Apr 22, 2018
Air Force officials said in March 2017 that it was considering retiring its 236 F-15 C and D fighters and replacing them with F-16 Fighting Falcons.
Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, told Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., during a Senate Armed Services air land forces subcommittee hearing Wednesday that the service is still studying its options with the F-15 ― especially as it brings the newest F-35 fighters on board.
The Portuguese Air Force will deploy four F-16M fighter jets from Air Base No 5 Monte Real to Šiauliai, Lithuania, for the fourth time to provide Air Policing capabilities to safeguard the skies over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The 90-strong detachment of pilots, ground crews and support personnel will take over the lead of NATO Allied Air Command’s Air Policing mission from Denmark on May 2 during a ceremony at Šiauliai Air Base.
French Air Force Mirage 2000-5 fighters and Spanish Eurofighter jets will augment the peacetime mission of Air Policing in the Baltics that started with the accession Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to NATO in 2004.
The French detachment will be based at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, and bring four Mirage 2000-5 from 01.002 wing "Cigognes” and approx. 100 personnel from their home base at Luxeuil in the east of France. This is the seventh time French fighters conduct the NATO mission in the Baltics.
The Spanish Eurofighter detachment comprised of six jets and approx. 130 personnel from 11th Wing at Morón Air Base will be deployed at Šiauliai, too. Spain led the BAP mission in 2006 and 2016 and augmented it out of Ämari in 2015 and 2017, making this the fifth tour to the Baltics.
The Government of Mexico has requested to buy eight (8) MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopters, equipped with: twenty (20) T-700 GE 401 C engines (16 installed and 4 spares); sixteen (16) APS-153(V) Multi-Mode radars (8 installed, 8 spares); ten (10) Airborne Low Frequency Systems (ALFS) (8 installed and 2 spares); fourteen (14) AN/APX-123 Identification Friend or Foe transponders (8 installed and 6 spares); twelve (12) AN/AAS-44C Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems Forward Looking Infrared Systems (8 installed, 4 spares); twenty (20) Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems (EGI) with Selective Availability/Anti-Spoofing Module (16 installed and 4 spares); thirty (30) AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Devices; one thousand (1,000) AN/SSQ-36/53/62 Sonobuoys; ten (10) AGM-114 Hellfire missiles; five (5) AGM-114 M36-E9 Captive Air Training missiles; four (4) AGM-114Q Hellfire training missiles; thirty eight (38) Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) II rockets; thirty (30) Mk -54 Lightweight Hybrid Torpedoes (LHTs); twelve (12) M-240D machine guns; twelve (12) GAU-21 Machine Guns.
Apr 21, 2018
Lockheed has discussed the idea with Japanese defense ministry officials and will make a formal proposal in response to a Japanese request for information (RFI) after it receives permission from the U.S. government to offer the sensitive military technology.
The decision on whether to release parts of the highly classified aircraft designs and software to help Japan stay ahead of Chinese advances will test President Donald Trump’s promise to overhaul his country’s arms export policy.
The proposed aircraft “would combine the F-22 and F-35 and could be superior to both of them,” said one of the sources.
Japan, which is already buying the radar-evading F-35 to modernize its inventory, also wants to introduce a separate air superiority fighter in the decade starting 2030 to deter intrusions into its airspace by Chinese and Russian jets.
The country’s air force currently flies the F-15J, based on the Boeing F-15; and the F-2, based on the Lockheed Martin F-16.
The bomber is now on its way to critical design review, said Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., the military deputy of the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition.
Citing the “nature of the work,” Bunch declined to go into further detail about how the Air Force planned to spend the $2.3 billion it requested for the bomber program for fiscal year 2019 when asked by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). However, he said the program was “continuing engineering manufacturing development” and “some of those risk reduction areas.”
SAMANTHA MASUNAGA | The Los Angeles Times (Tribune News Service)stripes
When a plastic bumper for a landing-gear door wore out this month on an F-35B Lightning II embarked on the amphibious assault ship, a 3-D printer was used to whip up a new one.
The Iwakuni-based jet from Fighter Attack Squadron 121 later flew successfully with the new part, a Marine statement said.
Called “additive manufacturing,” the process from Naval Air Systems Command allowed the Marines of Combat Logistics Battalion 31 to create the new bumper and get it approved for use within days, the statement said. Otherwise, they would have had to replace the entire door assembly, which is expensive and time consuming.
