Mar 31, 2015

Angola to receive Su-30K fighters in 2015

Russia is to supply Angola with Sukhoi Su-30K fighter aircraft later in the year.
The 558th Aviation Repairing Plant located at Baranovichi in Belarus is upgrading 12 Su-30Ks that are to be supplied to Angola in accordance with a contract signed by Rosoboronexport and the African country's defence ministry in late 2013.
The first batch of fighters will be upgraded in 2015. The process is planned to be finished in late 2016 to early 2017.
The aircraft are from a batch of 18 Su-30Ks that India has returned to Russia.

Bangladesh and Belarus to get Yak-130 in 2015

Russia will supply 14 Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced jet trainer aircraft to Bangladesh in 2015, with two more to follow next year.
Bangladesh had originally planned to acquire 24 such aircraft, but this was curtailed for financial reasons.
Bangladesh has become the second export customer for the Yak-130, after Algeria procured 16 aircraft in 2011.
Belarus too would receive four Yak-130s, following a contract that was signed in late 2012. Irkut is also negotiating with Armenia and Uzbekistan about YAK-130.

Australia replaces Super Hornets with legacy F-18A Hornets in Iraq mission

The six Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet fighters equipping the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) air task group (ATG) supporting coalition operations in Iraq have been replaced by what is understood to be the same number of older F/A-18A 'classic' Hornet.
The departing and incoming strike teams flew combat missions together during a two-week transition period.
The Super Hornets began operations in Iraq in September 2014. Since then they have flown more than 2,900 hours in more than 400 sorties.

KAI in Partnership with Airbus will Develop South Korea Future Fighter KF-X

KAI was picked as the preferred bidder for the South Korea's indigenous fighter jet development program Monday.
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.
KAI, in partnership with Airbus Defense and Space, vied against Seoul's top air carrier, Korean Air Lines Co., which teamed up with Lockheed Martin of the United States.
Industrial watchers say KAI has a technical edge over Korean Air based upon its experience developing the T-50 Golden Eagle.

Mar 30, 2015

First winglet-equipped C295W heads for Mexico

Airbus has delivered the first production example of its winglet-equipped C295 medium transport, which will benefit from extended-range performance and also give operators a 4% increase in fuel efficiency.
Flown from Airbus ’s Seville final assembly site in Spain, the Mexican navy C295W carries the registration ANX-1524. It is the first of two aircraft included in a follow-on order for the service announced by the manufacturer last October. The pair will join four C295 transports.
Winglets will be standard for all new C295s delivered from now on”.

USAF F-15s from Florida ANG to deploy to Europe

The next unit to deploy to Europe as reassurance following Russia's incursion into Ukraine will be Air Guard F-15s from Florida.
Twelve F-15Cs from the 125th Fighter Wing of the Florida Air National Guard will deploy to Europe in mid-April. The unit will replace A-10s, which have been deployed since February.
The units are deploying as a "theater security package" as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a series of training exercises and deployments meant to reassure NATO allies.
This will be the first time an Air National Guard unit deploys as part of the security package.

RAF C-130J deployed to South Sudan For Humanitarian Effort

The Royal Air Force says that its Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules strategic transport has been deployed to northeastern Africa to deliver supplies to a remote region under the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) humanitarian relief effort.
The C-130J will deliver vital supplies to the remote city of Malakal.
The C-130 is desperately needed both to help the UN’s transport infrastructure, which is in great demand, and to provide critical supplies to a country in the grip of a humanitarian crisis.
The C-130 is expected to be utilised until mid-April.
RAF has having 24 C-130Js in its current inventory.

Nigerian Air Force receiving additional Alpha Jets

The Nigerian Air Force has acquired at least two second hand Alpha Jet aircraft as it continues to expand its aerial fleet.
One of the jets was seen passing through the United Kingdom on 25 March, having travelled from the United States via Iceland. It then continued to Palma de Mallorca, Spain, on its way to Nigeria.
It was flown by Air USA Inc, which specialises in military air combat readiness training and flies Hawks, Alpha Jets, MiG-29s and L-59 Super Albatroses. The Alpha Jet seen transiting the UK was cancelled from the United States register on 19 March together with a second Alpha Jet, both originally flown by the Luftwaffe before operating in the States.
The delivery status of the second aircraft is unclear. It is also not clear if the two Alpha Jets are attrition replacements or part of a larger batch being acquired by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).
Air USA Alpha Jets were converted for night vision goggle (NVG) operations, according to the company, and flight certified for operational use of TER, IMER and SUU-20 bomb racks.
Nigerian Alpha Jets have been used in the ground attack role to strike Boko Haram targets and a couple have been lost on operations.
The NAF has recently reactivated a number of its Alpha Jets. A total of 24 were acquired in the 1980s but several have been lost in crashes. Apparently 11 have been made flyable again.
In addition to refurbishing some of its existing aircraft such as the Alpha Jets, L-39s, Super Pumas and C-130s, the NAF is also acquiring additional platforms. For instance, it recently inducted Gazelle helicopters, which are believed to have entered service in February this year.
Three Beechcraft King Air 350i light transport aircraft were delivered in August last year, together with two AgustaWestland AW101 VIP transport helicopters. The NAF is also acquiring six Mi-35M attack helicopters and 12 armed Mi-171Sh helicopters, which were ordered in August 2014.

