Jul 31, 2014

Several Russian Tu-95MS bombers fly over Arctic

Several Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers escorted by MiG-31 flew over the Arctic on Wednesday.
The flights were scheduled in advance and were made in compliance with the international rules of using airspace without trespassing the borders of other countries.

Some F-35 Flight Restrictions Lifted

The Pentagon has lifted some flight restrictions on F-35 , while inspections will continue for the foreseeable future.
Speed restrictions for the 20 F-35s that make up the test aircraft fleet were relaxed late last week from Mach 0.9 to Mach 1.6, while maneuverability restrictions were increased slightly from 3 Gs to 3.2.
Other restrictions remain, however, including borescope inspections of the front fan section of each F135 engine every three hours. The 79 remaining F-35s are still under the full restrictions.
The restrictions are the result of a June 23 fire that severely damaged an F-35A model and led to the Pentagon grounding the fleet for a time while the cause of the problem was discovered. On July 15, the Pentagon allowed the plane to begin flying again within limited parameters.
Those restrictions are limiting the ability of the services to fully test and evaluate the planes, meaning that if the restrictions remain for a significant period, it could affect the planned initial operating capability (IOC) dates for the jet.
The Marine Corps’ aircraft will be the first to reach IOC — in July 2015 — followed by the Air Force in August 2016.

Indonesia gets first three F-16s from US

The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) received the first three of 24 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D aircraft on 25 July.
The F-16s, which are being upgraded from Block 25 to Block 52 standard by the US Air Force, are former USAF and Air National Guard units that were transferred to Indonesia as excess defence articles under a contract signed in January 2012.
According to official US Air Force media the USAF handed over one F-16C and two F-16Ds on 14 July. The remaining 21 aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to Indonesia by the end of 2015.
The three aircraft landed East Java, after flying from Alaska via Guam. In August, six Indonesian Air Force instructors will begin F-16C/D conversion training. The 24 aircraft will be split between Squadron 3 at Madiun and Squadron 16 at Pekanbaru.

Iraq Seeks Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters

The US DSCA announces an official export request from Iraq for a 5-year continuation of contractor logistics support for its Bell 407 (T-407 and IA-407), OH-58, and Huey II helicopters. This will include maintenance support, personnel training and training equipment.
The principal contractor will be Bell Helicopter.
A very similar announcement with an identical contract number was issued on Dec 18/13, which referenced DSCA Foreign Military Sales case IQ-B-UDZ, and had only half of the funds committed. This looks like an amendment.

France takes delivery of third A400M

France has received the third A400M transport from its 50-unit order – the fourth delivery for the programme overall.
Handed over on 25 July, MSN10 will be operated by the French air force from its Orléans air base.
The new arrival shows an increase in performance over the two examples it received last year, with the A400M now able to reach its contractual ceiling of 39,400ft (12,000m), and boasting additional capacity thanks to its ability to carry two pallets on the cargo ramp.
Currently Turkey is the only other nation to take delivery of an A400M, having received its initial aircraft from a 10-strong order in April this year.

Azerbaijan to buy Russian Yak-130 combat trainers

Russia is planning to export Yak-130 combat aircrafts to Azerbaijan.
The Russian side has made a presentation of the aircraft for the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.
Last year, Azerbaijani military pilots conducted flights on the aircrafts, got thoroughly acquainted with technical and tactical instructions.

Australia pushes for Harpoon integration on P-8As

Negotiations have commenced between Boeing and the US Department of Defense to secure integration of the AGM-84 Harpoon Block 1G anti-ship missile with the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, on behalf of the type’s Australian customer.
Canberra announced in February it had approved the acquisition of eight P-8As for the Royal Australian Air Force, plus four options.
Australia has maintained a co-operative programme with the US Navy on the development of the P-8A since 2007. .

U.S. Approves More Hellfire Missiles for Iraq

The U.S. government has approved plans to send an additional 5,000 Hellfire missiles to Iraq, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.
The deal for the missiles, comes amid other signs that Washington is tackling a backlog of approvals for weapons sales to one of the largest defense-export markets for U.S. contractors.

