February, 2019 Military Aviation News

IAF in talks with Russia for urgent MiG 29 purchase

02/17/2019

Indian Air Force, which is facing an acute shortage of combat aircraft, is in advance talks with Russia for an urgent procurement of MiG 29 fighters that can be delivered at a relatively short notice. The plan to acquire 21 additional aircraft to make a new squadron of MiG 29 jets that were first purchased in the 1980s has been discussed in detail last month and is expected to cost the Indian exchequer less than Rs 6,000 crore, government sources said.

South Korea begins building prototype of next-generation fighter aircraft

02/17/2019

Korea Aerospace Industries, or KAI, is starting production on the first prototype of a next-generation fighter jet. On 14 February, South Korea’s biggest aerospace company held a ceremony in order to celebrate the start producing of the first bulkhead, which is the main part of the forward fuselage of the next-generation Korean Fighter Xperiment (KFX) aircraft.

US Army helicopters to get 5,000 encrypted communication systems

02/17/2019

The US Army awarded Raytheon a contract worth $406 million to provide ARC-231A communication systems for a variety of helicopters. As part of the contract, Raytheon will deliver 5,000 systems over the next five years, as well as support services and software upgrades to the US Army, the company says.

New Delhi sets stage for naval utility helicopter RFP

02/14/2019

New Delhi has called for expressions of interest related to the planned procurement of 111 aircraft via its Naval Utility Helicopter (NUH) requirement, leading up to a request for proposals (RFP) due for release late in the third quarter.

Moscow claims new A-100 superior to E-3 Sentry

02/14/2019

Moscow has touted the capabilities of its new Beriev A-100 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft as being far superior to domestic and international rivals. The Russian defence ministry made the claim in a recent release about the type’s launch of preliminary flight tests pending acceptance by the country’s military.

Pentagon lays out F-35’s Tier II global repair network

02/14/2019

The US Department of Defense roughly outlined the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II’s Tier II global repair network. Tier II servicers within the F-35’s maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade network are eligible to fix nearly 400 repairable components, including avionics, power systems, landing gear, egress and canopy systems, pumps, valves and power systems, the Defense Department said 12 February. The network is responsible only for global work outside the continental United States.

China's eyeing a 6th-generation fighter to beat the US — its 5th-gen fighters probably don't stand a chance in a fight

02/12/2019

China is locked in an intensifying arms race with the US, and it's not backing down, Chinese media warned Monday. China is developing a sixth-generation fighter that could be seen as early as 2035, if not sooner, the Global Times reported Monday, citing a recent Chinese media interview with Wang Haifeng, a chief architect at Chengdu Aircraft Research and Design Institute who was involved in the development of the J-20 stealth fighter.

The F-35s New Best Friend: The Navy's 6th Generation Fighter Could Be All Sorts of Amazing

02/12/2019

The Navy program, called Next-Generation Air Dominance, has moved beyond a purely conceptual phase and begun exploration of prototype systems and airframes as it pursues a new, carrier-launched 6th-Gen fighter to emerge in 2030 and beyond, service officials explained.

Spain joins France, Germany on new combat fighter

02/12/2019

Spain will join a Franco-German project to build a new fighter plane to replace the Eurofighter and Rafale, the defence ministry said Monday. Defence Minister Margarita Robles will sign a letter of intent with her French and German counterparts on Thursday on the margins of a NATO meeting in Brussels, a spokesperson said.

Boeing losses in KC-46A programme continue to rise

02/12/2019

Boeing recorded a $736 million reach-forward loss in 2018 on its KC-46A Pegasus tanker, bringing the programme’s total losses to nearly $3.6 billion. The programme’s losses in 2018 primarily reflected higher estimated costs associated with “certification, testing and change incorporation on aircraft,” as well as a greater than expected effort to meet the US Air Force’s requirements in order for initial aircraft to be accepted, Boeing said in its 2018 financial filing with the Securities and Exc

PICTURES: Boeing transfers fifth KC-46A to Altus base

02/12/2019

Boeing has delivered its fifth KC-46A Pegasus tanker to the US Air Force, with its latest example the first to be transferred to Altus AFB in Oklahoma. The heavily adapted 767 – registered 76027 – arrived at the site from Everett, Washington on 8 February, exactly two weeks after Boeing had transferred a lead pair of the type to McConnell AFB, in Kansas. That location also received the programme's third and fourth examples, the company says.

What exactly is the F-35 ‘Beast Mode’ we keep hearing about?

02/11/2019

The phrase “beast mode” wasn’t coined for the sake of the F-35. In fact, more often than not, you’ll find those two words adorning tweets about professional football players breaking tackles or in the caption under videos of street fights. So how did the phrase manage to find its way into so many headlines pertaining to Lockheed Martin’s flagship fifth-generation fighter? Well, for one thing, it makes for some great marketing.

