Dec 24, 2016
“Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!” he tweeted at 5:26 p.m. EST.
Lockheed Martin stock, which had closed at $252.80 a share, tumbled down to $247.75 at about 7 p.m. EST, a 2 percent decline. At the same time, Boeing stock shot up by about 1.49 percent, increasing from $157.46 to $158.95 a share.
What this means for Lockheed Martin and its top competitor Boeing in the long term is not exactly clear. Although the F-35 has been plagued with its share of cost overruns and technical issues, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a fourth-generation plane that lacks many of the capabilities that define a fifth-generation plane, such as stealth and sensor fusion. Redesigning a Super Hornet to meet the same requirements as the F-35 would require years of development and engineering time and probably billions of dollars.
“Now that the F-35 has been declared combat capable, we will deploy our newest fighter to Europe in the not too distant future,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James during a speech at the Atlantic Council. “Matter of fact, if I were a betting woman, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the F-35 didn’t make an appearance, perhaps, next summer. The unique combination of stealth, situational and sensor fusion will play an important role in reassuring allies and providing deterrence.”
The trip to Europe would be the first operational overseas deployment of the Air Force's A-model, which officially reached initial combat capability in August.
The service will also send a theater security package of F-15s from Louisiana and Florida Air National Guard units to Europe this spring to conduct training exercises with partners, similar to the deployment of F-22s to Romania last April.
James likely is nearing the end of her tenure as Air Force secretary this January, and plans to deploy the F-35 could change under the new presidential administration. However, she advised her successor to move forward with deployments to Europe that showcase US air dominance, adding that such activities are key for deterring hostile Russian military action that has become more prevalent since its invasion of Crimea.
"Russia is a country that does understand force,” she said. “At a time like this, at a time when I believe they are pushing and poking and testing, I think the alliance needs to demonstrate that resolve and show force.”
Also of vital importance is US involvement in the Baltic air policing mission – a NATO effort to guard the airspace of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, she said.
Dec 17, 2016
China’s first and only aircraft carrier led large-scale exercises in the Bohai Sea, the navy of the People’s Liberation Army announced late on Thursday.
The drills involved dozens of ships and aircraft in the carrier group and more than 10 air-to-air, anti-ship and air defence missiles were tested, it said.
The group also performed reconnaissance exercises, tests of early warning systems, aerial interception and missile defence.
The goal of the exercises was to “test the performance of weapons and the training level of the team”, the statement said.
China’s national broadcaster CCTV showed footage of J-15 fighter jets taking off from the carrier and firing missiles.
The drills come as a heated war of words intensifies between Beijing and the US president-elect, Donald Trump, who broke convention by speaking directly to the Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, and even suggested Washington could jettison the decades-old “One China policy” – a diplomatic compromise allowing the US to do business with both China and Taiwan while only recognising Beijing.
Since Trump’s and Tsai’s phone call, China has sent military aircraft close to Japanese territory near the Miyako Strait and reportedly sent a bomber to circumnavigate disputed territory in the resource-rich South China Sea – flights its air force has described as “routine”.
The US Pacific commander said on Wednesday that the US would keep challenging China’s “assertive, aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea” despite Beijing’s rapid development of artificial islands capable of hosting military planes.
Satellite images published this week by a US thinktank showed structures on Chinese-built artificial islands that appeared to be large anti-aircraft guns and close-in weapons systems (CIWS) designed to take out incoming missiles and enemy aircraft, the thinktank said.
China’s defence ministry said the construction was mostly for civilian use and necessary military installations were for self-defence.
Beijing is seeking to build a “blue water” navy capable of operating in distant seas and has embarked on an extensive project to modernise its two million-strong military, the world’s largest.
The Liaoning is a secondhand Soviet ship built more than 25 years ago. It was commissioned in 2012 after extensive refits.
In December 2015 China’s defence ministry announced the country was building a second aircraft carrier based entirely on domestic designs.
Dec 8, 2016
The contract signing followed a type selection made by the Chilean Air Force (Fuerza Aérea de Chile: FACh) in September, in which the Black Hawk beat off competition from Leonardo Helicopters, Airbus Helicopters, Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI), and Rosoboronexport, which had offered the AW149, H215, Surion, and Mi-17 'Hip' respectively.