Royal Australian Air Force scores direct hit with JSOW C

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) successfully tested a Raytheon Joint Standoff Weapon C (JSOW C) against a hardened wall targe. Launched from an F/A-18F Super Hornet at an operationally representative stand-off range and altitude of 25,000 feet, the JSOW C scored a direct hit.
The RAAF test marked the third successful employment of JSOW C this year against. Previously, two JSOW C air-to-ground weapons also destroyed simulated cave targets in U.S. Navy flight tests at the China Lake flight test range.
JSOW C is designed to provide fleet forces with capability against high value land targets, at launch ranges up to 70 nautical miles.
JSOW is a low-cost air-to-ground weapons that employ an integrated GPS-inertial navigation system, with highly capable guidance algorithms; and is the only U.S. standoff weapon in production to fit internally in the Joint Strike Fighter. More than 5,000 JSOWs have been produced since 1997, with more than 400 employed in combat.

Fourth known J-20 prototype makes first flight

The fourth known prototype of the Chengdu J-20 fifth-generation fighter made its first flight on the morning of 26 July, according to Chinese aviation websites.
The prototype flew for nearly two hours after having undertaken taxi tests since early July. The first hints on military web forums of a fourth J-20 prototype with the tail number '2012' emerged in late June, with clear photos emerging by mid-July.
Images show that '2012' features the refinements first seen in the third prototype, '2011'. These include an undernose faceted shape to hold a future electro-optical targeting system, adjusted air intakes to aid engine air flow and clipped tips on the vertical stabilizers.
The new J-20 prototype does not give any outward indication that CAC has installed an indigenous turbofan engine, despite much online speculation. The status of the J-20's intended WS-15 turbofan is not clear, and it is possible that initially deployed J-20s may use a Russian-made turbofan, perhaps an upgraded version of the Saturn AL-31 or the newer AL-117S.
In mid-June prototype 2011 reportedly left the CAC airfield to join its two other stablemates at the China Flight Test Establishment (CFTE) at Yanliang Airbase in Xian Province.
In late April an Asian government source told that 20 J-20s, or about one regiment, could be deployed by 2020.

Argentina to develop new UAVs

Argentina has confirmed its intention to develop a new line of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for surveillance of the national sea and territory.
This new line of short- and medium-range UAVs - would be unarmed but fitted with surveillance tools. They would build on the evolution of other Argentine development projects, such as the army's Lipan UAV.
The project has been awarded to state-company INVAP, which is to produce the new UAVs with one 100% local technology and workers.
INVAP is also committing to the SARA (Aerial Argentine Robotic System) project, a long-term programme to develop type I, type II, and type III UAVs in Argentina for both military and civil uses.

Russia Could Build Mistral-Class Ships on Its Own if France cancels contract

Russia has the capability to build Mistral-class helicopter carriers on its own if France breaches the existing contract and fails to prove it is a reliable partner, according Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister.
“The French must prove they are serious partners and reliable contractors," Minister said.
Russia and France signed a $1.6 billion deal for two Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011.
Under the contract, the first ship, the Vladivostok, is to be delivered to Russia by the end of the year, while the second, the Sevastopol, is due in 2015.
The United States is pressuring France to renege on the deal in light of Russia’s alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.
British Prime Minister also criticized Paris for its plan to sell Mistral ships to Russia and called the deal “unthinkable."
At the same time, Paris said it is still committed to the deal.
The vessels are capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing craft, 70 armored vehicles and 450 soldiers each, and are expected to be deployed with Russia’s Pacific Fleet.

A-10 No Longer Suitable for Middle East Combat

The possibility of sequestration returning in 2016 leaves the Air Force with hard decisions to make on budget cuts and how to maintain fighting capability,, Air Combat Command commander.
A tighter budget means letting go of resources that impact the ability to produce maximum combat power. Such plans include cutting the A-10 Warthog and U2 spy aircraft and closing Air Force bases.
The A-10 no longer meets the requirements for combat in the Middle East.
The Air Force needs a new base closure and realignment commission to do away with excess capacity.

Jul 29, 2014

Hércules del Ejercito del Aire evacua a ciudadanos españoles de Libia

Mexico selects Grob trainer

The Mexican Air Force (FAM) has selected the Grob Aircraft G120TP twin-seat turboprop as its new elementary trainer.
A deal worth USD110 million for 25 G120TPs, along with a flight simulator and logistics support plus options on a further 15, was first reported by local media on 21 July.
The contract has yet to be signed, but is imminent. The FAM expects that an initial batch of G120TP is to be delivered by February 2015, when the service celebrates its 100th anniversary.
The selection is part of a major overhaul of Mexico's Military Education System contained in the 2013-18 National Defense Programme, which also includes the T-6C Texan II advanced trainer and emphasises on the use of flight simulators.

