Jan 14, 2018

USAF Lakenheath F-15s intercept Russian fighters in Baltic Mission

The Air Force on Friday released a video showing two recent instances in which F-15s deployed to Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, intercepted Russian Navy Su-30 Flankers near the Baltics.
The video compilation shows one encounter on Nov. 23 and another on Dec. 13. According to descriptions posted by the military, both incidents involved two Russian fighters in international airspace near the Baltics. In both encounters, the F-15s were scrambled because the Russians did not broadcast the codes required by air traffic control, and did not file a flight plan, the Air Force said.

Jan 13, 2018

B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, 200 airmen deploy to Guam

Three B-2 Spirit stealth bombers and approximately 200 airmen arrived at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam Monday.
The aircraft and airmen, assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, deployed to Guam in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s bomber assurance and deterrence mission, according to Pacific Air Forces.
During this “short-term deployment,” the B-2s will conduct local and regional training sorties. They will also work with “key regional partners, ensuring bomber crews maintain a high state of readiness and crew proficiency.”
The nuclear-capable stealth bombers join several B-1B Lancer conventional bombers at Andersen Air Force Base. PACOM has said the Lancers are “ready to fulfill [U.S. Forces Korea’s] Fight Tonight mission if called upon to do so.”

Royal Thailand Air Force Received First Two KAI T-50TH

South Korea’s aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI) has began delivery of its T-50TH trainer jets to Thailand’s Air Force as a part of a deal won from the Thai government in 2015.
The jets arrived at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base via a 12-hour 6,658 kilometer ferry flight after leaving Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province, at 9 a.m., and flying through Taiwan, the Philippines, and Malaysia, on Monday.
An unnamed official from KAI said that it signed a $110 million contract with the Thai government in 2015 to export four T-50TH trainer jets. Two of four aircrafts were delivered on Monday and the remaining two will arrive in the Southeast Asian country in March, the official said.
KAI also signed a $260 million worth contract to export 8 more T-50TH to Thailand in July, last year.
KAI delivered 15 T-50i aircrafts to Indonesia in 2014 and 12 FA-50PH jets to the Philippines in 2015.
T-50 aircrafts were first exported to Indonesia in 2011. A total of 64 T-50 aircrafts worth $2.9 billion have been exported so far to the Middle East and Southeast Asia. KAI is currently pushing to export T-50 advanced aircrafts to the United States, Botswana, and Argentina.
Moon Ji-woong and Lee Eun-joo-pulsenews

Jan 7, 2018

Proposal to convert MSDF's Izumo into aircraft carrier merges at Japan´s Defense Ministry

The regular review of Japan's National Defense Program Guidelines is fast approaching, and attention is likely to be focused on the Self-Defense Forces' offensive strike capability.
Within the Defense Ministry, there is even a proposal circulating to convert the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF)'s Izumo helicopter carrier into a regular aircraft carrier. The idea is unlikely to be adopted, as it would risk shaking the foundations of Japan's defense-only policy. However, discussions on how best to prepare the SDF with defense capabilities have heated up noticeably within the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as China continues to emerge as a major military power and North Korea forges ahead with its ballistic missile and nuclear arms programs.
The current National Defense Program Guidelines were approved by the Cabinet in 2013, along with the five-year "Mid-term Defense Program" plan specifying equipment acquisition priorities. The guidelines will expire in mid-2020.
The proposal to convert the Izumo into a true aircraft carrier apparently emerged primarily from among the Defense Ministry's uniformed personnel, taking advantage of Prime Minister Abe's policy of reviewing both the defense program outline and midterm defense buildup plan.

Jan 6, 2018

Turkey makes deal to buy Russian-made S-400 air defense system

Turkey and Russia have finalized a contract for the acquisition and deployment of the Russian S-400 long-range air and anti-missile defense system on Turkish soil.
The contract involves the acquisition of one S-400 system with an option to purchase a second system.
The delivery of the S-400 system was scheduled for the first quarter of 2020.
The S-400 system would be operated by Turkish personnel and would be supported by a locally developed identification friend or foe, or IFF, system.
On Dec. 25, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would borrow the loan in Russian rubles instead of U.S. dollars so the debt would be less.

