Feb 28, 2015

Airbus Eyes New Zealand as New A400M Customer in 2015

Airbus Defense & Space, said that they expect an export order for the A400M airlifter by the end of the year — the first since Malaysia signed for four aircraft in December 2005.
An A400M from the French Air Force was present at the 2015 Australian International Air Show.
The aircraft arrived at Avalon direct from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and was heading to Noumea in French New Caledonia at the conclusion of the show.
The A400M had flown in excess of 24 flying hours to Southern Australia without requiring anything more than routine maintenance along the way eyeing New Zealand:
"Our message to New Zealand is, with A400M you can cover all of the strategic requirements, which is mainly their Antarctic service" he said. "And at the same time, with the tactical capability of this aircraft, you can land on many of the various islands north of New Zealand, you can begin replacing, or sorting out your aging C-130 issues."
10 A400Ms have been delivered to the air forces of France, Germany, Turkey and the United Kingdom to date, with the first aircraft for the Royal Malaysian Air Force due to be handed overMarch.

U.S. Navy opens door to more orders of Superhornet, Growler

The U.S. Navy on Thursday opened the door to further purchases of F/A-18 and EA-18G fighter jets, saying it may ask lawmakers to finance the planes as part of a list of "unfunded priorities" to be sent to Congress.
More orders would help Boeing extend its St. Louis F/A-18 production line beyond 2017, but congressional aides and defense officials said it remained unclear if Congress would ultimately fund more jets at a time when it has yet to reach agreement about removing budget caps that are due to resume in 2016.
Navy could face possible fighter jet shortfalls on its aircraft carriers next decade when most older model F/A-18s will be retired but the Navy will still be buying newer F-35 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp.
The Navy is also starting to work with Boeing on refurbishing existing jets to improve the current availability rate of the aircraft, which has sunk to around 50 percent.

Feb 27, 2015

Italian AF First To Buy HammerHead UAV

The Italian Air Force will be the launch customer of the P.1HH HammerHead UAV. The Italian Air Force will acquire three UAV systems, including six platforms and three ground control stations, by 2016.
The HammerHead is an unmanned version of Piaggio's P180 business jet, equipped with systems supplied by Finmeccanica unit Selex. A prototype flew for the first timeDecember.
The Italian Air Force has been closely involved in the development of the UAV.

Norway, Australia To Join on Konsberg JSM Naval Missile

Australia has entered into a co-operative agreement with Norway to develop an advanced maritime strike missile for the F-35A.
Norway's Kongsberg Defence Aerospace is developing the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) to meet its maritime strike requirements.
The co-operative agreement will ensure the weapon will be ready in time for Australia's F-35A final operating capability (FOC) in 2023.
BAE Systems Australia is working with Kongsberg Defence Aerospace to integrate an independent sensor on the JSM to detect and identify hostile radars.

Feb 26, 2015

RAAF A330 MRTT Combat Debut

As a Royal Australian Air Force Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) continues to support operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the service is placing a major emphasis on getting the type's long-delayed boom refuelling capability on-line.
RAAF Wg Cdr Warren MacDonald says RAAF KC-30As have operated 1,300 hours in support of coalition forces, offloading about 3.5 million tonnes of fuel every month since September 2014.
The combat reliability of the converted airliner, which entered service in 2013, has been extremely good.
All of these refuelling missions have been conducted using the hose-and-drogue method.
Aside from the type's combat debut, 2014 also saw a strong push to bring the aircraft's boom refuelling system online. To this end, one KC-30A was dispatched to Airbus Defence & Space's facility in Seville, Spain, bringing the number of RAAF KC-30As in the country to two. The aircraft performed 160 fights, and made 300 boom contacts.
Both aircraft will return to Australia this year, and by mid-2015 the boom should be operational.
By 2023, only 36 RAAF aircraft will still use hose-and-drogue refuelling, its 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets and 12 EA-18G Growlers. The remaining 100 aircraft in its fleet, including the Lockheed Martin F-35, will require boom refuelling.
This is the reverse of the status quo, as 95 RAAF aircraft use hose-and-drogue for air-to-air refuelling, and 17 use the boom.
Moreover, the boom is essential for refuelling aircraft from allied forces, namely Singapore's F-15s and F-16s, and USAF assets. MacDonald says the RAAF will speak to Singapore later this year about clearing the KC-30A to refuel its assets.

J-10B Will Be Soon Inducted to China's Air Force

China's air force will soon commission the J-10B fighter jet, the most advanced military aircraft the country has ever developed on its own.
Several pictures showing 14 of the planes lined up outside an unidentified aircraft factory have been circulating on military websites. Experts said their gray paint scheme indicates that they will soon be delivered to the People's Liberation Army air force.
It is also possible and feasible that the J-10B's upgraded version will be chosen by the navy to serve on an aircraft carrier.
The J-10B is an improved variant of the J-10A, which is manufactured by the Chengdu, a subsidiary of the State-owned giant Aviation Industry Corp of China.
Western military sources said the jet had its first flight in December 2008, and mass production started in 2013.
The new fighter has an increase of at least 30 percent in overall capability compared with its predecessor.
The aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 19 metric tons and can carry a payload of up to 8 tons. Its combat radius can reach to about 1,000 kilometers.

