Aug 31, 2015


Four F-16 Fighting Falcons, two F-22 Raptors and one C-130 Hercules arrived at Łask Air Base, Poland.
The F-16s are from the 480th Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. The 480th FS is participating in bilateral training with the Polish Air Force during Aviation Detachment Rotation 15-4 and will be joined by the 606th Air Control Squadron and additional F-16s from the 176th Fighter Squadron, Wisconsin Air National Guard, in early September. Approximately 370 Airmen from the three squadrons will be in Poland to support one of the largest Av-Det rotations to date. During the deployment, the F-16s will conduct training focused on maintaining joint readiness while building interoperability capabilities.
The F-22s and approximately 20 supporting Airmen are from the 95th Fighter Squadron, Tyndall AFB, Fla. The C-130 aircraft is from the 37th Airlift Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
This forward deployment of the Raptors is part of the inaugural F-22 training deployment to Europe and is funded by the European Reassurance Initiative, which provides support to bolster the security of our NATO Allies and partners in Europe while demonstrating our commitment to regional and global security. The F-22s will remain at Łask for a brief period of time before returning to Spangdahlem to continue their training deployment.

KC-46A being delayed by a few big problems

Repeated test flight delays and problems with the newly designed aircraft's fuel system are threatening to push back the delivery date.
Earlier this year, ground was broken on a flight training center, a fuselage training facility, new aircraft hangars and other renovations at Altus. The project is expected to cost about $56 million. Training for new pilots won't wait for the arrival of the aircraft. It's supposed to begin next year at Altus.

Australia Formally Buys its first Four P-8A 'Poseidon'

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) formally bought its first four P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft in a $1.49-billion contract with Boeing that also includes the U.S. Navy’s next nine aircraft, Boeing announced today.
Australia’s participation in the program goes back to 2009, and though it has recently procured a complete training system and signed a contract for long-lead materials, it had not formally signed a contract for its aircraft.
The RAAF announced in February 2014 it intends to buy eight P-8As to replace its AP-3C Orions, and could buy as many as 12 pending the outcome of a Defence White Paper review. It said the first aircraft would deliver in 2017 and the full 8-plane fleet would be operational by 2021.
The contract announced today keeps ahead of that schedule, with Boeing saying that “production of the first Australian P-8A will begin later this year, with delivery to the RAAF scheduled for 2016.”

Turkey carries out first air strikes as part of anti-Isis US coalition

Turkish fighter jets have carried out their first air strikes as part of the US-led coalition against Islamic State in Syria. Late on Friday the jets began attacking Isis targets across the border in Syria that were deemed to be threats to Turkey.
After months of hesitation, Turkey agreed last month to take a more active role in the fight against Isis. Turkish jets used smart bombs to attack Isis positions in Syria without crossing into Syrian airspace, and later Turkey granted US jets access to an airbase close to the Syrian border.
Friday’s attacks by Turkey were the first launched as part of the US-led campaign and took place after Turkish and US officials announced they had reached agreement “on the procedures and technical details” of their cooperation, which calls for Turkey to be fully integrated into the coalition air campaign.
Earlier this month, US F-16 jets launched their first air strikes from the Turkish base of Incirlik, just a short distance from targets in northern Syria. Earlier, the US had also begun flying armed drones from Incirlik.

Aug 30, 2015

Neuron UCAV Completes Combat Capability Tests

The flight test campaign in Italy of the Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) Neuron has been successfully concluded with the achievement of all established goals, thus allowing an important step forward for the program.
The Neuron is the European full-scale technological demonstrator for UCAV developed by an industrial team led by Dassault Aviation with the collaboration of Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi, Saab, Airbus Defence and Space, RUAG and HAI.
The aircraft has been deployed at the Italian Air Force's Decimomannu Air Base, in Sardinia, Italy, where it has fulfilled a series of important operational tests.
In particular, the 12 highly sensitive sorties have allowed to verify the characteristics of Neuron’s combat capability, its low radar-cross section and low infrared signature, during missions flown at different altitudes and flight profiles and against both ground-based and air radar “threats”, using in this latter case, an Eurofighter Typhoon.
During the deployment in Italy the Neuron has confirmed its already ascertained excellent performance and high operational reliability.