F-15s needed in Europe to respond to Russia, Lakenheath commander says

This is not the time to talk about reducing the number of F-15 fighter jets in Europe, given the situation in Ukraine, according to the new commander of the 48th Fighter Wing, which flies the only F15s in Europe.
“What an exciting time to be in Europe and an exciting time to be at NATO, what an exciting time to be around this wing,” said Col. Robert Novotny, an F-15 pilot, who has been on the job for less than a week. “You know we have a lot of challenges, we really do.”
U.S. fiscal austerity is squeezing military budgets, and Department of Defense officials are questioning whether Lakenheath should be closed or lose some of its fighter jet inventory. Gen. Philip Breedlove, commander of U.S. European Command and supreme allied commander Europe, revealed in June that the Defense Department was considering pulling some F-15s from Europe, and Lakenheath is the only F-15 base on the continent.
Novotny agreed reducing the F-15C Eagle fleet makes fiscal sense, although he considers it to be “the world’s greatest” fighter at air-to-air combat.
The problem is that the F-15C is a single-purpose plane, which could be replaced by the multirole F-16, F-22 or F-15E, he said.
Lakenheath aircraft have been part of NATO air policing missions over the Baltic states recently. The missions have been ramped up as part of an alliance effort to reassure allies in the east, who fear Russia’s intentions toward states once under Soviet domination. .

USS Coronado Littoral Combat Ship to Conduct Test of Konsberg Norwegian Missile

The littoral combat ship USS Coronado will get a chance at an historic LCS first this fall when it launches a surface-to-surface missile in tests off Southern California.
The US Navy confirmed this week that the Coronado is scheduled to test-launch the Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) off Point Mugu, California, where the Naval Air Warfare Center maintains an extensively-instrumented missile range.
The test will follow a successful NSM launch July 10 from the Norwegian frigate Fridtjof Nansen during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises near Hawaii. The frigate fired a single NSM at the decommissioned amphibious ship Ogden and scored a direct hit.
The NSM is a 13-foot-long weapon already in service aboard Norwegian warships and with Polish defense forces in a land-based, truck-mounted version. A helicopter-launched version is under development, and the company recently announced it was working on a smaller, submarine-launched variant.
Kongsberg has been aggressively targeting the US Navy as a potential NSM customer. The LCS, although planned to carry the non-line-of-sight missile, has been without a missile system since the US Army cancelled NLOS development in early 2011. The Navy recently decided to begin development work to adapt the proven Hellfire missile to naval use for the LCS.
The NSM, in the 500-pound class of missile, is significantly larger than the Hellfire, in the 100-pound class. The smaller missile could essentially be a placeholder until a more effective weapon can be identified.
In addition to Kongsberg, other missile makers, including Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, have been working on potential weapons to arm the LCS. Lockheed makes the Hellfire, while Raytheon’s small Griffin missile was briefly considered, then dropped, as an interim weapon aboard LCS.

U.S. releases images it says show Russia has fired artillery over border into Ukraine

US on Sunday released overhead surveillance images it said were evidence that Russia has fired artillery rounds from its side of the border against Ukrainian military units.
The grainy photographs, taken between Wednesday and Saturday, are labeled as indicating fire from multiple rocket launchers inside Russia and targets they have struck inside Ukraine.
The high-altitude images released Sunday “provide evidence that Russian forces have fired across the border at Ukrainian military forces, and that Russia-backed separatists have used heavy artillery, provided by Russia, in attacks on Ukrainian forces from inside Ukraine,” according to labels on the pictures by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The most recent photograph, taken Saturday, shows what is described as “blast marks” from rocket launcher fire on the Russian side of the border, and “impact craters” inside Ukraine.
A photograph labeled as taken Wednesday shows a row of vehicles described as “self-propelled artillery only found in Russian military units, on the Russian side of the border, oriented in the direction of a Ukrainian military unit within Ukraine.” On the other side of the border, “the pattern of crater impacts near the Ukrainian military unit indicates strikes from artillery fired from self-propelled or towed artillery, vice multiple rocket launchers,” it said.