France receives first C-130J transport

France's first Lockheed Martin C-130J was delivered to its Orléans air base on 22 December 2017.
Carrying the service registration 61-PO, the tactical transport is the first of four C-130Js being acquired by Paris. Its second airlifter will be received later this year, while a pair of KC-130J tanker/transports – needed to refuel combat helicopters in-flight – are to follow during 2019.
The first delivery followed the approval of type certification for the new-generation Hercules by France's DGA defence procurement agency, under a procurement approved in January 2016.

US Army begins process to buy 35 more UH-72s

The US Army on 4 January took the first step in the process to award a contract to Airbus for up to 35 more UH-72 Lakota helicopters.
The notice notes that only Airbus owns the technical data on the UH-72, which means any potential competitor would have to acquire the data from the OEM to build the twin-engined aircraft.
Airbus has delivered more than 400 UH-72s to the army since 2006. The re-designated H145 aircraft lack a military airworthiness certificate by design, rendering the fleet limited to peacetime support roles. In 2014, the army also selected the UH-72A to replace the Bell Helicopter TH-67 as a primary trainer.
The army’s approved budget in Fiscal 2017 contains funds to buy 23 UH-72As, so up to another 12 could be purchased later.
Airbus assembles the UH-72 from a factory in Columbus, Mississippi, although major components are built in Europe.
The new order from the army is necessary to keep the facility open.

Jan 1, 2018

Japan signs for KC-46A tanker

Boeing has secured up its first international customer for the KC-46A Pegasus tanker, with the announcement that Japan has signed up for a single aircraft.
The Foreign Military Sale (FMS) is valued at USD279 million and was announced by Boeing on 22 December. As well as one KC-46A, the contract covers support.
Japan selected the KC-46A under its KC-X aerial refuelling competition in October 2015. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) is looking to acquire four new tankers to augment its current fleet of four Boeing KC-767J platforms. The sale of four KC-46As to Japan was approved by the US government in September 2016. The total value was given at that time as USD1.9 billion.
While the latest contract announcement did not provide a delivery timeline, the earlier KC-X announcement called for the first aircraft to be received by the JASDF in 2020. With delays to Boeing’s programme to deliver up to 179 KC-46As to the US Air Force (USAF), it is likely that this initial schedule will be pushed back.

Dec 30, 2017

India retires MiG-21 MiG-27ML Fleet

The Indian Air Force on Friday bid adieu to two of its old Russian-origin MiG fighter aircraft, one of which was flown by the Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa in its swansong flight.
At the Nal airbase in Rajasthan, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa flew the last sortie of the Hawkeyes, 108 Squadron, bringing a glorious end to the reign of the MiG-21 T-96 aircraft, flown by the squadron.
This comes days after former IAF chief Fali Homi Major flew the last sortie of the Mi-8 helicopter in Bengaluru before the choppers stopped flying.
"It is in the IAF tradition to have the senior-most pilot fly the oldest machine while bidding adieu," said an IAF official.
The 108 Squadron is being 'number-plated', which means it would remain dormant for the time being and would be re-formed to produce new aircraft.
In Hashimara in West Bengal, the last MiG-27 ML roared for the last time in its farewell flight.
Named Bahadur, the swing-wing MiG-27 ML has the single most powerful engine in the world with a variable geometry wing that allows a pilot to change the wing sweep angle while flying as per the mission requirements.
The aircraft, which was flown by the 22 Squadron, is also being number-plated.
Though the MLs have retired, they are not the last swing-wing aircraft in service. Some of the MiG-27s were upgraded to MiG-27 UPG, which will continue to fly.
The MiG-27 UPGs are based in Jodhpur.

Dec 27, 2017

South Korea, Japan Mull interested in F-35Bs for Amphibious Assault Ships

South Korea's navy is looking to buy stealthy F-35B aircraft, the Marine Corps jump-jet variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, for its new Dokdo-class amphibious assault ships.
Citing military sources, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said the Lockheed Martin Corp.-made short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35Bs would be part of South Korea's long-term plan to build a "blue water" navy.
South Korea currently has one amphibious assault ship, the 14,300-ton, 653-foot Dokdo, which is the largest ship in the South Korean navy. A second Dokdo-class amphib is planned for 2020.
Japan is also considering buying F-35Bs to operate from its helicopter carrier, the Japan Times reported.
The problem for South Korea and Japan will be in redesigning the decks of the amphibs to take the heat and stress of the F-35B vertical landings. The Dokdo class ships now are configured to support 10 helicopters.

