Aug 21, 2018

South Korea Navy Studying Operating F-35 from Dokdo Class Assault Ships

South Korea's Navy has put up a public notice of tender for a research project to explore the possibility of operating F-35B stealth aircraft aboard its amphibious landing ship, officials said Friday.
Last Friday, the Navy initiated the tender through an electronic defense procurement system of the state-run Defense Acquisition Program Administration, citing moves by neighboring countries to consider running F-38Bs aboard their warships.
The project seeks to study the possible remodeling of the country's 14,000-ton Dokdo-class vessel to host the F-35B fighter, a short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the U.S.-made fifth-generation warplane. The research is set to end by Dec. 15.
Observers speculated that the Navy might seek to run the F-35B on the Marado warship that is currently under construction and slated to be deployed in 2020.
The existing Dokdo ship is seen as capable of operating only transport helicopters because its deck is not made of materials that can withstand high temperatures caused by fighter jet operations.
In 2014, Seoul decided to purchase 40 F-35A fighters for deployment from 2018 through 2021 at a cost of 7.3 trillion won (US$6.4 billion). The F-35A is the fighter's air force variant, while the F-35B and F-35C are for marines and aircraft carrier-based operations, respectively.
There has been speculation that Seoul may consider introducing several F-35Bs as it may have to purchase additional warplanes due to a shortage of warplanes that could occur in the coming years with the decommissioning of F-4s and F-5s.
Japanese media have reported that Tokyo's Maritime Self-Defense Force is considering purchasing F-35Bs for its large escort ships.


Leonardo announces that it has made effective the contract, signed on March 14, 2018, for the supply of 28 NH90 medium twin-engine multirole military helicopters to the Ministry of Defense of Qatar and has therefore booked the order in its backlog and received the advance payment relating to the contract. Leonardo acts as overall prime contractor with responsibility for the management of the entire programme valued at more than €3 billion to the NHI consortium.

Aug 19, 2018

Russia rolls out modernised Tu-22M3M bomber

Russia is close to commencing ground and flight trials with its first modernised Tupolev Tu-22M3M bomber, with a lead example having emerged from the United Aircraft (UAC) plant in Kazan in mid-August.
Extensive modifications made to the variable-geometry type include the installation of new navigation and communication equipment, targeting systems, engine controls and an updated electronic warfare suite.
UAC says that 80% of the Tu-22M3M's avionics equipment has been replaced, with the updates also enhancing commonality with Russia's remanufactured and re-engined Tu-160M bomber; the first of which was flown from Kazan for the first time last January.
Following preliminary flight checks, the lead Tu-22M3M will be transferred to the Russian air force for joint testing, UAC says.
Flight Fleets Analyzer records the service as having 67 Tu-22Ms in active service, with the oldest example being 34 years old.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, set sail to the US where fighter jets will land on its flight deck for the first time.

During the 65,000-tonne carrier's trip it will embark two US F-35B test aircraft, based in Maryland.
They are expected to carry out 500 landings and take-offs during the carrier's 11 weeks at sea.
Capt Jerry Kyd, the carrier's commanding officer, added: "Crossing a major ocean with 1,500 sailors, aircrew and marines embarked and the spectre of the first F-35B Lightning landing on the deck in September is very exciting for us all."
On leaving Portsmouth, HMS Queen Elizabeth will carry out tests in UK waters before heading across the Atlantic to the US where it will also visit New York.

