April, 2019 Military Aviation News

Military Pilots Aren't Getting the Training Needed to Fight, Watchdog Warns

04/25/2019

The U.S. military's aviation training ranges are outdated and underfunded, leaving pilots operating in the Asia-Pacific region ill-prepared to deal with modern-day threats, a Defense Department investigation found.

Artificial intelligence (AI) changes strategies for B-2 and F-35 combat aircraft

04/25/2019

Faster computer processors, AI-infused algorithms able to fuse sensor information, and automated maintenance and checklists are influencing emerging pilot tactics to anticipate future threat environments. For the F-35 and B-2 stealth combat aircraft, AI enables rapid database access, organizing information, and high-volume procedural functions. Algorithms, for example, increasingly are able to scan, view, and organize targeting, navigation, radar warning, images, and video.

Boeing Defense backlog hits $67bn on surveillance aircraft orders

04/25/2019

Boeing Defense, Space & Security’s revenue in the first quarter of 2019 increase 2% to $6.6 billion year on year due to higher sales volume of satellites, weapons and surveillance aircraft. The company’s first quarter profit increased 12.8% to $847 million.

ANALYSIS: Izumo and Kaga, aircraft carriers in all but name

04/25/2019

Some military secrets are better kept than others. The emergence of Tokyo’s real plan for its pair of Izumo-class helicopter destroyers was always, to naval observers, more a matter when than if. With their 248m (814ft) length, expansive flight decks and large hangars, the JS Izumo and her sister JS Kaga are the largest ships in the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) – and aircraft carriers in all but name.

The F-35 versus the F-15x

04/23/2019

In July 1972, the F-15 fighter jet flew for the first time. The F-15 was the American military’s answer to the Soviet block’s mighty Mig-25 and incorporated all the lessons learned in the Vietnam War. The F-15 rapidly replaced the 1950s designed F-4 Phantom as the U.S. Air Force’s dominant air superiority fighter. Also in the 1970s, the Air Force secretly developed the first stealth fighter, the super secret F-117 for strike missions without being detected by radar.

Guard aviators will get the newest advanced helicopters before some active Army units

04/23/2019

The likely next Army chief of staff has made Guard aviators of the future a real part of the service’s next steps in combat aircraft. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said that the newest helicopter under development, which will replace many UH-60 Black Hawks and CH-47 Chinooks, will go not just to tip-of-the-spear units such as the 101st Airborne Division, 82nd Airborne Division and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

USA and Japan confident China won’t find missing F-35A wreckage

04/23/2019

The defence chiefs of the USA and Japan are confident that China won’t be able to recover pieces of the Lockheed Martin F-35A that crashed off the coast of Japan on 9 April. A flurry of media reports had speculated that parts of the aircraft were vulnerable to discovery by the Chinese or Russian militaries, giving those countries’ armed forces an opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities or copy the fighter’s stealth technology.

Washington, Tokyo go deeper on F-3 tech transfer: report

04/23/2019

Washington and Tokyo appear to be holding deeper talks related to Japan’s development of a new fighter to replace the Mitsubishi F-2. A report in Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun, citing unnamed government sources, says that the United States is willing to offer a notable degree of intellectual content related to stealth aircraft design. The report adds that a proposal from the US side is on the table, and that Tokyo will decide by the end of 2019.

Why Nothing Could Stop a 6th Generation F-22 Stealth Fighter

04/22/2019

The scenario goes like this: In 2030, Russia invades the Baltic States. As the U.S. sends forces to Europe, China seizes the opportunity to seize disputed islands in the South China Sea. American airpower flies to the rescue, only to discover that sophisticated Russian and Chinese fighters and anti-aircraft defenses have rendered the skies too deadly for older American planes to conduct missions.

U.S. Air Force T-38 Talon celebrate 60 years after maiden flight

04/20/2019

The T-38 Talon prototype embarked on its maiden flight as the U.S. Air Force’s first supersonic trainer on April 10, 1959. Serving critical missions for six decades, the venerable T-38 has consistently performed and has assisted in flight training exercises for 80,000 pilots. And, with various modernizations, the aircraft has maintained low operating costs, is maintenance-friendly and has a great safety record.

Indian Air Force Strike Power Needs Critical Augmentation – OpEd

04/20/2019

The Indian Air Force spectacular and dramatic deep penetration strikes on Pakistan terror camps at Balakot on February 26 2019 by India’s valiant ‘Air Warriors’ enabled by bold & decisive leadership of PM Modi opens new imperatives for fast tracking augmentation of Indian Air Force ‘Strike Power’ in the unfolding geopolitical threatening environment.