US Army Not Interested in Taking A-10 from USAF

The U.S. Army has no interest in taking over the Air Force’s fleet of A-10 attack planes, even if it would save the venerable Cold War-era aircraft from the bone yard.
The service’s top civilian, Army Secretary John McHugh, rejected the idea of accepting hand-me-down A-10 Warthogs from the Air Force.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James defended the service’s renewed budget proposal to begin retiring its fleet of almost 300 Warthogs — even as pilots fly the gunship in the Middle East to attack militants affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Over the past decade-plus of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, James said, “the A-10 has done a magnificent job, but so has the F-16 and the F-15E, and the B-1 bomber has been a contributor and there have been a number of aircraft that have contributed to the totality of close-air support. So to me, close-air support is not a plane, it’s a mission.”
If lawmakers approve the Air Force’s budget request for fiscal 2016, which begins Oct. 1, the service would divest the A-10 over a period of five years and save an estimated $4 billion during that period.
Congress blocked the service’s previous budget request to retire the aircraft, but allowed it to move as many 36 of the planes to back-up status. The shift will free up more maintainers to work on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Iran Navy Sinks US Carrier Mock Up Durign Drills

A senior commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps says the Iranian Navy can sink the giant US aircraft carriers if they pose a threat to Iran’s maritime interests.
Commander of the IRGC Navy, said made the remarks in an interview with Press TV after his forces in the IRGC Navy started a major drill in the Persian Gulf waters south of Iran earlier in the day.
The drill, code-named the Great Prophet 9, saw nearly 400 rounds of 107-millimeter missiles strike a huge model of a US aircraft carrier.
Various types of aircraft, drones, manned and unmanned aerial vehicles will be also tested on the second day of the drill.

Australia, Philippines, South Korea interested in gunship conversions

ATK has received significant interest in its gunship and light attack aircraft conversions from a number of Asia-Pacific countries.
Interest in ATK's tactical transport gunship conversions has been particularly strong from several regional countries, with capability discussions ongoing.
Australia is very interested in the MC-27J [special mission aircraft, which ATK developed with airframer Alenia Aermacchi]; Indonesia has shown interest in the [Airbus Defence and Space] CN-235 and C-295 gunship conversions; the Philippines recently bought [surplus Lockheed Martin] C-130Ts, which ATK have briefed about converting [into roll-on/roll-off gunships]; and ATK have briefed South Korea on gunship applications for the CN-235 too..
ATK's light attack and gunship conversion work has become especially popular over recent years, with Iraq receiving Hellfire-armed AC-208 Combat Caravans, Jordan receiving AC-235 gunships (with a contract for AC-295s expected imminently), and Italy signing for the MC-27J special mission aircraft.

Spain Submits Tender to Supply Eurofighter Typhoon To Indonesia

Spain has submitted a tender to supply Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to the Indonesian government, entering a bidding war with other producers of combat aircraft.
Indonesia has dedicated 7 percent of budgetary spending to defense over the past two years in an attempt to regenerate an aging military arsenal to both match regional powers and to secure the vast archipelago.
The Eurofighter, faces serious competition from Russia’s Sukhoi and Sweden’s Gripen aircraft.
Gripen maker, Saab, opened a representative office in Indonesia last year.

Feb 25, 2015

HammerHead UAV prototype makes maiden flight

Piaggio Aerospace has announced that a prototype of its P.1HH HammerHead unmanned air vehicle has carried out its maiden flight.
The medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) prototype – dubbed Prototype 001 – was flown in December from Trapani Birgi air base in Italy, and will now continue its development and certification flight test campaign.
The Avanti II twin-pusher turboprop-derived Hammerhead was officially unveiled during Paris air show in 2013.
The 001 model that flew in December is characteristic of the final aerodynamic design, Piaggio says.
The “seamless” prototype test saw the HammerHead perform the shakedown flight over the Mediterranean Sea “at a significant range of speed and altitude”, with a primary objective to conduct a first check of the air vehicle and ground control station.
The Italian air force and ministry of defence are supporting the HammerHead development programme.

Pilatus delivers additional PC-21 trainer to Royal Saudi Air Force

Pilatus has shipped another PC-21 expanded envelope trainer aircraft off its final assembly line for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF).
The aircraft represents the 100th turboprop trainer PC-21 to be rolled off the company's final assembly line in Switzerland.
Saudi Arabia ordered 55 PC-21 aircraft in May 2012.
The deal also covered the delivery of 22 Hawk 165 advanced jet trainers.
The PC-21 will also replace RSAF's existing PC-9 trainer fleet, which comprises 47 aircraft that were delivered by BAE as part of a package deal with Hawks to Saudi Arabia in the mid-1980s.
The RSAF took delivery of the initial six aircraft in June 2014. The remaining aircraft are currently in production, while the instructors are preparing for their first student courses.
The PC-21 is currently operated by the air forces of Singapore, Switzerland and the UAE, and has also been ordered by Qatar.

RAF F-35 heads for the ski jump in next key round of tests

F-35 JSFwill start "ski-jump testing" at a Maryland air base this week, while another B-model jet wraps up six months of tests at temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 Celsius) to as high as 120 F (49 C).
Two UK pilots will test the ability of the new warplane to take off from upward-sloping ski-jump ramps used on aircraft carriers like those operated by Britain and Italy. .

