Mar 22, 2017
ussia plans to deliver additional Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft to Myanmar next year.
Mar 18, 2017
In November 2016, the Israeli government approved the purchase of another 17 F-35Is, bringing to 50 the number of “Adir” strike aircraft planned for its air force.
The service has been evaluating a purchase of more F-15Is to maintain its desired mix of strike aircraft with the F-35 to satisfy future operational needs. Its initial requirement was identified as for 75 F-35s, but the need to replace the oldest examples of its Boeing-built fighter has become a high priority issue. Israel has operated the twin-engined type since 1976.
It has been decided that an evaluation of an advanced version of the F-15 should be completed before any additional F-35s are purchased. Israeli sources say ongoing talks with the US Department of Defense are related to a potentially 20- to 25-aircraft deal.
Details have not been disclosed about the aircraft standard being sought, but sources indicate that this would be capable of carrying more missiles, in common with Boeing’s suggested 2040 upgrade configuration for the F-15.
Meanwhile, the Israeli air force in early March opened a dedicated maintenance training centre for the F-35I at Nevatim air base.
The first such facility to be established outside the USA, this will support personnel training related to 25 different technical professions, the air force says.
Israel requires line- and depot-level maintenance for the new type to be performed in-country, with only subsystems to be sent for support and repair overseas. Its air force took delivery of its first pair of Adirs last December.
Anwar Hamma did not mention the number of fighters included in the delivery, but said they were accompanied with all supplementary equipment as well as the a first batch of Iraqi pilots and maintenance technicians trained in Korea on conducting and maintaining the fighters.
Iraq and South Korea clinched the deal for the aircraft delivery in 2013, initially slating it for April 2016 before postponing to the first quarter of 2017.
Hamma said the fighter jets would go into service sooner to engage in airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants.
This is the second time after 2013 for the Italian Air Force to execute this mission in Iceland.
Mar 14, 2017
"My intention is to finalise this year the decision to have another 20 F-16 fighters. The Romanian Air Force has nine now and there will be 12 by the end of the year, but we need more to strengthen our air force capability. As a matter of principle Romania intends to buy these 20 F-16 fighters from the United States. All further details will be announced [in due course", Defence Minister Beniamin Les told the Romanian parliament on 13 February.
Romania bought 12 F-16s from Portugal in September 2013. These include nine F-16AM single-seaters and three F-16BM two-seaters and were bought via C N Romtehnica under the Peace Carpathian programme, with third-party transfer authorisation coming from the US government.
Mar 11, 2017
No contract has yet been placed, but up to six aircraft are expected to be purchased. Portugal made an information request to Embraer last October and is currently analysing the information provided, the MoND told Jane's .
The aircraft would conduct troop and cargo transport, firefighting, and air-to-air refuelling missions in the Portuguese Air Force service, the MoND said.
Several Portuguese companies, including OGMA-Indústria Aeronáutica de Portugal (partially owned by Embraer), Embraer Metálicas, Embraer Compósitos, and CEiiA, are involved with the KC-390 programme, which Jane's understands favours a potential buy of the type.
Most of the money for the procurement will come from $3.33 billion US aid money allocated for the F-35 projects and missile inventory. The exact budget for buying the planes will become clear only after the budget is divided in the framework of the Gideon multi-year plan and the beginning of implementation of the new aid agreement in 2018.
Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman yesterday met with US Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Defense Gen (res.) James Mattis. He is expected to meet with other administration officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and it cannot be ruled out that the subject of air force procurement deals will be raised at these meetings.
For a long time, the air force has wanted to replace its F-15s, manufactured by Boeing, with a better version of the aircraft equipped with an advanced active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system. This aircraft does not have stealth capabilities, but it can carry larger payloads, has advanced attack capabilities, and is operated by a two-man crew, which is an advantage in complex missions. The twin-engine warplane can continue operating even when one of the engines is disabled.
The new F-15s cost $100 million a plane. They are more advanced than the F-15s purchased from the US by Saudi Arabia and Qatar in recent years. Israel insisted that the US refrain from selling the new version to Qatar in order to maintain the Israeli air force's superiority in the Middle East, but former President Barack Obama disagreed, saying that Qatar felt threatened by Iran, and approved the sale of 72 of the aircraft just before he left office.
Georges Malbrunot, who writes for French newspaper Le Figaro, cited French intelligence sources. He posted on Twitter that examples of the Israeli F-35 took part in a raid over Syrian territory on the night of January 12-13. The mission saw them strike objectives around the capital, Damascus.
According to Malbrunot, the F-35s targeted warehouses containing Russian-made Pantsir-S1 mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems that Israel feared could be delivered from Syria to Hezbollah forces operating in Lebanon.
During the same attack, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) also reportedly destroyed an S-300 SAM battery deployed near the Syrian presidential palace, on Mount Qassioun. According to the same unnamed French intelligence source quoted by Malbrunot, the F-35 aircraft finally overflew the palace of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, before returning to Israel.
Malbrunot provided a final quote from an unnamed soldier, explaining that: ‘With the Pantsir, Hezbollah ensures that the Israeli Air Force is almost totally unable to operate over Lebanon.’
