Sep 21, 2017

Afghanistan receive first Black Hawk helos

The Afghan Air Force (AAF) received on 18 September its first batch of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters.
The delivery, which was announced on the same day on the Facebook page of the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing (EAW), saw two UH-60s arrive at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan aboard a US Air Force (USAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III transport aircraft.
The AAF is set to receive 53 Black Hawks as the United States transitions the country’s armed forces over from its approximately 80 Russian-built Mil Mi-17 'Hip' helicopters. These former US Army aircraft are undergoing a major refurbishment and upgrade effort prior to delivery to Afghanistan. No delivery timeline has been disclosed.

Qatar to buy 24 Eurofighter Typhoons

Eurofighter looks to have secured another Middle Eastern customer after Qatar signed a statement of intent to buy 24 Typhoons.
The peninsular Arab country is in the midst of a wide-ranging modernisation and expansion of its air arm, the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF).
The UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon signed the statement of intent with his Qatari counterpart Khalid bin Mohammed al Attiyah in Doha yesterday, September 17.
The bid to sell Typhoons to Qatar is being led by BAE Systems and if the deal is concluded it will represent the UK’s first major defence contract with the Gulf state. It would keep the production line at Warton, Lancashire, active beyond 2019.
A deal could be finalised and signed in around a month.
Qatari interest in the Typhoon comes hot on the heels of deals to acquire fighters from France and the US: the Dassault Rafale and Boeing F-15QA, respectively.
On June 14 an agreement was concluded for the acquisition of 36 F-15QAs, a variant of the F-15E Strike Eagle tailored to Qatari requirements. The $12bn deal was signed in Washington by Khalid bin Mohammed al Attiyah and US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
The deal was signed amidst a diplomatic crisis that saw the country severing ties with much of the rest of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and three other countries broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar on June 5. The deal also followed comments by President Donald Trump that described Qatar as “a funder of terrorism at a very high level”.

US Air Force could ground A-10s as early as FY18 as life of wings runs out

The Air Force may be forced to ground a portion of its A-10 Warthog squadrons as early as fiscal year 2018, as their wings age out before replacements can be provided, the head of Air Force Materiel Command said Wednesday.
Although the service plans to keep the majority of its A-10 fleet into the forseable future, leaders have acknowledged that it will be forced to retire three Warthog squadrons unless it is given money for new wings. Currently, 109 out of 281 A-10s need their wings replaced to extend their lives to 16,000 flight hours.

Sep 16, 2017

Israel Receives Two additional “Adir” F-35I stealth fighters

Israel's latest pair of Lockheed Martin F-35s landed at Nevatim air base on 14 September. The arrivals brought the total number of "Adir" jets operated by the nation's air force to seven.
"The arrival of two additional aircraft will allow us to become operational according to plan," says Brig Gen Eyal Grinboim, base commander at Nevatim.
By the end of this year, a further two F-35Is will join the air force's "Golden Eagle" squadron. The service plans to conduct an inspection in December, ahead of declaring initial operational capability (IOC) with the stealthy type.

South Korea responds to North Korea Firing a Taurus Missile

Korea's military fired two ballistic missiles in a swift response to North Korea's latest missile test on Friday, the Yonhap news agency in Seoul reported.
The action is unusual and shows a toughening response to North Korea's provocations, despite South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday ruling out the return of nuclear weapons to South Korea because of fears it would spark an arms race.

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Russia delivers four Mi-35M helos to Pakistan