US Program Chief: Singapore Nearing F-35 Buy

Singapore is moving closer to ordering the Lockheed Martin F-35 joint strike fighter, according to program head US Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan.
Bogdan also noted increased activity from potential foreign military sales (FMS) customers for the F-35, including Israel, which recently committed to a further 14 aircraft.
Bogdan said that the joint program office (JPO) has been exchanging information with the Republic of Singapore Air Force for a number of years to support their decision making within their timeline.
The government of Singapore had not indicated which F-35 variant it was interested in and had requested information on all three: the conventional takeoff, the short-takeoff vertical-landing, and the carrier model.

Feb 24, 2015

BAE Systems in talks to weaponise India's Hawks

The Indian Air Force is in negotiations with BAE Systems to weaponise its fleet of Hawk Mk 132 advanced jet trainers so they could be deployed on strike co-ordinated armed reconnaissance and close air support missions.
The IAF is evaluating the feasibility of integrating its largely licence-built Hawk Mk 132s with a range of weapon systems that are fitted onto its SEPECAT Jaguar fighters.
This includes MBDA's Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles, Rafael Litening targeting pods, and a range of smart weapons.
By 2016-17 the IAF will operate 106 Hawks and the Indian Navy another 17, making India the largest operator of the type. The IAF plans to acquire another 20 Hawks for its aerobatics team, disbanded in February 2011 after its HAL-built Surya Kiran HJT-16 Mk I and Mk II aircraft were diverted to train fighter pilots.
IAF fighter pilots begin their instruction on Pilatus PC-7 Mk II tandem-seat basic turboprop trainers for 55 hours before moving onto the Kiran HJT-16 Mk I and Mk II intermediate jet trainers for another 70 hours. Thereafter, they graduate to Hawk Mk 132s for two 'semesters' of 135 hours before going on to operate fighters.

Bell-Boeing Expecting at Least Two International Orders for V-22 Osprey in 2015

V-22 Osprey has yet to land an international contract, but company executives are betting that they will have two foreign customers in hand by the end of the year.
Japan’s ministry of defense announced the purchase 17 Ospreys last year, although there is no contract set in stone yet. Israel had plans to buy the tiltrotor, but that deal remains in flux due to budget constraints.
Additionally, the platform has received significant interest from countries in the Middle East.
The Navy in their fiscal 2016 budget disclosed plans to buy 44 aircraft for what the service calls carrier onboard delivery — that is, flying people, supplies and cargo on and off flattops.
The Navy’s Ospreys will probably be slightly different than those flown by the Marine Corps and special operators.
Northrop Grumman’s C-2 Greyhound has filled the carrier onboard delivery role since 1966. Northrop proposed modernizing the C-2’s wings, engine and avionics, which executives claimed would be at least two times less expensive than buying a new aircraft. Bell-Boeing asserted that the Osprey would be more cost-effective over the long haul.
According to the budget, the Navy plans to procure 22 V-22s in fiscal years 2018 through 2020. That will likely result in another five-year multiyear contract for Ospreys to be signed before the current one ends in September of calendar year 2018.

German NH90s to Be Allowed to Fly Again, South Korea May Shop for V-22s

Germany is to allow its problematical NH90s back into the air after the most recent fire incident. It has a protocol solution external link that involves adding steps to takeoff that would allow a pilot to anticipate imminent flames. A longer-term solution is still in the works.
South Korea may be considering buying into the V-22 Osprey external link program, with consideration being given to the need to protect islands against a foe that tends to pop up in unexpected places.

Indian Navy Set to Accelerate Second Indigenous Carrier as INS Viraat is Set to Decommission Next Year

The Indian Navy is accelerating the design and construction of its second domestic carrier as its oldest carrier leaves service next year.
The work to develop the carrier — thought to be called INS Vishnal — has been given a top priority to shore up capability gaps in the service following the planned retirement of INS Viraat — the former U.K. Royal Navy carrier Hermes next year.
Vishnal — the indigenous aircraft carrier-II (IAC-II) program — would take 10 to 12 years of construction and is seen as a hedge against China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) own domestic carrier program.
The PLAN has started to patrol more in the Indian Ocean in the last several years, which has prompted concern in Indian leadership.
The Indians are reportedly leaning toward a nuclear powered carrier and have determined it will feature a catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) — in line with the current generation of U.S. Nimitz-class carriers (CVN-68).
India’s other carriers — the Soviet-built Vikramaditya and the domestically built Vikrant (IAC-I) — currently are built around a short-take off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) system which require a sloped “ski-jump” ramp to allow aircraft to take off.
A CATOBAR system would allow Vishnal to not only launch heavier fighters than its current crop of Mikoyan MiG-29Ks but also heavier airborne surveillance aircraft.
The Indians have inquired about the inclusion of the General Atomics Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) that will launch aircraft off the new U.S. Gerald R. Ford-class of nuclear carrier.
A 65,000-ton nuclear powered CATOBAR Vishnal would be an exceedingly more complicated shipbuilding program.
Under the accelerated timeline, Vishnal could commission as early as 2033.

