Aug 23, 2014
The Indonesian Ministry of Defence said on 20 August that the memorandum of understanding (MoU) will cover the handling and security of data and communications received by the Apache during TNI operations.
The MoU is currently under review by the TNI chiefs of staffs. Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said he hoped this review would be completed soon to enable ratification of the MoU so the US could deliver the Apache helicopters to Indonesia before the 69th anniversary of the TNI on 5 October.
The company completed a Critical Design Review to ensure Northrop Grumman’s Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) design has met requirements handed down by the US Air Force. The improved radar capabilities brought by SABR are at the core of the F-16V modification.
Taiwan is slated to be the first customer to receive the F-16V upgrade. In addition to SABR, the upgrade enhances the electronic warfare suite, mission computer and cockpit.
While Lockheed and US officials insist radar upgrades for Taiwan’s F-16 fleet are still on track, officials in Taiwan have expressed concerns over a US Air Force decision to back out of a major avionics update known as CAPES.
Northrop was selected by Lockheed over competitor Raytheon to provide the radar upgrade in a hotly contested battle. The upgrade market for F-16s, operated by 25 countries, is expected to remain a fertile growth area for companies at a time when new jet production is coming down.
The F-16V will be the most advanced model of the F-16, at a time when the legacy models are showing wear and tear. The US Air Force has ordered all F-16B and D models be checked for damage after a series of cracks grounded over half its F-16D fleet.
Top officials from the Pentagon's Defense Contracts Management Agency and the Defense Contracts Audit Agency were also on hand during two days of talks in Fort Worth, Texas.
Tom Owen, vice president of F-35 sustainment strategies for Lockheed, told Reuters the meeting was "an initial, early step" toward mapping out specific measures to cut the plane's hefty sustainment costs.
The two aircraft will be formally handed over to the RNZAF in October after intial pilot and maintenance training is completed. To be based at Ohakea, all 11 T-6Cs on order are due to be delivered by June 2015, allowing the first RNZAF pilot training course on the aircaft to begin in early 2016.
Aug 17, 2014
Two years back, the Pilatus aircraft manufacturer had landed the major deal, which included the sale of a fleet of 24 PC-21 trainer planes to Qatar, as well as a package of ground-based training tools, logistical support and maintenance.
Aug 15, 2014
This project is the largest so far and follows three previous tranches for 24 Texans, which were procured to equip the Air Force Air Tactical Military School at the No.11 Military Air Base (BAM-11) in Santa Gertrudis, Chihuahua, and the 402nd Air Squadron based at BAM-2 in Ixtepec, Oaxaca.
The new aircraft are to begin replacing the Pilatus PC-7 light interceptor and close air support aircraft that has been in service with the 201st, 202nd, and 203rd Air Squadrons.
On Tuesday, amid talks to increase European aid to Iraq, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced Berlin would support Iraq's army in its efforts to fight the Islamic State terror group (IS) by delivering non-lethal military aid such as armored vehicles, helmets, night-vision equipment, booby-trap detectors and medical supplies.
The latest operations came after President Barack Obama said the air campaign had achieved its initial objectives but warned of more strikes to protect US personnel in the Kurdish city of Arbil.
US Central Command said drones and fighter jets took part in the latest strikes, the first at 1505 GMT to take out two armed trucks that had been firing on Kurdish forces.
The second strike took place just over 30 minutes later, targeting an MRAP -- a heavy armored truck of the type supplied by Washington to Iraqi forces and presumably captured by IS forces in recent months.
All aircraft exited the strike area safely.
An almost entirely simulated exercise, the 15.5-hour long-range B-52 sortie, which originated at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, and ended at Barksdale Air Force Base, was the lone exception. Flown by the 96th Bomb Squadron, the seven-person aircrew exercised providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to forces defending the Panama Canal from a myriad of threats.
