Sep 30, 2014

Last NATO AWACS Comes Home From Afghanistan

The last NATO E-3A airborne warning and control system (AWACS) returned to its home base in Geilenkirchen, Germany, Sept. 25. Since January 2011, the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force has flown 1,240 missions totalling 12,240 flying hours from Mazar-e-Sharif, conducting air surveillance, tactical battle management functions such as support and control of aircraft involved in offensive and defensive counter air operations, close air support, battlefield air interdiction, combat search and rescue, reconnaissance, and tactical air transport.

Japan puts helicopter carrier Izumo on sea trials

The Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) has begun sea trials of its helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH 183).
The 248 m-long vessel, which displaces 24,000 tonnes at full load, is the largest Japanese military ship built since the Second World War and can carry up to 14 helicopters. Izumo and its yet unnamed sister ship (DDH 184) will replace the JMSDF's two Shirane-class destroyers, JS Shirane (DDH 143) and JS Kurama (DDH 144), inducted in March 1980 and 1981 respectively.

Germany unable to meet NATO readiness target

Germany's military is unable to meet its medium-term readiness target should NATO call on its members to mobilize against an attack, officials said Monday.
The revelation follows days of embarrassing reports about equipment failures that included German army instructors being stranded in Bulgaria en route to Iraq when their plane broke down, and delays in sending weapons to arm Kurdish fighters because of another transport problem.
In the latest incident, the military said one of two aging C-160 aircraft flying German aid to Ebola-affected West Africa has also been grounded on the island of Gran Canaria since the weekend, awaiting repairs.
Asked about a Der Spiegel report that Germany at this juncture wouldn't be able to offer the appropriate number of military aircraft within 180 days of an attack on the NATO alliance.

Thai Air Force selects Piaggio Avanti II for recon role

The Royal Thai Air Force has signed a contract to buy a Piaggio P.180 Avanti II aircraft to fulfill a requirement for a photo reconnaissance aircraft.
The P.180 Avanti II will be customised for territorial multifunctional surveillance, featuring customised photography systems.

UK deploys Watchkeeper UAV to Afghanistan

The first operational flight of the WK450 Watchkeeper tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has taken place in Afghanistan only three months before UK forces are due to withdraw from the Southwest Asian country.

Oman to get Lanza surveillance radar system

Oman has ordered a new air defence surveillance system for its air force based on the Lanza 3D radar.
The Spanish company Indra announced on 30 September that it will "integrate its most advanced air surveillance solutions" in Oman. The company did not identify the system, but said the radar Oman will receive is already in operation with several air forces and "handles the surveillance in Europe's NATO southwest flank".
Lanza surveillance radar, which is in service with both the Spanish and Portuguese militaries, as well as several Latin American countries.

Afghanistan orders additional MD 530F helos

The Afghan Air Force (AAF) has exercised an option for additional MD 530F Little Bird helicopters.
The service will acquire a further 12 primary trainer helicopters. Deliveries are set to be complete on 29 September 2015.

F-22 Continuing Operations in Syria

US Air Force general indicated Monday that the fifth-generation fighter will be available for future operations over Syria for the foreseeable future.
That doesn’t mean the F-22 is running missions every day, however. The jet is being used for specific mission sets, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, where its suite of advanced sensors and avionics can make an impact.
The F-22 had its first official combat mission during the first day of strikes against Islamic States (IS) forces in Syria. It was a long time coming for the jet, which went operational at the end of 2005 but was largely viewed as being kept in bubble wrap for a potential air-to-air combat situation against another advanced air force.
The general confirmed that the F-22 has been used in operations since then. And while its first operation involved dropping a weapon on an IS command and control facility, the jet will not be dropping bombs on every sortie.

US Approves Sale of Nine UH-72 Lakota for Thailand

The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Thailand for 9 UH-72A Lakota Helicopters, associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $89 million.

Sep 28, 2014

RAF Tornados depart from Cyprus to bomb ISIS

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that Royal Air Force jets have flown from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus following Friday’s House of Commons vote endorsing action against Islamic State militants. Tornado aircraft left the base on Saturday morning, continuing a pattern of flights over Iraq which began in support of the humanitarian mission last month.

