Jun 30, 2018

Portugal Near to Finalize Contract For Five Embraer KC-390 Transport Aircraft

Embraer is on the verge of completing a deal with Portugal confirming the country as the first export customer for the KC-390 tanker transport.
“We are discussing with the government the final contract,” the Brazilian airframer’s chief executive Paulo Cesar Silva said at a pre-Farnborough air show media briefing in Lisbon on 26 June.
It comes just over a year after Portugal opened negotiations to buy five KC-390s, with an option for a sixth, with deliveries starting in 2021.
Four nations – other than Brazil – originally committed to the military aircraft, which flew for the first time in 2015. However, progress with Argentina, the Czech Republic and Chile appears to have stalled.
Embraer is exhibiting the KC-390 at this year's Farnborough air show, as well as the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford that immediately precedes it.

Jun 24, 2018

Germany asking Washington if would let Eurofighter to carry nuclear weapons

Germany is pressing Washington to clarify whether it would let the Eurofighter Typhoon carry nuclear bombs as part of shared Western defences, an issue that could help decide whether Berlin orders more of the jets.
Although not a nuclear power, Germany hosts some U.S. nuclear warheads under NATO’s nuclear-sharing policy and operates a number of Tornado warplanes that can deliver them. New jets will need to be certified by Washington to carry out nuclear missions, a process which can take years.
Germany’s defence ministry sent a letter to the U.S. Defense Department in April asking whether certification of the European jets was possible, how much it would cost, and how long it would take, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Top U.S. Air Force and Pentagon officials are working to respond to the German query.

Image suggests that new China´s aircraft carrier will have three catapult launchers

A photograph published on social media by one of the companies that develops China’s aircraft carriers appears to suggest that the latest vessel will be equipped with a catapult launch system, unlike either of its predecessors.
China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) uploaded the picture on Wednesday, the state-backed tabloid Global Times reported, although it was taken down later the same day.
The image – which appeared to be an artist’s impression rather than an actual photograph – showed China’s Type 002 carrier – the country’s third carrier and second to be domestically developed – with a flat flight deck installed with three catapult-like devices.
The image was apparently a snapshot of a large poster that hangs on a wall inside CSIC’s boardroom.
In it, the new vessel is seen at sea, flanked by China’s two other aircraft carriers – both of which have ski-jump decks – and a number of destroyers and other ships.

Jun 23, 2018

Germany’s fighter jet race could start dropping bidders this summer

A multibillion dollar program to replace the German military’s Tornado aircraft is nearing another round of decisions that could narrow the field of bidders.
The due date for a “quality gate” review, as the wide-ranging analysis is called in Bundeswehr jargon, has been on the calendar for this month. But officials now say the exercise could last through the summer.
The discussions are principally about realizing an extended service life for the 1970s-era Tornados, though exactly by how long remains to be seen. Closely linked to that question is an examination of what potential follow-on aircraft are best suited to pick up the legacy planes’ roles in a variety of life-span scenarios.
Officials emphasize that no decision has been made on who will build the new planes to replace roughly 90 Tornados.
A formal competition is expected to begin later this year or early 2019 among those aircraft types still deemed suitable by the government at that time. In the running is the Eurofigher Typhoon, Lockheed Martin’s F-35, and Boeing’s F-15 and F-18.

M-346 Possible new trainer for Spanish Air Force

i2taly wanted to show the capabilities of the advanced air trainer M-346 to the Spanish Air Force,during acts of "75 years of Academia General del Aire". Ejercito del Aire needs a new system to replace the old phased out C-101.

Turkey’s first F-35 officially to be delivered in ceremony June 21 despite US Senate opposition

A highly anticipated ceremony for the delivery of Turkey’s first two F-35 fighter jets from the United States will take place at the defense contractor Lockheed Martin’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas on June 21, despite successive attempts by the U.S. Congress to block the supply of the new generation fighters to its NATO ally.
Lockheed Martin will conduct a rollout ceremony in Fort Worth and the jets will move on to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona where Turkish F-35 pilots and technicians will receive training.
Turkey has been a partner of the active development program of the U.S.-led multinational Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program since the early 2000s and plans to upgrade its air defense with around 100 F-35s in the next decade.
June 21’s ceremony will mark an historic milestone in this regard for the delivery of the first batch of F-35s to Turkey.

Boeing set to deliver first KC-46 aerial tanker to USAF in October

Boeing has reached an agreement with the US Air Force to deliver its first KC-46 Pegasus tanker in October 2018.
The Chicago-based aerospace manufacturer was contracted to deliver the first batch of 18 KC-46s by August 2017 but missed that deadline after having production issues. The USAF said it now expects that the first 18 aircraft will be delivered by April 2019.
This agreement paves the way for delivery of the first new tanker to the USAF 16.5 years after the US Senate first proposed a replacement plan for the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, a 1950s-era tanker.
The first KC-46 will be delivered to McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas. Then, aircraft will be delivered to Altus AFB in Oklahoma and Pease AFB in New Hampshire. Boeing said it now has 43 aircraft in some stage of production, including 34 aircraft which are now in the final stages of build.

