Feb 28, 2014

El Ejército del Aire realiza el Ejercicio Sirio 2014

El 17 de febrero comenzó la ejecución del Ejercicio Sirio 2014, el más importante que realiza el Ejército del Aire a lo largo del año.
El Sirio es un ejercicio de defensa aérea, de periodicidad anual, en el que intervienen la práctica totalidad de las unidades del Ejército del Aire, además de contar con el apoyo de otras unidades de las Fuerzas Armadas. El objetivo principal es adiestrar al Mando Aéreo de Combate y a sus unidades en el planeamiento, conducción y ejecución de operaciones aéreas para conseguir la superioridad aérea en una situación de crisis.
Como novedad este año, es de destacar la puesta en funcionamiento de un JFAC (Joint Force Air Component). Este elemento es un salto cualitativo relevante en la capacidad del Ejército del Aire para asumir el mando del componente aéreo de una organización operativa conjunto-combinada.
El ejercicio Sirio se ha dividido en tres fases. La primera fase consiste en la instrucción y familiarización del personal en relación a su puesto de trabajo, principalmente dentro del JFAC, y en la creación de un escenario de crisis ficticio. En esta fase, también como parte del adiestramiento, se lleva a cabo el planeamiento operativo y la conducción de operaciones aéreas simuladas. En la segunda y tercera fases se ejecutan, ya con medios reales, las operaciones aéreas planeadas en la fase I.

Russian Fighter Jets Patrolling Ukraine Border

Russia sent fighter jets to patrol its border with Ukraine on Thursday, as fast-paced developments threatened to undermine the new Ukrainian government in Kyiv.
Gunmen seized control of government buildings in Crimea, a Ukrainian region with strong ties to Moscow and home to a Russian naval base in Sevastpol. The gunmen raised the Russian tri-color flag.
While Russian jets soared through the skies in military exercises ordered by President Vladimir Putin, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Moscow to not take any action on Ukraine that could be misinterpreted.
Crimea has been the scene of confrontations between supporters of Ukraine's new government and pro-Russia activists.

British Army to start Watchkeeper flights in April

The British Army is within weeks of performing its first training flightsWatchkeeper unmanned air system.
The type “should commence flying from Boscombe Down in early March 2014.
The first flights from the MoD/Qinetiq flight test centre will be conducted in association with the Thales UK/Elbit Systems joint venture responsible for developing the tactical UAS.
Once these have been completed an initial release to service is expected to be authorised to allow the first military flights by the army from early April 2014.
The army’s Watchkeeper system will eventually comprise 54 air vehicles, 15 ground control stations and associated equipment.

Australia's C-17s have achieved FOC

Australia’s entire fleet of six Boeing C-17 transports has achieved final operational capability (FOC).
The Royal Australian Air Force’s first four C-17s achieved FOC status in 2011, but as two additional aircraft were purchased separately their FOCs took longer.
The six aircraft are operated by 36 Sqn at Amberley air base in Queensland.

Third and Fourth Royal Australian Navy MH-60R Helicopters Complete Production

The third and fourth MH-60R “Romeo” helicopters take flight from the Lockheed Martin facility in Owego, N.Y., to join the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) first pair of helicopters training at Jacksonville, Florida.
On Jan. 24, the U.S. Navy officially delivered two Romeos to the RAN..
The entire fleet of 24 aircraft will be delivered to the RAN by 2017.

Turkey likely to order Lockheed F-35 fighters in 2015

Turkey is likely to start ordering F-35 from 2015 onwards and it will start with two orders initially. The delivery time will be in 2017-2018."
Turkey had already announced it plans to buy 100 F-35 jets with the deliveriesto be completed within 10 years.

Lockheed Martin starts campaign to save U-2S fleet

With the US Air Force's U-2S fleet facing a threatened early retirement in 2015, Lockheed Martin has finally gone on the defensive to save one of its landmark programmes from replacement by the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk.
Lockheed’s U-2 programme director, says the U-2S is the only high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft that can perform the mission based on the USAF’s requirements.
Although the fleet is often confused, the 32 active U-2S "Senior Year" aircraft and TU-2S trainers operated by the USAF today bear little resemblance to the original reconnaissance fleet delivered to the US Central Intelligence Agency in the late 1950s.
Current U-2 fleet was between 1982 and 1989, and were subsequently upgraded with a new engine. USAF has been upgrading U-2Ssince 1993. Up to 10 aircraft in the U-2S fleet were upgraded in 2013 with a new communications gateway payload.

Poland buys 8 M-346 from Alenia Aermacchi

Alenia Aermacchi has signed a contract with Poland to supply eight M-346 Master..
In addition, is also included logistic support, a training programme for pilots and engineers and ground-based training system.
After Italy, Singapore and Israel, Poland is the fourth customer to order the M-346, . The Polish contract raises the number of M-346 aircraft ordered to date to 56.

