Oct 31, 2018

Royal Air Force Typhoon jets scramble to intercept Russian bombers

On 31st October 2018, RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon fighter aircraft scrambled to monitor two Russian strategic bombers approaching UK airspace.
“Typhoon fighters … were scrambled today as a precautionary measure against a potential incursion into UK area of interest by one or more unidentified aircraft,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said.
“At no time was there a threat to UK airspace ..,” he added.

Spanish Air Force awards contract to TAURUS for aircraft KEPD 350 weapon system

The Spanish Ministry of Defence (MOD) and TAURUS Systems GmbH (TSG) signed a contract on 26th September in Madrid for an upgrade and maintenance of the operational capability of the TAURUS KEPD 350 Weapon System used by the Spanish Air Force.
The contract value is just below 30 million Euros.
The TAURUS KEPD 350 has been in the inventory of the Spanish Air Force for 10 years. It is today operated on the EF-18 fighter aircraft.

Canada issues fighter draft RFP

The Canadian Government has released a draft request for proposals (RFP) for the competition to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) Boeing F/A-18 (CF-18/CF-188) Hornet fighter jets. Draft RFPs were issued by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to all five eligible suppliers on 26 October.
According to an official announcement from PSPC, the five suppliers will provide feedback on the draft in around eight weeks’ time, enabling PSPC to draft the final RFP. The Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) to replace the RCAF’s Hornet fleet was originally outlined in Ottawa’s 2017 defence policy document ‘Strong, Secure, Engaged’, where the government outlined a plan to procure 88 aircraft through a competition.

Iraq Receives Six More Korean T50 Jets

The Iraqi government announced on Sunday that it had received another shipment of the Korean-made T50 fighter jets.
Country’s ministry of defense confirmed the arrival of the third batch in Iraq in an online statement.
Iraq signed a contract in 2013 with South Korea to purchase 24 T-50 jets. It has so far received 18 of them .

Oct 26, 2018

Belgium is also in negotiations to purchase a pair of MQ-9 Predator

Alongside its plans to acquire Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters, Belgium is also in negotiations to purchase a pair of medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned air vehicles.
The country's defence ministry says the government has approved the start of negotiations with the USA over the requirement.
Although it does not specify which UAV it hopes to acquire, images released by Brussels show a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9B Sky Guardian – a NATO-standard variant of the B-model Predator.
Belgium describes them as "reconnaissance" assets, suggesting that they will not carry weapons.

Italy will cut €450 from its planned defense spending in 2019, F-35 purchases 'slowed'

Italy will cut €450 million (U.S. $512.3 million) from its planned defense spending in 2019 by suspending helicopter and missile purchases and canceling an office move by the defense ministry to help shore up social welfare and tax cuts, a defense source has told Defense News.
Italy’s total outlay on defense in 2019 will be announced in parliament in the next few days, as Rome’s populist government seeks support by members of parliament for its state budget, which contains billions of euros for a new wage for the unemployed.
To free up funds to cover spending, Rome has made its cut to the defense budget, just as most European states are increasing their military outlay.
During 2019 all ongoing purchases of NH-90 helicopters for the Italian Army and Navy will be suspended, the source said.
The source added that F-35 purchases would be “slowed” in order to spread out payments. Italy is currently planning to buy 90 aircraft.

F-35 officially wins Belgian fighter contest

Belgium has officially selected the F-35 as its next-generation fighter, becoming the 13th country to join the program, the Belgian government announced Thursday.
With that decision, Lockheed Martin has defeated a bid by the governments of Spain, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom for the Eurofighter Typhoon, as well as an informal offer by France for the Dassault Rafale and an option for Belgium to upgrade its existing F-16s.
Belgium plans to buy 34 F-35As to replace F-16 inventory, which numbers about 54 jets. The U.S. State Department has already approved the deal, which has an estimated value of $6.5 billion.

