2019 Military Aviation News

One of the U.S. Air Force Aggressor F-16s Will Get The Russian Su-57 Stealth Jet’s Digital Paint Scheme

01/17/2019

A Nellis Air Force Base’s Aggressor Viper to be painted with the same color scheme as the Russian radar-evading 5th generation aircraft. Eye-catching paint schemes which make fighter planes similar to their Russian counterparts have become a distinguishing feature of U.S. Aggressors and Adversary jets.

Pegasus arrives: KC-46 tanker makes America more effective in era of growing threats

01/17/2019

This was a milestone week in Air Force history. The U.S. Air Force and Boeing found agreement on the terms for the KC-46 air-refueling aircraft to enter the active inventory. The long-sought goal of recapitalizing the KC-135 air-refueling force is set to begin. As former Secretary of the Air Force Donald Rice explained in the 1992 version of the seminal “Global Reach—Global Power” whitepaper: “Our global power ensures our friends are not alone. With our responsiveness, potential adversaries unde

France: development contract for the Rafale F4 aircraft

01/17/2019

On 14 January 2019 Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, received the F4-standard development contract for the Rafale combat aircraft during the visit of the Dassault Aviation Mérignac plant by Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed Forces.

Boeing relationship key to KC-390 costs, marketing

01/17/2019

Embraer’s defence joint venture with Boeing will use the American company’s leverage over suppliers to cut parts and components costs on the KC-390 tactical transport. The Brazilian company said at an investor conference on 16 January that it will also lean on Boeing’s international sales and marketing network, as well as the USA’s geopolitical influence, to expand the transport’s sales.

General Atomics unveils local suppliers for Belgian SkyGuardian

01/17/2019

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has partnered with five Belgium-based suppliers as part of its effort to include local suppliers in its deal to deliver MQ-9B SkyGuardian unmanned air vehicles to the Belgian Armed Forces.

Russia Claims Its Su-57 Fighter Is Even More Stealth (Be Skeptical)

01/16/2019

Russia reportedly has upgraded the stealth features on its radar-evading Su-57 fighter. But the enhancements don't amount to much. Even with upgrades, the Su-57 still is a niche, mostly experimental aircraft that lacks critical combat systems and which Russia has not committed to building in large numbers.

The F-35 Fighter Is A Success. So How Do We Keep It Ready & Reliable For The Next 50 Years?

01/16/2019

The F-35 fighter has successfully completed flight testing. It is now joining the combat fleets of three U.S. military services and a dozen overseas allies. By the end of 2019, nearly 500 fighters will have been delivered.

Lockheed wins second Long Range Anti-Ship Missile contract

01/16/2019

Lockheed Martin has won a $172 million contract from the US Navy and US Air Force for the second production lot of its stealthy Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). The contract continues production for the air-launched variant of LRASM, including engineering support, the manufacturer says in a statement. The first set of LRASMs were delivered to the USAF in December, a milestone reached as part of Early Operational Capability for the weapon.

Austria allocates funding for helicopter fleet upgrade

01/16/2019

Austria's government has committed funding for the acquisition of a total of 15 new helicopters in the coming years as it renews its rotorcraft capabilities. Vienna has assigned more than €300 million ($343 million) for the purchases, which cover 12 light multirole helicopters – replacing 21 Aerospatiale Alouette IIIs – and an additional three Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawks, adding to the nine examples already in service.

Eurofighter Typhoon to bid to replace Canadian CF-18 fleet

01/15/2019

Eurofighter intends to pitch its Typhoon aircraft to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s fleet of Boeing CF-18A/B Hornet fighters. Eurofighter, a joint venture among Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo, was assumed to be one of the bidders in the competition to replace the RCAF’s fighter fleet with 88 advanced jets, but it hadn’t yet publicly acknowledged its desire to play for the contract.

Dassault gains Rafale F4 development contract

01/15/2019

Dassault has been contracted by the French government to begin development work on the new F4 standard for the Rafale fighter. Upgrades over the current F3 and F3R variants include the integration of MBDA's Mica NG air-to-air missile and the Safran Defence 2,200lb (1,000kg) AASM air-to-surface weapon, alongside improvements to sensors, including radar and connectivity.

?Boeing 707 crashes near Tehran

01/15/2019

Preliminary information from Iran indicates fatalities resulted from a Boeing 707 crash in the west of Tehran, according to news agency reports. Local media reports suggest that the aircraft was carrying from 10-16 passengers, and that only one survived.

Kawasaki C-2 to get an electronic warfare variant

01/15/2019

Tokyo plans a major investment in electronic warfare (EW) to help counter rising threats in the region. According to a report in the Yomiuri Shimbun, Tokyo plans to adapt the Kawasaki C-2 tactical transport aircraft as an EW platform, with deployment planned for 2027.