India Looking Abroad For Intermediate Jet Trainers

Saddled with obsolete training aircraft, the Indian air force has decided to snub the long-delayed, indigenous HJT-36 Sitara intermediate jet trainer and purchase new trainers from abroad.
The IAF has issued a request for information for a lightweight, single-engine, twin-seat trainer with a secondary light attack capability.
The RFI comes weeks after Indian Defense Minister said the much-delayed Sitara IJT is likely to be operational this year..
The IAF has been reluctant to exercise the option of buying an IJT since the state-run HAL has been developing a trainer for the force for the last 15 years.
India has been forced to take this decision as deadlines for getting the operational clearance for Sitara have been breached on a number of occasions.
The RFI for new a IJT states that the aircraft should be capable of operating from airfields at least 2000 meters above sea level.
The aircraft should be capable of carrying at least 1000 kg (2,200 lb.) of external load and be equipped with a minimum of five hard points, with each stressed to carry at least 300 kg.
The aircraft should be capable of employing a lightweight gun-pod with adequate ammunition for at least five seconds of firing time and reusable rocket pods, and should] be able to carry at least four 250-kg bombs.

Feb 27, 2014

US Army Seeks To Purchase 100 Lakota Helicopters

The US Army will request money to buy 100 new UH-72 Lakota light utility helicopters. The helicopters will eventually replace training aircraft,as part of a larger restructuring of its rotary aviation fleet.
The proposed new helicopters are part of a controversial plan that came to light in December. The proposal calls for the Army National Guard to hand its fleet of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters over to the active-duty Army while receiving Black Hawk helicopters in return. The Army also wants to divest its entire fleet of OH-58 Kiowa scout helicopters, using the Guard Apaches to fulfill that mission.
The new Lakotas would replace the TH-67 training helicopters that the service will also do away with.

Pentagon will plan for possible carrier cut in 2015

The Pentagon will take steps next year to retire an aircraft carrier in case Congress does not lift sequestration by 2016.
The Pentagon recently released a preview of its defense budget request for 2015, which includes cuts to the size of the Army and Marine Corps, laying up 11 Navy cruisers, cutting Air Force A-10 and U-2 fleets. Defense leaders say those reductions will get worse if sequestration is not relieved for 2016.

USAF Expects Long-Range Bomber RFP in Fall

The US Air Force intends to issue a request for proposal (RFP) on its new long-range strike bomber this fall.
There are two not identified teams at present who are working on pre-proposal types of activities, preparing to take the next step in competition on the long-range strike bomber.
It has been widely assumed for months that the two competitors for the program are Northrop Grumman and the team of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
What is known about the bomber is fairly limited. It has been identified as one of the three key modernization priorities.
The Air Force intends to start fielding the platforms in the mid-2020s, with penetrating capability in mind. The service will procure between 80 and 100 of the bombers.

Boeing Receives Contract for 16 P-8A Poseidon Aircraft

Boeing's P-8A Poseidon program will enter full production, following a contract award from the U.S. Navy for 16 additional aircraft.
The order, which will take the total fleet to 53, marks a transition from preliminary low-rate production.
Boeing has delivered 13 P-8As to the Navy, which deployed its first patrol squadron to Kadena, Japan in December 2013 and has been conducting operational missions since then.
The Navy plans to purchase 117 P-8As to replace its P-3 fleet.

Norway to buy 36 AIM-120 AMRAAM

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Norway for AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM Missiles and associated equipment.
Norway has requested a possible sale of 36 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and 8 Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs)
The principal contractor will be Raytheon.

Airbus not optimistic for Eurofighter export chances

Airbus chief executive is not optimistic when it comes to chances for selling its Eurofighter jet to markets outside of Europe.
It's expected to score one or the other success in export, but Airbus also has to prepare a scenario due to the lack of export orders, plus cancellations of core customers.
The production this aircraft is to be ramped down sooner rather than later.
One of those core customers, Germany, is reducing an order for the fighter jets and Airbus is currently in discussions over changes to the purchase contract.
The group was also dealt a blow when India chose the Rafale after a bidding contest against the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

Possible Six-Month F-35 Delays After Development Ends

F-35 activities planned to take place after the program’s development phase ends in 2016 could slip by up to six months, according to U.S. Air Force.
Work leading up to completion of development of the multinational program is largely on track.
The Marines are slated to declare initial operational capability with the F-35B, optimized for short-takeoff and vertical landing, as early as June 2015, with the U.S. Air Force to follow as early as August 2016. Both require the 2B software while only the Air Force is awaiting delivery of new processing hardware. Thus, if such a delay does take place, it will have the most dramatic effect on the Navy, which is slated to declare IOC as early as August 2018.