Aug 18, 2018

USAF C-5M Super Galaxy fleet will fly well into 2040s

Lockheed Martin has finished a 17-year-long project to upgrade the Air Force’s C-5M Super Galaxy.
Since 2001, Lockheed Martin has been carrying out the mammoth task of upgrading 52 C-5Ms. The last of the upgraded Super Galaxy aircraft took off from the Marietta facility Aug. 2, marking the end of the project.
The Air Force’s Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program extends the C-5M’s service lifespan into the 2040s.
Enhancement and Re-engining Program incorporates more than 70 improvements that improve reliability, efficiency, maintainability and availability and includes changes or modifications to the airframe structure; environmental and pneumatic systems; hydraulic systems, electrical system; fuel system; landing gear, and flight controls.”
The C-5M has been a part of the Air Force’s fleet since 1970. It is the largest strategic airlifting platform in the Air Force. Fully loaded, the Super Galaxy can fly at a gross weight of 800,000 pounds.
Upgraded Super Galaxy now boasts, a 22 percent increase in thrust, a shorter takeoff roll; a 58 percent improvement in climb rate and allows the C-5M to cruise — at maximum gross weight — in the Communication/Navigation/Surveillance/Air Traffic Management flight environment."
The upgrade greatly enhanced fuel efficiency and reduced the demand for tanker support.

USAFE F-22 Raptor trains with Spanish Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon and EF-18M at Albacete, Spain

On August, 17th took place, at the Albacete Air Base, a joint advanced aerial training exercise that included the participation of two F-22 aircraft of the USAFE and Eurofighter and F-18 aircraft of the Spanish Air Force.
In the traninig was evaluated the capabilities of the Albacete Air Base and the Tactical Leadership Program (TLP), to host an exercise that has the participation of a 5th aircraft generation, as are the F-22 of the USAF.
The exercise consisted of two independent missions to each other in the assigned flight zone, after carrying out the F-22 of the American Air Force a refueling mission in flight.
After the initial takeoff of two Eurofighters of the Air Force of Albacete Air Base, they carried out a mission with one of the F-22. Already in the work zone, dissimilar combat maneuvers were carried out, that is, between fighters of different characteristics.
At the same time, an F-18 of Ala 12 took off from the Air Base of Torrejón to meet in zone with the second American F-22 and perform the same type of mission.
Then the two Eurofighter of the 14th wing, in the air police mission, located the trace corresponding to the F-22 and made interception maneuvers for their subsequent identification. In the event of any offensive action of the attacking plane, they made defensive and coordination maneuvers in pairs to maintain the enemy's control zone.
Once the work was done in the sector, each American F-22 met with the couple of Spanish fighters assigned and proceeded to land at the Albacete Air Base.

Aug 15, 2018

The Singapore air force’s first Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) has arrived in the country.

Images posted on social media show the aircraft landing at Changi East airbase, where Singapore’s Boeing KC-135R tankers are based.
Flight tracking sites indicate that the aircraft (S/N 1762) flew direct to Singapore from Madrid’s Getafe air base.
Neither the nation’s defence ministry nor the air force announced the tanker’s arrival. The aircraft’s livery, however, recognises the 50-year history of the Republic of Singapore Air Force, with ‘RSAF 50’ on the tail, and ‘Our Home, Above All’ on the engine cowling.
Flight Fleets Analyzer indicates that the jet is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 772B-60EP powerplants, and that its first flight was on 10 November 2016.
In addition to a hose-and-drogue refuelling pod on both wings, the aircraft is also equipped with a refuelling boom. The aircraft has 260 passenger seats, and can be used to carry cargo pallets.
Singapore has five additional A330 MRTT’s on order. These will replace the nation’s four obsolescent Boeing KC-135Rs, which have an average age of 55.9 years.
The arrival brings the number of in service A330 MRTTs in service to 26. Other operators include the UK, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
The Singapore arrival comes days after Canberra announced that its A330 MRTTs – designated KC-30A in Australian service – have delivered 100 million pounds of fuel (45,000t) during air-to-air refuelling missions in support of coalition missions over the Middle East.