Bangladesh Air Force inducts new K-8 fighters

Bangladesh Air Force has inducted to its fleet four K-8W fighter trainer aircrafts bought from China.
The aircrafts are currently in service with the Bolivian and Venezuelan air forces.
Bangladesh has decided to buy nine such fighters from China. The rest would be brought to the country at a later stage.

Sep 27, 2014

Egypt reportedly orders S-300VM

Egypt has entered into an agreement to buy S-300VM long-range air defence systems from Russia
The city's Kirov factory had an order to build 22 of the tracked vehicles used with the S-300VM system for an unidentified foreign customer. It published photographs showing one of the vehicles painted in a desert colour, although another was painted green. The GM-830 chassis is only used to carry the S-300V series.
The S-300VM is the current export version of a family of air defence systems developed in parallel with the S-300P series. It can use two different missiles, one for intercepting medium-range ballistic missiles, the other for air-breathing targets.
However, the S-300VM has not sold as well as the S-300P series, with Venezuela being the only known export customer.

Nigeria AW101 makes debut flight

The maiden flight of the first of two VIP transport-roled AW101 helicopters for the Nigerian air force was performed on 19 September from manufacturer plant.
It was previously allocated to India as part of the nation's now-cancelled order for 12 of the 15t-class rotorcraft.

First A-29 Super Tucano for Afghan Air Force Delivered for Training Mission

The first of 20 A-29 Super Tucano for Afghanistan Air Force arrived at Moody AFB on Sept. 26, in preparation for the Afghanistan pilot and maintenance training mission.
The A-29 is a light air support training aircraft that will be used to train 30 Afghan pilots and 90 Afghan maintainers as part of a requirement from the International Security Assistance Force to conduct training outside of Afghanistan.
The need for the A-29 comes as the current Afghan air force LAS aircraft, the Mi-35 attack helicopter, reaches the end of its service life in January 2016.

India expected to buy S-70B Sea Hawk Helicopter

India is expected to choose Sikorsky Aircraft's S-70B Sea Hawk helicopters at a 16-aircraft tender.
The decision could come during a high-profile visit to the United States by new Indian Prime Minister.
The Sikorsky deal would be one of several large U.S. arms purchases by India that are nearing completion, including over orders for AH-64D Apache and CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

Sep 26, 2014

F-35: Combat ready next year, new Israeli order close, 'On Track' for Carrier Tests in November

The first version of the F-35 fighter jet will be combat ready by mid-2015, despite an engine failure which still needs a fix, and Israel could sign a deal within months to buy more of the aircraft, program officials said on Thursday.
The F-35 is on track to conduct trials aboard a US Navy aircraft carrier in November, but there are still variables as to what may be tested, the program’s top official said today.
“The November deployment will happen,” Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the head of the F-35 joint program office, said during a news briefing in Oslo. “It will most likely happen with two airplanes. Whether both those airplanes are fully capable of doing all the work remains to be seen.”
“We have some work to do as we lead up to that point in November,” he added.
That work will decide what trials the pair of F-35C models will end up performing while aboard the US Navy’s carrier Nimitz, located off the west coast of the US. The biggest question is whether both jets can perform catapult launch and arrestment trials or if only one is ready for that.

Belgium to Send Six F-16 Jets to Battle ISIS Militants In Iraq

Belgium is set to offer six fighter jets to the U.S.-led coalition to combat ISIS militants in Iraq. The country received a formal request from the United States. Belgium would send six F-16 jets and C-130 cargo planes to carry troops and material to Iraq.
Any Belgian engagement will require the approval of parliament, although there appears to be a very broad majority in favor of action.

Denmark to send seven F-16s to fight IS group in Iraq

Denmark will send seven F-16 fighter jets to help combat IS militants in Iraq, Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said on Friday.
The Danish fighter jets would not join US planes in bombing targets in Syria.
The decision to take part in the campaign in Iraq is expected to receive the support of a majority in parliament and the F-16s could be dispatched next week.

UK Parliament Backs Airstrikes Against ISIS in Iraq

The British Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Friday to approve airstrikes in Iraq against the militants of the Islamic State. The vote brought a country weary of international engagements belatedly into the American-led campaign against Sunni extremists.

