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Mar 31, 2014

Scrapping U-2 Won't Save As Much As Touted

Retiring all of its U-2 spy planes and replacing them with Global Hawk UAVs won’t save as much money as the US Air Force had said it would, since the unmanned systems will need upgrades to handle the mission, according to experts and service data.
To upgrade Northrop Grumman’s Block 30 Global Hawk, the Air Force intends to invest about $1.77 billion over the next 10 years. About $500 million of that is marked for a universal payload adapter that would allow U-2 sensors to be attached to the RQ-4 Global Hawk.
The Pentagon’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal submitted this month recommends retiring the U-2 fleet, which the Air Force has said will save about $2.2 billion. Subtract the $1.77 billion needed to upgrade the Global Hawk, and the savings drop to only $430 million.
The two aircraft perform a similar high-altitude ISR mission. But as recently as February, service leaders argued that the Global Hawk does not meet the full capabilities of the U-2 at a higher cost, and that politics was behind the push to keep the Global Hawk.
defensenews

Germany ready to reinforce Nato-Russia borders

Germany has said its air force is ready to increase security on Nato’s border with Russia, despite Moscow’s promise not to escalate the crisis in Ukraine.
German Defence Ministry told on Sunday that the army could take part in flights to patrol airspace with Awacs over Romania and Poland as well as training flights in the framework of a Nato air policing mission over Baltic states.
The statement comes after Denmark and the US in the past few weeks agreed to send more than a dozen extra F-16 fighter jets to the region.
Russia has not made any explicit threats to former Communist or former Soviet countries in the Nato alliance.
But Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s speech on 18 March, in which he promised to protect ethnic Russians abroad, has raised concerns he could stir up trouble among Russian minorities in Baltic states.
euobserver

Indonesian army starts training for Apache`s pilot

The Indonesian army had started the pilot training to fly the Apache AH-64E, the combat helicopters that were bought from the United States, prior to their arrival in 2017.
Indonesia had bought eight Apache helicopters of the type AH-64E from the United States as part of the program to strengthen the nations primary weapons defense system.
During the training, the United States will lend a few Apache helicopters to train the Indonesian pilots.
Half of the Apache helicopters that were bought would be placed in Natuna Islands, while the others will be stationed in Jakarta.
Indonesia also bought 114 units of Leopard Tank, 28 units of carrier helicopters, 37 units of Caesar Cannon, 13 units of MLRS Astros II Rocket and a few air defense missiles from Starstreak and Mistral.
antaranews

US Air Force'sX-37B Space Plane Shatters Orbital Endurance Record

The U.S. Air Force's robotic X-37B space plane has broken its own all-time endurance record in orbit after more than 470 days of circling the Earth on a mystery mission for the American military.
The X-37B space plane currently in orbit in flying the Orbital Test Vehicle 3 (OTV-3) mission, the third long-duration flight of the unmanned Air Force spaceflight program. The miniature space shuttle launched on Dec. 11, 2012 and is surpassed the record for longest X-37B spaceflight on Wednesday (March 26).
The OTV-3 mission in orbit today now uses the first of the Air Force's two X-37B space plane vehicles. The same spacecraft was used to fly the first-ever X-37B mission (the 225-day OTV-1 flight in 2010), while a second vehicle flew the longer OTV-2 mission a year later.
The U.S. military's X-37B space planes launch into orbit atop an unmanned Atlas 5 rocket from a pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. During launch, the space planes are encapsulated inside a protective shroud.
At the end of their respective flights, both the OTV-1 and OTV-2 craft missions flew themselves back to Earth on autopilot, each time touching down on a tarmac at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base.
space

Naval variant of LCA Tejas to undergo tests in Goa soon

The naval variant of LCA Tejas will soon undergo carrier compatibility tests at the newly commissioned shore-based test facility at the Indian naval base INS Hansa in Goa.
The shore-based test facility is primarily a ramp - similar to the ones on aircraft carriers - which facilitates ski-jump take-off and arrested landing of a naval aircraft. The aircraft will go to the test facility in a month's time.
Apart from enabling carrier compatibility, the new facility will aid certification of the LCA naval variant, for induction of the LCAin the Indian Navy.
The LCA (Navy) is India's first indigenous effort to build a carrier-borne naval fighter aircraft. It is designed to operate from future indigenous aircraft carriers that the Indian Navy plans to acquire.
LCA programme, which was launched in 1980 as part of the plan to replace the Indian Air Force's fleet of MIG-21 aircraft.
In December 2013, the IAF gave its operational clearance to the LCA Air Force variant and also cleared the same for full-scale production. It's expected the aircraft to be rolled out for induction into the Air Force later this year.
The IAF has placed an initial order of 40 LCAs which are to be delivered over the next four to five years. There are commitment for another 80 to 90 LCAs in future. The Air Force and Navy collectively require 200 LCAs.
The LCA had also evinced keen interest from foreign countries, but the priority for now is to enhance the production capacity and to continue working on the LCA Mk-II variant, which is expected to go operational in four to five years.
Apart from enabling carrier compatibility, the new shore-based test facility will aid certification of the LCA naval variant, which is critical to the LCA's future induction in the Indian Navy.
timesofindia

Philippines Looking at Improved and Enhanced Versions of HAWK SAM

The Philippines Department of National Defense is looking at the possibility of acquiring improved and enhanced versions of the Raytheon MIM-23 HAWKsurface-to-air missiles (SAMs).
The DND stated that acquisition of this weapon aims to protect the country from air threats its shore-to-ship missile (SSM) launchers which it is planning to acquire for the Philippine Army.
The SSM project consists of 12 launchers, trailers and tracking systems and missiles that could be fired to hit naval or sea targets.
Israel, one of the operators of the HAWK missile, have upgraded the Phase 2 standard with the addition of a Super Eye electro-optical TV system for detection of aircraft at 30 to 40 kilometers and identification at 17 to 25 kilometers.
They have also modified their system for engagements at altitudes up to 24,000 meters.
defense-studies