NATO considers another base location closer to eastern Europe

A military base in Poland could soon be repurposed to support NATO in its mission to reassure eastern European allies of its oversight amid the Ukraine-Russia conflict told
NATO’s top commander in Europe, in a briefing in Naples this week.
The move for a fully functioning headquarters due east would be intended to assure Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia of NATO commitment in light of recent events occurring in eastern Ukraine.
The border along Russia and Ukraine, along with the eastern region of Ukraine, have been plagued with fighting between the Ukrainian military and separatist insurgents for months, with the most recent crisis resulting in two downed Su-25 Ukrainian military aircraft on July 23. Six days earlier, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 on board.
The U.S. has pledged billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine since April, and has participated in various exercises in eastern European regions to assure NATO allies of its commitment.

US, Iranian Drones Crowd Iraqi Air Space

Despite a years-long history of intermittently sniping at one another’s drones in the skies over Iraq, Afghanistan and the Arabian Gulf, the United States and Iran have for the most part avoided each other in the air.
But with the US now flying about 50 missions a day over Iraq and a dedicated Iranian drone and signals intelligence presence having been established in Baghdad, the two rivals find themselves overtly sharing the same airspace, even while denying any coordination or contact.
Of course, Iraq is a big place, and the prospect of two aircraft bumping into one another is remote. But given the “shoot first, ask questions later” approach the two countries have taken toward one another’s unmanned aerial assets, the possibility for another volley exists in the long-running, if rather sleepy, drone war.

KC-46 has $272 Million overrun costs

Boeing said it would eat $272 million in the development of the new KC-46A aerial refueling tanker after discovering wiring issues in test aircraft.

Inside HMS Queen Elizabeth

US Says China Tested Anti-Satellite Missile

The U.S. says China has tested a missile designed to destroy satellites and is urging Beijing to refrain from destabilizing actions.
The "non-destructive" test occurred Wednesday. A previous destructive test of the system in 2007 created thousands of pieces of dangerous debris in space.
Continued development and testing of destructive anti-satellite systems threaten the long-term security and sustainability of the outer-space environment.
China's state-run Xinhua (shihn-wah) news agency, citing a Defense Ministry statement, reported a successful missile interception test conducted from land within Chinese territory late Wednesday.
Xinhua did not refer to it as an anti-satellite system. It said such tests could strengthen Chinese air defense against ballistic missiles.

Finland Customs clear missiles shipment from Vietnam to Ukraine

Finnish Customs say it would clear a shipment of air-to-air missiles that belonged to Vietnam to its intended destination in Ukraine.
Finnish Customs says that the missile components shipment it seized in June was on its way to be serviced in Ukraine. The shipment was part of regular military cooperation protocols.
Customs said that the consignment contained surface-to-air missile guidance systems, which are classified as defense armaments in Finland.
The parts, weighing at slightly over one tonne and en route from Vietnam via Hong Kong, were confiscated on June 24 and were on their way to be repaired in Ukraine.

Indian Air Force LCA squadron awaits first aircraft after fresh delay

More than seven months after it was cleared for being flown by IAF pilots, the entry of the first LCA Tejas in its newly-raised squadron in Bangalore is still awaited as the project has been delayed yet again.
IAF has raised its 45 Squadron at Bangalore for allowing its pilots to fly the aircraft and was supposed to induct the first Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) in March this year.

Brazil Acquires Three C295 for SAR role

Brazil has signed a contract with Airbus Defence for the acquisition of three Airbus C295 search and rescue (SAR) aircraft.
The three aircraft will progressively be delivered to the Brazilian Air Force from the end of this year under the terms of an agreement which also includes a five-year Full In Service Support (FISS) contract.
In Brazilian service the SAR aircraft will join 12 transport-configured C295 aircraft, taking the total FAB C295 fleet to 15.
In addition to the aircraft fleet, the FAB is also using a Full Flight Simulator for the C295 at the Air Base of Manaus-Brasil (BAMN facility).