China to sell aircraft carrier to Pakistan

02/11/2019

The Chinese government has decided to sell its first and only aircraft carrier to Pakistan. More specifically, the Liaoning will be sold to Pakistan for a yet-undetermined price in order to upgrade the Pakistani Navy’s capabilities, reported Chinese and Russia media on Saturday.

Jaguar, IAF's ground attack deep penetration fighter to roar at Vayushakti 2019

02/11/2019

The Jaguar ground attack deep penetration fighter aircraft will roar in the skies at the Indian Air Force's exercise Vayushakti 2019 on February 16. With over-wing missile pylons, multi-purpose nose radar, anti-shipping weapons, night sensors, photo reconnaissance, laser range finder, the aircraft is a mean fighting machine.

Warplanes: B-52 Stays, B-1B Retires

02/10/2019

The U.S. Air Force has decided to retire its B-1B bombers, which were built in the 1980s, before the B-52Hs, which were built in the 1960s. It’s all about cost. One of the two older heavy bombers has to go when the new B-21 stealth bomber begins entering service in 2030. If that happens the B-1Bs will start to retire in 2025 and the last will be gone by 2035. The B-52s are to serve until the 2040s.

Airbus and Dassault announce partnership to develop sixth-generation fighter

02/10/2019

The governments of Germany and France have granted the first contract to manufacturers Airbus and Dassault to jointly develop the first conceptual studies for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program that is expected to originate a Friday fighter aircraft generation by 2040. The announcement was made by the French military minister, Florence Parly, and her German colleague, Ursula von der Leyen, at a meeting in Paris on Wednesday.

What’s Next for China’s Fifth Generation Fighter Jet?

02/10/2019

Upon entering service in 2017 the Chengdu J-20 became the first active fifth generation fighter jet in the world developed outside the United States — providing the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) with an analogue to the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter. The J-20 was designed with a radar evading stealth profile to maximize its survivability both in air-to-air combat against enemy fighters and against enemy air defenses.

USAF to struggle with novice aircraft maintainers for years

02/10/2019

The US Air Force continues to struggle to keep and replace sufficient numbers of experienced and highly skilled aircraft maintainers. That’s according to a Government Accountability Office report which said the USAF reduced the overall gap between actual maintainer staff levels and authorised levels from 4,016 maintainers in fiscal year 2015, to 745 in fiscal year 2017.

Lockheed Gets Boost When Pentagon Labels Late F-35s as ‘On-Time’

02/09/2019

Lockheed Martin Corp. delivered 91 of its F-35 jets in 2018 as promised, but only 54 were “on-time” based on monthly contract targets - and 19 of those were reclassified from “late” in a settlement of production issues with the Pentagon. The tardy deliveries mark the fifth consecutive year in which Lockheed’s missed the monthly dates, which are different from annual targets agreed to with the Pentagon’s F-35 program office, according to the Defense Contract Management Agency.

Nigerian Air Force orders 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft

02/09/2019

The Nigerian Air Force has placed an order with Embraer Defense & Security and its partner Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to procure 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft. Under the contract, Embraer and SNC will provide ground training devices, mission planning systems, mission debrief systems, spares, ground support equipment, and alternate mission equipment.

Raytheon looks to install F-35’s DAS on helicopters

02/09/2019

After winning a contract in June 2018 from Lockheed Martin to develop and produce the F-35 Lightning II’s next-generation electro-optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS), Raytheon is looking at also installing the camera technology on helicopters.

LCA Tejas Likely To Be Equipped With ASRAAM

02/08/2019

India's indigenously-made Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas is likely to be equipped with air-to-air missile ASRAAM. State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and MBDA are set to hold formal talks this week to arm the aircraft with the heat-seeking close combat air-to-air missile, The Print reported Wednesday.

France and Germany sign first FCAS development contracts

02/08/2019

France and Germany have stepped up their efforts to develop a joint Future Air Combat System (FCAS) by awarding Airbus and Dassault a first contract for the project, while Safran Aircraft Engines and MTU Aero Engines have announced a partnership to build the aircraft's powerplants.

Sikorsky stays defiant over SB-1 helicopter prospects

02/08/2019

Sikorsky remains confident that the SB-1 Defiant helicopter it is jointly developing with Boeing can achieve a target speed of around 270kt (500km/h), even though the technology demonstrator is yet to leave the ground.

Do 'proper homework' while acquiring new technology: Parliamentary committee to IAF, defence ministry

02/07/2019

The Indian Air Force and the defence ministry should do “proper homework” while acquiring new technology, said Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee. The committee said this in relation to delays in implementing the Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation System, resulting from “lack of planning” in integrating it to different aircraft and not timely modifying the IAF fleet.