Mar 30, 2014

Finland aborts missile acquisition from United States

Finland has announced that it will not carry out the planned acquisition of tactical missiles from the United States and manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the army tactical missile system (ATacMS) missiles are surface-to-surface missiles fired from launchers.
The missiles have a range of up to 300 kilometres. The project has been put on hold due to budgetary reasons, due to high unit price.
The Ministry of Defence wrangled over the acquisition with the United States for 18 months, having been granted a congressional permit to purchase a maximum of 70 tactical missiles in mid-2012. The project received considerable media attention, after the initial application for a permit was withdrawn from the US Congress due to a misprint.
The Finnish Defence Forces views that the tactical missiles would become an integral part of Finland's defence capability, which has been developed systematically on the basis of a capability study conducted in 2004. The study indicates that the most crucial weapons systems for the country's defence are heavy missile launchers, air-to-surface missiles and special ammunition.
A green light has already been granted for the acquisition of air-to-surface missiles for the Finnish Hornet fleet and special ammunition.
The Ministry of Defence revealed recently that Finland decided two years ago to acquire joint air-to-surface stand-off missiles (JASSM) for its Hornet fleet.
In addition, the country has prepared for the acquisition of the ATacMS by acquiring in 2006 heavy multiple rocket launchers from the Netherlands.
The system of roughly 100 vehicles and 22 launch pads has consequently thus far been only used to fire practice rockets and mines.
helsinkitimes

Paveway IV service entry imminent for RAF Typhoons

The UK Royal Air Force could be as little as four to five months from having its Paveway IV precision-guided bombs fully qualified through the entire Eurofighter Typhoon flight envelope, for carriage using all six of the aircraft’s under-wing carriage points.
New work by Raytheon UK has lifted the remaining Typhoon and Panavia Tornado GR4 flight envelope restrictions for a weapon that was originally developed for the less aerobatic BAE Systems Harrier GR7/9.
Raytheon UK has successfully completed a re-qualification programme for Paveway IV, and the results are now being assessed by the MoD and partners.
The RAF's Tornado GR4s also have no restrictions on carriage of up to five Paveway IVs, as used during the Libya campaign in 2011. At that time, the strike aircraft faced restrictions on carriage configuration. Saudi Arabia also is interested in adopting Paveway IV for its Typhoon and Tornado fleets.
While the nimble Typhoon and Tornado put far more stress on carried Paveways than the weapon was designed to withstand, its requalification work showed the bomb to be suitable without modification for even the most extreme manoeuvres by the Typhoon. The work also shows the Paveway IV can be carried without restriction by the Typhoon throughout the weapon’s 20-year storage life.
The Typhoon requalification is an important step in the RAF’s ongoing push to have the aircraft ready to take on the complete range of Tornado air-to-ground mission capabilities, by the time that the venerable type is retired in 2019.
flightglobal

Denmark to send six fighter jets to Baltics in May

Denmark is to send six F16 fighter jets to the Baltic countries Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to help patrol their airspace.
Patrols will begin on May 1 and will be part of an expanded NATO air policing mission to reassure eastern members of the alliance following Moscow's annexation of Crimea after a referendum in the peninsula on joining Russia from Ukraine.
This is a signal especially to the Baltic countries that NATO stands shoulder to shoulder with Baltics and of course also a signal to Russia that we take NATO seriously," Lidegaard said after a meeting of parliament's foreign policy committee on Thursday.
Since the Baltic states joined NATO in 2004 several members of the alliance have made ​​aircraft and personnel available to monitor and enforce sovereignty of their air space.
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that NATO needed to boost its presence in eastern European countries that feel vulnerable to Russia after the Crimea annexation.
Moscow says the people of Crimea exercised their right to self determination.
reuters

Further Delays Predicted for F-35 Program

The general in charge of the F-35 told a US House panel Wednesday he sees more delays ahead — four to six months — for the often-troubled fighter jet program.
F-35Software development is "hard stuff", and will force new delays.
Block 3F software is dependent upon the timely release of Block 2B and 3I, and at present, 3F is tracking approximately four to six months late without taking steps to mitigate that delay.
General Accountability Office warned that any new software delays will trigger delays and cost overruns across the entire program.
The program more recently has made slow and steady progress. Initial operational capability (IOC) goals for the Marine Corps and Air Force in 2015 and 2016.
defensenews

Mar 29, 2014

Video: Syrian MiG-29 firing directly to the camera

Philippines inks contract for 12 KAI T-50 and 8 Bell 412 EP


Philippines inked contract for 12 KAI T-50 Golden Trainer Fighter jets and 8 Bell 412 EP combat utility helicopters from Canada.
The acquisition of the F-50s is the most upscale military modernization project that the Philippine government has sealed.
The first two of the FA-50 will be delivered after 18 months of the opening letter of credit. The next two will be after 12 months of the first delivery. The remaining eight will be delivered in staggered basis after two months until 2017.
The new Bell 412 EP will be delivered from August 2015.
newsinfo

Saab, Pilatus To Promote the PC-21 if Sweden Seeks New Trainer Aircraft

Saab and Pilatus Aircraft will cooperate in bidding the Swiss company’s PC-21 if the Swedish Air Force opt to replace its SK 60 trainer.
Cooperation on the trainer is part of a wider possible tie-up the two companies agreed to when they inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the Swiss capital Bern March 28.
Plans to create an aerospace software development center and a separate aerostructures business in Switzerland are included in an MoU.
Switzerland is holding a referendum in May on whether the country should purchase 22 Gripens to replace a fleet of aging F-5’s.
The Swedish Air Force has been flying the Saab-built SK60 since the 1960s and have for some time been reviewing whether it needs to replace the twin-jet machines.
Pilatus talked about a possible order for PC-21 for Sweden.
The Swedish aerospace company upgraded a number of SK60s following the signing of a contract in September 2009.
Some 67 aircraft were upgraded but only 35 machines are required for current Swedish training requirements.
Last December Saab moved to extend its trainer aircraft interest in a team deal with Boeing to design a new trainer to compete for a US Air Force requirement to replace T-38 jet trainers.
defensenews