Apr 15, 2018
Continuing aircraft reductions in the tri-national program, which also includes Italy, have led to “significant technical, logistical and financial risk” in maintaining the 1980s-era fighter-bombers, officials have told lawmakers in a confidential report seen by Defense News.
While the prospect of Britain’s exit from the aircraft program has been known since November 2016, there is “no sufficient and comprehensive planning in place” for sustaining the remaining German planes, the report warns.
German defense leaders decided in 2016 to extend the life of the Tornado through 2035, with an assessment planned this summer of implementation plans to that end. Berlin originally purchased 357 aircraft; 93 are still in the inventory today, 88 of which belong to the Luftwaffe, according to the defense ministry.
A handful of German Tornados packed with reconnaissance equipment are currently deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, flying missions over Iraq and Syria.
The defense ministry’s March 2018 report leaves open the question of how, and if, the UK would retain some kind of role in the program. Last November, the document states, there was talk about introducing a new, fixed scheme for financial contributions, abandoning the practice of going by the number of airframes used in each nation.
The British plan to use the Eurofighter Typhoon and the F-35 to absorb missions flown by Tornados. In Germany, the Typhoon appears to be the defense ministry’s preference for a follow-on aircraft, though there are also voices advocating for the F-35. Officials have requested information on both planes from the manufacturers, plus data from the maker of the F-18 and the F-15.
The Israeli company's offers a concept that it claims can bring fighter aircraft to a an advanced 4.5 generation standard by upgrading the different systems.
The concept is being evaluated by the Indian Air Force for its Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) fighter aircraft.
The upgrade suit that according to Rafael can enhance the fighter aircraft's capabilities to a 4.5 generation standard includes the Rafael BNET which is an advanced IP Mobile Ad-hoc Network Software Defined Radio (SDR) for tactical operations. According to Rafael It offers unique high spectrum efficiency, as well as cognitive capabilities.
The upgrade package may also include two types of Israeli developed air-air missiles - the IR Python 5 and the I-Derby ER radar-guided 100 km range missile.
The South African Air Force’s Gripens are already equipped with the Rafael Litening 3 targeting pod. The upgrade proposed by Rafael includes enhancing the Litening to its 4.1 version.
Rafael has been working closely with the Swedish manufacturer Saab to offer the upgrade package to users of the Gripen.
The Tornado is UK's primary ground attack jet and has been used to carry out numerous air strikes in Syria and Iraq in recent years.
Set to be retired from service next year after almost four decades on operations, the Tornado, with a maximum speed of Mach 1.3, has also seen action in Libya and Afghanistan.
The main Tornado squadrons are based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, which will become the new home of the cutting-edge of the F-35 Lightning stealth fighter jets.
There are currently six of the jets based at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, a location some 315 miles (510km) from Syria.
Apr 11, 2018
Draken International Signs Agreement with Paramount Aerospace Systems to Regenerate 22 Mirage F1M Aircraft Ex Spanish Air Force
Draken acquired 22 Mirage F1M and F1B fighter jets in an effort to enhance adversary services for its US Department of Defense and allied nation customers. The Mirage F1Ms were predominantly flown by the Spanish Air Force and received a full radar and avionics suite modernization in the late 1990s. This acquisition along with the most recent purchase of twelve supersonic radar equipped South African Denel Cheetah fighter jets increased Draken’s fleet size to over 150 fighter aircraft.
With the completion of the procurement phase, the Mirage F1Ms will now undergo reassembly, restoration and airworthiness certification by Paramount Aerospace Systems at Draken’s Lakeland, FL maintenance facility. Paramount Aerospace specializes in the modernization of fixed wing platforms including leading the previous modernization of the Mirage F1M while still in Spanish Air Force military service. Paramount possesses extensive capabilities on the Mirage F1 with full airframe and engine overhaul capability, as well as the ability to upgrade and modernize avionics and mission systems.
Apr 7, 2018
The IAF released a 73-page request for information to six companies to supply 110 single- and twin-seat fighters over a maximum of 12 years.
Facing a 3 July deadline, responses are expected from the Boeing F/A-18E/F Block III, Dassault Rafale F3R, EurofighterTyphoon, Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70, United Aircraft Corp MiG-35 and Saab Gripen E.