During Israel's Operation Protective Edge, White House officials were dismayed to discover how little influence they wield over the topic of Israeli arms shipments, against the backdrop of the U.S. government's unhappiness with the widespread damage inflicted upon Palestinian civilians.
During the Gaza war, White House officials came to realize that large amounts of weaponry are being passed to Israel via direct channels to the Pentagon, with little oversight by the political arena.
In light of that, and against the backdrop of American displeasure over IDF tactics used in the Gaza fighting and the high number of civilian casualties caused by Israel's massive use of artillery fire rather than more precise weapons, officials in the White House and the State Department are now demanding to review every Israeli request for American arms individually, rather than let them move relatively unchecked through a direct military-to-military channel, a fact that slows down the process.
Aug 14, 2014
What is being billed as Africa’s first wholly designed and built military aircraft, the Paramount Group’s Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft (AHRLAC), reached a significant milestone with its maiden flight on 7 August.
The aircraft makes its 'official public' first flight on 13 August.
The initial prototype, or Experimental Demonstrator (XDM), will prove flight characteristics and test the aircraft’s performance. A second prototype under construction, the Advanced Demonstrator (ADM), will be used to test the AHRLAC’s mission and weapon systems, as well as its Martin-Baker Mk 17 ejection seat.
Conceived as an affordable intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and light-strike platform to address the lower end of that growing market niche, the tandem twin-seat AHRLAC is powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6a-66 950 hp pusher turboprop. It is designed to offer a payload with full fuel in excess of 800 kg and provide an endurance of more than 7.5 hours.
Since the launch of the AHRLAC project in September 2011 the Paramount team has spent 315,000 hours on the design and construction of the first prototype. Of the aircraft's 6,000 parts, 98% were designed using sophisticated CATIA software and produced locally by the engineering team.
“From 2017 we will start working on a new long-range interceptor to replace MiG-31,” Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev, commander of the Russian Air Force, told RIA Novosti.
Russia hopes that the new interceptor will enter service in 2025. Bondarev had said in 2013 that the Russian air force was hoping to induct a MiG-31 replacement by 2020. Russia still has at least 122 MiG-31s, which it is expecting to retire by 2028.
India chose Dassault for “exclusive negotiations” for 126 Rafale jets, but successive deadlines to complete contract have slipped by.
The Ospreys arrived overnight Tuesday as they ferried about 130 additional U.S. troops into the airfield, which is in or near the Kurdish city of Irbil.
Previously, the entire F-35 fleet was limited to three hours of flight time before an engine inspection was required as an investigation continues into a fire that heavily damaged an F-35A model on June 23.
The test fleet is made up of 20 F-35 fighters. The remaining 79 F-35s are still operating under the full restrictions.
During the inspection into the cause of the June 23 fire, the Pentagon grounded the entire fleet. On July 15, the planes were cleared to fly with heavy restrictions.
In late July, the Pentagon eased up on some restrictions for the test fleet. Speed restrictions were relaxed from Mach 0.9 to Mach 1.6, while maneuverability restrictions were eased slightly from 3 Gs to 3.2.
Top officials from the US Air Force, have expressed confidence that the engine problem will be overcome.
The planned acquisition was confirmed by All Nippon Airways (ANA), which the Japanese defence ministry confirmed as the provider of heavy checks for the aircraft.
It is not clear whether Tokyo will order new-build aircraft from Boeing, or refit 777-300ERs now in commercial service.
The aircraft, to be operated by the Japan Air Self Defense Force, will replace a pair of 747-400s now used in the VIP mission. Media reports in Japan indicate that the 747s will be retired in fiscal year 2018, which ends on 31 March 2019.
The 747s are maintained by ANA rival Japan Airlines, which also put in a bid for the 777 maintenance contract.
The Royal Air Force of Oman received its first Jaguars in 1977, under what was originally a 12-aircraft acquisition from the UK. A second batch of the type was ordered in 1982, and introduced from the following year.
