Dec 30, 2017
At the Nal airbase in Rajasthan, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa flew the last sortie of the Hawkeyes, 108 Squadron, bringing a glorious end to the reign of the MiG-21 T-96 aircraft, flown by the squadron.
This comes days after former IAF chief Fali Homi Major flew the last sortie of the Mi-8 helicopter in Bengaluru before the choppers stopped flying.
"It is in the IAF tradition to have the senior-most pilot fly the oldest machine while bidding adieu," said an IAF official.
The 108 Squadron is being 'number-plated', which means it would remain dormant for the time being and would be re-formed to produce new aircraft.
In Hashimara in West Bengal, the last MiG-27 ML roared for the last time in its farewell flight.
Named Bahadur, the swing-wing MiG-27 ML has the single most powerful engine in the world with a variable geometry wing that allows a pilot to change the wing sweep angle while flying as per the mission requirements.
The aircraft, which was flown by the 22 Squadron, is also being number-plated.
Though the MLs have retired, they are not the last swing-wing aircraft in service. Some of the MiG-27s were upgraded to MiG-27 UPG, which will continue to fly.
The MiG-27 UPGs are based in Jodhpur.
Dec 27, 2017
Citing military sources, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said the Lockheed Martin Corp.-made short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35Bs would be part of South Korea's long-term plan to build a "blue water" navy.
South Korea currently has one amphibious assault ship, the 14,300-ton, 653-foot Dokdo, which is the largest ship in the South Korean navy. A second Dokdo-class amphib is planned for 2020.
Japan is also considering buying F-35Bs to operate from its helicopter carrier, the Japan Times reported.
The problem for South Korea and Japan will be in redesigning the decks of the amphibs to take the heat and stress of the F-35B vertical landings. The Dokdo class ships now are configured to support 10 helicopters.
Dec 25, 2017
After testing two F/A-18 “learning aircraft,” Boeing found corrosion was well maintained on Super Hornets that fly regularly but cropped up often on aircraft that had been grounded for a while. Boeing will not change materials on the aircraft but plans to use data analytics to predict how the navy should handle varied corrosion issues, Gillian says.
Dec 23, 2017
In 2014 South Korea formally announced a plan to buy 40 F-35As.
"We're working real hard inside of our training network," said Col. Karl Fischbach, commander of the 7th Operations Group. "The ranges that we have were set up really well to simulate the environment, and we're going to attend the next Red Flag [in January] and Green Flag [exercises] in the [upcoming] year, and really focus on what we need to get ready for the CentCom operation."
Dec 16, 2017
If this acquisition goes through, it will make Bogotá the first client for the type in the Americas. It would also represent a significant qualitative leap for the Colombian Air Force, which uses an updated version of the IAI Kfir as its main fighter type.
This proposal also implies that the Typhoons will belong to the Tranche 2 standard and come equipped with the advanced Meteor missile. For now, only enough aircraft to equip a single fighter wing are being considered.
However, there are still several options on the table regarding the modernization of the Colombian Air Force.
Colombia has been contemplating the acquisition of a wide range of aircraft, with mostly used units due to cost concerns, which include the Mirage 2000 and the Rafale from the French company, Dassault, the American Lockheed-Martin F-16 and Boeing F/A-18, the Swedish Saab JAS-39 Gripen, and even the Russian Sukhoi Su-30. Even newly-made Typhoons from the UK were contemplated.
As it is, the Spanish Eurofighter deal is just one more in a long series of possibilities, although supported by the extraordinary good relations currently enjoyed by Madrid and Bogotá.
Dec 9, 2017
The delivery is the result of an aircraft acquisition and refurbishment agreement approved by the U.S. government to deliver a total of 24 Block-25 C and D variant F-16s to the Indonesian Air Force.
The aircraft, formerly flown by U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard units, had been warehoused by the Ogden ALC's 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group located at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Ariz.
The jets will depart on a five-day transoceanic flight and will require mid-air refueling and two overnight stops before arriving in Indonesia.
Dec 8, 2017
This new order follows on from the contract signed on 4 May 2015 between the State of Qatar and Dassault Aviation for the acquisition of 24 Rafale, thus raising the number of Rafale aircraft operated by the Qatar Emiri Air Force to 36.
Photographer Carl Richards captured these images of A35-003 taking off on its first flight, from Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, on December 1.
The aircraft is due to be delivered to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona in early 2018 to be used for pilot and maintainer training, before being permanently relocated to Australia in 2020.
A35-003, known to its manufacturer Lockheed Martin as AU-3, had its RAAF markings, including its 3 Squadron tail flashes, applied in early November, the final phase of the aircraft’s production process.
Dec 6, 2017
The presentation ceremony took place at Babcock's Aeronautical Maintenance Centre in Albacete.
SENER and Babcock España have entered a joint venture with the purpose of completing the life extension program of these seven AB-212 helicopters belonging to the Spanish Navy. This will extend their operational life in at least 15 years, by incorporating advances in equipment and avionics.
