US of breaching INF treaty that bans medium-range nuclear missiles tests.

Russia has been conducting flight tests since 2008 of a ground-launched cruise missile.
Such a test would fall under the treaty's parameters.
The US has not publicly stated that Moscow is in breach of the treaty but it has now briefed its Nato allies on the issue.
Washington is also reported to have raised concerns with the Russians several times during the past year but has been told that there is no issue to be resolved.
The 1987 INF Treaty was one of the key arms control agreements of the Cold War years.
It eliminated an entire category of nuclear-armed weapons; land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges of between 500km and 5,500km (310 miles and 3,400 miles).
This encompassed US Pershing and Cruise missiles based in Europe, along with the then Soviet Union's SS-20 systems.
Today Russia's missile inventory is complex, often with versions of land, sea and air-launched missiles that bear strong family resemblances.
Experts believe that the cruise missile in question is the R-500; derived from the land-based Iskander-K.
The Russians are no great fans of the INF agreement which they believe - some 26 years after it was signed - reflected a very different world.
It only eliminated these weapons from the US and Soviet/Russian arsenals and, since then, several countries have developed missiles within this range.

Jan 30, 2014

First flight of second Spanish NH-90 Helicopter scheduled for this week/ El segundo helicóptero NH90 español comenzará a volar esta semana

The first NH90 for Spanish military, could be delivered around September, and it would allow the release of the second issue around December of this year, according Airbus Helicopters Spain. The final signing of the first 22 Spanish units should arrive in early summer. Certification and delivery will follow around September.
The second unit will start flying this week, allowing to be ready later this year. The Spanish delay in deliveries, behind those of France , Germany and Italy , among others, will allow Spanish NH90 to have a 15% more capable propeller than other employees on NH90 from other countries.
The NH90 will be the backbone of Spain`s military tactical transport system. The Airbus Helicopters plant in Albacete currently houses six Albacete NH90 in various stages of manufacture.
El primer helicópter NH90 español de serie, que voló por primera vez hace ahora un año, podría entregarse en torno al mes de septiembre, lo que permitiría la entrega del segundo ejemplar alrededor de diciembre de este mismo año, según los cálculos de su fabricante, Airbus Helicopters España.
Según Airbus Helicopters la segunda unidad de NH90 español comenzará a volar esta misma semana, lo que le permitirá estar listo a finales de año. El retraso en las entregas españolas, por detrás de las de Francia, Alemania e Italia, entre otros, va a permitir a los helicópteros fabricados para España en la planta de Albacete, contar con un propulsor un 15% más capaz que los empleados en los NH90 del resto de países.
La planta de Albacete acoge actualmente seis NH90 en distintas fases de fabricación.

Brazilian P-3AM upgrade to complete in coming months

Airbus Defence and Space is to deliver back to the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira) (FAB) in the coming months the last of nine Lockheed Martin P-3AM Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) it has been upgrading.
Airbus has been fitting the FAB's P-3A fleet with a new mission suite and upgraded avionics at its Seville production facility in Spain.
At the end of 2013 there were delivered eight of the nine P-3AM aircraft
The FAB acquired the 12 aircraft in 2002 from the USAF's 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG).
It then launched an upgrade to equip nine of the aircraft with the Airbus DS Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) mission suite, the ELTA Systems EL/M-2022A(V)3 multi-mode airborne maritime surveillance radar with an identification friend-or-foe (IFF) interrogator, the Thales TopDeck 'glass' cockpit, a datalink and enhanced communications suite, and a FLIR Systems Star SAFIRE HD electro-optic/infrared sensor turret.
FAB's remaining three P-3As are to be kept for spares.

U.S. Air Force, Boeing confident tanker program still on schedule

USAF and Boeing Co officials on Wednesday expressed confidence that refueling program would deliver its first 18 planes by August 2017 as scheduled, despite a Pentagon report warning that testing of the new aircraft could be delayed by at least six to 12 months.
The KC-46 tanker project, one of the Pentagon's biggest arms programs, calls for Boeing to build 179 new planes for the Air Force to replace the current fleet of 50-year-old KC-135 tankers.
Air Force and Boeing officials have said the program is making good progress, with the last of four test planes to be completed this year.
But a report released Wednesday by the Pentagon's chief weapons tester,said Boeing and the Air Force needed more time to complete developmental testing and initial training before operational testing.
A number of measures has been put in place to lower the risk of delays.

Britain to set up drone development partnership with France

President François Hollande is due to arrive in Britain on Friday for a summit with David Cameron at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, where they are expected to agree to develop an Anglo-French Predator-type military drone.
Britain’s current programme relies upon American technology and is primarily operated out of the US due to restrictions on flying unmanned aircraft in European airspace.
The move follows on from 2010, when Britain and France agreed a series of measures to enhance defence co-operation including sharing aircraft carriers, joint expeditionary forces and training.
Last year, Britain and France agreed to launch a study into the feasibility of jointly developing drone technologies.
British defence company BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation will lead the project which is also expected to involve Rolls-Royce.
During the summit the leaders are also due to sign a €500m memorandum of understanding to build anti-ship missiles for French and British attack helicopters. In addition, they will confirm “progress” on creating a combined joint expeditionary force of 10,000 men by 2016, as well as further counter-terror co-operation.