Muscat's retirement of the Jaguar leaves the Indian air force as sole operator of the Jaguar, with 161 Sepecat Hindustan Aeronautics-supplied examples in use.
The Oman air force, which had previously expected to halt operations with its remaining Jaguars in 2012, earlier this year took delivery of its first aircraft in the USA from a follow-on order for 12 Lockheed Martin F-16C/Ds. The service already has 10 of the single-seat fighters and a pair of two-seat trainers in use from a previous contract.
Oman also has also ordered 12 Eurofighter Typhoons to meet its future requirements, with these to be supplied by BAE Systems from later this decade.
The upgrade is being performed by Poland's WZL-2 Military Aviation Works, and is based on a design and systems supplied by Israel Aerospace Industries. The modernisation package includes new avionics, cockpit instruments and an advanced debriefing system.
WZL-2 last year delivered the first of 13 upgraded MiG-29A fighters and three UB-model trainers from the current contract. The work involves roughly half of the Polish air force's fleet of the type.
Separately, the WZL-2 depot is to perform a basic upgrade on 18 Sukhoi Su-22s for the service. This will enable Poland to extend operations with the type for another 10 years.
Long-term, Poland also has an interest in potentially acquiring the Lockheed Martin F-35, to join its air force fleet of 48 F-16C/Ds.
Russia has used its Security Council veto to prevent the imposition of a UN arms embargo on Damascus and has admitted delivering some S-300 components to the Syrians. However, the deal was put on hold after it brokered the agreement under which Damascus surrendered its chemical weapons.
Meanwhile, Iran continues its attempts to persuade Moscow to resurrect the S-300 deal that was cancelled after a UN arms embargo was imposed on the Islamic republic in 2010.
Aug 13, 2014
But in June, the House of Representatives voted to prevent the Air Force from retiring the Warthog, leading Air Force Secretary Deborah James to ask where they want to find the money instead.
It’s a great question and one worth answering. Are there other, perhaps better ways to come up with $4.2 billion in savings? Where else could the Air Force look? One alternative is the Joint Strike Fighter, often described as the most expensive weapons system in history. Let’s do a little math here – but don’t worry, I’ll keep it as painless as possible.
The Saudi government has requested $2 billion in upgrades for its E-3A airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft. The Saudi military operates five AWACS.
The agency also cleared a possible sale to Turkey for 145 AIM-120C-7 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles missiles and associated equipment.
Those missiles will be used on the Turkish Air Force’s fleet of F-16 fighters, although the DSCA notice adds that they could also be used on the country’s eventual F-35 fleet.
“The aircraft is being modernised, and it is made here, in Nizhny Novgorod, at the Sokol aircraft plant.”
The increase, announced on 7 August, will see "hundreds" of additional airmen assigned across five nuclear bases, beginning this year.
The George Bush has three other Hornet squadrons on board: the “Tomcatters” of Fighter Strike Squadron 31, the “Valions” of Fighter Strike Squadron 15 and the “Golden Warriors of Fighter Strike Squadron 87, all of Oceana. The Tomcatters fly single-seat F/A-18Es, while the Valions and Golden Warriors fly older single-seat F/A-18Cs, Navy officials said. For other missions, the single-seat aircraft have some advantages, too: The weight of the second aviator’s body and ejection seat cut into the aircraft’s performance.
The flights have averaged 90 a day since Aug. 9, including as many as 30 by Air Force refueling tankers, according to the official, who asked not to be identified discussing the data. The sorties are mostly, but not exclusively, over northern Iraq.
Since Aug. 8, U.S. aircraft have been attacking mortar positions, mobile artillery, convoy vehicles and armored personnel carriers under President Barack Obama’s authorization for airstrikes against the militant Islamic State to protect religious minorities and American personnel in Erbil, the seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government
Twelve Eurofighter Typhoons belonging to the Royal Air Force and the Ejército del Aire (Spanish Air Force) took part in the international edition of Anatolian Eagle, from June 9 – 20 at Konya airbase, Turkey.