UK, France Ink Deal To Produce Helo Anti-Surface Missile

Britain and France have signed a deal with MBDA to demonstrate and produce a helicopter-mounted anti-surface missile.
The weapon, known in Britain as the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Heavy) or FASGW(H) for short, is the first major collaborative production deal to emerge from the Anglo-French defense treaty signed in 2010.
Contracts to develop a second missile type, the FASGW (Lite), and a deal with AgustaWestland to integrate both weapons on the new AW159 Wildcat helicopter destined for the Royal Navy, are expected in the second quarter of the year.
The two nations finally approved a deal to go ahead with the FASGW(H) program at the Anglo-French summit, which took place Jan 31.
Delays in French approval threatened to jeopardize the Anglo-French Defence Treaty before Paris signaled last year it would go ahead with the program.
FASGW(H) will be capable of destroying targets from fast inshore attack craft to large vessels, such as corvettes.
defensenews

Mar 28, 2014

Why The US Navy Really Wants 22 More Growlers

After several years of appearing to dislike the F-35C, or at least appearing lukewarm to buying it, the Navy today finally revealed why it wants to buy more F-18Gs from Boeing.
Basically, it all boils down to the fact that the F-18G, known as the Growler, emits a broader set of electronic warfare frequencies than does the F-35. The two planes flying together are a much more effective strike package, according to Navy analysis, than either one flying on its own. The F-18G “supplements and complements” the F-35, he said. In fact, Manazir said the new planes were not needed for strictly naval missions but for joint forces, including fighting alongside our allies.
The F-35 is targeted against a narrower array of frequencies and emits only in a fairly narrow swath in front of the aircraft. The F-35 is the only US aircraft designed to defeat the most advanced Russian anti-aircraft systems such as the S-400 so the guess is that the JSF emits in frequencies designed to confuse and disable the radar systems that feed those. The Growler can engage in electronic warfare not only as it flies forward but continues to emit even after it begins to return to base.
The Navy has determined that using EA–18Gs reduces the length of a campaign and increases effectiveness. And this is with the current Growler, not ones that will use the Next Generation Jammer. Those aircraft, would be even more capable.
breakingdefense

U.S.-Russian Helicopter Deal In Spotlight After Crimean Annexation

Pressure is mounting in Washington to axe a $550 million contract with a Russian state arms dealer for military helicopters after Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea territory.
But more than half of that money has already been spent, while Russia has only delivered a fifth of the promised aircraft.
As of March 20, the Department of Defense had disbursed $290 million to Rosoboronexport under the current $553.8 million contract for 30 Mi-17 helicopters to be used by Afghan security forces.
As of the same date, six of the 30 helicopters had been delivered.
Amid pressure from U.S. lawmakers who said contracts with Rosoboronexport were helping Russia prop up Syrian President government, the Pentagon announced last year that after consultations with Congress, it had opted not to purchase any more helicopters from the firm. The current contract, however, would continue.
But members of Congress have renewed efforts to have the contract scrapped entirely in light of Russia’s takeover of Crimea.
U.S. military officials and defense experts have said the Russian-made aircraft are well-suited for deployment in Afghanistan. U.S. commanders in Afghanistan prefer the Mi-17 because of its durability and the fact that Afghan forces already have experience operating the aircraft.
Should the current contract ultimately be canceled or otherwise interrupted due to possible sanctions, it was not immediately clear whether the United States could recoup any of the $290 million it has already paid to Rosoboronexport for helicopters that have not been delivered.
rferl.org

Ejercicio fuego nocturno con Misil Mistral, Grupo Artillería Antiaérea II/71



Primera misión del Destacamento Mamba del Ejército del Aire en apoyo a República Centro Africana




Turkey Havelsan to Upgrade the Classic FFG Oliver Hazard Perry for Modern Combat

The Oliver Hazard Perry guided missile frigates are one of the most numerous warships classes built since World War II. The first ships entered service in the 1980s, but many still serve under the flags of other nations, all of whom are intensely interested in keeping these vintage ships as effective as possible.
With the last of the ships scheduled to leave US service by the fall of 2015, even more Perrys—FFGs, or “figs”will become available for foreign transfer and in need of upgrades.
At the forefront of the FFG modernization effort is Havelsan. The Turkish electronics and systems development firm is upgrading all eight of Turkey’s ex-US Navy FFGs, and is seeking to sell its combat system expertise to other countries operating similar ships.
Havelsan has a tentative agreement to upgrade Bahrain’s single FFG.
Havelsan,also has surveyed the Pakistani Alamgir, the country’s lone FFG, and the company has a contingency agreement with Pakistan to upgrade the ships should more frigates be transferred.
The company also has held talks with FFG operators Poland and Thailand.
Havelsan’s FFG upgrade program is marketed as the Genesis Combat Management System. The upgrades include not only sensors but also weapons.
All eight of Turkey’s frigates were upgraded by 2012 with the Genesis systems, but replacement of the air search radars has not been completed.
Genesis can handle more upgrades, including installation of the Phalanx Block 1 close-in weapon system; integration of Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) or SeaRAM systems.
Other systems that can be installed or integrated with the Genesis system are Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles, 40mm guns and new 76mm guns.
defensenews

Qatar to buy Apache, NH-90 Helicopters, B-737 AEW&C, and Patriot PAC-3 missiles in a multibillion deal

Qatar announced contracts worth about $23 billion on Thursday to buy attack helicopters, guided missiles, tankers and other weapons from Boeing Co, Airbus and other arms makers.
The weapons purchases include large deals with Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and others.
Qatar, and other Gulf Arab and Middle Eastern countries are looking to acquire new high-tech military equipment to protect themselves from neighboring Iran and internal threats after the Arab Spring uprising.
Boeing confirmed that the announcement included a contract to buy 24 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and three Boeing 737 Airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.
France's Defense Ministry said Qatar had agreed to buy 22 NH90 military helicopters and two Airbus A330 MRTT refueling tankers.
Qatar's air force has no in-flight refueling capability today, but it has been steadily building up its transport capacity.
Lockheed has delivered four C-130J-30s and Boeing has delivered four C-17s to Doha in the last four years, joining a fleet of Airbus and Boeing commercial aircraft serving as VIP transports.
The tanker selection also comes amidst an extended selection process for Qatar to buy up to 72 fighters to replace an ageing fleet of 12 Dassault Mirage 2000-5s.
The bidding process has drawn interest from western fighter makers , with the Boeing F-15E and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and the Lockheed Martin F-16 all in contention.
Qatar also committed to buy a Patriot missile defense system built by Raytheon equipped with PAC-3 missiles.
The Pentagon approved the sale to Qatar of of Patriot fire units, radars, and various Raytheon and Lockheed missiles in November 2012.
The DSCA, the U.S. body which oversees foreign arms sales, had notified lawmakers in July 2012 of a possible sale of Apache helicopters to Qatar.
reuters
flightglobal

Video del Primer lanzamiento IRIS-T desde un Eurofighter del Ejército de Aire


El Ejército del Aire ha sido la primera fuerza aérea en lanzar un misil IRIS-T en modo digital desde un Eurofighter adelantándose a otras fuerzas aéreas aliadas.