Russia offers Iran latest anti-ballistic missile system, Antey-2500

Russia has offered Iran the chance to buy its latest Antey-2500 anti- aircraft and ballistic missile system, instead of the older S-300 system.
Iran is considering deal. No decision has been made yet," Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov said while speaking at an international arms show in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, according to TASS.
Antey-2500 is an improved version of the S-300, which Russia has stopped manufacturing. Under contract signed in 2007 by the two countries, Russia was to deliver S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran. However, the deal was canceled in 2010 by then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, following UN sanctions imposed on Iran due to its disputed nuclear program. In turn, Tehran filed a currently pending $4 billion lawsuit against Russia with Geneva's arbitration court.

French Charles de Gaulle Aircraft Carrier Launches first attacks in Gulf against ISIS

French aircraft carrier launched operations in the Gulf on Monday.
Four Rafale fighter jets took off in the morning from the carrier as it sailed about 200 kilometers (120 miles) off the coast north of Bahrain in the direction of Iraq.
The Charles de Gaulle left its base in Toulon on Jan. 13 for a five-month mission that will include eight weeks in the Gulf working alongside the USS Carl Vinson as part of the coalition launched after IS seized swathes of Syria and Iraq last year.
The French carrier is then to travel to India, where it is due to take part in exercises in mid-April.
Carrying 12 Rafale and nine Super Etendard fighters, the carrier will significantly increase French air capabilities in the region.
France has nine Rafales in the United Arab Emirates and six Mirage fighters in Jordan operating in Iraq, along with a maritime patrol and a refueling aircraft.
The warship's deployment will cut in half the time it takes for planes to reach Iraq for strikes against IS from the base in the UAE.
The Charles de Gaulle strike group also includes an attack submarine, a French anti-aircraft frigate and the HMS Kent, a British anti-submarine frigate.
It arrived in the Gulf on Feb. 15 after a month of operations in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Feb 23, 2015

Spanish Eurofighters eye the Russians at 300 meters

Planes from Group 11 of the Spanish Air Force have been in control of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission (BAPM), based in Ämari, since January 1 and will continue there until May 4.
So far, the Eurofighters have conducted 108 patrols, clocking up nearly 200 hours of flight time. Only one flight had to be canceled because of technical problems.
But the fears are real and the tension exists.
Along the icy waters of the Baltic, two old Cold War adversaries can look directly into each others’ eyes at distances sometimes as close as 300 meters – that is how near Spanish Eurofighters have come to Russian aircraft during the interceptions that have taken place.
These testy encounters have occurred about half-a-dozen times when Russian Ilyushin and Antonov transport planes – modified for spying or electronic warfare – fly from St Petersburg to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad Oblast, between Lithuania and Poland.
Although the Russian jets have not violated Baltic airspace, they ignore international air navigation rules by not filing a flight plan, turning off their transponders so they can’t be identified, or refusing to communicate with civil aviation authorities.
The Spanish Eurofighters usually intercept and escort them under the orders of NATO’s Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC), based in Uedem, Germany.
Commander Eladio Daniel Leal said the tensest moments usually occur when the alarm goes off and “you just don’t know who you are going to encounter, or how they are going to react.”
NATO has been helping the Baltic nations patrol their airspace since 2004 as none of them has an air force of their own.
Besides the Spanish EF-2000s, fighter jets have also been dispatched from Italy, Poland and Belgium.
According to NATO figures, more than 400 interceptions of Russian planes by the Alliance’s jets occurred last year – more than double the number in 2013.
Last month, two Russian Tupolev Tu-95 bombers ventured as far as the English Channel, setting off an emergency dispatch of British and French jets.elpais

Patriot Missile to get an upgrade

Raytheon, which makes the Patriot, recently announced a significant upgrade to the Patriot radar, which the company says will allow it to have a 360-degree view of the battlefield and also see them at greater distances..
Development of the Patriot surface-to-air missile system dates to the late 1960s, when it was designed to protect Europe from an air assault by the Soviet Union. While originally intended to take out enemy aircraft, it was upgraded in the 1980s to defend against other missiles.
In addition to the U.S., the system is used by 12 other countries, including Germany, Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Taiwan, Spain, Korea and the United Arab Emirates.
On Thursday, Raytheon announced that the U.S. government authorized it to sell its radar sensor upgrade, called the Active Electronically Scanned Array, to foreign partners. But it’s not yet clear whether they will be installed in the systems now in use by the U.S. military.

Typhoon Set For PE3 Upgrade, integrating Brimstone Missile

The Typhoon combat jet will receive a £165 million makeover with a new package of enhancements that will include integration of the Brimstone 2 missile, representatives of the four-nation program announced on the opening day of the IDEX defense show on Sunday.
The single largest part of the package is the £72 million deal with BAE Systems to complete integration of MBDA's air-to-ground Brimstone 2, which has already won plaudits for its ability to strike small fast-moving targets with low collateral damage during missions in Afghanistan, Libya and now Iraq.
The weapon is already installed on Royal Air Force and Royal Saudi Air Force Tornado strike jets, but with the jet due to be taken out of service no later than 2019, Brimstone's combination of lethality and low collateral damage would have been lost on piloted aircraft without the integration order.
The deal for what is known as Phase 3 Capability Enhancement (PE3) also includes software tweaks to the aircraft to enhance the capabilities of the Storm Shadow, Paveway IV, Meteor and ASRAAM missile either already integrated on the jet or in the process of being married to the airframe.
Typhoon jets have recently become operational with new capabilities in what is known as the Phase 1 Enhancement Package. Phase 2 enhancement work is already underway adding improvements like the Storm Shadow and Meteor missiles.
Completion of PE3 is scheduled for 2017.
Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are all in the hunt for combat jets in competitions that have attracted the attention of fighter makers from the US and Europe scrambling for work to maintain production lines threatened by the looming presence of Lockheed Martin's F-35.
The Typhoon has already been sold to regional export customers Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Qatar could be the first to declare its hand on selection of a new fighter. A second industry executive said a decision could come sometime in the third quarter of this year.