The Spanish Typhoons were tasked with pure Fighter Sweep missions: their role was to conduct offensive counter air missions, destroying all the enemy aircraft within the area of responsibility and to clear the way for incoming attack planes.
Depending on the length of the sortie, the aircraft flew with two or three drop tanks, an AIS (Airborne Instrumentation Sub-system) pod for the flight data downlink to the ground ACMI sensors, and a dummy IRIS-T air-to-air missile.
For the Ala 14 pilots, who were taking part in their first expeditionary experience with the Typhoon, their participation in Anatolian Eagle was an important opportunity to validate and enhance their reference tactics, share knowledge and improve cooperation with personnel from different nations, and fly the Eurofighter in a challenging scenario, with up to 60 aircraft flying at the same time, in a large, almost unrestricted airspace.
A small number of aircraft, fitted with state of the art Litening III reconnaissance pods, left Norfolk this afternoon. They will be pre-positioned in Cyprus and available to fly over the crisis area at short notice to provide vital intelligence to assist the delivery of the UK Aid provided by the Department for International Development. So far, three consignments of aid have been delivered to the area by the RAF using Hercules aircraft.
Aug 12, 2014
Yesterday the first Atlas destined for the RAF moved under its own power for the first time. Today, its first taxiing trials are taking place. Due in to RAF Brize Norton later this year, Atlas will replace the Hercules fleet. Keep watching for further updates on the progress of ‘MSN015 ‘.
Aug 11, 2014
Poland currently operates 28 Mil Mi-24 attack helicopters, the remnants of 52 acquired since 1978. The new proposal is to buy about 32 replacements in two stages, with an initial 20 to be followed by 12 more beginning in 2022. Candidates include the AgustaWestland AW129 or its Turkish sibling, the TAI T-129; the Airbus Helicopters EC665 Tiger; and the Boeing AH-64E Apache. Offers are scheduled to be considered next year.
Meanwhile, the multirole helicopter contract award has been postponed until next year, two years later than originally envisioned. The AgustaWestland AW149, Airbus Helicopters EC725 Caracal and Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk are in contention, each OEM having partnered with a local company for production and support (PZL-Swidnik, Heli-Invest and Mielec, respectively). The army is slated to receive 48 helicopters for troop transport, with the air force receiving 10 for SAR, and the navy receiving another six for SAR plus six for the ASW role. They will replace about 16 Mi-8s, 10 Mi-14s and 20 Mi-17s that remain in service from much larger numbers acquired previously.
The decision to retain 12 single-seat and six two-seat Su-22Ms for another 10 years was taken last February and was driven by the choice of the Aermacchi M346 as the air force’s new jet trainer. The air force received 110 Su-22s beginning in 1984; 32 remain in service. They have received only minor avionics upgrades.
The Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 52 is Poland’s frontline fighter, with 48 delivered between 2006. Poland hopes to share the development cost of future upgrades, such as an AESA radar, with the U.S. Air Force. However, the U.S. F-16 upgrade program faces an uncertain future. The air force also operates two squadrons of MiG-29s.
The aviation plant reported that the helicopter meets all the requirements in order to excel in the harsh weather conditions of the Far North. Its design will allow it to operate in low temperatures and low visibility, including during the polar night
“We used to produce the Su-25 jets and today our equipment is still in good condition, so the question is under consideration. Some serious investment will be needed, and it is likely that another factory will take up the production. But if the government orders us to do it, we shall do it. If the production is to be transferred to somebody else, so be it”.
Iron Dome, which uses guided missiles to shoot down the Katyusha-style short-range rockets favored by Palestinian and Lebanese guerrillas, has scored around a 90% success rate in the month-old Gaza war.
According Rafael CEO the system’s performance had fuelled foreign interest in it, including by South Korea, which is in an armed standoff with North Korea.