First Operational Deployment of Royal Navy Wildcat maritime attack helicopter

The first Royal Navy Wildcat maritime attack helicopter has taken to the seas onboard HMS Lancaster.
The Type 23 frigate sailed from her home in Portsmouth on Saturday, March 21 for a routine nine-month Atlantic patrol tasking.
HMS Lancaster is the first ship in the Royal Navy to deploy with the new Wildcat Helicopter.
This deployment will afford the Royal Navy the opportunity to understand and develop the aircraft and its support systems and maintenance procedures.
The Wildcat is designed for a variety of roles – anti-ship, anti-submarine, ship protection, casualty evacuation, battlefield reconnaissance and general utility.

India Procures 2 A330 to serve as AEW & C AWACS

India allocated Rs. 5,113 crore for two systems based on the A-330 aircraft, which will be procured from Airbus. Eventually, six systems will be built for use by the Air Force.
India Air Force is currently operating three Israeli Phalcons based on Russian Il-76 aircraft. In addition, India is developing two smaller Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) based on the Embraer aircraft, scheduled to be delivered this year.

USAF F-16 Protecting Washington D.C. First to get new AESA radars

The F-16s of the 113th Wing of the Washington, D.C., Air National Guard at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, would be the first to receive the upgrades.
In addition to the radar, the upgrade will include AESA Radar, a surveillance system and a command and control system.
Earlier this year, the First Air Force commander filed the request for the Guard Block 30 F-16s.

Dassault Says Work on India Rafale Sale 95% Done

The deal to purchase 126 Rafales is now "95 percent completed," with the French company working with the Indian authorities to review thousands of contract pages.
India is Dassault Aviation's first export client.
Dassault sees Indian work on the Mirage as helping prepare the ground for the proposed local assembly of Rafales. The Indian partner, HAL, will continue the modernization contract for the remaining 49 Mirages.
HAL would be the local co-contractor for assembling the Rafale.

Mar 29, 2015

Chile close to Stamp Deal for C-27J and M-345

Chile looks set to sign a contract with Italy for the procurement of the C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft and the M-345 trainer.
Chile's Defence Minister signed an agreement with his Italian counterpart for collaboration between the Chilean Enaer and Alenia Aermacchi across a range of projects that include cooperation on the two Alenia aircraft types.
According to Alenia Aermacchi, one of the issues discussed and agreed was for support of both the C-27J and M-345, with a memorandum of understanding (MoU) being signed.
However, as Chile does not currently operate either of these types it can be assumed that a procurement deal looks set to be struck at some point in the not-too-distant future.

USAF Pilots: Retiring the A-10 Will Put Troops in Danger

For the third year in a row, the Air Force has proposed retiring some or all of the A-10s, ostensibly to save money in order to pay for “modernization.”
After failing to convince Congress to implement their plan last year — except for a last minute partial capitulation by retiring Senate and House Armed Services Committee chairmen Sen. Carl Levin and Rep. Buck McKeon — and encountering uncompromising pushback this year, Air Force headquarters has renewed its campaign with more dirty tricks.
First, Air Force headquarters tried to fight back against congressional skepticism by releasing cherry-picked data purporting to show that the A-10 kills more friendlies and civilians than any other U.S. Air Force plane, even though it actually has one of the lowest fratricide and civilian casualty rates.
With those cooked statistics debunked and rejected by Senate Armed Services Chairman Sen. John McCain, Air Force headquarters hastily assembled a joint CAS “summit” to try to justify dumping the A-10.

Mar 27, 2015

UK To Send Two Sentinel to fight ISIS

UK's Defence Secretary announced that the UK will be sending two Sentinel aircraft to the Middle East to provide wide area surveillance over Iraq of ISIL activity and to track IED laying activity. These aircraft will join our Tornados and Reaper UAV which have conducted 194 strikes over Iraq as of 23 March and have continued to gather vital intelligence alongside Rivet Joint.
The UK continues to be the second largest contributor to the coalition airstrike campaign againts ISIS.

