February, 2018 Military Aviation News

Boeing rejoins competitive field for Canadian fighter deal

02/23/2018

The Canadian government has announced that five bidders — Boeing, Dassault, Eurofighter, Lockheed Martin and Saab — are eligible to compete for a long sought-after contract to replace the country’s 88 CF-18 fighters.

UK preparing ambitious combat air strategy

02/23/2018

The UK Ministry of Defence will publish a new combat air strategy document later this year, which defence secretary Gavin Williamson says will “bring together the best of British engineering, skill and design, and deliver a compelling vision for the future of air power".

Has Moscow moved its Su-57 stealth fighter into Syria?

02/22/2018

Russia appears to have sent two of its most modern stealth fighter jets to Syria. Footage circulating out of Syria today appears to show two of the distinctive aircraft arriving at Russia’s Khmeimim air force base on the shores of the Mediterranean. As they came in to land, a Su-35 fighter is seen to swoop past protectively. The unverified footage has interesting implications, if true.

Avani becomes first-ever Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo, that too a MiG-21

02/22/2018

Growing up in a small town named Deolond near Rewa in Madhya Pradesh, Avani Chaturvedi never in her wildest dreams imagined she would one day become the first-ever Indian woman to break the sound barrier with resounding sonic booms in a supersonic fighter all alone.

AHRLAC variant Bronco II unveiled for US light attack bid

02/22/2018

Newly-formed Bronco Combat Systems on 21 February launched the Bronco II light attack aircraft for the US military market, leveraging the South African-designed AHRLAC platform with a US-based mission systems integrator named Fulcrum Concepts.

Sikorsky begins final assembly of first HH-60W

02/21/2018

Sikorsky has introduced the first HH-60W combat rescue helicopter (CRH) into final assembly ahead of a scheduled first flight by the end of this year. The derivative of the UH-60M is the first of a planned 112-aircraft production programme worth $8.12 billion to replace the aging fleet charged with rescuing downed US Air Force pilots.

US clears RNLAF for $1.19b Apache deal

02/21/2018

The Royal Netherlands Air Force is cleared by the US State Department to buy 28 remanufactured Boeing AH-64E helicopters worth a total of $1.19 billion, the US government announced on 20 February.

Gripen E delivery schedule on target, says Saab boss

02/21/2018

Saab remains on track to deliver the first series production examples of its Gripen E in the third quarter of next year, and is also hopeful of concluding delayed sales of new-build C/D-model examples during 2018.

PICTURES: Norway tests braking parachute on F-35A

02/21/2018

Norway has completed the first in-country test of a braking parachute on a Lockheed Martin F-35A, with the trial taking place on 16 February at Ørland air base. "Our combat aircraft must be able to land during extreme Norwegian winter conditions, and Norway, with experience in this, will help develop and test the F-35 braking parachute," says Norway's F-35 programme director, Gen Morten Klever.

China is challenging ‘dominance’ of U.S in South China Sea, diplomat says

02/20/2018

The risks of a "miscalculation" and armed conflict have risen in the disputed South China Sea with a militarily stronger China now able to challenge the United States, which used to be the dominant power in the strategic waterway, the Philippine envoy to Beijing said Monday.

South China Sea turning into signals hub for Chinese military

02/20/2018

Generally the acreage and borders in question are based on the land as nature intended it to be. But what if your strategic interests required creating land out of thin air, or in this case, deep blue ocean? Enter the People’s Republic of China and their man-made islands in the Spratly island chain, in the hotly disputed South China Sea.

The F-35 for Germany

02/20/2018

In May of last year, the German air force asked to be briefed on the American-made F-35, the stealthy, multi-mission, 5th-generation aircraft. Then, in November, Lt. General Karl Müllner, the Luftwaffe chief of staff, indicated his service’s preference for replacing the Tornado jets with the F-35 because of its low-observable signature and its ability to identify and strike distant targets.

Philippines cancels Bell 412 deal on order of president

02/20/2018

In a bizarre turn of events, the Philippines has cancelled a contract for 16 Bell Helicopter 412EPIs for its air force just days after revealing the deal at the Singapore air show. The cancellation was ordered by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte after the Canadian government – which had backed the deal for the Montreal-built aircraft – ordered a review into the acquisition.

Amid the chaos of Syria, will Israel and Iran launch an all-out war?