Five Japanese F-35A Stealth Jets, Including Crashed Aircraft Involved In Emergency Landings

04/20/2019

The Japanese F-35A stealth jet, which is missing since April 9 was involved in seven emergency landing incidents prior to the crash along with four other F-35s out of 13 in service with the Japanese Self Defence Force (JSDF). The first accident took place on April 9 when one of the fighters crashed into the Pacific during a routine anti-fighter combat training with three other F-35A jets.

US Air Force sends next generation fighter jets to UAE

04/19/2019

The US Air Force has deployed F-35A Lightning II stealth fighters to the Middle East for the first time. The jets arrived at Al Dhafra Air Base in Abu Dhabi earlier this week and are ready to be sent on missions across the region. The aircraft, which cost about $90 million each, are undetectable by radar. The F-35s are equipped with advanced weapons systems which mean they do not have to be pointing at its target. They also have the capability to launch electronic warfare attacks on enemies.

Did India shoot down a Pakistani F-16 in February? This just became a big deal.

04/19/2019

With voting underway in India’s general election, February’s Kashmir conflict is likely to weigh on the minds of voters, especially given last week’s social media uproar over the reported downing of a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet during the crisis. The controversy flared up when a Foreign Policy article stated that the Pentagon had accounted for all of Pakistan’s F-16 jets.

PICTURES: HAL HJT-36 IJT flies after three year hiatus

04/19/2019

Hindustan Aeronautics has recommenced flight testing of its HJT-36 Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) from its Bengaluru production centre. “The flight was flawless and its success is an important step towards the IJT program,” says HAL. “The flight testing of IJT (HJT-36), designed and developed by HAL for the stage-II training of IAF pilots was put on hold after the aircraft had encountered problem in the spin test flights in the year 2016.”

Russia Completes Delivery of Su-35 Fighter Jets to China for $2.5Bln

04/18/2019

Russia has completed the delivery of Su-35 combat aircraft to China in defiance of U.S. sanctions, Russia’s military and technical cooperation agency told state media Tuesday. Russia and China signed a $2.5 billion deal on the delivery of 24 Sukhoi Su-35s in 2015, making it the first foreign buyer of the fourth-generation multirole air superiority fighter. The United States imposed sanctions on the Chinese military last September for buying 10 Su-35s in 2017 and missile systems in 2018 from Rus

US offers to renew Taiwan F-16 training at Luke AFB

04/18/2019

The US Department of Defense has approved a possible deal for the continuation of a training and support programme for the pilots of Taiwanese Lockheed Martin F-16s at Luke AFB, Arizona. If accepted by Taipei, the possible $500 million package includes flight training, exercise participation, and other services and equipment consistent with the Luke contingent.

No word on missing Japanese F-35A

04/18/2019

The search continues for a Lockheed Martin F-35A operated by the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force that crashed last week in the northern Pacific Ocean. Japanese media reports indicate that that the aircraft’s tail has been recovered, but the aircraft’s fuselage and the body of the pilot have yet to be located.

Meet the Mitsubishi F-3: Japan's 6th Generation Fighter Jet

04/14/2019

Japan’s 2019 Mid-Term Defense review quietly revealed that after years of hesitation, Tokyo has decided to press ahead with development of its own domestically designed sixth-generation Mitsubishi F-3 air-superiority stealth fighter, rather than purchasing an additional foreign stealth design to supplement its growing fleet of F-35s.

Boeing releases concept images of its new Advanced Eagle fighter aircraft

04/14/2019

U.S. aerospace giant Boeing has released concept images depicting the new F-15EX Advanced Eagle fighter aircraft. Boeing launches a new update for the website as part of the promotional activities of its new upgraded version of the F-15EX fighter jet, commonly known as Strike Eagle on Steroids. With new concept images, Boeing reveals additional details of new fighter jet purpose-built for the U.S. Air Force.

Why the the days of ‘fighter jock culture’ may be numbered

04/14/2019

For the past half century, fighter pilots have dominated high-level leadership roles in the Air Force, much as bomber pilots did during World War II and the Cold War. But a recent study from the Rand Corp., sponsored by the Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment, questions whether that hierarchy — with fighter pilots first, bomber pilots second and other specializations after — continues to serve the best interests of the service, especially in terms of fostering innovation.