Jun 16, 2018

Dutch Air Force Assembling Their F-35 in Italy

Assembly is underway in Italy on a F-35 Joint Strike Fighter destined for the Netherlands Air Force.
The Netherlands is planning to assemble most of its F-35s at the line at Cameri in northern Italy, where Italian Air Force and Navy F-35s are already being assembled.
Dutch secretary of state for defense, Barbara Visser, attended a ceremony at Cameri on Thursday to mark the start of the work on Dutch aircraft.
The aircraft is the ninth of the Netherlands’ order of 37 F-35As. The first eight are being assembled at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth facility in the U.S.
The first Dutch F-35 assembled in the U.S. will roll off the Fort Worth line in January 2019 and will head to Luke Air Base for pilot training, said Plankman. “Six or seven of those assembled in the U.S. will go to Luke,” he added.
Under a deal struck with the Italian government, the remaining 29 Dutch aircraft will all be assembled at Cameri, which is owned by the Italian government and operated by Italian state-controled defense firm Leonardo in partnership with Lockheed Martin.
AN9 will be completed in February 2019 before undertaking test flights in Italy and heading to the Netherlands around October 2019. “It will be the first F-35 to arrive in the Netherlands,” said Plankman.
Cameri has already delivered F-35As to the Italian Air Force, which are flying from Italy’s Amendola Air Base.
In January, the first F-35B to be assembled outside the U.S., which is destined to fly with the Italian Navy, was handed over to Italy at Cameri.
Italy is currently due to purchase 60 F-35 As and 30 F-35Bs.

Jun 6, 2018

First Four RAF F-35 fighter jets land in UK


The first of Britain’s next-generation fighter jets, the F-35B Lightning have arrived home two months ahead of schedule in a major milestone for the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.
The first of Britain’s new cutting-edge aircraft arrived into RAF Marham, their new home in Norfolk. They touched down this evening after a trans-Atlantic flight from the United States, where Britain has more of the jets and 150 personnel in training.
The F-35s took off from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort earlier today, and were flown by British pilots of the newly-reformed 617 Squadron, which was immortalised by the famous Dambusters’ raid of World War II.

Jun 5, 2018

Turkey to take delivery of first F-35 on Jun. 21 at Fort Worth

Turkish authorities have received an official invitation to receive the country's first next-generation F-35 Lightning II jet on June 21 at Fort Worth.
Turkey's first F-35A will enter service in November 2019 after the completion of a pilot training program. The other jets will start coming at regular intervals.

China Navy Liaoning carrier group reaches initial operational capability

China’s first aircraft carrier group, formed around the carrier Liaoning , has reached initial operational capability (IOC).
The exercises conducted by the carrier group have become more demanding and “the carrier formation’s comprehensive system of offence and defence has been effectively tested”, MND spokesperson told reporters during a press conference.
Although training and developing a cadre of pilots capable of operating the carrier-borne J-15s at sea has been a dominant activity since the commissioning of Liaoning , the carrier has also completed several exercises with its escort group.
According to the state-owned China Daily newspaper, Liaoning and its escorts headed into the South China Sea after taking part in the Fleet Review on 12 April, and “conducted a series of combat training operations, practising air defence, anti-ship and anti-submarine tactics, and strikes against land targets”.
Following these exercises, the carrier and its escort group sailed east of Taiwan and into the Western Pacific where they conducted further training, which “involved sophisticated situations in the air and on the water” and tested the commanders’ ability “to make decisions when faced with complicated circumstances”.
The group was monitored at the time by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

Jun 3, 2018

Kazakhstan to boost Su-30SM fleet

Announced during the KADEX exhibition in Astana on 24 May, the new deal is for an undisclosed number of aircraft. "The contract will be completed in 2020," says Irkut.
The Kazakhstan air force has eight Su-30SMs in active use, with these aged at up to three years. A further 17 examples were already on order prior to the new deal being announced. Astana had previously expressed interest in acquiring up to another 11 of the two-seat type. The Kazakhstan air force also operates 12 single-seat Su-27s.

Sweden set to close Patriot missile deal

Sweden will close a deal in the next few weeks with U.S. arms maker Raytheon Co (RTN.N) to buy the Patriot air defense missile system as it modernizes its armed forces amid heightened tensions with Russia.
Moscow’s brief war with Georgia in 2008 and its annexation of the Crimea Peninsula six years later has pushed Sweden, not a NATO member but with close ties to the alliance, to rebuild its armed forces after decades of neglect.
Sweden’s current air defense system, which is over a decade old, cannot shoot down enemy ballistic robots.
The Patriot deal would includes fo r firing units, parts, training and an undisclosed number of missiles.
The contract also includes an option to expand the purchase to up to 300 missiles. Delivery is expected to start in 2021.

US Air Force Reapers are now flying ISR missions from Poland

The U.S. Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper drone quietly started flights from Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland, in May, but the service isn’t saying exactly why.
In response to a query, U.S. Air Forces in Europe would only say that the Reapers will be unarmed and only used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for its “strategic location in Eastern Europe.”

US Air Force F-22 Raptors are back at Kadena for the first time since 2014

F-22A Raptors this week returned to Kadena Air Base in Japan for the first time in more than three years, the Air Force said.
In a release, Pacific Air Forces said that the fifth-generation fighters, aircrew and support personnel were from the 525th Fighter Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska.
They are taking part in the theater security package program under the recently-renamed U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, which is intended to “signify a continued commitment to regional stability and security.”
In a follow-up email, the 18th Wing at Kadena said that fourteen Raptors are deploying there. They will also train with local assigned units, the 18th said.

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