Sep 25, 2014

Spanish firm Navantia called in to salvage Australian Air Warfar Destroyer program

The Australian government will install a senior team of shipbuilders from Spanish firm Navantia to work on the Air Warfare Destroyers as it attempts to salvage the troubled $8.5 billion project.
The move is one of the first steps in the government’s recovery plan for what Defence Minister David Johnston has described as a “disgraceful mess of a project” and a “skunk” that has been plagued with cost overruns of more than $500 million and delays of up to two years.
Additional personnel from systems contractor Raytheon are also expected to be embedded into the workforce. Navantia, which was excluded from the original AWD ­Alliance consortium and blamed for many of the project’s initial design flaws, will provide direction for the workforce alongside ASC.
The move comes after a government review by former US secretary of navy Don Winter and Australian shipbuilder John White reportedly recommended installing BAE Industries to take control of the project.
Government sources say the move is a small step in a “long, tortuous and complex” process that may yet see BAE take on a greater role.
Navantia and BAE are jockeying for work on the Future Frigate program to replace the navy’s eight Anzac-class frigates. BAE is understood to be reluctant to take over the AWD project without a guarantee of work on the Future Frigate program for which it wants to build its Type-26 global combat ship. Navantia wants to build a Future Frigate based on the AWD hull.

The Netherlands To Join Anti-ISIS Airstrikes In Iraq, Will Send Fighter Jets And Military Personnel

The Netherlands will join the United States in its air campaign to combat Islamic State group militants in Iraq but will not participate in the U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria. The Dutch will send military personnel and fighter jets to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces on the ground, Dutch officials announced Wednesday.
The Netherlands will make six F-16s available for the first phase of the campaign, for one year.
In addition to the fighter jets, up to 380 Dutch military personnel could be operational in Iraq within the week. Among the military personnel will be 130 instructors, who are expected to support local forces on the ground in Iraq.

MQ-8B Fire Scout drone helicopters being deployed to Pacific later this year

The US Navy will soon deploy unmanned surveillance helicopters to the Pacific for the first time.
Four MQ-8B Fire Scouts will be aboard the USS Fort Worth — a littoral combat ship — when it leaves San Diego later this year.
The ship’s deployment to the Asia-Pacific theater will mark the start of a continuous LCS presence in the region.
The presence of the surveillance helicopters is sure to spark interest in a region where airborne cameras and sensors are multiplying rapidly.
The Air Force has been flying its unmanned RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance planes from Guam since 2010 and deployed them this summer to Misawa Air Base in Japan, seeking to boost its own surveillance capabilities following clashes with China over disputed islands in the South China Sea.

USA Could Be near to sell P-3 Orion to Vietnam, Lifting Arms Embargo

Nearly 40 years after the United States helicoptered its last soldiers out of Vietnam in an ignominious retreat, Washington is moving closer to lifting an arms embargo on its former enemy, with initial sales likely to help Hanoi deal with growing naval challenges from China.
Senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the initiative said Washington wants to support Vietnam by strengthening its ability to monitor and defend its coastline, and said unarmed P-3 surveillance planes could be one of the first sales.
Such aircraft would also allow Vietnam to keep track of China's increasingly assertive activities in the South China Sea, a potential flash point because of interlocking claims from many countries to its islands and reefs.
Two senior Obama administration officials said discussions on easing the embargo are taking place in Washington and could result in a decision later this year.
The move to lift the embargo follows a gradual resumption of links between the United States and Vietnam over two decades, which accelerated with a series of high-level diplomatic and military meetings in recent months.

AUSTRALIA RAAF Air Task Group arrives in Middle East

The Australian Defence Force Air Task Group  has arrived at Australia’s main support base in the Middle East.
The Air Task Group includes approximately 400 Royal Australian Air Force personnel as well as F/A-18F Super Hornets, a KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, and an E7-A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft.
This deployment is in addition to the RAAF C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster aircraft that are already providing humanitarian and logistic support to Iraq.
The Air Task Group will now prepare to respond to future Government decisions regarding a possible contribution to international operations to combat ISIL.
Australia’s contribution to international efforts is being closely coordinated with the Iraqi government, Gulf nations, and a broad coalition of international partners.

South Korea Approves Procurement Of Lockheed Martin F-35A

The Republic of Korea finalized its formal selection of the F-35A for its F-X fighter acquisition program, announcing its intent to sign the Letter of Offer and Acceptance for 40 F-35A with initial deliveries beginning in 2018.
Following a comprehensive evaluation process for its F-X program, the Republic of Korea, which first announced its competitive selection of the F-35 over the 4th Generation Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle and the EADS Eurofighter Typhoon in March this year, now becomes the third Foreign Military Sales country to procure the F-35, joining Israel and Japan who selected the F-35A in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Sep 23, 2014

The French "Shot Down" an F-22 in a mock combat

Evidence released last year confirms that a French fighter pilot once “killed” an American F-22 Raptor stealth fighter in mock combat.

