Feb 10, 2018
The milestone for the ELINT C-2 was not announced officially by the manufacturer, but was marked by images and video of the event posted online.
Designated EC-2 on account of its electronic mission, the aircraft is recognisably different from the baseline airlifter in that it has several appendages and other fairings attached to its upper and side fuselage, and atop the tail. The aircraft's radome is more bulbous compared with the airlifter's, and it is fitted with a large number of underfuselage antennas.
Plans for the deployment were announced by the Russian Ministry of Defence on 31 January.
On 5 February, Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis warned that Russia had now permanently stationed Iskander systems in the Kaliningrad region.
Shamanov replied, “We have them in place now, so what?”
The missiles are going to the 152nd Guards Missile Brigade based at Chernyakhovsk, in the Kaliningrad exclave.
In response, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said the Iskander deployment near Kaliningrad “means a threat not only to Lithuania, but also to half the European states”.
Further incidents involving US and Chinese forces appear inevitable after the China News Service revealed that the US guided-missile destroyer Hopper came within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island) last month, and was intercepted by the Chinese missile destroyer Huangshan. CNS said the US warship steered away from the area after a brief standoff.
Similar encounters in the air are set to become frequent as well, as the People’s Liberation Army has dispatched an unconfirmed number of Su-35 multirole fighters to the sea for joint combat cruise missions.
This is “a pragmatic action for the air force to fulfill its mission in the new era and conduct combat training exercises” above the South China Sea, said a statement by the PLA Air Force on its Weibo social media account.
It is also rumored that several J-20s already in service with the PLAAF will fly south to join Russian-made counterparts to test the 4.5th generation fighter’s operational reliability.
Israel said it sent an F-16 jet to disable an Iranian drone which entered into Israeli territory from Syria earlier on Saturday morning.
The military said it then faced massive anti-aircraft fire from the Syrian regime that forced two pilots to abandon the aircraft, which crashed in northern Israel.
One pilot was seriously wounded and the other lightly. Syrian officials reported large explosions in the centre of the country and the Syrian counter fire set off warning sirens throughout northern Israel.
The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said it struck at least a dozen targets after the jet was downed, including three aerial defence batteries and four Iranian targets near the capital Damascus.
Saturday's incident marked the first time an Israeli aircraft has been shot down by Syria since the Lebanese civil war in 1982.
Feb 3, 2018
Watched by a crowd of VIPs including Russian president Vladimir Putin, the 7min sortie was performed at an altitude of 300m, to check the aircraft's handling characteristics.
As well as modernising the aircraft with new avionics and engines, Tupolev has made extensive alterations to the existing airframe.
The Tu-160 was last produced in 2008 and the current upgrade process is part of an effort to re-establish the final assembly facility in Kazan.
Air Cdre Al Smith,declined to reveal the platform under consideration, or the timeline for any acquisition. The latter is driven by the out-of-service date for the Gazelle, which could be accelerated from a current target of 2025 if the type becomes more costly to support due to a shortage of spare parts.
Employed by the Army Air Corps in the reconnaissance and battlefield liaison role, the Gazelle also relies on a pool of what Smith describes as "really highly trained" flightcrew, who are used to operating as a single pilot in "quite challenging weather conditions".
Delivery of the final UH-60M-standard platforms aboard a US Air Force (USAF) Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter took place in December 2017, and was part of a wider handover that included 12 such helicopters supplied to the kingdom over the nine months.
The build-up of the RJAF’s Black Hawk inventory is geared at reinforcing the defence of border security against Islamic State forces in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, and to enable the Royal Jordanian Army’s Quick Reaction Forces to immediately deploy anywhere in the country. The US Congress appropriated USD470 million in 2017 to the Jordanian armed forces, including training for pilots, crew chiefs, and maintenance technicians, as well as spare parts, ground equipment, weapons, ammunition and shelters for the Black Hawks.
The rocket tests, which were conducted in early December but announced Jan. 31, are part of the company’s development of its HForce weapons packages meant for military services looking to arm rotorcraft.
The tests were conducted at the Alvaden test range in Sweden, with the Thales FZ275 LGR, which stands for laser-guided rocket, and an MX-15D electro-optical system from L3 Wescam, according to Airbus.
The rockets are intended to deliver a precision strike, which seeks to limit civilians casualties, particularly in asymmetric combat.
The tests followed ballistic firing tests in Hungary in October, another key step in the development of the HForce weapon system for the H145M military helicopter.
Qualification of the ballistic HForce weapons package is expected at end of this year, with laser-guided rockets due to be certified by the end of 2019.
The bulk of the unexplained physiological events ― 10 of them ― occurred at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi. Two other events occurred at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma, and another happened at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas.
The unexplained events included conditions such as hypoxia, or too little oxygen in the body; hypocapnia, or too little carbon dioxide in the blood; and hypercapnia, or too much carbon dioxide in the blood.
In the upcoming Japanese fiscal year, nine more aircraft will join this one to incept the first fifth-generation fighter squadron as part of the JASDF’s 3rd Air Wing.
In total, JASDF plans to acquire 42 F-35As as successors to its F-4s. A commemorative ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 24 at Misawa AB to celebrate the official initial deployment of a JASDF F-35A.
"The F-35A will bring transformation in air defense power and significantly contribute to the peace for citizens and ensure security,” said JASDF Maj. Gen. Kenichi Samejima, the 3rd AW commander.
Jan 27, 2018
According to a news release issued by Singapore’s Defence Ministry detailing events and activities that the Republic of Singapore Air Force will hold to mark the anniversary, the A330 MRTT will make its first public appearance at a parade on Sept. 1, the date the service was formed in 1968 as the Singapore Air Defence Command.