It will be a familiar competition for the six bidding teams. The same teams squared off in 2009 for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) contract for 126 fighters. India selected the Rafale, but cancelled the contract seven years later.
Instead, the IAF awarded Dassault a contract to deliver 36 Rafales in 2016, and launched a competition for a contract to build 114 single-engine fighters, which limited the field to the F-16 and Gripen.
The IAF scrapped that contest two months ago under pressure from the Indian Congress to consider single- and twin-engined fighters.
The new RFI re-opens the competition to twin-engined fighters made in the USA, Western Europe and Russia.
The RFI sets no standards for the number of engines in the IAF’s future fighter, and repeatedly references the singular or plural term, “engine/s”, in requests for data about the propulsion system.
About 82 of the 110 fighters should be single-seat aircraft and the rest should be two-seat versions, the RFI says.
A maximum of about 16 or 17 fighters can be built outside the country, but the rest must be built within India by local companies or an Indian production agency, the document shows.
As expected, technology transfer and “Made in India” will be priorities in the IAF’s bid evaluations. The bidders must describe in their responses to the RFI how they will use Indian companies as suppliers for systems and aircraft production.
The US State Department approved a potential sale of four MQ-4C Tritons to Germany, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on 5 April.
The approval allows Northrop to export the high-altitude surveillance aircraft, but doesn’t mean Germany has committed to sign a contract.
The DSCA notification says the full package, including a ground control station, spares and support, is worth $2.5 billion.
Germany would acquire a modified version of the MQ-4C configuration that Northrop has developed for the US Navy, but the notice doesn’t list the changes.
The USN’s version of the aircraft comes with several major sensors, including Northrop’s multi-function airborne system (MFAS) radar, a camera-based targeting system and electronic support measures.
In 2000, Germany launched a programme to acquire a high-altitude UAV for electronic surveillance. Northrop delivered one “Euro Hawk” aircraft to Germany, using an RQ-4B Global Hawk airframe and an Airbus sensor payload. But the Germany cancelled the Euro Hawk programme due to financing and airspace integration problems.
The Australian government also plans to buy the MQ-4C for the maritime surveillance mission in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
The Government of Spain has requested to buy 17 CH-47F cargo helicopters with customer-unique modifications, 21 Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) AN/AAR-57A(V)8, and 42 Embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) Inertial Navigation System (INS) (EGI).
Also included are mission equipment, hardware and services required to implement customer-unique modifications, communication, Aircraft Survivability Equipment (ASE), and navigation equipment including AN/ARC-231 Multi-mode radios, AN/ARC-201D SINCGARS radios, AN/ARC-220 High Frequency (HF) Radio, Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF), AN/AAR-57A(V)8, and the Radar Signal Detecting Set (RSDS), AN/APR-39A(V)1, special tools and test equipment, ground support equipment, airframe and engine spare parts, technical data, publications, MWO/ECPs, technical assistance, transportation of aircraft and training, and other related elements of logistics and program support.
Apr 3, 2018
State Department approval of the sale of F/A-18 Super Hornets to Kuwait was first announced in November 2016, with the country requesting a total of 40 Super Hornets, including 28 fighters for initial delivery, plus the option to order 12 more. Boeing was to provide Raytheon APG-79 active electronically scanned array radars and 20mm guns for the jets, per the original sale announcement.
The report says that so far, it has not been possible to build an encryption device for secure data transfer into the jet, which entered service in the 1970s.
The communication devices of the Tornado also do not meet current standards, the report said, meaning there’s a risk that information could be intercepted.
“This could in the worst case mean that the demand for an encrypted communication system for the Tornado weapons system can’t be achieved. That means the Tornado weapons system may not take part in NATO missions,” the report states.
A spokesman for the German air force said its 10 Tornado jets registered for the NATO Response Force met current requirements, without providing further details.
Germany wants to start phasing out the Tornado jets in 2025 and the defense ministry has said that the Eurofighter Typhoon is the leading candidate.
Mar 30, 2018
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.
The four additional M-346 aircraft will be delivered by 2020 and will join the fleet of eight already in service.
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.
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
“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
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
The service on Thursday evening disclosed two “category one” deficiencies involving the remote vision system and centerline drogue systems.
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.
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
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.
"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
“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.
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
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.