02/18/2018

Neither country will benefit from a new Middle East conflict, but unless they cease military clashes, such as those inside Syria last weekend, hopes of peace remain fragile. Tensions between Israel and Iran have hit a new high following last weekend’s unprecedented military clashes inside Syria. The fighting has intensified fears that the Middle East is heading for all-out war. But such alarming predictions assume both protagonists standing toe-to-toe, actuallywant to fight. Is this reallytrue?

FINLAND AND NEW COMBAT AIRCRAFT: LOOKING BACK AT THE HORNET ACQUISITION

02/18/2018

The Finnish government is set to acquire 64 new fighter jets for its air force. “It’s important that our armed forces have the equipment that they need to fulfill all of their fundamental roles,” said Niinistö. Niinistö has described Russia’s more unpredictable behavior in the greater Baltic Sea region, particularly in the areas of political influencing methods and security policies, as the “new normal”.

Airbus chief hails A400M contract review as 'breakthrough'

02/18/2018

Airbus foresees a charge worth €1.3 billion ($1.6 billion) associated with the A400M programme for 2018, after the manufacturer reached a tentative agreement with its launch customers to revise their contracts for the tactical transport.

INTERVIEW: R-R engine expert discusses future fighter technology

02/18/2018

Rolls-Royce believes that advanced engines will be the single most important design factor for future fighter aircraft. Conrad Banks is R-R’s chief engineer for defence future programmes. In his 30-year career he has worked on projects such the Pegasus for the BAE Systems Harrier and the EJ200 for the Eurofighter Typhoon. Now his role is to look towards the future.

ANALYSIS: How F-16I loss will reshape Israel's offensive strategy

02/18/2018

A sequence of events that began with the shooting down of an Iranian copy of the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel stealth unmanned air vehicle led to an Israeli air force Lockheed F-16I being shot down, and a massive aerial attack being launched against at least a dozen targets inside Syria.

BAE proposes UK govt financing to Malaysia for Typhoon jet deal

02/14/2018

BAE Systems will provide Malaysia a United Kingdom-backed financing deal if it decides to replace its fleet of combat jets with the Eurofighter Typhoon, senior company officials said. Malaysia has for several years been weighing France’s Rafale jet and the Eurofighter Typhoon, built by a European consortium including Britain’s BAE, as it looks to buy up to 18 jets to replace its Russian MiG-29s - most of which are grounded.

Boeing unit joins General Atomics' bid for MQ-25

02/14/2018

Boeing has joined a team of suppliers supporting General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ bid to win the US Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray programme even as it continues to promote a clean-sheet alternative design.

China appears to have rushed its J-20 stealth fighter into service with an 'embarrassing' flaw

02/13/2018

Chinese state media announced on Friday that the Chengdu J-20 stealth jet had officially entered into service as a combat-ready platform — but inside sources say it's a long way from fighting fit and has an embarrassing flaw. Citing military sources with knowledge of the J-20's development, the South China Morning Post reported that the jets that entered service didn't feature the engines China custom-built for the platform but used older ones instead.

USAF plans to consolidate bomber fleet to B-21 and B-52

02/13/2018

The US Air Force has confirmed plans to re-engine the Boeing B-52H fleet and retire the Northrop Grumman B-2 and the Rockwell B-1 as Northrop’s next-generation B-21 stealth bomber ramps up deliveries.

JSTARS replacement cancelled in new USAF budget plan

02/13/2018

The US Air Force’s has decided to retire its primary aerial ground surveillance platform in the mid-2020s and replace it with a network of existing and new sensors linked to a ground-based command and control system.

Looking at partnering with other Indian entities: Swedish Saab

02/12/2018

Months after it announced a joint venture with the Adani Group, Swedish defence giant Saab has said it plans to partner with a few other Indian entities for manufacturing a broad portfolio of products in view of the improving business climate in India. Mats Palmberg, Vice President of Saab's International Partnerships, said the company was also bringing its global partners to India to expand on its product range.

The drone shot down by Israel was an Iranian copy of a U.S. craft, Israel says

02/12/2018

The drone that Israel said it shot down this weekend appeared to have been developed by Iran from technology obtained when it captured a U.S. stealth aircraft in 2011, according to aviation experts and Israeli officials. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for Israel’s military, and Yuval Steinitz, a minister in Israel’s security cabinet, said the craft was a copy of a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel spy drone, which Iran claims to have reverse-engineered.