The S-70i (international) helicopters are to be built by Sikorsky's subsidiary, PZL Mielec, in Poland. Improvements made on the S-70i over the baseline Black Hawk include a fully integrated digital glass cockpit featuring colour 6x8-inch (15x20 cm) multifunction display (MFD) units and a dual digital automatic flight-control system (AFCS). It also features a digital map and more powerful General Electric T700-GE-701D engines (but with T700-GE-701C control systems).
Once delivered, they will augment the one S-70 that the FACh received in 1998 as well as its remaining rotary fleet of mainly Bell 412 and UH-1H platforms. While the current plan is to procure just six aircraft, Sikorsky has previously told that there is the potential for more to be bought at a later date.
The contract follows an initial two-year service deal Britain and France signed in December 2014.
The contract offered major cost cuts, greater efficiency and flexibility to meet operational needs, the company said.
Airbus DS called on other client nations of the A400M Atlas to join the common maintenance deal, which came into effect Dec. 1 with an initial two-year phase. Spain received its first A400M on that day.
Britain’s Defence Equipment and Support agency, France's Direction Générale de l’Armement, and Spain’s Direccion General de Armamento y Material signed up for the deal through OCCAR, the international program management organization.
Germany signed in 2014 a separate, four-year deal for its A400M fleet, with two contracts — one for system support and the other for material management.
They were commissioned into service four days after delivery to Kaduna on Dec. 1. According to the supply contract signed in June this year, the PAC would also provide technical training to the NAF teams charged with operating and maintaining the aircraft.
Four more on-loan aircraft would be delivered to Nigeria in early 2017. By mid-2017, the loaned aircraft would be replaced with new assets, which are already under assembly.
The four have since been commissioned into service at the 301 Flight Training School in Abuja, replacing an aging fleet of Dana Air Beetle trainer variants which has been in service since 1995.
Apart from Nigeria, four Super Mushshak trainers are in service with the Pakistani Air Force. Global interest in the Super Mushshak soared in 2016 with Qatar signing a deal for the supply of eight in May.
Late in November, the Turkish Air Force signed a memorandum of understanding that set the groundwork for acquisition of up to 52 trainers. Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia and South Africa are also reported to be interested in acquiring the aircraft.
A derivative of the Mushshak aircraft, the Super Mushshak is a version of the Saab MF-17 Supporter, which is produced in Pakistan under license from Sweden.
The latest version is powered by a 260 horsepower Textron Lycoming IO-540 V4A5 engine. It features a US-designed glass cockpit as well as environmental controls.
According to Abubakar, Nigeria will soon take delivery of four new, Russian-made Mi-35N attack helicopters from Russia and three JF-17 Thunder aircraft from Pakistan.
The West African country has also ordered at least three ex-Brazilian Air Force Super Tucano light-attack aircraft. A parallel aircraft-refurbishment program has led to the restoration and recommissioning of helicopters, which include three Mi-24V and Mi-35P attack variants, two EC-135s, two AugustaWestland A109s, and one Super Puma.
A single Beechcraft light aircraft, one Falcon jet, one Diamond DA-42 and two Dornier DO-228 maritime surveillance planes have also been restored and returned to service.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Procurement Minister Judy Foote will release the details that morning at the Royal Canadian Air Force base in Trenton Ontario.
The deal will be worth around CAN$3 billion (US $2.3 billion) and would include long-term, in-service support.
The Airbus Defense and Space C-295 was selected over the C-27J aircraft from Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica ).
Embraer of Brazil also bid the KC-390 for the Canadian program.
Airbus officials declined to comment, referring questions to the Canadian government.
Sajjan’s press secretary, Jordan Owens, declined to confirm any details on the contract award set for Thursday.
Airbus Defence and Space has teamed with key Canadian firms for the project and other ventures on the C-295.
The new planes will replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 40-year-old Buffalo aircraft and older-model C-130s currently assigned to search-and-rescue duties.
Airbus previously said it will build a new training facility in Comox, British Columbia, if it wins the contract.
The Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) aircraft project is divided into a contract for the acquisition of the aircraft and another contract for 20 years of in-service support.
The Air Force expects all aircraft for the FWSAR program to be delivered by 2023.
The FWSAR project originally envisioned acquiring 17 aircraft. But that has now changed and will be capability based, according to government officials. The aerospace firms submitted in their bids the numbers of aircraft they believe are needed for Canada to handle the needed SAR capability.