UK To Remanufacture their 'Apaches' to AH-64E Version

The United Kingdom has requested the remanufacture of fifty WAH-64 Mk 1 Attack Helicopters to AH-64E Apache Guardian Helicopters with one hundred and ten (110) T-700-GE-701D Engines (100 installed and 10 spares), the refurbishment of fifty-three (53) AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sights (M-TADS) (50 installed and 3 spares), the refurbishment of fifty-three (53) AN/AAR-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors (PNVS) (50 installed and 3 spares), the refurbishment of fifty-two (52) AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars (FCR) (50 installed and 2 spares) with fifty-five (55) Radar Electronics Units (Longbow Component) (50 installed and 5 spares), fifty-two (52) AN/APR-48B Modernized Radar Frequency Interferometers (50 installed and 2 spares), sixty (60) AAR-57(V) 3/5 Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS) with 5th Sensor and Improved Countermeasure Dispenser (50 installed and 10 spares), one hundred and twenty (120) Embedded Global Positioning Systems (GPS) with Inertial Navigation (100 installed and 20 spares), and three hundred (300) Apache Aviator Integrated Helmets.

F-22 inaugural deployment to Europe

Four F-22 Raptors, one C-17 Globemaster III, and approximately 60 Airmen arrived at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, to train with allied air forces and U.S. services through mid-September.
This first-ever F-22 training deployment to Europe is funded by the European Reassurance Initiative, and provides support to bolster the security of our NATO Allies and partners in Europe. The F-22s and Airmen are from the 95th Fighter Squadron, Tyndall AFB, Fla. The C-17 is from the 60th Airlift Wing, Travis AFB, Cailf.
The training will prove that 5th generation fighters can deploy successfully to European bases and other NATO installations while also affording the chance for familiarization flight training within the European theater. It will also give them the chance to conduct combat air training with different aircraft like U.S. F-15 Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons.

USAF F-22 Raptors will Train With Czech Gripens

The US wants its F-22 Raptor fighters, which its plans to deploy in Europe, to learn to cooperate with the supersonic fighters of the allies, not only with the most widespread Eurofighter Typhoons but also the Gripen fighters used by the Czechs, daily Lidové noviny (LN) writes today.

Aug 19, 2015

Last of Batch of Nine T129s Delivered to Turkish Army

The last in a batch of nine early entry packages of T129 attack helicopters was recently delivered to the Turkish Army.
Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), maker of the T129 under license from the Italian-British company AgustaWestland, said that the chopper was delivered to the Turkish Army on July 31.
TAI started to deliver the T129 to the Turkish Army in April 2014. Under the full program, a batch of 59 helicopter gunships will be delivered. TAI officials say T129 features 97 percent sovereign production.
The Turkish Army deploys the T129 gunships at its southeastern military bases in Turkey to support anti-terror operations against Kurdish rebels fighting for autonomy.
The T129 choppers are Turkey’s first locally made platforms under license. The attack and reconnaissance helicopters are outfitted with an arsenal of Hellfire missiles and guided rockets.
In addition to the Turkish Army, TAI hopes to sell the T129 to foreign markets.

USAF A-10s to return to Europe

The A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft will return to Europe in the next few months, the US Air Force (USAF) confirmed on 11 August.
In total, 12 A-10s from the 23rd Wing will deploy from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, to Europe as part of a Theatre Security Package (TSP) in support of NATO's 'Operation Atlantic Resolve'.
Dates and locations for the deployment were not confirmed by the USAF, which noted that they would be deployed "this fall" and "to locations in central and eastern European NATO countries". It added, "these A-10s will conduct training alongside NATO allies and partners to strengthen interoperability and to demonstrate US commitment to the security and stability of Europe."
The alliance introduced Operation Atlantic Resolve following the Ukraine crisis in order to reassure NATO's eastern European members that had been made nervous of Russia's intentions.