RIP Russia's Stealth Fighter: Why the Su-57 Is In Serious Trouble

02/07/2019

Combined with the dramatic collapse of the Russian economy in the wake of Western economic sanctions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the inflexibility of UAC made the Su-57 impossible to realize. Westerns analysts have concluded that Russia’s fifth-generation Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter is unlikely to enter operational service before 2027. Postponements, cost-overruns and research and development-related problems mar the project.

PICTURE: Qatar receives first of 36 Rafale fighters

02/07/2019

Dassault has handed over the first of an eventual 36 Rafale combat aircraft – a DQ two-seat variant – to Qatar, for operation by the country's air force. Doha signed for 24 examples in 2015, adding a further 12 aircraft a little over two years later. “For the fourth time in our long and trustful partnership with Qatar, a Dassault aircraft will serve proudly in the Qatari Emiri Air Force," says Dassault chief executive Eric Trappier.

PICTURES: RAF Tornados complete operational duties

02/07/2019

Deployed operations with the UK's Panavia Tornado GR4 strike aircraft have come to an end, with its last examples having returned to the Royal Air Force's Marham base in Norfolk. Three of the type completed a transfer from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus on 5 February, the day after five others had returned to the UK.

'Huge effort' yields Tiger, MRH90 performance boost for Australia

02/07/2019

Australia believes it has finally overcome the high-profile problems that have dogged two of its helicopter procurement programmes – with such progress made on one platform that it has now been accepted for special forces operations. Canberra acquired both the Airbus Helicopters Tiger and the NH Industries NH90 in the early 2000s, and saw both rotorcraft fail to deliver promised levels of availability or performance.

US Army upbeat on future armed scout contest

02/07/2019

US Army officials say they are pleased with the quality of the bids so far received under its future attack reconnaissance aircraft (FARA) programme, with an initial contracting decision anticipated by mid-year. Declining to be drawn on the number of competing submissions, Brig Gen Walter Rugen, the army's director future vertical lift cross-functional team, says that it anticipates, no later than June, awarding "up to six" contracts for the next development stage.

Design issues delay badly needed Combat Rescue Helicopter

02/07/2019

The USAF wants HH-60Ws produced and deployed as soon as possible because its 96 HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters have exceeded their expected service lives of 6,000h of flight. As of last August, those helicopters had logged an average of 7,100h of flight, according to a US Government Accountability Office report. Only about 68% of the fleet was mission-capable in fiscal year 2017 – short of the USAF’s desired 75% mission-capable goal.

Red Flag adjusts for today’s challenges

02/06/2019

The 414th Combat Training Squadron, which oversees Red Flag, is making changes to the exercise for improved efficiency at Nellis Air Force Base. Red Flag is a realistic multi-domain training exercise that maximizes the combat readiness and survivability of participants by providing a robust, accurate training environment.

Elbit subsidiary picked for RC-26B avionics update

02/06/2019

Elbit Systems of America has been awarded a potentially $22 million contract to support an avionics modernisation activity on the US Air National Guard's fleet of Fairchild Metroliner-derived RC-26B surveillance aircraft.

Crash of Indian air force trainer aircraft kills 2 pilots

02/05/2019

An Indian air force Mirage 2000 trainer aircraft crashed Friday while taking off after being upgraded by a state aerospace company, killing the two pilots. Spokesman Group Capt. Anupam Banerjee said the pilots died after ejecting from the French-made aircraft at an airfield in Bangalore, the capital of southern Karnataka state. No one on the ground was injured.

Ambassador Eric Rubin: Bulgaria Was Not Pressured To Choose The U.S. F-16

02/05/2019

Bulgaria has never been pressured to choose the F-16. “This is a Bulgarian sovereign decision. Bulgaria is our partner, a member of NATO and the EU.” This, the U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria Eric Rubin assured in an interview with BTV on the upcoming talks with the U.S. on the purchase of a new fighter, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

The Only Reason Japan's Navy Doesn't Have Aircraft Carriers

02/05/2019

To repeat: the only serious obstacles to Japan’s construction of fleet carriers are political. But political obstacles are still obstacles, and the appearance of Shokaku and Zuikaku would have significant repercussions at home and abroad. Indeed, the existence of such obstacles would seem to demand a gradual approach. Still, the decision to refit the Izumos to fly modern stealth attack aircraft suggests that the current Japanese government is willing to run some risks.

Russia's Only Aircraft Carrier Is in Serious Trouble

02/04/2019

From crashing two aircraft in less than two week to being accompanied by massive tugboats wherever it goes, the last several years have not been kind to Russia’s sole, geriatric aircraft carrier. Most recently, a 70-ton crane smashed into Admiral Kuznetsov ’s hull as the PD-50 floating drydock that housed it sank. The PD-50 incident sparked a new round of speculation concerning Admiral Kuznetsov’s future; while the Kremlin insists that Kuznetsov’s major 2020 overhaul will proceed as planned.