Russia has completed delivery of four Mil Mi-35M 'Hind E' attack helicopters to the Pakistan Army Aviation Corps (PAAC), Brigadier General Waheed Mumtaz, spokesperson for the Defence Export Promotion Organization of Pakistan, was quoted by Russian news agency RIA Novosti as saying on 25 August.
"The contract was signed, we received all four [helicopters], and now we get new equipment," Brig Gen Mumtaz told reporters at this year’s Army-2017 defence exhibition, which took place from 22-27 August near Moscow.
The spokesperson said that Pakistani pilots are now becoming acquainted with the new equipment. Based on the PAAC’s experience with the helicopters, Islamabad will now decide whether to place an order for additional helicopters as well as for other Russian military equipment and platforms, he was quoted as saying.
Pakistan and Russia had agreed to the Mi-35M deal in August 2015 in a move that was considered a breakthrough between the two countries. Pakistan's minister for defence production, Rana Tanveer Hussain, was quoted by local media last December as saying that Islamabad paid a total of USD153 million for the four helicopters.
Mindful of Indian concerns, Moscow had for years opted against engaging in any military co-operation with Pakistan.
However, in 2014 Russia decided to lift its self-imposed arms embargo against the South Asian country.

Saab presents new Gripen Aggressor

Saab is pitching a dedicated ‘Aggressor’ variant of its Gripen C fighter aircraft for the upcoming UK and US pilot training requirements.
Speaking at the DSEI exhibition in London where the new variant of the multirole fighter was unveiled, the head of Gripen sales and marketing, Richard Smith, said that the Gripen Aggressor has been tailored for pilot training role, and that the UK Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) and the US Adversarial Air (AdAir) requirements.
“There are two countries where we see market potential for the Gripen Aggressor; namely in the UK for ASDOT and in the US for AdAir. We have a product that matches the requirements, and we have the business case to make it work,” Smith said.
The Gripen Aggressor is essentially a newbuild Gripen C that has had its offensive weapons capability (including the internal cannon) removed. While it is currently modelled on the single-seat Gripen C, Smith noted that a twin-seat Gripen D version could be offered if a customer requested it.

Canada cleared to buy 18 F/A-18E/Fs

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Canada of ten (10) F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft, with F414-GE-400 engines; eight (8) F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft, with F414-GE-400 engines; eight (8) F414-GE-400 engine spares; twenty (20) AN/APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars; twenty (20) M61A2 20MM gun systems; twenty-eight (28) AN/ALR-67(V)3 Electronic Warfare Countermeasures Receiving Sets; fifteen (15) AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods; twenty (20) Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems–Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS-JTRS); thirty (30) Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS); twenty-eight (28) AN/ALQ-214 Integrated Countermeasures Systems; one hundred thirty (130) LAU-127E/A and or F/A Guided Missile Launchers; twenty-two (22) AN/AYK-29 Distributed Targeting System (DTS); twenty-two (22) AN/AYK-29 Distributed Targeting Processor (DTP); one hundred (100) AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Tactical Missiles; thirty (30) AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM); eight (8) AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Special Air Training Missiles (NATM); twenty (20) AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Tactical Guidance Units; sixteen (16) AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II CATM Guidance Units. Also included in this sale are AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles (NVG); AN/ALE-47 Electronic Warfare Countermeasures Systems; AN/ARC-210 Communication System; AN/APX-111 Combined Interrogator Transponder; AN/ALE-55 Towed Decoys; Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS); AN/PYQ-10C Simple Key Loader (SKL); Data Transfer Unit (DTU); Accurate Navigation (ANAV) Global Positioning System (GPS) Navigation; KIV-78 Duel Channel Encryptor, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF); CADS/PADS; Instrument Landing System (ILS); Aircraft Armament Equipment (AAE); High Speed Video Network (HSVN) Digital Video Recorder (HDVR); Launchers (LAU-115D/A, LAU-116B/A, LAU-118A); flight test services; site survey; aircraft ferry; auxiliary fuel tanks; aircraft spares; containers; storage and preservation; transportation; aircrew and maintenance training; training aids and equipment, devices and spares and repair parts; weapon system support and test equipment; technical data Engineering Change Proposals; technical publications and documentation; software; avionics software support; software development/integration; system integration and testing; U.S. Government and contractor engineering technical and logistics support; Repair of Repairable (RoR); repair and return warranties; other technical assistance and support equipment; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated total case value is $5.23 billion.