New US Navy EMALS Launch System Can't Launch Fighter if They Are Carrying Fuel Tanks

The U.S. Navy’s top can’t be launched off its newest aircraft carrier if they’re carrying fuel tanks, range because the ship’s high-tech catapults cause too much wear.
Military weapons testers view this as a deficiency that would “preclude the Navy from conducting normal operations” on the USS Gerald R. Ford until it’s corrected.
The previously undisclosed troubles with the EMALS catapult system from General Atomics add to shortcomings for the first in a new class of aircraft carriers being built by Newport News.
The 480-gallon tanks for extended flights are carried under the wings of two models of the F/A-18, the Super Hornet fighter and the Growler. The carrier’s electromagnetic launch system, made by General Atomics, puts more stress on the tanks than older steam-powered catapults, and that would cause premature damage to the planes.
The wing tanks and the pylons they hang from are designed to withstand twisting and yanking when an aircraft is launched, but the stresses add up over time. Given the test results, the warplanes wouldn’t be able to launch with fuel tanks.
The Navy says it will install corrective software on the launch system intended to reduce acceleration forces and will test it on board the USS Ford after delivery next March.

20 Percent of all US Marines Aircraft Are Grounded, F/A-18 Hornets The Most Affected

Nearly one of every five of the Corps' aircraft are unable to fly, making it difficult for Marines to train for deployments.
The shortfall spans across aircraft in the fleet, and it is largely caused by a backlog of aircraft stuck in depots for extensive work and overhauls. The problems date back to the 2013 defense budget cuts.
The problem is most prevalent with F/A-18 Hornets, but also impacts CH-53E, AV-8B Harriers, MV-22B Ospreys, and H-1 Hueys.
The strike-fighter shortfall could reach as high as 134 aircraft. The gap is caused by a service life extension program that has caused a backlog of Hornets in short-staffed maintenance depots.
Legacy Hornets were brought into depots to extend their service life from 6,000 flight hours to as long as 10,000 in order to keep them operational until the F-35B entered the fleet. The Hornets were only designed to last to 6,000 hours, and when engineers opened up the airframe to extend their service life, they found unexpected levels of corrosion that required extensive work.
Sequestration also made it tough to buy spare parts for aircraft, so even aircraft that are in the fleet sometimes can't fly.

Netherlands Sign Deal To Buy Eight F-35 JSF

The Netherlands has confirmed its decision to purchase eight F-35 that will arrive in the country in 2019. The deal was signed in Washington DC.
In 2013 the Netherlands decided to replace the F-16’s with F-35. The Netherlands intends to buy at least 37 F-35. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this deal, with questions asked about whether Defense’s plan with the JSF’s is feasible.

France Ready to Give Indonesia Technology Transfer on Rafale Deal

France asserted on Wednesday that it was willing to provide an industrial cooperation with Indonesia should the Dassault Rafale jet fighter be selected to modernize the Indonesian Air Force.
French Ambassador to Indonesia said that France was open to all cooperation possibilities involving French aircraft maker Dassault Aviation and state-owned aircraft maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI).
Two Rafale jet fighters, a Rafale B double-seater and a Rafale C single-seater, arrived in Indonesia on Monday from the just-concluded 2015 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition in Malaysia.
On Tuesday, the jet fighters performed three flights for Indonesian Air Force pilots who flew on the Rafale B, taking the back seat.
The Rafale is a latecomer in the competition to replace the F-5 E/F operated by the Indonesian Air Force.
The French jet fighter is facing tough competition with contenders including Su-35, F-16 Block 60, JAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon.
The Indonesian Air Force has repeatedly said it prefers the Su-35, although the final decision will be made by the Defense Ministry.

Mar 26, 2015

Swedish air force receives its last Gripen C

Saab has delivered its final Gripen C ordered for the Swedish air force.
Aircraft 39294 is now assigned to the air force’s F 17 wing at the base.
Sweden has an active fleet of 65 Gripen Cs and 20 D-model trainers prior to the delivery. The service's total fleet of the type stands at 74 and 24, respectively.
The next single-seat fighter to be delivered to the Swedish air force will be the first of at least 60 Gripens to be manufactured in the advanced E configuration. Saab is under contract to hand over its first example of the larger and more powerful model during 2019, with Brazil also having ordered 36 of the new-generation type.

Russia's New Military Transport Plane IL-112 Set to Make Its Maiden Flight in 2017

The twin-engine turboprop plane, developed by Ilyushin , will be manufactured by the Voronezh Aircraft Production Association. It will replace the Antonov An-26.
Russia's Ministry of Defense plans to purchase at least 35 Ilyushin Il-112 planes.
The transport plane is designed to carry out missions in any geographic or weather conditions. It has a payload of 6 tons and can travel a maximum distance of 5,000 kilometers.
The project, launched over a decade ago, was canceled in 2011, but the work on the Il-112 resumed in 2013.