In the bids, the firms were required to submit prices and aircraft numbers for a fleet to operate out of four main existing bases across Canada. Information was also requested for having planes operating from three bases.
The Canadian government originally announced its intent in the spring of 2004 to buy a fleet of new fixed-wing SAR aircraft, but the purchase has been on and off ever since.
The FWSAR project was sidelined over the years by more urgent purchases of equipment for Canada’s Afghanistan mission as well as complaints made in the House of Commons by domestic aerospace firms and Airbus that the Air Force favored the C-27J aircraft for the fixed-wing SAR plane.
The Air Force strenuously denied any preference for an aircraft.
Nov 22, 2016
"Canada will immediately explore the acquisition of 18 new Super Hornet aircraft to supplement the CF-18s until the permanent replacement arrives," the Canadian government announced in a release. "Canada's current fleet is now more than 30 years old and is down from 138 aircraft to 77. As a result, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) faces a capability gap."
Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Canada will launch a larger fighter competition next year, after it wraps up its defense policy review. But the competition will likely take about five years, which kicks the decision into the next administration. Liberal Party Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had vowed not to buy the F-35 joint strike fighter.
"We have a capability gap. We have selected the minimum number of aircraft to meet this capability gap here. At the same time, we are launching a full competition and making sure that we take the appropriate time, without cutting corners to get the right airplane," said Sajjan.
"Boeing is honored to provide the Royal Canadian Air Force with the only multi-role fighter aircraft that can fulfill its immediate needs for sovereign and North American defense," the company stated in a news release. "The Super Hornet's advanced operational capabilities, low acquisition and sustainment costs, and Boeing's continued investment in the Canadian aerospace industry — US$6 billion over the past five years alone — make the Super Hornet the perfect complement to Canada's current and future fighter fleet."
Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin was less pleased with the decision, restating its hope that the Canadian government would ultimately purchase the fighter.
“Lockheed Martin recognizes the recent announcement by the Government of Canada of its intent to procure the 4th generation F/A-18 Super Hornet as an interim fighter capability,” the company said in a statement. “Although disappointed with this decision, we remain confident the F-35 is the best solution to meet Canada's operational requirements at the most affordable price, and the F-35 has proven in all competitions to be lower in cost than 4th generation competitors. The F-35 is combat ready and available today to meet Canada's needs for the next 40 years.”
Further down the road, Lockheed could strip Canadian industrial participation — which totals 110 Canadian firms with $750 million in contracts, according to Lockheed —should the country ultimately opt not to by the F-35. The company has not signaled whether it would be willing to do so.
Nov 19, 2016
The aircraft was delivered during a brief ceremony at the A400M final assembly line in Seville, Spain.
With the handover Spain became the sixth country to have received the A400M.
It will replace the Spanish Air Force's aging C-130 cargo aircraft type. It can also be used as a tactical air-to-air tanker.
Airbus is to deliver 14 aircraft to Spain by 2022. The remaining aircraft are slated for delivery from 2025.
The discussed procurements are to intensify Serbia’s military cooperation with Russia, which also offered to sell Belgrade Buk anti-aircraft missile systems on mobile launchers. However, Serbian officials said they cannot afford to purchase the systems, which cost about $60 million per battalion, a government source in Belgrade told local daily Vecernje Novosti.
The Serbian Ministry of Defence considers acquiring new aircraft as one of its top procurement priorities, as the Serbian air force's existing fighter jet fleet is expected to lose its operational capacity in the next two to three years. Should Belgrade decide to obtain the MiG-29s from Moscow, the aircraft are to be overhauled and modernized by the Russian defense industry under a deal estimated to be worth about $50 million.
The Liaoning's political commissar said in an interview with Tuesday's Global Times newspaper that his ship is "constantly prepared to fight against enemies," signaling a change from its past status as a platform for testing and training.
Senior Captain Li Dongyou's comments appear to indicate that the ship has taken on its full aviation complement. Purchased as an incomplete hull from Ukraine more than a decade ago, it was commissioned in 2013.
China hasn't described specifically how it intends to use the Liaoning, but it is seen as helping reinforce China's increasingly assertive claims in the South China Sea in the face of challenges from the U.S. Navy and others.
