July, 2024 Military Aviation News

UK-led fighter program is still open-ish to paying partners


The prospect of another nation joining the trilateral Global Combat Air Program remains on the table, but an expansion would require additional work on an already demanding timeline, officials involved in the sixth-generation fighter effort said. Representatives from the Italian, British and Japanese GCAP lead companies showcased a new concept model of their proposed aircraft at the Farnborough Airshow here, which featured a large wingspan for increased aerodynamics.

More than a Mirage: UAE combat aircraft in China


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force and China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) began Falcon Shield, their second exercise in China, on 10 July 2024. China’s Ministry of National Defense said the joint air exercise was again being held in Xinjiang province but did not identify the air base hosting it. Satellite imagery, however, shows that Hotan Airport in Xinjiang is being used for the exercise; it was also the location for the event in 2023.

German, French and Spanish fighter aircraft arrive in Japan for joint drills


A contingent of more than 30 military aircraft from Germany, France and Spain arrived in Japan on Friday to conduct a series of training exercises with the Air Self-Defense Force, marking these countries’ first-ever trilateral air force deployment to the Indo-Pacific.

Russian military receive upgraded MiG-31BM jets


The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has delivered the first batch of MiG-31BM fighter jets to the Russian Ministry of Defense as part of this year’s state defense order, the company announced. As noted by the company, these aircraft, which have undergone extensive repairs and modernization, have been transferred to their permanent bases following comprehensive ground and flight tests.

The J-10C and J-16 fighter jets of the Chinese Air Force are operating alongside the Mirage 2000 jets of the UAE as part of Exercise Falcon Shield 2024


Yesterday, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) of China and the United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAE AF) commenced Exercise Falcon Shield 2024 in the Xinjiang region, located in northwest China. According to officially released information, over the coming days, aerial exercises are planned involving various aircraft participating in the activities, including UAE Mirage 2000 fighters and Chinese J-10C and J-16 combat aircraft.

Türkiye Eyes 40 Eurofighter Multirole Combat Aircraft to Boost Air Power Capabilities.


According to Bloomberg, Türkiye is on the verge of concluding a deal with the Eurofighter consortium to acquire 40 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets. This strategic negotiation reportedly took place on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington, which was held from July 9 to 11, 2024. The agreement aims to modernize the Turkish Air Force by incorporating the Typhoons, with the leaders of the four member countries of the consortium directly involved in the discussions.

Paraguay in talks with Brazil to buy six Embraer combat planes


Paraguay is negotiating with Brazil to buy six Embraer (EMBR3.SA), opens new tab Super Tucano A-29 fighter planes for $96 million as part of its efforts to fight drug trafficking, Defense Minister Oscar Gonzalez said on Thursday. The deal is part of a $500 million package the South American nation's government is allocating to defense and security projects, Gonzalez told reporters.

Romania Prepares to Modernize Its Fleet with $6.5 Billion F-35 Deal


Romania is poised to sign a government-to-government agreement with the United States to purchase latest-generation F-35 fighter jets as early as this fall, the country’s Ministry of Defence Angel Tilvar said in a briefing on Jul. 16, 2024. In September, Romania announced plans to buy 32 F-35s from Lockheed Martin for $6.5 billion. This deal would include logistics, training services, flight simulators, and weapons.

Italy boosts F-35 fighter jet arsenal as NATO increases defense spending


Italy is planning to improve weaponry aboard some of its F-35 fighter jets, a defense ministry document showed, in what analysts see as a move to secure well-stocked, up-to-date arsenals in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The document, which parliament must review by the middle of August, envisages 682 million euros ($746 million) of purchases over a 14-year period on armaments including guided bombs, missiles and 25 mm cannon rounds.

The Block 4 F-35 Fighter Has the Makings of a 'Stealth' Classic


The F-35 Lightning II is set for significant improvements with the Block 4 upgrade, enhancing its electronic hardware, software, and core processor as part of Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3). Though TR-3 faced delays, a "truncated" version has now been approved, allowing F-35 deliveries to resume. Additionally, Pratt & Whitney's F135 Engine Core Upgrade (ECU) promises increased durability and performance for all F-35 variants, aiming for a $40 billion lifecycle cost saving.