United Kingdom Cleared To Buy 16 H-47 Chinooks

The Government of United Kingdom has requested a possible sale of sixteen (16) H-47 Chinook (Extended Range) helicopters; thirty-six (36) T-55-GA-714A engines (32 installed, 4 spares); forty-eight (48) embedded GPS inertial navigation units (32 installed, 16 spares); twenty (20) common missile warning systems (16 installed, 4 spares); twenty-two (22) radio-frequency countermeasures (16 installed, 6 spares); nineteen (19) multi-mode radars (16 installed, 3 spares); nineteen (19) electro-optical sensor systems (16 installed, 3 spares); forty (40) M-134D-T mini­ guns, plus mounts and tools (32 installed, 8 spares); and forty (40) M240H machine guns, plus mounts and tools (32 installed, 8 spares). This sale also includes communications equipment; navigation equipment; aircraft survivability equipment; initial training equipment and services; synthetic training equipment; support package including spares and repair parts; special tools and test equipment; aviation ground support equipment; safety and air worthiness certification; technical support; maintenance support; technical and aircrew publications; mission planning system equipment and support; and, project management and governance; U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistic and program support. Total estimated cost is $3.5 billion.

Belgium chooses Lockheed's F-35 over Eurofighter according Reuters

Belgium has chosen Lockheed Martin’s (LMT.N) F-35 stealth jets over the Eurofighter Typhoon to replace its aging F-16s, news agency Belga cited government sources.
The country has been deliberating for months over a multibillion-dollar purchase of 34 new fighter jets, with the latest deadline for a decision being Oct. 29.
A defense ministry spokeswoman declined to comment on the government’s decision and did not confirm the end-October deadline.
Lockheed spokeswoman Carolyn Nelson did not confirm that a decision had been made but said the company remains confident that the F-35 is the right choice for Belgium.
If confirmed, the decision will make Belgium the 12th country to buy the radar-evading F-35 jets and could help to strengthen the U.S. aerospace company’s position in forthcoming tenders in Switzerland, Finland and Germany.
The decision, the likely outcome of which was reported by Reuters last Friday, had been expected in July before the NATO summit in Brussels. The order for jets due for delivery from 2023 is estimated to be worth 3.6 billion euros.

USAF To Receive first KC-46 in Mid-November

McConnell Air Force Base is gearing up for an event next month to mark the arrival of its first Boeing KC-46 air refueling tanker, though Boeing and McConnell officials aren’t confirming it as a delivery date.

France begins studies for Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier replacement

France will make a decision on the replacement of its flagship aircraft carrier the Charles de Gaulle at the start of 2020.
The carrier has been in service since 2001 but Paris is looking to build a vessel that would take into consideration expected technological advances post-2030 and be capable of carrying a planned new Franco-German fighter jet.

Oct 20, 2018

Falcon 2000MSA ready for delivery to Japan coast guard

The aircraft – the first of five for the coast guard – is developed from the Falcon 2000LX. The aircraft is due to enter service in the first half of 2019.


Portugal has ordered five Leonardo Helicopters AW119Kx light-singles for multirole missions in a deal worth over €20 million ($23 million).
To be operated by the nation's air force, deliveries of the helicopters are due to begin from Leonardo's Philadelphia, Pennsylvania production facility in late 2018, running until 2020.
A further two aircraft are covered by options, the manufacturer says.
The AW119Kx helicopters will be used to perform a wide range of roles including training, medical evacuation, troop transport and short-range maritime search and rescue.
Portugal currently operates a fleet of eight Aérospatiale SA316 Alouette III light helicopters in the role.

F-35s return to flight operations after fuel tube problem

After a fuel tube problem sidelined all operational F-35 aircraft last week, more than 80 percent of jets have been cleared to return to flight, the F-35 joint program office stated Monday.
In a Oct. 15 statement, the JPO confirmed that the U.S. services and international partners have completed inspections of their F-35 inventories for faulty fuel tubes. The aircraft that are not impacted by the bad tubes — which are a component in Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine — are back in flying status.

HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in New York

Britain's biggest warship HMS Queen Elizabeth today made waves in the Big Apple beginning a historic week-long visit to New York.
The ultimate symbol of British naval power dropped anchor within sight of the Statue of Liberty and the skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan for seven days in New York’s Upper Bay – in full view of Ellis and Liberty Island tourists and thousands of commuters on the Staten Island ferry.
The visit – on the back of three weeks of intensive maiden trials with the new F-35 Lightning jet – allows the ship to host several high profile national and international events.