Turkey refuses to accept A400M

Airbus Chief Executive said he’s frustrated by Turkey’s failure to accept delivery of the third production A400M airlifter, even though two planes are flying successfully with French forces.
Airbus is still bargaining over the delivery process with Turkey, which has 10 A400Ms on order.
The aircraft is ready to go,and it’s the same aircraft that delivered to the French Air Force that has been instantly operational and fit for flight.
Airbus is ramping up A400M production following years of delays and cost increases that mean the program won’t make a profit unless additional orders are won beyond the 174 already secured..
Airbus should deliver 10 or 11 A400Ms this year while working on upgrading the turboprop to its full capabilities. The first planes have performed well in ferrying French troops to Mali to combat insurgents.
Turkey is a 5.5 percent shareholder in the A400M program, with Turkish Aerospace Industries supplying fuselage and wing parts for the plane to Bremen in Germany and Filton, England, for integration before final assembly in Seville, Spain.

Feb 26, 2014

Spanish Navy BAM 'Tornado' helps an Iranian dhow in Indian Ocean more than 100 miles offshore

Spanish Special Operations Troops in Exercise Flintlock 14 in Niger

Modified J-20 Chinese Fighter seen being prepared for maiden test flight

Images emerged on 20 February of a modified prototype Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) J-20 fifth-generation fighter undertaking high-speed taxi runs.
These taxi runs are presumably prior to its maiden flight and suggest it may be a pre-production variant slated for formal testing by the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).
Photographs of the prototype first appeared on Chinese military web sites in December 2013 and January, although some of these images appeared to have been digitally altered. The prototype carries the bort number '2011' and shows modifications intended to improve engine performance, combat capability and stealth.
Most noticeable are redesigned engine intakes featuring more of a sloped 'caret' design said to improve pressure distributions for the engine. The vertical stabilizers have been clipped in their outer aft corners and the main wheel doors and the internal weapons bay cover feature larger scalloping to aid low observability. The canopy also features a new brace.
A new electronic targeting system is located below the nose and just aft the radar. This and the J-20's distributed infrared sensor system points indicate Chengdu's ambitions to give the J-20 an optical and infrared targeting and warning system similar to that of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The new intake shape and electronic targeting system may also suggest multirole ambitions for the J-20, which has a larger internal weapons bay than the F-35.

USAF declares IOC for C-5M

The USAF has declared initial operating capability (IOC) for its Lockheed Martin C-5M following successful tests.
For IOC, initial spare equipment and parts had to be available in the base supply system at Dover Air Force Base (AFB) in Delaware, as well as spares at some forward supply locations..
With delivery of the 16th aircraft to the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover AFB, the base is now waiting on its final two aircraft to bring it up to full strength.
The C-5M, is the result of a two-phase modernisation programme that includes the Avionics Modernisation Programme (AMP), and the ongoing Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Programme (RERP).
The modernisation programme is designed to improve the fleet mission capability rate as well as the overall reliability and maintainability of the aircraft while reducing total ownership costs.
The Galaxy is the only aircraft in the USAF's inventory that is capable of carrying 100% of the US military's certified air-transportable cargo and, with more than 70% of its structural service life remaining, the C-5M is expected to remain in service until 2040.
The USAF's total C-5 fleet changes monthly based on congressional approval of C-5A retirements. There are currently 37 C-5A, 32 C-5B, and two C-5C aircraft in the inventory, in addition to the 16 C-5Ms now delivered. Current USAF plans call for the C-5A/B/C fleets to be replaced by 52 fully modernised C-5Ms by 2017.

Lockheed Secretly Demonstrates New Stealthy Fighter Comms

Lockheed Martin has demonstrated a secretly developed capability to fix one of the shortfalls of its stealthy F-22 and F-35 fighters: their inability to link to one another, or to legacy fighters, for air campaigns.
The company recently showcased a new datalink capability for the fighters through Project Missouri. During the demonstration, Lockheed validated the use of a Link 16 transmit capability from the twin-engine F-22 Raptor as well as showcased a waveform developed by L-3 Communications and optimized for low-probability-of-intercept/low-probability-of-detection transmissions.
The demonstration required 8 hr. of flight time and took place Dec. 17 and 19. The trials required the use of an Air Force Raptor as well as an F-35, and a 737-based flying laboratory that is used to test F-35 software standing in as a Joint Strike Fighter surrogate. The F-22 was able to transmit to a Link 16 terminal on the ground.
The F-22 was designed to communicate only with other Raptors in an effort to reduce emissions from the aircraft to maintain signal stealth in the event of a peer-to-peer engagement. However, because of a dramatic cutback in the number of Raptors purchased, 187 operational, the aircraft must now communicate with F-35s.