Combat training aircraft Yak-130, built by an aircraft factory "Irkut" Corporation, it was designed as an advanced trainer aircraft and has light strike capability.
Took to the skies over Irkutsk, Yak-130 has an "export" serial number and is intended for delivery to Myanmar under the contract in 2015. Myanmar should get about ten of these aircraft, the first three aircrafts under the contract will be delivered up to the end of 2016.
Myanmar will become the fourth foreign buyer of Russian combat training aircraft Yak-130, also bought Algeria, Bangladesh and Belarus.
Nov 12, 2016
“The problem is the company,” Le Drian told the defense committee of the lower house National Assembly on Nov. 2, the official minutes of which were recently released. “Today, the A400Ms delivered are not operational – and the problem does not concern just France: that is the case everywhere.
“As this meeting is public, perhaps my remarks will reach Mr. Enders. It can be said that the talks I have with the Airbus executives are … lively.”
Tom Enders is chief executive of Airbus group. The Air Force is flying the A400M in its basic version as a cargo plane into secure airbases.
“I have asked for a plan to catch up, both for the aircraft’s capabilities and delivery rate,” Le Drian told members of parliament. The delivery delays were unacceptable and the lack of capabilities for parachute drops, self defense and landing on short runways caused concern.
The ministry has reached an agreement for 2016, he said. “I hope it will be upheld,” he said. “In any case, we have an extremely close dialog with the company.”
France had ordered four Hercules C-130J transport planes to meet urgent requirements and tackle the problems of an aging fleet, but that purchase had not been planned at the outset, he said.
The French Air Force expects to receive by the end of the year six A400Ms of the “tactical” version, Air Chief of Staff Gen. André Lanata told the French Senate Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces Committee on Oct. 12. Parachute drops are key to that tactical model, he said.
A tactical model is equipped with a protected cabin and a self-defense system to protect the aircrew and aircraft when flying over hostile zones.
“We expect the company concerned to make every single effort to allow us to undertake our very many operational commitments,” Lanata said.
The A400M engine is now the major concern for the service, as the motors require an inspection every 80 hours, an unsustainable rate leading to fleet availability shortages, he said.
An interim solution to the engine will be delivered between now and Spring 2017 until a permanent remedy is ready, which will make the situation manageable – which it is not right now, he said.
Airbus D&S declined comment on the issue.
Of the six tactical aircraft, three will be new units and three will be retrofits of the A400M aircraft already in service with the Air Force. The service flies eight of these as cargo lifters into secure areas.
Oct 22, 2016
Last week the country’s ministry of economic development ended nearly 18 months of protracted wrangling over a 50-unit commitment for H225M Caracal helicopters. It cited irreconcilable differences about the level of industrial offset proposed, which it said needed to equal the Zl13 billion ($3.4 billion) of the main contract.
However, all three branches of Poland’s armed forces still require new helicopters and its defence ministry has wasted little time in pushing business towards PZL Mielec, which assembles the S-70i Black Hawk for the international market.
During a visit to the firm’s assembly facility, defence minister Antoni Macierewicz said it would work to quickly finalise a deal for S-70is for operation by Polish special forces.
The four aircraft would be assembled by Embraer at the company’s Jacksonville, Florida, facility, but the prime contractor could change.
Sierra Nevada teamed with Embraer to win the original bidding contest with Hawker Beechcraft, which is now part of Textron Aviation.
The USAF is considering other sources to procure up to four A-29s from Embraer for delivery to the Afghan Air Force, according to a “sources sought” notice posted on 6 October.
Sierra Nevada remains on contract to maintain the Afghan air force A-29 fleet to a mission capability rate of 80%, so any new prime contractor must continue working with the Sparks, Nevada-based company.
As part of a memorandum of understanding with France, signed by the defence ministers from both countries, the Hercules would be part of a “common air transport squadron” to be created by 2021.
“According to current demand forecasts, four to six German aircraft in the common transport squadron are planned,” says the country’s defence ministry, which would station the C-130J fleet in France.
The proposal, if approved, would raise the total number of authorised F-35A purchases to 40 aircraft, or only 12 short of the Norwegian air force’s requirement.
The requested authorisation also would allow Norway to participate in a proposed “block buy” for the F-35’s US and international partners.
The F-35 Joint Programme Office is working to package purchases of hundreds of F-35s spread over two or three years from 2018 to 2020 into a single order commitment.
