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12 septembre 2013 4 12 /09 /septembre /2013 12:50
Squadron Leader Jim Schofield RAF performs the first short takeoff at sea in a F-35B aircraft from the USS Wasp (photo Todd R McQueen, Lockheed Martin)

Squadron Leader Jim Schofield RAF performs the first short takeoff at sea in a F-35B aircraft from the USS Wasp (photo Todd R McQueen, Lockheed Martin)

12 September 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support


UK military pilots have been involved in the second round of vertical night landings at sea of the new F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft.


The pilots, along with UK ground crew, are testing 3 Lightning II jets at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, working alongside their counterparts from the US Marine Corps.

The latest testing has been used to expand the operational envelope, with aircraft flown in a variety of air and sea states, landing at day and night, all while carrying internal weapons.

The vertical night landings which took place on the USS Wasp, were the first to be conducted at sea.

Speaking at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) event in London, the UK Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said:

Our Armed Forces will be equipped with the best next generation jet fighter machine, giving them the operational advantage they will need to protect our citizens for decades to come.

The fifth-generation stealth aircraft will fly from the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Carriers from 2018.

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12 septembre 2013 4 12 /09 /septembre /2013 12:40
UCAV Skat Kh-31

UCAV Skat Kh-31

September 12, 2013: Strategy Page


Russia has now joined China and European firms in developing UCAV (unmanned combat air vehicle). These are replacements for current light bombers (or fighters operating as light bombers) and combat reconnaissance aircraft. The Russian entry is a further development of its Skat UAV, a ten ton aircraft with a two ton payload and a design that looks very similar to the American X-47 series. The MiG Aircraft Corporation developed Skat and the new UCAV as well.


Li Jian UCAV

Li Jian UCAV

A Chinese UCAV, called the Li Jian, was photographed moving around an airfield under its own power back in May, which is the sort of thing a new aircraft does before its first flight. For two years now the Li Jian has been photographed as a mock up, then a prototype, and now taxiing around. The Li Jian is similar in size and shape to the U.S. Navy X-47B. The European entries also look like the X-47 design.


It’s generally recognized that robotic combat aircraft are the future, even though many of the aviation commanders (all of them pilots) wish it were otherwise. Whoever gets there first (a UCAV that really works) will force everyone else to catch up or end up the loser in their next war with a UCAV equipped opponent. China may have just copied pictures of the X-47B, or done so with the help of data obtained by their decade long Internet espionage operation. Whatever the case, the Li Jian is not far behind the X-47B and the Russians and Europeans appear to be going in the same direction with increasing vigor.


These aircraft are meant to operate like current armed UAVs or like cruise missiles (which go after targets under software control). Enemy jamming can interfere with remote control and you have to be ready for that. This could mean pre-programmed orders to continue the mission (to put smart bombs on a specific target, the sort of attack cruise missiles have been carrying out for decades) or attempt that but turn around and return to base if certain conditions were not met (pre-programmed criteria of what is an acceptable target). Fighter (as opposed to bomber) UCAVs can be programmed to take on enemy fighters (manned or not) with some remote control or completely under software control. This is the future and China wants to keep up. This sort of thing frightens many people but has, in fact, been around for over a century (the naval mine and torpedoes). Both these weapons have, for decades, been equipped with increasingly powerful artificial intelligence. That tech has been applied to a growing number of missiles and “smart bombs.” This sort of tech is not the future, it’s the present and have been since the 19th century.


First Catapult Launch of X-47B Nov. 29, 2012

First Catapult Launch of X-47B Nov. 29, 2012

The U.S. Navy’s X-47B UCAV (unmanned combat air vehicle) is the most advanced of these unmanned combat aircraft and that’s what has other countries hustling to match this tech. For example, the X-47B made the first successful carrier landings in July. While software controlled landing systems have been around for decades, landing on a moving air field (an aircraft carrier) is considerably more complex than the usual situation (landing on an airfield). Dealing with carrier landings requires more powerful hardware and software aboard the aircraft. The navy expects glitches and bugs but hopes to catch up to the reliability of commercial landing software (which has been used very successfully on land based UAVs) within years rather than decades.


Russia Joins the UCAV Race

The X-47B made its first catapult launch from an aircraft carrier last May. That was followed by several touch and go landings on a carrier. The first carrier landing, as expected, followed soon. Two years ago the navy successfully tested its UCAV landing software, using a manned F-18 for the test, landing it on a carrier completely under software control. The first carrier launch came five months after an X-47B was catapulted from an airfield built to the same size as a carrier deck and equipped with a catapult. This first launch was to confirm that the X-47B could handle the stress of a catapult launch. Another X-47B has been loaded onto the deck of a carrier, to check out the ability of the UCAV to move around the deck. All this came 22 months after the first flight of the X-47B.


It was five years ago that the navy rolled out the first X-47B, its first carrier-based combat UAV. This compact aircraft has a wingspan of 20 meters (62 feet, and the outer 25 percent folds up to save space on the carrier). It carries a two ton payload and will be able to stay in the air for twelve hours. The U.S. is far ahead of other nations in UCAV development, and the U.S. Navy recently announced that four manufacturers are competing to design and develop the final version of the X-47, the X-47C. The X-47B is actually a development model, meant to prove that the concept works. That has been done and the next step is to create a slightly larger and more complex X-47C that will eventually enter regular service on carriers and land bases.


The U.S. Navy has done the math and realized that they need UCAVs on their carriers as soon as possible. The current plan is to get these aircraft into service before the end of the decade. But there is an effort to get the unmanned carrier aircraft into service sooner than that. The math problem that triggered all this is the realization that American carriers had to get within 800 kilometers of their target before launching current manned bombers. Potential enemies increasingly have aircraft and missiles with a range greater than 800 kilometers. The X-47B UCAV has a range of 2,500 kilometers and is seen as the solution.


For most of the last decade, the navy has been hustling to ready a UCAV for carrier operations and combat use. The navy has now demonstrated that the X-47B has the ability to regularly operate from a carrier, and next comes doing that and performing combat (including reconnaissance and surveillance) operations. The new efforts aim to have UCAV aircraft perform ground attack missions as well, something the Predators have been doing for over a decade. The larger Reaper UAV was designed to expand this combat capability and is being built as quickly as possible to replace F-16s and other bombers in the combat zone.


The 20 ton X-47B weighs a little less than the twenty-four ton F-18A and has two internal bays holding two tons of smart bombs. Once it can operate off a carrier, the X-47B will be used for a lot of bombing, sort of a super-Reaper. The navy has been impressed with the success of the Predator and Reaper. But the Reaper weighs only 4.7 tons. The much larger X-47B uses a F100-PW-220 engine, which is currently used in the F-16 and F-15.


