Feb 28, 2016

Japan concludes test of ground of X-2 'Shinshin' stealth fighter

Japan successfully concluded on Thursday the ground test of the prototype of its X-2 stealth fighter jet -- the first fully indigenous model -- making the country the fourth in the world to possess such an aircraft.
The X-2 ground test took place on the runway of Nagoya airport in central Japan. The project is progressing steadily.
The plane - Shinshin -- the code-name for the classified project till its official presentation in January -- has been developed by the defence ministry in collaboration with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and 200 other Japanese firms.
Developing the plane has taken seven years at a cost of $35 million, and is a key step towards upgrading the Japanese Army and also the country's recent plan to export military equipment.

Spain looking into Patriot Upgrade, Sweden, Romania, Finland and Turkey Potential Customers

According to Raytheon, Japan, Spain and Greece are looking into upgrading their Patriot systems while Sweden, Romania, Czech Republic and Finland are potential new customers in addition to Poland and Turkey.
Poland announced in the spring of 2015 that it had picked Patriot for its new air and missile defense program, called Wisla. Lockheed was also in the running but the Polish government excluded it from the competition because MEADS was not yet a fielded system.Germany and the MEADS team have since begun working to mint a continuing development contract while looking for more countries to partner with.
Raytheon and Sweden have been talking about them for the past year.
Romania, Czech Republic and Finland are further behind but have expressed interest. Belgium has also shown an interest.


Finmeccanica announces the kick-off of the final assembly phase for the first two M-346s for the Polish Air Force.
The delivery of the first two M-346 aircraft, built at Finmeccanica’s Aircraft Division facility in Venegono Superiore (Varese, Italy), is scheduled for the end of November 2016.
Signed in February 2014 with the Polish Ministry of Defence, the contact is to supply eight M-346 jet trainer aircraft to replace the currently operational TS-11 Iskra. The contract also includes logistic support; a training programme for pilots and engineers; a ground-based training system with dedicated classrooms and educational materials, including a Full Mission Simulator, a highly complex device able to replicate any possible operational scenario and also to be networked with real aircraft flying training missions.
The M-346 has also been ordered by Italy, Israel and Singapore, with 59 M-346 aircraft ordered so far. The aircraft is already in service with the Air Forces of Italy, Israel and the Republic of Singapore.

Dutch F-35 to Touch Down in The Netherlands this spring

A Dutch F-35A Lightning II will touch down on home soil for the first time for environmental compatibility trials this spring according to a Royal Netherlands Air Force release. The F-35 will conduct several low-altitude circuits, take-offs, and landings at both Leeuwarden Air Base and Volkel Air Base, where the aircraft will eventually be based. The RNLAF plans to replace its legacy F-16A/B fleet with a minimum of 37 F-35s, split between the two bases. An F-16 will accompany the F-35 during the trials in May or June, to provide comparison data on the level of noise generated by the two aircraft, and its possible impact on nearby communities, according to the release.
The first Dutch F-35 unit, Number 323 Squadron, is currently undertaking operational test and evaluation at Edwards AFB, Calif. Airfield trials will begin in earnest next year ahead of the aircraft permanent relocation to the Netherlands in 2019, according to the RNLAF.


The Italian Air Force celebrated today the entry into operational service of their first AgustaWestland AW101 helicopter, designated the HH-101A “CAESAR”, during an official ceremony at Cervia Air Base. A total of four HH-101A “CAESAR” helicopters, out of a total requirement of 15, have been delivered from the Finmeccanica Helicopter Division’s assembly line in Yeovil (UK) to date, and will be used to perform personnel recovery and special forces missions. The HH-101As will also support search and rescue (SAR), medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) and slow mover intercept operations, countering small aircraft threats, to provide effective support to the Italian community.

Feb 27, 2016

Canada To Deploy 4 CF-188 Hornets to Romania in March

Starting in March 2016, about 100 Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) personnel mainly from Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Bagotville, Quebec, and four CF-188 Hornet fighter aircraft will conduct bilateral training with the Romanian Air Force in Constanta, Romania, for about a month.
Exercise Resilient Resolve is being conducted to foster relations between the RCAF and the Romanian Air Force while exchanging best practices. While not part of Canadian Armed Forces Operation Reassurance, this exercise continues to build on the strong relationship between Canada and Romania.
The CF-188 aircraft will deploy from Kuwait, where they were based during their employment on Operation Impact. As part of the Operation Impact mission transition, the CF-188 Hornets, associated aircrew, and support personnel are departing Kuwait in a phased approach in the coming weeks.