Lebanon to get Super Tucanos in 2018

The Lebanese Armed Forces will receive six Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano counter-insurgency aircraft in 2018.
The LAF's acquisition of the Super Tucanos, designed for light attack and aerial surveillance, is deemed appropriate given Lebanon's small size, mountainous terrain, and the fact that insurgents rather than conventional armies represent the main current threat there.
The United States has provided the LAF with military assistance over the past eight years. This includes two Cessna 208B Caravan aircraft, both of which have been modified into intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms.

Japan Navy Commissions Izumo 'helicopter carrier' as largest ship in MSDF fleet

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force on March 25 officially commissioned the largest ship in its fleet.
The Izumo measures 248 meters in length, and she is described as a semi-aircraft carrier. It is 51 meters longer than the destroyer Hyuga, which was the largest ship in the MSDF fleet until now.
Jane's Fighting Ships,describes the Izumo as a helicopter carrier.
The Izumo has five landing spots on its flight deck for reconnaissance helicopters. It can carry up to nine helicopters at a time, five more than the Hyuga.
The Osprey transport aircraft that the Ground SDF will deploy in the fiscal year beginning in April can also land on the Izumo.
The Izumo joined the MSDF's Escort Flotilla 1, which is based in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.
Construction on the ship began in fiscal 2010.

Airbus launches A400M media campaign in New Zealand

Airbus has launched a campaign to make New Zealanders aware of what it has to offer the Royal NZ Air Force to replace its ageing Hercules.
Airbus is taking out a series of adverts in press for its A400M plane it hopes to pitch when tenders are sought. Adverts highlight the plane's capabilities ahead of what is shaping up as an intense, high-stakes battle between manufacturers when the RNZAF seeks tenders to replace five Hercules, now more than 50 years old. The two air force Boeing 757s are also due for replacement early next decade.
New Zealand politicians have already flown on a jet-engine powered Boeing C-17 Globemaster used in Australia, seen by some analysts as having the inside running to replace the Hercules. Airbus says its advertising campaign is aimed at letting the public know there are alternatives.

The first two Refurbished Mirage 2000 I/TI have been delivered to India

Acceptance ceremony of the first two Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 I/TI was held at Istres, Dassault Aviation’s Flight Test Centre.
The signing of the contract for the upgrade of Indian Mirage 2000 fleet occured in July 2011. The maiden flight of its first upgraded Mirage 2000 was completed successfully on the 5th October 2013, following a two year development phase dedicated to the equipment kit provided by Thales including the radar, the electronic warfare suite and the mission computer.
The first phase of the programme was completed on schedule in France. The rest of the fleet will be upgraded in India under the responsibility of HAL with the complete support and involvement of Dassault Aviation and Thales teams.

Saudi Arabia Launches Air Campaign in Yemen

Saudi Arabia waged early Thursday “Operation Decisive Storm” against the Houthi coup in Yemen and in support of legitimate President.
A Saudi air campaign was launched overnight which has already resulted in the elimination of several Houthi leaders.
Yemen air space is currently under full control of the Saudi Royal Air Force.
As the operation continues, a coalition of all GCC countries, barring Oman, is taking part in the campaign, including Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Pakistan.
Saudi Arabia has deployed 100 fighter jets, 150,000 soldiers and other navy units.
The White House has voiced support for the campaign against the Houthis. Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubeir announced the kingdom had launched a military operation involving air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters who have tightened their grip on the southern city of Aden where Hadi had taken refuge.

Mar 25, 2015

Russian Tu-95 Bomber Intercepted By Japanese Air Force Jets

A Russian Tu-95 bomber was intercepted off the coast of Japan on two separate occasions on Mar. 20, according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, which released the details of the incident on Monday. The bomber was spotted over the Korean Strait between South Korea and Japan’s Kyushu Island before being intercepted by F-15J fighters and escorted away from the busy strait.
The same bomber was then tracked flying north from the East China Sea from the west to the north of Japan before crossing the disputed Kuril Islands into the Sea of Okhotsk and back into Russian territory.
While media coverage of Russian warplane activity has concentrated on the Baltic regions, Japan has seen a large increase in Russian activity over the last year. The Japanese Air Force intercepted Russian warplanes 369 times in the last three months of 2014, four times as many as 10 years ago. The country has also intercepted a near-equal number of Chinese jets in that time.
At the current pace, the amount of scrambles by the Japanese air force is expected to reach 944 for the year to Mar. 31, which will exceed the amount of 30 years ago at the height of the Cold War.
Russian military activity has increased significantly near Latvia’s territorial airspace and territorial waters in recent weeks
Last week, Spanish and Italian NATO jets intercepted Russian aircraft in international airspace near Latvia.