Oct 15, 2016
Military experts see the creation of a new air group as a clear signal to the Asia-Pacific nations and the US that Russia is serious about is current pivot to Asia.
It will be already the second heavy bomber air group in the Russian Aerospace Forces after a division of Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 bombers that have been so successful mopping up terrorists in Syria, was added last year.
The newly-formed division will include dozens of strategic and long-range bombers to be deployed in Irkutsk and Amur regions.
Soviet missile-carrying bombers patrolled those areas keeping an eye on “enemy activity.” These regular patrols were called off during the 1990s and early 2000s, but now it looks like Russian bomber flights inside the Japan-Guam-Hawaii triangle are back.
Since 2014 Russian Tu-95MS bombers have regularly been spotted off the coast of Japan which scrambled fighter planes to intercept the Russian “Bears” (NATO reporting name for the Tu-95MS). In November a pair of Tu-95MS bombers circled the US island of Guam in the Western Pacific without straying into US airspace. Even though Guam is not a US state, it has been a US unincorporated territory since 1898. This Russian military beef-up in the Pacific means that Moscow is serious about its current pivot to Asia.
U.S. Africa Command said it was a “precautionary measure in order to protect Americans and American interests in South Sudan if required.”
An undisclosed number of missiles were formally handed over to the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) during the event, which took place on the same day as the announcement. The RoKAF signed a contract for the Taurus KEPD 350K in November 2013, with reports putting the number at either 170 or 180 missiles.
The Taurus KEPD 350K is being integrated onto the RoKAF's Boeing F-15K Slam Eagle fleet. According to MBDA Deutschland (the lead company in the Taurus Systems consortium, which also includes Saab Dynamics), this work is now in its final stages.
The missile is an enhanced version of the Taurus KEPD 350 fielded by Germany and Spain on its Panavia Tornado, and Boeing EF-18 Hornet and Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft respectively. Sweden is looking at integrating it onto its Saab JAS 39 Gripens also.
Sep 25, 2016
Finalisation of the contract brings to a close a long-running acquisition process to equip the Indian air force with the Rafale, which was selected as the winner of its medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) tender in 2012, defeating the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Eurofighter Typhoon. Other previous candidates for the deal included the Lockheed Martin F-16, RAC MiG-35 and Saab Gripen.
The air force was originally slated to acquire 126 aircraft via the programme, but the original deal ran aground over cost concerns. It was revived by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to France in 2105, when he declared that 36 aircraft would be acquired in “fly-away” condition from Dassault. This was keeping in view the “critical operational necessity” of the service, he said at the time.
It remains to be seen if India will decide at a later date to acquire additional fly-away examples of the type, or whether production could be transferred to India at a later date – as was the intention under the original MMRCA tender.
According to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency notice, the proposed deal includes four KC-46A aircraft, the associated Pratt & Whitney Model 4062 engines needed to power the plane, plus one additional spare. Japan would also receive training and support as part of the agreement.
Those aircraft will be equipped with the ALR-69A Radar Warning Receiver and Miniaturized Airborne GPS Receiver — both from Raytheon — as well as Northrop Grumman's AN/AAQ-24(V) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures system.
Japan announced its intention to buy the KC-46 last October. The agreement was a major coup for Boeing, which has fought to find its first foreign customer for the tanker.
The ceremony was attended by more than 400 guests from both governments, militaries and defense industries.
Kenji Wakamiya, Japan’s State Minister of Defense spoke at the event, saying, “With its low observability and network capability, the F-35 is the most advanced air system with cutting-edge capability as a multi-role fighter. As the security environment surrounding Japan has become increasingly severe, because of its excellence, it is very significant for the defense of Japan to commit to acquiring the F-35 year by year. Given that the United States Government has designated Japan as a regional depot in the Asia-Pacific area, introduction of F-35A to Japan is a perfect example, enhancing the Japan-US alliance.”
Japan’s F-35 program includes 42 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing aircraft, acquired through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program. The first four aircraft are built in Fort Worth and the remaining 38 aircraft will be built at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Final Assembly & Check-Out facility in Nagoya, Japan, where aircraft assembly is underway. Maintenance training for the first JASDF F-35A technicians is underway at Eglin AFB, Florida, and the first JASDF F-35A pilots are scheduled to begin training at Luke AFB, Arizona, in November.