LM’s F-16 and Saab’s Gripen compete for Thailand’s fighter jet deal


With Thailand’s defence procurement process heating up, Lockheed Martin‘s industrial participation proposals for the F-16 fighter jet challenge Saab‘s Gripen offering, highlighting the importance of economic value in military contracts.

Swedish and Finnish Fighter Aircraft Escort Russian Jets Over Baltic Sea


Fighter aircraft from Sweden and Finland flew to escort Russian fighters flying over neutral Baltic waters. This was reported on the official website of the NATO Air Command. The escort of the Russian fighter aircraft took place on July 15, after NATO’s Joint Air Operations Center in Ouedem, Germany, reported two Russian fighter jets flying from Kaliningrad to mainland Russia.

France strictly complies with commitments regarding Mirage fighter jet supplies - ambassador


France clearly adheres to its obligations regarding military support to Ukraine, in particular the transfer of Mirage 2000-5 aircraft. Crew training will last several months. That’s according to French Ambassador to Ukraine Gaël Veyssière, who spoke at a briefing on July 14, commenting on the implementation of the security agreement signed with Ukraine five months ago, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

Negotiations for Swedish Gripen jets continue, Ukraine confirms


Ukraine continues negotiations with Sweden for the transfer of Gripen fighter jets, according to Ihor Zhovkva, Deputy Head of the President’s Office. This statement contradicts earlier reports suggesting Ukraine had declined the offer. Zhovkva emphasized that President Zelenskyy consistently raises this issue with Swedish leadership, as before Sweden’s NATO membership, as now after the country has finalized its accession.

US Navy ‘Calls Back’ F/A-18 Super Hornets From Japan; Replaces Them With F-35C Jets Amid China Tensions


The United States Navy has announced the deployment of F-35C Lightning II fighters and CMV-22B Osprey aircraft to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni in Japan. This decision, detailed in a press release on July 15, aims to replace the aging squadrons of F/A-18 Super Hornets and C-2A Greyhound transports currently stationed at the base.

German Opposition Supports Combat Aircraft Deliveries to Ukraine


Friedrich Merz, leader of the German opposition Christian Democratic Union, supports the call to deliver combat aircraft to Ukraine to help it “restore sovereignty over its own airspace” in light of continuing Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure. Merz, speaking on German television on Sunday, July 14, said the situation “cannot be taken under control only from the ground,” and that “Germans cannot stand aside” as Kyiv’s other Western allies have already reached a consensus on fighter de

-31 Stealth Fighter: Pakistan May Become 1st Customer Of China’s 5th-Gen Jet; Is IAF Ready For F-35 Gamble


On July 8, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV released a promotional video of China’s J-31B stealth fighter jet, produced by the state-owned Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. The footage suggests that the aircraft can carry two missiles in its side weapon bays—a feature that differentiates it from the USA’s F-22 and China’s own J-20. Moreover, the main weapons bay can carry four PL-12 medium-range air-to-air missiles similar to those used on the J-20.

France Sells Last KC-135s to U.S. Commercial Refueling Company Metrea


On July 11, 2024, it was announced that the French Air Force had sold the last of their KC-135 Stratotanker fleet to commercial air refueling operator Metrea, raising their fleet of the type from four to eighteen aircraft. “Metrea has agreed to acquire all fourteen of the FASF C-135 tankers, including both the KC-/C-135FR and KC-/C-135RG variants,” says the official public release. The first eleven KC-135FR jets were delivered to the company in June.

Taiwan tracks 16 Chinese military aircraft, 9 naval ships around nation


The Ministry of National Defense (MND) tracked 16 Chinese military aircraft and nine naval vessels around Taiwan between 6 a.m. on Saturday (July 13) and 6 a.m. on Sunday (July 14). Of the 16 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft, 14 crossed the Taiwan Strait median line in the northern, southwestern, and southeastern sectors of the country’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), according to the MND.

Taiwan tracks 30 Chinese military aircraft, 7 naval ships around nation


The Ministry of National Defense (MND) tracked 30 Chinese military aircraft and seven naval vessels around Taiwan between 6 a.m. on Friday (July 12) and 6 a.m. on Saturday (July 13). Of the 30 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft, 20 crossed the Taiwan Strait median line in the northern, southwestern, and southeastern portions of the country’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), according to the MND.