Israel carries out ‘large-scale attack’ in Syria after Israeli jet crashes under antiaircraft fire

02/10/2018

Israel’s army said it had launched a “large-scale attack” inside Syria on Saturday after one of its jets was downed under Syrian antiaircraft fire, in a series of cross-border incidents that threatened to destabilize the volatile region between the two countries. Israel says the situation started with an Iranian drone crossing into its territory from Syria at around 4:30 a.m. It was shot down by an Israeli attack helicopter.

Israeli fighter jet crashes under Syria fire, military says

02/10/2018

An Israeli F-16 fighter jet has crashed amid Syrian anti-aircraft fire after an offensive against Iranian targets in Syria, the Israeli military says. The two pilots parachuted to safety before the crash in northern Israel. It is believed to be the first time Israel has lost a jet in the Syrian conflict. Israel was carrying out strikes after the launch of an Iranian drone into Israel. The drone was shot down.

New "Digital Eye Piece" Will Allow U.S. Fighter Pilots To Own The Night Like Never Before

02/10/2018

Donning a helmet mounted display (HMD) or night vision goggles (NVGs) has been a far from seamless issue for American fighter pilots since the widespread introduction of the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) well over a decade ago. Now that is changing via a fairly novel piece of technology that leverages existing cockpit HMD infrastructure and NVGs called the "Digital Eye Piece."

USAF commissions Boeing to build more MOPs

02/10/2018

The US Air Force has commissioned Boeing to produce a new batch of GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOPs), the 13,600kg (30,000lb) mega-conventional bombs used for burrowing deep inside fortified bunkers and detonating.

Draft documents reveal USAF plans for more A-10 upgrades

02/10/2018

The US Air Force has released draft acquisition documents showing plans to buy up to 116 new wing sets for the Fairchild Republic A-10 fleet that call for reviving production after March 2019 with a new contractor.

France to buy more Rafales, A330 tankers under new spending plan

02/10/2018

France has unveiled an ambitious and wide-ranging military modernisation programme that includes the acquisition of additional Dassault Rafale fighters, an all-new fleet of light helicopters and additional aerial refuelling tankers. Still to be ratified by lawmakers, the military spending plan, or LPM, covers the period 2019-2025.

BAE to upgrade HUD on UAE F-16 fleet

02/10/2018

Lockheed Martin has tapped BAE Systems to upgrade heads-up displays (HUD) for the United Arab Emirates F-16 Block 60 fighters. The work will see the aircraft's existing cathode ray tube projector with a digital projector, says BAE in a statement.

Russian jet pilot 'pulled grenade pin' to avoid capture in Syria's Idlib

02/08/2018

Russian media have lauded a pilot killed in Syria as a hero, saying he detonated his grenade to avoid being captured by jihadists who had shot his plane out of the sky. Roman Filipov's reported last words were: "Here's for the guys." His Sukhoi-25 ground-attack aircraft was shot down over rebel-held Idlib province. He survived the attack and ejected, but died in a ground fight.

Syria war: Israel 'strikes Damascus military complex'

02/08/2018

A Syrian military statement said its air defence systems blocked most of the missiles, but gave no further details. A monitor said ammunition depots in Jamraya were hit. It is the location of a scientific facility where the West suspects chemical weapons are produced. Israel, which has acknowledged carrying out at least 100 clandestine strikes in Syria since 2011, declined to comment.

SINGAPORE: Lockheed promotes IRST for region’s fighters

02/08/2018

Lockheed Martin is promoting infrared search and track (IRST) to help upgrade the sensor capabilities of the region’s fighter fleets. Unlike radar, IRST is a passive sensor. It detects targets by sensing their IR signatures. This eliminates the need for an aircraft to give away its position through the transmission of radar waves.

SINGAPORE: Lockheed's Carvalho kiboshes SR-72 idea

02/08/2018

The head of Lockheed Martin’s aeronautics division has dismissed recent media reports that it has developed the SR-72, a successor to the iconic SR-71 Black Bird. “I can tell you unequivocally that it has not been built,” says Orlando Carvalho, executive vice-president of aeronautics at Lockheed Martin.