The air force and navy have always differed about the widespread use of UAVs in combat. When the air force agreed to work with the navy on UCAVs a decade ago, the idea was that the air force ones would largely remain in storage, to provide a rapid "surge" capability in wartime. The navy, however, wanted to use theirs to replace manned aircraft on carriers. The reason was simple, carrier ops are dangerous and carrier qualified pilots are more difficult and expensive to train and retain in the service. The navy still has these problems and senior admirals are pretty much in agreement that UCAVs are the future of carrier aviation. The sooner these UCAVs prove they can safely and effectively operate from carriers, the better. Normally, "X" class aircraft are just used as technology demonstrators. But the X-47 program has been going on for so long, and has incorporated so much from UAVs already serving in combat, that the X-47B will probably end up running recon and bombing missions as the MQ-47C.


The Department of Defense leadership is backing the navy efforts and spurring the air force to catch up. At the moment, the air force is cutting orders for MQ-9s, which are used as a ground support aircraft, in addition to reconnaissance and surveillance, because American troops are being pulled out of Afghanistan, and it is believed Reaper would not be very useful against China, North Korea, or Iran. But, as the navy is demonstrating, you can build UCAVs that can carry more weapons, stay in the air longer, and hustle to where they are needed faster. The more the navy succeeds the more the air force will pay attention.

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12 septembre 2013 4 12 /09 /septembre /2013 11:55
Rafale : des sous-traitants au bord de la crise de nerf...

12 septembre 2013 par Frédéric Lert – Aerobuzz.fr


Devant la commission de la Défense, Eric Trappier, PDG de Dassault Aviation, a mis les pieds dans le plat. Il renvoie les politiques à leurs responsabilités.


Eric Trappier, PDG de Dassault Aviation, était auditionné hier par la commission de la Défense, présidée par la député du Finistère Patrica Adam. Pendant un peu plus d’une heure, les questions, et les réponses, ont porté sur la question des drones mais aussi et surtout sur le programme Rafale. Et c’est dans les dernières secondes de son audition, qu’Eric Trappier a lâché cette confidence étonnante, alors qu’il était interrogé sur les modalités d’implantation d’une chaine de fabrication et d’une partie de la sous-traitance en Inde :

« Je connais beaucoup de sous-traitants qui viennent me dire : si on gagne le contrat indien, on ne pourrait pas tout faire là bas ? Comme ça on serait débarassé du Rafale… (NDA sous-entendu en France) »

Ce qu’il faut comprendre, c’est que le tissu de sous-traitants commence à être sérieusement démotivé par les atermoiements français et les aléas du programme Rafale. Quand Dassault se bat pour assurer la fabrication d’un avion par mois, Airbus affiche quant à lui des cadences cinquante fois supérieures. Le choix est vite fait pour les sous-traitants qui savent de quel côté regarder pour faire tourner leurs ateliers et gérer leurs boutiques…


Suite de l’article

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12 septembre 2013 4 12 /09 /septembre /2013 07:30
Turkey Launches Missile Warning System Competition

Sep. 11, 2013 - by BURAK EGE BEKDIL – Defense News


ANKARA — Turkey’s defense procurement office, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) has launched a competition to acquire hundreds of missile warning systems (MWS) for the Turkish Air Force’s fixed-wing platforms.


SSM at the end of August issued a request for proposals in order to “gather general information on potential suppliers of the MWS in the market; have an idea of availability of the required MWS; investigate and clarify the system and sub-system based technical details and requirements; define logistics support requirements for the system as a part of the request for proposal preparation effort.


Only MWS manufacturers can receive the document until Sept. 16, SSM said. The responses to the request should be delivered to SSM on or before Oct. 11.


Procurement officials said if Turkey decided to outfit only its F-16 fleet with the MWS, it would mean business for more than 200 aircraft.


“An initial batch would probably be purchased off-the-shelf from a foreign manufacturer, but the rest could be produced locally under license,” the official said.


Military electronics manufacturer Aselsan, Turkey’s biggest defense firm, has produced missile warning systems under German license for Turkish helicopters.


Industry sources said SSM will seek imaging infrared sensor technology for the new program.

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12 septembre 2013 4 12 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
US Navy Details Transition from P-3 to P-8 Aircraft

September 12th, 2013 By US Navy - defencetalk.com


The Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF) is transitioning into a new type/model/series (TMS) for the first time in 50 years.


To make this transition a success, the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) and industry leaders are working to sustain the legacy P-3C and EP-3E while the P-8A TMS is being introduced to the fleet.


The last time the MPRF Community transitioned to a new TMS was in 1962 with the delivery of the first P-3A to Patrol Squadron (VP) 8. As in the past, the key to a successful transition is constant communication and cooperation across all levels of the NAE and industry. The following highlights are evidence of the success of these efforts.


The fleet transition to the P-8A Poseidon is progressing well and on schedule. In Jacksonville, Fla., the Fleet Replacement Squadron, VP-30, MPRF Weapons School and P-8A Fleet Introduction Team have been busy facilitating the transition of the first three fleet squadrons from P-3C to P-8A. VP-16 achieved Safe for Flight (SFF) in January 2013 and is progressing through the Inter-Deployment Readiness Cycle (IDRC) in preparation for the first P-8A deployment in December. VP-5 achieved SFF and began their IDRC in the beginning of August, and VP-45 just started transition upon returning from their last P-3 deployment in June.


Over the last year, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 successfully completed P-8A Initial Operational Test and Evaluation supported by multiple detachments, exercises and real-world operations. As expected, the aircraft (based on the Boeing 737) has been extremely reliable. The mission systems have performed well and the aircrews are rapidly becoming more adept at flying and employing the aircraft while the maintenance team is developing the skills required to repair and maintain this modern aircraft.


The supply chain is expanding to meet the demands of a new aircraft and the community is constantly learning to ensure that the P-8A is poised for success when it deploys this winter. While there have been many challenges as the P-8A executes test and fleet introduction simultaneously, the P-8A program continues to be a model of effective planning and execution. The airframe and mission systems are a significant technological leap forward and provide commanders with a reliable platform hosting advanced technology sensors.


Legacy Platforms

As the P-3C and EP-3E continue their trek toward the end of their life cycle, many challenges need to be overcome, including parts obsolescence, increased levels of support for legacy components, and a shortage of flight line assets. In 2007, MPRF “red stripe” events, which grounded aircraft due to “fatigue tracking metrics beyond acceptable limits,” left the community with 49 mission aircraft to support the high operational demand across the globe and at home.