USAF's New Excuses For Delaying Light Attack Aircraft Program Sound Like A Death Sentence

02/04/2019

The Air Force's top officer says the service had to put its most recent light attack aircraft program on hold to gather yet more data on how it might use such these planes and how they might operate together with attack helicopters, armed drones, and other platforms. He also implied that there had been a lack of interest from potential foreign partners.

US intelligence reveals another mysterious Chinese stealth bomber project

02/04/2019

China made history as the only nation other than the U.S. to ever field a stealth fighter jet, and a new report on China’s military power from the Defense Intelligence Agency just revealed yet another batch of stealth combat aircraft projects.

Northrop Grumman sales rise, helped by B-21 development work

02/04/2019

Northrop Grumman’s revenue grew 16% to $30.1 billion in 2018, partly helped by orders from the US Department of Defense for additional unmanned air vehicles, fighter aircraft and B-21 development work. The aerospace manufacturer makes the fuselage for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II in Palmdale, California and Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet in El Segundo, California. It also is developing the B-21 stealth bomber in California, reportedly in Palmdale.

Should the Air Force Buy More Stealth F-35s?

02/01/2019

While senior Air Force leaders are calling for a “fast” pursuit toward production and delivery of its stated F-35 objectives, there are some voices now raising the question as to whether the rates should be sped up even more -- potentially even increasing the overall numbers for the program.

F-35s train in air combat 'beast mode' in the Pacific after China deploys 'carrier killer' missiles

02/01/2019

US Marine Corps F-35B pilots embarked aboard the USS Wasp, an amphibious assault ship, took off with externally stored missiles in the Philippine Sea, which suggests they trained for all-out aerial combat with China. The move came just days after China deployed its DF-26 missiles that experts say can take down US aircraft carriers from thousands of miles away.

Canada forced to pay bigger share of F-35 fighter jet development costs — even though it may never buy any

02/01/2019

Canada is being forced to shoulder a bigger share of the costs of developing F-35 fighter jets even though it has not decided whether it will actually buy any. Canada is one of nine partner countries in the F-35 project, each of which is required to cover a portion of the stealth fighter’s multibillion-dollar development costs to stay at the table.

Russia to supply four Su-30SM fighter jets to Belarus in 2019

02/01/2019

The Defense Ministry of Belarus has confirmed the information on the planned adoption of the first batch of Russian Su-30SM jets this year. The ministry noted that “the contract provides for the supply of the first four aircraft.” On Wednesday, January 30, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited the Irkutsk Aviation Plant where he said that in 2019, the Armed Forces of Belarus are preparing to receive the first batch of Su-30SM, interfax.by reports.

New Hypoxia Sensor Aims to Make Military Trainer Aircraft Safer

02/01/2019

A new helmet-based sensor that can read human biometrics alongside an aircraft's cockpit pressure levels just hit the market with Air Force pilots in mind. Spotlight Labs, a veteran-owned small business founded by fighter pilots, on Wednesday announced that its SPYDR hypoxia sensor is ready to be used in aircraft that have had a history of pilots reporting hypoxia-like symptoms, such as the T-6 Texan II trainer.

PICTURE: First operational F-35A emerges for the Netherlands

02/01/2019

Lockheed Martin has rolled out its first operational F-35A for the Royal Netherlands Air Force, ahead of its transfer to the service's Leeuwarden air base later this year. The fighter was unveiled during a ceremony at the company's Fort Worth final assembly site in Texas on 30 January.

Manila nears formal commitment for 16 S-70is

02/01/2019

Manila is on the verge of placing an order for 16 Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters equipped for combat utility missions. The final elements of the deal are being put in place, according a source familiar with the transaction. The rotorcraft will be acquired on a direct commercial sale basis, and be produced at Sikorsky’s PZL Mielec unit in Poland

Leonardo sees US Navy favoring single-engined trainer helicopters

02/01/2019

Leonardo’s pitch for the US Navy’s TH-XX helicopter trainer replacement competition will focus on what it said is the affordability of its light-weight, single-engined TH-119 helicopter. Based on the commercial AgustaWestland AW119, the Italian company said the helicopter’s simple and rugged design, as well as its single engine, make it the most practical and cost efficient aircraft for training naval aviators.

Boeing Defense turnaround helps company post record $101bn sales

02/01/2019

Boeing’s revenue reached a record $101 billion in 2018, partly helped by a turnaround in the company’s defence unit, which won several large contracts thereby reversing more than a decade of declining sales. Boeing Defense, Space & Security’s revenue grew to $23.2 billion last year, rising 13% from the year prior, the company said in a financial filing. Though, the division’s profit declined 27% to $1.59 billion for the year.

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