Why Turkey Is Cutting Back It Massive F-16 Fighter Jet Deal


Turkey is reducing its planned $23 billion acquisition of forty Block-70 F-16 Fighting Falcons and 79 upgrade kits to cut domestic spending, potentially saving billions. This decision follows the recent approval from the U.S. after Turkey agreed to Sweden's NATO membership. Lockheed Martin remains confident in the F-16's benefits for Turkey. However, Turkey's focus appears to be shifting towards its domestically-developed TAI KAAN (TF) fighter, which had its maiden flight in February.

Boeing promises ‘Raptor-like’ F-15 Advanced Eagle displays at RIAT and Farnborough


Boeing will, in fact, be sending four F-15QA jets from its St Louis facility to the UK: two to conduct aerobatic displays, one to go on static display and one aircraft as a spare. They will initially fly into RAF Lakenheath, home of the US Air Forces in Europe’s F-35/F-15 fighter wing, to prepare for the flight displays at RIAT and Farnborough. After the shows have ended the four F-15QAs will be ferried on to their new home at Al Udeid Air Base by pilots of the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF).

Questions on possible Turkish military aircraft sale to Russia


At the recent NATO leaders summit in Washington, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea were described as the “hostile camp” to the Alliance in harsher terms than ever before, sharpening fault lines. The decision to hold the 2026 NATO Leaders Summit in Türkiye was perhaps the most important decision for us. The joint statement also referred to the 1936 Montreux Convention, emphasizing freedom of navigation towards the Black Sea.

Oregon's 142nd Wing unveils new F-15EX Eagle fighter jet, first mission-ready unit in USA


The 142nd Wing out of the Portland Air National Guard Base is officially unveiling its new F-15EX Eagle II fighter jet - which will also be the first model in America to be used in real-world missions! The F-15EX is a replacement for the 142nd Wing's F-15C/D fleet, which was built in the 1980s. While the new jet might look similar, pilots tell KATU that everything on the inside is new and improved.

Forget the F-15 or F-16: This Might Be the U.S. Military's Most Important Plane


Often overshadowed by fast fighter jets and stealth bombers, the C-130 Hercules, designed by Lockheed Martin, stands out as one of the most versatile and long-serving military aircraft ever. First flown in 1956, the C-130 is still in production today, serving in various roles for over 60 countries.

Surplus A-10 Warthogs Could End Up In The Jordanian Air Force


Jordan has emerged as a possible future operator of A-10 Warthog ground attack aircraft. The U.S. Air Force is planning to stop flying the venerable Warthogs operationally before the end of the decade. The impending retirement of the type in U.S. service has already prompted discussions about sending A-10s elsewhere, including to Ukraine.

German Eurofighters intercept Russian carrier-based MiG-29K jets


German Eurofighter jets, deployed in Latvia, were scrambled to intercept two Russian carrier-based MIG-29K fighter jets flying without a flight plan and not in contact with civil air traffic control. According to officials, the interception occurred in international airspace over the Baltic Sea.

China Sends Record Number of Military Aircraft to Drill Near Taiwan, Japan Releases Report on Helicopter Accident


China surged 66 military aircraft near Taiwan over Wednesday and Thursday ­– the largest sortie for this year, according to the Taiwan Ministry of National Defense. Fifty-six aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and of those 36 People’s Liberation Army Navy’s drilled with the Shandong Carrier Strike Group, according to MND.

Sixth-gen jet selection likely in ‘24, Air Combat Command chief says


The head of Air Combat Command on Wednesday said he expects the Air Force to choose which company will develop its sixth-generation fighter jet later this year. The fate of the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance family of systems has been in question recently, as looming budget crunches have called its affordability into question. In an interview with Defense News in June, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall declined to comment about potential changes when asked if NGAD’s.

Philippines air force joins multination war games in Australia


The Philippines Air Force arrived in northern Australia on Wednesday on its first overseas deployment in six decades for combat practice alongside U.S. and Australian fighter jets, amid a rise in tensions with China in the South China Sea. Four Philippine FA-50 fighter jets and 162 personnel are taking part in the Pitch Black war games over Australia's largely unpopulated Northern Territory, involving 20 countries and 140 aircraft.

Wilsbach: Air Force Should Keep the Block 20 F-22s It Asked to Retire


Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach, head of Air Combat Command, came out in favor of retaining 32 Block 20 F-22 fighters, despite the fact that the Air Force has sought to retire the older jets in its last three budgets. Speaking at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies on July 10, Wilsbach also said there is still no set replacement for the F-22 and the Air Force is likely to retain that aircraft.