Russia to Begin Serial Production of PAK T-50 Fighters in 2016

Russia plans to start production of fifth-generation T-50 fighter jets in 2016.
Four more prototypes will be available for tests this year, after manufacturers said last month that five fighters were carrying out test flights.
Sukhoi, the Russian company behind the T-50 project, also plans to produce an export version of the fighter for India.

Russian Defense Ministry Wants 100 Mi-8 Terminator Helicopters for Arctic Command

The Defense Ministry wants up to 100 Mi-8 "Terminator" helicopters specially modified for service under the recently formed Arctic Command.
The order size may depend on how well five test helicopters perform in trials. Flight tests for the Arctic Terminator will begin later this year.
The armored assault transport helicopter is but one of a number of specialized vehicles the military hopes to procure for its Arctic forces, which Russia has been steadily building up since last year.
The Arctic's uniquely inhospitable conditions require vehicles, helicopters in particular, to be modified to operate in up to -50 degrees celsius, with strong winds and other extreme weather conditions.

Netherlands Cleared to Buy 17 CH-47F CHINOOK

The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Netherlands for 17 CH-47F, 46 T55-GA-714A Engines, 41 Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems (EGIs), 54 AN/ARC-231 Ultra High Frequency/Very High Frequency Radios, 21 AN/ARC-220 High Frequency Radios, 21 AN/APX-123A Identification Friend or Foe Transponders, and 41 AN/ARC-201D Very High Frequency Radios.

Myanmar Likely to Sign Deal to Buy JF-17 Thunder Fighter from Pakistan

Pakistan's Ministry of Defense said that a contract had been signed to sell the JF-17/FC-1.
Myanmar demonstrated its interest in the fighter back in June 2014.
Myanmar also wants to build a production line. Thanks to previous cooperation with China, Myanmar already has experience in producing Chinese aircraft such as the J-7 fighter or Q-5 attacker.
The purchase of the Thunder has not yet been confirmed by government officials in Myanmar. Pakistan is pushing hard to sell the fighter to foreign markets but none of the countries mentioned above has yet made a decision.

Russia to Get 16 Ka-52 Attack Helicopters This Year

Russian will receive 16 Ka-52 attack helicopters this year.
The Ka-52 is Russia's newest attack helicopter, having only gone into service with the military in 2011.
The navy selected them to outfit two Mistral-class helicopter carriers ordered from France in 2011. However, Paris froze delivery of the ships last year due to Russia's alleged support of rebels in Ukraine.
The 16 helicopters are part of a larger contract for the delivery of 146 Ka-52 helicopters to the Russian military by 2020.

Canada Govenmment Motion allows Canadian Fighters to Bomb Syria to Fight ISIS

The new plan also allows for warplanes to enter Syria uninvited and strike ISIS targets. The extension will not require additional troops and no Canadian special forces will be deployed in Syria.
The government won’t ask the Assad regime for permission before conducting airstrikes against ISIS.

UK Seeks To Update Falklands Air Defense

Britain is to invest US $268.7 million over the next 10 years strengthening its military presence on the Falkland Islands and has already started looking for a contractor to build a key element of a ground-based air defense (GBAD) system.
Defence Secretary outlined plans to deploy helicopters and upgrade port facilities along with the GBAD system to boost Britain's military on the islands.
Two Chinook support helicopters will be operational by the middle of next year along with communications capabilities for the British headquarters at Mount Pleasant airfield.
A number of projects to replace some of the aging infrastructure are also included in the long-term capability plans, including the refurbishment of Mare Harbour.
The introduction of the Chinooks is a significant capability which will provide reactive, 24/7 tactical mobility, in order to allow a swift and decisive response to any emerging incidents.
The announcement follows a review of the islands' defenses conducted by the MoD over the last 18 months or so.
The British defend the island with a force including four Typhoon jets, an offshore patrol vessel, a ground based air defense system and infantry.
There are about 1,200 soldiers, sailors and airmen based on the Falklands.
Even before the announcement, Britain had already taken a significant step toward updating its air defenses on the Falklands by kick-starting a competition to supply a key element of a new ground-based system.
With an aging Air Force, Argentina poses no threat to the islands. The Argentineans, though, have been trying, so far without success, to modernize a force that consists of Mirage III, Super Entendard and Nesher combat jets.
The Buenos Aires government has always denied media reports that it was in talks to buy or lease Sukhoi Su-24 jets from Russia in a beef-for-fighters barter.

