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.”