Morocco takes delivery of three Chinooks

The Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopter is set to re-enter service with the Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF) after three were delivered to the kingdom on 15 August.
The CH-47D Chinooks were spotted being unloaded in Tangier on 15 August.
Columbia Helicopters, in the USA, have refurbished the three ex-US Army CH-47D helicopters.

Aug 17, 2015

Israel to supply Jordan with UAVs to combat the Islamic State

Jordan has finalised a deal with Israel for the procurement of strategic and tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to help combat the Islamic State.
The deal encompasses Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Heron TP strategic and Elbit Systems Skylark tactical UAVs. While separate system numbers are not given, the report by the Israeli DEBKAfile website says that a total of 12 UAVs of both types are to be delivered.
According to the report, the systems are needed to support Jordanian special forces that are currently engaged in ground operations in Iraq, although there has been no independent corroboration of this claim.
Having first entered service with the Israeli Air Force in 2010, the Heron TP is the service's largest and most sophisticated UAV with a wingspan of 26 m and an all-up weight of 4,650 kg. With a stated operating altitude of 45,000ft (although it is believed it can fly higher), the Heron TP is reported to have a 40-hour endurance. Although the Heron TP's range ISRfigures have not been disclosed, the platform's satellite communications (SATCOM) enable over-the-horizon operations.

Argentine Air Force cuts working hours, retires Mirage fleet

The Argentine Air Force is drastically cutting staff working hours and decommissioning its last fighter aircraft amid continuing budget issues.
A recently published daily agenda indicates that the service's working hours have been significantly reduced, from 0800 to 1300; rationing of food, energy consumption, and office supplies has been directed headquarters staff and property residents; and only the minimum personnel required to staff headquarters, directorates, and commands are working.
These orders, issued on 11 August, take effect 18 August. A next step will cut Monday and Tuesday as working days. Moreover, air force officials said any aircraft taken out of service will not undergo maintenance for now.

Syria reportedly receives MiG-31 interceptors from Russia

The Syrian government has received six MiG-31 'Foxhound' interceptor aircraft from Russia under a deal that was said to have been signed in 2007.
The aircraft recently arrived at Mezze Airbase on the outskirts of Damascus.
Syria was reported to have ordered eight MiG-31 combat aircraft as part of a wider defence deal with Russia in 2007. Neither the Russian nor the Syrian authorities have so far commented publicly on the reported deliveries.
Until the arrival of the MiG-31s in Damascus is confirmed, it should be treated with an element of scepticism. With the regime of Bashar al-Assad finding itself increasingly hard-pressed on the ground, it has to be noted that a state-of-the-art high-altitude interceptor is probably of limited use right now.
The delivery has been linked to Western proposals for a no-fly buffer zone to be established over Syria, but while the MiG-31s would certainly give NATO planners pause for thought, their small number and single basing location would mean that they would likely be destroyed in the early hours of any alliance effort to establish air dominance over the country ahead of implementing such a no-fly zone.

USAF plans to end MQ-1 Predator operations in 2018

The remotely-piloted aircraft that ushered in the armed unmanned air vehicle revolution, the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-1, will be put out to pasture by 2018, after more than two decades of service, the US Air Force says.
The service has been planning to retire the MQ-1 ever since introducing the larger and more capable General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper in 2007, but the insatiable demand for intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance and target strikes in conflict zones around the world has kept the original Predator in service.
Now, the air force has set 2018 as the end date for the MQ-1 operations and says the aircraft will be moved to the boneyard, but the ground control stations and other items will be repurposed to support the MQ-9.

