Mar 30, 2018

Qatar Increases Rafale Order From 24 to 36 Units

Qatar’s decision to buy 12 more Rafale fighter jets as part of an existing contractual option with Dassault Aviation has officially come under effect, the company said.
This phase in the acquisition process indicates the Gulf state has paid its down payment, allowing Dassault to record the deal in its 2018 order book.
“The exercise of the option for the purchase of 12 additional Rafale fighters for Qatar comes into effect today,” Dassault said in statement March 27.
Qatar said Dec. 7 it took up the option, which was in a May 4, 2015, contract with Dassault for an initial order for 24 Rafale jets. This order will bring Qatar’s total of Rafales to 36. The 2015 deal was worth €6.3 billion (U.S. $7.8 billion) and included missiles, training pilots and some 100 mechanics.

Poland Places Order for 4 Additional M-346

Leonardo and the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish Ministry of National Defense have signed a contract to supply four additional M-346 Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT) that will join the Polish Air Force’s existing fleet of eight aircraft by 2020. The contract, worth more than 115 million euro, includes a support package. It also contains options for additional four aircraft and support package.
The four additional M-346 aircraft will be delivered by 2020 and will join the fleet of eight already in service.

French Navy Deploying 12 Rafales To USA For Training

Aviators from the French Navy will be in Hampton Roads starting in April to train with the U.S. Navy.
Navy officials say 27 pilots will conduct air–to–air and air–to–ground training at Naval Air Station Oceana and Naval Station Norfolk -- as well as Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) at Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress.
The French pilots will be flying 12 Marine Nationale Rafale-M multi-role fighter jets and one E-2C Hawkeye airborne command.
Officials say the squadrons training in Hampton Roads are being hosted by Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8.
Following the above training, the squadrons will embark the USS George H.W. Bush for around two weeks for day and night flight operations.
The French pilots are training aboard the George H.W. Bush because France's aircraft carrier, the Charles De Gaulle, is undergoing a mid-life overhaul, officials say.
French carriers have similar catapult systems to U.S. carriers.

Israel Sells Croatia 12 F-16 Fighter Jets for $500 Million

Croatia's government has approved the purchase of 12 used Israeli F-16 fighter aircraft in a package worth $500 million.
The deal was agreed at a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the prime minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenkovic, at the World Economic forum in Davos in January.
The deal, which includes the training of pilots in Israel, aircraft armament, a training simulator and the construction and equipping of facilities at Croatia's military airports, is lead by Israel Ministry of Defense in cooperation with the Israeli Air Force along with Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries.

Mar 24, 2018

France Receives 14th A400M Ahead of Schedule

France received its 14th A400M Atlas military airlifter on March 16, a hand over earlier than expected due to the higher quality of the aircraft, the Armed Forces Ministry said Thursday.
“This delivery took place several months in advance of the scheduled date, thanks to significant improvement in the quality of the aircraft delivered,” the ministry said in a statement. The plane was flown March 20 to the Orleans airbase, a short flight south of the capital.
The quality of the 13th and 14th A400M were improved, such that the Direction Générale de l’Armement certified the aircraft in only three weeks, about half the time previously needed, a spokesman for the procurement office said.
Delivery of the 14th unit means the A400M fleet is now large enough for the air force to fly operational missions and also, shortly, to conduct test flight campaigns to certify further tactical capabilities, including in-flight refueling of Rafale fighter jets, the spokesman said. Other planned tests include landing the transport aircraft on rough airstrips.

Mar 22, 2018

Australia declares IOC for P-8A ahead of schedule

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has declared initial operating capability (IOC) for the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime multimission aircraft (MMA), five months ahead of schedule.
The milestone, comes with six of the 12 aircraft currently under contract now at the type’s homebase of RAAF Edinburgh in South Australia. A further three aircraft are currently going through the approval process for a final fleet of 15.
Australia acquired the P-8A to replace the 19 Lockheed AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft that have been in service since the 1960s. The 15 P-8As will be operated in tandem with seven Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), which will be acquired once development has been completed by the manufacturer and the US Navy (USN).
Deliveries to the Australia began in November 2016, since which time 10 and 11 Squadron have been building up the P-8A’s capabilities. .
Australia's P-8A programme dates back to June 2007.
In February 2014 the Australian government announced its approval for the acquisition of eight P-8A, with a further four being announced in July 2016. The final three were committed to in the 2016 Defence White Paper but are yet to be contracted..

Mar 16, 2018

US Air Force adds new deficiencies to KC-46’s list of problems

The U.S. Air Force’s troubled KC-46 tanker program has hit another bump, adding two of the most serious types of deficiencies yet to the list of problems manufacturer Boeing needs to fix.
The service on Thursday evening disclosed two “category one” deficiencies involving the remote vision system and centerline drogue systems.