SINGAPORE: Lockheed favours incremental F-35 software updates

02/07/2018

Lockheed Martin’s aeronautics head believes a new software update regime for the F-35 fighter will greatly improve efficiency, and also says that sustainment for the type is improving. The plan will see smaller updates applied more frequently, as opposed to sweeping, all-inclusive updates applied every few years. Lockheed says “our plan is to move ahead with it for the F-35 as part of follow-on modernisation.”

USAF considers options for lifting T-6A grounding

02/07/2018

The US Air Force may set a temporary altitude restriction to lift a grounding order on the Beechcraft T-6A Texan II after the fleet of primary trainers became the latest military aircraft type to cause pilots to experience a rash of hypoxia-like symptoms, a top US Air Force official informed Congress on 6 February.

SINGAPORE: Boeing pursues P-8 Poseidon refinements

02/07/2018

Boeing has made several updates about its P-8 Poseidon programme, as it pursues further refinements for the platform. Speaking to media during a programme update briefing at the Singapore air show, Matt Carreon, head of global sales and marketing for Boeing Defence, Space and Security, listed over four updates that the manufacturer will implement on the P-8.

VIDEO: Black Eagle T-50B crashes during takeoff at Changi

02/07/2018

A Korea Aerospace Industries T-50B aircraft from the Black Eagles display team crashed while taking off from Changi airport’s runway 1. The crash occurred at 13:24 local time when the jet “skidded and crashed into the grass verge at the side of runway 1 and caught fire,” says the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore in a statement.

SINGAPORE: Saab's Gripen fighter in maiden show appearance

02/06/2018

The Saab JAS-39 C/D Gripen fighter is appearing for the first time at the Singapore air show. The two aircraft are operated by the Royal Thai Air Force, and will appear both on the static line and aerial display.

SINGAPORE: Sikorsky eyes Armed Black Hawk deals

02/06/2018

Sikorsky sees regional opportunities for its Armed Black Hawk initiative, which turns its iconic UH-60/S-70 platform into a hard-hitting helicopter gunship. At a briefing at the American Chamber of Commerce, chief engineer for the S-70 programme Joe Palumbo said the system can come with newly delivered rotorcraft, or be retrofitted. This is particularly useful for operators who lack the resources to operate dedicated gunships such as the Boeing AH-64 Apache or Bell Helicopter AH-1Z Viper.

SINGAPORE: SkyTech in LOI for six KC-390s

02/06/2018

Aviation services firm SkyTech has signed a letter of intent for up to six Embraer KC-390 tactical transport aircraft. “The aircraft are earmarked for multiple defense projects and both companies have also agreed on a potential strategic collaboration to jointly explore new business opportunities in training and services,” says Embraer.

SINGAPORE: Boeing defence eyes opportunities in India, Japan

02/06/2018

Boeing continues to press forward with sales opportunities in the Asia-Pacific, both for combat and support aircraft. Speaking at a media roundtable at the company's office, Gene Cunningham, vice president of Boeing Defense, Space & Security listed a number of opportunities in which the company is engaged.

S. Korea's fighter jets equipped with advanced targeting system

02/05/2018

South Korea's military has completed the deployment of an advanced nighttime targeting system for its fighter aircraft, the country's arms agency said Monday. It would greatly improve the precision strike capability of KF-16s, a key combat element of the Air Force, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

Is the FAA Endangering America's Stealth Fighters?

02/05/2018

Even as the skies are becoming more crowded with airplanes and drones, the creaky U.S. air traffic control system is struggling to keep up. Hence the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has come up with a plan that requires aircraft to broadcast their positions to avoid mid-air collisions.

SINGAPORE: Harris eyes Asian F-16 market for EW sales

02/05/2018

Harris Corporation is promoting its electronic warfare (EW) systems to the region’s air forces, with a particularly focus on the Lockheed Martin F-16 fleet. The company sees three main areas of EW focus among the region’s countries: mission success in contested domains, marine awareness in congested seas, and battlefield communications.

SINGAPORE: RSAF chief discusses future capabilities

02/05/2018

Singapore possesses Southeast Asia’s most powerful air force, but maintaining its edge in an increasingly volatile region requires constant assessment of new technologies and ideas. In an interview with FlightGlobal, Chief of the Republic of Singapore Air Force Major-General Mervyn Tan discussed future plans and emerging capabilities, on the year of the RSAF’s fiftieth anniversary.