Sep 9, 2017

Russia may build new 115,000-tonne aircraft carriers by 2020

The Russian industry will be able to build aircraft carriers having a displacement of 110,000-115,000 tonnes by 2020, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on the Rossiya-24 round-the-clock TV news channel on Tuesday.
"When we build new shipyards and a huge dry dock in the Far East, if there is such a contract, it will be possible to create an aircraft carrier having a displacement of 110,000-115,000 tonnes. We will be capable of doing that starting from 2020," Rogozin said.
Russia’s future aircraft carrier will cost "far less" than its US counterparts.
He remarked that contracts for such ships would depend on the needs of Russia’s General Staff, which determines the need for aircraft carriers of that class.
Rogozin speculated that the Zvezda shipyard in the Far East may become a place for building such ships. Work is in progress there to build a 114-meter-wide dry dock.
"We now have no restrictions regarding the tonnage of civil or naval ships we may choose to build there," he said.
The Russian Navy earlier said the Russian fleet hoped to get a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier by the end of 2030. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said the contract for building an aircraft carrier might be signed by the end of 2025. And Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said a sketch project of what may become Russia’s aircraft carrier of the future had been presented to the Defense Ministry.

First A330 MRTT Phénix for France makes maiden flight

Airbus Defence and Space has successfully completed the maiden flight of the first A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transport for France. The aircraft, which will be known in French service as Phénix, is the first of nine ordered by the French Defence Procurement Agency DGA, plus another three expected to be confirmed. It is the second new standard A330 MRTT to fly, featuring structural modifications, aerodynamic improvements giving a fuel-burn reduction of up to 1%, upgraded avionics computers and enhanced military systems. The aircraft was converted in Getafe from a standard A330 assembled in Toulouse. The crew reported that the aircraft performed in line with expectations during the 3h 25min flight. The Phénix fleet will be equipped with a combination of the Airbus Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) and underwing hose-and-drogue refuelling pods, and can carry 272 passengers or be configured for medical evacuation. First delivery is due in 2018. Fifty-one A330 MRTTs have been ordered by eight nations of which 28 have been delivered.
Photo: Pablo Cabellos / Airbus

Bahrain Requests 19 F-16V

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Bahrain for F-16V aircraft with support. The estimated cost is $2.785 billion.
The Government of Bahrain has requested a possible sale of nineteen (19) F-16V Aircraft; nineteen (19) M61 Vulcan 20mm Gun Systems; twenty-two (22) F-16V F-110-GE-129 Engines (includes 3 spares); twenty-two (22) APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array Radars (includes 3 spares); twenty-two (22) Modular Mission Computers (includes 3 spares); twenty-two (22) Embedded Global Navigation Systems/LN260 EGI (includes 3 spares); twenty-two (22) Improved Programmable Display Generators (iPDG) (includes 3 spares); and thirty-eight (38) LAU-129 Launchers. This sale also includes nineteen (19) AN/ALQ-211 AIDEWS Systems, thirty-eight (38) LAU-118A Launchers, forty-two (42) AN/ARC-238 SINCGARS Radio or equivalent, twenty-two (22) AN/APX-126 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF) system or equivalent, twenty-two (22) cryptographic appliques, secure communication equipment, spares and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, simulators, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor technical support services, containers, missile support and test equipment, original equipment manufacturer integration and test, U.S. Government and contractor technical support and training services, site survey, design, construction studies/analysis/services, associated operations/maintenance/ training/support facilities, cybersecurity, critical computer resources support, force protection and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated program cost is $2.785 billion.

Sep 2, 2017

India’s Air Force Interested in 36 More Rafale Fighter Jets From France

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is interested in placing a follow-up order for 36 additional fourth-generation Dassault Rafale multirole fighter jets, according to Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) sources.
The Indian government and French aircraft maker Dassault Aviation signed a 7.87 billion euros agreement for the sale of 36 Rafale fighter jets in September 2016, following four years of protracted negotiations. Delivery of the Rafale fighter jets is expected to begin in November 2019 and will likely be completed in the middle of 2022.
Sources have now revealed to The Times of India that the IAF has made “some presentations” on the operational need for an additional 36 Rafale fighter jets arguing that a follow-up order would just cost around 60 percent of the original acquisition and induction price.
The IAFs first Rafale fighter jet squadron will be based in West Bengal, whereas the second squadron is slated to be based in Haryana. Both IAF bases will be able to accommodate an additional squadron of 18 aircraft each. “This will cut down the induction costs of the 36 additional fighters,” IAF sources said.