Philippines Air Air Force likely to buy JAS-39 Grippen

After a thorough study and research, the Department of National Defense (DND) is most likely to buy the Swedish-made Gripenmulti-role supersonic jet fighter for the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana made this disclosure in an exclusive interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on the sidelines of the book launching of former President Fidel V. Ramos at the Manila Hotel on Sunday.
Lorenzana said aside from being cheaper and less expensive in maintenance cost, the Gripen has been proven to be an excellent supersonic fighter aircraft.
The PAF has been scouting for over a decade of what jetfighter aircraft it would buy to replace the US-made F5A/B jet interceptors that retired in 2005 due to old age and lack of spare parts.
Since the F-5s were pulled from service, the Air Force tried to acquire advanced jetfighters such as the supersonic F-16 from the United States, but no progress was made.
Lorenzana said the United States government offered anew to sell F-16 fighter jets to the Philippines.
The offer, Lorenzana added, was made by US Defense Secretary James Mattis when the DND secretary visited Washington last month.
Lorenzana confirmed the US offer, but said the F-16 supersonic jetfighter interceptors are too expensive.
In comparison, the Gripen costs less and has the same capability with other multi-role jetfighters, including the F-16.
Since F-5s were put out of service, the PAF has no multi-role jetfighters in its arsenal, although it had bought from South Korea a dozen of F-50 jets but the planes’ capability is limited compared with the Gripen, F-16 and similar aircraft.
The acquisition of multi-role jetfighters, Lorenzana said, is badly needed to protect the country’s airspace.

Boeing won’t deliver first USAF'S KC-46 aerial-refueling tanker by month’s end as agreed

Boeing won’t deliver its first KC-46 aerial-refueling tanker by month’s end as it had agreed, according to U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, the latest in a procession of missed deadlines since the company won the contract in 2011.
Air Force officials met with the plane maker Wednesday “to try to lay down the path forward for delivery and to make sure the deficiencies that have been identified are taken care of in a way that brings that aircraft in as promised,” Wilson told editors and reporters in a round-table at Bloomberg headquarters in New York.
The Air Force and Boeing had anticipated delivery Oct. 27 of the first of the tankers, supposedly settling a disagreement over timing for the much-delayed $44.3 billion program. That first of 179 tankers was originally supposed to be delivered in April to June of 2016.
While the tanker still has unresolved deficiencies with its system for midair refueling, the latest delivery date “slippage really was directly attributable” to the need to wait for certification by the Federal Aviation Administration in September that the aircraft’s refueling and mission avionics system met agency standards, Wilson said. It was “a little later than they expected,” she said of Boeing.

Oct 13, 2018

Spain procures Aeronautics Orbiter UAVs

The Spanish Ministry of Defence has selected the Aeronautics Orbiter 3 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to help monitor its forces' bases during overseas missions.
The Israeli company was up against the Fulmar, designed by Thales' Spanish arm, but its Madrid-based distributor, Aicox Soluciones, confirmed on 8 October that Aeronautics had won the EUR3.1 million (USD3.6 million) deal.
The Orbiter 3 was tested by Spain's Brigada de la Legion at the beginning of 2018 as part of the country's ongoing Rapaz UAV trials programme.
The contract will cover two systems comprising three UAVs each, with logistical support provided by Aicox Soluciones.
The Orbiter 3 was specially designed for the intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) role that the Spanish are seeking to protect their troops on overseas missions.
David Ing-janes

China confirms Development of ‘new long-range strategic bomber’, The 'Hong-20' 'H-20'

China’s official state-run media has confirmed the designation of the country’s newest long-range strategic bomber, with analysts speculating that the prototype is expected to make its first flight soon.
In a documentary reportedly broadcast in August, China Central Television referred to the “Hong-20” as the “new long-range strategic bomber” under development for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, or PLAAF, confirming for the first time the H-20 designation that has previously been used elsewhere to describe the program.
The documentary added that “great progress” is being made on the Hong-20’s development, although it did not provide other details. “Hong” is the standard abbreviation for the term “Hongzhaji,” or bomber in Chinese, although this is usually shortened to just the “H” in Western literature.
It’s been reported that Chinese military officials said a new strategic bomber should be capable of striking targets beyond the second island chain without aerial refueling while carrying a payload of at least 10 metric tons, leading to speculation that targets such as Hawaii would be within range of cruise missiles launched by the new bomber.
The bomber is expected to complement the Xian H-6K in Chinese service. A development of the Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-16 Badger, the H-6K features more powerful engines and a totally revised, modern avionics suite. It is also capable of launching cruise missiles.

First Flight of the Series Production Embraer KC-390

First Embraer KC-390 achieved another important milestone today with the completion of the maiden flight of the first series production multi-mission medium airlift KC-390. As agreed with the Brazilian Air Force, the aircraft will now join the flight test campaign, in which more than 1,900 flight hours have already been logged. Civil certification of the basic aircraft will be granted by Brazilian aviation authority ANAC (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil) and is expected to be achieved very soon.