Sweden, NATO report Russian military planes over Baltic Sea

The Swedish Air Force and NATO jets on Tuesday tracked two Russian Tu-22M3 and two Su-27 aircraft flying with their transponders turned off over the Baltic Sea.
NATO scrambled Danish jets and Italian jets based in Lithuania early Tuesday to identify the Russian aircraft which were heading to the Russian Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.
The Russian military aircraft did not use their onboard transponder; they were not in contact with civilian Air Traffic Control and they were not on a pre-filed flight plan.
Swedish Foreign Minister said it was "unacceptable" for the Russian planes to be flying with shut-off transponders that are necessary for identifying aircraft on radar, calling it violation of international aviation rules.
NATO and Sweden, have reported an increase in Russian air maneuvers over the Baltic Sea in recent years.

China's KJ-500 AEW&C 'enters service'

Images from Chinese military issue websites indicate the KJ-500 AEW& C aircraft has started to enter service with the PLAAF.
This is the first image of one with an official serial number (30471), confirming its service entry.

Royal Navy begins transferring ex-RAF Merlins to Yeovilton

The UK Royal Navy (RN) has relocated the first of its newly acquired fleet of AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin HC.3/3A troop transport helicopters to their homebase in Yeovilton following a five-year transition from the Royal Air Force (RAF).
846 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) flew its six helicopters from RAF Benson in Oxfordshire to Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton in Somerset on 26 March.
The RN acquired 25 Merlin HC.3/3A helicopters from the RAF under the Strategic Defence & Security Review (SDSR) in 2010. These are intended to the replace the Westland Sea King HC.4 platforms that are being retired in March 2016.

France promotes Rafale to replace Indonesia's F-5E

France is promoting its Rafale fighter jet to the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) in a bid to meet the service's requirement to replace its fleet of F-5E aircraft.
The TNI-AU said in a statement that two Rafales - one single-seat and one twin-seat aircraft - landed at the Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base in east Jakarta on 23 March to provide two days of "presentations and demonstrations" about the characteristics of the aircraft to the TNI-AU and Indonesian government officials.

US Navy planning to get its own V-22 Osprey fleet

The US Navy says it plans to obtain its own fleet of 44 V-22 Ospreys, taking possession of eight a year starting in 2020.
The decision to replace the aging fleet of C-2A Greyhound cargo aircraft with the tilt-rotor hybrid was made in an internal working document drafted earlier this year that laid the groundwork for funding.
The Navy V-22 Joint Program Office expects to issue a contract for development of a Navy variant in fiscal 2016 with production beginning in fiscal 2018.
Operating as a basic transport aircraft, the Navy variant will be virtually the same as the Marine Corps MV-22, but will add an extended-range fuel system, high-frequency radio and public-address system.
Navy pilots currently train alongside their Marine counterparts to develop a knowledge base for the aircraft. The Osprey already operates off Navy carriers.
The sea-service is the latest entity at home or abroad to enter the market for the V-22 Osprey. The Marine Corps has obtained more than 200 Ospreys to replace aging CH-46E Sea Knight assault support helicopters and has a requirement for 360. Air Force Special Operations’ aircrews have 33 with a requirement of 50.
The aircraft has performed admirably under fire in Iraq and Afghanistan and in humanitarian operations in the Philippines, despite safety concerns that plagued the platform early in its development.
The Japanese government plans to add as many as 17 tilt-rotor aircraft by fiscal 2018, most likely the V-22 Osprey. Israel has also expressed interest.

Portugal begins F-16s Upgrade

The Portuguese aerospace company OGMA recently began to upgrade three Lockheed Martin F-16A Block 15 Fighting Falcon fighters for the Portuguese Air Force.
All three aircraft will be upgraded to the F-16AM Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) standard by 2017.
The US government gave Portugal the aircraft in August 2013 as excess defence articles. Portugal only paid for their preparation, packaging, and shipment.
The acquisition of the three F-16s is a consequence of Portugal's sale of nine F-16AM single seat and three F-16BM twin-seat aircraft to Romania.
Those aircraft were from a batch of 25 F-16A/B Block 15 Operational Capability Upgrade (OCU) aircraft given to Portugal by the United States in the late 1990s under the Peace Atlantis II programme and later modernised in Portugal for operation by the 301 Squadron (Jaguares) at Monte Real Air Base.
Earlier in the 1990s Portugal ordered 20 new-built F-16A/B Block 15 OCU aircraft for the 201 Squadron (Falcões). These aircraft were later modernised to the MLU standard.
The Falcões and Jaguares squadrons currently operate 39 F-16AM/BM MLU aircraft.