China needs 400 Y-20 cargo planes for military transport

The People's Liberation Army will need at least 400 Y-20 cargo planes produced by the Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation in order to catch up with the force projection capabilities of the United States, Russia and India, according to a report published by the National Defense University of China cited in the party-run People's Daily.
The report said that the three-dimensional transportation network in China consisting of air, ground and maritime vehicles will play an important role in improve the force projection capability of the Chinese military. During an exercise in 2009, passenger and cargo planes from civilian airlines were mobilized to transfer 50,000 officers from China's four different military regions to participate in the exercise along with military aircraft and ground transporation.
Bohai Sea Green Pearl, a 36,000-tonne ferry vessel launched in Aug. 2012, can also be modified into China's largest amphibious augmentation platform when the PLA Navy needs.
Various weaknesses regarding China's force projection capabilities were laid out in the report as well. First, China does not have enough large ferry vessels like the Bohai Sea Green Pearl to launch a large-scale amphibious invasion. Second, China does not have enough large military cargo planes such as the Y-20.
Currently, the United States Air Force has 700 large transports used for strategic airlift. The Russian Air Force has 800 medium transports while the Indian Air Force has 200. As the report said, the PLA Air Force needs at least 400 Y-20 cargo aircraft to transport 10 regiments of soldiers to conduct military operations in different battlefronts along the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, some air force bases in China are still unable to accomodate large cargo planes like the Il-76.

Jul 27, 2014

12 UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters for Tunisia

US State Department has approved a possible sale to Tunisia for 12 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters plus 30 T700-GE-701D Engines (24 installed and 6 spares), 26 Embedded Global Positioning Systems/Inertial Navigation Systems, 24 M134 7.62mm Machine Guns, integration of Precision Guided Rocket System capability to permit launch of laser-guided variants of 2.75 rockets, 9,100 2.75 Hydra Rockets, 100 AGM-114R Hellfire Missiles, 20 M299 Hellfire Missile Pods, 24 M261 Hydra-70 Rocket Pods, 24 GAU-19 .50 cal Machine Guns, 15 Wescam MX-15Di or Brite Star II Electro-Optical Infrared Laser Designators, 6 Aviation Mission Planning Systems, 1 Aviation Ground Power Unit, 30 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles, 15 AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems, 15 AN/APR-39A(V)4s Radar Warning Receivers, 15 AN/AVR-2B(V)1s Laser Warning Systems, 30 MXF-4027 Very High Frequency/Ultra High Frequency radios, 15 AN/APX-117 IFF Transponders, 15 Very High Frequency/Digitally Selective Calling radios, 15 ARN-147 VOR/ILS, 15 AN/ARN-153 Tactical Air Navigation Systems, and 15 AN/ARC-220 radios. Also included are aircraft warranty, ammunition, air worthiness support, facility construction, spare and repair parts, support equipment, communication equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, site surveys, tool and test equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related element of program and logistics support.

Peru orders additional Mi-171Sh helos to combat Shining Path

Peru is to acquire a further eight Mil Mi-17 'Hip' transport and assault helicopters to complement the 24 ordered in late 2013.
The Mi-171Sh-variant helicopters are to be used for counterinsurgency (COIN) operations against the Shining Path insurgent group.
While both the Peruvian Air Force and Army field the Mi-171Sh (three helicopters each), this latest batch will reportedly be operated by the air force.
The first helicopters from this previous order will arrive in Peru in the second half of 2014, with the remainder following in 2015. No timeline was provided for the follow-on order of eight helicopters.
In July 2010 the Peruvian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that it was buying six Mi-171Sh and two Mi-35P 'Hind' attack helicopters to augment the seven Mi-24/25 'Hind' and eight Mi-17 helicopters that had been in service since 1983 and 1984 respectively.
Both Mi-35P 'Hind' attack helicopters were delivered in April 2011, with the Mi-171s arriving in two separate batches in May and September of the same year. While the Mi-171s have been shared equally between the air force and the army, both Mi-35s joined the air force.

China inaugurates UAV facility

The China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO Group) has set up in Beijing a facility to develop unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) for the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
The facility, formally established in late June, is the country's first dedicated UGV research and development centre.

Jul 25, 2014

Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed Announce Bids on Danish Fighter Competition; Saab Withdraws

Airbus, Boeing and Lockheed Martin have submitted bids to replace the Royal Danish Air Force’s F-16 combat jet fleet but Saab has withdrawn from the competition.
A decision on the long-running effort to acquire a replacement for the F-16s is expected next year.
Airbus Defence and Space with the Typhoon, Boeing with the F/A-18E/F and Lockheed with the F-35 said they had lodged bids.
Denmark has been a partner on the F-35 for a number of years and Danish industry has already been the recipient of a series of work programs on the combat jet, making Lockheed the long-time favorite to secure the deal.