E-2D Become fully operational

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye officially became ready for tasking with VAW-125.
The "Tigertails" of VAW-125 are the first Navy squadron to become fully operational with the Advanced Hawkeye, the newest, most technologically capable variant of the E-2 AEW&C platform.
navy.mil

Republic Of Korea Air Force Accepts First C-130J Super Hercules

Lockheed Martin delivered to Republic of Korea the first two C-130J Super Hercules, becoming the 14th country to fly the C-130J.
Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) currently operate a fleet of C-130H legacy aircraft.
The ROKAF’s new Super Hercules is the longer fuselage or “stretched” combat delivery variant.
lockheedmartin

Mar 26, 2014

Raytheon Secures First Export for Paveway IV

Raytheon UK’s Paveway IV precision-guided bomb has secured its first export customer, following US congressional approval for a deal to supply weapons to Saudi Arabia.
Export of the Paveway IV to the Saudis has been held up for several years by the refusal of the US State Department to give clearance for US components included in the weapon.
Raytheon UK officials briefing reporters at the company’s facility here confirmed they had signed their first Paveway IV export customer, but said they were not able to identify the nation involved.
Saudi Arabia, though, has been previously identified as the first potential export customer by numerous media organizations.
Weapons would be produced over the next two years, with the first bombs handed over in about 18 months.
To date, only the UK’s Royal Air Force has purchased the Paveway IV; it is deployed on Tornado and Typhoon jets. Saudi Arabia operates both types of combat aircraft.
Raytheon UK is closing production of a British order to replenish Paveway IV stocks run down by operations against Lybia in 2011.
Michel said approval of the export deal by the US should open the way for possible upcoming orders from other Typhoon customers, including Oman. The gulf nation has ordered a squadron’s worth of Typhoons but deliveries have yet to get underway.
defensenews

The Planet’s Best Stealth Fighter Isn’t Made in America, it's the swedish JAS 39 E

In 2005, Lockheed Martin labeled the F-35, the stealthy new jet they were building for the Pentagon, as a “fifth-generation” fighter. Ironically, it was a term that they had borrowed from Russia to describe a different stealthy fighter, the F-22.
But if “fifth-generation” means more than “the ultimate driving machine,” a sixth generation will emerge. Saab—yes, that Saab—can argue that it has built the first such aircraft. The Swedish plane has got a mouthful of a name: the JAS 39E Gripen. But it could well be the future of air combat.
The concept behind the “fifth generation” of fighters is almost 30 years old. It dates to the final turning point in the Cold War, when the Reagan administration accelerated the arms race, believing (correctly) that the Soviet economic engine would throw a rod first. The F-22 was designed for a challenging but simple war: if you were in a NATO fighter and the nose was pointed east, pretty much everyone headed your way was trying to kill you.
The world has changed a bit. Operation Allied Force in 1999 presaged the air campaigns of the 2000s, where targets were soft but hard to find, and harder yet to pick out of the civilian environment. We can say little for certain about the nature of future conflict, except that it is likely to be led by, and revolve around, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). For the individual pilot, sailor or soldier, that means having better sense of the conflict zone is key.
Demographics and economics are squeezing the size of the world’s militaries—nations with more than 100 combat aircraft are few and getting fewer. There are no blank checks for overruns.
Much of the technology of 1995, let alone 1985, has a Flintstones look from today’s perspective. Software is no longer what makes machines work; an iPhone is hardware that is valued because of the apps that it supports. This technology is characterized by development and deployment cycles measured in months. In aerospace, the lead in materials and manufacturing has gone to the commercial side.
The conundrum facing fighter planners is that, however smart your engineering, these aircraft are expensive to design and build, and have a cradle-to-grave product life that is far beyond either the political or technological horizon.
The reason that the JAS 39E may earn “sixth generation” tag is that it has been designed with these issues in mind. Software comes first: the new hardware runs the latest Mission System 21 software, the latest roughly-biennial release in the series that started with the earlier, A and B models of the aircraft.
Long life requires adaptability, both across missions and through-life. The Gripen was designed as a small aircraft with a relatively large payload. And by porting most of the software to the new version, the idea is that all of the C and D models’ weapons and capabilities, and then some, are ready to go on the E.
The Swedes have invested in state-of-the-art sensors, including what may be the first in-service electronic warfare system using gallium nitride technology. It’s significant that a lot of space is devoted to the system used to pick out friendly from hostile aircraft; a good IFF (“identification friend-or-foe”) system is most important in a confused situation where civilian, friendly, neutral, questionable and hostile actors are sharing the same airspace.
Sweden’s ability to develop its own state-of-the-art fighters has long depended on blending home-grown and imported technology. Harvesting technology rather than inventing it becomes more important as commercial technology takes a leading role and becomes more global. The JAS 39E engine is from the U.S., the radar from Britain and the infra-red search and track system is from Italy. Much of the airframe may be built in Brazil.
However, what should qualify the JAS 39E for a “sixth generation” tag is what suits it most for a post-Cold War environment. It is not the world’s fastest, most agile or stealthiest fighter. That is not a bug, it is a feature. The requirements were deliberately constrained because the JAS 39E is intended to cost less to develop, build and operate than the JAS 39C, despite doing almost everything better.
It’s an ambitious goal, and it is the first time that Sweden has undertaken such a project in the international spotlight. But if it is successful it will teach lessons that nobody can afford not to learn.
thedailybeast