Aug 9, 2018

Two USAF F-22 Raptors will exercise with Spanish Air Force on Monday, 13th August at Albacete Air Base

Two US fighter aircraft F-22 «Raptor» will participate next Monday in an exercise of aerial training with Eurofighter aircraft and F-18 «Hornet» of the Spanish Air Force.
The exercise, the first of these characteristics with F-22 in Spain, will take place at the Los Llanos air base (Albacete).
"This is an excellent opportunity for training and instruction that allows a joint assessment of the capabilities of the three aircraft, two American and one European manufacturing, in a demanding tactical environment," sources of the Air Force.
Raptors are supposed to arrive from Spangdahlem AFB, Germany, where are currently deployed
Ejército del Aire

Aug 8, 2018

Spanish Air Force Eurofighter accidentally fires AIM-120C missile in Estonia

Estonia’s military says it is looking for the remains of a missile that a Spanish fighter jet accidentally fired while drilling in the air space of the Baltic country and NATO ally.
The military said that the Eurofighter Typhoon from the Spanish Air Force — part of NATO's Baltic air-policing mission — erroneously launched an AMRAAM-type air-to-air missile in a practice area in southern Estonia Tuesday afternoon.
The missile carried explosives of up to 10 kilograms (22 pounds) and was last located around 40 kilometers (24 miles) north of Estonia's second city of Tartu. It has a built-in self-destruct for such accidents, but may have landed on the ground.
Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said on Facebook “thank God no human casualties,” calling the incident “extremely regrettable.”

Aug 7, 2018

USAF light attack aircraft competition will be down to two competitors

The Air Force is preparing to begin buying light attack aircraft next year — and the winner is going to be either Textron’s AT-6 Wolverine or the Sierra Nevada Corp.-Embraer A-29 Super Tucano.
According to a pre-solicitation posted on FedBizOpps on Aug. 3, the service will put out a final request for proposals to the two competitors in December with the hopes of awarding a contract by the end of September 2019.
However, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told Defense News on Monday that service leaders have not yet made a final decision on whether to green-light a program of record. Should that happen, the pre-solicitation will ensure that the service can move as quickly as it would like to eventually procure new planes, she said.
If the new weapons program moves forward, it appears the service will limit the competition to the two aircraft currently involved in the service’s light attack experiment.

Boeing will not permit Israel Aerospace Industries to convert its B-767 planes to airborne refueling configuration.

While Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) aspires to be the vendor in one of Israel's biggest defense procurement programs in the next few years, for fuel tanker aircraft for the Israel Air Force, US aerospace giant Boeing is liable to put a serious obstacle in its way: sources inform "Globes" that Boeing will not grant IAI permits to convert its planes to tanker configuration. Such a restriction means that IAI is liable to find itself out of the running for supplying the Israel Air Force's new tankers, as its proposal is based on buying used Boeing 767 aircraft on the open market and converting them for airborne refueling of combat planes.
Boeing has a clear interest in ousting IAI from the procurement program that has been taking shape at the Ministry of Defense and in the Air Force for a long time, since it is considered the leading candidate for winning the order, estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Overhauled Mirage, F-5 join Iran Air Force

Experts and technical staff at Shahid Nasser Habibi air base in Northeastern Iran managed to overhaul a French-made Mirage and an F-5 fighter jet.
The overhauling operations of the French-made Mirage fighter jet took 25,000 man/hours of work, while the two-seat American-made F-5 fighter jet took 12,500 man/hours of work.
The two aircraft joined the Iranian Air Force fleet after being run through operational tests.
The most recent rejoining of overhauled fighter jets by Iranian experts was on July 25, in which IRGC military-technical experts overhauled and upgraded 10 Sukhoi SU-22 fighter jets.
Also on July 19, Iran reported the overhauling of an American-made F-14 tomcat at Shahid Babaei Airbase in Isfahan Province. The operation had taken 35,000 man/hours of work.
According to commander of Shahid Babaei Airbase, Mohammad Jafar Tak, the efforts put into the overhauling process of the grounded aircraft shows that the enemy’s attempts at imposing sanctions in a bid to undermine the country’s defense capabilities have been futile.