How the F-5E “Tiger” Fighter Jet Keeps Getting Better (Despite Getting Older)

01/14/2019

The F-5E “Tiger” is one of U.S. aerospace industry’s largest export successes. Designed as a budget lightweight fighter, the F-5E is still operated by many nations around the world despite the availability of more modern fighters.

Russian Air Force got 50 new combat aircraft in 2018

01/14/2019

The Russian air force in 2018 received more than 36 new+bild combat aircraft, included modern Su-35S fighter jets. According to the report of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), the Russian Air Force took the delivery in 2018 of 14 Su-30SM and ten Su-35S fighter aircraft, 12 Su-34 Su-34 fighter-bombers, and 14 Yak-130 advanced jet trainer/light attack aircraft.

Lao Air Force receives first Yak-130 advanced jet trainer aircraft

01/12/2019

The Royal Lao Air Force has received the batch of three Yak-130 advanced jet trainer aircraft from Russia. Lao media released a photo of three Russian-made Yak-130 trainer aircraft received by the People’s Army of Laos at the Vientiane airfield. Aircraft have Lao tail numbers “044”, “045” and “046”.

Northrop Grumman wins $1.3 billion targeting pod upgrade contract

01/12/2019

The US Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $1.3 billion upgrade and sustainment contract for its Litening advanced targeting pod. The Litening pod is carried aboard a variety of USAF and US Marine Corps aircraft including the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II, Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules, Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle, Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon and Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Boeing granted CH-47F Block II contract after cancellation fears

01/12/2019

The US Army intends to grant Boeing a low-rate initial production contract for the CH-47F Block II Chinook cargo helicopter, despite rumours that the upgrade programme might be cancelled in order to shift funds to the service’s modernisation priorities.

Israel halts F-16 sale to Croatia

01/12/2019

Israel's government has abandoned a plan to sell surplus Lockheed Martin F-16s to Croatia, as the Middle Eastern country could not obtain approval from the USA to transfer the second-hand fighters fitted with Israeli equipment.

These Israeli pilots managed to land an F-15 after the canopy flew off at 30,000 fleet — listen to the audio of their struggle to keep control

01/11/2019

The new year isn't even a week old, but two Israeli airmen may have already pulled off the aviation feat of 2019. Haaretz reported Monday that the pair of aviators from Israel's air force got a rude surprise on Jan. 2, when without warning, the canopy flew off their F-15. They were at 30,000 feet on a routine training mission, and had just taken off from the Tel Nof air base in central Israel, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Yemen soldiers killed in Houthi drone attack on base

01/11/2019

A drone attack on a Yemeni government base by the rebel Houthi movement has reportedly killed six soldiers. The drone exploded above a podium at al-Anad base, in the southern province of Lahj, where high-ranking officers and officials were watching a parade.

New RAF F35 jets to be sent to Cyprus base after being declared 'combat ready'

01/11/2019

Sky News understands a plan is being drawn up for the jets to be sent to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus this spring. If initial operations run smoothly, it is possible that they could be used on strike missions against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria by the summer.

French air force says 2 on missing fighter jet are dead

01/11/2019

After a two-day search for a missing fighter jet, French military authorities said Thursday the pilot and a navigator were killed when the plane disappeared during a training flight. The Mirage 2000D vanished from radar Wednesday while flying in a snowstorm near the Swiss border. More than 100 rescuers, police officers and others searched icy mountains for the aircraft and the two-person crew.

Turkey refuses to cancel S-400 order, risking F-35 delivery again

01/11/2019

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country would consider buying Raytheon-made Patriot missiles from the US government, but would not cancel its order of S-400 anti-aircraft missiles from Russia as a condition of the deal.

USAF accepts Boeing KC-46A air tanker after years of delays

01/11/2019

The US Air Force formally accepted the first Boeing KC-46A Pegasus air tanker and will receive delivery of the aircraft at McConnell Air Force Base, in Wichita, Kansas, in the next several weeks. Boeing said that the USAF signed a DD Form 250, a material inspection and receiving report, on 10 January, officially ending years of missed delivery deadlines for the aircraft.

PICTURE: UK F-35s, Typhoon update hit operational milestones

01/11/2019

The UK has met its initial operational capability target for the Lockheed Martin F-35B, with nine examples assigned to the Royal Air Force's 617 Sqn now deemed "ready to be deployed on operations around the world".

Russia's next moves in Venezuela should be closely monitored

01/09/2019

In December, two supersonic nuclear-capable Russian bombers visited Venezuela, the third such excursion for the warplanes since 2008. Might Moscow intend to pose a threat, perhaps even nuclear, to the Western Hemisphere? If so, how could Washington respond?