MQ-4C completes initial flight test phase

The Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has completed its initial flight test phase.
The Initial Envelope Expansion tests, concluded on 13 March, were designed to measure the maritime surveillance aircraft's performance at a variety of speeds and altitudes. The MQ-4C flew a total of 81 hours and reached a maximum altitude of 59,950 ft.
The two demonstration aircraft are now being prepared for transition to NASPatuxent River, Maryland, beginning in June.
Triton's software and sensor systems were tested separately on a Gulfstream II surrogate aircraft. Northrop Grumman completed those risk reduction tests of the Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS) in 2013.
The MFAS is an active electronically scanned array radar that provides a 360-degree field of view. It uses a combination of electronic scanning and a mechanical rotation, which allows the radar to spotlight a geographic area of interest for extended periods of time rather than hopping around quickly.
Triton's MFAS sensor is designed to work with an Automatic Identification System (AIS). The AIS system can identify and locate a vessel, and then the MFAS radar can take a picture of it. As the aircraft approaches the ship, AN/ZLQ-1 electronic support measures and an electro-optic/infrared sensor - the Raytheon MTS-B - can then be used to confirm the ship's identity.
As a companion to the Boeing P-8A Poseidon manned maritime patrol aircraft, Triton will be capable of adding over 2.7 million square miles of coverage to each single mission.
The USN's plan is to acquire 68 production-model Tritons plus the two demonstration aircraft.
Australia has also expressed intent to purchase the UAVs to accompany its planned P-8 fleet.
janes

U.S. set to approve international debut of F-35 fighter in RIAT Air Show

The U.S. is poised to approve the first trans-Atlantic flight of F-35 in July, when the plane is expected to take part in two international air shows near London.
U.S. Defense Secretary is very close to a decision that would allow two or three F-35s to fly at the Royal International Air Tattoo, or RIAT, an annual military air show outside London, and the Farnborough air show, held every other year.
The international debut of the new U.S. fighter jet will be closely watched by potential buyers, including Canada and Denmark.
F-35 backers say the decision reflects growing confidence in a program that is about 70 percent over budget and years behind schedule.
Britain, which contributed to the development of the new jet and plans to buy 138 F-35s in coming years, asked for the jet's participation to help showcase the increasing maturity of the new radar-evading plane. Britain was also the first international partner on the program.
Details of the F-35's international debut are being worked out, including how much it will cost to fly the planes to London and who will pay for it.
The costs will likely be shared by Britain, the Pentagon's F-35 program office, the U.S. Marine Corps and industry.
chicagotribune

Elbit Systems Awarded Contract to Supply Brazil with Hermes 900 UAS

Elbit Systems has announced that it has been awarded a contract by the Brazilian Air Force-FAB for the supply of a Hermes 900 UAS. The Hermes 900, will be operated by FAB in combined missions with the Hermes 450 fleet, already in operational use. Both UAS will carry safety and security missions in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Games. The Hermes 900 will be supplied within two months.
FAB, is the eighth customer of the Hermes 900.
Elbit Systems subsidiary in Brazil, AEL SYSTEMAS S.A. will supply FAB with technical and engineering support as well as logistic and maintenance services.
elbitsystems

HMS Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier to Take to the Water in July

Britain’s biggest-ever warship HMS Queen Elizabeth will be floated for the first time in July, with work on assembling a second aircraft carrier due to commence at BAE Systems shipyard in Rosyth, Scotland, in September.
HMS Queen Elizabeth,, will move to “flood up” within weeks of a naming ceremony on July 4.
A second ship, HMS Prince of Wales, is following 20 months behind the first, with both vessels designed to be put together at the yard near Edinburgh from sub-assemblies built at five other sites, some weighing as much as smaller Royal Navy ships.
Once floated, the Queen Elizabeth will be towed from her dock and across a basin where the ship will tie up alongside the harbor for the completion of fitting out, making way for the assembly of the second carrier. Outfitting is due to be completed in 2015, with sea trials commencing a year later.
F-35B Joint Strike Fighter jump-jets should be flying from the plane by 2018.
bloomberg

TriStar Retires After 30 Years Service with the RAF

The Lockheed TriStar has flown its last operational mission with the Royal Air Force bringing to an end 30 years of service.
On Monday 24th March two TriStar’s of 216 Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton flew an air-to-air refuelling mission over the North Sea.
During its service the TriStar, has formed the backbone of long range air transport and air-to-air refuelling, participating in nearly every British conflict since it was brought into service.
The fleet of nine aircraft were acquired as a direct result of the Falklands conflict and the need to provide support to forces in the South Atlantic and to bolster the air-to-air refuelling fleet.
In more recent times TriStars have provided air-to-air refuelling to fast jet aircraft operating over Afghanistan and Libya and provided the vital air bridge, transporting troops and cargo to Iraq and Afghanistan. Over a period of eight years 216 Sqn flew 1642 times to Afghanistan, carrying a quarter of a million passengers.
The remaining four TriStar aircraft will leave RAF Brize Norton for the final time on 25th March, when they will depart to Bruntingthorpe Airfield, Leics for disposal.
raf

Mar 25, 2014

IAI courts buyers for AEW-equipped C295

Israel Aerospace Industries is in different stages of negotiations with four countries that have shown interest in the Airbus Defence & Space C295 medium transport, fitted with an airborne early warning and control system suite supplied by its Elta Systems subsidiary.
Airbus has previously flown one of its C295 development aircraft with an aerodynamic model of an AEW rotodome installed.
Elta is offering a mission system including a radar, command, control and communications equipment and electronic intelligence sensors.
An Israeli source says the proposed AEW version of the C295 is an attractive option for air forces that already use the European design for transport applications. The current interest includes some nations that currently use the twin-turboprop, the source reveals.
Airbus says an AEW version of the C295 would have a mission endurance of up to 9h, and be capable of operating at an altitude of up to 26,000ft (7,930m).
flightglobal

Mexican navy orders two Beechcraft T-6 trainers

Mexico is expanding its fleet of Beechcraft T-6C Texan trainers with a new order for two aircraft by the nation's navy.
The aircraft, designated T-6C+ models, will be delivered this summer.
Beechcraft, is also working on a contract to provide two years of parts support, pilot and mechanic training and field support to the Mexican navy.
The Mexican air force already has six T-6s, and has placed an order for an additional six aircraft.
The announcement comes two months after news broke that New Zealand will buy 11 T-6Cs.
flightglobal