Sep 24, 2016
The incident took place at around noon and involved an F-35A aircraft from the 61st Fighter Squadron located at Luke Air Force Base, the service said in a statement. No serious injuries seem to have been sustained by the pilot or nearby crew.
"The pilot had to egress the aircraft during engine start due to a fire from the aft section of the aircraft," Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said in an email. "The fire was extinguished quickly. As a precautionary measure, four 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit Airmen, three Airmen from the 366th Maintenance Group and the 61st Fighter Squadron pilot were transported to the base medical center for standard evaluation."
Seven F-35As from Luke AFB, which is one of the bases responsible for joint strike fighter pilot instruction, had deployed to Mountain Home to conduct surface-to-air training from Sept. 10 to 24.
The root cause of the event is under investigation.
Sep 18, 2016
The issue appears to have been with a supplier of coolant lines, which are installed in the wings of the jet. During a routine maintenance check, it was discovered that the insulation on the lines were in some cases decomposing, which left residue in the fuel itself, according to a release from the Norwegian government on the grounding.
The issue has been traced back to the insulated coolant tubes manufactured by one particular provider that have only been installed in the wing fuel tanks of the 15 aircraft — 10 from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, two US and two Norwegian F-35As at Luke AFB, Ariz., and one plane at Nellis AFB, Nev.
The problem was first discovered this summer during depot maintenance of an F-35A being prepared for initial operational capability.
Sep 3, 2016
"North Korea is preparing a number of strategic ways to attack the South using its submarine fleet on top of the SLBM development," said the official.
"We are discussing whether to purchase the latest maritime patrol aircraft to detect North Korean submarines to prevent surprise attacks from under water," he added.
The first of the Italian-built aircraft (designated Naval Aircraft 321 in Chilean service) arrived at the Naval Air Base at Concon on 1 July, ahead of its induction as a search and rescue, maritime police, medical aero-evacuation, and liaison platform in place of the now retired Cessna O-2 Skymaster.
While the MoD did not disclose when the remaining aircraft will be delivered, it did say that they type will begin operations with VC-1 Squadron in early 2017, flying from Puerto Montt and Iquique initially before being transferred to Talcahuano.
The RAF had been proposing to cut one of the aircraft from the fleet of Raytheon-developed Sentinel aircraft by early October as part of a broader bid to generate cash savings that under new government rules can be ploughed into other equipment budgets rather than being handed back to the Treasury.
One government source said it is now “ likely that the fifth aircraft it will be retained until the end of the financial year” to give time for a decision on longer-term plans for the aircraft.
The agreement signed between the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and Antonov on 30 August gives China access to the aircraft's designs and technologies for the purposes of domestic production, according to China's STCN news organisation and the Ukrainian Business Channel (UBR).
Powered by six Progress D-18T engines and having demonstrated a world-record payload of 253.82 tonnes, the An-225 (named Mriya in Ukraine) is the largest transport aircraft ever to have flown.
Coming only two months after the final delivery to the US Navy under the 20-year-old Joint Primary Aircraft Training Systems (JPATS) programme, the proposed T-6 sale to Buenos Aires offers a timely lifeline to the T-6C production line in Wichita, Kansas.
“We look forward to continuing our conversations with Argentina to offer the Beechcraft T-6C military trainer,” Beechcraft says.
By late June, Beechcraft had delivered more than 400 T-6 Texan IIs to the US Air Force and nearly 300 to the Navy, replacing an aging fleet of Cessna T-37s and Beechcraft T-34s. The company also has received a recent order from the UK Ministry of Defence to supply T-6 trainers for replacing Embraer Tucanos.
Aug 30, 2016
“This marks a milestone and shows the fact that the F-35 program has continued to grow, progress and support initial operational capability,” said Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, the 56th Fighter Wing commander. “It is also a ‘scare factor’ for our enemies that we are able to produce such an incredible platform at such a high production rate and that it’s getting out in the field in larger and larger numbers.”
Luke Air Force Base received its first F-35 in March 2014 and developed the training and tactics for the program. The fleet has since grown to more than 40 F-35s at the base, including those of partner nations such as Australia and Norway. The base also recently activated its third F-35 unit -- the 63rd Fighter Squadron.