Dec 25, 2017

US Navy Block III Super Hornet upgrades to begin this spring

Unlike the legacy Hornet fleet, the Super Hornet modification will not entail one large replacement such as the centre barrel, says Dan Gillian. Instead, modifications will be distributed across the aircraft with a focus on corrosion, a perennial hurdle for the carrier-based aircraft.
After testing two F/A-18 “learning aircraft,” Boeing found corrosion was well maintained on Super Hornets that fly regularly but cropped up often on aircraft that had been grounded for a while. Boeing will not change materials on the aircraft but plans to use data analytics to predict how the navy should handle varied corrosion issues, Gillian says.

Dec 23, 2017

South Korea plans to buy 20 additional F-35

South Korea plans to buy an additional 20 F-35A stealth fighter aircraft from the United States,less than two months after U.S. President Donald Trump announced Seoul would be purchasing billions of dollars in new military equipment.
In 2014 South Korea formally announced a plan to buy 40 F-35As.

A400M Refuels Up to 6 Spanish Air Force EF-18M in Flight Over Spain

An Airbus A400M has successfully refueled six Spanish Air Force F-18 fighters in a single mission as part of an air-to-air refueling (AAR) human factors certification flight. The 13 December mission featured a complex series of AAR scenarios such as changes of area, receivers with unknown priorities, and unexpected increases in numbers of receivers. Through multiple contacts, the six aircraft simulated a fleet of eight. The F-18s included the first Spanish operational fighters to be refueled by the A400M and belonged to the Spanish Air Force Test Centre (CLAEX) and the 12th Operational Wing based at Torrejón. A total of 11.4 tonnes of fuel was dispensed using both the underwing pods and the center hose refueling unit. Certification authorities on board confirmed good results and the flight validated the A400M two-crew cockpit concept for tanker missions.

USAF B-1Bs Preparing for Return to the Middle East

B-1B bomber aircrews anticipate returning to the Middle East in coming months and have been training for the evolving battlespaces in Iraq and Syria, as well as Afghanistan, according to officials here.
"We're working real hard inside of our training network," said Col. Karl Fischbach, commander of the 7th Operations Group. "The ranges that we have were set up really well to simulate the environment, and we're going to attend the next Red Flag [in January] and Green Flag [exercises] in the [upcoming] year, and really focus on what we need to get ready for the CentCom operation."

Dec 16, 2017

Colombia May Buy Used Eurofighter Typhoons From Spain

Colombian Air Force is currently evaluating the procurement of second-hand Eurofighter Typhoons from Spain.
If this acquisition goes through, it will make Bogotá the first client for the type in the Americas. It would also represent a significant qualitative leap for the Colombian Air Force, which uses an updated version of the IAI Kfir as its main fighter type.
This proposal also implies that the Typhoons will belong to the Tranche 2 standard and come equipped with the advanced Meteor missile. For now, only enough aircraft to equip a single fighter wing are being considered.
However, there are still several options on the table regarding the modernization of the Colombian Air Force.
Colombia has been contemplating the acquisition of a wide range of aircraft, with mostly used units due to cost concerns, which include the Mirage 2000 and the Rafale from the French company, Dassault, the American Lockheed-Martin F-16 and Boeing F/A-18, the Swedish Saab JAS-39 Gripen, and even the Russian Sukhoi Su-30. Even newly-made Typhoons from the UK were contemplated.
As it is, the Spanish Eurofighter deal is just one more in a long series of possibilities, although supported by the extraordinary good relations currently enjoyed by Madrid and Bogotá.

Dec 9, 2017

U.S. Air Force completes delivery of 24 F-16s to Indonesia

After nearly five years, the Ogden Air Logistics Complex completed regeneration work on the last six Block-25 F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft for the Government of Indonesia.
The delivery is the result of an aircraft acquisition and refurbishment agreement approved by the U.S. government to deliver a total of 24 Block-25 C and D variant F-16s to the Indonesian Air Force.
The aircraft, formerly flown by U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard units, had been warehoused by the Ogden ALC's 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group located at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Ariz.
The jets will depart on a five-day transoceanic flight and will require mid-air refueling and two overnight stops before arriving in Indonesia.