Norwegian jets take on NATO’s peacetime preparedness mission over Iceland

Six Norwegian F-16 fighter jets touched down in Iceland on 27 January to take on NATO’s mission to provide airborne surveillance and interception capabilities to meet Iceland’s peacetime preparedness needs.
The deployment will both provide Iceland with a quick-reaction capability of fighter jets ready to scramble if required to conduct the peacetime NATO Air Policing mission, and ensure that Icelandic and NATO personnel are fully trained and experienced to support all future such deployments.
The Norwegian jets will be deployed to Iceland until 21 February.

Italian Air Force getting ready for NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission

On 27 January 2014 two members of the Italian Air Force flew in at the Air Base in Šiauliai with two Eurofighter Typhoon fighter-jets and a Boeing KC-767A refuelling tanker.
Till Thursday the Italian airmen will be training in the Baltic airspace in advance of NATO’s Air Policing mission in the Baltic States which Italy is to take over for the first time in January 2015.
Italian troops with four Eurofighter Typhoon fighter-jets whose tour of duty at the Šiauliai Ari Base will run for four months starting with January 2015 have arrived to familiarise with climatic conditions in Lithuania and the NATO mission.

Jan 29, 2014

U.S. to sell, lease Apache attack helicopters to Iraqi forces

Iraq’s embattled government will be allowed to buy and lease Apache attack helicopters to help fight a renewed insurgency after a U.S. lawmaker lifted his long-running objections to the deal.
The agreement allows Iraq to lease as many as six Apaches this year and purchase another two dozen for delivery over the next three years.
Iraq’s military hopes to use the aircraft against militants from the Al Qaeda-linked group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, who have overrun parts of Iraq. The fighting has left hundreds of civilians, soldiers and militants dead and forced thousands of families to flee.
The Pentagon said the Apache leasing deal included 152 Hellfire missiles, launchers, night-vision goggles, spare parts and other gear. The U.S. is also preparing to train Iraqi troops in Jordan.
Delivery of the first leased aircraft is not likely before the summer, and Iraqi pilots and ground crews will still have to be trained, delaying the helicopter's use in combat for months. The purchased Apaches must still be manufactured.

USAF reveals plan to replace JSTARS with business jets by 2022

The US Air Force has taken the first step in a newly revealed, eight-year process to develop and field a business jet-sized replacement for the Northrop Grumman E-8C joint surveillance target attack radar system (JSTARS).
The JSTARS Recapitalisation programme seeks to achieve an initial operational capability in 2022 with a “more efficient airframe” in the business jet class. It will be acquired using separate contracts for developing the aircraft.
The USAF revealed the strategy in a request for information to suppliers interested in bidding for the BMC2 system.
But the release of the request for information on the new BMC2 system may indicate the USAF intends to request funding to launch the overall JSTARS Recap programme in FY2015. If funded, the project would create a rare opportunity for the aerospace industry to win a developmental contract, with several potential candidates available to compete.
In the last decade, Boeing and Raytheon have challenged Northrop’s position, proposing or fielding aircraft with ground moving target indication (GMTI) capability: the heart of the JSTARS mission. Raytheon delivered five Sentinel R1 surveillance aircraft to the UK, which modify the Bombardier Global Express business jet to carry a Raytheon/BAE Systems synthetic aperture radar with a GMTI mode. Boeing, meanwhile, proposed a variant of the 737-based P-8A anti-submarine and maritime patrol aircraft with a similar, Raytheon-built radar.
The JSTARS mission of detecting ground targets at long range at night or in poor weather evolved in the late 1980s. Northrop supplied recently modified Boeing 707s, which played a starring role in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, when the aircraft detected a major Iraqi troop movement in the midst of a seemingly blinding sandstorm.
Replacing or upgrading the 60-year-old aircraft which comprise the ground surveillance fleet of 16 E-8Cs has been debated since the USAF cancelled the Northrop E-10A multisensor command and control aircraft in 2007.
A 30-year forecast of airpower capability released by the US Department of Defense last year assumed that the E-8C fleet would remain in place over the next three decades, although the USAF has acknowledged the aircraft need several upgrades to keep flying beyond 2025.
The USAF signalls that replacing the E-8C has become a priority.

South Korea To Finalize F-35 Jet Fighter Deal This Year

South Korea plans to finalize the purchase of 40 next-generation F-35 jet fighters from US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin later this year.
The absence of a stealth capability was behind the military’s decision in September to block a deal to buy 60 of Boeing’s F-15 fighters.

India close to buying japanese US-2 hydro planes military aircraft

India is set to become the first country since World War Two to buy a military aircraft from Japan. the US-2 hydro planes.
New Delhi is likely to buy at least 15 of the planes.
For the moment, a stripped-down civilian version of the US-2i plane is being offered to India, to get around Japan's self-imposed ban on arms exports. A friend or foe identification system will be removed from the aircraft, another defence official said.
The two countries are discussing assembling the aircraft in India, giving India access to Japanese military technology.
The plane has a range of over 4,500 km (2,800 miles), which will give it reach far into Southeast Asia.
The navy plans to use the Japanese-built plane to support ships on long range missions, a role that is increasing as it steps up its profile across the Indian Ocean to counter rival China.
The two governments have set up a joint working group that will meet in March to consider plans to either set up a plant in India to assemble it under licence by an Indian state manufacturer.
The plan is to deliver two aircraft and then assemble the rest of the planes with an Indian partner.
India's navy is also interested in Japanese patrol vessels and electronic warfare equipment as Tokyo moves further along in easing its ban on military exports.