More than 50 percent of the P-3 fleet was out of reporting (OOR) due to the red stripe. Massive sustainment efforts have been made and we are beginning to see a real return on our investment as aircraft are returned to service. In FY14, we plan on reducing the amount of our P-3C inventory OOR for depot-level sustainment events and technological modifications by more than 10 percent, and we plan to reach P-3′s required number of Primary Aircraft Assigned by the end of FY15. We expect to have sufficient ready-for-tasking assets to meet deployment and training requirements until platform sundown, but P-8A delivery must proceed as planned to ensure there is no gap in coverage for Global Force Management.


Our cost savings efforts have been effective and multiple cost reduction initiatives have allowed the aging force to operate efficiently and effectively. Recently, initiatives to improve Engine Driven Compressor maintenance and place our APS-137 Receiver Exciter Processor and Transmitter under a Performance Based Logistics contract with Raytheon have helped reduce cost by 11 percent. With more than 50 years of faithful and dedicated service complete, the mighty P-3C Orion is prepared to finish its service to the Navy at full speed.



One of the most complicated pieces of the MPRF transition is manpower. When the transition is completed, the MPRF community will consist of the P-8A Poseidon teamed with the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system. The P-8A/MQ-4C combination will be responsible for all the missions currently covered by VP, Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadrons (VQ), and Patrol Squadron Special Projects Unit (VPU) today. The MPRF transition is a unique manpower story and a challenge – the P-3C is being replaced by two new TMSs – but all manpower is being sourced from within the legacy community. The restructuring has already begun with the consolidation of the VQ and VPU last year, and the continued transition of P-8A squadrons in Jacksonville. Unmanned Patrol Squadron 19, the first MQ-4C squadron, is currently scheduled to begin its standup with an officer-in-charge in late FY14.



The MPRF Community has almost fully recovered from the 2007 red stripe and is quickly transitioning to the new P-8A. The successful turnaround since 2007 can be directly attributed to the NAE and industry leaders working towards a common goal of recovery and eventual transition to the next generation of maritime patrol aircraft, both manned and unmanned.

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 17:35
Beechcraft T-6C at Paris Air Show 2013

Beechcraft T-6C at Paris Air Show 2013

Sept. 11, 2013 by Ellis Taylor – FG


Singapore - BAE Systems has announced that it will team with CAE and Beechcraft to bid for Australia's military pilot training system project.


BAE will lead the consortium, with CAE will providing training, simulation and support services. Beechcraft will provide the T-6C Texan II as the primary trainer aircraft on a non-exclusive basis.


John Quaife, general manager aviation solutions for BAE Systems Australia says that Beechcraft and BAE already work together to deliver pilot training to the US Navy. CAE was also selected by BAE to provide three simulators for the Royal Australian Air Force's Hawk Lead-In Fighter programme.


Since 1992, BAE has operated the Australian Defence Force's Basic Flight Training School (BFTS) at Tamworth, which provides ab intio training and pilot screening for all ADF pilots using a fleet of Pacific Aerospace CT-4B piston trainer aircraft.


"These experiences and our combined track record in military flight training, complex project management and mission systems sustainment mean we can offer the Commonwealth a low risk, value for money solution to train the world's best military aviators at a location of its choosing," says Quaife.


The consortium is the first to announce its teaming arrangements in response to the Australian Department of Defence's Air 5428 project, which seeks to provide a complete pilot training system for all undergraduate pilots across the RAAF, Royal Australian Navy and Army.


Currently, pilots who graduate from BFTS are then posted to the RAAF's No 2 Flight Training School at RAAF Pearce in Western Australia for advanced training on the Pilatus PC-9/A, after which they are then posted to an operational squadron.


Under Air 5428, the respective training aircraft would be replaced by a new integrated training system run by the successful contractor. Australia would also likely acquire the same aircraft for use with the Aircraft Research and Development Unit and Forward Air Control Development Unit of the RAAF.


Lockheed Martin is expected to announce its teaming for the project soon, with industry sources indicating that it is likely to choose the Pilatus PC-21 as its main flying platform and will team with Hawker Pacific for sustainment. The three companies already provide a similar training package for pilots from the Republic of Singapore Air Force at RAAF Pearce under the Basic Wings programme.


Boeing, Thales and Raytheon are also expected to announce partners for their respective bids soon.


The tender will close in February 2014, with selection expected by the end of June 2015. Initial operating capability has been targeted for 2015-17.

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 17:25
Pourquoi l'affaire Snowden relance les chances du Rafale de Dassault au Brésil

11-09-2013 Par Vincent Lamigeon - challenges.fr


Les révélations de l'ancien sous-traitant de la NSA sur les écoutes des conversations de leur présidente ont poussé les Brésiliens à stopper les négociations avec Boeing. Une chance pour l'avion français.


Le coup semblait pourtant parfait. Après avoir longtemps fait figure de challenger face au Rafale de Dassault sur la compétition brésilienne pour 36 avions de chasse, le F-18 de Boeing, soutenu par la surpuissante machine de guerre diplomatique américaine, semblait bien parti pour emporter la décision ces prochains mois. Une dépêche de Reuters évoquait même en juin une décision officielle en octobre prochain  sur ce contrat estimé à quatre milliards de dollars, lors de la visite de la présidente Dilma Rousseff aux Etats-Unis.

Et là, coup de théâtre: les révélations de la chaîne brésilienne Globo cette semaine, après celles d’août dernier, sont en train de rebattre totalement les cartes. La chaîne, sur la foi de documents transmis par l’ancien sous-traitant de la NSA (National Security Agency) Edward Snowden, a révélé que la NSA avait espionné les communications de Dilma Rousseff elle-même, de ses proches collaborateurs mais aussi de millions de Brésiliens et du fleuron pétrolier national Petrobras.

De quoi déclencher l’ire de la présidente brésilienne, qui conditionne désormais sa visite aux Etats-Unis à la réponse des Etats-Unis sur ces accusations d’espionnage: "Si les faits sont avérés, il est évident que le motif de cet espionnage n’est pas la sécurité nationale ou la lutte contre le terrorisme, mais des intérêts économiques et stratégiques, assure Dilma Rousseff. Ces tentatives de violation et d’espionnage de données et d'informations sont incompatibles avec la cohabitation démocratique entre des pays amis."


Suite de l'article

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
LM Adds Integrated Missile Defense Command & Control Option to Dragon Family of ISR Configurations

Sep 11, 2013 ASDNews Source : Lockheed Martin Corporation


    Dragon Dome Integrates ISR & Missile Data to Provide Comprehensive Operating Picture


Ever increasing threats and the need to have constant situational awareness of one’s surroundings prompted Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] to add an integrated air & missile defense option to its Dragon series of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance configurations. Lockheed Martin’s Dragon ISR configurations offer a unique approach for customers to tailor their mission requirements to meet their specific budget, sensor, communications and platform needs. The most recent option, Dragon Dome, is an unprecedented capability that links ISR, air operations and missile defense systems at the battle management level, allowing users to work together in a shared environment to optimize defense operations.