Dec 8, 2017

Qatar acquires 12 additional Rafale

In the presence of the President of the French Republic, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, and his Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Qatar Armed Forces and Dassault Aviation signed an agreement on future cooperation and the exercise of an option for 12 Rafale.
This new order follows on from the contract signed on 4 May 2015 between the State of Qatar and Dassault Aviation for the acquisition of 24 Rafale, thus raising the number of Rafale aircraft operated by the Qatar Emiri Air Force to 36.

Third RAAF F-35 makes first flight

The Royal Australian Air Force’s third F-35A Lightning II, A35-003, has completed its first flight.
Photographer Carl Richards captured these images of A35-003 taking off on its first flight, from Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, on December 1.
The aircraft is due to be delivered to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona in early 2018 to be used for pilot and maintainer training, before being permanently relocated to Australia in 2020.
A35-003, known to its manufacturer Lockheed Martin as AU-3, had its RAAF markings, including its 3 Squadron tail flashes, applied in early November, the final phase of the aircraft’s production process.

Dec 6, 2017

Spanish Navy Receives Fifth Upgraded AB-212 Helicopter

On Tuesday 5 December, SENER and Babcock España, joint venture partners, presented the fifth upgraded Agusta Bell 212 (AB-212) to the Directorate General of Armament and Material (Dirección General de Armamento y Material, DGAM) of the Spanish Ministry of Defence as part of a total of seven units that came into service in 1974. The two last units will be delivered in 2018.
The presentation ceremony took place at Babcock's Aeronautical Maintenance Centre in Albacete.
SENER and Babcock España have entered a joint venture with the purpose of completing the life extension program of these seven AB-212 helicopters belonging to the Spanish Navy. This will extend their operational life in at least 15 years, by incorporating advances in equipment and avionics.
Thanks to this program, the helicopters will be able to operate without restriction in controlled military and civilian airspaces, in compliance with the requirement of new regulations, as well as giving them self-protection and defence systems that will allow them to be deployed in multinational missions with a low-medium threat level. aviationpros

Russian Air Force sends TU-95M Strategic Bombers to Indonesia as part of a Navigation Exercise

The Russian Air Force has for the first time sent strategic bombers to visit an airport in eastern Indonesia on Tuesday, as the Russian military increases its presence in Southeast Asia following years of relative inactivity.
In a statement, Russia’s Defence Ministry said two Tupolev Tu-95MS Bears flew from the Amur region, in Russia’s far east, to Frans Kaisiepo Airport in Biak, on the northern coast of Indonesia’s eastern province of Papua as part of an international visit.
The ministry said that during the flight, the Tu-95MS bombers were refueled in the air by Ilyushin Il-78 tankers over the Pacific Ocean, adding that “the flight was carried out in strict accordance with the International Air Law.”
The bombers were supported by two Ilyushin Il-76MD airlifters that had landed at Biak the day before. The Indonesian Air Force, in announcing the visit, said that the bombers were conducting a long-range navigation exercise.
Mike Yeo-defensenews

Israel declares F-35s ready for operations

The Israeli Air Force on Wednesday declared its initial squadron of nine F-35 stealth fighters ready for operational use, less than a year after the first two fifth-generation fighters were delivered to the country by the U.S. Air Force.
In a Dec. 6 announcement, the Israel Defense Forces noted that Israel is the only country besides the U.S. to declare operational capability for the F-35 — a weapon system that “enhances strategic and operational capabilities” and improves readiness “in a wide range of scenarios and threats in all arenas.”
While an early December initial operational capability had been long-planned by the Israeli Air Force and F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin, the announcement comes after multiple strikes in Syria attributed to the Israeli Air Force earlier in the week. In at least two attacks over a 72-hour period earlier in the week, the Syrian regime announced that it had launched surface-to-air missiles against Israeli aircraft.
Israel has not confirmed or denied its role in the recent Syrian attacks. Yet, it has publicly insisted it would act to prevent Iran from establishing a permanent presence in the war-torn country north of its border.