Ukraine Partners With Turkey to Supply Jet Engines, Hopes to Co-Develop Fifth-Gen Fighter


Turkish Aerospace Industries reveals several of its weapon systems are equipped with engines manufactured in Ukraine. Recently, Kyiv’s ambassador said Ukraine also wants to join Ankara’s fifth-generation fighter project, in a consortium with TAI and BAE, to help build and acquire the stealthy jet.

Uruguay selects the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano


After years of searching for a new combat aircraft, Uruguay chose its new vector this week: the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano. The acquisition of Brazilian turboprops was confirmed to senators by Defense Minister Armando Castaingdebat on Monday (08).

Poland considers transferring additional MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine


Poland will consider providing Ukraine with at least one additional squadron of MiG-29 fighter jets, comprising a minimum of 14 aircraft. This possibility was discussed during the signing of a security guarantee agreement between Ukraine and Poland, as reported on the Ukrainian President’s website. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk explained that an immediate transfer is not possible, as these aircraft are currently participating in NATO air patrol programs, according to Militarnyi.

Ukraine Says Successfully Duped Russia With ‘Realistic’ Fighter Decoys


A Ukrainian military commander claimed that his troops were able to dupe Russia into believing that it had successfully taken out Ukrainian fighter jets. Last week, Moscow’s defense ministry released footage that purportedly showed an Iskander ballistic missile destroying a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter jet at an air base near the central city of Kriviy Rih.

‘Burning in the Steppes of Donbas’: Ukraine Downs Russian Su-25 Attack Jet


Ukrainian antiaircraft gunners shot down a Russian Su-25 ground attack aircraft in the Donetsk region, as reported by the Khortytsia operational and strategic group of troops via Telegram. “In the Pokrovsky sector, our Ukrainian servicemen shot down a Russian Su-25 aircraft that was firing at the positions of units of the Defense Forces,” the report said.

Liberty Wing maintainers keep U.S., Norwegian F-35s in the sky at Ramstein 1v1


Maintenance professionals assigned to the 439rd Fighter Generation Squadron traveled from their home base in England to support Norwegian and U.S. F-35 Lightning II’s during the U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s first-ever basic fighter maneuvers exercise at Ramstein Air Base, Germany June 6. The exercise, titled Ramstein 1v1, bolstered relationships and esprit de corps among allies through the sharing of tactics, techniques and experiences specific to a pilot’s most foundational skill set.

China sends 30 military aircraft, 9 naval ships around Taiwan


The Ministry of National Defense (MND) tracked 30 Chinese military aircraft and nine naval vessels around Taiwan between 6 a.m. Friday (July 5) and 6 a.m. Saturday (July 6). Of the 30 People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft, 23 crossed the Taiwan Strait median line and entered the northern, southwestern, and southeastern air defense identification zone (ADIZ), according to the MND. The aircraft came as close as 72 km (39 NM) from Eluanbi in the south and 77 km (42 NM) from Keelung in the north.

Washington offers the F-16V on leasing to establish itself in Thailand


The United States is increasing initiatives to try to place its F-16V or F-16 Block 70/72 fighter in the Pacific. After the Philippines, it is today to Thailand that Washington and Lockheed Martin have sent an offer relating to the ultimate version of the American single-engine fighter, to assert itself in the effort to modernize the fighter fleet of the forces Royal Thai Air Force.

Typhoon: next generation


When military aircraft first take to the skies, they often begin with an initial set of capabilities which transforms over time. This evolution follows a growth trajectory known as the capability growth curve, often resembling an S curve. Initially slow, these enhancements accelerate, marking the steep and most exciting part of the curve; showcasing the aircraft’s full potential.

European Nations Deploy Fighters to Indo-Pacific, Joined by USAF


Nearly 50 aircraft from the German, French, and Spanish air forces are embarking on a series of exercises across the Indo-Pacific region from June to August, with the U.S. Air Force jumping in on several as well. Dubbed ‘Pacific Skies,’ the massive deployment highlights Europe’s growing interest in the region, even as the war in Ukraine continues to dominate the continent.

Why the U.S. Needs To Upgrade Its Fighter Jets Now


As the war in Ukraine trudges on, the Pentagon no longer has to worry too much about Russia’s ability to compete militarily with the United States. Moscow’s new pact with North Korea, a reliance on Iranian drones, its inability to establish air superiority over Ukraine well after two years into the war, and the lack of vital components such as computer chips all signal Russian weakness.