Thanks to this program, the helicopters will be able to operate without restriction in controlled military and civilian airspaces, in compliance with the requirement of new regulations, as well as giving them self-protection and defence systems that will allow them to be deployed in multinational missions with a low-medium threat level. aviationpros
In a statement, Russia’s Defence Ministry said two Tupolev Tu-95MS Bears flew from the Amur region, in Russia’s far east, to Frans Kaisiepo Airport in Biak, on the northern coast of Indonesia’s eastern province of Papua as part of an international visit.
The ministry said that during the flight, the Tu-95MS bombers were refueled in the air by Ilyushin Il-78 tankers over the Pacific Ocean, adding that “the flight was carried out in strict accordance with the International Air Law.”
The bombers were supported by two Ilyushin Il-76MD airlifters that had landed at Biak the day before. The Indonesian Air Force, in announcing the visit, said that the bombers were conducting a long-range navigation exercise.
In a Dec. 6 announcement, the Israel Defense Forces noted that Israel is the only country besides the U.S. to declare operational capability for the F-35 — a weapon system that “enhances strategic and operational capabilities” and improves readiness “in a wide range of scenarios and threats in all arenas.”
While an early December initial operational capability had been long-planned by the Israeli Air Force and F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin, the announcement comes after multiple strikes in Syria attributed to the Israeli Air Force earlier in the week. In at least two attacks over a 72-hour period earlier in the week, the Syrian regime announced that it had launched surface-to-air missiles against Israeli aircraft.
Israel has not confirmed or denied its role in the recent Syrian attacks. Yet, it has publicly insisted it would act to prevent Iran from establishing a permanent presence in the war-torn country north of its border.
Sukhoi has built and flown nine flight test prototypes of the Su-57 fighter powered by NPO Saturn Product 117 engines, which are derived from the AL-41F-1S afterburning turbofans developed for the Su-35.
But the Russian air force plans to replace the Product 117 in series production starting in 2020 with the Product 30 engines, possibly featuring a new engine core of which few details are known.
Russian government officials have said the Product 30 will provide more thrust and fuel efficiency, with reduced weight and maintenance requirements.
The 5 December test flight by Sukhoi chief test pilot Sergei Bogdan from the Gromov flight test centre at Zhukovsky AB lasted 17min, according to Russia’s Ministry for Industry and Trade.
Photos and video of the flight shows the Product 30 installed in the No. 1, or port-side, engine position, with a Product 117 engine remaining on the starboard side. The Product 30 features a serrated engine nozzle, compared to the flat nozzle on the Product 117.
The flight test was conducted by the second Su-57 aircraft prototype, also known as T-50-2.
Tucked away in the 2018 defense budget sitting on President Donald Trump’s desk is a provision for $14.4 million to refurbish hangars at Naval Air Station Keflavik to accommodate more U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft, a key surveillance asset for locating and tracking submarines, a defense official confirms.
The move comes as new Russian nuclear and conventional submarines have been making more frequent trips through the area known as the “GIUK gap” — an acronym for Greenland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom — the route for the Russian Northern Fleet to enter the Atlantic Ocean.
The United States and Iceland have agreed to increase rotations of the American surveillance planes to Iceland next year, Pentagon spokesman Johnny Michael confirmed to Foreign Policy.
Inside the alliance, there is concern over NATO’s ability to locate and track the new Russian submarines as they move silently into the open ocean. NATO officials have admitted that the past two decades of anti-piracy operations near Africa and support for ground operations in the Middle East have distracted from the anti-submarine mission which was at the core of the Cold War mission in the Atlantic.
Instead, the Liberal government will announce next week it intends to acquire a used fleet of older Australia F-18 jets, the same kind of plane Canada currently operates, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.
The move underlines Ottawa’s anger at a decision by Boeing to launch a trade challenge against Canadian planemaker Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO), which the U.S. giant accuses of dumping airliners on the American market.
It also casts into question the future of Boeing’s military sales in Canada. Boeing says its commercial and defense operations in Canada support more than 17,000 Canadian jobs.
Canada and Mexico are locked into increasingly acrimonious negotiations with the United States over the NAFTA trade pact, which President Donald Trump says has not done enough to protect U.S. jobs.
“Today’s flight is another milestone for the Air Force/Boeing team and helps move us closer to delivering operational aircraft to the warfighter,” said Col. John Newberry, U.S. Air Force KC-46 System program manager.
During the flight, Boeing test pilots took the tanker to a maximum altitude of 39,000 feet and performed operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved flight profile. Prior to subsequent flights, the team will conduct a post-flight inspection and calibrate instrumentation.
“We’re very proud of this aircraft and the state-of-the-art capabilities it will bring to the Air Force,” said Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46A tanker vice president and program manager. “We still have some tough work ahead of us, including completing our FAA certification activities, but the team is committed to ensure that upon delivery, this tanker will be everything our customer expects and more.”