Albania's graveyard of MiGs to become NATO air base

Long the graveyard of its once mighty air force, Albania’s base at Kucova is set to become a NATO station - to the delight of its former airmen longing to hear the engines roar again.
Albania retired its 224 Soviet- and Chinese-made MiGs in 2005, and since 2009 NATO neighbors Italy and Greece monitor its airspace. That led to economic decline in and around Kucova, which was called “Stalin City” during the era of Communist rule.
NATO will spend over 50 million euros ($58 million) on the first stage of work to turn Kucova into a support base for supplies, logistics, training and drills, Xhacka said.
Albania feels it has earned such a transformation at the base for helping maintain stability in the Balkans and contributing to NATO peacekeeping missions around the world.

Oct 12, 2018

U.S. Military, And Operators Worlwide Ground Their F-35s To Look For Faulty Fuel Tubes

The U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy have all stopped flying their F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, as have international operators, in order to inspect and potentially replace faulty fuel tubes common to all three variants of the aircraft, a process that should thankfully only last one or two days. Investigators looking into the cause or causes of a Marine F-35B crash in September 2018 uncovered the issue, which comes amid a Pentagon-mandated effort to boost the Joint Strike Fighter's availability rates and raises serious questions about increased reliance on a single family of combat jets.
The Pentagon's central F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) announced the grounding on Oct. 11, 2018. The inciting incident occurred on Sept. 28, 2018, when an F-35B from Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron Five Zero One (VMFAT-501) crashed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina. The pilot of that aircraft was able to safely eject, but the stealth fighter was a total loss.

Australia grounds Joint Strike Fighter fleet after US Marine Corps F-35 in catastrophic engine failure and crash

The crash and destruction of one of America's most sophisticated and expensive combat warplanes — an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter — has led to the immediate grounding of Australia's entire fleet of the aircraft.
The Royal Australian Airforce has taken delivery of nine F-35s from US manufacturer Lockheed Martin, and all are now sitting idle at their American training base in Arizona.
Australia is the latest among global partners in the Joint Strike Fighter program to order groundings of their planes as a precaution.
n a statement, the Australian Defence Force confirmed that "the F-35 fleet has been instructed to conduct safety inspections across all delivered engines".

Oct 7, 2018

U.S. Air Force deploys F-15s, C-130 in Ukraine for the first time for Clear Sky exercise

F-15C Eagles from the 144th Fighter Wing, Fresno Air National Guard Base, Calif., have arrived at Starokostiantyniv Air Base, Ukraine, to participate in Clear Sky 2018, a joint and multinational exercise that will involve personnel from nine nations, including Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Additionally, a C-130J Super Hercules from the 146th Airlift Wing, Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, Calif., has arrived at Vinnytsia AB, Ukraine, to participate in the exercise.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of collaboration between the California Air National Guard and Ukraine as part of U.S. European Command's State Partnership Program, and the exercise will include robust participation of California ANG units.
Training will focus on air sovereignty, air interdiction, air-to-ground integration, air mobility operations, aeromedical evacuation, cyber defense, and personnel recovery.
This exercise aims to enhance regional capabilities to secure air sovereignty and promote peace and security through cooperation, collaboration and interoperability with NATO partners and other allies in the region.

Oct 6, 2018

French Mirage 2000s carried out air strikes in Burkina Faso

A la demande des autorités militaires burkinabè, la force Barkhane est immédiatement intervenue.
Un drone Reaper a été dirigé vers la zone tandis que deux Mirage 2000 et un avion ravitailleur C135 ont décollé sous très faible préavis de la base aérienne projetée de Niamey pour rallier la zone de l’attaque. Une colonne de plusieurs motos quittant la zone en direction du nord a été détectée par le drone Reaper. Après avoir observé le comportement du groupe et levé le doute sur la nature terroriste de celui-ci, une frappe aérienne a été réalisée dans la nuit par les deux Mirage 2000. Le bilan de l’action est en cours d’évaluation.