Puerto Rico Air Guard's C-130 Airlifters And Flying Role Are Being Taken Away

04/13/2019

The Puerto Rico Air National Guard, or PRANG, has lost its flying mission less than two years after Hurricane Maria battered its main base and nearly a year after tragic accident exposed a culture of apathy and poor morale. It will now reorganize its former flying units to support the U.S. Air Force’s recent push to revitalize its ability to rapidly deploy and establish forward bases overseas during major crises and conflicts.

Switzerland Begins Evaluation Phase of Combat Aircraft Competition

04/13/2019

The evaluation phase of Switzerland’s ongoing fighter assessment for a new-generation combat aircraft is underway. The current flight trials follow an earlier exercise whereby Swiss officials tested the aircraft models involved in simulators in the countries of each manufacturer.

PICTURE: Dutch investigate F-16 damaged by own gunfire

04/13/2019

Details have emerged of an incident early this year during which a Lockheed Martin F-16AM from the Royal Netherlands Air Force was damaged by its own gunfire during a training flight. The 21 January mishap involved a formation of two Dutch F-16s using their M61A1 20mm cannons during a practice strafing run, firing at a target on the Vliehors range located on the island of Vlieland.

US, Filipino and Aussie forces conduct premier military exercise, but don’t mention China

04/12/2019

Officials have said that the major U.S., Filipino and Australian exercise known as Balikatan isn’t aimed at China, but given Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent words of warning, observers can be forgiven for thinking that. Balikatan 2019 is running from April 1-12 and taking place on the islands of Luzon and Palawan.

The F-35 and other warplanes descend on Switzerland this spring

04/12/2019

The Swiss have kicked off flying season for the five types of combat aircraft under consideration to replace the country’s aging fleet, with several demonstrations scheduled between now and early July. The probes are part of the Swiss “Air 2030” program, an $8.2 billion project to buy new aircraft and ground-based equipment for policing the country's airspace.

Honeywell eyes Malaysia F/A-18D, C-130 upgrade work

04/12/2019

Honeywell is eyeing upgrade opportunities for Kuala Lumpur’s Boeing F/A-18D Hornet fighters and Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules tactical transports. Honeywell has a significant amount of content on the F/A-18Ds that it could upgrade, says company vice-president Tim Van Luven.

How China's Military Is Becoming More Dangerous By the Day

04/11/2019

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency’s 125-page report, “China Military Power – Modernizing a Force to Fight and Win,” details China’s military modernization efforts with an emphasis that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is not a “national army” but a military arm of the Chinese Communist Party that exists to guarantee the CCP’s survival.

Navy Dream Come True: F-35s and Nimitz-Class Aircraft Carriers Together In Battle

04/11/2019

The start of formal operational testing is a milestone more than 18 years in the making,” Vice Adm. Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer, said in a written statement. "While aircraft are in operational test, the F-35 Joint Program Office will continue to support the delivery of phased capability improvements and modernization of the air system.

Japan grounds F-35 fighter jets after 1 disappears over Pacific

04/11/2019

A Japanese F-35 stealth fighter jet with one pilot on board disappeared from radar while on a training mission over the Pacific on Tuesday night, the defense ministry said. The disappearance prompted Japan's military to ground its remaining fleet of the U.S.-made warplanes.

Northrop awarded $3.2bn for 24 additional E-2Ds

04/11/2019

The US Navy (USN) has awarded Northrop Grumman a $3.2 billion multiyear procurement contract for the purchase of 24 E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) aircraft. This is the second multiyear procurement contract awarded to Northrop Grumman for the E-2D. The USN awarded the first contract in 2014 for the production of 25 E-2D aircraft, which Congress later increased to 26 aircraft.

Lockheed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme to get new director

04/11/2019

President Donald Trump nominated US Air Force Major General Eric Fick for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as director of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme. Fick currently serves as deputy executive officer for the programme, which is based in Arlington, Virginia. He will replace US Navy Vice Admiral Mathias Winter, who has served as the programme’s director since May 2017. The Department of Defense (DoD) did not say when Fick would take over.

Search underway for missing Japanese Lockheed Martin F-35

04/10/2019

The radar wake of a Japanese F-35A stealth fighter disappeared over the Pacific Ocean about 73nm (135km) east of Misawa air base on 9 April at 19:27 local time. The Japanese military has commenced a search mission for the aircraft and its single pilot, though the country’s air force offered no details on suspected causes of the disappearance. The Lockheed Martin F-35A was engaging in night-time training with three other F-35A jets, according to The Japan Times.

Does North Korea Have Any Chance of Killing an F-35?