RQ-21A Blackjack begins operational test phase

The Navy and Marine Corps' newest small unmanned aircraft system RQ-21A Blackjack began its initial operational test and evaluation in early January at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.
This first low-rate initial production (LRIP) lot of the Blackjack, previously known as RQ-21A Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS), will demonstrate the system’s effectiveness and suitability in realistic combat conditions.
The Blackjack is a larger twin-tailed follow-on to the ScanEagle unmanned air vehicle. The system contains five air vehicles, two ground control systems, and launch and recovery equipment.
At eight feet long and with a wingspan of 16 feet, Blackjack provides intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications relay to the warfighter on land and at sea. The air vehicle’s open-architecture configuration can integrate new payloads quickly and can carry sensor payloads as heavy as 25 pounds.
Standard payloads include day and night full-motion video cameras, an infrared marker, a laser range finder, a communications relay package and automatic identification system receivers.

P-8A aircraft gets green light to enter full rate production

On the heels of the P-8A Poseidon squadron’s inaugural deployment, the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office recently announced P-8A Poseidon entered the full-rate productionphase of its development.
The approval, will allow the program office, resource sponsor, acquisition community and industry to continue to deliver the P-8A to the fleet with the required capabilities needed to ensure the squadrons are getting a stable and efficient system.
This approval moves the program from low-rate into full-rate production.
The objective is to deliver 117 aircraft to the fleet. Thirteen of 37 Low Rate Initial Productionaircraft have already been delivered on or ahead of schedule..
The P-8A’s current configuration, Increment 1, consists of the following capabilities: persistent armed anti-submarine warfare (ASW), an integrated sensor suite, and significant improvement in situational awareness. Increment 2 will consist of multi-static active coherent acoustics, automated identification system, and high-altitude ASW weapon capability.
The P-8A Poseidon will replace the P-3C Orion as a long-range anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.

Bangladesh Buys 24 Yak-130 Combat Training Jets

Bangladesh ordered 24 Russian Yak-130 light fighter jets worth. The planes are to be fitted with English-language cockpits and delivery is scheduled to begin next year.

Philippines Air Force to Receive 2 Attack AW-109s This Year

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) said on Tuesday that two units of the attack version of the AgustaWestland AW-109 "Power" helicopters will be delivered this year.
The Philippines and AgustaWestland signed the contract for the attack version of the AW-109s last Nov. 6.
The PAF’s AW-109 "Power" configuration will feature a dedicated mission package and equipment, including a combination of weapon systems.
The AW-109 "Power" is a three-ton class eight-seat twin engine helicopter.

Jan 28, 2014

F-16 Upgrade Dropped From US Budget Proposal, Sources Say

A major F-16 upgrade program is likely to be left out of the president’s fiscal 2015 budget request, according to multiple sources.
The Combat Avionics Programmed Extension Suite (CAPES) is a US Air Force program to replace the avionics and radars for 300 US F-16s. It would also upgrade 146 Taiwanese F-16A/B fighters purchased in the 1990s.
Sources said the US Air Force has decided not to fund the CAPES program, instead reinvesting some of that money toward a general F-16 service-life extension program (SLEP) while putting the rest toward modernization efforts for other platforms.
The core of CAPES is a new active electronically scanned array radar. In 2013, Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on CAPES, selected Northrop Grumman’s Scalable Agile Beam Radar to be installed in the planes.
By moving money toward the SLEP, the Air Force would provide some cover against the F-35 joint strike fighter slipping past its December 2016 initial operating capability date. It is also possible that some of the advanced avionics could become part of the SLEP, offering a cheaper, halfway method toward modernizing the F-16s.
Without CAPES funding, Taiwan might not be able to afford the F-16 upgrade program.

U.K. To Spend £454M On Merlin Modernization Program

AgustaWestland has been awarded a £454 million contract to transform the U.K.’s Merlin battlefield support helicopter fleet for amphibious operations.
Twenty-five of the U.K. Royal Air Force’s current fleet of 28 AgustaWestland EH101 Merlin Mk. 3 and Mk. 3A helicopters will undergo the upgrade to the Mk. 4/4A standard for the U.K. Royal Navy’s amphibious Commando Helicopter Force (CHF). The upgrade is part of the Merlin Life Sustainment Program and ship optimization project.
The upgraded Merlins will be used to replace the aging Westland Sea King Mk. 4 currently in use by the CHF, which will exit service along with all other Sea Kings in the U.K. inventory by the end of March 2016.
AgustaWestland will use its experience from the development of a naval transport version of the EH101, now the AW101 for the Italian navy. The company will remove the current tail rotor system and replace it with a folding version.
A folding main rotor head will be fitted. The aircraft will also be given strengthened landing gear, deck lashing mounting points and a new fast-roping point. In the cockpit, the aircraft will be refitted with the avionics suite used in the update of the Royal Navy’s current fleet of Merlin helicopters used for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.
Because the program is also converting the six former Danish air force aircraft purchased by the U.K. in 2008, AgustaWestland also has to develop a common emergency egress system for use on both versions due to differences in aircraft configuration. The upgrade will give the six Danish aircraft a taste of front-line operations for the first time. In RAF service, they have been held back to support training.
The first two helicopters will enter the conversion process at the end of this year, with the first fully converted Mk. 4s expected to be available for trials in September 2017. An initial operating capability for the Merlin Mk. 4 with seven helicopters is expected in early 2018.
To provide an amphibious transport capability between the retirement of the Sea King and the introduction of the first Mk. 4 models, several Merlins will be given a folding main rotor head to allow ship-based operations, should a deployment occur. These will be known as Merlin Mk. 3i, in the interim.