Belize likely to receive ex-US Marines UH-1N Helicopters Through FMS programme

The United States government has issued a request for information (RfI) to provide Belize with a helicopter type under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.
The helicopters are to be delivered between 2015 and 2016.
The helicopter should be capable of operating in day and night conditions and in all weather. It will have a minimum payload capacity of 2,000 lb (907 kg), with 2,500 lb (1,133 kg) being the objective capacity. At sea level standard conditions, in the full troop configuration described, the helicopter should have a maximum cruise speed of at least 120 kt (222 km/h), and minimum combat radius of 250 n miles (463 km).
The most likely platform to fulfil this requirement appears to be the Bell UH-1 'Huey'.
The US Marine Corps retired the last of its UH-1N helicopters from service in late 2014.
Belize does not currently operate a helicopter type, although the BDF Air Wing does have a handful of propeller-driven fixed-wing types, which it uses for light transport, liaison, and surveillance duties.

Two A400M Deliveries for Turkey Face Delays

The deliveries of two A400M military transport aircraft for Turkey, scheduled for this year, are facing delays, that will result in penalties for Airbus in cash payment or free equipment and services.
It's not specified how long the delays are expected.
In 2003, Turkey signed a deal for a batch of 10 A400Ms, with final deliveries scheduled for 2018. Last year, two aircraft were delivered with two more to be received in 2015.
The delays in 2014 sparked a dispute between Airbus and the Turkish government. Turkey accused Airbus of failing in its delivery timetable, and Airbus accused Turkey for using delays for bargaining.
The latest A400M delivery to Turkey was formalized in December. Turkey's first A400M was delivered last April, following months-long controversy over whether the aircraft met technical specifications.

Mar 23, 2015

Spain To Decrease Military Helicopter Types from 14 to 4

A new helicopter master plan drawn up by the Spanish Ministry of Defence (MdD) envisages the number of different models used by the services being reduced from the current 14 to four by 2040.
Three will be from Airbus Helicopters - the NH90, the H135 (formerly EC135), and the Tiger - while the fourth will be the Boeing Chinook, which will need to be upgraded.
One of the key elements will be the navy version of the NH90, for which the Armada is seeking two variants - one a maritime transport which is not yet available, plus another for anti-submarine operations.
The Hughes 500 is due to be stood down by the Armada from 2018, to be replaced by the H135, while the Sikorsky SH-3 Sea Kings will be modernised to keep them active until the arrival of the hoped-for transport replacement.
The current modernisation programme for the Agusta-Bell AB212 will enable these to keep flying until at least 2030 from the corvette-style Buque de Acción Marítima (BAMs), while the army version of the aircraft is due to be retired by 2017.
As for the army's attack helicopters, the plan says the programme to begin phasing out the MBB Bo-105 will start soon. Now the decision has been taken that the six HAP versions of its replacement, the Tiger, will not be upgraded to the HAD-E Spanish version, from around 2027 onwards the army's airmobile forces (FAMET) will operate just 18 of the latter.
In the case of the Chinook, the MdD's aim is to upgrade from the CH-47D to CH-47F versions, with a programme office being set up to handle the proposed purchase from the United States.
The training helicopters, the Airbus H120 and the Sikorsky S-76C, are due to be taken out of service from around 2027, with the replacement almost certain to be the H135. The recent reductions in the NH90 programme will also mean modernisation programmes will be needed for the army's Airbus Super Puma and Cougar.

Lockheed close to sign deal with Singapore for F-16 fleet modernisation

Lockheed Martin is reportedly close to signing a contract with Singapore for upgrade of its F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft fleet.
The F-16V upgrade package features an active electronically scanned array radar, upgraded mission computer, as well as enhancements to the mission computer, vehicle systems, aircraft structure, cockpit, and electronic warfare system.
Lockheed is already competing to modernise South Korea's F-16s, after the country cancelled an upgrade agreement with BAE Systems in late 2014.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force operates 60 F-16C/D block 52 aircraft, which were upgraded with Israeli-built electronic warfare systems.
According to the publication, the presence of Israeli systems raised a doubt whether the company would be able to upgrade the RSAF F-16s as that would require modifications to the systems.
Apart from Singapore and South Korea, the company is also believed to be working to modernise the F-16 fleets of Thailand and Indonesia.

2nd Mistral Class for Russian Navy Ends First Sea Trial

The next sailing is due in mid-April. France is due to hand over the Sevastopol in the last quarter of 2015.
On Nov. 25, the French government suspended the delivery of the Vladivostok, which had been due for an official handover on Nov. 14 to the Russian authorities. The suspension was due to the continuing conflict in east Ukraine.
France had set two conditions for delivery: that the cease-fire in Ukraine be observed and Kiev and Moscow reach a political settlement.
In 2011, Paris sold the two vessels to Moscow, despite deep concern among the Baltic nations and allies in central Europe and the US.