Russia to launch MiG-31 replacement programme before end of decade

Russia is to begin developing a replacement for the MiG-31 'Foxhound' interceptor before the end of the decade, state media reported on 12 August.
Development of the next-generation PAK-DP (Predpolagayemyy vozdukha Kompleks dlya Dal'ney Perekhvat - Prospective Air Complex for Long-Range Interception) aircraft is to start in 2019.
The Russian Air Force (VVS) is currently upgrading 130 of its approximately 200 'Foxhound' aircraft to the latest MiG-31BM standard. This upgrade encompasses the aircraft's avionics, cockpit displays, datalinks, radar, and fire control systems, and will see the fuselage and landing gear refurbished also.
By the time this process is complete by the end of 2019, the MiG-31BM will be fit to serve through to the 2030s. Even so, the VVS has said that it is looking to field a replacement in about the 2028 timeframe. Specific details, such as performance specifications, pertaining to this PAK-DP replacement have not yet been released.

Aug 16, 2015

Belarus orders more Yak-130 aircraft

Belarus has ordered new combat aircraft from Russia.
The country has signed two contracts for four Yakolev Yak-130 'Mitten' trainer/strike aircraft and confirmed than an order for 12 Mil Mi-8MTV-5 'Hip' helicopters had been signed in June.
The order for four Yak-130s will bring the country's total to eight aircraft, following the delivery of four Yak-130s ordered in 2012 to Belarus in April. .

India halves its demand for Russian fighter jets

Looking to cut costs and prune military imports, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has halved its demand for Russian-built fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA).
It now wants just three squadrons of the fighter jets which are to be inducted into the Russian Air Force in 2016.
Sources say the IAF has scaled down its needs and now indicated that just three squadrons (around 18 planes in each), besides a few more for training of the pilots, will be enough for now. This works out to be 65 planes, almost half from the earlier projection of 127 FGFAs to be jointly designed and produced by India and Russia.
The T-50 has been built for the Russians under the PAK-FA (Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation) programme for the fifth generation fighter aircraft.

US Navy considers reduced annual F-35C buy

The US Navy believes budget pressures and competing priorities could drive it to purchase fewer Lockheed Martin F-35Cs per year in the 2020s, and a worst-case scenario could see it procure as few as 12 aircraft per year, or one squadron.
Naval Air Forces commander says the current plan is to purchase around 20 carrier variants per year in the 2020s, but depending on the resources available, annual output could fall to anywhere between 12 and 20 aircraft.
The admiral had two charts with him at the forum, one showing an annual buy of 12 C-models per year through the 2020s and one charting a buy rate of 20. The navy’s latest five-year spending plan shows production peaking at 12 in 2020 as it works toward a total purchase of 369 aircraft to replace its legacy fleet of Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornets.
Talk of decreased production rate comes just one month after incoming chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Gen Joseph Dunford told lawmakers the Pentagon was reviewing how many F-35s it should purchase given new defence strategic guidance and budget pressures, casting doubt about the current requirement for 2,443 aircraft, which was set about two decades ago.

Australia considers launching airstrikes into Syria

Australia is considering joining airstrikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria.
Australian F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters have been striking Islamic State targets in northern Iraq from their base in Dubai since October last year. Australia sent warplanes and military advisers into the Iraq campaign at the request of the U.S. and Iraqi governments. But Australia drew the line at airstrikes in Syria, where it does not recognize President Bashar Assad's administration.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that while the United States has yet to make a formal request for airstrikes in Syria, "the matter has been raised."
"No decision has been taken, but I don't want to pretend for a second that this campaign at the moment is going perfectly well," Abbott told reporters.
"While the legality is different, whether these airstrikes are taking place in Syria or Iraq, the morality is the same," he added.
While the opposition Labor Party supports Australian involvement in Iraq, it questioned the legal basis of Australian airstrikes in Syria.
"Without a clear legal basis for Australian involvement and without a clear plan — like, what does victory in Syria look like? — I think it would be very dangerous to send Australian personnel into one of the most dangerous places on earth right now," opposition spokeswoman on foreign affairs Tanya Plibersek said.
The government can send fighter jets into Syria without seeking Parliament's permission, although a political squabble could damage public support for a new campaign in Syria.