Rafael advances missile evaluation for Israeli F-35s

Rafael has completed an initial evaluation of the requirements for a sixth-generation air-to-air missile that will be carried by the Israeli air force's Lockheed Martin F-35s.
Rafael has been looking into the design of a so-called sixth-generation weapon for some years, with one requirement being for the design to be carried within the internal weapons bay of the F-35.
An Israeli-made air-to-air missile will form part of a package of nationally-developed systems that the Israeli air force wants to have on its future fleet of stealth fighters.
So far, Israel will be able to install its own radio and datalink systems in the first 20 F-35s it will acquire.

Spanish Air Forces Rotate Aircraft Crew In Djibouti

The 33rd Spanish Air Forces Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) crew joins the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta. The 32nd and 33rd crew rotations performed their hand over in Djibouti on January 23rd.
Spanish MPRA detachment is composed of 44 people. The aircrew and maintenance members usually join the mission for a two months period.
During the last two months with the EU’s counter-piracy Operation Atalanta, the outgoing personnel of the 32nd rotation, usually based in Palma de Mallorca with the Spanish Air Forces Wing 48, has flown 25 night and day sorties.
With more than 200 flying hours, they have flown over 26.000 nautical miles. This comes up to at least one trip all around the world.
Spanish detachment of the EU Naval Force MPRA “Orion” has been able to fly without cancelling any tasked mission since June 2012. Their contribution to the EU’s counter piracy operation has been of enormous value, and their achievements are based on their outstanding willingness and enthusiasm.

Royal Navy buys back Ark Royal parts for HMS Illustrious

The UK Ministry of Defence has justified the decision to buy back parts from former Royal Navy HMS Ark Royal.
Spare parts of Ark Royal, which was sold two years to a Turkish scrapyard, had to be shipped back to Portsmouth to replace sections of HMS Illustrious.
The sister ship suffered a small fire while on deployment off the coast of Somalia last August.
After the fire, it was realised there were no replacements parts for the damaged radio switchboard and the surrounding cabinet. But it was revealed that Ark Royal, which will be recycled into tin cans, had the same equipment fitted.
The fee for the parts have not been released by the Ministry of Defence.

Jan 27, 2014

Turkey Likely To OK Indigenous Fighter Program

Turkey’s government, procurement and industry officials widely expect Prime Minister to approve an ambitious program to build the country’s first indigenous fighter aircraft, amid doubts that Ankara could afford to buy it alongside the F-35 joint strike fighter.
A senior procurement official said the three draft models, one of which would become the first Turkish indigenous fighter jet, have been finalized.
Turkey has been in talks with Sweden’s Saab for pre-conceptual design work for the first Turkish national fighter jet.
Industry sources say other foreign players could get involved in later stages.
Turkey hopes that the indigenous TF-X will fly by 2023. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), has been debating three designs.
Industry sources and experts have said that developing and building the first made-in-Turkey fighter while buying F-35s could be too costly for Turkey
Turkey intends to buy around 100 F-35s.

Royal Australian Navy takes delivery of new Seahawk 'Romeo' helicopters

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has taken delivery of its next generation of helicopters, two Seahawk "Romeos" designed for fighting submarines and other combat vessels.
The Navy has bought 24 of the new Seahawks, which are modelled on the Black Hawk helicopters used by the Army.
The first two rolled off the production line of US manufacturer Lockheed Martin in December and the rest are expected by the end of next year.
Instead of bringing the first few back home straight away, the RAN has sent its crews to the US naval base in Jacksonville, Florida, for training.
The US Navy has been flying the aircraft for more than five years.
The Australian crews will head home to their base at HMAS Albatross in Nowra with more of the choppers later this year for deployment on ANZAC (Australian New Zealand Army Corps) class frigates.
The aircraft are significantly more advanced than the older Bravo Seahawks they will replace. The new model can use the Hellfire missile and modern sensors.
The helicopters will be carrying out an anti-submarine, surface warfare role for the RAN.
Prior to the acquisition of the Romeo helicopters, the RAN had significant problems finding new helicopters capable of carrying missiles.
A fleet of Seasprites purchased by the Federal Government in 1997 were years late in delivery and plagued with expensive problems.
The helicopter's cockpits were too small for some pilots, and a number of software faults meant they were not safe to fly at night or in low visibility.
As the estimated losses topped, the scrapped the program in 2008, deciding instead to buy the Romeos.

Israeli jets bomb missile launchers in Latakia

Israeli fighter planes bombarded S-300 missile launchers in the Syrian port city of Latakia late Sunday. Residents of the city reported hearing loud explosions just around midnight.
Opposition sources are quoted as saying that the explosion took place in the Sheikh Dahar neighborhood just near the local port. The claims by the opposition have not been confirmed by any official sources.
Israel has on numerous occasions been fingered as responsible for attacks on Syrian military targets during the two-year long uprising against the Assad regime.
In October, a US official said that Israel conducted air raids against a Syrian missile base near Latakia.
Israel has repeatedly warned that it is prepared to use force to prevent advanced weapons, particularly from Iran, reaching Hezbollah through Syria. According to foreign reports, Israel reportedly carried out several air strikes on Syria earlier this year.
In September, Israel was believed responsible for an attack on an arms depot in Latakia that killed between 10 and 20 Syrian troops. The Israeli government has consistently denied involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Singapore Selects Airbus A330 MRTT