The Royal Thai Army acquires six Airbus Helicopters EC145 T2

A further addition to the Royal Thai Army’s rotorcraft fleet has been committed with the acquisition of six Airbus Helicopters light-utility EC145 T2.
The Royal Thai Army signed for six EC145 T2s with a VIP installation, under the Light Utility Helicopter Type II requirement, to be deployed principally on official passenger transport duties, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2016.

Korean Air, Airbus join hands for South Korean fighter project

South Korea's top air carrier Korean Air, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus to jointly bid for Seoul's indigenous fighter development project.
Codenamed KF-X, the project calls for South Korea to develop fighter jets of the F-16 class to replace its aging fleet of F-4s and F-5s. Some 120 jets are to be put into service starting around 2025.
The partners will jointly take part in a second South Korean government bid for the project set to be closed on Tuesday.
The first government bid for the project fell through earlier this month, as Korean Air did not take part in it.
Airbus confirmed the partnership agreement with Korean Air, saying that the South Korean company first approached it for the project.
South Korea's sole aircraft manufacturer, the Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., was the sole participant in last week's bid in partnership with Lockheed Martin of the United States. Under South Korean laws, at least two bidders are needed to make a public auction valid.
KAI has a technical edge over Korean Air based upon its experience developing the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer and the country's utility helicopter, Surion, while the latter has larger investment capacity, according to industrial watchers.
Airbus would be able to complement Korean Air in terms of technical issues. The South Korean military decided to use the twin-engine platform over the single-engine one, and Airbus is familiar with the platform after building the multi-role fighter, Eurofighter.

Israel signs deal for 14 additional U.S. F-35 plus 17 options

Israel has signed a contract to buy 14 additional F-35 fighter jets.
The deal, approved by an Israeli cabinet committee in November, follows Israel's purchase in 2010 of 19 F-35s.
In a statement, the ministry said an agreement to buy the 14 additional aircraft was signed over the weekend and included an option for another 17 of the planes.
Israel's first two F-35s will arrive by the end of 2016, with deliveries scheduled to be completed by 2021, the ministry said.

Pentagon: No near-term F-35 sales in Gulf region

The United States expects no near-term sales in the Gulf region for the F-35 warplane, saying current fourth-generation military aircraft with new upgrades are capable of handling the threats the region faces, the Pentagon said on Sunday.
Pentagon said the threats confronting the region can be dealt with adequately with current fleets such as United Arab Emirates' 80 Block 60 F-16s. The country had requested these to be upgraded to Block 61, which would carry stand-off weaponry, and had also requested an additional 30 Block 61 aircraft.
French firm Dassault Aviation sold 24 Rafale fighter jets to Egypt this month, triggering industry sources to say other regional governments might also consider the aircraft. A senior French source told Reuters last week that Qatar was in the final stage of negotiations regarding 36 Rafale jets.
The UAE has also been assessing Eurofighter's Typhoon, built by Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Feb 22, 2015

French Carrier Enters Persian Gulf, ISIS Strike Missions Could Start Soon

French nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91) has entered the Persian Gulf and could soon start strike missions against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
French president announced the mission on Jan. 14, a week after the attacks in Paris on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
French aircraft were among the first to join the U.S. in strikes on ISIS in Iraq and Syria under Operation Chammal.
To date, France has flown sorties with a collection of about 10 fighters and a collection of information, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) planes.
Charles de Gaulle ‘s embarked air assets include two squadrons of fighter aircraft: 11F (or flotille) with the Dassault Rafale M aircraft, and 17F with the Dassault Super Etendard Modernisé (SEM).

Feb 21, 2015

Canadian jets destroyed Islamic State bomb factory

The military says Canadian CF-18 fighter jets conducted a single attack in Iraq last week, leading a coalition strike that destroyed a factory making improved explosive devices last Friday.
Since the Canadian mission began last fall, CF-18s have flown 328 missions.
A Canadian Polaris tanker aircraft has flown 82 sorties and delivered more than two million kilograms of fuel to coalition aircraft and CP-140 Aurora has flown another 91 missions, bringing the total number of Canadian sorties to 501.
Canada has also deployed up 69 special forces advisers in northern Iraq, who took along vehicles and other specialized equipment.