“We recognize that there are increasingly complex multi-national requirements for integrated air and missile defense,” said Jim Quinn, vice president of C4ISR Systems with Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions. “Dragon Dome can dramatically improve the ability to make decisions faster, operate command centers with fewer people, and have higher confidence in achieving mission success.”


Lockheed Martin’s Dragon Family of Systems as a whole benefit from incorporating the Dragon Dome tool set.  Predicated on Lockheed Martin’s internally developed DIAMONDShield air & missile defense system, Dragon Dome links data from ISR, command & control, and missile defense assets to create a 4-dimensional view of the battlespace. Among its many decision-support capabilities are the system’s ability to advise operators on the best system to employ to eliminate a threat. This next-generation system has an open, non-proprietary software infrastructure, which enables rapid integration of new capabilities and legacy systems and lowers total ownership costs.


Based on U.S. and NATO standards and communication protocols, Dragon Dome can be easily integrated with coalition forces to greatly expand a given nation’s defensive capabilities and improve its performance in collaboration with allied nations. In essence, it provides a given nation with a native advanced C2 system that can network quickly and efficiently with coalition forces. In addition to Dragon Dome, the DIAMONDShield system has been integrated into the Dragon Shield (transport aircraft) and Dragon Star (mid-range platforms) configurations. All Dragon configurations are net-centric capable to support “Out of the Box” interoperability with NATO, U.S. and Coalition forces.

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 12:40
Russia unveils plans for new anti-missile system, 5th-generation fighter jet

Sep 10, 2013 (Voice of Russia)


Moscow  - Russia is developing a fifth-generation unmanned fighter jet and a completely new missile defense system which can simultaneously engage several supersonic targets in space, it has been revealed at the MAKS-2013 airshow.


The fifth-generation unmanned aircraft, weighing in at around 20 tons, takes after the T-50 fighter jet, with most of its characteristics modeled after it, Mikhail Pogosyan, president of Russia's united aircraft-building corporation, told RIA Novosti at the MAKS-2013 show in Zhukovsky, just outside Moscow, which displayed the latest in air combat technology.


"We are working in accordance with plans developed together with the Defense Ministry. At this stage this implies further preliminary testing. The current stage is largely based on the technological breakthroughs we have achieved in the framework of the 'fifth generation' program," Pogosyan told the Russian ITAR-TASS agency, in reference to the upcoming drone.


With a fifth-generation PAK-FA heavy attack jet already developed and planned to enter service in 2016, Russian aviation is also looking to the future of air combat, conducting research and development for aircraft that can dominate airspace by the mid-21st century.


The news comes on the heels of a Thursday announcement by the Russian aircraft construction corporation, which signed a $90 billion deal with the Defense Ministry. Under the contract, the ministry will have its technology and equipment built and serviced by Russia's aircraft builders for the next three years, Pogosyan said at the MAKS-2013 show.


National media reports that on top of the new deal, another $3 billion contract has come into effect, stipulating, aside from the servicing of equipment, that the Defense Ministry shall receive 65 new fighter jets by the end of 2013.


Another exciting development in the Russian high-tech weapons market is the possible 2017 launch of the promising S-500 anti-aircraft missile system. The Friday news comes courtesy of a top Ministry of Defense figure, speaking to ITAR-TASS.


"A promising anti-aircraft missile system S-500 is being designed now," the source said. "The Armed Forces may have it in 2017." The special feature of the formidable new lineup is the ability to lock on to and engage multiple targets in space, never allowing them to reach Russian airspace.


Moscow has been making attempting leaps in combat technology - especially missile defense - given the uneasy international climate it finds itself in currently. The plan for a better missile defense is a direct answer to the United States' idea for a missile shield in Europe, which it says is for defensive purposes against unpredictable regimes such as Iran and North Korea. Russia is not feeling very secure with the proposed system to be so close to its territories.


Aside from the pursuit of fifth-generation technologies, Russia is also actively developing an unmanned sixth generation aircraft, said a former Air Force commander. Unlike NATO allies who will use American F-35 5Gs, self-sufficiency is an absolute must for Russia, said the commander, so 6G evolution is inevitable.


With regard to missile defense, Russia is currently using the S-400 Triumph, which has a range of 400 kilometers. Russian President Vladimir Putin says the Armed Forces are to acquire 28 systems from the current lineup over the next 10 years.

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
Suisse-Le Conseil national avalise l'achat de chasseurs Gripen

11/09 LesEchos.fr (Reuters)


Le Conseil national, soit la chambre basse de l'Assemblée fédérale suisse, a validé mercredi le projet d'achat de 22 chasseurs Gripen au groupe suédois Saab pour l'équivalent de 2,6 milliards dd'euros.


Le marché, qui sera débattu le 18 septembre par le Conseil des Etats, la chambre haute du parlement, peut encore capoter par le biais d'un référendum même si le législateur l'approuve.


Ce référendum peut s'organiser si 50.000 électeurs d'au moins de huit cantons le réclament dans un temps limité.


La Suisse a choisi le Gripen car cet avion de combat est moins cher que le Typhoon, conçu par le consortium Eurofighter (BAE, Finmeccanica et EADS ), et le Rafale de Dassault Aviation.


Les Gripen doivent remplacer des F-5 Tiger fort âgés, une décision que certains désapprouvent car elle nécessitera des coupes budgétaires ailleurs, comme l'éducation.

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
BAE Offers BAe-146 Air Tanker Variant

Sept. 10, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: BAE Systems; issued Sept. 10, 2013)


BAE Systems Proposes Air-To-Air Refuelling Variant of BAe 146/Avro RJ


Building on the success of the BAe 146/Avro RJ regional jetliner in a variety of military and special role applications, BAE Systems today unveiled its proposal for a cost-effective air-to-air refuelling (A2R) variant of the aircraft


Speaking at the Defence Services Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in London, Mark Taylor, Business Director Engineering for BAE Systems Regional Aircraft stated: “We believe that the A2R version of the BAe 146/Avro RJ is a sound business proposition for military planners and air forces that need this capability but who are having to face the financial realities of defence budget cutbacks.


“Whether to provide A2R tactical tanker capability or, in particular, to provide realistic A2R training instead of using expensive existing assets, the acquisition of a fleet of these aircraft can be accomplished at a fraction of the cost of current refuelling aircraft, whilst delivering excellent performance.”