Allies Intensify Pressure on Turkey Over China Missile Deal

The Turkish government and the country’s largest defense company are under increasing pressure from Turkey’s NATO allies to rethink a September decision to award an air defense contract to a Chinese bidder.
If Turkey finalizes the deal with the Chinese manufacturer, its entire defense cooperation effort with Western counterparts, including defense and non-defense companies, could be jeopardized.
Specifically, officials with Turkish company Aselsan are concerned that its connection to the deal could harm its corporate relations with Western banks.
In September, Turkey selected China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp. (CPMIEC) to construct the country’s first long-range air and anti-missile defense system. The Turkish government said it opted for the Chinese solution based mainly on deliberations over price and technology transfer.
The Chinese contender defeated a US partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, offering the Patriot air defense system; Russia’s Rosoboronexport, marketing the S-300; and Italian-French consortium Eurosam, maker of the Aster 30.
Turkish officials said if contract negotiations with CPMIEC fail, talks would be opened with the second-place finisher, Eurosam. Next in line would be the US bidder. The Russian option has been eliminated.
But NATO and US officials have said any Chinese-built system could not be integrated with Turkey’s joint air defense assets with NATO and the United States.
They also have warned that any Turkish company that may act as local subcontractor in the program would face serious US sanctions because CPMIEC is on a US list of companies to be sanctioned under the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act.
In December, Aselsan, potentially CPMIEC’s main Turkish partner in the contract, became the first casualty of the US sanctions. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a US investment bank, pulled out of a joint bid to advise Aselsan on its second listing on Istanbul’s stock exchange.

Prowlers Depart on Last Carrier Deployment

The Feb. 14 departure of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush on its current deployment from Norfolk Naval Station, Va., marks the final scheduled carrier deployment of the EA-6B Prowler electronic attack aircraft.
Unless another carrier with a squadron of Prowlers surges over the next year, the deployment of Electronic Attack Squadron 134 (VAQ-134) on the George H.W. Bush will be the last carrier cruise for the EA-6B.
The EA-6B will be retired from Navy service in 2015, but will continue in Marine Corps service until 2019.
The Prowler made its first deployment in 1971 during the Vietnam War. Grumman Aircraft Corp. built 170 EA-6Bs.
Upon its return from deployment, VAQ-134 will convert to the Boeing-built EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft.

Israel could double V-22 order

Israel could double the size of a potential order and buy 12 V-22 Osprey and form part of a plan to preserve production of the tiltrotor aircraft for several more years.
The US Department of Defense notified Congress on 14 January that Israel had requested a potential sale of six V-22s.
But the Israeli government has requested information from the manufacturer for an order of twice that amount, according Bell.
The possibility of extending the Israeli deal could prove critical for Bell Helicopter’s ongoing efforts to preserve V-22 sales well beyond 2015.
The initial six aircraft expected to be ordered by Israel are not additional orders. They will instead be taken from six orders currently assigned to the US Marine Corps.
A second multiyear contract signed last year includes orders for 99 more V-22s and 23 options. One option has already been exercised to replace an aircraft.
Moreover, Japan has budgeted to buy 17 V-22s in a long-term spending plan released last month.
Longer-term, the Navy also is still looking for a replacement for the C-2 Greyhound. The service originally committed to buy 48 HV-22s, but a contract hasn't been signed. But one of the deficiencies of the V-22 for naval service has been an inability to carry the container that transports the Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-600 engine for the Lockheed Martin F-35B.

Feb 25, 2014

Airbus 'wants money' for german cancelled Eurofihghters

Airbus is demanding 900 million euros in compensation from Germany for cancelling an order for a batch of 37 Eurofighter jets.
The amount had emerged in a closed-door parliamentary budget meeting last week in which the scrapped fighter-jet order was also reported to lawmakers.
None of the details has been confirmed by the companies involved or the German defence ministry.
The reduction had already been decided in late 2011.

Pentagon To Retire A-10, U-2s

US Defense Secretary made official Monday many of the expected cuts to legacy and modernization weapons programs across the military to include historic favorites like the A-10 and controversial platforms like the Littoral Combat Ship.
The Pentagon announced its plan to cut the entire A-10 and U-2 fleets as the Air Force transitions to the F-35 and Global Hawk respectively. Air Force leaders had said in the months leading up to the announcement that the service can no longer afford aircraft that fly niche missions.
The Navy’s variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, is similarly under pressure from sequestration cuts. The Pentagon would have to halt procurement of the carrier variant for two years if sequestration remains.

Feb 24, 2014

Spanish Navy BAM Relampago departs toward the Indian Ocean to fight against piracy

Amphibious exercise in the Gulf of Cadiz and Sierra del Retin (Spain) involving units Spain, U.S. and Portugal

First Qatari PC-21 enters ground test

Pilatus conducted the first engine ground runs with a PC-21 for export to Qatar.
Aircraft QA 350 is the lead trainer from a 24-unit deal signed in July 2012. This also includes ground-based training systems and associated equipment for use at a new training academy for the Qatar Emiri Air Force, plus maintenance services.
The PC-21's entry into ground testing comes ahead of scheduled deliveries from mid-2014. Training activities with the type are due to commence during 2015. All 24 aircraft are due to be delivered before the end of the same year.
Qatar will become the fifth nation to introduce the new-generation PC-21, following Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