04/07/2019

The ROKAF, South Korea’s Air Force received their first F-35A fighter jets in April 2019. The ROKAF hopes to eventually buy forty F-35As and should have ten F-35As by the end of the year. But how do these aircraft fit into the ROKAF’s existing fleet of aircraft? What role could they play in countering the North Korean KPAF?

F-35 on track to hit 80% mission capability rate by September 2019

04/07/2019

Combat units of the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter fleet within the three US military services and eight international programme partners are on track to reach an 80% mission capability rate by September 2019.

Does Russian Military Aviation Have Anything Left to Offer China?

04/06/2019

Since the Soviet Union’s collapse, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been a leading client for high-end Russian military hardware. Such imports played a key role in revolutionizing China’s aerial warfare capabilities, in particular during the 1990s with acquisition of the most capable Russian air defense systems, air-to-air missiles and air superiority fighters available.

Here’s how F-35 technology would be compromised if Turkey also had the S-400 anti-aircraft system

04/06/2019

The U.S. Air Force was able to bomb Libya with impunity after knocking out its relic of an Integrated Air Defense System, but what if the country had actually maintained a competent IADS network? That would pose a different challenge altogether. Russia’s S-400 system, for instance, mixed with other overlapping missile batteries, fighter aircraft and command and control nodes, would have tested America’s ability to carry such an air raid like never before.

Poland hopeful of speeding F-35 acquisition

04/06/2019

Poland believes it can accelerate the purchase of up to 32 Lockheed Martin F-35 combat aircraft, following suggestions that the USA is willing to expand the fifth-generation jet's operator base. In written testimony to the US House of Representatives, Vice Admiral Mat Winter, director of the Joint Strike Fighter programme, indicated that the Department of Defense was considering sales to countries including Greece, Poland, Romania and Spain.

ANALYSIS: How LIMA deployment marked new high for India's Tejas

04/06/2019

Group Captain Samrath Dhankhar of the Indian air force has earned a place in aviation history, as the commanding officer of its 45 Sqn (“The Flying Daggers”): the first to operate the Hindustan Aeronautics Tejas Mk1 fighter.

Dropping sniper nests in four story buildings: A-10 Warthogs earn gallantry award in Syria

04/05/2019

The Air Force awarded the Gallant Unit Citation to the 74th Fighter Squadron out of Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, March 14 for its combined actions during close-air support missions against the Islamic State group in Syria. The squadron struck more than 44 percent of targets in the Operation Inherent Resolve theater over the course of 181 days with only 12 aircraft beginning in the summer of 2017, according to the unit citation.

Germany’s Embargo on Saudi Arabia and the Limits of European Arms Cooperation

04/05/2019

Germany’s renewal of an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia effectively casts doubt as the lead partner for France to build a future fighter jet, drone, and tank, key projects to boost consolidation in the European defense industry. Berlin on March 28 extended by a further six months a ban of the sale of weapons to Riyadh. German imposed that sanction last October in the wake of the slaying of journalist Jamal Kashoggi by Saudi officials in Turkey.

IAF Close To Buying 21 Mig-29 Fighter Jets For $900M

04/05/2019

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking to purchase 21 Russian MiG-29 jets to address the shortfall of combat aircraft in a deal estimated to be valued at $900 million (INR 6,300 Crore). “The airframes are ready and Russia has promised to deliver all 21 fighters within 18 months,” a senior air force official was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying Thursday.

PICTURES: Tests end for new model of world's biggest helicopter

04/05/2019

Russian Helicopters has completed preliminary flight tests of the new Mil Mi-26T2V helicopter, pending its handover to the Russian defence ministry for joint evaluation. The rotorcraft first flew in August 2018, and testing has been conducted from the Mil Moscow Helicopter plant. Russian Helicopters says the Mi-26 is the world’s largest helicopter, with a maximum take-off weight of 56t and capable of carrying a 20t payload.

Su-30MKM Life Extension May Put Off Malaysian MRCA Procurement

04/04/2019

Malaysia’s SU-30MKM fighter jets are now almost certain to get a life extension following the launch of a local enterprise to perform deep maintenance on the Russian-made fighter jets. Consequently, a plan to purchase the Dassault Rafale or the Eurofighter, as part of the Multi-role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) project may be delayed indefinitely as Kaula Lumpur grapples with budget cuts and a deepening palm oil crisis with the European Union.