The design of the aircraft with its high wing and T-tail configuration is ideal for A2R operations. BAE Systems Regional Aircraft has already carried out proximity flight trials using a BAe 146-200, Avro RJ85 and Hawk jet trainer. This was successfully completed and confirmed that the aerodynamic environment behind the quad jet is benign and the aircraft therefore has considerable potential as an A2R aircraft for refuelling a range of aircraft types and sizes.


It is considered the BAe 146/Avro RJ might be particularly suitable as a tanker for tilt-rotor aircraft which can experience additional challenges when in the slipstream of some other tanker aircraft.


The business has carried out design concepts for a hose and drogue unit (HDU)-based system and these included the option for additional fuel tanks within the cabin.


The standard tankage on the BAe 146/Avro RJ gives up to approximately 7000 kg of fuel available for transfer – sufficient for A2R training at the lowest capital cost. Additional auxiliary fuel tanks in the cabin would provide up to about 18,000kg of fuel available for transfer, making the aircraft a useful tactical refuelling airtanker.


The wide airspeed range of the aircraft gives flexibility in refuelling the variety of fixed and rotary wing aircraft currently in service. In this role the aircraft can fly up to 300 knots indicated air speed/M.072 at 31,000 ft (BAe 146) or 35,000 ft (Avro RJ).


BAE Systems Regional Aircraft is well equipped to undertake mission system development and provide operational support. The business has most recently designed and delivered two converted BAe 146 C Mk.3 passenger/freighter transports to the RAF. It also is working with QinetiQ for the conversion of an Avro RJ70 for the Empire Test Pilots School, is responsible for the BAe 146 Atmospheric Research Aircraft which involves two/three major scientific role changes each year, and is working with a number of Airtanker (aerial firefighter) operators in North America on multiple aircraft conversions.


There is a plentiful supply of pre-owned BAe 146 and Avro RJs on the market at very low prices of between US$ 1 – 6 million depending on age, configuration and condition with a fleet average flight cycle time of around 30,000 cycles. In addition, there is a Life Extension Programme available for both aircraft types that can increase this to 60,000 cycles, giving the aircraft many years of useful service, especially at the lower utilisation levels typically flown by military and special role operators.


Lead times are short so service availability can be relatively quick and BAE Systems Regional Aircraft estimates that from go ahead it will take some 18 months to produce a basic specification centreline HDU equipped aircraft available for flight trials.


The standard fit on an Avro RJ85 would include auxiliary fuel tanks, a centreline HDU, lights, cameras and control systems on the flight deck and military communications.


Pricing for a completed aircraft will be very competitive. As an example, a late model RJ85 will be around US$ 5 million for a basic aircraft with perhaps £5-10 million of conversion costs depending on final specification. Optional fits on the aircraft could include a dual HDU installation, defensive aids (missile protection, flight deck armour and fuel tank inerting) and unpaved runway operations.

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 07:35
photo zianzr

photo zianzr

11 September 2013 Pacific Sentinel


Modernization Program Relies on ARINC's Extensive Aircraft Upgrade and Logistics Experience
Annapolis, Maryland — ARINC Incorporated today announced that it is aggressively moving forward on completing its contract to modernize five C-130B transport aircraft for the Indonesian Air Force. The program, which began in the first quarter of 2011, is moving along as budgeted and scheduled.
Under the contract, ARINC is helping the Indonesian government modernize their C-130B fleet for humanitarian purposes. The program includes structural and electronic modifications to retrofit the legacy C-130B airframes with more recent capability and technology.
The ARINC team has reached a major milestone in the project with the completed export of over 1000 parts necessary for the modernization. The parts, which include five complete outer wing sets, five auxiliary power units and environmental control systems and an avionics modification, needed to be exported from the US to the modification facility in Bandung, Indonesia, which required ARINC's significant logistical skills and knowledge.
ARINC is performing the work half way around the world from its Aerospace Division based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, enabling the Indonesian Air Force to get the benefit of its extensive aerospace expertise without having to bear the cost and logistical issues associated with transporting the aircraft.
"ARINC Aerospace is uniquely qualified to perform this type of work," noted Michael Young, Vice President of ARINC Aerospace. "We have far-reaching experience on multiple platforms and a broad range of capabilities. We are pleased that the project is going so well and that we are growing closer to the goal of enhancing the capabilities of the Indonesian Air Force."
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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
F-35 training unit set to start training with upgraded software

Sept. 11, 2013 by Dave Majumdar – FG


Washington DC - Pilots at the Pentagon's first Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter training unit at Eglin AFB, Florida, are gearing up to start an updated training syllabus that incorporates more of the jet's advanced avionics.


While F-35 students and instructors at the base currently use the rudimentary Block 1B configuration in their aircraft, later this year, the 33rd Fighter Wing will transition to operating the more advanced Block 2A configuration.


"We are going to transition to a Block 2A syllabus here in the late fall and early into next spring as we get the jets upgraded," says US Air Force Col Stephen Jost, commander of the 33rd Operations Group. The upgraded aircraft also means that the base's F-35 simulators and academic course have to be updated to incorporate the new systems.


As such, the F-35 Block 2A transition course will include flying three additional sorties over the current syllabus, which includes six flights. Those additional sorties will focus on using the F-35's Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL), which will enable pilots at the base to conduct more realistic tactical training in the F-35 for both air-to-air and air-to-surface missions.


"That will become operational with the 2A software, and so that is one of the key enablers that allows us to expand our mission set," Jost says.


Jost says that the Block 2A software is also expected to allow the F-35 fleet at Eglin AFB to operate at night. Pilots at the joint USAF, US Navy and Marine Corps operated fighter wing are also hoping for the release of additional flight envelope clearances. "We are hoping to get some relief on the flight controls," Jost says.


The expanded flight envelope - which will be released as test pilots put the three versions of the F-35 through its paces - should allow operational pilots to fly at higher angles of attack and possibly greater g-forces. The flight envelope currently released for training is severely restricted.


Jost could not offer any specific information on exactly how much of the F-35's flight envelope will be cleared for the pilots at the wing to use because such releases are often varied and incremental in nature.


The updated Block 2A syllabus will start clearing the way for the USMC to declare the short take-off and vertical landing(STOVL) F-35B variant of the jet operational in July 2015 with a Block 2B configuration. The USAF will declare the F-35A operational a year later in 2016 with the Block 3i configuration - which is the same software as Block 2B, but hosted on an upgraded computer system.