France withdraws Mirage 2000Ds from Niger

France has withdrawn its two Dassault Mirage 2000D fighters from Niamey that had been supporting Operation 'Barkhane', France's anti-insurgency campaign in the Sahara-Sahel region of Africa.
The aircraft had been deployed in Niger from April 2014, after it was deemed necessary to base some strike assets closer to Mali than France's air base at N'Djamena in Chad. However, on 18 February they were withdrawn to allow their reassignment to Jordan to support France's efforts against the Islamic State.

Raytheon offers American-made T-100 for T-X

Raytheon has officially jumped into the US Air Force's T-X race, offering the Italian Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi M-346-based T-100 with twin Honeywell F124 turbofan engines and training support from CAE.
At an announcement in Washington DC on 22 February, the world's third-largest military contractor confirmed that air force pilots have already trialled the “Master” in Italy to verify that the current design meets stringent, high-g performance criteria associated with T-X.
Once allied with General Dynamics, the T-100 will now compete against the Lockheed Martin/Korea Aerospace Industries T-50A and clean-sheet alternatives proposed by Boeing/Saab and Northrop Grumman/BAS Systems for US Air Education and Training Command’s procurement of 350 high-performance training jets to replace the 48-year-old Northrop T-38 Talon.

Airbus to target near doubling of A400M deliveries in 2016

The delivery of only 11 A400M transports by Airbus Defence & Space in 2015 has prompted group chief executive Tom Enders to vow a target of “20-plus” deliveries in 2016.
By Enders’ admission, the programme faced a challenging year, with the type being grounded after the crash of an aircraft destined for Turkey. Additionally, customers are calling for a schedule and capability assessment on orders made, leading to a slower output than planned. The original target for 2015 was approximately 13 aircraft.

Boeing racing clock to deliver 18 KC-46 tankers by next August

The narrow window for Boeing to deliver 18 operational KC-46A Pegasus tankers to the US Air Force by August 2017 includes little to no room for error and a series of tests and events must go right to achieve that significant contractual milestone.

The Marines Corps' CH-53E Super Stallion Fleet Is In Inexcusably Horrible Disrepair

The Marine Corps faces serious challenges with its aging CH-53E Super Stallion fleet. The huge and complex aircraft are decades old and tired from 15 years of war. A replacement is on the way, the CH-53K King Stallion, although it is behind schedule and still years away from becoming operational.

Feb 26, 2016

USAF Unveils New B-21 Bomber

The US Air Force secretary unveiled the first official rendering of the new Long Range Strike Bomber and revealed its official designation: the B-21.
In a speech at the Air Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium on Feb. 26, Secretary Deborah Lee James shared an artist's concept design of the next-generation bomber, which will be built by Northrop Grumman. She also announced the plane's long-awaited designation, calling it the B-21.
However, the Air Force still has not decided on a name for the new B-21, James said. She called on airmen to send in suggestions.

Feb 20, 2016

Saudi Arabia orders more Hawk jet trainer aircraft

Saudi Arabia has doubled the number of Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) aircraft it has bought from BAE Systems, with an order for a further 22.
The RSAF already operates 24 of the earlier-generation Hawk Mk 65 aircraft that it began receiving in 1987 and 16 Hawk Mk 65A aircraft from 1997. In 2012 it signed a contract for 22 of the latest-generation Hawks AJTs, plus 55 Pilatus PC-21s, and 25 Cirrus SR22 primary training aircraft.

Feb 19, 2016

Airbus Delivers Final C-295 to Philippines

Airbus Defence and Space has delivered the third and final C-295 medium transport destined for the Philippines Air Force, the company announced at the Singapore Airshow Tuesday.
The aircraft was ferried recently from the Airbus Seville, Spain, assembly line to Clark Air Base to take up airlift duties.
The Philippines joins Vietnam and Indonesia as a C-295 customer in the region.