Time Running Out on Europe's Typhoon Orders

Production of the Eurofighter Typhoon may conclude at the end of 2017 if there are no further orders from the program's four partner nations or export customers.
Governments and industry are in discussions over the fate of the final order of Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets for the four partner nations involved in the program amid Germany’s plan to end its purchases early.
The British, German, Italian and Spanish governments are in negotiations with industry over whether to go ahead with part or all of what is known as the Typhoon Tranche 3B order.
An Italian source said the industry partners have given the governments a deadline to decide whether they wish to order Tranche 3B aircraft or not.
The four nations are on the hook for a total of 124 Tranche 3B aircraft for what is planned to be the last batch of the twin-engine planes to be delivered to the European partners.
With budget cuts across Europe biting into Air Force fighter jet numbers, analysts have for some time written off the possibility of a Tranche 3B order, unless export orders are counted as part of the commitment.
The governments might have to pay compensation to industry if they do not turn their longstanding commitment to buy the remaining Tranche 3 aircraft into a firm order.
Tranche 3 was split into 3A and 3B portions as a compromise among the four nations and industry in 2009, after the governments balked at committing to the entire remaining order for the fighter jet amid the deepening economic crisis in Europe and beyond.
Britain has the largest 3B commitment at 48 aircraft, followed by Germany with 37, Italy with 25 and Spain with 14. All but the Germans have deep public finance problems, which have led to reductions in defense spending.
The first of 112 Tranche 3A aircraft ordered by the four nations was test flown by BAE for the first time late last year.
Assembly lines across the four nations will start going quiet at the end of 2017 if there are no further orders from the partner nations or export customers.
Executives, though, say they are confident production of the Typhoon will continue well beyond 2020 on the back of export orders.
An additional order for Saudi Arabia and a possible deal with Bahrain look like the best prospects in the export market.
The fighter also is competing in Qatar and Kuwait, and secondhand planes are being offered for lease by Malaysia.
India remains a potential customer if France’s Dassault Aviation fails to seal long-running negotiations to supply the Rafale.
The United Arab Emirates could also re-emerge as a customer, even though the gulf state and BAE broke off negotiations in December for a possible 72-jet order.
More than 400 Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 Typhoons have been delivered to the four partner nations, plus export customers Austria and Saudi Arabia. The aircraft has also been purchased by Oman.

US Air Force Begins Massive B-1B Overhaul

The Air Force is in the early phases of a multi-year technological overhaul and upgrade of its B1-B Lancer bomber fleet which will outfit all 62 aircraft with a wide-ranging suite of new displays, computer technology and avionics.
Called Integrated Battle Station (IBS), the upgrades consist of three separate efforts to install new displays, integrated data links and diagnostic technologies. The service began fielding the first production IBS aircraft in November of last year and plans to finish the entire fleet by 2019.
This modernization is the most significant upgrade to the B-1 since initial production. The upgrades are intended to preserve the service-life of the B-1 aircraft through 2040.
The B1-B has dropped weapons in a wide range of conflicts. After first serving in Operation Desert Fox over Iraq in 1998, the aircraft has performed missions in Operation Allied Force over Kosovo, served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and flown missions over Libya in 2011.
During the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom, eight B-1s dropped nearly 40-percent of the total tonnage delivered by coalition air forces. This included roughly 3,900 guided bombs or Joint Direct Attack Munitions, JDAMs.

Turkey, Sikorsky Sign $3.5 Billion Helicopter Deal

Turkish Prime Minister announced Friday that his government and Sikorsky Aircraft had signed a long-dormant contract to co-produce an initial batch of 109 utility helicopters.
Turkey in 2011 selected Sikorsky as its partner company to lead production of the country’s next-generation utility helicopters. Sikorsky defeated Italian-British AgustaWestland by bidding its T-70, the Turkish version of its S-70 Black Hawk International.
The first batch will be for 109 utility helicopters, but with follow-on orders, more than 600 platforms could be built.
Most helicopters in the first batch will go to the military, with the Gendarmerie receiving the largest portion, and the Army, Navy, Air Force and the special forces command each getting their share. The remaining machines will go to the Security Directorate, meaning the police forces, and to the Firefighting Department

F-35 cracks need redesign, Marines still on track for 2015 combat use

Lockheed Martin must redesign bulkheads on its F-35 fighter jet that developed cracks after extended stress testing, but the issue is not expected to delay the U.S. Marine Corps' plans to start using the plane in combat beginning in 2015, according Pentagon and Marine Corps officials, that consider this significant, but by no catastrophic.
The F-35 remains the Pentagon's highest priority conventional warfare program.
This discovery does not affect current F-35B flying operations, nor is it expected to impact the U.S. Marine Corps' ability to meet its Initial Operating Capability (IOC) in 2015.