Aug 27, 2016
Japan is on record to purchase 42 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing, or CTOL, aircraft, acquired through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program. The first four aircraft are in assembly in Fort Worth and are anticipated to deliver before the end of 2016. The remaining 38 aircraft will be assembled at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries final assembly & check-out facility in Nagoya, Japan. Aircraft assembly is also underway at the Nagoya facility. Maintenance training for the first Japan maintainers has already begun at Eglin AFB, Florida, and training of the first JASDF F-35 pilots will begin at Luke AFB, Arizona, in November 2016.
Aug 26, 2016
Más de cuatro años después de que los primeros Eurofighter llegaran al Ala 14 de la Base de Los Llanos todavía se espera la dotación del segundo escuadrón, el 141, si bien ya se ha completado la plantilla de 18 aviones para el primero, el 142. Los planes de Defensa y del Ejército del Aire pasan por ir dotando al segundo escuadrón del mismo sistema de armas, pero se trabaja sin fecha concreta.
Aug 14, 2016
Aug 13, 2016
"The next [MRTT] is either [for] Singapore or France," Fernando Alonso, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus DS, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur in early August.
"Australia has bought two additional ones. Those are something quite special as they are second-hand ones," he added, referring to the two former Qantas-operated A330 airliners that are being converted into MRTT platforms by Airbus DS. However, he did not provide exact time frames for the deliveries.
Aug 6, 2016
Buenos Aires requested 24 of the trainer aircraft, as well as spare engines, initial spare parts, support equipment, communications equipment, studies and surveys, contract logistics support and technical services, aircraft technical publications, aircraft ferry and support, life support equipment, initial maintenance training, initial pilot training, follow-on training, alternate mission equipment, Air Force Material Command services and travel, unclassified minor modifications and engineering change proposals, ground-based training system, operational flight trainer and operational flight trainer spare parts.
Jul 2, 2016
The Yaroslav Mudryy, a Project 1154 Neustrashimy-class frigate wearing pennant number 777 was, according to a US Navy report, conducting shadowing operations of the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group as the flattop was flying combat operations against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq.
The Russian frigate closed on the cruiser San Jacinto, operating as the carrier’s air defense commander, in an action a Navy message characterized as “abnormal, [un]safe and unprofessional.”
Jun 11, 2016
It is yet to be determined when the A400M will fly to Subang airbase, the home of 22nd Skn, but based on previous two A400Ms, it is likely that the aircraft will make it home by July.
The 03 was supposed to be delivered in April but was delayed after engine and air-frame problems were in discovered in German and French A400ms.
RMAF had never officially confirmed whether its A400Ms were also affected by the problems but the first aircraft was seen in its hangar in early March with its engine panels opened.
The 22nd Skn currently operates two A400Ms, the first arrived in March, 2015 while the second in late December. The fourth and final aircraft is expected to be delivered by year end.
It is expected with the fourth A400M delivered, 22 Skn will ramped up its operational use of the air-lifters. Although the squadron had conducted test loading of Army vehicles, mostly 4X4s trucks, it had yet to conduct flights carrying them.
Currently, the two A400Ms of the 22 Skn mostly carry personnel and their belongings. The longest known trip so far is to Korat airbase in Thailand, in support of the Air-Thamal 2016, the annual exercise between RMAF and the Thai Air Force.
May 28, 2016
“The negotiations are being held through our Pakistani representative,” a TAI official said. “We are hopeful about an eventual deal in view of our excellent relations with PAF.”
If finalized the deal will involve upgrades on a batch of 74 PAF F-16 aircraft, including 14 fighters Pakistan will acquire from Jordan.
Gen. Mark Welsh's comments marked the first time since Congress floated the idea last month that Air Force leadership has acknowledged an F-22 restart as anything but pie in the sky.
The Pentagon findings contradict what the Chinese Defense Ministry said earlier in the day.
Last year, the United States and China announced an agreement establishing rules of behavior to govern air-to-air encounters and creating a military hotline.
May 27, 2016
The jets, made the journey from Edwards Air Force Base.
This appearance comes just weeks before Lockheed Martin's joint strike fighter is scheduled to make its international debut at the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom
Due to ongoing issues with the KC-46’s refueling systems, Boeing will not be able to deliver the 18 certified tankers to the Air Force as planned by August 2017, a major contractual obligation known as Required Assets Available, or RAA.