Mali To Acquire One C-295W

Mali has become the 23rd nation to purchase the C295, ordering a sole winglet-equipped example. Delivery of the aircraft is expected in the second half of 2016.
It will join Mali’s small fleet of fixed-wing aircraft, which includes nine Mikoyan MiG-21s, one Alenia SF-260, and one Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander.
The Philippine air force, meanwhile, has taken delivery of its third C295.

Iran and Russia to Co-Produce Su-30 Fighter Jet

During a recent television interview, Iran’s Defense Minister, General Hossein Dehqhan, announced that Iran will sign a contract with Russia for the co-production of an undisclosed number of Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 multirole fighter aircraft, Fars News Agency reports.
Should the deal go through, Iran will be the second country in the world after India to produce a variation of the Su-30 fighter jet locally. However, as of now, it still remains unclear in what capacity Tehran will be involved in the aircraft production process.
According to a source within Iran’s Defense Ministry interviewed by Sputnik News, a contract could be signed as early as February 16, when the Iranian defense minister will arrive in Moscow to discuss the deliveries of S-300 air defense systems and the Sukhoi Su-30 aircraft.

F-15s to Finland as USAF boosts Europe deployments to deter Russia

On the books for the Air Force this year is its first F-15 deployment to Finland in coming months. Six fighter jets and around 100 airmen from the 173rd Fighter Wing, Oregon National Guard, will visit the neighboring-Russia nation in May.
The Air Force may also expect an F-22 deployment, the second since four F-22s deployed to Germany, Poland and Estonia in 2015, which was the Raptor’s first theater security package to Europe.

Boeing’s KC-46 Successfully Refuels F/A-18

Boeing’s KC-46 tanker successfully refueled a Navy F/A-18 aircraft in the skies above Washington state on Feb. 10, according to the company.
The event was the KC-46’s first refueling using its hose and drogue system, according to a Feb. 12 Boeing news release.
This is the second time the KC-46, a militarized version of Boeing’s 767 commercial jet, has successfully refueled another aircraft. In January, the aircraft transferred 1,600 pounds of fuel to an Air Force F-16 fighter jet using its “boom.”

Oman first Typhoon enters in final assembly

The first Eurofighter Typhoon for the Royal Air Force of Oman.
Under a contract signed in 2012, Oman will also take delivery of eight Hawk 166 advanced jet trainers from BAE.
BAE delivered 12 Typhoons to Saudi Arabia last year, and 6 for the UK Royal Air Force.

Feb 14, 2016

Saudi Arabia to deploy jets in Turkey's İncirlik amid debate over timing

Saudi Arabia is sending planes to the İncirlik Air Base in the southern Turkish province of Adana, where jets from the U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition are already based, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has stated, amid reports on Feb. 14 that the jets have already arrived.
“The Saudi kingdom now has a presence at the İncirlik base in Turkey,” Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri was quoted as saying by the Al-Arabiya TV station late on Feb. 13.
“Saudi warplanes are present with their crews to intensify aerial operations along with missions launched from bases in Saudi Arabia,” al-Assiri said, without going into further details.
However, Turkish military sources denied the arrival of Saudi warplanes.
Military sources told daily Hürriyet that Saudi warplanes had not arrived at İncirlik, adding that the timeframe of the Saudi jets’ arrival would extend to two or three weeks.
Riyadh and Ankara are both opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Feb 13, 2016

US Clears Sale of F-16 to Pakistan

The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of six F-16Ds and two F-16C Block 52 fighters to Pakistan. The deal, inclusive of associative equipment and logistic support, is estimated to cost $699.04 million.

Feb 12, 2016

Belarus To Acquire Su-30SM Fighters

Belarus has signed a preliminary deal with Russian state-owned aircraft maker Irkut to purchase new Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jets for the country’s Air Force. The new aircraft will replace the outdated Mikoyan MiG-29 fighters that have been operating for about 30 years.
The amount of the fighter jets, which are to be acquired, was not disclosed.

Lawmaker Blocks Deal to Sell F-16s to Pakistan

A senior Republican senator is blocking the Obama administration’s subsidized sale of as many as eight new F-16 jet fighters to Pakistan because of Islamabad’s relationship with a militant group known for targeting U.S.-trained security forces in neighboring Afghanistan.
Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Secretary of State John Kerry in a letter that he couldn’t allow the Obama administration to use taxpayer funds to support the sale of the jets.
He cited attacks by the group known as the Haqqani network, saying the government in Islamabad continues to provide haven to its leaders.