Coming Soon to China's Aircraft Carriers: The JC-31 Stealth Fighter?

01/09/2019

The Chinese navy reportedly is considering acquiring a new stealth fighter to replace existing carrier-launched warplanes that have proved unreliable and unsafe. The People's Liberation Army Navy could buy "fourth-generation" FC-31 fighters from the Shenyang Aircraft Design Institute to replace older J-15s, state-run Global Times reported.

Dutch F-16s return from Middle East as F-35 ambitions grow

01/09/2019

Six Royal Netherlands Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16s returned to the service's Leeuwarden and Volkel air bases on 2 January, after completing a year-long deployment to Jordan as part of an international coalition conducting operations against Islamic State militants in the Middle East.

Predator drone crashed after signal loss, report says

01/08/2019

An MQ-1B Predator drone crashed in 2017 after its crew lost contact with the remotely piloted aircraft, a report released Monday said — but the reason why remains a mystery. The Predator, which was from the 432nd Wing at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, crashed Sept. 4, 2017, in an unidentified part of U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility, which includes the Middle East and parts of North Africa and Central and Southwest Asia.

PICTURES: Saab's second GlobalEye makes flight debut for UAE

01/08/2019

Saab's second of three GlobalEye surveillance aircraft on order for launch customer the United Arab Emirates (UAE) completed a 2h 54min debut flight from its Linkoping site in Sweden on 3 January.

ANALYSIS: How Gripen became prize Thai fighter

01/08/2019

Last year brought twin milestones for the Royal Thai Air Force’s fleet of Saab Gripen C/Ds, with the service having marked a decade since ordering the Swedish-built fighter, and completed its first 10,000 flying hours with the single-engined type.

PAKISTAN EYES 62 JF-17 JETS FROM CHINA AS RAFALE DOGFIGHT CONTINUES IN INDIA

01/07/2019

While the opposition is targeting the NDA government on the Rafal fighter plane deal, neighbouring Pakistan is engaged in taking full advantage of the opportunity. The Pakistani government has approached China to make the JF-17 (Block 3) Jet fighter plane available for the Pakistani Air Force (PAF) as soon as possible.

Fighter-Jet Makers a Rare Bright Spot in China's Bear Market

01/07/2019

Chinese fighter-jet and engine manufacturers are emerging as a bright spot in a stormy stock market that’s been besieged by a trade feud with the U.S. and a slowing economy. Avic Shenyang Aircraft Co. and AECC Aviation Power Co. may stand out because their largest customer is the Chinese military, whose purchasing decisions have more to do with the nation’s plans for upgrading its air force and less to do with macro-economic fundamentals, analysts say.

Air National Guard seeks input on airspace proposal

01/06/2019

Within the next several months, a proposal to update military training airspace around Grayling Aerial Gunnery Range and an environmental assessment will be available for public comment for 45 days public comment phase, the Michigan Air National Guard said in a news release.

Would China Really Try to Sink a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier?

01/06/2019

While China’s ambassador to the United States was celebrating the forty-year anniversary with conciliatory words in the pages of USA Today and President Xi Jinping was writing to President Donald Trump in the hope of jumpstarting a more productive relationship in 2019, a Chinese admiral was pontificating about sinking American aircraft carriers in the open ocean.

PLA wants FC-31 fighters on its aircraft carriers

01/05/2019

China’s first locally-developed aircraft carrier remains on target for going into service as early as October, and the next generation of carrier is already under construction. Yet still the development of the People’s Liberation Army’s carrier-borne fighter squadron appears stuck in the slow lane.

Looking beyond the F-35: Penetrating Counter Air

01/05/2019

The US is looking beyond the fifth-generation F-35 with plans already underway for the sixth-generation 'Penetrating Counter Air' concept, which will be operated by the US Air Force and Navy and, potentially, allies like Australia.

KAI upbeat after Jakarta resumes K-FX/I-FX payments

01/05/2019

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has received a W130 billion ($117 million) payment from Indonesia’s defence ministry, suggesting Jakarta’s involvement in the K-FX/I-FX programme is back on track.

Problem: China's J-20 Stealth Fighter Doesn't Have a Gun

01/04/2019

Observers of the twin-engine stealth fighter long had speculated that the J-20 lacks a cannon. Photography of J-20s since the type's first flight in January 2011 hadn't revealed bulges or openings that might point to an internal gun. The J-20 hadn't appeared in public carrying an external gun pod.

Boeing and Lockheed Martin to build infrared search and track systems for F/A-18E/F combat aircraft

01/04/2019

U.S. Navy air combat experts are asking electro-optics engineers at the Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. to build infrared search and track (IRST) sensors for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jet fighter-bomber to enable the aircraft to detect, track, and attack enemy aircraft in a stealthy way without making its presence known.