Russia flies first Su-57 fitted with new Product 30 engine

Russia’s latest fighter aircraft flew on 5 December for the first time with the NPO Saturn “Product 30” engine, which will be the production standard for the Sukhoi Su-57.
Sukhoi has built and flown nine flight test prototypes of the Su-57 fighter powered by NPO Saturn Product 117 engines, which are derived from the AL-41F-1S afterburning turbofans developed for the Su-35.
But the Russian air force plans to replace the Product 117 in series production starting in 2020 with the Product 30 engines, possibly featuring a new engine core of which few details are known.
Russian government officials have said the Product 30 will provide more thrust and fuel efficiency, with reduced weight and maintenance requirements.
The 5 December test flight by Sukhoi chief test pilot Sergei Bogdan from the Gromov flight test centre at Zhukovsky AB lasted 17min, according to Russia’s Ministry for Industry and Trade.
Photos and video of the flight shows the Product 30 installed in the No. 1, or port-side, engine position, with a Product 117 engine remaining on the starboard side. The Product 30 features a serrated engine nozzle, compared to the flat nozzle on the Product 117.
The flight test was conducted by the second Su-57 aircraft prototype, also known as T-50-2.

U.S.Plans To Re-Stablish an Air Base in Iceland Sending Sub Hunting Planes

The Pentagon is preparing to spend millions of dollars to fix up a Cold War-era air base in Iceland as Washington rushes to keep an eye on a new generation of stealthy Russian submarines slipping into the North Atlantic.
Tucked away in the 2018 defense budget sitting on President Donald Trump’s desk is a provision for $14.4 million to refurbish hangars at Naval Air Station Keflavik to accommodate more U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft, a key surveillance asset for locating and tracking submarines, a defense official confirms.
The move comes as new Russian nuclear and conventional submarines have been making more frequent trips through the area known as the “GIUK gap” — an acronym for Greenland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom — the route for the Russian Northern Fleet to enter the Atlantic Ocean.
The United States and Iceland have agreed to increase rotations of the American surveillance planes to Iceland next year, Pentagon spokesman Johnny Michael confirmed to Foreign Policy.
Inside the alliance, there is concern over NATO’s ability to locate and track the new Russian submarines as they move silently into the open ocean. NATO officials have admitted that the past two decades of anti-piracy operations near Africa and support for ground operations in the Middle East have distracted from the anti-submarine mission which was at the core of the Cold War mission in the Atlantic.

Canada Scraps Plan To Buy 18 New Brand Superhornets, Plans To Buy 2nd Hand Hornet from Australia

Canada is scrapping a plan to buy 18 Boeing Co (BA.N) Super Hornet fighter jets amid a deepening dispute with the U.S. aerospace company, three sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
Instead, the Liberal government will announce next week it intends to acquire a used fleet of older Australia F-18 jets, the same kind of plane Canada currently operates, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.
The move underlines Ottawa’s anger at a decision by Boeing to launch a trade challenge against Canadian planemaker Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO), which the U.S. giant accuses of dumping airliners on the American market.
It also casts into question the future of Boeing’s military sales in Canada. Boeing says its commercial and defense operations in Canada support more than 17,000 Canadian jobs.
Canada and Mexico are locked into increasingly acrimonious negotiations with the United States over the NAFTA trade pact, which President Donald Trump says has not done enough to protect U.S. jobs.

First KC-46A Tanker for U.S. Air Force Completes First Flight

The first Boeing KC-46A tanker that will be delivered to the U.S. Air Force next year successfully completed its first flight and airborne tests today, taking off from Paine Field at 10:32 a.m. PST and landing approximately three-and-one-half hours later.
“Today’s flight is another milestone for the Air Force/Boeing team and helps move us closer to delivering operational aircraft to the warfighter,” said Col. John Newberry, U.S. Air Force KC-46 System program manager.
During the flight, Boeing test pilots took the tanker to a maximum altitude of 39,000 feet and performed operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved flight profile. Prior to subsequent flights, the team will conduct a post-flight inspection and calibrate instrumentation.
“We’re very proud of this aircraft and the state-of-the-art capabilities it will bring to the Air Force,” said Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46A tanker vice president and program manager. “We still have some tough work ahead of us, including completing our FAA certification activities, but the team is committed to ensure that upon delivery, this tanker will be everything our customer expects and more.”
The newest tanker is the KC-46 program’s seventh aircraft to fly to date. The previous six are being used for testing and certification and to date have completed 2,200 flight hours and more than 1,600 “contacts” during refueling flights with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, KC-10 and KC-46 aircraft.
The KC-46, derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, is built in the company’s Everett facility. Boeing is currently on contract for the first 34 of an expected 179 tankers for the U.S. Air Force.
The KC-46A is a multirole tanker that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.