USAF set to activate its first fully combat capable F-35 squadron

The first squadron of fully combat capable F-35 Lightning II fighter jets is set to be activated this September, reports UPI. The fighter jets will be ready following the completion of software upgrades that will allow the full utilization of its weapons and sensor systems, according to the report.
F-35s that have not yet been upgraded to the Block 3F software have some combat capability, but won’t be able to use the full range of weapons and sensors until the new software is installed. The 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, will receive the first F-35s equipped with the software, followed by a training squadron at Luke AFB, also in September.
The US Air Force declared its first squadron of F-35As ready for battle in August 2016, 15 years after Lockheed Martin won the contract to build the fighter jet.

U.S. B-1B bombers, South Korea jets conduct flight operation after North Korea missile launch

Two U.S. nuclear-capable strategic bombers conducted a joint operation with South Korean air force fighter jets on Thursday, the Yonhap news agency reported, two days after North Korea launched a missile that flew over Japan sharply raising tension.
Four U.S. stealth F-35B jets also took part in the operation, Yonhap reported.

F-35 altitude restrictions lifted at Luke Air Force Base

A wing commander at Luke Air Force Base on Wednesday lifted an altitude restriction on F-35 flights at the Arizona base, but Air Force investigators are no closer to understanding what prompted five incidents of pilot oxygen deprivation earlier this summer.
Between May 2 and June 8, five different Luke pilots experienced symptoms similar to hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, while conducting F-35A training flights. That prompted Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, commander of the 56th Fighter Wing, to order a pause in flight operations in June while officials from the Air Force and the F-35 Joint Program Executive Office analyzed each incident. Although they had hoped to find a common thread linking the incidents together, no root cause has emerged.

US Air Force announces date for X-37B launch for September 7th

The U.S. Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane will make its debut launch on the SpaceX Falcon 9 on Sept. 7, the Air Force’s top civilian said Thursday.
“If the weather is good,” the Boeing-built X-37B will launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, announced U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, who declined to comment on the nature of the mission the space plane will perform.
“It’s one of our experimental platforms,” she said during an exclusive interview with Defense News and Air Force Times on Aug. 31.
The September launch will mark the start of the X-37B’s fifth mission, during which it will be outfitted with the Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader, or ASETS-11, created by the Air Force Research Lab to “test experimental electronics and oscillating heat pipes in the long duration space environment,” the service said earlier this summer.

Aug 26, 2017

Indonesia Hopes to Sign Su-35 Purchase Deal By End of 2017

Indonesia hopes to sign a contract on the purchase of Russia's Su-35 fighter jets by the end of 2017, Indonesian Ambassador to Russia Mohamad Wahid Supriyadi told Sputnik on Wednesday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Indonesian Ambassador to Russia Mohamad Wahid Supriyadi said Jakarta expects to receive 11 aircraft as part of the countertrade program memorandum of cooperation, which the envoy said is the final stage before the contract is signed.
Russia's Rostec state corporation signed the memorandum with the Indonesian Trading Company earlier in August.
Su-35 is a multi-purpose super-maneuverable fighter of the 4++ generation, equipped with thrust-vectoring engines, ensuring the aircraft’s superiority over other jets of the same type. The jet’s maximum speed amounts to 1,550 miles per hour with a flying range reaching 2,100 miles.

India approves Apache acquisition for Army

New Delhi's Defence Acquisition Council has approved the acquisition of six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters for the army at a cost of $651 million.
The deal still needs final approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), and a formal contract could take up to a year.
In September 2015, Boeing received orders for 22 AH-64E Apache’s and 15 CH-47F Chinooks. The contract also contained options for 11 Apaches and 7 Chinooks.
Boeing will commence air force Apache deliveries in 2019. Once the air force receives all 22 of its Apaches, then the army's six will be delivered.
Boeing will supply the Apache platform as a direct commercial sale (DCS). The engines, sensors and armament will be supplied by the US Govt as a foreign military sale (FMS).