The newest tanker is the KC-46 program’s seventh aircraft to fly to date. The previous six are being used for testing and certification and to date have completed 2,200 flight hours and more than 1,600 “contacts” during refueling flights with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, KC-10 and KC-46 aircraft.
The KC-46, derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, is built in the company’s Everett facility. Boeing is currently on contract for the first 34 of an expected 179 tankers for the U.S. Air Force.
The KC-46A is a multirole tanker that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.
The B-1B Lancer plane simulated bombing a military field.
The drill is taking place a week after Pyongyang fired what it claimed was a new intercontinental ballistic missile which could hit mainland US.
The US has previously deployed bombers as a show of force after North Korean missile or nuclear tests.
South Korea's military said the US bomber took part in the simulation with US and South Korean fighter jets.
It took place at the Pilsung range in north-eastern Gangwon province, about 150km (93 miles) from the border with North Korea, reported Yonhap news agency citing the military.
More than 200 planes and thousands of troops are involved in the Vigilant Ace aerial exercise, which ends on Friday and had been planned before North Korea's latest missile launch.
Pyongyang, which routinely condemns US-South Korea's joint military exercises as rehearsals for war, called the latest drill "nuclear war provocation moves" in state media on Monday.
The drill is taking place as the UN's political chief Jeffrey Feltman visits Pyongyang for dialogue, in a rare visit by a senior UN official.
Tensions have been running high since the missile launch late last month, which triggered international condemnation and a warning from the US that the North Korean regime would be "utterly destroyed" if war broke out.
South Korea's military also plans to launch a combat unit of weaponised drones called "dronebots" next year, Yonhap reported quoting an unnamed official.
The "dronebots" would conduct reconnaissance on core North Korean targets such as nuclear and missile sites, and could also launch attacks, though the report did not give further details on how this could be done.
Dec 3, 2017
The fighter planes will join the allies' annual airborne exercise named Vigilant Ace to be held from Dec. 4-8, according to the South Korean Air Force.
The U.S. also plans to send F-35A and F-35B stealth jets, F-16C fighter planes and others including an unspecified number of B-1B bombers.
The South Korean Air Force will dispatch F-15K, KF-16 and F-5 fighter jets and other planes for the exercises with about 230 aircraft at eight U.S. and South Korean military installations being mobilized.
The milestone comes about a year after the initial flight-test vehicle took off from the Donauwörth facility of NHI consortium member Airbus Helicopters.
A phase of development testing focused on avionics and software will now take place, lasting several months.
Further modifications to the aircraft will take place in 2018, says Airbus Helicopters, bringing it to the delivery standard before further qualification testing.
The initial serial production aircraft is now in final assembly, ahead of first delivery scheduled for late 2019.
Germany has ordered 18 Sea Lions to replace its navy's fleet of aged Westland Sea King 41s.
The twin-engined fighter has completed 34 sorties, says Hirofumi Doi, manager of Japan's Future Fighter Program at ATLA. The first two flights were conducted by Mitsubishi, the subsequent 32 by ATLA at Gifu air base. The aircraft's maiden flight occurred on 22 April 2016.
ATLA's original plans called for 50 flights. Doi declined to specify how many more flights would occur, but says that the X-2 demonstration project will be concluded in March 2018. What happens to the aircraft after this has not been determined. The aircraft was previously designated ATD-X.
Dec 2, 2017
Pierre Tran - defensenews
Romania signed a letter of offer and acceptance, which, according to Raytheon, “paves the way for Romania’s Patriot force to rapidly reach Initial Operational Capability, and sets the stage for the U.S. government to begin contract negotiations with Raytheon.”
Romania will be the 14th Patriot customer worldwide.
According to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency notification of the possible sale to Romania, the country wants seven Patriot Configuration 3+ units, complete with radars, a control station, antennas, launching stations and power plants. Also included are 56 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missile TBM (GEM-T) missiles and 168 Patriot Advanced Capability — 3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles.
The sale, according to the notice, could be worth up to $3.9 billion.
Jen Judson - defensenews
The Southeast Asian nation, which is battling several insurgencies including against Islamic State-linked militants on several islands in the south of the country, had named Embraer as the sole compliant bidder for its close-air support aircraft requirement under the first stage of its Horizon modernization program in early June.
The order makes the Philippines the second Southeast Asian user of the Super Tucano after Indonesia. According to Thursday’s news release from Embraer, deliveries of the aircraft will be concluded in 2019. The value of the contract was not announced.
The agreement, finalized this week, is a major expansion of U.S. military’s efforts to counter terrorism in Africa. It is unclear whether the drones will be used to carry out targeted strikes or solely as a defensive measure.
Until now, the U.S. has only been conducting airstrikes against terrorists on the continent operating inside Libya and Somalia. Officials say that arming drones based in Niger would expand the military’s ability to go after extremists in West Africa, where Nigeria-based Boko Haram, Algeria-based al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Islamic State fighters operate.
Pentagon spokeswoman Army Major Audricia Harris would not comment on the new permissions.