F-16 Vipers ‘Battle’ UK-Backed JAS-39 Gripen Fighters For Thailand Deal; US Lures With Attractive Credit Options


Last week, Robert Godec, the US ambassador to Thailand, met Thai Defense Minister Sutin Klungsang to discuss a military assistance project, including Lockheed Martin’s proposed supply of F-16 Block 70 fighter jets to the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF). As reported by the local media, the meeting followed prior communication to the Thai Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin.

US Air Force Awards Lockheed F-16 Viper Shield EW Contract for Allies


The US Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a $520-million production contract for the Foreign Military Sales Block 70/72 F-16 Viper Shield electronic warfare suite. It modifies a previous contract, bringing the cumulative total to $897 million. The contract modification will allow the contractor to begin construction work, with $177 million being allocated at the time of award.

Pentagon upgrades force presence in Japan with F-15EX, F-35 fighters


The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced changes in the deployment of fighter aircraft around its bases in Japan. According to the US DoD’s new plans presented on July 3, 2024, the US Air Force (USAF) will deploy 36 F-15EX fighters at Kadena Air Base to replace the fleet of 48 older F-15C/D aircraft currently based there. Rotations of fourth and fifth-generation fighter jets will continue while the F-15EX fleet is progressively deployed.

Germany Purchased Thousands of Brimstone 3 Missiles for Eurofighter


Germany's parliament approved acquiring 3,266 Brimstone 3 air-to-surface missiles for the Luftwaffe's Eurofighter fleet, the first batch costing 376 million euros. The Brimstone 3, already used by the UK's RAF, provides significant standoff capability and precise targeting of moving and stationary ground targets. This acquisition is part of broader efforts to enhance the capabilities of Germany's Eurofighter fleet, which currently has 138 aircraft with 20 more on order.

German Air Force exercise to begin July 8 in Alaska


Arctic Defender, a German Air Forces-led exercise, is scheduled to begin July 8 with primary flight operations over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex and is scheduled to run through July 18. As part of a monthslong exercise tour in the Indo-Pacific, known as Pacific Skies 24, Arctic Defender is the first stop for the trinational Future Combat Air System of Germany, France and Spain, and is a field training exercise for U.S. and international forces flown under simulated air combat condition

Peru may buy up to 24 South Korean FA-50 light combat aircraft followed by potential KF-21 Boromae fighter jets.


According to Pucara Defense on July 1, 2024, the Peruvian government is negotiating with South Korea and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) to acquire between 20 and 24 FA-50 light combat aircraft for approximately $780 million. In addition to this significant investment, Peru is also considering joining the KF-21 fifth-generation fighter program, which could further modernize its air force and expand its aerospace capabilities.



The Morris ANGB is home to the Air National Guard’s premier F-16 fighter pilot training unit, the 162nd Wing, providing training for coalition war-fighting partners for the United States Air Force and international allies, which is why the Department of the Air Force selected Morris ANGB to receive up to nine Slovak-owned F-16 Block 70s. The first Block 70 aircraft arrived here, June 13.

Ukrainian air base under frequent fire as Russia aims at F-16 arrivals


Explosions reverberated across the pre-dawn sky as Ukrainian air defences fended off a Russian attack on this small city in western Ukraine, home to an important air base and a frequent target of Moscow's strikes. Hours after the assault, the tidy streets of Starokostiantyniv had returned to a semblance of normality.

Why does Seoul's order for the first batch of 20 KF-21 Boramae threaten the European aviation industry?


The South Korean defense industry is preparing to take the plunge and enter the international scene with its medium-generation KF-21 Boramae medium fighter, as it previously did for armored vehicles, with the K2 tank and the IFV AS21, artillery with the K9, submarines with the KSS-III, and missiles.

Next-gen fighter not dead, but needs cheaper redesign, Kendall says


The U.S. Air Force has not abandoned its program to build an advanced next-generation fighter, but it does need a redesign to get costs under control and better integrate its planned drone wingmen, the service’s secretary told Defense News in an exclusive interview. Secretary Frank Kendall also said a revamped Next Generation Air Dominance fighter platform could end up with a less complex, smaller engine than originally intended to try to hold down its price.

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