Boeing to upgrade Spain CH-47D fleet to -F standard

01/04/2019

Boeing will upgrade Spain’s fleet of 17 CH-47Ds to the CH-47F standard, in the first such order outside the United States. The work will see the 17 helicopters receive a digital automatic flight control system, a common avionics architecture, and an improved cargo handling capability,” says Boeing.

PICTURE: Russia's improved Il-78 tanker makes flying start

01/04/2019

The improved United Aircraft (UAC) Ilyushin Il-78M-90A tanker commenced factory flight testing with a debut sortie conducted from the Aviastar SP production site in Ulyanovsk in late last month.

Modernised Tu-22M3M makes flight debut

01/04/2019

Russia's first modernised Tupolev Tu-22M3M strategic bomber got airborne for the first time on 28 December 2018, completing a 37min sortie from the Kazan Aviation Plant. United Aircraft (UAC) says the type underwent tests of its updated systems and equipment during the flight, and reached an altitude of 16,400ft. The test asset had been rolled out in Kazan in August 2018 after undergoing modification.

How the Military Is Making Sure the F-35 Can Fight the Wars of the Future

01/03/2019

When a single F-35 used sensors, on-board computers and targeting systems to find, track and destroy two airborne drones at the same time with air-to-air missiles, the emerging 5th Gen fighter transitioned into a new era for offensive attack missions.

Spain To Pit Its Eurofighters Against France's Stealth Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle

01/03/2019

Spanish Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets and supporting personnel recently arrived in France to take part in evaluating the stealthy qualities of the Dassault nEUROn unmanned combat air vehicle, or UCAV. This comes as the Spanish are considering buying more of the fighters and are looking to join the French and Germans in the development of a new stealth fighter, as well as advanced unmanned combat aircraft.

The F-35 Is Getting Ready to Strike America's Enemies from Navy Aircraft Carriers

01/03/2019

The Navy’s first-of-its-kind carrier-launched F-35C has been conducting aerial maneuvers, weapons integration, “cyclical” flight take-off missions and other war operations from the flight deck of a Nimitz-Class carrier in recent weeks, marking the first operational tests of the stealth fighter slated to deploy in 2021.

Raytheon wins $434.4 million order to build 926 AIM-9X air-to-air missiles for combat aircraft

01/03/2019

U.S. Navy aerial warfare experts are asking the Raytheon Co. to build 926 AIM-9X precision short-range infrared-guided air-to-air missiles for jet fighters and other combat aircraft under terms of a $434.4 million order announced last week.

Gripen E production tweak safeguards Swedish fighter fleet

01/03/2019

Sweden has dropped a plan to reuse some parts from its air force's in-service fleet of Saab Gripen C/Ds during production of new-generation Gripen Es, citing operational considerations. Announced on 21 December 2018 and worth around SKr430 million ($47.5 million), a new contract from Sweden's Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) covers the provision of unspecified new-build components for some of the nation's future inventory of 60 E-model fighters.

Introducing Israel's Ultimate Weapon: Killer F-35 Stealth Fighters on Steroids

01/02/2019

On May 22, Israeli Air Force commander Amikam Norkin announced that its F-35I stealth fighters had flown on two combat missions on “different fronts,” showing as proof a photograph of an F-35 overflying Beirut. While details on those missions have not been released—apparently, they were not deployed in a massive Israeli air attack on Iranian forces in Syria that took place on May 9.

Upgraded MiG-29 To Take On F-16 In The Refurbished Fighter Jet Market

01/02/2019

The MiG-29, one of Russia’s most exported military jet has been upgraded in India that expands its capabilities from an air superiority fighter to a multi-role aircraft. The Indian Air Force (IAF) revealed the upgrade, called the MiG-29UPG ahead of the Air Force Day celebrations in October 2018.

‘Sink two aircraft carriers’: Chinese Admiral’s chilling recipe to dominate the South China Sea

01/02/2019

Beijing has a devastating plan to force the world out of the East and South China Seas — and it could cost the US 10,000 lives. They’re the pride of the US fleet: enormous 100,000 tonne, 333m long nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. But Beijing thinks they’re Washington’s achilles heel. Rear Admiral Lou Yuan has told an audience in Shenzhen that the ongoing disputes over the ownership of the East and South China Seas could be resolved by sinking two US super carriers.

PICTURE: Russia continues A-50 AEW&C upgrade work

01/02/2019

The Russian Air Force has taken delivery of an upgraded Beriev A-50U Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft as part of a broader fleet upgrade. Following the work, the aircraft, based on the Ilyushin IL-76, can “track more targets and guide more fighters,” says state arms company Rostec in a statement. The upgrades were conducted by Beriev Aircraft Company and Vega Radio Engineering.

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