J-20 may begin small-scale production in 2017

The J-20, China's first fifth-generation stealth fighter, may enter production on a small scale in 2017, after the completion of the aircraft's test flights.
The development of Chinese stealth fighters has become more mature. It took a year for the second prototype of the J-20 to complete its test flight after the first one, however, it took the 2012 prototype only four months to complete this procedure after the third aircraft–bearing the serial number 2011–completed a test flight.
If between three and four J-20 prototypes are able to conduct test flights together this year, the J-20 may begin its production on a small scale by 2017.

Russia Delivering Weapons to Iraq

Russia has begun supplying military helicopters and fighter jets to Iraq, as Iraq’s defense minister visited Moscow to press for equipment to thwart a jihadist offensive.
Deliveries of Mi-35 helicopter gunships and Su-25 fighters that provide close air support for ground troops have begun.
Iraq also has contracts for Mi-28 attack helicopters and mobile Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air and anti-aircraft artillery systems and it's believed that up to 10 Sukhoi fighter jets would be delivered by the end of the summer.
Russia and Iraq in 2012 signed contracts to supply 36 of the Mi-28 attack helicopters and 48 Pantsir units. Later were signed contracts for six Mi-35 helicopters and Su-25 fighters.
Despite the billions of dollars spent on training and equipment by the United States during its eight-year occupation, Iraq’s million-strong army completely folded when insurgents attacked last month.
Within days, the Islamic State jihadist group and allied Sunni factions conquered Iraq’s second city of Mosul and large swathes of the north and west.
The front lines have since stabilised and Baghdad has already received intelligence assistance from Washington and Sukhoi warplanes from Russia and Iran.

C295 pushes for UK maritime patrol contest

One of the potential bidders for a future UK maritime patrol aircraft requirement is calling on the Ministry of Defence to hold a competition, rather than “rush in” to a sole-source deal to buy Boeing’s 737-based P-8 Poseidon.
Airbus Defence & Space has been touting its multirole C295 as an affordable means of reinstating a lapsed maritime patrol capability for the Royal Air Force, proposing an acquisition of around 12 aircraft. A Portuguese air force example was on display at the Farnborough air show as part of the airframer’s promotional activity around the type.
Pointing to a long-running consultation involving the Ministry of Defence and industry RAF need urgently to replace the maritime patrol component.

China sells 24 L-15 jet trainer to Venezuela

Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation (HAIG) posted a congratulatory message on its Weibo page which may confirmed its sale of 24 L-15 jet trainers to Venezuela.

Jul 24, 2014

Italy's defense ministry sees UAV demo

AgustaWestland has demonstrated its Rotorcraft Unmanned Aerial System / Optionally Piloted Helicopter (RUAS/OPH) to the Italian Ministry of Defense.
The company successfully demonstrated remote-controlled operations from a ground station for the modified SW-4 Solo RUAS/OPH single-engine helicopter, developed by AgustaWestland and Poland's PZL-Swidnik.
The SW-4 Solo RUAS/OPH is designed for both manned and unmanned operations. The manned version can perform transport and surveillance missions, while the unmanned model can perform ISR and resupply flights.

Spain confirms cuts to EC135 order

Spanish government has finally confirmed the financing package for a reduced order of Airbus EC135 training helicopters for the Spanish Army.
An original plan to acquire 12 EC135s has been scaled back to eight helicopters.
The helicopters are destined for the training centre of the army's airmobile forces - FAMET.
Several helicopters had already been partially built at the Airbus plant in Albacete in southeast Spain when the first two of the T2 version.

Piaggio Tests Hammerhead Flight Modes

Piaggio Aero has furthered the flight test regime of its medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) derivative of the P.180 Avanti.
Flight trials of the aircraft are continuing in Sicily using the first prototype P.1HH Hammerhead demonstrator that made its first flight in November 2013.
According to Piaggio, the company — which is working with Selex ES — has “validated and fine-tuned” the control laws, including augmented modes, flight envelope protection and automatic flight. Automatic management of ground run during takeoff and landing also has been added.

Peru Acquires Dutch Replenishment Ship

Peru has acquired the Netherlands’ fleet replenishment ship HNLMS “Amsterdam,” which will be delivered in December.
Completed in 1995, the Amsterdam can carry 8,475 tons of fuel and 290 tons from stores.
The 166-meter-long ship has four abeam stations for the transfer of fuel underway, as well as a hangar and flight deck able to accommodate four light liaison helicopters or three medium transport helicopters.
The Navy is set to procure 10 new helicopters in the short term. The plans also include acquisition of two maritime patrol aircraft and of 32 armored amphibious vehicles for the marines.