US Air Force to Procure New Light Attack Aircraft

The Air Force has decided to buy a new light attack aircraft to support troops engaged in counterinsurgency operations, the service announced in a presolicitation dated Aug. 3.
A formal solicitation is expected to be released in December, and a production contract will be awarded in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019, the document said.
The Air Force plans to request proposals from a limited number of companies including Textron and Sierra Nevada Corp., the service said in the notice that was released on FedBizOpps.
"Sierra Nevada Corp. and Textron Aviation are the only firms that appear to possess the capability necessary to meet the requirement within the Air Force's timeframe without causing an unacceptable delay in meeting the needs of the warfighter," the presolicitation said.
The chosen platform "will provide an affordable, non-developmental aircraft intended to operate globally in the types of irregular warfare environments that have characterized combat operations over the past 25 years," it added.
The move follows a U.S. military experiment known as OA-X, which kicked off last year to study the feasibility of using an off-the-shelf platform as a low-cost solution for light attack and close-air support missions. Originally, the experiment involved four aircraft including a Sierra Nevada Corp.-Embraer team’s A-29 Super Tucano; Textron Aviation’s Scorpion jet and AT-6 Wolverine turboprop; and Air Tractor Inc.’s AT-802L Longsword turboprop supported by L3’s Platform Integration Division.
Earlier this year, Textron and Sierra Nevada Corp.-Embraer had been testing their turboprop aircraft — the AT-6 and the A-29, respectively — during the second phase of the experiment. However, that phase was cut short after a Super Tucano participating in the effort crashed near Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, in late June. One pilot, Navy Lt. Christopher Carey Short, was killed, and another suffered minor injuries.

Aug 6, 2018

Boeing starts production of Qatar F-15QA

HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah paid a visit to the Boeing Company plant in the US state of Missouri.
During the visit, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs inaugurated the F-15 aircraft production line for the Qatari Amiri Air Forces.
He also toured the company's building, which allows trainees to have on-ground experience before actually flying.
The project, dubbed Ababeel, aims to develop the Qatari Amiri Air Forces' capabilities as part of its plans to modernise its fleet of fighter jets to protect the country's capabilities.
HE Dr al-Attiyah and US Secretary of Defence James Mattis signed the Letter of Intent in June 2017 for Qatar purchasing 36 fighter jets (F-15) in a deal worth $12bn.

Thales, Airbus Are in Talks to Build Spain's New Spy Satellites

Spanish satellite operator Hisdesat is in talks with Airbus and Thales about an order to build two military communication satellites for the Spanish government.
Spain’s industry ministry last week approved a 750 million-euro ($880 million) loan for Hisdesat to finance the replacement satellites while the defense ministry is ready to pay 1.4 billion euros over a period of 15 years from 2023 as the new satellites’ most important client.
The satellites will have resilience to nuclear events and interference, and will comply with NATO and EU requirements.
Hisdesat’s biggest investor is satellite operator Hispasat SA with 43 percent and the Spanish defense ministry has 30 percent, according to the company’s website. Airbus Defense & Space has a 15 percent stake, while Indra Sistemas SA and Sener are smaller equity holders. The company’s biggest customers after Spain are the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon.
Hisdesat is putting in place a new generation of satellites at a time when Spain is leading the development of an EU-wide command system that will allow troops from the bloc to communicate without relying on third-party contractors or local capabilities. It’s also heading up a project to pool government satellites that could also contribute to the new system.

Aug 4, 2018

KC-390 Transport Aircraft delivery to Brazil delayed until 2019

Embraer now plans to complete flight testing and deliver the first production version of the KC-390 to the Brazilian air force up to six months late in the first half of 2019.
The nine-year-old development programme for the twin-engined tanker-transport had been on track until an “operational issue” caused the first of two flight test aircraft to overrun a runway in Brazil, leading to heavy damage to the landing gear and fuselage.
Embraer had planned to deliver the third KC-390 to the Brazilian air force by the end of the year, but that aircraft will now be diverted to help the company complete the flight test campaign in the absence of the first prototype.
The fourth KC-390 to roll-off Embraer’s assembly line will now be the first of 28 aircraft delivered to the Brazilian air force.