“[South Korea] is very worried not only about rockets, but other things as well".
Rafael has not made public any foreign sales so far, giving priority to supplying Iron Domes to Israel, which has fielded nine out of a planned total of 12 interceptor units.
Washington has extensively funded the Israeli deployment and supplies of interceptor missiles.
Aug 9, 2014
The Apache gunships and a deal for Chinook helicopters, will top the agenda in Hagel's talks on Friday with the new administration.
India has offered a follow-on order of 39 AH-64D Apache helicopters in addition to the 22 now being negotiated. The sides have been wrangling over the price of the gunships, however.
India was the top foreign buyer of U.S. arms last year.
“The aircraft had no rivals. That was the opinion of the Military-Industrial Commission, the Defense Ministry, the industry on the whole and even the State Duma, which used to hold special hearings on the subject of the interceptor. The production should be revived, as the jet is being upgraded. This fighter will certainly be effective for another 15 years, with its various modifications that are up to today’s military requirements,” Rogozin said.
The deputy prime minister went on to say that he believed the aircraft had big export potential and expected high demand for the MiG-31.
The MiG-31 is a long-range supersonic interceptor aircraft based on the MiG-25. The MiG-31 went into production in 1979, with some 500 delivered. In 1994, production of the jets was curtailed.
Sikorsky was planning for the first flight in late 2014, but the testing of the Ground Test Vehicle (GTV), a full-scale CH-53K secured to the ground, has been slower than expected.
The Sikorsky-built CH-53K is slated to be the long-needed recapitalization of the service’s rotary-wing heavy-lift capability, scheduled to reach initial operational capability in 2019.
The CH-53K, named the King Stallion during its roll-out ceremonies, is to be the replacement for the CH-53E Super Stallion. The CH-53K looks similar to the CH-53E, but is an almost total redesign of the older type. It is equipped with new-design engines, rotor system, transmission system and other features, and will have three times the payload capacity of the older helicopter. The Marine Corps plans to procure 200 CH-53Ks to replace its 151 CH-53Es.
The draft statement of work (SOW) issued by the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) covers the upgrade of ISR equipment on a pair of Diamond DA42MPP (Multi-Purpose Platform) aircraft currently fielded by the Niger Air Force (Armee de l'Air du Niger).
Niger took delivery of its two DA42MPP aircraft in October 2008 as part of a wider enhancement of the African nation's airborne surveillance capabilities that included the provision by France of eight Humbert Tétras microlights. The DA42MPPs are primarily tasked with counter-narcotics, -people, and -arms smuggling.
The DA42MPPs are equipped with the Airbus Defence and Space Electronics Goshawk 350 airborne observation system incorporating day and night sensors, as well as a Scotty satellite datalink allowing real-time relay of video, voice, and data to ground stations.
The base was picked based on its location, existing infrastructure and proximity to a training range. Eielson also is home to Pacific Air Force’s premiere training exercise, Red-Flag Alaska, and is easily accessible by training partners from Korea and Japan.
If officially selected, the base will host two F-35 squadrons. They would join an F-16 aggressor squadron and a KC-135 refueling unit already at the base.
The preliminary decision means that the Air Force’s newest fighters, the F-35 and the F-22, would both be in Alaska. F-22s have been based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson since 2007.The base has been undergoing renovations recently, including improvements at the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex and construction of a new 168-room dormitory.
Air Combat Command’s new F-35 homes have already been announced, with Hill Air Force Base, Utah, set to become the first operational base and Burlington International Airport, Vermont, to be the first Air National Guard base.
Billed as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) plane with strike capabilities, the jet provided live video feed during Vigilant Guard 2014, which brought several Guard units to Kansas to run through various emergency scenarios.
This is the first time a non-Guard plane takes part in a major exercise National Guard exercise.
Kansas is the Scorpion team’s home state.
Comprehensive checks are to be conducted on all of the twin-engine ALHs before they resume operations.