Japan to build 2 more Aegis destroyers

Japan government will start building two Aegis-equipped destroyers with the latest missile defense systems starting next fiscal year, in light of the progress seen in missile development by North Korea.
The Defense Ministry will include related expenses in its budgetary requests, informed sources said. The government will start building one destroyer in the next fiscal year and the other in fiscal 2016.
The government had unveiled its policy of introducing two more Aegis-equipped destroyers within 10 years in the National Defense Program Guidelines, adopted by the Cabinet late last year.
Earlier this year, North Korea continually test-fired what were believed to be short- and mid-range missiles.
Four of the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s six Aegis-equipped destroyers are Kongo-type destroyers equipped with the missile defense system.

First and second Australian F-35 Lightning II aircraft rolled out

The first of 72 F-35s for the Royal Australian Air Force rolled out at Lockheed Martin’s Ft. Worth facility on Jul. 24.
The RAAF is expected to base the Joint Strike Fighter at two bases: Williamtown, in New South Wales, and Tindal, in the Northern Territory, where facilities and infrastructures to support the new fifth generation radar-evading plane will be built.

Pentagon Supports Emergency $225M for Israel's Iron Dome

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent a letter to congressional leadership on Tuesday requesting $225 million in additional US funding to accelerate production of Iron Dome missile-defense components to ensure Israel will have adequate stockpiles to protect itself from rockets launched by Hamas militants in Gaza.
Israel requested the extra components in recent days, and the Pentagon supports the request.

Vietnam's C295 scheduled for service in 2015

The three C295 transport aircraft that Vietnam has ordered from Airbus scheduled to enter service with the Vietnamese air force from 2015.
The purchase contract - thought to be secured in 2013- also includes the supply of spares, maintenance, and training to the air force, which is expected to take delivery of the aircraft at intervals of about six months.
It is also understood that the aircraft are being sold to Vietnam in a basic transport configuration with no additional mission systems included. Airbus production of Vietnam's first C295 is currently under way in Seville, Spain.

Jul 23, 2014

France receives First Upgraded AWACS

Boeing delivered the first of four upgraded French AWACS.
Delivery followed ground and flight tests at Avord Air Force Base and qualification by France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement.
Modifications to the other three French AWACS aircraft are scheduled for completion by the third quarter of 2016.
Boeing, as prime contractor, provides hardware, software, engineering and quality assurance support.

India exercises option for six more Hercules transport aircraft

The Indian Air Force has exercised its options for a further six Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transport aircraft under a contract modification announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 18 July.
Once delivered, these new aircraft will be based in eastern India.
India received the first of its initial batch of six C-130J-30 aircraft in February 2011, with the remaining five arriving in-country by September of that year. Operated by the specially formed 77 Squadron at Hindon Airbase, near New Delhi, these aircraft are used primarily for special forces operations. In August 2013 a C-130J-30 demonstrated the type's ability to support Indian military operations in the far north of the country when it landed on the world's highest airstrip in the Himalayan Ladakh region bordering China.
With six aircraft already in service, the IAF signed a letter of offer and acceptance for the additional six platforms in December 2013.
The IAF's contract to procure additional C-130J-30 platforms is part of a wider recapitalisation and build-up of India's airlift capability. Over recent years, the country has signed for 10 (and received 8 to date) Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft, and is developing with Russia a tactical twin-engined jet transport aircraft, known as the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA).
Also, the IAF has received 12 Dornier Do-228 light transport aircraft manufactured indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and has launched a competition to buy 56 light/medium tactical transport aircraft. The frontrunners for that requirement are the Airbus DS C295 and Alenia Aermacchi C-27J aircraft.

US to Give C-130 Planes to Philippines

The United States will give two Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" to the Philippines.
In a state report, Catapang disclosed the impending donation in a visit to the 1st Air Division headquarters in Clark Field, Pampanga, citing American military officials.
"I just talked to our US counterparts [and] they told us they are making available another two C-130s to address our humanitarian assistance disaster relief concerns," Catapang said.
The United States military has deployed a humanitarian mission to the Visayas after the onslaught of deadly typhoon Yolanda, which took thousands of lives and destroyed countless homes.
Catapang said that the Americans extended the offer after learning of President Aquino's plans to acquire new cargo aircrafts for the military.
The existing C-130 planes of the Air Force figured heavily in the transport of relief goods for victims of typhoon Yolanda and equipment needed by government troops involved in the efforts last year.
In November last year, former AFP chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista announced that the country seeks to procure two more C-130 planes to improve disaster relief operations.