Russia strikes back as Syrian rebels take credit for shooting down fighter jet, killing pilot

02/04/2018

Syria’s former al-Qaeda affiliate claimed responsibility Saturday for the downing of a Russian warplane in northern Syria, apparently using a surface-to-air missile to target the aircraft. The pilot was killed after he ejected and exchanged gunfire with militants on the ground, the Russian Defense Ministry and a monitoring group said.

USAF rejects Scorpion for OA-X, names A-29 and AT-6 finalists

02/04/2018

The US Air Force has excluded the Textron AirLand Scorpion light-attack aircraft from the next phase of its OA-X experiment, leaving Textron Aviation's Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine and the Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano as the finalists for a potential follow-on acquisition deal.

Norway runs into fresh problem with NH90 helicopters

02/04/2018

Norway has concluded that its on-order fleet of NH Industries NH90 naval helicopters will not deliver sufficient flight hours to perform the roles originally intended for the 11t-class rotorcraft and recommends that all are converted to the anti-submarine warfare mission.

French army starts definition work for new armed scout helicopters

02/04/2018

The French army has begun early definition work with Airbus Helicopters on the H160Ms it will obtain as part of a tri-service procurement.Paris in March 2017 selected the developmental H160M to form the basis of its hélicoptère interarmées léger (HIL) programme, splitting 160-190 rotorcraft between the air force, army and navy to replace a sizeable fleet of aged types.

The Air Force Turned Off GPS To Rehearse a War Without It

02/02/2018

The U.S. military is worryingly dependent on GPS. Our global positioning satellites tell planes where they are, provide targeting info for smart weapons, and support communication and navigation systems. But in a war with a tech-advanced adversary—think China, Russia, or Iran—GPS could become a big liability because it could be jammed, spoofed, or outright destroyed.

‘At Least 12 Crew Members Killed’ In Chinese Military Plane Crash

02/02/2018

A military aircraft crash in Guizhou this week killed at least a dozen crew members and exposed the “fatal gap” between the air force’s ambitions and its technology, the South China Morning Post has learned. Military sources say the crash has severely affected air force morale. The People’s Liberation Army Air Force has confirmed that an aircraft crashed in the southwestern province during a training exercise on Monday.

Now Russia Is Demanding US Stop Spying Near Its Borders After Buzzing Navy Spy Plane

02/02/2018

The Russian Ministry of Defense has mocked the crews of American spy planes as overly cautious and suggested the United States either stop such missions near its borders or agree to a set of rules governing those flight. The official statement comes after the U.S. Navy released half a dozen videos showing one of Russia’s Su-27 Flanker series fighter jets flying dangerously close to an EP-3E Aries II intelligence aircraft in international air space over the Black Sea.

Delhi hopes to be third time lucky with new tanker RFI

02/02/2018

India’s ministry of defence has issued a fresh request for information for six mid-air refueling tankers, following two abortive earlier attempts. This time the requirement specifies that the tanker aircraft be powered by two turbofan engines, ruling out the Ilyushin IL-78.

India struggles to match China as elite world weapons exporte

02/01/2018

India celebrated Republic Day by parading troops and locally made weapons in front of New Delhi's colonial-era sandstone buildings and past 10 Southeast Asian heads of state -- all potential buyers.

NH Industries confident on sealing NH90 orders from Qatar and Spain

02/01/2018

NH Industries (NHI) is hopeful that it can finally secure a firm order from Qatar this year for both variants of its NH90 helicopter. Doha four years ago signed a tentative agreement with the three-way consortium for 22 examples of the 11t-class rotorcraft: 12 TTH troop transports and 10 NFH maritime helicopters.

Germany needs in-flight refuelling for future heavy-lift helicopters

02/01/2018

Germany has confirmed that its future fleet of heavy-lift helicopters will require in-flight refuelling capability. Berlin in late 2017 gave the go-ahead for its BAAINBw procurement agency to begin the acquisition of around 60 helicopters to replace an existing fleet of 70 elderly Sikorsky CH-53G/GA/GS transports operated by the German air force.

UK begins Gazelle helicopter replacement effort

02/01/2018

Initial work is under way to replace the British Army's active fleet of 22 elderly Aérospatiale Gazelle AH1 helicopters, as the venerable type nears retirement. "We do have plans to replace the Gazelle," says Air Cdre Al Smith, capability air manoeuvre at the UK's Joint Helicopter Command. "It hinges on operational outputs so the customer gets the same or better product," he adds, noting: "I think we can probably do better than we do today."

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