Pentagon Kills Its Killer Drone Fleet

The U.S. military spent billions developing an armed drone that could take off from an aircraft carrier. But now, the Pentagon says it doesn’t want that kind of flying robot at all.
The Defense Department’s budget proposal for 2017, released on Feb. 9, terminates an on-again, off-again program dating back to the late 1990s that aimed to develop a bomb-hauling robotic jet capable of launching from and landing on the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers.
The decision to cancel the so-called Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike is reflected in the Defense Department’s 2017 budget proposal, released on Feb. 9. The proposal shows a combined $818 million in funding for the UCLASS killer drone program in 2015 and 2016 and, abruptly, no money at all in 2017.
Instead, there’s a new budget line for 2017—a meager $89 million for a so-called “Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System.” In other words: Goodbye, drone death from above. Hello, flying robot gas stations.

U.S. Pacific Air Forces chooses Tinian Island as divert airfield

The famous World War II island where a B-29 named Enola Gay and its pilot, Col. Paul Tibbets Jr., came together Aug. 6, 1945, to lead a mission that would deploy a uranium bomb known as "Little Boy" over Hiroshima, Japan, is soon to be back in use.
Tinian Island, just north of Guam, has been selected as a preferred alternative divert and exercise training island.
The plan will also improve and support the Tinian airport, which would be able to take up to 12 tanker aircraft and support personnel.

Feb 11, 2016

Iran to purchase Sukhoi-30 fighter jets from Russia

Iran will sign a contract with Russia for the purchase of Sukhoi-30 fighter jets, Iran's defense minister said Wednesday.
In comments published on the ministry of defense website, Gen. Hossein Dehghan did not specify how many fighter planes Iran will buy, or give a timeline for the signing of the deal. However, he said that under the agreement Iran would also be involved in the production of the aircraft.
Iran's air force still heavily depends on domestically modified versions of long-outdated warplanes, including former Soviet MiGs and American F14A Tomcats from the 1970s.
Iran has also rejected reports that Iran has negotiated the purchase of J10 fighter jets from China.
Russia has already started delivering S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran. The advanced defensive weapons system deal was frozen in 2010 due to U.N sanctions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin approved delivery of the air defense missile system in April 2015.

Feb 7, 2016

UK to receive final F-35 test aircraft shortly

The United Kingdom is shortly to receive its final testbed Lockheed Martin F-35.
The Further to these first four trials and training aircraft, the United Kingdom has contracted 10 of the first 14 operational jets that have been authorised by parliament under the Main Gate 4 approval process. Kingdom currently has two operational test and evaluation (BK-1 and BK-2) and one training aircraft (BK-3) flying out of Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida.
The first operational unit - 617 'Dambusters' Squadron - will stand up with the first 14 operational aircraft and BK-3 at Beaufort Pilot Training Center at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, South Carolina, later in 2016.

Equatorial Guinea orders two C295

Equatorial Guinea has acquired a pair of Airbus Defence & Space C295s, one for troop transport and the other for maritime surveillance.
The first example is expected to be delivered in September, the cargo variant. Delivery of the maritime surveillance aircraft is anticipated in 2017.
The C295s will bolster the nation's relatively modest military fleet, which includes an Antonov An-72 transport, four Sukhoi Su-25 combat aircraft and two Aero Vodochody L-39 jet trainers, plus a number of Russian-built rotorcraft.

Pentagon: A-10 will stay until 2022

Defense Secretary Ash Carter today announced what has been anticipated for month: the A-10 will not be retired.
In a speech previewing next week’s budget release, Carter also highlighted new technologies his department is developing in order to meet what he called a “major inflection point” that takes “the long view” for the department.

UK Signs Major Deal for Military Aircraft, Training

A key part of a contractor-managed program to train future British military aircrew has finally fallen into place with the signing of a deal for a KBR-Elbit Systems joint venture to provide and support three new fixed-wing aircraft fleets as part of the UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS).
The private finance initiative (PFI) signed with Ascent, the Lockheed Martin-Babcock joint venture, which runs the UKMFTS program, will see Affinity Flying Training Services procure, operate and maintain 10 Beechcraft Texan T-6C aircraft, and 23 Grob G120TP Prefect turboprops along with five Embraer Phenom 100 jets to train Royal Air Force and Royal Navy air crew. The deal runs until 2033.