Singapore has signed a contract for the purchase of six A330 MRTT tanker.
Asked Airbus Defence & Space did not wish to comment on the information.
Singapore had expressed several years there is a need to replace its four KC-135R Stratotanker current. Facing the MRTT, the Israeli IAI proposed including its Boeing 767 MMTT solution which was notably used by Brazil against the A330 MRTT because of its lower price. American side, the offer was originally on the KC-135R "renovated", although it is possible that Boeing has also highlighted its new KC-46A, with deliveries to the U.S. Air Force should not begin before 2017.
Extremely secretive about its arms purchases, Singapore has never communicated on the progress of the acquisition process. The new supply will be mainly utilized to supply fuel to the few hundred combat aircraft available to the local Air Force (F-15SG and F-16C / D Block 52), in particular to deploy abroad during international exercises. Close partnerships between Australia and Singapore in the field of training could help tip the balance in favor of MRTT Airbus already delivered to the Royal Australin Air Force.
After the UK, Australia, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, the A330 MRTT could hang India to his list of conquests. New Delhi is indeed entered for more than a year in exclusive talks with Airbus for the purchase of a batch of six A330 MRTT for renovating its fleet of tanker planes. Opportunities also exist in South Korea.
In France, the MRTT folder advance, with notification of contract expected by the end of August for the acquisition of the first devices that will come to replace the C-135 Air Force. A new technical and financial proposal should be submitted Airbus these days the DGA and the Air Force and will be the subject of tough negotiations in the coming months.

US firm offers VVIP choppers to India

After India scrapped a contract for procuring VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland, American firm Textron said it is ready to offer its unique V-22 Osprey helicopter to India for ferrying its dignitaries.
Indian government scrapped the contract with AgustaWestland, accusing it of breaching a pre-contract integrity pact and other contractual obligations.
India has so far received only three choppers from the Anglo-Italian firm and is considering the option of using Mi-17V5 choppers being procured from Russia for the purpose.
The V-22 Osprey has already been inducted into the American President's fleet in VVIP configuration and is being used to ferry his entourage.

The United Arab Emirates to purchase 30 F-16 Block 61

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congressof a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Arab Emirates of a sale of F-16 Block 61 Aircraft and associated equipment. Major Defense Equipment includes 40 20mm M61A Guns.

Jan 26, 2014

El avión del príncipe Felipe se avería en República Dominicana en su viaje a Honduras

El avión en el que el príncipe Felipe viajaba a la toma de posesión del nuevo presidente de Honduras,se encuentra averiado en República Dominicana, donde ha tenido que regresar tras detectarse una avería.
Su avión ha hecho escala en ese país, como estaba previsto, y a los 30 minutos de emprender el viaje los pilotos han decidido regresar al encenderse un indicador
El avión partió la pasada madrugada desde la base aérea de Torrejón y es el que el pasado 25 de noviembre debía trasladarle a Brasil, un viaje que se frustró debido a una avería en el sensor de los alerones.
Este avión, que ya fue revisado, fue el mismo que trasladó a Don Felipe y al presidente del Gobierno, Mariano Rajoy, hasta Sudáfrica el pasado 10 de diciembre para asistir al funeral de Nelson Mandela.
De momento se desconocen las causas que han obligado al regreso del avión cuando. El vuelo desde Madrid a Santo Domingo se produjo con toda normalidad y la escala estaba prevista para repostar el avión. Una vez efectuada la escala, que duró aproximadamente una hora, de las 5 a las 6 de la mañana, hora local (6 horas más en España), don Felipe y el séquito que le acompaña subió de nuevo al avión que despegó con normalidad con destino Tegucigalpa. Minutos después el piloto detectó una avería, aún sin identificar, y procedió al regreso al aeropuerto de Santo Domingo, aterrizando de nuevo con normalidad.

Jan 25, 2014

Typhoon Sale Talks With UAE Have Ended

BAE Chief Executive has killed off hopes the company might return to the negotiating table with the United Arab Emirates over the sale of Typhoon jets.
Analysts said the prospect of a deal hasn’t entirely evaporated. Industry executives discounted any likelihood of that happening soon.
Despite the years of talks, first with the French over Dassault Aviation’s Rafale fighter and then the British with the Typhoon, the UAE has never been in any rush to seal a deal for a new aircraft type.
A possible easing of relations with Iran made it even more unlikely the UAE would want to aggravate its neighbor with a big order for strike-capable jets.
The expectation is that the UAE will take its time evaluating the situation and look at several fighter options before proceeding.
The UAE pulled out of negotiations late last year to buy 60 Eurofighter Typhoon fighters as part of a wider strengthening of defense ties with the British government and industry, including a possible joint program to build a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV.
The rest of the talks have effectively stalled with no progress expected.
Issues over offsets and technology transfer also were said to have been unresolved at the time the plug was pulled on the deal, industry sources said.
The UAE operates Dassault Mirage 2000s and Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 60s.
US Defense Secretary said the UAE would top up its F-16 fleet with an order for a further 25 jets in a deal that has yet to be formally announced.
BAE and its Eurofighter partners are continuing to pursue other export opportunities in the Arabian Gulf and elsewhere.
Export possibilities in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Malaysia are in various stages of discussion along with a top up of between 48 and 72 jets for existing customer Saudi Arabia.

Pentagon report faults F-35 on software, reliability

A new U.S. Defense Department report warns that ongoing software, maintenance and reliability problems with Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 stealth fighter could delay the Marine Corps' plans to start using its F-35 jets by mid-2015.
The latest report by the Pentagon's chief weapons tester, provides a detailed critique of the F-35's technical challenges, and focuses heavily on what it calls the "unacceptable" performance of the plane's software.
The report forecast a possible 13-month delay in completing testing of the Block 2B software needed for the Marine Corps to clear the jets for initial combat use next year, a priority given the high cost of maintaining current aging warplanes.
The report, due to be sent to Congress this week, said the aircraft is proving less reliable and harder to maintain than expected, and remains vulnerable to propellant fires sparked by missile strikes.