First QRA North Scramble from RAF Lossiemouth

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has flown its first Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) sortie out of RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, the service announced on 19 September.
A pair of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft from 6 Squadron were scrambled to intercept two Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-95 'Bear' strategic bomber aircraft that had ventured close to, but had not entered, UK airspace.

First A400M for Malaysia takes shape

The first of four Airbus Defence and Space A400M Atlas transport aircraft for Malaysia will shortly begin ground testing ahead of delivery in 2015.
The aircraft - MSN022 - is currently in the latter stages of the final assembly line in Seville, Spain, with all of the major components now put together. Following the completion of ground and flight trials, it will be delivered to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) in the first quarter of 2015. Two more will be delivered in that year, with the final aircraft set to be handed over in 2016.

F-22 fighter makes its first combat appearance over Syria

The Pentagon's most advanced fighter plane made its combat debut in the U.S.-led strikes on Syria overnight, serving a crucial purpose for a sensitive mission that depended on stealth.
Pilots flying the F-22 Raptor flew bombing runs over Syria to target the militant Islamic State group, U.S. officials said.
Officials didn't say what targets the F-22 struck, but said it was used later in the series of strikes, which lasted several hours.

US to deploy 12 A-10s to Middle East

The Pentagon is deploying 300 airmen and 12 A-10 combat jets to the Middle East in early October.
The six-month deployment from the 122nd Fighter Wing is not specifically part of President Obama’s fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but the airmen and jets could provide air support to troops battling ISIS on the ground.

U.S. expands war against Islamic State with airstrikes in Syria

The United States and several Middle East partners pounded Islamic State targets in Syria Tuesday with waves of warplanes and Tomahawk cruise missiles in an aggressive and risky operation marking a new phase in the conflict.
A statement issued by the U.S. Central Command early Tuesday said that a “mix of fighter, bomber, remotely-piloted aircraft and Tomahawk” cruise missiles destroyed or damaged multiple Islamic State targets in Syria.

German Navy Grounds Sea Lynx Helicopter Fleet

A 22-centimeter-long crack discovered in a German Sea Lynx Mk88 helicopter has grounded 21 of the Navy’s 22-strong Sea Lynx fleet.
The crack appeared on the hoist arm of a Sea Lynx onboard the frigate Lübeck, currently at sea. As other Sea Lynx have shown a precondition for the same defect, the whole fleet will be checked.

China developing a stealth bomber

China is developing a new stealth bomber called the H-20 to firm up the PLA strategic bomber force.
Russia and China are both proceeding with bomber plans while the United States is developing its own Long-Range Strike Bomber project. China's H-20 bomber is most likely to be developed and produced by Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation. The aircraft concept will probably be a subsonic low-observable "flying wing" configuration.

Pakistan advancing in sea based Nuclear Weapons

Pakistan is advancing toward a sea-based missile capability and expanding its interest in tactical nuclear warheads.
The development of nuclear missiles that could be fired from a ship or submarine would give Pakistan “second-strike” capability if a catastrophic nuclear exchange destroyed all land-based weapons. But the acceleration of Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs is renewing international concern about the vulnerability of those weapons in a country that is home to more than two dozen Islamist extremist groups.

Australia dispatches 7 Super Hornet, 1 KC-30A and 1 B-737 AEW To Middle East to Counter ISIS

The main contingent of Royal Australian Air Force personnel and aircraft has departed for the Middle East from RAAF Bases Amberley and Williamtown.
The aircraft included F/A-18F Super Hornets, a KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport and an E-7A Wedgetail AEW.
Following the Government’s decision to prepare to contribute to international led efforts to disrupt and degrade ISIL, the Australian Defence Force is deploying approximately 600 ADF personnel to the Middle East where they will prepare to respond to future Government decisions regarding Iraq.