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 17:35
Industry: Final shipment of Su-30MK2 fighters delivered to Indonesia

10 September 2013 Pacific Sentinel


Rosoboronexport completes fulfillment of contract from 2011
An AN-124-100 "Ruslan" delivered the unassembled fighters together with 13 technicians who will assemble the aircraft, reports ITAR-TASS, citing the Indonesian newspaper "Jakarta Post". According to it, Major Mulyadi, a representative from the airbase, made the statement reporting the delivery of the planes.
Flight-testing of the Su-30MK2 will take place after assembly and before the Indonesian Air Force accepts delivery of the planes.
As a rule, aircraft assembly and testing take place over a week, the representative of the airbase noted.
Weapons will be purchased for the delivered planes under a separate contract.
The first two aircraft under the 2011 contract with the Indonesian Air Force were delivered back in February. A second pair of Su-30MK2 planes was delivered in May. After this delivery the contract will be considered completely fulfilled.
The fighters will form a part of the 11th Squadron of the Indonesian Air Force, which will have five single-seater Su-27SKM planes and 11 double-seater Su-30MK2 planes at its command.
Earlier it was reported that Rosoboronexport and the Indonesian Ministry of Defense signed a contract worth USD 470 million for the purchase of six Su-30MK2 multifunctional Russian fighters in December 2011. Between 2003 and 2010 Indonesia had already acquired five Su-27SK and five Su-30MK2 fighters.
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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 12:35
Deux avions supersoniques T-50i exportés par vol de convoyage vers l’Indonésie

Décollage de deux avions supersoniques d`entraînement T-50i à Sacheon


2013/09/10 yonhapnews.co.kr


SACHEON, 10 sept. (Yonhap) -- Deux avions supersoniques sud-coréens T-50i ont été exportés vers l’Indonésie par un vol de convoyage pour la première fois, a déclaré ce mardi Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).


Les deux T-50i, produits par KAI, ont quitté la base aérienne de la région de Sacheon, située dans la province du Gyeongsang du Sud, ce matin à direction de l’Indonésie. Ces deux avions supersoniques voleront environ 1.600 kilomètres pendant deux heures vers leur première destination, Kaohsiung, à Taïwan, et après un ravitaillement, ils se rendront à Cebu, aux Philippines, où ils resteront un jour là-bas.


Le lendemain, les deux avions voleront d'abord vers Sepingan et arriveront à leur dernière destination, Iswahyudi, la principale base de l'armée de l'air indonésienne. Les avions voleront un total de 5.600 kilomètres pendant sept heures. C’est la première fois que la Corée du Sud exporte des avions par un vol de convoyage et non par un navire ou avion de fret.


Avec ces exportations de T-50i, la Corée du Sud est devenue le sixième pays exportateur d’avions supersoniques après les Etats-Unis, la Russie, le Royaume-Uni, la France et la Suède. «Avec ces exportations, KAI vise à atteindre 2.000 milliards de wons (1,841 milliard de dollars) de ventes et à devenir l’une des 15 premières sociétés aérospatiales», a fait savoir Ha Seong-yong, président de KAI.

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 11:55
photo Livefist

photo Livefist

09/09 LesEchos.fr (AFP)


Le président socialiste de la commission sénatoriale de la Défense a estimé lundi que si l'avion de combat Rafale tardait à être exporté, il faudrait revoir le projet de loi de programmation militaire qui prévoit de ralentir les commandes nationales d'ici à 2016.


Le projet de loi de programmation militaire (LPM) 2014-2019 prévoit l'achat de 26 Rafale. L'avion étant livré jusqu'à présent à une cadence de onze par an pour maintenir la chaîne de production du constructeur Dassault Aviation, cela pourrait signifier l'arrêt des commandes en 2016.


Dassault poursuit des négociations pour vendre 126 exemplaires à l'Inde. L'avionneur considère qu'il faudra trois ans à partir de la signature du contrat pour produire le Rafale biplace qu'attend l'Inde. Le contrat avec New Delhi devrait donc être signé cette année pour que le premier appareil soit livré en 2016.


"Si le contrat avec un pays comme l'Inde ou d'autres, était signé, ce serait très bien pour que la loi n'ait pas besoin d'être révisée de ce point de vue", a déclaré Jean-Louis Carrère, président de la commission sénatoriale de la défense et des affaires étrangères. "Il est évident que si ce n'est pas le cas, on aura besoin de revoir" la loi, a-t-il ajouté lors de l'Université d'été de la défense, réunie lundi et mardi à Pau (Pyrénées atlantiques).


Outre l'Inde, le Qatar et les Emirats Arabes Unis figurent parmi les pays intéressés par le Rafale.

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 11:35
Saab Delivers Final Gripens to Thailand

Sept. 09, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Saab Gripen blog; posted Sept. 6, 2013)


RTAF Received Their Last Three Ordered Gripen


Three SAAB Gripen C aircraft ordered by Thailand safely arrived 4 September at their home base Wing 7 in Surat Thani, Thailand. The aircraft were received by happy RTAF pilots and officers.


These were the last of twelve Gripen C/D aircraft Thailand agreed to purchase in a G2G integrated air defense agreement with Sweden signed early 2008. RTAF will inaugurate the operational “Gripen Integrated Air Defense System” on 11 September with a ceremony at Wing 7.


The ferry flight took off from Linköping, Sweden, 30 August, on a route that took them to Greece, Jordan, Qatar, Oman and India before Thailand. They spent a total of 16.5 flight hours before touch down at Wing 7.

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9 septembre 2013 1 09 /09 /septembre /2013 11:35
Experts’ Comparative Analysis of Performance Between J-15 and U.S. F-18

September 9th, 2013 By Chinese Government - defencetalk.com


The J-15 belongs to the 4th generation of conventional shipboard aircraft, which also includes the U.S. navy’s F/A-18C/D “Hornet” and F/A-18E/F “Super Hornet”, the French “Rafale M”, and the Russian Mig-29K which is also used by the Indian navy.


According to Zheng Wenhao, military expert of Xinhua News Agency, the J-15 has the best supersonic performance among the fighters mentioned above, and is especially strong in air control and air-to-air intercept; its low-altitude and low-speed performances are slightly inferior to those of the “Hornet” family, but are better than those of the other models.


With its roots in the excellent genes of the “Flanker” family, the J-15′s flight performance is relatively comprehensive. A heavy shipboard aircraft with a bare weight of about 18 tons, the J-15 is able to carry more than 9 tons of fuel internally, giving a range of over 3,000 km without the need to carry an auxiliary fuel tank. According to Zheng Wenhao, this allows it up to 12 mount points, which can all be used for a range of precision guided weapons, thereby creating high combat flexibility.


The extensive attack radius, generous bomb load, and lengthy patrol duration give the J-15 powerful single aircraft combat effectiveness.


However, according to Andrei Pinkov, chief editor of the “Kanwa Information Center”, a comparison between the “Flying Shark” on the Aircraft Carrier Liaoning and the “Super Hornet” on the aircraft carriers of the U.S. Navy indicates that the F/A-18E/F of the U.S. navy is more mature, and has certain advantages over the J-15.