USAF B-1B bomber in attack drill show of force to North Korea

The US military has flown a B-1B bomber over South Korea as part of a massive joint aerial drill, in a move seen as a warning to the North.
The B-1B Lancer plane simulated bombing a military field.
The drill is taking place a week after Pyongyang fired what it claimed was a new intercontinental ballistic missile which could hit mainland US.
The US has previously deployed bombers as a show of force after North Korean missile or nuclear tests.
South Korea's military said the US bomber took part in the simulation with US and South Korean fighter jets.
It took place at the Pilsung range in north-eastern Gangwon province, about 150km (93 miles) from the border with North Korea, reported Yonhap news agency citing the military.
More than 200 planes and thousands of troops are involved in the Vigilant Ace aerial exercise, which ends on Friday and had been planned before North Korea's latest missile launch.
Pyongyang, which routinely condemns US-South Korea's joint military exercises as rehearsals for war, called the latest drill "nuclear war provocation moves" in state media on Monday.
The drill is taking place as the UN's political chief Jeffrey Feltman visits Pyongyang for dialogue, in a rare visit by a senior UN official.
Tensions have been running high since the missile launch late last month, which triggered international condemnation and a warning from the US that the North Korean regime would be "utterly destroyed" if war broke out.
South Korea's military also plans to launch a combat unit of weaponised drones called "dronebots" next year, Yonhap reported quoting an unnamed official.
The "dronebots" would conduct reconnaissance on core North Korean targets such as nuclear and missile sites, and could also launch attacks, though the report did not give further details on how this could be done.

Dec 3, 2017

Six US F-22 stealth fighter jets arrive in South Korea for joint Vigilant Ace air drills

Six U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets arrived in South Korea on Saturday for joint air drills between Seoul and Washington slated for next week in a show of force against North Korea.
The fighter planes will join the allies' annual airborne exercise named Vigilant Ace to be held from Dec. 4-8, according to the South Korean Air Force.
The U.S. also plans to send F-35A and F-35B stealth jets, F-16C fighter planes and others including an unspecified number of B-1B bombers.
The South Korean Air Force will dispatch F-15K, KF-16 and F-5 fighter jets and other planes for the exercises with about 230 aircraft at eight U.S. and South Korean military installations being mobilized.

Second NH90 Sea Lion Helicopter for German Navy helicopter takes off

NH Industries on 24 November performed the maiden flight of the second prototype of the NH90 Sea Lion being developed for the German navy.
The milestone comes about a year after the initial flight-test vehicle took off from the Donauwörth facility of NHI consortium member Airbus Helicopters.
A phase of development testing focused on avionics and software will now take place, lasting several months.
Further modifications to the aircraft will take place in 2018, says Airbus Helicopters, bringing it to the delivery standard before further qualification testing.
The initial serial production aircraft is now in final assembly, ahead of first delivery scheduled for late 2019.
Germany has ordered 18 Sea Lions to replace its navy's fleet of aged Westland Sea King 41s.

Japan to conclude X-2 programme in March 2018

Japan's Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) is approaching the end of testing with the Mitsubishi X-2 technology demonstrator aircraft.
The twin-engined fighter has completed 34 sorties, says Hirofumi Doi, manager of Japan's Future Fighter Program at ATLA. The first two flights were conducted by Mitsubishi, the subsequent 32 by ATLA at Gifu air base. The aircraft's maiden flight occurred on 22 April 2016.
ATLA's original plans called for 50 flights. Doi declined to specify how many more flights would occur, but says that the X-2 demonstration project will be concluded in March 2018. What happens to the aircraft after this has not been determined. The aircraft was previously designated ATD-X.

Dec 2, 2017

France receives its first A400M fitted with pods for midair refueling

France’s procurement office has revealed it received its 12th A400M airlifter, which is the first in the European program to be fitted with two underwing pods for in-flight refueling of fighter jets. The A400Ms already in service will have the fuel pod added as they undergo a retrofit over time. The latest A400M will be flown to the air base at Orleans, south of Paris, in the next few days. France is due to receive a further three A400Ms by 2019, as set out by the 2014-19 military budget law.
Pierre Tran - defensenews