El Eurofighter del Ejército del Aire dispara por primera vez un misil IRIS-T en modo digital

El pasado 27 de febrero sobre las aguas del golfo de Cádiz, en el centro de experimentación de 'El Arenosillo', pilotos del Centro de Armamento y Experimentación del Ejército del Aire (CLAEX) ejecutaron con éxito el primer disparo, en el proceso de integración digital, del misil IRIS-T en los C.16 Eurofighter de tranche 1.
El Ejército del Aire se ha convertido en la primera Fuerza Aérea usuaria del sistema de armas Eurofighter en haber realizado un disparo del misil IRIS-T con integración digital, lo que supone un salto cualitativo de gran magnitud en las capacidades de combate aire-aire de dicha plataforma.
ejercitodelaire

US to Kill Tomahawk, Hellfire Missile Programs

President Barack Obama is seeking to abolish two highly successful missile programs.
The Tomahawk missile program is set to be cut by $128 million under Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal and completely eliminated by fiscal year 2016.
In addition to the monetary cuts to the program, the number of actual Tomahawk missiles acquired by the United States would drop significantly—from 196 last year to just 100 in 2015. The number will then drop to zero in 2016.
The Navy will also be forced to cancel its acquisition of the well-regarded and highly effective Hellfire missiles in 2015.
The proposed elimination of these missile programs came as a shock to lawmakers and military experts, who warned ending cutting these missiles would significantly erode America’s ability to deter enemy forces.
The U.S. Navy relied heavily on them during the 2011 military incursion into Libya, where some 220 Tomahawks were used during the fight.
Nearly 100 of these missiles are used each year on average, meaning that the sharp cuts will cause the Tomahawk stock to be completely depleted by around 2018. This is particularly concerning to defense experts because the Pentagon does not have a replacement missile ready to take the Tomahawk’s place.
The administration seems to be taking the millions typically spent on the Tomahawk program and investing it in an experimental missile program that experts say will not be battle ready for at least 10 years.
Navy experts and retired officials fear that the elimination of the Tomahawk and Hellfire systems—and the lack of a battle-ready replacement—will jeopardize the U.S. Navy’s supremacy as it faces increasingly advanced militaries from North Korea to the Middle East.
freebeacon

Republic of Korea Formally Selects Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II

The Republic of Korea has formally announced its decision to procure the F-35 Lightning II aircraft for its F-X fighter acquisition program.
Following a comprehensive evaluation process for their F-X program, the Republic of Korea becomes the third Foreign Military Sales country to procure the F-35, joining Israel and Japan.
The program also currently includes participation from three U.S. military service branches and eight international partner countries. The F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps.
lockheedmartin

Mar 24, 2014

India To Buy More Pilatus PC-7 Mk. 2s

The Indian air force has decided to urgently buy 106 PC-7 Mk. 2 Basic Trainer Aircraft from Pilatus, pulling the plug yet again on state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which is also making an aircraft for training junior pilots.
The PC-7 be acquired from the Swiss company under the “Buy & Make (Indian)” category, in accordance with India’s defense procurement policy.
India is already taking delivery of PC-7 Mk. 2 aircraft from Pilatus under a contract for 75 such aircraft signed in 2012.
Pilatus will have to form a joint venture or establish a production arrangement with an Indian company to execute the contract.
A Request for Information (RFI) calls for delivery of aircraft and equipment to begin by 2015-16, with all 106 PC-7 Mk. 2’s to be delivered by 2020-21.
aviationweek

Boeing U.S. tanker program seen $1 billion over budget

The USAF estimates that development of new refueling plane will cost nearly $1.1 billion more than initially planned. Under the terms of the government's contract mean Boeing must cover the added costs.
The Air Force plans to buy 179 of the new refueling planes to start replacing its fleet ofKC-135 tankers.
The Air Force has repeatedly raised its cost estimates of the development part of the tanker program, but insists that the fixed-price terms of its contract with Boeing will keep cost overruns from affecting the federal budget.
Boeing remains on track to deliver the first 18 refueling planes by August 2017 as scheduled, despite a report from the Pentagon's chief weapons tester that warned that testing could be delayed by at least six to 12 months.
reuters

Lockheed Martin F-35 Jet’s Software Delayed

Delays in testing critical software for F-35 jet are threatening to delay the Pentagon’s most expensive weapon and boost development costs.
The Marine Corps F-35 version, has a key milestone next year. While the Marines want the plane to be deemed ready for warfare in mid-2015, tests on some of its software might not be completed on time, and may be as much as 13 months late.
Delays of this magnitude would mean that the Marine Corps will not likely have all of the capabilities it expects in July 2015.
The Air Force’s F-35 version is supposed to meet a similar deadline in 2016, and the Navy model in 2018. Italy and the U.K. are buying the Marine Corps model.
Lockheed Martin is confident to complete flight testing of the software required for Marine Corps initial operational capability this year.
The company plans to release the required software for the Marine version no later than July 2015. This software will enable the Marines to identify, target and engage the opposition.
Lockheed Martin is improving its production processes and reduced problems with its pilot helmet, the Navy F-35’s tailhook, which enables the plane to land on aircraft carriers, and an automatic diagnostic system.
The company and the Pentagon program office also made progress in 2013 toward reducing the cost of the Navy and Air Force models, though not the Marine Corps version.
bloomberg

Poland speeds up missile defense plan amid Ukraine crisis

Poland has decided to speed up its tender for a missile defense system, in a sign of Warsaw's disquiet over the tension between neighboring Ukraine and Russia.
Poland had planned to determine the supplier of its missile defence system in 2015, but the crisis in Ukraine and concerns about Russia's annexation of Crimea have prompted officials to speed up the timetable.
There are four bidders: France's Thales, in a consortium with European group MBDA and the Polish state defence group; the Israeli government; Raytheon of the United States; and the MEADS consortium led by Lockheed Martin.
The decision to accelerate the process is partly caused by Russia's military intervention in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula.
The first phase of the Polish system is to comprise eight sets of mid-range interceptor rockets, which may later be supplemented by short-range ones. Poland has already passed legislation to secure funding for the shield.
The planned system is separate from elements of a U.S. missile shield to be deployed in Poland by 2018.