Potential FMS of 9 UH-60Ms Black Hawk to Slovakia

The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Slovakia for UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters and associated equipment.
The Government of Slovakia has requested a possible sale of nine UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters in standard U.S. Government configuration with designated unique equipment and Government Furnished Equipment (GFE); twenty T700-GE-701D Engines (18 installed and 2 spares); twenty Embedded Global Positioning Systems/Inertial Navigation Systems; two Aviation Mission Planning Systems; one Aviation Ground Power Unit; eleven AN/APX-123 Identification Friend or Foe Transponders; twenty Very High Frequency (VHF)/Digitally Selective Calling AN/ARC-231 radios; eleven ARN-147 VHF Omni Ranging/Instrument Landing System (VOR/ILS); eleven AN/ARN-153 Tactical Air Navigation Systems; and eleven AN/ARC-201D Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems radios. Also included are aircraft warranty, ammunition, air worthiness support, facility construction, spare and repair parts, support equipment, communication equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, site surveys, tool and test equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related element of program and logistics support.

Feb 20, 2015

USAF F-22 Raptors Unexpectedly Over Syria

No one expected the F-22 unit which was in the Middle East for strategic deterrence and as a safeguard for possible contingency operations, would make its combat debut against ISIS.
The F-22 was part of the initial US-led air campaign against ISIS in Syria, which was conducted in three waves. The US did not know, at first, what Syria's response would be to the presence of American combat aircraft in its airspace. Although ISIS lacks an air force, the Syrians certainly have one—and a fairly advanced integrated air defense system as well.
The USAF crews started doing some generic planning, mapping out the closest airfields and coming up with a basic fuel plan, but the real planning couldn't begin until the airmen received their targets about 24 hours before takeoff. They were tasked with hitting an ISIS command and control facility about 50 miles from Aleppo.

India May Sign AH-64 CH-47 Deal by Boeing Deadline

Pressured by a possible price hike from Boeing in its planned purchase of 22 AH-64E Apache and 15 CH-47F Chinook helicopters for the Air Force, the Indian Ministry of Defence is considering inking the final contract before March 31 when the price set by Boeing will expire.
A Boeing executive said the company cannot guarantee it will be able to keep the price quote beyond March 31 because it cannot afford to "wait endlessly".
India delayed signing the contract because of a lack of funds. Even in the current financial year, which ends March 31, there are no funds for new purchases because money has been diverted from the Capital Head, which is reserved for buying new weapons, to the Revenue Head account, which is used to pay for salaries and day-to-day expenses of the 1.5-million-person military.
Under these circumstances, MoD is now considering signing the $2.5 billion contract before March 31 but begin making payments in the next financial year.
The Boeing executive said they will respond to this method of payment after such a proposal is received.
However, before the deal is inked it will need clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security which is headed by the prime minister.
The Indian Air Force selected Boeing's AH-64E Apache and CH-47F Chinook helicopters over the Russian Mi-28H Night Hunter and Mi-26 heavy lift helicopter in 2012.

Indonesia Interested In EMB-145i AEW&C Aircraft

An Indonesian military delegation to Aero India has expressed deep interest in acquiring the comparatively cost-effective Indo-Brazilian EMB-145i platform. Fresh interest has also been shown by Israel and Brazil.

USAF May be Forced to retire U-2 and Global Hawk In 2016 Due to sequestration

The USAF may be forced to retire its U-2 and RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40 ISR aircraft if sequestration is not eliminated in Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16).
Though the Pentagon has wavered over which programme to retire in the prior two budget cycles, both the U-2 and the RQ-4 are fully funded in the department's FY16 budget request. The document states that the U-2 would be divested in 2019 after sensors for the Global Hawk are upgraded.
The U-2's sensors have a range of about 160 km, while the Global Hawk has a range of about 95 km.
The Global Hawk needs nearly USD2 billion in upgrades over approximately six years so that it can complete all the missions done by the manned U-2. The necessary work consists of upgrades to ground stations, communications and imagery capability, and the Global Hawk's weather radar.

Sikorsky willing to supply S-92 VVIP helicopters to India

Sikorsky, is keen to sell VVIP transport helicopters to the Indian government.
India cancelled a deal for 12 VVIP helicopters with Italian Finmeccanica's last year over a corruption scandal.
Industry sources in India expect a new tender this year. Sikorsky, which pitched its S-92 helicopter but lost to AgustaWestland in the initial tender, could take part once again.
India needs 12 helicopters to replace its Russia-made Mi-8 aircraft. After the cancellation of the AW101 order, it modified some of its Mi-17 helicopters for VVIP missions.
Russian Helicopters could also bid for a new contract using Mi-17s while Airbus Helicopters could enter the fray with its EC225.
In May 2014, Sikorsky won an initial contract to develop and build six U.S. presidential helicopters, the first step toward a fleet of 21 new aircraft by 2023.

Lockheed Martin Expects India Order For 6 C-130J to Replace Lost Units

Lockheed Martin is confident that New Delhi will replace the C-130J tactical transport lost in a 2013 crash, and expects deliveries from a follow-on order for six of the type to commence in 2017.
The US company's joint venture with Tata Systems in Bengaluru – Tata Lockheed Martin – is performing well at producing sub-assemblies for the C-130J.