Russia's aircraft carrier is heading to eastern Mediterranean Sea

The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier has left its anchorage in the western part of the Mediterranean Sea and is heading eastwards.
The aircraft carrier replenished its stores from auxiliary vessels of the naval unit and carried out planned maintenance works of the ship's mechanisms and equipment during the anchorage. Yesterday the ship's Ka-27 helicopters made 12 flights and stayed in air for eight hours in total Serga said.
The Admiral Kuznetsov is preparing for flights of on-deck jet fighters that will start as soon as weather conditions.
The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier of the Russian Northern Fleet left its base in Severomorsk on December 17.
The Admiral Kuznetsov is Russia's aircraft carrier. It can carry Sukhoi Su-33 on-deck multirole jet fighters, Ka-27, Ka-28, Ka-29 and Ka-32 helicopters.

RNZAF Orders Beechcraft T-6C to Replace King Air

On January 24,New Zealand Secretary of Defence and President of Beechcraft signed a contract to replace the existing Beech King Air aircraft with the T-6 trainer aircraft.
The first two new T-6 trainer aircraft are due to arrive in New Zealand later this year.

Jan 24, 2014

Saudi Arabia express interest in JF-17

A Saudi defence delegation returned home on Wednesday after completing its three-day exploratory trip to Pakistan for identifying areas of cooperation.
On the last day of the three-day visit, the delegation visited Air Defence Command of Pakistan Air Force.
According to a PAF source, the Saudi delegation has expressed interest in Pakistan’s indigenously produced Super Mushshak training aircraft and JF-17 Thunder fighter jets.

UK retires ALARM missile

The UK Ministry of Defence has confirmed the final retirement of the Air-Launched Anti-Radiation Missile (ALARM), a move which leaves the Royal Air Force (RAF) without a dedicated defence suppression weapon.
ALARM was developed provide RAF Tornados with a defence suppression capability. Completing development trials in October 1990, the missile made its operational debut in the 1991 Gulf War, with more than 120 missiles fired as part of Operation 'Granby'.
ALARM was subsequently used in support of NATO's Operation 'Allied Force' over Serbia and Kosovo in 1999.
An ALARM seeker mid-life update, introduced to meet Staff Requirement (Air) 1247, saw an improved anti-radiation homing seeker enter service in the early 2000s. This version of ALARM was employed by Tornado GR.4 aircraft during Operation 'Telic' in 2003.
In a statement, the Ministry of Defence confirmed that "the ALARM missile, used for the Suppression of Enemy Air Defences [SEAD], was retired from service at the end of December 2013".
They added: "UK armed forces have a range of capabilities that can be used to counter enemy air defence, including kinetic strikes via long-range cruise missiles, such as Tomahawk and Storm Shadow, and a multitude of highly effective precision air-to-ground weapons.

Boeing Surveillance Plane Not Yet Effective, according Pentagon

The Boeing P-8A maritime surveillance aircraft deployed to Japan last month isn’t yet effective at hunting submarines or performing reconnaissance over large areas, the Pentagon’s weapons tester found.
Flaws in the program included the plane’s radar performance, sensor integration and data transfer, chief of the Pentagon testing office, wrote in his annual report on major weapons, which has yet to be released. He said the new P-8A Poseidon exhibited “all of the major deficiencies” identified in earlier exercises when subjected to more stressful realistic combat testing from September 2012 to March 2013.
“Many of these deficiencies” led Pentagon to determine that the P-8A “is not effective for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission and is not effective for wide area anti-submarine search”. The Navy plans to conduct additional testing to verify the correction of some deficiencies.

Thailand to Launch Lead-In Fighter Programme

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) expects to launch a USD400 million programme to acquire lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) aircraft following the formation of a new Thai government.
The aircraft acquired through the LIFT programme will replace a handful of ageing Northrop F-5 trainers in service with the RTAF and eventually its fleet of Aero L-39 Albatros trainer/light attack aircraft procured in the early 1990s. The procurement programme has become pressing since the RTAF started operating a fleet of 12 JAS 39 Gripen fighters, which were delivered from 2011-2013.

Jan 23, 2014

Dassault Aviation ramps up CF-18 replacement pitch

Dassault Aviation is offering to Canada's government its Rafale fighter as the new air force jet.
The offer, includes the unrestricted transfer of technology.
It has been a little over a year since the Conservatives put on hold their plan to buy 65 Lockheed Martin F-35s, and almost two years since the auditor general accused National Defence and Public Works of low-balling the price of the stealth fighters.
The Royal Canadian Air Force's current fleet is due to retire around 2020.
"A decision sooner than later is always better," he said in an interview.
Dassault's pitch could receive a warm reception in light of the Harper government's drive to give Canadian companies some of the billions to be spent on the planes.
The transfer of technology would allow Canada more flexibility to service the aircraft without involving the French parent company. It could be a boon to domestic aerospace firms, especially those that are already making parts for the Rafale fighter.
Dassault's competitors include the F-35, the Boeing Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon. They all offer a certain amount of technology transfer, but Dassault hopes its broad offer will catch the government's attention.
Early in the F-35 program, the issue of how much technology the U.S. was willing to share with its allies became a major sticking point and a barrier to the participation of other countries. Washington further ruffled feathers when it said it would not share the jet's software source codes.
In 2006, the Canadian air force dismissed the Rafale as a CF-18 replacement, citing concerns about the aircraft's ability to operate alongside the Americans, but Robins said the jet flew seamlessly with U.S. fighters during the 2011 Libya bombing campaign.
"It has been proven in war."