First mass production J-16 conducts test flight

China's first mass production J-16 fighter conducted its first test flight.
The difference between the mass production J-16 and the prototype aircraft with the serial number 1601 is that the former does not have an airspeed tube. The number 0102 indicated on the engine intake of the 1602 also shows that the number of J-16s produced may be limited. Meanwhile, it is possible that units of PLA Air Force or Navy Air Force may already be equipped with the some of the advanced fighters, designed based on the Chinese J-11, for operational tests.
China has devoted massive resources to developing the precision attack capability of its air force. Unlike the J-11, which was mainly designed for aerial combat, the J-16 can now carry munitions and missiles for ground attack missions. The fighter is also capable of carrying more ground attack munitions than any other type of fighter in China.
In addition, the J-16 is also equipped with active electronically scanned array radar and a helmet mounted display and sight system. This new fighter-bomber is likely to fill a gap between China's fourth-generation fighter and fifth-generation stealth fighters.

Russian Air Force Receives 2nd T-50 Stealth Fighter Prototype

The second T-50 prototype was delivered to the Russian Air Force for flight testing.
The first T-50had been delivered to a military airfield in Russia’s southern Astrakhan region for test flights.
Russian Air Force combat squadrons could expect deliveries of the production version of PAK-FA in 2016 at the latest.
Sukhoi has been conducting its own test flights of several of the aircraft since 2010, including in-flight refueling and high-agility maneuvers. The company said in October that these had produced favorable results.

Philippine government reached agreement to buy 12 FA-50s

Philippines has approved the payment scheme for the purchase of 12 lead-in fighter trainer jets from South Korea, taking the deal to acquire the air assets a step closer to completion.
The defense department has been allowed to make an advance payment of 15 percent of the total contract price to South Korean firm Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI).
The defense department is seeking to complete the negotiations with KAI within the week..
KAI initially wanted 52 percent down payment to cover manufacturing costs, but it dropped the payment scheme and agreed to a progressive payment.

Taiwan’s AH-64Es still grounded

The Taiwan military is fitting the 12 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters it received from the US with new flight transmission boxes, following questions over when the choppers will be put back into service.
Once the transmission boxes are installed, a full range of safety tests will be conducted before formal test flights will be scheduled.
Training missions will resume once the test flights are completed and the safety of the helicopters is verified.
Army officials had said on Feb. 11 that the helicopters would be put back into service the following week, but that deadline has apparently been pushed back.
The 12 aircraft are part of a 30-helicopter package ordered from the US in June 2011.
The model E aircraft is the latest in the Apache attack helicopter series.
The army received its first delivery of six Apache helicopters in November last year, followed by a second batch last month.
The 12 helicopters were grounded after the military received a notification from the US in December last year about a main transmission failure in one of the Apache AH-64Es in service in the US army.
No problems were found in the helicopters in Taiwan, but the transmissions are still being replaced as a precaution.
The final three batches of six choppers will be delivered to Taiwan with the new transmission boxes later this year and are scheduled to arrive next month, in May and July respectively.
Taiwan and the US are currently the only two countries that have used the latest Apache helicopter model.

Feb 23, 2014

RAF lifts flying ban on Voyager fleet

Britain has lifted a flying ban on its fleet of Airbus-made Voyager military aircraft more than a week after it grounded the planes.
The Royal Air Force said on Feb. 12 that it had suspended flying of its Voyager fleet after an "inflight issue" on Feb. 9. The plane plummeted between 3,000 and 5,000 feet while flying over Turkey.

France To Take 2 A330 MRTT Versions

The French Air Force has agreed to take two versions of the A330 MRTT aircraft, with the first type to be equipped with off-the-shelf avionics and refueling system.
France has been cleared to order 12 Airbus A330 MRTT to replace their aging 14-strong fleet of C-135 FR jets.
The service had asked for a cargo door, a specific refueling rig and a satcom datalink, but a lack of funds and a need for early delivery led to an order of two versions of the MRTT aircraft.
The first tranche will be equipped with avionics and a central boom and an underwing drogue and hose system already developed, to be delivered as soon as possible.
A second MRTT version includes the cargo door and a datalink that allows the plane to receive information from the Rafale fighter.
The first aircraft type will later be retrofitted.
The service had asked for a central drogue and hose to be added to the boom system so that its version could be refueled in flight. Those features have been canceled.
Under the 2014-19 multiyear budget law, two MRTT units are to be ordered, with the others to follow.

New Tailfin design for the RAF Red Arrows to mark the Team's 50th display season in 2014

Spain Military trains Mali troops

Feb 21, 2014

BAE Systems says Malaysia seeking Eurofihgter leasing bids

BAE Systems expects to submit a leasing proposal for the Eurofighter Typhoon jet to Malaysia next month, as its cash-strapped government mulls over renting, rather than buying fighter aircraft.
Last year Malaysia, which had wanted to buy 18 combat aircraft by 2015, said it was choosing between Boeing's F/A-18, Dassault's Rafale, Saab's Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon.
The purchase could run into billions of dollars and Malaysia's Prime Minister told the purchase might be delayed.