Qatar Signs Deal For 28 NH90

Qatar has signed a €3 billion (U.S. $3.7 billion) deal to buy 28 NH90 helicopters.
The deal, covers 16 NH90s in a tactical transport configuration and 12 NH90s in a naval configuration.
Qatar also ordered 16 H125 light single-engine helicopters in a training configuration.
Italy’s Leonardo, a partner in the European NHIndustries consortium, which builds the NH90, will act as prime contractor on the NH90 deal and will handle final assembly and delivery of the 12 naval helicopters from its Venice–Tessera facility in northern Italy.
Consortium partner Airbus will handle final assembly and delivery of 16 tactical transport variants from its facility in Marignane, France.

Chilean Air Force confirms delivery timeline for Black Hawk helos

Chilean Air Force(FACh) has confirmed the service is to receive all of its recently ordered Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters by the end of this year.
The first three of six S-70i helicopters ordered in December 2016 will be delivered to Chile in August, with the remaining three following in October.
After several years of searching and studying, the FACh selected the Polish-built S-70i so as to receive the aircraft as soon as possible. Since the air force has fielded a single S-70A since 1998, it has some experience of the type.
The FACh’s S-70i Black Hawks have been built to the US Army’s UH-60M standard, and will be especially useful for high-altitude operations. Once in service, they are being used to augment the service’s existing S-70A, Bell 412EP/SP, UH-1H, and Bell 206 JetRanger III helicopter fleet.

Mar 14, 2018


The Angolan military has ordered three C295 transport aircraft from Airbus, and will use them for transport and maritime surveillance duties.
The three aircraft are being acquired for nearly 160 million euros, according to documents seen by the Lusa news agency last week. Lusa reported that Angolan President Joao Lourenco on 2 March authorised commodities trading company Simportex to finalise the contract for the aircraft with Airbus Defence and Space.
The contract is worth 159.9 million euros. It will be financed by Banco Bilbao and Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) of Spain and be included in the contract of the Public Investment Programme of the Angolan government.
It appears the C295s will be used by the Angolan Navy for maritime surveillance, according to Angolan media. Given the price tag, it is likely that this includes specialised maritime surveillance equipment. Maritime patrol variants of the C295 are fitted with the Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) for mission control, and this includes a search radar, electro-optical sensors, magnetic anomaly detector and other avionics. Weapons can include torpedoes, missiles, mines and depth charges.

Mar 11, 2018

Modified King Airs to boost Kuwaiti defences

Kuwait has secured approval to advance a possible intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) fleet acquisition comprising four modified Beechcraft King Air 350ERs. The purchase would introduce a new capability for Kuwait, which Flight Fleets Analyzer shows as currently lacking special-mission aircraft.
If completed, the deal will lead to prime contractor Sierra Nevada modifying the twin-turboprops with mission equipment including a Leonardo Seaspray 7500E surveillance radar and L3 Wescam MX-15HDi electro-optical/infrared sensor. The aircraft would also receive a secure communications fit, missile warning receivers and countermeasures dispensers for self-protection.


Saudi Arabia could be set to acquire a follow-on batch of 48 Eurofighter Typhoons, pending the conclusion of government-to-government discussions with the UK disclosed on 9 March.
"The UK government has signed a memorandum of intent with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to aim to finalise discussions for the purchase of 48 Typhoon aircraft," BAE says. The Royal Saudi Air Force already has acquired 72 of the European type, with deliveries under its Project Salam acquisition having concluded last year.

Mar 8, 2018

Kazakhstan plans to acquire additional Su-30SM fighter aircraft

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) is planning to procure additional Sukhoi Su-30SM multirole fighter aircraft from Russia, according to a 6 March report by Russian news agency TASS.
“Within the framework of the agreement on military-technical co-operation with the Russian Federation in 2018, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Kazakhstan plans to conclude a contract for the supply of Su-30SM multirole aircraft, and until 2020 it has planned to purchase [additional] Su-30SM aircraft and Mi-35 helicopters,” the MoD in Astana told TASS without providing further details or the number of additional aircraft to be procured.

Indonesia confirms A400M acquisition plan

The Indonesian Air Force has confirmed its plans to procure the Airbus Defence and Space (DS) A400M transport aircraft.
The service announced on 7 March that it is to acquire two aircraft to support the civil government in transporting supplies between the western and eastern regions of the country. No details pertaining to timelines or contract values were disclosed.
Indonesia’s interest in the A400M was reported in January 2017. At that time, government and defence industry sources said Indonesia was looking to buy up to five aircraft, and had set aside USD2 billion for the procurement. This initial report was followed in April 2017 by the news that the Indonesian government was preparing to enter into contract discussions with Airbus DS over the procurement.
The TNI-AU has a need to modernise and enhance its fixed-wing airlift capabilities currently afforded by 19 Lockheed Martin C-130B/H and L-100 Hercules, six Airbus DS-PT Dirgantara (PTDI) CN235s, seven Airbus DS-PTDI C212s, and nine Airbus DS-PTDI C295s. Since 2000, five C-130s have crashed.