Kuwait Audit Bureau Must Approve Eurofighter Deal

talian defense firm Finmeccanica and Eurofighter have to present cost breakdowns to the Kuwaiti State Audit Bureau before they see a signature on a deal for 28 fighter jets secured.
Kuwaiti news portal cited parliamentary sources stating that the deal has been refused by the Kuwaiti State Audit Bureau due to a lack of information on costs regarding technical support, training, spare parts and the construction of building structures.
The deal was due to be inked on Jan. 31 after an invitation was extended to Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti by Kuwaiti Defense Minister Sheikh Khalid al-Jarrah al-Sabah.

Russia's New Su-35S Arrives in Syria

Russia has deployed at least four advanced Sukhoi Su-35S Flanker-E aircraft to Syria, beefing up its air superiority capabilities in the war-torn region.
The move follows protests from Turkey that a Russian Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback bomber violated its airspace on Friday—a claim Moscow denies. In an earlier incident in November, Ankara shot down a Russia Su-24 Fencer that had crossed the Turkish border for about eighteen seconds. Following that incident, Moscow deployed the power S-400 air and missile defense system to Syria and started to arm its fighters with live air-to-air missiles.
“Starting from last week, super-maneuverable Su-35S fighter jets started performing combat missions at Khmeimim airbase," Russian defense ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov told the TASS news agency on February 1.
The addition of the Su-35 provides Russia with more fighter escorts for its fleet of Su-24 Fencer and Su-25 Frogfoot strike aircraft that are operating from the Khmeimim air base, which is located in Syria’s northwestern Latakia province. Those aircraft have minimal air-to-air self-defense capability and are reliant on the Sukhoi Su-30SM and Su-27SM3 Flankers currently in theatre for protection. Russia has also deployed fourteen Su-34 Fullback bombers to Syria, but those warplanes have a significant air-to-air self-defense capability.

Feb 6, 2016

Italian F-35 Makes First Transatlantic Crossing

An Italian Air Force F-35 completed the fighter jet’s first transatlantic crossing Friday, a historic event that kicks off a landmark year for the international program.
The aircraft, an Italian Air Force F-35A dubbed AL-1, touched down here Feb. 5 after a seven-hour flight from Lajes Air Base, Portugal. The plane, which began its journey from Cameri Air Base in Italy, on Tuesday, was scheduled to arrive here on Wednesday, but was delayed due to weather and maintenance issues.
Despite a turbulent flight with headwinds of 120 knots, the plane performed well during both legs of the journey. The F-35, which flew with two C-130s, a Eurofighter Typhoon and two Italian tankers, required three aerial refuelings on the trip from Cameri to Lajes, and another four on the final leg.
The event marks two firsts for the program – AL-1 is not only the first F-35 ever to cross the Atlantic Ocean, but it is also the first F-35 built overseas, at the Cameri Final Assembly and Check-Out facility.

Feb 3, 2016

US Air Force Cuts Five F-35 Fighter Jets From Budget Request

The Air Force reduced the F-35A buy in FY-17 from a planned 48 aircraft to just 43, while fully funding the Long Range Strike-Bomber and KC-46 tanker. It is not clear if the Air Force will reduce the overall planned buy of 1,763 aircraft. These figures do not take into account the total F-35 buy across the US armed services or purchases by international partners.
The cut was purely budget driven, the source said, as the F-35 joint strike fighter program has made strides in recent years. The Marine Corps declared initial operational capability on time last summer with its F-35Bs, and the Air Force is on track to do the same with its conventional takeoff and landing F-35A this summer.
The F-35A cut is not a surprise. Analysts and top government officials have hinted for months that changes could be ahead for the JSF as part of the Pentagon’s effort to balance its books.
Cutting F-35As in FY17 will likely yield millions in savings over the next several years. The Air Force planned to buy 44 F-35As in FY16 and 48 in FY17, before ramping up to 60 a year starting in FY18. But reducing that to 48 a year would free up approximately $1 billion per year for other priorities.