A400M performs successful air-to-air refuelling test with two Spanish F-18

The A400M new generation airlifter has further proved its credentials as a tanker by successfully demonstrating simultaneous air-to-air refuelling of two F/A-18 fighters. In the course of four flights, the A400M performed 74 contacts and dispensed 27.2 tonnes of fuel to the Spanish Air Force aircraft. Refuelling was conducted at altitudes of 20,000ft – 33,000ft, and airspeeds of 180kt – 300kt – the preferred refuelling envelope for fighters.
With a basic fuel capacity of 50.8 tonnes which can be increased by the use of extra cargo hold tanks. The standard A400M aircraft has full provisions for air-to-air refuelling (AAR) operations already installed and only requires the rapid installation of the optional air-to-air refuelling kit to become a tanker.
On a typical tanking mission where it would loiter for 2 hours at a range of 500 nm (930 km) from base, the A400M would have a potential “fuel give-away” of 34,000 kg (75,000 lb).

Airbus Offers India A330 For AWACS project

Airbus appears to have emerged as the sole bidder for a global tender put for "AWACS India" programme. The tender for six airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system aircraft was issued in March 2014.
Airbus submitted its proposal last October.
Airbus would have to integrate the mission systems on the aircraft and gain certification that it is safe to fly with the radome.
If a contract is signed for the A330 as the platform for the Indian AWACS effort, it will be the first instance of the type being used in the AEW&C role.
Meanwhile, Airbus is waiting for a decision on India's planned contract for its A330 multirole tanker transport, having agreed to further extend the validity of its bid until 1 July.
It has been more than three years since the A330 was first chosen to meet the Indian air force's tanker requirements, with a planned acquisition of six of the type.

Feb 19, 2015

RAF jets scrambled after Russian bombers seen off Cornwall

RAF jets were scrambled on Wednesday after two Russian military aircraft were seen off the Cornwall coast. The Russian Bear bombers did not enter sovereign airspace
On the same day, Defence Secretary warned that Russia's President posed a "real and present danger" to three Baltic states.
Prime Minister said the Russian action should not be dignified with "too much of a response".
He added: "I think what this episode demonstrates is that we do have the fast jets, the pilots, the systems in place to protect the UK.
"I suspect the Russians were trying to make some sort of a point."
Appearance of Russian aircraft near the UK coast was a show of strength from the Russians, and such incidents were carried out with political intent because they would be reported on.

Competition heats up for USAF next-gen Air Force bomber contract

Plans for the next-generation bomber, one of the top acquisition priorities for the Air Force, remain largely hidden from the public, but the major contractors vying for the program have been throwing punches at each other in their limited open discussions on the project.
Lockheed Martin and Boeing are combining forces to vie for the contract, which is expected to be announced this spring. The two giants of the defense industry are going against Northrop Grumman, the company that produced the Air Force's current stealth bomber, the B-2 Spirit.
Northrop, has repeatedly stated its experience in building the Air Force's B-2 will translate directly into building the next-generation version. The company's facilities in California produced the jet, and still sustain it.
The Air Force last summer released the requirements to industry, but has been quiet on what those requirements are. However, the bomber is expected to be stealthy and capable of carrying nuclear weapons. The ability of the jet to fly without a pilot on board has been discussed, but an unmanned capability would likely not be a requirement at the outset, but could be a possibility as the project advances.
The service is targeting a production line of 80 to 100 planes by 2040 to replace its fleet of B-52 and B-1 bombers, with some B-2s still flying.
The service has a target budget figure of about $500 million per aircraft.

India Will Make Decision on Rafale fighter deal likely in March

Indian Defence minister said on Wednesday that India would decide on the fate of Rafale deal by early March, after the contract negotiation committee (CNC) submits its report. Price negotiations have dragged on since 2012, when Rafale won a tender to supply 126 fighter planes for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The committee is reviewing the long-term costs, called the life-cycle costs, which will be incurred over the life of the plane. The defence minister said he has sought an increase in IAF fleet’s operational performance to make up for the gap.

Feb 18, 2015

USAF to return mothballed B-52 bomber to active service

The USAF is returning to service a Boeing B-52H Stratofortress strategic bomber aircraft that had been mothballed in the 'boneyard' at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB) in Arizona.
The aircraft, serial number 61-0007, had been maintained by the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) in '1000-type storage', meaning that it is maintained in the highest state of preservation.
After six years in the boneyard, the air force decided it should be returned to active service so as to maintain its 76-strong B-52H fleet following a mishap at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana in 2014 that left a B-52 severely damaged.
Following repair and modification work, the aircraft will be returned to the active fleet in mid-2016.

Source Denies France, Qatar Rafale Deal

A French Defense Ministry official denied a media report that France is in the final stage of talks for a sale of up to 36 Rafale fighter jets to Qatar.
"Qatar has launched a competition," Dassault Aviation chairman said Monday. "We are made much progress. It is now up to them to decide".
Qatar is reported to be considering an order for 24 Rafales and options for a further 12.
On Monday, Dassault, DCNS and MBDA signed contracts in Cairo respectively for 24 Rafales, a multimission frigate and missiles for Egypt.

French Rafale combat jet deal with Egypt is signed

Egypt has signed the deal to buy 24 Rafale combat jets from France.
Egypt will also get a naval frigate and related military equipment as part of the package.
The official signing comes a year after France won a contract to sell Egypt four frigates .
Paris is hoping to sell 126 of the Rafale jets to India but the deal has yet to be finalised.