U.S. Navy wish list has 12 Super Hornets, eight F-35s

The U.S. Navy included 12 F/A-18 Super Hornet and eight F-35s on a list of "unfunded priorities" prepared for Congress.
The Navy's list was reviewed by senior Pentagon officials and the Joint Chiefs of Staff this week, and should be sent to U.S. lawmakers in coming days.
Top Pentagon officials are skeptical about the weapons wish lists, and worry they help lawmakers "cherry pick" specific weapons programs to fund, while crowding out bigger priorities.
A decision by Congress to fund the extra Boeing jets as part of the Navy's fiscal 2016 budget would help the company extend its St. Louis production line beyond the end of 2017.Company officials have said they must decide this summer whether to start shutting down the line or bet their own money to buy titanium and other supplies that take a long time to deliver, before Congress finalize the 2016 budget.
Ordering Super Hornets now would also preserve the option of ordering additional EA-18G electronic attack aircraft, or Growlers.
Boeing has said it needs to build two jets a month at the facility to maintain current pricing.
The company is also chasing a possible order from Kuwait that could keep the factory running through the end of 2018.

Russia threatens to aim nuclear missiles at Denmark ships if it joins NATO shield

Russia threatened to aim nuclear missiles at Danish warships if Denmark joins NATO's missile defense system, in comments Copenhagen called unacceptable and NATO said would not contribute to peace.
Denmark said in August it would contribute radar capacity on some of its warships to the missile shield, which the Western alliance says is designed to protect members from missile launches from countries like Iran.
Moscow opposes the system, arguing that it could reduce the effectiveness of its own nuclear arsenal, leading to a new Cold War-style arms race.
No missiles are to be placed on Danish soil under the NATO program, but they could be deployed some day in Greenland.
Denmark's foreign minister said Russia's comments were unacceptable.

T-X, future USAF T-38 jet replacement, requirements released

USAF officials released requirements for the T-X trainer aircraft family of systems that will replace the T-38 Talon, March 20.
The initial draft requirements were released in 2012, allowing industry to make more informed, early design decisions.
The T-38 is no longer a practical trainer to prepare Air Force pilots for newer, more advanced aircraft. Currently, 12 of 18 advanced pilot training tasks can’t be completed with the T-38, relying on fighter and bomber formal training units to complete the training at a much greater cost.
The T-X requirements identify three key performance characteristics for the advanced pilot training mission: sustained G, simulator visual acuity and performance, and aircraft sustainment.
A highlight in the requirements is embedded training with synthetic sensors and data link. Significant progress has been made the past decade in synthetic training that very closely approximates the real system.
The Air Force plans to award a contract for 350 T-Xs to replace the 431 AETC T-38s in the fall of 2017, with initial operational capability by the end of 2023.
One requirement not part of the release is for the T-X to serve in a “red air” or adversary role, during live-fly exercises.

UK mothballs 16 AH-64 Apache fleet with end of Afghan ops

The UK has mothballed a quarter of its AgustaWestland-Boeing WAH-64 Apache Longbow AH.1 helicopters following the end of combat operations in Afghanistan.
In January, 16 of the British Army's 66 Apaches were placed into storage, leaving a force of 50 helicopters now operating out of Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk.
Currently, the Apache is fielded by 653 (operational conversion unit), 662, and 663 Squadrons of 3 (Attack) Regiment, and 656 and 664 Squadrons of 4 (Attack) Regiment.
The MoD is also assessing its options for maintaining the UK's attack helicopter capability out to 2040 and beyond.
In early March the MoD released a request for information (RfI) for remanufacturing the army's current AH-64D Block 1-standard helicopters into the latest variant AH-64E.
A decision on the way forward is expected in March 2016.

Six F-35Bs to embark on board USS Wasp for shipboard operational test

The first shipboard operational test period for the Marine Corps' F-35B is scheduled to take place May 18-30 aboard the amphibious assault ship Wasp. Six of the jets will participate.
The aims of the at-sea tests include:
Assess day and night take-offs and landings, weapons loads, and extended range operations.
Assess aircraft-to-ship network communications.
Evaluate the landing signal officer's launch and recovery software.
Test the crew's ability to conduct scheduled and unscheduled maintenance.
Determine the suitability of maintenance support equipment for shipboard operations.
Assess the logistics footprint of a deployed, six-plane F-35B detachment.
The Wasp is the test ship for the F-35B and has not made a major deployment in over a decade.
Initial operating capability for the F-35B is scheduled for July.