Australia to Acquire Eight Boeing P-8A

Australia is to acquire eight new Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft, to watch over a vast area of ocean and if necessary attack enemy ships and submarines and stopping the flow of asylum seeker boats.
It's expected the first one to be in operational service by 2017.
The P-8A will replace RAAF 19 elderly Lockheed AP-3C Orion. There's an option for four more.
Poseidons are now entering service with the US and Indian navies.
They can be equipped with Harpoon missiles to attack ships and torpedoes and depth charges to attack submarines and conduct search and rescue missions.
In Australian service, the new Poseidons will eventually operate in conjunction with proposed Triton unmanned surveillance aircraft.
As a new aircraft, the Poseidon has experienced problems, with the Pentagon last month deeming US Navy Poseidons ineffective at their primary jobs of reconnaissance and submarine hunting because of problems with the radar and other systems.

Feb 20, 2014

BrahMos Prepares Reduced-Weight Missile For Export

BrahMos Aerospace sees a big future for its projects, both in terms of sales to India and in exports—including the reduced-weight supersonic missile that is still in development.

Airbus to begin flight trials of Tanan Block 2 UAS

Airbus Defence and Space is performing ground tests on the Tanan Block 2 vertical take-off and landing unmanned aircraft system (UAS), with first flight expected to take place in next couple of months.
News of the impending first flight came as a quarter-scale mock-up of the rotary-winged UAS was being showcased at the Singapore Airshow.
With the Block 1 Tanan having been based on the CybAero's APID 60 design, the Block 2 has a large amount of changes in the aircraft structure and control systems.
Visible differences from the Block 1 includes changes in the location of the electro-optic sensor, provision for a maritime radar under the nose, the Harpoon deck-recovery system, and an increased rotor column length to improve flight performance. The Block 2 version retains the same heavy fuel engine successfully flight tested in Block 1 version.
Tanan Block 2 has a maximum take-off weight of 350 kg, and is capable of carrying 80 kg of mission payload. It has a maximum endurance of 12 hours, a top speed of 80 kt, a radius of operation of 100 n miles, and a service ceiling of 13,000 ft.
There have been no firm contracts to date, navies around the world are showing strong interest on the latest version of Tanan.

Saab looks for additional Thai Gripen sale

Saab is in discussions with Thailand for six additional Gripen C/D fighters. Talks are ongoing between parts.
Thailand already operates 12 Gripens, two Saab 340 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, and two Saab 340 transports.

Singapore Air Force to receive last M-346 trainers

Singapore’s new-generation advanced jet trainer fleet will be complete within weeks, with Alenia Aermacchi poised to deliver its last of 12 M-346 aircraft.
Ten aircraft have already been delivered, along with associated ground-based training equipment and an initial package of logistics support. The remainder will follow in March.
Operations with Singapore’s first M-346s began at Cazaux air base in France in February 2013, with its first student pilot having entered training the following month.
Singapore ordered its M-346 fleet in 2010 as replacements for aged Douglas A-4 Skyhawk trainers. Alenia Aermacchi is teamed with Boeing and ST Aerospace to deliver the programme.
Alenia Aermacchi has also sold the twin-engined type to Israel and Italy, and been formally selected by Poland.

Upgraded version of China's J-20 Stealth jet 'set for maiden flight'

China is said to be planning the maiden flight soon of the upgraded version of the J-20 stealth fighter.
A number of photos recently taken by aviation enthusiasts at an unidentified base, and widely circulated on websites that follow the Chinese military, show a prototype of the twin-engine, fifth-generation aircraft with the serial code "2011" painted on both sides of the cockpit. The first test flight of the prototype aircraft is imminent and is expected to take place in Chengdu, where, Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, is headquartered.
The newest J-20 is the stealth fighter's third prototype since the aircraft's debut three years ago.
In January 2011, the J-20's first prototype made its maiden flight at an unidentified airfield in Chengdu. The 15- minute flight made China the third nation in the world to "develop and test-fly a full-size stealth combat aircraft prototype", after the United States and Russia.
China launched its stealth fighter programs in the late 1990s. It is also developing a single-engine, radar-evading fifth-generation jet fighter called the J-31. That aircraft has undergone several test flights.
China reportedly conducted test flights of a second J-20 prototype in Chengdu in May 2012.
A series of improvements have been made to the stealth fighter. It reportedly has a new air intake design, shorter engine nozzles and a sensor technology that helps pilots detect and track enemy aircraft or missiles in every direction simultaneously.

Germany cancels delivery of last 37 Eurofighter jets

Germany will not take delivery of the final shipment of 37 Eurofighter jets.
The cancellation means Airbus Group, will miss out on business. In 2011 the cost of a single Eurofighter in the first shipment of jets was put at 57 million euros.
Originally, the German military wanted 180 Eurofighters but there has never been a decision or a contract for the final tranche.