The latest photos of the aircraft — taken at Toulouse, France, in November 2017 during the testing and evaluation phase following the conversion to the tanker configuration — show it still in its tan primer and not yet painted in the Air Force’s colors.
Singapore announced its order of six A330 MRTTs in March 2014 to recapitalize its fleet of midair refueling tankers. The Air Force currently operates a fleet of four Boeing KC-135R Stratotankers, acquired and refurbished in 2000 from stored ex-U.S. Air Force airframes.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force also has about five of its 10 Lockheed Martin C-130B/H Hercules airlifters plumbed for the tanker role, although they are no longer used in this role, as the Air Force currently does not operate aircraft equipped for refueling by probe.
The first Air Force A330 MRTT will be delivered in what is known as the MRTT Enhanced configuration, featuring a package of aerodynamic improvements, structural modifications and avionics updates over the previous baseline military variant. France and South Korea will also be receiving their A330 MRTTs in this standard.
Mike Yeo defensenews
Gen. Carlton Everhart visited Boeing in Washington state to get a hands-on look at the Air Force’s new refueling tanker.
“If everything stays on track and the weather holds, I think [Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration] can probably get everything done in the next 60 to 70 days, hopefully less,” Everhart told Air Force Times on Wednesday after flying on the KC-46 for the first time.
In December, the FAA certified the 767-2C, which is the modified 767 commercial plane that forms the basis of the KC-46.
Jan 23, 2018
"The first [CAEW] aircraft has already participated in several drills with NATO air forces, to the utmost satisfaction of the customer," Israel's defence ministry says.
Photo credits to AirbusDSThe aircraft were manufactured at the Getafe Final Assembly Line in the P1Eb FW (Phase 1 Enhanced Further Work) configuration which marks a key step in the overall Eurofighter evolution plan.
This same configuration is being retrofitted to in-service aircraft by other Eurofighter nations. It provides increased integration of a variety of air-to-surface weapons and enhanced targeting among other improvements.
Spanish procurement agency DGAM took delivery of the aircraft on 22 December and they were subsequently ferried to Albacete air force base to enter service. The remaining six of the 73 aircraft currently contracted by Spain will be delivered to the same P1Eb FW standard during 2018 and 2019.
Jan 21, 2018
The source, who did not reveal how many S-400s are set to be delivered, pointed out that the contract did not envisage either a technology transfer or licensed production of the systems.
Congress is rushing to avoid a government shutdown, which will occur unless lawmakers pass a short-term funding stopgap by Friday. But the Air Force is getting increasingly worried that even the best case scenario — another CR — could curb key modernization efforts like the B-21, its Undersecretary Matt Donovan said.
“A long-term CR will limit execution of the engineering, manufacturing and development phase, the EMD phase, of the B-21,” he said at an Air Force Association event. “We would be limited to the FY17 funding level, which is far below the FY18 budget request. This will have the effect of postponing delivery of the critical strategic capability to the joint warfighter.”
The Air Force allotted $2 billion in its unclassified FY18 budget request for continued EMD activities, up from $1.3 billion the previous year. While the B-21 program currently remains on track, Donovan stated the program will be negatively affected as early as April if the Defense Department remains entangled in a CR.
Northrop Grumman won the B-21 contract in 2015 after a protracted battle with a Boeing-Lockheed Martin team. The Air Force currently intends to buy at least 100 B-21s, with the fielding of the first bombers planned for the mid-2020s.
Jan 20, 2018
The B-52s from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana deployed to Andersen Air Force Base along with about 300 airmen. The aircraft and personnel will support the U.S. Pacific Command’s continuous bomber presence mission, replacing six B-1B Lancer bombers, which are scheduled to return home to Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, at the end of this month.
But for a few days at least, all three types of bombers — the nuclear-capable B-2s and B-52s and the conventional B-1Bs — will be flying together out of the U.S. territory in the Pacific, just the second time that has happened, according to a Pacific Air Forces news release. The first time was in August 2016 as part of an historic integrated bomber operation.
The B-2 Spirits and about 200 airmen, assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, arrived Jan. 8 in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s bomber assurance and deterrence mission.
The aircraft types that are being compared in this study are the A330 multirole tanker-transport (MRTT) from Airbus, and what the Indonesians allude to as a militarised version of the Boeing 767 tanker, in reference to the KC-46A Pegasus.
Issues that will be scrutinised in the study include suitability for Indonesian operational requirements, compatibility of refuelling methods with the TNI-AU’s fleet of aircraft, interoperability with existing and future assets, and life-cycle costs.
Prior to June 2015, the TNI-AU operated a fleet of two pod-equipped KC-130Bs, which were delivered in the early 1960s. One of these aircraft crashed in Medan on 30 June of that year after developing engine troubles, and since then the TNI-AU has had to rely on a single airframe of the type for its aerial refueling needs.
The proposed deal, worth an estimated $6.53 billion, would cover 34 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing models made by Lockheed Martin and 38 F-135 engines manufactured by Pratt & Whitney.
It also includes electronic warfare systems, communications gear, a full mission trainer and Lockheed’s Autonomic Logistics Information System — which facilitates maintenance, mission planning and logistics — as well as other equipment, the Defense Security Agency stated.
The F-35 is overwhelmingly considered the favorite for the Belgian fighter competition, which will replace the country’s 54 F-16s with 34 new jets. Should Belgium select the joint strike fighter, the total value of the deal will likely change after negotiations, as DSCA often puts forward a high contract estimate.
Competing against the joint strike fighter are the Dassault Rafale ,and the Eurofighter Typhoon,
Jan 14, 2018
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
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.”
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.