Australia seeks participation in Kongsberg's JSM

Australia is seeking expanded engagement in Norway's air-launched anti-ship Kongsberg Joint Strike Missile (JSM) programme.
The collaboration project is framed around both countries' participation in the Lockheed Martin F-35. The JSM has been conceived as a precision-strike missile specifically designed for the internal carriage in F-35A and F-35C variants of the aircraft.
Although Australian industry has previously participated in the JSM programme, new rounds of discussions between the two countries are focused on potentially expanding collaboration with a focus on the missile's integration onto the F-35.

Jul 21, 2014

Mexican Navy takes delivery of first of four King Air 350ER aircraft

Beechcraft , at the Farnborough International Airshow that it has delivered the first of four Beechcraft King Air 350ER aircraft ordered by the Mexican Navy.

New RAF Typhoons to carry Storm Shadow missiles

New Typhoon fighters to be flown by Royal Air Force will carry Storm Shadow missiles following an agreement between a NATO agency and Eurofighter.
The Storm Shadow, made by MBDA, is a long-range air-to-surface weapon for use against targets such as bridges, airfields, harbors.
The missiles were previously been deployed on Eurofighter's Tornado GR4 aircraft during operations over Iraq and Libya.
The agreement, worth about $205 million, signed on Tuesday is between Eurofighter GmbH, manufacturer of the Typhoon and Tornado, and the NATO Eurofighter Tornado Management Agency, on behalf of the partner nations.
The missiles, which first became operational in 2002, will be integrated onto Typhoon Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 planes. The aircraft will enter service with the Royal Air Force in 2018.

Su-30MKI engine failures worry IAF; Russia told to fix snag

The Sukhoi-30MKI fleet of the Indian Air Force has been encountering mid-air engine failures for the past two years. India has officially flagged the matter to Russia seeking a correction.
Repeated engine failures and the newly introduced precautionary measures have affected the availability of planes for various operations. The IAF has a fleet of 200 Sukhois.
After a failure, the engine is replaced after testing before allowing the plane to fly again. The process of removing and replacing an engine usually takes four-five days, but can be extended depending upon the damage.
As a stopgap arrangement, the Russian side had suggested some measures.
The IAF has so far not arrived at a conclusion of its findings, but as a precautionary step, it has started servicing the engine after 700 hours instead of the mandated 1,000 hours of flying, adding to the non-availability of the aircraft.
Sources said the matter was taken up at the India-Russia meeting in June this year and also in February when a Russian delegation visited the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's (HAL's) Sukhoi-30MKI plant at Nashik.
The IAF had told Russians after studying each failure in detail that Sukhoi's engines - AL-31FP produced by NPO Saturn of Russia - had been functioning inconsistently for the past two years (2012 and 2013). The number of single-engine landings by planes in two years is high and not healthy. It lowers the operational ability of the fleet, besides raising questions about war readiness.
A single-engine landing is necessitated after one of the power plants fails mid-air. The Sukhoi-30MKI is a twin-engine plane and a mid-air failure of one of its engines means the second engine allows it to land. Such a situation would be unacceptable during a conflict when the pilot would need an optimum speed to attack or to withdraw after an attack. The power of both engines is required to lift eight tonne of payload - missiles and rockets.
The IAF and the Ministry and Defence have always considered the Sukhoi as a "safe and reliable" warplane. So far, only four have crashed since phased- induction in 1997. A pilot had died in the first crash in 2009 and at least one of the crashes is attributed to engine trouble.
In northern and western India, the Sukhoi-30MKI is based at Bathinda, Halwara near Ludhiana, Sirsa, Bareilly, Jodhpur and Bhuj.

Jul 20, 2014

RAF Tornados to get Brimstone 2 missiles in 2015

MBDA has started production of its Brimstone 2 air-to-ground missile and expects the type will enter service in 2015 on Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s.
Brimstone 2 has more range and accuracy, and a more-lethal warhead, than the original Brimstone. The weapons have semi-active laser guidance and millimeter wave radar, which allows them to strike moving targets.
The RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoons are also scheduled to receive the munition, but not until much later in the decade.