Air Force Gearing Up for Next A-10 Re-Winging Contract

04/04/2019

The U.S. Air Force is preparing for the next A-10 Warthog contract to re-wing more of the close-air support aircraft. The next contract for the "A-10-Thunderbolt II Advanced-Wing Continuation Kit," known as "ATTACK," is going through source selection and is expected to be awarded this fall, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said Monday. The service has $267 million set aside to buy "about 20 total wings," she said.

Malaysia could purchase JF-17 fighter jets from Pakistan

04/04/2019

Malaysia is said to be considering purchasing JF-17 Thunder fighter jets from Pakistan following Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s visit to Islamabad last month, according to reports. Mohamad was Prime Minister Imran Khan’s guest of honor while on a state visit as he watched the Pakistan Day military parades and celebrations.

US Air Force practices Lockheed Martin F-35A hot crew swap

04/04/2019

US Air Force pilots and maintainers at Hill AFB in Utah completed the first operational hot crew swap exercise with the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II. Also, called a “rapid” crew swap, during the operation a pilot takes off, completes his mission, lands and refuels the aircraft, while another pilot takes over the cockpit of the same fighter. The process cuts down on the number of required maintenance activities and reduces the time it takes to launch new sortie by up to 2h, says the USAF.

USA clears India’s purchase of 25 MH-60Rs

04/03/2019

The US State Department has cleared the sale of 24 Lockheed Martin MH-60R anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters to India. The deal is work $2.6 billion and follows a request from New Delhi for the acquisition, says the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

First ROKAF F-35As arrive in South Korea

04/03/2019

The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has received its first pair of Lockheed Martin F-35As in South Korea. Seoul’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) confirms that the two aircraft arrived on 29 March, landing at Cheongju air base at 14:00 local time.

USAF stops Boeing KC-46 deliveries for second time after more FOD

04/03/2019

The US Air Force suspended deliveries of Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tankers for a second time in about a month on 23 March after discovering foreign object debris (FOD) inside the aircraft. The service previously halted delivery of the refueling tankers on 20 February after FOD, including forgotten tools, were discovered inside the aircraft’s airframe.

Russian Su-57 fighter sale to China may give Beijing a stealth edge

04/02/2019

China says it will buy Russia’s advanced Su-57 stealth fighter in a move that will further cement the nation’s status as a rising world superpower. The Beijing controlled Global Times reports Moscow has released the advanced new fighter jet for expert in a bid to attract scarce foreign currency.

Spain buys two MQ-9 Block 5 Reaper drones

04/02/2019

Spain plans to purchase two General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Block 5 Reapers for $34 million via the US foreign military sales process. The acquisition also provides for associated equipment, presumably ground control stations, spares and support equipment. The unmanned air vehicles are expected to be completed by 31 March 2020, according to a US Defense Department contract notice online.

Riyadh reveals first locally built Hawk trainer

04/02/2019

Saudi Arabia has rolled out the first of an eventual 22 BAE Systems Hawk Mk 165 jet trainers to be locally assembled. Unveiled at King Abdulaziz air base by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the indigenous manufacturing effort is part of the country's Vision 2030 strategy to grow its defence sector.

NAF reinventing self through research, development

04/01/2019

Advanced air forces around the globe are often highly technologically dependent, considering the sophistication and complexities inherent in aerospace technology. These complexities are often surmountable through painstaking efforts of many years of unbroken research and development, with huge financial burden on the nation and its citizenry. The sacrifices may seem grave but the benefits are no doubt greater.

Why the Air Force Wants to Buy Boeing's Aging Fighter

04/01/2019

The Pentagon's annual budget request is a shopping list featuring some of the most sophisticated, cutting-edge technologies available on the planet. But one item that stood out in this year's request was the military's embrace of a 1960s-era fighter jet that the Air Force said it intends to acquire in significant quantities in the years to come.

Two Marine Corps Pilots Killed in Arizona Helicopter Crash

04/01/2019

A pair of Marine Viper pilots were killed Saturday night when their helicopter crashed in Arizona, Marine officials announced Sunday. The crash occurred near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma at about 8:45 p.m. local time, according to a statement from base officials. The pilots were flying an AH-1Z Viper helicopter.

Rajasthan: Air Force's MiG-27 Fighter Jet crashes in Sirohi

04/01/2019

A MiG-27 UPG aircraft of the Indian Air Force crashed on Sunday morning here. The pilot managed to eject safely. The aircraft was on a routine mission. Notably, MiG-27 UPG is upgraded versions of the aircraft. Indian Air Force now is now left with the last squadron of the Mig-27 UPG, according to reports.

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