IAI begins Arrow 3 production

The new Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system is a demonstration of Israeli defense industries' prowess. In a world still thrilled with the impressive interception capabilities of Iron Dome, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) and the Ministry of Defense are trying to do the same thing, but completely differently: to intercept ballistic missiles long before they enter Israeli airspace by neutralizing them in outer space.
20 years ago, Israel unveiled its technological capabilities in response to the missile threat against the home front, making it a global pioneer in missile defense. In 2000, the Arrow system was declared operational, and it seems that as the missile threat expands and grows stronger.
The latest test of the Arrow 3 was successfully completed in early January, giving the green light to complete the system which will add the upper layer to Israel's missile defense. For a decade, the IDF and IAI have been developing the Arrow 3, with generous financial aid from the US.
The IDF campaigned against steep cuts in the defense budget, which included several attempts to add the Arrow to the long list of strategically critical projects that were delayed or frozen for years. A few weeks ago, the IDF proved once again that the best spin is only that: the Arrow program has continued on schedule, with no slowdowns, no cuts, and a lot of determination.
A critical test of the new missile will be carried out in a few weeks. In this test, for the first time, the missile's operators will have to intercept a target missile that will simulate an incoming Iranian Shahab ballistic missile.
Although so far the Arrow 3 has only succeeded in intercepting threats to its R&D funding, the Ministry of Defense and IAI engineers are so convinced that the missile will work that they have decided not to waste precious time and to begin production.
Few interception tests are planned anyway, and if the tests that will be carried out indicate a gap between planned and actual performance, minor software updates should be able to correct them. An announcement that the Arrow 3 is operational is due is 2015.
The Arrow 3 is an evolutionary development of the Arrow 2. The next generation of the Arrow was developed with an eye to the latest threats in the missile arena: the program planner's guiding principle was that if Israel were to face nuclear-tipped missiles, it was best to intercept them as far away as possible. In addition to the environmental importance of intercepting unconventionally armed missiles above the atmosphere, the Arrow 3 gives the ground crew the time needed to fire an interceptor against an incoming missile and to fire a second interceptor if the first one misses.
Under these circumstances, the Arrow 2 will be the second interceptor. Batteries are already deployed at Ein Shemer and Palmachim.

Jan 22, 2014

Paveway GBU-50 for Mirage 2000D

Raytheon and the French Air Force completed a demonstration of a penetrator variant of a Paveway GBU-50 from a Mirage 2000D multirole fighter jet. The weapon met all flight objectives and scored a direct hit against a reinforced concrete slab.
Raytheon is committed to delivering GBU-50's French Air Force. Each Enhanced Paveway II guidance and control section is compatible with warheads ranging from the 250 pound MK-81 to the 2,000 pound MK-84 and BLU-109.
The Paveway bomb kit affordably transforms "dumb" bombs into cutting edge precision-guided munitions. The all-weather GBU-50, with its GPS/precision terminal laser guidance is in production with more than 200 units delivered to date.

US warships available for security backup for Sochi Olympics, US Navy says

U.S. Navy ships will be stationed near the Black Sea resort town of Sochi and will be available for contingency operations if Russian authorities call upon them for support during next month’s Olympic Games.
U.S. commanders in the region are conducting “prudent planning and preparations” if that support is required.
Concerns about security threats during the Olympics have grown in the wake of the deadly Dec. 29 explosion by a suspected suicide bomber in the southern Russian city of Volgograd. The bombing was followed a day later by an alleged suicide attack in the same city on a trolleybus.
The two attacks, which Russian officials say were carried out by militants from Russia’s North Caucasus region, killed 34 people and left dozens more wounded.
Russia’s struggle with Islamic militants dates back to the fall of the Soviet Union and the bloody wars of the 1990s against separatists in Chechnya.
In anticipation of the Olympics, Russian authorities have intensified security measures around Sochi.
In addition to ships forward-positioned in the Black Sea, the U.S. military maintains numerous military assets in the region that could assist in any evacuation of U.S. athletes, such as C-17s at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, special operations units based out of Stuttgart, Germany, and crisis-response U.S. Marines out of Spain.

India states that Russia can't deliver on Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has done a stunning about-turn, sharply criticising the showpiece Indo-Russian project to co-develop a futuristic Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). Even as New Delhi and Moscow finalise a $6 billion deal to co-develop an FGFA with capabilities tailor-made for India, the IAF has alleged the Russians would be unable to meet their promises about its performance.

So vital is the FGFA considered for the IAF's future that Defence Minister has publicly rejected any prospect of buying the American fifth generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, declaring the FGFA would suffice. In 2007, New Delhi and Moscow highlighted the fighter's criticality by signing an Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) placing the project above MoD procurement rules. Moreover, Indian scientists say the expertise gained from the FGFA will provide crucial momentum for developing an all-Indian fifth generation fighter, designated the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).
Yet, with so much riding on the FGFA, the IAF has taken aback the MoD with its complaint that it would not be good enough.
The IAF's three top objections to the FGFA are:
(a) The Russians are reluctant to share critical design information with India.
(b) The fighter's current AL-41F1 engines are inadequate, being mere upgrades of the Sukhoi-30MKI's AL-31 engines; and
(c) It is too expensive. With India paying $6 billion to co-develop the FGFA, "a large percentage of IAF's capital budget will be locked up.