France offers 4 fighter jets to Poland, Baltics to boost NATO patrols

France will offer to send four fighter jets to the Baltic states and Poland to boost NATO air patrols over the region.
Besides the Rafale and Mirage 2000 aircraft, Paris will also offer to ensure "AWACS patrols from France around twice a week" if asked by NATO.
The United States is responsible for the patrols until May. Given the situation in Ukraine, it sent additional F-15 fighter jets to the region earlier this month, bringing their total to 10 aircraft.
Poland will then take over the patrols from the US. The ministry source said France will offer the fighter jets, along with the AWACS early warning aircraft, if NATO and Poland deem them necessary.
NATO has already deployed AWACS reconnaissance aircraft to overfly Poland and Romania as part of its efforts to monitor the Ukraine crisis.
expatica

F-35 training at night to start soon

Next week, the F-35 fighter will take to the night skies over Northwest Florida for the first time.
About nine of the F-35s at Eglin Air Force Base are equipped for use in training pilots to navigate at night. The wing slowly and steadily has been ramping up its training of pilots and maintainers for the F-35.
If all goes as planned, pilots may start night flying as early as Monday evening. Takeoffs would be about 8 p.m. and flights would last about an hour.
nwfdailynews

South Korea to Award Tanker, Fighter Contracts by End of Year

The Republic of Korea Air Force expects to make a selection and sign a contract on its new tanker before the end of the year.
The service will also announce its next-generation fighter selection next month.
The F-X program will replace South Korea’s aging F-4 and F-5 fighter fleet. It is widely believed that Seoul has settled on Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The selection will also help kick off the KF-X program, South Korea’s development program of an indigenous fighter design. The two programs are directly linked.
The Korean air force opened its doors for bidding on its KC-X tanker program in October. Korean is looking for something with cargo capacity as well as both boom and drogue refueling capabilities.
Three platforms have been entered into the competition: The Airbus A330, Boeing’s KC-46A platform and an offering from Israeli Aerospace Industries of modified, previously owned Boeing 767s.
Other modernization priorities are also moving along. Korea will introduce it’s first C-130J transport next month, while it expects to see movement on its purchase of four Global Hawk unmanned systems.
defensenews

Argentina buying Kfir from Israel

A high-level Argentine military delegation visited Israel recently to finalize a purchase of Kfir fighter jets . Kfir has not been in operational use by the Israel Air Force for nearly 20 years and will be upgraded by Israel Aircraft Industries if the contract is signed.
haaretz

Turkey downs Syria military jet 'in airspace violation'

Turkish forces have shot down a Syrian military jet they say was violating their airspace despite warnings.
Syria accused Turkey of "blatant aggression", saying the plane had been over Syrian territory at the time.
The incident reportedly occurred in an area where Syrian rebels and government forces have been fighting for control of a border crossing.
Turkey has broadly sided with the rebels in Syria's war since October 2011.
Turkish forces launched artillery strikes on Syrian targets in late 2012 after the Syrians shot down a Turkish jet.
According to one report, the plane's pilot was able to eject.
In a media statement on the incident, the Turkish General Staff said two Syrian military jets were involved, and that they had been "warned four times that they were approaching Turkish airspace".
One of the Syrian MiGs turned back.
The second Syrian jet entered Turkish airspace despite of the warnings. It then turned westwards and continued flying in our Turkey's airspace for a distance of 1.5km.
At this point one of two Turkish F-16s flying Combat Air Patrol in the region fired a missile at the Syrian jet in accordance with the rules of engagement at 1314. Hit, the Syrian jet fell in the vicinity of Kesab on Syrian soil 1,200m south of the border.
In September last year, Turkey said it had shot down a Syrian helicopter close to its border. Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said the aircraft was engaged by fighter jets after violating Turkish air space.
A Turkish fighter jet was shot down by Syria over the Mediterranean in June 2012, after Syrian forces said it had entered its airspace.
bbc

Czechs offer Gripens to protect airspace near Ukraine

The Czech Republic is prepared to provide Gripen fighters, to protect the airspace of the countries bordering on or near Ukraine if it is asked for help.
The participation of the Czech Republic in any massive NATO manoeuvres in reaction to Russian military activities in Ukraine is not being prepared.
If the Czech Republic is asked, it can send event its supersonic Gripen fighters to protect the airspace of its partner countries.
Information surfaced a few days ago saying the Czech military might participate in some larger military exercises with the United States, Poland and probably some other NATO member states.
The Czech Defence Ministry´s representatives are negotiating about a joint exercise with the United States and Poland but it is not planned in reaction to the Russian occupation of Crimea.
In the past, Czech pilots of Gripens helped protect the airspace of the three Baltic NATO member states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, repeatedly.
In the autumn, Czechs are to take part in a similar mission in the airspace of Iceland.
ceskenoviny

Mar 22, 2014

El Ejército del Aire despliega un C-130 Hércules en Libreville Gabón, en apoyo de la Operación MISCA

Un C-130 Hércules (T-10) del Ala 31, ha despegado desde Zaragoza con rumbo a Libreville,Gabón, para abrir un nuevo destacamento en el marco de la operación MISCA (Misión Internacional de Apoyo a la República Centroafricana).
La misión, se encuentra amparada en las resoluciones adoptadas por el Consejo de Seguridad de Naciones Unidas para la protección de los civiles y el restablecimiento de la seguridad y el orden público en laRepública Centroafricana.
El vuelo inicial que está previsto para la operación MISCA se efectuará el domingo 23 de marzo, una vez establecido el nuevo destacamento.
ejercitodelaire

Ejercicio Heliborne training entre helicópteros de las FAMET (Tigre y Chinook) y Osprey del US Marines