Sep 22, 2014

Militares españoles reforzarán la protección de la base de Herat en Afganistan

USAF Air Combat Command chief reluctantly accepts Global Hawk over U-2

While the plan to keep new, unmanned Global Hawks over the aging manned U-2 has support among top Defense Department officials, the top combat general in the Air Force says it is not the best military solution.
The Air Force, in its fiscal 2015 budget proposal calls for retiring the entire U-2 fleet and continuing to buy RQ-4 Global Hawks to handle high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The plan reverses previous Air Force attempts to retire the large drones. Officials have said the reversal is possible because Northrop Grumman and Global Hawk crews have been able to reduce the cost of flying the aircraft.

Japan wants to develop self made AEW aircraft

Japan Defense Ministry is set to start research aimed at domestically manufacturing early-warning aircraft for the first time, with the aim of increasing surveillance on possible incursions into the nation’s territorial airspace, according to ministry sources.
The move is part of an effort to boost the ministry’s preparedness to deal with the increasingly severe security environment in areas surrounding this nation, largely due to China’s increasing military spending in recent years.

Russia Orders More Su-30SM Fighters

Russian defense ministry has ordered seven more Su-30SM two-seat fighters, boosting the total to be acquired to 72. Of these, the Russian air force is getting 60 and naval aviation 12. An initial contract for 30 was placed in 2012. Some have reportedly been deployed to the disputed region of Crimea.

Lebanon to acquire 18 UH-1H Huey

Lebanon has requested to US the sale of 18 Huey II helicopters, spare and repair parts, maintenance, support equipment, publications and technical documentation.
The State Department has made the determination of approving the Foreign Military Sale.

Poland buys 40 AGM-158As

The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible sale to Poland for Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles and F-16 Operational Flight Plan upgrades, associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support.
The Government of Poland has requested a possible sale of 40 AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM), 2 AGM-158A JASSM Live with Test Instrumentation Kit (TIK) and Flight Termination Systems (FTS), 2 AGM-158A JASSM Inert with TIK and FTS, and 2 Flight Certification Test Vehicles. Also included: Operational Flight Plan upgrade to M6.5 tape for the Polish F-16C/D Block 52 aircraft to include JASSM integration, missile containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment.

Germany pushes Airbus for cost cuts on A400M

Germany's defense ministry is demanding price cuts and longer cancellation periods on the A400M military airlifters it has ordered from Airbus, but which will be delivered later and less equipped than planned, a newspaper reported on Sunday.
Bild am Sonntag quoted from a letter from the defense ministry to the finance ministry and the court of auditors, in which it said the ministry was also pushing Airbus to disclose its "further planning and connected project risks".
It has long been known that A400M military airlifters Germany bought would be delivered later than initially planned and would be costlier.

Sep 21, 2014

Two Russian attack planes intentionally violated the Swedish airspace to probe local air defense

On Sept. 17, two Russian Su-24 Fencer combat planes intentionally violated Sweden’s airspace the Expressen newspaper reported.
According to the Swedish media outlet the incursion saw the two aircraft skirt the Polish airspace before heading north, at low altitude, towards the island Öland, in the Baltic Sea. At around 12:00 PM LT, the Russian planes entered the airspace over the Swedish territorial waters south of Öland.
Swedish Defense officials confirmed some Jas-39 Gripen fighters were scrambled from Ronneby airbase, in southern Sweden, to intercept the Russian planes but they did not reach the intruders as the Su-24s, after flying a couple of kilometers on the wrong side of the border, turned again eastbound, most probably towards Kaliningrad.
Even though the Swedish Armed Forces have not officially commented the incident, sources who talked to the Expressen said authorities believe the violation was aimed at probing the Swedish air defense readiness.
Last year Russian Tu-22 bombers conducted some mock attacks on Sweden; more recently an airliner almost collided with a Russian spyplane off Sweden. The increased Russian activity in the area and the crisis with Moscow caused by the situation in Ukraine, pushed Stockholm to move some Gripen jets to Gotlad island, off the eastern coast of Sweden, in the Baltic Sea.

USAF F-22 fighters intercept Russian military planes 55 miles off Alaska

Two U.S. F-22 fighter jets intercepted six Russian military airplanes that were flying near Alaska.
NORAD, said the jets intercepted the planes about 55 nautical miles from the Alaskan coast at about 7 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday.
The Russian planes were identified as two IL-78 refueling tankers, two Mig-31 fighter jets and two Bear long-range bombers. They looped south and returned to their base in Russia after the U.S. jets were scrambled.
At about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, two Canadian CF-18 fighter jets intercepted two of the long-range Russian Bear bombers about 40 nautical miles off the Canadian coastline in the Beaufort Sea.
In both cases, the Russian planes entered the Air Defense Identification Zone, which extends about 200 miles from the coastline. They did not enter sovereign airspace of the United States or Canada.