BAE Systems agrees pricing on Saudi Eurofighter deal

British defence contractor BAE Systems has finally agreed pricing with Saudi Arabia on its long-delayed Eurofighter Typhoon jet deal.
The original contract, had to be renegotiated after Saudi requested more advanced weaponry and equipment for the Typhoon fleet.
The saga has been watched closely by countries such as Bahrain, Qatar and Malaysia as they weigh up the Typhoon against competitors including Lockheed Martin's F-35, Dassault Aviation's Rafale fighter and the Gripen made by Sweden's Saab.
With the deal price finalised, BAE and Saudi Arabia are now likely to begin talks on a second batch of Eurofighters, which could bring an order for up to 72 more aircraft.

Feb 19, 2014

Kuwait receives uniquely-liveried C-17

Kuwait has received its first of an expected two Boeing C-17, with the airlifter sporting a special livery for the Gulf state.
As with other international operators of the C-17, Boeing will support the Kuwaiti fleet via its Globemaster III integrated sustainment programme. It has previously signed a letter of intent to also acquire a second example.
Kuwait joins the air forces of Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the UK, the United Arab Emirates and the USA in operating the C-17, along with a consortium of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. Its first aircraft is the 260th of the type to have been delivered. The company is continuing with its efforts to find buyers for a remaining 15 units being built without confirmed customers.

Poland confirms M-346 selection after tests

Poland's has confirmed its selection of the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 for its air force's advanced jet trainer requirement, after the completion of verification flights with the type from Deblin air base.
Performed between 3 and 5 February, the activity comprised two test flights, during each of which a Polish air force pilot joined an Alenia Aermacchi test pilot in the cockpit. A final agreement between the defence ministry and the Italian company is expected to be signed later this month, or in March. The order for eight aircraft includes training services, flight simulators and technical and logistics support. Warsaw will also have an option to acquire a further four of the aircraft at a later date.
First announced last December, Warsaw's selection of the M-346 for the requirement followed a competition also involving the BAE Systems Hawk and Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50, offered by latter's UK business unit. Alenia Aermacchi's proposal was selected on the grounds of it having submitted a compliant solution at the lowest price.
The proposals from BAE and Lockheed were rejected due to their non-compliance with air force requirements. The defeated bidders had the right to appeal against the decision before 2 January 2014, but neither exercised this option.

Poland to extend Su-22 service life

The Polish air force's fleet of Sukhoi Su-22 combat aircraft is to be upgraded. The service has a current fleet of 26 M4-model strike aircraft and six UM3K-standard two-seat trainers, all of which are operated from Swidwin air base.
A full decision about the type's operational future will be taken in mid-March, with two options under consideration.
One such option would be to modernise all of the aircraft and retain them in service for the next three years. The other would upgrade only one squadron's fleet of 16 fighters, and keep these in use for 10 years. The scope of such work has not been revealed, but would likely include the installation of new avionics and cockpit displays, along with an airframe overhaul.
Modernising the Su-22 will give Warsaw more time to select a successor. A few years ago the nation said the type would be replaced by either second-hand Lockheed Martin F-16s or new-generation Lockheed F-35s, but a lack of money prevented either idea from advancing.
An active fleet of 48 F-16C/Ds represent the Polish air force's current main combat capability, with the service also operating 31 RAC MiG-29s.

Turkey Demands $183M in Penalties From Boeing for AEW&C Program Delays

The Turkish government has demanded $183 million worth of penalties from Boeing due to major delays in the delivery of spy planes.
The Turkish Defense Ministry demanded an increase in the start-up support period from an initial two years to five years as well as three years of software maintenance service in addition to $32 million worth of spare parts in return for writing off the $183 million penalty and accumulated interest due to delays in the AEW&C program.
Boeing officials were not immediately available for comment.
Boeing delivered the first aircraft to Turkey in late January although original deliveries had been planned for 2008.
Boeing has said that it will complete deliveries in 2015. The company said two more AEW&C aircraft are to be delivered this year, with the fourth in 2015.
The AEW&C is based on the Boeing 737-700. Australia and South Korea also operate the AEW&C platforms.

First French AWACS aircraft passes through MLU

The first of four French Air Force Boeing E-3F AWACS) aircraft has passed through its mid-life upgrade (MLU), with the remainder set to follow by the end of 2016.
Boeing and Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) have upgraded the aircraft's electrical, mechanical, and structural systems, and mission hardware, in a process that took eight months. The first MLU-upgraded E-3F will now undergo ground and flight tests at Avord Air Base before being delivered to the French Air Force later in 2014. This first aircraft is serial numbered 202.
Improvements include an enhanced primary AWACS display; an improved identification friend-or-foe (IFF) system; better combat identification capabilities; the Link 16 datalink; improved sensor and datalink integration through the multi-source integration process; an increase in the number of mission console stations from the current 10 to 14; upgraded computer processing equipment and battle-management tools as well as an open-system architecture.