While the MoD, HAL and the IAF continue discussions, Russia has gone ahead with developing a fifth-generation fighter. The Sukhoi Design Bureau has designed and done 300 test-flights of the T-50, the stealth fighter Sukhoi and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) plan to refine into the FGFA in about eight years. The Russian Air Force, which has less ambitious specifications than the IAF, plans to induct into service its own version of the T-50, the PAK-FA by 2017-18.


Hungary takes over Slovenian air policing

Hungary has taken over responsibility for policing Slovenia's airspace, it was announced on 3 January.
Under the arrangement, Hungarian Air Force Saab JAS 39 Gripen C/D fighter aircraft will provide air policing coverage of Slovenian airspace.
Since Slovenia's accession to NATO in 2004, Italy has provided air policing of Slovenian airspace with Italian Air Force aircraft based in Italy. The policing of Slovenian airspace is one of three extant NATO air policing missions.
Hungary's Gripen fighters are deployed with the 59th Tactical Fighter Wing's 1st Tactical Fighter Squadron at Kecskemét Air Base in central Hungary. The entirety of Slovenian airspace will fall within the Gripen's combat radius when operating from Kecskemét.
Hungary first announced it would take over the Slovenian air policing mission under a November 2012 agreement. In July 2013 a subsequent agreement confirmed that the Hungarian air policing role would begin in 2014.
Alongside the Slovenian air policing mission, NATO members took responsibility for the air policing of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, under the Baltic air policing mission, when they joined NATO with Slovenia in 2004. NATO launched another air policing mission in 2009 when Albania joined the alliance. Unlike the Slovenian and Albanian missions, which are conducted on an essentially permanent basis (respectively by Italy and now Hungary; and Italy and Greece jointly), the Baltic mission is conducted on four-month rotations.
NATO nations have also deployed aircraft to Iceland under a NATO mandate since 2008, following the end of regular US aircraft deployments to the country in 2006, although in January 2013 the status of this deployment was changed to a training.

Jan 21, 2014

US Army to acquire 20 more Lakotas

A US spending bill will provide the US Army with funds to acquire 20 Airbus Helicopters UH-72A Lakotas.
The aircraft will be used by both the US Army and the Army National Guard, and will be delivered between September 2014 and July 2015.
UH-72As are made at a factory in Columbus, Mississippi. The security and support battalion version of the UH-72A can have an electro-optical/infrared sensor, secure data channel for live video downloading, a hoist and a crew information station. The National Guard uses aircraft with those systems to conduct security and support along the US-Mexico border.
Airbus also expects to deliver six UH-72As in 2014 that were ordered by Thailand.

RAF takes delivery of first three Chinook HC6s

The UK Royal Air Force has taken delivery of the first three Boeing CH-47 Chinook HC6 helicopters from an order for 14 of the heavy-lift transport type.
Based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire, the aircraft arrived on 19 December 2013. They will enter service with the RAF in early 2014 with the start of training activities, it says. The remainder of the Chinooks "are on schedule to be delivered by the end of 2015", adds the ministry.
The UK's HC6 derivative of the Chinook is being produced with a Thales-sourced cockpit developed for the modernisation of the RAF's legacy fleet under an effort dubbed Project Julius. This will bring the RAF's previous 44 HC2/2A and HC3-standard aircraft to a common HC4 avionics configuration.

Italian Predator Bs start Afghan duty

The Italian air force has begun using its General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Predator B unmanned air system in Afghanistan.
Operating from Herat air base in support of the NATO-ISAF, the new type will replace the A-model Predators previously flown by the Italian air force in the country.
Italy’s unarmed Predator Bs will be used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks. The type was previously used by the air force during the NATO-led campaign to protect Libyan civilians in 2011.
Italy’s Predator B acquisition totals six air vehicles, plus related equipment.

Morocco to acquire surplus French Harfangs UAV

The Royal Moroccan Air Force is evaluating the purchase of additional Israel Aerospace Industries Heron 1/Harfang unmanned air systems via France.
A version of the medium-altitude, long-endurance Heron adapted for the French air force, the Harfang is used to perform strategic reconnaissance and tracking missions.
According to foreign sources a Moroccan purchase of three Harfang UAS has been made, with Israeli approval, and additional aircraft could follow. The ties between Morocco and Israel are good, despite the fact that diplomatic relations between the nations were cut in 2000.
It is not clear what payloads will be carried by the UAS Morocco has purchased, but these are likely to be Israeli-produced.
The French air force recently fielded its first two of a planned 12 General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Reaper UAVs, with the aircraft now supporting its military intervention in Mali.

Airbus awaits closure of contract for India air-to-air refuelling aircraft

With a year having passed since it had been selected by the Indian Government as the “preferred bidder” to supply its A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transport to the Indian Air Force (IAF), the European defence major Airbus Defence and Space on Thursday said it was confident of the deal being finalised within the current fiscal. In the meantime, the Government has urged Airbus to extend the validity of its tender bid to July 31, 2014.
Speaking during a media interaction organized to make India aware of its airlifter, the A400 M, officials of Airbus said they were confident of the contract for the supply of six A330 MRTT getting through very soon.
The aircraft, the Airbus said had been selected following a lengthy and thorough selection process including the completion of extensive flight demonstrations in India during which the aircraft refuelled multiple types of IAF fighters and operated from the high-altitude IAF base at Leh.
After the short listing of the company, detailed negotiations followed and while the final production contract for the six aircraft was expected to come through in 2013, Airbus is now banking on it happening before the elections.
At the time of selecting the A330 MRTT, India had become the fifth nation to do so – the others being Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom which had ordered a total of 28 aircrafts.