It is unclear what impact this delay will have on Boeing's contract to replace the Air Force's aging KC-135s. Both company and service officials said they are continuing to assess the implications.
May 7, 2016
Washington also is dedicating more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to the campaign against the Islamist militants in the region and plans to provide additional training to Nigerian infantry forces.
The sale could offer Nigeria a more maneuverable aircraft that can stay aloft for extended periods to target Boko Haram formations.
Unlike recent announcements by the prime minister about building submarines and other ships in Australia, today’s decision to give the contract to Madrid-based Navantia was low key.
Defence minister Marise Payne confirmed Navantia as the preferred tenderer, beating South Korea’s Daewoo, for the two auxiliary oiler and replenishment (AOR) vessels in March.
Australia’s current supply ship, HMAS Success, launched in 1984, will reach its end of life in 2021, and needs to be replaced urgently.
The navy’s other supply ship, HMAS Sirius, is a former commercial oil tanker commissioned in 2006 and does not have the capability for other supplies. Navantia, which build the Royal Australian Navy’s two newest vessels, the landing helicopter dock ships, Canberra and Adelaide, will build two 19,500-tonne dual tanker and supply ships.
The contract stipulates that $130 million of the build will involve local industry for combat and communication systems, and elements of the onboard cranes. And an initial $250 million, five-year sustainment contract, also signed with Navantia, will be undertaken in Australia.
Apr 30, 2016
Output was slowed by several "administrative" factors. These included the process of transitioning between production lots and of getting acceptance for certain software. Lockheed's operational performance also suffered. Although sales were up, earnings dropped to USD794 million, down from USD878 million during the same quarter last year.
A deep industrial and technical study is underway to find short- and long-term solutions, the company said. Negotiations with clients are continuing on a revised schedule for installing mission capabilities and delivery of the aircraft.
The four turboprop engines on the A400M are built by a European consortium comprising ITP of Spain, MTU of Germany, Rolls-Royce and Safran. Avio Aero, an Italian subsidiary of General Electric, builds the gearbox.
Apr 23, 2016
According to Admiral Chief of Naval Staff Jaime Muñoz-Delgado, "Our fleet of Harrier aircraft has a useful life until the period between 2025 and 2027. And there is only one short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) option on the market: Lockheed Martin's F-35B. This is the reality."
The Spanish naval chief registered the concern Tuesday during a meeting with reporters. The problem with this solution is a limited defense budget.
Nowadays the "Armada Española" has a fleet of 12 AV-8B Harrier II Plus attack planes that formed the core of the 9th Aircraft Squadron more than 30 years ago.
The Spanish Navy Harriers can carry out missions ashore or from the landing helicopter dock Juan Carlos I.
In November 2014, the Ministry of Defense extended the agreement to support the Harrier program after approving an investment of €47.6 million (US $54.1 million) between 2014 and 2024.
"There isn't an official plan or proposal to pursue the acquisition of F-35Bs but the problem will be there in 10 years," Muñoz-Delgado stressed.
He mentioned the possibility of a joint strategy with the Spanish Air Force, which in the 2020s will need to start thinking about replacing its F-18s.
The US Marine Corps' F-35B reached initial operational capability last July 31. The variant is also being delivered to the UK, and the Italian Air Force will also operate it.
Esteban Villarejo defensenews
The major command’s chief Gen Robin Rand said at the Air Warfare Symposium in February that America’s needs somewhere between “175 and 200” combined strategic and conventional bombers.
The command counts 159 bombers in its inventory today including the B-1B, B-52H and B-2A.
“AFGSC continues to analyse the required future bomber force structure which includes successfully fielding a minimum of 100 B-21s,” an AFGSC spokeswoman says in an email. “AFGSC is very focused on ensuring we are ready with properly trained operators and maintainers for the B-21. The minimum of 100 B-21s that we intend to field will fly with a mix of legacy bombers and the total number of bombers required is still being evaluated.”
The air force has moved forward with its $80 billion bomber acquisition after teammates Boeing and Lockheed Martin unsuccessfully challenged the selection of Northrop.
The secretive B-21 aircraft, powered by an undisclosed Pratt & Whitney engine, will enter service sometime in the mid-2020s. It will replace the B-1 and B-52, and eventually the Northrop B-2.