“The orientation of F/A-18E/F is a fighter attacker, so that its maneuvering is not so good as the J-15, which derives from an air control fighter. This means that the J-15 is more likely to shoot down F/A-18E/F in close combat,” says Pinkov. “However, the ‘Super Hornet’ is able to take off with the assistance of catapult, so that its real payload is likely to exceed that of J-15, which takes off by means of ski-jump. Thus the U.S. fighter has advantages in terms of attack and combat radius.”


The larger frame of the J-15 also reduces the number of aircraft on the aircraft carrier, and makes its radar cross-section bigger than the “Hornet”, offering the advantages of stealth and first sight to the enemy.


“The J-15 represents a major transition in China’s Navy”, says Zheng Wenhao. As China’s first shipboard fighter, its capabilities in takeoff, landing and rapid combat-readiness are a major step forward.

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9 septembre 2013 1 09 /09 /septembre /2013 06:50
Eurofighter Typhoon Achieves 200,000 Flying Hours – 378 Aircraft In Service

September 8, 2013. David Pugliese - Defence Watch


News release from Eurofighter:


Eurofighter Typhoon has now achieved more than 200,000 flying hours since the entry-into-service of its worldwide fleet. Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH confirmed the milestone today adding that, with 719 aircraft on contract, 571 aircraft ordered and 378 aircraft delivered, the programme has “never looked stronger”.


Alberto Gutierrez, Chief Executive Officer of Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH, said: “This impressive milestone underlines the outstanding track-record of the Eurofighter Typhoon. Today, our congratulations go to all the air forces who have achieved this target, to more than 100,000 employees in Europe who are involved in the development manufacturing and supply chain as well as to all the 400 companies who support us on a daily basis with their know-how and competences. This is indeed a proud day for all of them and a landmark day for Europe’s largest defence programme.”


The CEO added: “Every day our aircraft are protecting the skies in Europe, the Middle East and even in the Southern hemisphere. They are on Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Eurofighter Typhoon is combat proven since the Libya operations and is now gaining considerable momentum – indeed the programme has never looked stronger. It has become the backbone of the Air Forces in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria. When the chips are down, air chiefs want an aircraft that is versatile, reliable, resilient and cost-effective. Eurofighter Typhoon fulfills all of these requirements and the operational experiences gained during these flying hours have proven it.”


The first 5,000 flying hours were achieved in November 2005. 10,000 hours came in August  2006 and 20,000 in May 2007. By August 2008, the Eurofighter Typhoon fleet had surpassed 50,000 hours and 100,000 flying hours was reached in January 2011.


The global Eurofighter fleet now comprises 20 operating units with locations in Europe, the South Atlantic and the Middle East. Specifically there are: 7 units in the UK (4 in Coningsby, 2 in Leuchars and 1 in Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands); 5 in Italy (2 in Grosseto, 2 in Gioia del Colle, 1 in Trapani); 3 in Germany (Laage, Neuburg and Nörvenich), as well as 3 in Spain (2 in Morón, 1 in Albacete) and one each in Austria (Zeltweg) and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – all of them have contributed to the 200,000 flying hour total.


Background information:


Eurofighter Typhoon is the most advanced new generation multi-role/swing-role combat aircraft currently available on the world market. Seven nations (Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Austria, Saudi Arabia and Oman) have already ordered the Eurofighter Typhoon. With 719 aircraft under contract and 571 on order, Eurofighter Typhoon is currently the largest military procurement programme in Europe. Its high technology strengthens the position of European aerospace industry in the international market. The programme secures more than 100,000 jobs in over 400 companies. Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH manages the programme on behalf of the Eurofighter Partner Companies Alenia Aermacchi/Finmeccanica, BAE Systems and Cassidian in Germany and Spain, which are the most important aviation and aerospace companies in Europe with a turnover of about 126 billion euro (2012).

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6 septembre 2013 5 06 /09 /septembre /2013 16:20
Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey Deploys Refueling Equipment in Flight Test

Sep 5, 2013 ASDNews Source : The Boeing Company


    Additional demonstrations of V-22's refueling capability planned


The Bell Boeing V-22 Program, a strategic alliance between Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. [NYSE: TXT] and Boeing [NYSE: BA], has successfully completed an initial test of the V-22 Osprey performing as an aerial refueling tanker. Adding this capability to the tiltrotor aircraft would further advance its versatility in combat, humanitarian and ship-based operations.


In the August demonstration over north Texas, a V-22 equipped with a prototype aerial refueling system safely deployed, held stable, and retracted the refueling drogue as an F/A-18C and an F/A-18D Hornet flew just behind and to the side of the aircraft.


“Adding aerial refueling tanker capability to the V-22 will enable operators to execute a wider variety of missions with greater flexibility and autonomy,” said Vince Tobin, Bell Boeing V-22 program director. “This will save time and money by maximizing the efficient use of aircraft and personnel.”


Future Bell Boeing tests will put aircraft in a fuel-receiving position directly behind the V-22, connect receiver aircraft with the refueling drogue and, ultimately, refuel a variety of aircraft in flight. The V-22 is a combat-proven tiltrotor that can fly horizontally at high speeds and high altitudes like an airplane, and take off and land vertically like a helicopter.

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6 septembre 2013 5 06 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
Empennage, tuyères et cônes d’hélices modifiés pour l’AW609 – photo AgustaWestland

Empennage, tuyères et cônes d’hélices modifiés pour l’AW609 – photo AgustaWestland

5 septembre 2013 Aerobuzz.fr


L’hélicoptériste AgustaWestland a annoncé tester plusieurs améliorations aérodynamiques sur son convertible civil AW609. Empennage vertical, tuyères des moteurs, cônes d’hélice : l’ensemble des modifications devrait réduire la traînée de 10 % environ. Les concepteurs de l’AW609 comptent sur un allègement simultané. Au Texas et en Italie, les deux prototypes ont accumulé 800 heures de vol depuis le premier vol en 2003. La certification, régulièrement repoussée, est désormais attendue en 2017.

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6 septembre 2013 5 06 /09 /septembre /2013 07:25
A-1M subsonic attack aircraft - photo Brazilian air force

A-1M subsonic attack aircraft - photo Brazilian air force

Sept. 5, 2013 by  Dave Majumdar – FG


Washington DC - Embraer has delivered the first modernised A-1M subsonic attack aircraft to the Brazilian air force in Gavião Peixoto.


"The A-1 fighter jets are fundamental elements for the defence of Brazil, including its territorial coastal waters," says Gen Juniti Saito, the service's commander. "We have been very successful in using this aircraft on such highly complex operations as the Cruzex and Red Flag exercises. Its modernisation presents a big gain in capability," he adds.