Aug 11, 2015

Turkey to Upgrade F-16 Block 30 Aircraft

Turkey's Air Force and procurement authorities approved a program to upgrade a batch of 25 F-16 Block 30 aircraft.
The upgrade program for the oldest model of F-16 fighters is designed as a stop-gap solution until Turkey has built its own indigenous fighter jet or the initial deliveries under the multinational Joint Strike Fighter program have begun to arrive.
The Block 30 aircraft to be upgraded were delivered to the Turkish Air Force between 1988 and 1990. Most of the aircraft are about to complete their flight life of 8,000 hours.
Turkey hopes its indigenous fighter will make its maiden flight in 2023.

Jordan orders PC-9 trainers

The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) has ordered nine Pilatus PC-9M turboprop training aircraft, a simulator, training equipment, and a comprehensive logistics package.
Deliveries will begin in January 2017.
The RJAF currently has Slingsby T67 Firefly basic trainers and CASA C-101 Aviojet advanced trainers.

Aug 10, 2015

Spain to buy four MALE UAVs

The Spanish Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed on 7 August that it is looking to buy four large unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and has issued requests for information (RfIs) to two potential suppliers.
The UAVs, which are to be capable of flying observation missions for more than 24 hours, are destined to be shared by the armed forces, rather than used exclusively by one service.
One option being considered by Spain is the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, with the US firm teaming with Spanish engineering company Sener for the requirement.
The second is the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Heron TP, on which the Israeli firm is partnering with Indra.
There are no plans to arm the aircraft, which are to be used purely for reconnaissance.
MoD sources said training needs mean the earliest the UAVs could be operational would be 2017.
The Reaper has an advantage in that is used by the United States as well as major European Union and NATO allies, including the UK, France, Italy, and the Netherlands - offering the possibilities of joint training and operations.
But the army already has experience with another IAI UAV: the Searcher Mk II.
The navy is currently using the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle on ships serving with the EU anti-piracy mission 'Operation Atalanta' off the coast of Somalia.
Whichever of the larger UAVs is finally chosen, it is likely to be only a stopgap measure.
The government has said it hopes to eventually join up with France, Germany, and Italy, which in May agreed to start investigating a joint medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV project they hope to have ready by the early 2020s.

UK to BEG Italy and Germany for spare parts for RAF bombers

BRITAIN may have to go cap in hand to Italy or Germany to secure spare parts for the RAF’s Tornado bombers.
The warning comes just days after Defence Secretary extended the RAF mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria until 2017.
That decision, coupled with the last-minute reprieve of a Tornado squadron, has left military planners anxious to secure vital spare parts should their limited stocks run out.
NATO nations that operate Tornado aircraft already have a part-swap arrangement that allows countries to borrow from each other, though this has seldom, if ever, been used.
However, last night senior Whitehall sources confirmed that Air Chief Marshal has recently placed both Italy’s Aeronautica Militare and Germany’s Luftwaffe, which operate the same variants of GR4 Tornado as the UK, on standby.
Britain operates eight GR4 Tornados as part of the so-called Coalition of the Willing against Islamic State.

USAF F-16s arrive at Turkish air base for anti-ISIS ops

The USAF deployed six F-16s and roughly 300 airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, to support operations against the Islamic State.
The small detachment of F-16s arrived at Incirlik on Sunday from Aviano Air Base, Italy.
Turkey recently agreed to allow the U.S. to use Turkish air bases to launch airstrikes against the Islamic State..
The U.S. launched its first airstrike from Incirlik against the Islamic State on Aug. 4, when an unmanned U.S. aircraft attacked a target in Syria. The F-16s from the 31st Fighter Wing will be the first manned aircraft to attack the Islamic State from a Turkish base.