Iran building giant fake U.S. Navy aircraft carrier

Iran is building a nonworking mock-up of an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that United States officials say may be intended to be blown up for propaganda value.
Intelligence analysts studying satellite photos of Iranian military installations first noticed the vessel rising from the Gachin shipyard, near Bandar Abbas, last summer. The ship has the same distinctive shape and style of the Navy’s Nimitz-class carriers, as well as the Nimitz’s number 68 neatly painted in white near the bow. Mock aircraft can be seen on the flight deck.
The Iranian mock-up, which American officials described as more like a barge than a warship, has no nuclear propulsion system and is only about two-thirds the length of a typical 1,100-foot-long Navy carrier. Intelligence officials do not believe that Iran is capable of building an actual aircraft carrier.
Analysts says: “Based on our observations, this is not a functioning aircraft carrier; it’s a large barge built to look like an aircraft carrier”(...) “We’re not sure what Iran hopes to gain by building this. If it is a big propaganda piece, to what end?”
Whatever the purpose, American officials acknowledged on Thursday that they wanted to reveal the existence of the vessel to get out ahead of the Iranians.
Navy and other American intelligence analysts surmise that the vessel, which Fifth Fleet wags have nicknamed the Target Barge, is something that Iran could tow to sea, anchor and blow up — while filming the whole thing to make a propaganda point, if, say, the talks with the Western powers over Iran’s nuclear program go south.
Iran has previously used barges as targets for missile firings during training exercises, filmed the episodes and then televised them on the state-run news media, Navy officials said.
But while Iran has tried to conceal its underground nuclear-related sites, the Iranian Navy has taken no steps to cloak from prying Western satellites what it is building pierside at the busy shipyard. “The system is often too opaque to understand who hatched this idea, and whether it was endorsed at the highest levels”.
nytimes

Brazil gifts Tucano training aircraft to Mozambique

Brazil’s President has sanctioned a gift of three Tucano Embraer EMB-312 aircrafts to Mozambique. Mozambique may also acquire three Super Tucano EMB-314 fighter jets and naval manoeuvres simulator from Brazil, on mid or long term finance.
The need to protect and defend natural resources in Mozambique is very big. Brazil and Mozambique’s economic interests are mainly focused on mining resources, through Brazilian company vale, and agriculture, through the ProSavana project, which also involves Japan.
macauhub

Mar 21, 2014

Lockheed Martin awarded Contrat to Upgrade Egypt's F-16

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract to deliver and install 20 advanced countermeasure electronics system-system integrity (ACES SI) retrofit kits, modify 24 radar warning receivers and procure three electronic warfare memory loader verifiers for Egypt's F-16C/D (16 C’s and 4 D’s) Block 52 aircraft. Work will be performed at Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed by Oct. 19, 2015.defense.gov

AH-64E looking increasingly likely for UK

The UK looks increasingly likely to procure the Boeing AH-64E.
The government is currently considering options to sustain the British Army's Apache fleet until its planned out of service date in 2040.
The 66 WAH-64D Block I helicopters in the UK inventory are rapidly becoming unsupportable, as the US Army and Boeing shift their attention to the AH-64D Block II and AH-64E fleets as operated by the US and most international customers.
Given the success of the Apache in Afghanistan and Libya, the British Army has made clear its desire to upgrade its current WAH-64D Block I helicopters with the latest variant AH-64E. The deputy commander of the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command (JHC), said that the army "rather hopes" that the AH-64E will be the chosen successor, for fielding before 2020.
The MoD is currently undertaking a capability sustainment programme to sustain the UK's attack helicopter capability out to 2040 and beyond.
janes

Mar 20, 2014

First Israeli M-346 Lavi rolled out

Alenia Aemacchi has rolled out the first M-346 advanced trainer for Israel.
Dating from a July 2012 order, the company will supply 30 of the aircraft to the nation’s air force to replace its fleet of aged 60 Douglas A/TA-4 Skyhawks.
Delivery of the first two M-346s "Lavi" in Israeli service, is scheduled for summer 2014, with a further seven aircraft to be handed over this year, 18 in 2015 and the remainder in 2016.
flightglobal

Dutch maritime NH90s suffer corrosion

Last year, the Royal Netherlands Air Force deployed one of its NH90s for the first time aboard a navy vessel, during anti-piracy operation Atalanta in the Gulf of Aden.
After an inspection conducted following the mission, it was concluded that the amount of wear and tear and corrosion to the helicopter was much higher than anticipated. The same problems were noted on another aircraft deployed to the Caribbean.
The air force has come to the conclusion that the problems seem to be caused by design and assembly failures, and incomplete maintenance instructions..
NH Industries has acknowledged the problems and started its own investigation into possible solutions.
Information about the Dutch corrosion issue has also been shared with the NATO helicopter management agency and other NH90 partner countries. France has also reported two cases of corrosion.
Meanwhile, Italy has recently started naval operations with its NFH-variant aircraft.
flightglobal

First Italian air force HH-101A breaks cover

The first AgustaWestland AW101 destined for the Italian air force has been displayed to service officials.
To be designated the HH-101A Caesar in Italian service, Rome has ordered 15 of the type to replace its current fleet of Agusta/Sikorsky HH-3 Pelicans for use on personnel recovery and special forces operations.
They will be handed over to the Italian air force in the fourth quarter.
The HH-101A will be equipped with three M134 7.62mm pintle-mounted miniguns, armoured cockpit seats, ballistic protection for the door gunners as well as for the helicopter's critical systems. It will also feature an air-to-air refuelling kit for extended range operations.
flightglobal

Russian jets buzz Norwegian coast

As Norwegian politicians try to balance their indignation and concerns over Russia’s territorial takeover in Crimea, Russian fighter jets continue to fly up and down along Norway’s own territorial border off the northwest coast. The regular flights seem aimed at asserting Russia’s growing military presence in the Arctic, while Norwegian leaders seem intent on avoiding provocation.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported on Wednesday that the Russian fighter jet flights have been occurring on a weekly basis, with between 50 and 90 registered every year since 2009 according to numbers from the Norwegian military’s operational headquarters. The Russian pilots stay just outside the so-called 12-mile zone, or roughly 22 kilometers offshore, and usually fly from north to south, often turning around over the scenic archipelago of Lofoten.
Military officials believe the missions are fueled by a need for pilot training and to simply show off.
The Norwegian military responds to every flight by sending its own F16 jet fighters up. During the Cold War, Norway and NATO registered hundreds of such flights a year, but they tapered off dramatically when the Soviet Union broke apart in the early 1990s. The flights started to take off again around 2000.
Today the Russian military presence and visibility in the northern areas” is stronger than it’s been in many years.
newsinenglish

Xian Y7-100 airborne early warning variant