UK in talks to buy Boeing E-7 Wedgetail

The British Ministry of Defense (MOD) is in talks with Boeing to acquire the E-7 Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control System.
The MOD said after a market analysis and discussions with providers of other systems it had concluded the E-7 Wedgetail was the most cost-effective aircraft available and potentially could be used in collaboration with Australia, an ally and member of the “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing treaty.
The British Ministry of Defense (MOD) is in talks with Boeing to acquire the E-7 Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control System.
The MOD said after a market analysis and discussions with providers of other systems it had concluded the E-7 Wedgetail was the most cost-effective aircraft available and potentially could be used in collaboration with Australia, an ally and member of the “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing treaty.

Japan to develop own fighter jet to replace F-2

The Japan's Ministry of Defense has decided to develop a new aircraft to succeed the F-2 fighter, as proposals from three American and British companies for a replacement failed to meet the ministry's costs and capability requirements.
The ministry plans to incorporate the project into the next five-year mid-term defense program to be drawn up at the end of the year, with an eye on a joint development program with foreign companies to lower the overall financial burden, which could reach trillions of yen. The ministry also hopes to pursue introducing main components such as the engine that incorporate Japan's own technology.

Canada cleared to buy 3 King Air 350ER ISR aircraft

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Canada of three (3) King Air 350ER (extended range) aircraft with customer unique post-modifications for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations for an estimated cost of $300 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on October 3, 2018.
The Government of Canada has requested to buy three (3) King Air 350ER (extended range) aircraft with customer unique post-modifications for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations; three (3) WESCAM MX-15D Electro-Optical & Infrared Imaging Sensors; three (3) AN/AAR-47B(V)2 Missile and Laser Warning System (MWS); three (3) AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispenser Systems (CMDS); three (3) VORTEX® Dual RF Ku LOS Transceivers; three (3) COMSEC Modules (KGV-135A); two (2) APM-424(V)5 Transponder Test Sets; five (5) KIV-77 Mode 4/5 crypto applique computers for IFF; three (3) AN/APX-119 IFF Digital Civil and Military Transponders; six (6) ARC-210 Multi-mode Voice and Data Transceivers; three (3) KG-250X NSA-Certified Type 1 Inline Network Encryptors (INE); technical data; mission equipment, communication and navigation equipment, special tools and test equipment, ground support equipment, airframe and engine spare parts, publications, MWO/ECPs, technical assistance, repair and return, training; and transportation of aircraft, and other related elements of logistics and program support. Total estimated program cost is $300 million.


MD Helicopters announced today receipt of the third Delivery Order issued against its 5-year, $1.4 billion light scout attack helicopter IDIQ contract. The firm, fixed-price award is for six (6) armed MD 530G Scout Attack Helicopters to be delivered to the Lebanon Air Force (LAF), and includes initial logistics support (ILS) for the aircraft, as well as aircraft systems, ground support equipment, and associated services.
Awarded through U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, MDHI’s new MD 530G will receive a U.S. Army Airworthiness Release (AWR) by December 2019. All MD 530G aircraft deliveries to the Lebanon Air Force will be complete by the fourth quarter of 2020.
“The Armed MD 530G Scout Attack Helicopter is a masterpiece in design and innovation,” said Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer for MD Helicopters, Inc. “With advanced avionics, integrated weapons and mission management systems, and an armament suite that delivers both precision lethality and suppressive fire capabilities, we are honored to receive this order, and look forward to delivering these highly capable aircraft to the Lebanon Air Force.”

France to provide Two Second Hand Mirage 2000 aircraft to Indian Air Force

Seeking to bolster its Mirage-2000 fighter jet fleet, India is getting two of these at a dirt-cheap price of Rs 16 crore per aircraft from France. The two aircraft would be later upgraded to the highest standards by the HAL.
The French are offering the planes at Euro 2 million per aircraft and the cost of transporting the planes to India would be around Euro one million. So, at Euro five million (approx Rs 40 crore), India will get two aircraft with a life of 3,000 hours left in them.
The aircraft would also help in utilising the upgrade kits that had been ordered during the Mirage 2000 upgrade contract with France. India had a fleet of 51 Mirages but the number came down to 49 after the loss of two planes in quick succession around 2012-13.
The two Mirages coming from France would help in making up the fleet strength back to 51.
India is also getting a fleet of 32 Jaguar aircraft, which are supposed to be used as spares to support the current fleet of Jaguar fighters operated by India. The 100 Jaguar aircraft strong fleet would also help in maintaining force levels and combat the delay in procuring jets beyond the 4 plus generation fighter aircraft such as Rafale due to the Congress government impeding the decision-making.