Mar 7, 2018

F-35B lands aboard amphib for first Indo-Pacific deployment on Navy ship

The F-35B Lightning II landed aboard the amphibious assault ship Wasp on March 5, the first time the aircraft has deployed aboard a U.S. Navy ship in the Indo-Pacific.
Assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit based in Okinawa, Japan, the F-35B will aid the Expeditionary Strike Group in a routine patrol to strengthen regional alliances and provide rapid-response capabilities.

Mar 4, 2018

Argentine MoD, FAdeA reach deal for three Pampa IIIs

A contract for three FAdeA IA-63 Pampa III advanced training aircraft for the Argentine Air Force was approved on 23 February, according to the official bulletin of the Chief of the Cabinets of Ministers.
The USD30.3 million contract was paid half up-front and the remainder is to be disbursed as deliveries are made.
In addition to the three aircraft, state-owned FAdeA is also providing Ground Control Mission Planner Station software, two Mobile Mission Planner Stations, and back-up equipment.
The contract was initially revealed on 14 December 2017. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) and FAdeA had been negotiating a production contract since early 2017 and expected to conclude the deal that same year, but budget decisions delayed its conclusion.

Japan Authorizes study on operating F-35B from Izumo

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera dropped a bombshell admission March 2 by saying he authorized studies into whether advanced F-35B stealth fighter jets can be deployed on the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Izumo helicopter carrier.
Such activity would fly in the face of war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution that prohibits Japan from maintaining more than the bare minimum to protect itself.
Aware of the political ramifications of his comment in the Upper House Budget Committee session, Onodera added, "No decision has yet been made about whether the F-35B will actually be attached to the Izumo."
The Izumo is the largest vessel in the MSDF fleet and any move to refit it into an aircraft carrier would face an uproar from the opposition parties.
Akira Koike of the Japanese Communist Party called Onodera's comment "an important admission" in light of the government's past refusal to possess an aircraft carrier due to the nation's exclusively defensive posture.
"But he (Onodera) is now saying consideration is being given to fundamentally change the posture of the nation," Koike said.
The U.S.-made F-35B is the most advanced stealth fighter jet and unlike the F-35A now used by the Air SDF, it can take off from a short runway and also land vertically like a helicopter.
In the Upper House Budget Committee session, Onodera said, "Regarding the Izumo, research has been conducted on which among the latest aircraft could possibly take off and land on it. The most representative aircraft is the F-35B. (The research) is intended to accumulate fundamental information regardless of the conclusion reached in the future."
But he stopped short of stating whether the Constitution banned the possession of any aircraft carrier. He would only say "attack" aircraft carriers that had many aircraft capable of loads with extreme destructive power or anti-land attack capabilities would not be allowed.

Israel concerned over Su-57 debut in Syria

Video footage appearing to show Su-57s arriving in Syria was confirmed by pictures captured by an Israeli imaging satellite. The new type's deployment marks the peak of Moscow's direct intervention so far in Syria's long-running civil war.
Israeli sources assess that Russia has sent dozens of new weapon systems to Syria, to undergo testing under combat conditions. But the Su-57's arrival – which places two of the world's most advanced stealthy combat aircraft within close proximity – creates a unique situation.
While Israel has not reacted officially to the development, a senior source says there is no doubt that Moscow has sent its newest fighter to the region in order to test it against Western technologies.
In mid-February, the biennial "Juniper Cobra" exercise, which also involves US forces, began in Israel. The three-week activity is aimed at improving the nation's defences against ballistic missile threats, using a scenario where US assets are deployed to provide assistance.
The exercise creates a situation where a large number of advanced radars are looking at the airspace across the region, making the Su-57's arrival of particular interest.
Russia claims to have developed a new radar system that can detect stealth aircraft, but sources suggest that the Sunflower system may lack the fidelity required to support targeting by missiles.
Syrian reports indicate that the Israeli air force is flying over the country on a daily basis using manned and unmanned platforms, and also striking targets. Moscow's new deployment – made two weeks after a border clash during which an Iranian-operated stealth unmanned air vehicle and an Israeli Lockheed F-16 were shot down – means the "hot line" established to deconflict the movements of Russian and Israeli aircraft will become more critical.