France in 'final stage' of talks to sell Rafale jets to Qatar

France is in the "final stage" of negotiations to sell up to 36 Rafale warplanes to Qatar.
Manufacturer Dassault Aviation is also in talks aimed at supplying 16 of the multi-role combat jets to Malaysia and has resumed discussions over potential fighter sales to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The UAE publicly rebuffed an offer to supply 60 Rafale jets in 2011.
France said last June it was confident of winning a deal soon to supply fighter jets to Qatar, which is shopping initially for 24 jets plus 12 options to expand its air force.
Competitors include Boeing's F-15 fighter jet, while the U.S. manufacturer is also seeking sales for its declining F-18 model, which is reportedly in consideration in Malaysia.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, the Eurofighter and F-18 are competing for a possible Kuwaiti deal for 28 jets but the Rafale is not a leading contender there.
India picked the Rafale three years ago over the Eurofighter Typhoon for a contract to supply 126 planes, but a deal has not been signed.
The contract with Egypt could unblock three or four other ones.
Bilateral negotiations between Egypt and France took only five months, taking competitors and most industry experts off guard. Three jets a year are expected to be delivered to Egypt in 2015, 2016 and 2017 with the remaining 15 sent by mid-2019.
There was no formal competition, though one defence source said there had been exploratory contacts between Egypt and the Eurofighter consortium but that questions had arisen over the availability of rapid export licences from Britain and Germany.
Eurofighter said it was confident of winning other orders. A spokesman said it had also submitted an offer to Malaysia.
Egypt,is also said to be interested in military transport aircraft.
It currently operates the Lockheed Martin C-130 and is the largest customer for the Airbus Group C-295, while it has long been a target for the Airbus A400M airlifter.

India Close to Finalise Deal for Two Phalcon AWACS

India is close to finalizing several major defence deals with Israel, including the ones for two additional Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) and four aerostat radars.
This comes even as Israeli defence minister is all set to touch down in India on Tuesday, the first such ministerial visit after the two countries established full diplomatic ties in 1992. Israeli minister, accompanied by director-general of his ministry and CEOs of Israeli arms companies, will hold meetings with his Indian counterpart and others.

Feb 17, 2015

Former China PLAAF Pilot says Argentina has bought J-10 'Typhoon beater'

A former PLAAF pilot has published an article on China Military Online advocating that Argentina buys the J-10B combat aircraft
Argentine-Chinese talks on aerospace co-operation have previously focused on the less capable JF-17 FC-1.
China Military Online, the website of the semi-official PLA Daily newspaper, has published an analysis advancing the case for China to supply the Argentine Air Force with the J-10B combat aircraft rather than the CAC/PAC JF-17/FC-1. The article was published a week after the visit to China by Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner early this month and the reported establishment of a joint Chinese-Argentine fighter aircraft working group.

US Army Orders 41 UH-72 Lakota Helicopters

Airbus has been awarded a contract modification to build 41 more UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopters for the US Army, planned as flight trainers.
The contract brings the total number of Lakota helicopters ordered to 411 — 400 for the Army or National Guard, five for the US Naval Test Pilot School and six that will go to Thailand through the foreign military sales program. Airbus has delivered 331 of the aircraft.
The 41 aircraft are all to be built at the Airbus facility in Columbus, Mississippi. The Army had used the Lakota, a militarized version of the commercial EC145, for non-combat purposes: homeland security, drug interdiction, general support, logistics and medical evacuation.

Italy to Maintain Order for 90 F-35 Despite Political Pressure

Italy plans to maintain its order for 90 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets, despite political pressure to slash spending on the planes, after winning a major maintenance contract. Goverment had already cut orders from 131 in 2012.
Lawmakers from Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's ruling Democratic Party in May called for the government to halve spending on the project, while some opposition parties want it dropped completely.
Renzi talked last year of cutting spending on the F-35 programme to help pay for income tax cuts for low earners, showing the jet order was still a possible target in Italy's efforts to revive its moribund economy while cutting its 2 trillion euro debt.
In 2012, then-prime minister Mario Monti cut orders by 30 percent as he sought to shore up the public accounts in the wake of the euro zone debt crisis.
But it is now ruling out further cuts after state-controlled defence technology group Finmeccanica won a major maintenance contract for the stealth fighter, and as it seeks to guarantee the future viability of its fleet.
The new jet will replace Italy's increasingly obsolete fighter force at a time of rising international tensions for the NATO member.

Bahrain sent F-16 fighters to Jordan

Bahrain announced Sunday that it will support Jordan with tropos, as a commitment to the efforts of international coalition to combat terrorism.
The decision comes within the framework of bilateral cooperation between Bahrain and Jordan and is based upon the Joint Arab Defence Agreement.

Feb 16, 2015

Irkut aims to complete Su-30MKI deliveries to India in 2015

Irkut Corp. has stated that it will complete deliveries in 2015 of Su-0MKI multirole fighter kits to India's state-owned HAL as part of the Russian group's technology transfer obligations.
HAL has been licence building the Su-30MKI aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) since 2000. At the conclusion of deliveries later this year, Irkut would have transferred a total of 222 kits for assembly at HAL's Nashik facility.
HAL is now manufacturing Su-30MKI parts from raw materials.