The A-1M programme provides for the upgrade of 43 AMX jets, which were originally developed under a joint Italian-Brazilian venture. So far, 16 aircraft have been inducted into Embraer's facilities for refurbishment.


The modernisation package includes new navigation systems, weapons, oxygen generators, multimode radar and electronic countermeasures. The new hardware is coupled with structural refurbishment that will extend the type's life until 2025

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6 septembre 2013 5 06 /09 /septembre /2013 06:50
RAF Hawk T2 trainers photo UK MoD

RAF Hawk T2 trainers photo UK MoD

Sept. 5, 2013 by Craig Hoyle – FG


London - Early use of the Royal Air Force's BAE Systems Hawk T2 advanced jet trainer has dramatically boosted the quality of instruction being provided to UK students, programme officials say.


A first course of four ab initio pilots completed their training on the T2 with 4 Sqn at Valley in June 2013, before progressing to the RAF's 29 Sqn operational conversion unit (OCU) for the Eurofighter Typhoon at Coningsby in Lincolnshire.


"I think we've doubled the standard of the students," says Alasdair Shinner, station manager at the Anglesey base for Lockheed Martin/Babcock joint venture Ascent; the Ministry of Defence's training system partner for the Military Flying Training System (MFTS) programme. The T2 has the potential to deliver a "multi-role, combat-ready pilot" to the OCU, he adds, whereas the RAF's analogue cockpit Hawk T1s "weren't giving them relevant training for the aircraft that they were going to be flying".


Several additional courses are now under way, with these including RAF and Royal Navy students and 11 more UK qualified flying instructors (QFI). With only 50% of system capacity currently being used on a 28-aircraft fleet, potential options to increase the volume of training delivered include preparing additional RAF QFIs, increasing the number of instructors sourced from other air forces from a current one each from Australia, Canada and France, or approving Ascent-employed instructors to command some flights, officials say.


"Spare capacity is something that is being looked at, but there is no simple answer," says Gp Capt Simon Blake, from the RAF's 22 Group training organisation. "Lots of other air forces are coming here and seeing that we are filling the [training capability] gap," he notes.


Meanwhile, activities involving the RAF's Hawk T1-equipped 208 Sqn have been extended at Valley, with the service currently providing Phase IV lead-in fighter training for Royal Saudi Air Force pilots. Riyadh will take delivery of its first of 22 T2-equivalent Hawks from BAE in 2015, with Oman also having ordered eight of the new-generation type.


The remainder of the MFTS programme's fixed-wing equipment package should be determined by 2015, with a side-by-side-configuration type to deliver elementary training and a turboprop-powered basic trainer offering "jet-like performance" to be acquired as a replacement for the RAF's current Shorts Tucano T1s. Operations should commence from around 2018, says Ascent training director Simon Falla.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 17:35
C-17 Globemaster III  Indian Air Force – photo Rishika Baruah source Livefist

C-17 Globemaster III Indian Air Force – photo Rishika Baruah source Livefist

NEW DELHI, Sept. 5 (UPI)


The Indian Air Force officially inducted the first three Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transporters this week.


Boeing delivered the three -- the first of 10 C-17 aircraft on order -- during the past three months, a report by NDTV said.


Two more are expected by the end of the year and the last five will be delivered by the end of next year.


The aircraft is capable of lifting tanks to the border with China and Pakistan and made its debut with a test flight at the Hindon Air Base in Uttar Pradesh state.


"The C-17 Globe Master transport aircraft will change the way we deploy forces in the north and northeast," Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne said on Monday during the induction.


India's Defense Acquisition Council approved the purchase in October 2009 to replace the air force's aging Russian IL-76 transporters that it bought in the 1990s.


The air force has fewer than 20 of Ilyushins which have a 45-ton cargo capacity and needs a crew of six.


The force also has the Russian Antonov-32 in its inventory.


A report by India Today said the acquisition of the C-17 Aircraft, and the Boeing C-130J Super Hercules transporter, shows the air force is moving away from reliance on Russian-origin aircraft toward American ones.


India operates six C-130Js and plans to buy six more for operations on small and unpaved runways alongside routine transport missions.


The C-17 carries up to 80 tons and needs a crew of three. One person can operate the heavy-lift hydraulics for cargo handling.


The high-wing, 4-engine, T-tailed Globemaster -- powered by four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofan engines -- needs a 7,600-foot airfield to take off. But it can land in less than 3,000 feet on a small unpaved or paved airfield, day or night.


It also carries a payload of 160,000 pounds, flies 2,400 nautical miles and can refuel in flight.


Boeing recently said that the deal with India includes an Integrated Sustainment Program Performance-Based Logistics contract which, with other customers, has maintained a fleet availability of 85 percent.


The C-17 has been in operation since 1991 and has more than 2.6 million flight-hours, Boeing says on its website.


Boeing has delivered 256 C-17s, including 222 to the U.S. Air Force. The rest have gone to and Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
Boeing starts assembly of USAF KC-46 tanker's second refuelling boom

The skin of the second KC-46A boom being loaded into a jig at Boeing's boom assembly centre in Seattle, US. Photo: courtesy of Boeing


5 September 2013 airforce-technology.com


The US Air Force's (USAF) KC-46A aerial refuelling tanker development programme has moved ahead with the start of assembly of the second refuelling boom at Boeing's facility in Seattle, US.


Once assembled, the refuelling boom is scheduled to be mounted on a test aircraft for further validation of its design.


Boeing is currently manufacturing five test booms, of which the first will be utilised for risk-reducing laboratory tests at a System Integration Lab (SIL), also called as SIL 0, in early 2014.


Boeing KC-46 vice-president and programme manager Maureen Dougherty said the KC-46 boom is based on the proven KC-10 tanker's boom, which has performed extremely well in 30 years of its operation.


"Our team is achieving significant milestones as we prepare for flight tests to begin, and we remain focused on delivering this capability on schedule,'' Dougherty said.


Manufactured at KC-46 Boom Assembly Center at Boeing Field in Seattle, the modernised fly-by-wire boom is expected to provide KC-46 tanker with advanced refuelling capabilities, enabling it to refuel any fixed-wing receiver aircraft anytime and on any mission.


Developed from Boeing's 767-200ER, KC-46A is a military aerial refuelling and strategic transport aircraft designed to replace the USAF's ageing KC-135 Stratotankers fleet, which has served as its primary refuelling aircraft for more than 50 years.


Boeing is currently under contract to deliver 18 KC-46 refuelling aircraft by 2017 to the USAF, which is planning to acquire a total of 179 tankers by 2027.


An initial test flight of the fully-equipped KC-46A tanker is planned for early 2015, while delivery will take place in 2016.

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