Flight data recorder of the crashed Dhruv had been recovered from the accident site, and sent to its manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), for analysis.
India's military operates some 140 Dhruvs, which have been built by HAL since 2002. On 19 July the Indian Ministry of Defence's Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the purchase of 32 additional Dhruvs for the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.
Since its induction into service over a decade ago, the entire ALH fleet has been grounded several times due to technical problems, stemming principally from limited engine power in its deployment at altitudes above 4,800 m in the Himalayan regions. The IAF operates ALH support missions to sustain Indian Army formations deployed in this inhospitable mountainous region.
Two Dhruvs, have recently gone down in Siachen - in August 2013 and in March this year - and two of seven sold to the Ecuadorian Air Force in 2008 have also crashed.
Meanwhile, Defence Ministeris scheduled to reconsider the long-awaited procurement of 197 light utility helicopters for the IAF and Army Aviation Corps (AAC.
The LUH programme, under which 133 platforms are earmarked for the AAC and 64 for the IAF, is aimed at replacing the Chetak (licence-built Aerospatiale Alouette III) and Cheetah (licence-built Aerospatiale SA 315B Lama) helicopters inducted into service more than four decades ago.
Eurocopter's AS550 Fennec platform is pitted against Russia's Kamov Ka-226 Sergei model in the LUH acquisition. However, the procurement - pending for over a decade - currently stands deferred as it is under federal investigation over corruption charges.
The acquisition was previously cancelled in 2007 following allegations of wrongdoing in the selection procedure.
The modernization effort encompasses maintenance and technological improvements to the older C-130 H-model planes as well at the more modern C-130J aircraft.
The Air Force now operates 362 C-130s, including 260 H-models and 102 more modern J-models. Overall, the services’ fiscal year 2015 budget calls for the delivery of 134 J-models and maintenance of 194 H-models for a total force size of 328 C-130s.
The service eventually expects to buy a total of 168 J-models.
Each Mistral-class LHD is capable of operating an air wing of around 16 naval helicopters, although their air group composition has yet to be finalised. One option could see the LHDs operating a mixed air group of eight Ka-52K strike helicopters and eight Ka-29TB 'Helix' assault transport helicopters. One or two Ka-27PS 'Helix-D' search-and-rescue helicopters may also be included. No order has yet been placed for other potential elements of the Mistral's air wing, although these could be drawn from existing stocks.
The main technological challenge that the Mistral-class will present to the Russian Navy is the need to adapt them, given that they have been built in compliance with civil-use standards and requirements - rather than to military standards.
The two Mistral-class vessels in production for the Russian Navy have been modified compared with the baseline version for the French Navy. These changes include changes in hull construction to enable them to be used in northern latitudes, including in ice conditions. The height of the vessels has also been increased due to modifications to the ships' internal hangars to allow them to accommodate large helicopters like the Ka-52K and Ka-27PS.
The vessels have been modified for the installation of extra armament, including anti-air systems and large calibre automatic weapon stations for combating surface threats, to enable the Russian Navy to use them in the open sea with a smaller escort.
According to Pentagon, “Two F/A-18 aircraft dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a mobile artillery piece near Erbil. ISIL was using this artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending Erbil where U.S. personnel are located.”
Image credit: RC-Pro Photography
"@passantino: Pentagon footage of a U.S F/A-18 airstrike on a target in northern Iraq - @buzzfeednews https://t.co/CsUeu7lMAw" MT @cencio4
— Joseph A. Migliore (@JosephCRProgram) August 9, 2014
Aug 7, 2014
Under an earlier Engineering Manufacturing and Development (EMD) contract, Boeing installed a new digital flight deck and avionics on one NATO AWACS. Flight testing begins in the fourth quarter of this year with delivery scheduled for December 2015. Boeing also will upgrade the flight deck and avionics of a U.S. AWACS aircraft beginning this November.