Netherlands may contribute F-16 fighter planes to counter ISIS

The Netherlands will consider contributing F-16 fighter jets to help counter the Islamic State group, a Dutch daily said on Thursday, but the government said any decision on action must await planning consultations with the United States.

A quarter of India's Mirage 2000 fleet grounded due to lack of spares

Although a $2.2 billion upgrade of India’s Dassault Mirage 2000 fighters is progressing, around a quarter of the fleet of 49 is grounded because a contract for spares has remained unsigned for years, AIN has learned from sources involved in the program.

Ébola: Avión Hercules medicalizado del Ejercito del Aire ha despegado desde Sierra Leona

#ebola: 19:50 #AvionHercules medicalizado del @EjercitoAire ha despegado desde #SierraLeona con Manuel García a bordo

— Ejército del Aire (@EjercitoAire) September 21, 2014">

Sep 19, 2014

USAF C-17 lands in Liberia opening US military anti-Ebola airlift

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster landed in Monrovia, Liberia, on 19 September, carrying the first of 3,000 US military personnel that will deploy to West Africa in an effort to stem the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.
The aircraft carried a heavy duty forklift, drill set, a generator and a team of seven military personnel, including engineers and airfield specialists who are assigned to assess the payload capacity and stability of airport runways in Liberia’s capital.

US Navy’s Triton unmanned aircraft completes first cross-country flight

The MQ-4C Triton arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River Sept. 18 after completing its inaugural cross-country ferry flight, bringing the US Navy closer to delivering this new capability to the fleet.
This flight marked the transition from initial flight test, to testing that will demonstrate Triton’s capability to perform operational missions in the maritime domain.

Future Bombers Under Study In China And Russia

While the U.S. Air Force pursues development of the Long-Range Strike Bomber project, striving to launch full-scale development next year, both Russia and China are also proceeding with bomber plans. In the case of Russia, the PAK-DA is the first all-new bomber to start development since the Tupolev Tu-160, in 1977, while China’s prospective new system would be the nation’s first indigenous bomber.
China is reportedly working on a new bomber. It is tempting to discount China’s ambitions to build a world-class strategic strike aircraft given that its People’s Liberation Army Air Force (Plaaf) and Naval Air Force (PLAN-AF) seem content to fly successive versions of the Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-16. This medium bomber first flew in 1952 and then in China in 1959, subsequently built by the Xian Aircraft Corp. (XAC) as the Hong-6 (Bomber-6, H-6). However, continued improvements and production of the H-6 show that China retains an interest in long-range airpower.

Spain To Relieve Dutch Patriots in Turkey

Spain will deploy two Patriot batteries and 130 troops to Turkey in January to replace the two batteries being withdrawn by the Netherlands, Spanish Defense Minister announced Sept. 17.

Saudi Arabia begins receiving new AH-64E Apache

Saudi Arabia has begun receiving the first of its new AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters from Boeing.
At least three AH-64E helicopter have arrived in the kingdom having been transported from Boeing's production facility in Arizona. Saudi media has reported that the helicopters' arrival coincided with the graduation of the first pilots and maintainers.
The Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) has ordered 36 AH-64Es, the Saudi Arabia National Guard (SANG) has ordered 12, and the Saudi Royal Guard is looking to buy 10. Combined with the 12 AH-64A/D helicopters already fielded by the RSLF, these orders will make Saudi Arabia the largest Apache operator outside the United States.

Russia to start heavy UAV serial production in 2017

Russia is to begin series production of large unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in 2017, said deputy chairman of the Russian Military Industrial Commission (VPK) at a military-industry conference on 16 September in Krasnoarmeisk, near Moscow.
"There are robots in the national defence procurement plan and very many orders for unmanned aerial vehicles of light, medium, and heavy classes. Also, there are orders for unmanned combat air system (UCAS) models. Now in progress is research and development work. It is planned to start supplying series-produced UAVs to the Armed Forces in 2017 through 2018".