Providing the account is true, it seems unlikely that Israel would admit the use of F-35s at this stage. However, in the past the IAF has been quick to put new assets into combat if required for specific missions – and the continued effort to prevent advanced weapons landing in Hezbollah hands may fit that remit.
Certainly, there was an air strike against Mezzeh airfield on the date specified. At the time, Syrian authorities put the blame for the attack on the Israel Defense Forces.
The first two F-35 Adirs for the IAF arrived at Nevatim air base on December 12 last year. The first two aircraft — AS-1 (serial 901) and AS-2 (serial 902) — received their Star of David national markings in an official ceremony after landing. The aircraft will equip 140 ‘Golden Eagle’ Squadron, previously an F-16A/B operator.
The first F-35, AS-1, performed a maiden flight at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, on July 25, 2016. The second jet, AS-2, followed it into the air on August 8.
The two F-35s flew to Nevatim via Lajes in the Azores and Cameri in Italy, but their arrival in Israel was delayed by around 24 hours due to heavy fog in Italy and the need to recognise American safety protocols.
To date, Israel has ordered 50 F-35A conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) aircraft via the US government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) channels. The first 19 F-35s were ordered in 2010, at a cost of $2.7 billion. This includes the first two F-35s that are part of the eighth batch of low-rate initial production aircraft. Delivery of the first 19 aircraft is due to be completed by the end of 2018.
In November 2014 Israel authorised the purchase of another 14 F-35s, to which were added 17 options, in a deal valued at around $2.8 billion. The 14 aircraft in the second batch include a single test example and 13 intended to populate a second front-line squadron. Deliveries of the second batch of aircraft will take place between 2019 and 2021.
With a view to acquiring the full 50 aircraft required to field its first two 24-aircraft Adir squadrons, Israel approved the purchase of its 17 options in November 2016. This deal is likely to cost over $2.5 billion.
Beyond the 50 F-35s currently contracted, the US administration has approved Israel’s purchase of as many as 75 F-35s.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is overseeing a sweeping modernization of the country's armed forces, the largest in the world, including anti-satellite missiles and advanced submarines, seeking to project power far from its shores.
In a report late on Thursday, state television's military channel confirmed that the J-20 had now entered service, though it gave no other details.
The aircraft was shown in public for the first time in November at the Zhuhai airshow and was first glimpsed by Chinese planespotters in 2010.
However questions remain whether the new Chinese fighter can match the radar-evading properties of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor air-to-air combat jet, or the latest strike jet in the U.S. arsenal, Lockheed's F-35. The F-22, developed for the U.S. Air Force, is the J-20's closest lookalike.
China showed off another stealth fighter it's developing, the J-31, at the last Zhuhai airshow in 2014, a show of muscle that coincided with a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama for an Asia-Pacific summit.
China hopes the J-31, still in development, will compete with the U.S.-made F-35 stealth aircraft in the international market.
Mar 4, 2017
The aircraft will be landing at the Indonesian Air Force's (TNI-AU's) Halim Perdanakusuma base near South Jakarta, where guided tours of the platform's features will be given to senior military and government officials on 6 March.
The A400M is currently a front runner in Jakarta's bid to improve its military airlift capabilities. Jane's first reported in January 2017 that the Indonesian House of Representatives' commission on defence, intelligence, and foreign affairs (Komisi I) had approved a sum of USD2 billion to procure up to five A400M platforms, although a contract for the acquisition has yet to materialise.
The funding has been allocated with the condition that the final three airframes undergo final fit-out at state-owned PT Dirgantara's facilities in Bandung, in a bid to transfer expertise to local aerospace industry players. Once a contract materialises, the A400M is expected to be ordered in the transport and utility configuration.
Bringing new customers could help significantly reduce the cost of the military aircraft after several blowouts and production delays.
"We are talking to several other countries - Switzerland, Belgium, Spain," Jeff Babione, Lockheed Martin's F-35 program leader, told reporters at the Avalon Airshow in Australia.
"There are quite a few other European nations that are looking at perhaps having the F-35 as an opportunity," Babione said. "We are starting to see other customers think about the F-35 being added to their fleet."
Another person familiar with the discussions, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said that Finland was also in talks.
Babione said that countries already signed up to the F-35 program along with the United States - Australia, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea and Israel - need to start ordering in blocks beyond yearly commitments to help meet a reduced target cost of $80 million by 2020.
"It is actually a very reasonable target but it is going to take cooperation in changing the way we buy the aircraft," he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump has criticized the cost of the project. While the price per jet has steadily declined since the first jets were delivered to the U.S. military in 2011 as production has increased, it remains at $94.6 million.
Lockheed is pressing purchasers to agree to a three-year block buy that would help reduce costs by bulk sourcing parts.
"The longer we do it the more we are able to aggregate," Babione said. "Maybe in the future you are talking about a multi-year and you could do a five year multi-year and increase the savings."
Babione also urged Canada to speed up a decision about whether it would buy the F-35s or Boeing Co's Super Hornets instead.
The Pentagon's head of the F-35 program said earlier this week at Avalon that the overall reliability of the jets is being pulled down by initial versions of the aircraft which do not perform as well as more recently delivered jets.
"Unfortunately today the aircraft reliability and maintainability of the airplane is what I would call flat," Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan of the U.S. Department of Defense said.