Aug 15, 2017

Australia, Germany and Spain ground Tiger attack helicopters

Australia has joined Germany in grounding its fleet of Airbus Helicopters Tiger attack rotorcraft in the wake of a fatal crash in Mali in which two crew members were killed.
Investigations are ongoing into the late July accident involving a German army-operated example that came down in unexplained circumstances around 44nm (82km) northeast of Gao.
Berlin immediately withdrew its Tigers from service, although its four aircraft remaining in Mali – deployed as part of a multinational fight against an Islamic insurgency – will be allowed to perform missions in emergency situations, says its defence ministry.
Australia on 14 August decided to cease flying its Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters "until further information becomes available".
Spain is also thought to have suspended flights of its army's Tiger inventory, although there has been no official confirmation of the move.
Madrid’s defence ministry says: "The army will follow the technical recommendations of the manufacturer once it conducts the necessary investigations and checks to find out what could have caused the accident."
France, the other operator of the Tiger, continues to fly its helicopters in Mali, but most domestic training missions are on hold in any case because of the summer holidays.
So far, little detail has been released about the circumstances of the crash, but statements from the German defence ministry indicate that the Tiger lost its main rotor blades after entering into a sudden steep descent.
It hit the ground around 10s later, and the wreckage was consumed by a post-impact fire.
Crash investigators have recovered the helicopter’s flight-data recorders, but both are heavily damaged and may be unable to be accessed.
With Airbus Helicopters not directly participating in the accident probe, it was required, as part of its contract with the nations, to issue a notice advising that the Tiger is unsafe, without being able to offer any safety guidance. This was released shortly after the crash and updated on 10 August.
"Airbus Helicopters declares [an] UNSAFE condition for all Tiger versions. AH can neither identify the part, the failure of which would lead to the accident, nor the origin of the failure (design, manufacturing, maintenance). Consequently, AH is not in the position to propose a protective measure," says the warning.

Aug 5, 2017

Finland suspects Spanish fighter jets of airspace violation

The Finnish Ministry of Defence reported on Tueday that it suspects two Spanish F-18 fighter jets of having violated Finnish airspace.
According to the Ministry of Defence's report, the airpace violation took place over the Gulf of Finland south of Upinniemi at approximately 9 a.m. on Tuesday, reported Finnish public broadcaster Yle (link in Finnish).
The Finnish Border Guard is investigating the incident.
Five F/A-18 Hornets of the 15th Wing of the Spanish Air Force have been stationed in Estonia since Spain took over the rotating Baltic Air Policing mission based out of Ämari Air Base this May.

USAF awards contract for two 747-8s to be modified as future Air Force One aircraft

The Air Force awarded a Boeing contract modification Aug. 4, 2017, to purchase two commercial 747-8 aircraft for future modification to replace the two aging VC-25A Boeing 747-200 presidential support aircraft.
This contract modification follows a set of awards in 2016 for risk reduction activities. The Air Force has already requested Boeing to provide proposals to design, modify, test and field two Presidential mission-ready aircraft. These efforts will be awarded via future contract modifications. The program expects to begin aircraft modifications in 2019 and reach initial operational capability in 2024.
These aircraft will start providing worldwide presidential airlift support in 2024, after a series of modifications and tests. Boeing will modify their Federal Aviation Administration-certified commercial 747-8 aircraft to meet presidential operational requirements to help ensure an affordable program.

Israel weighing interest in F-35B STOVL-variant F-35

New threats faced by Israel have placed the potential purchase of short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant Lockheed Martin F-35Bs as a high priority.
Discussions are under way, with Israel's defence ministry hoping to reach a decision before a new 10-year Foreign Military Financing agreement with the USA comes into effect in 2019.
Deliveries of conventional take-off and landing F-35Is to the Israeli air force continue, with the service having so far placed orders for 50 examples. The “Golden Eagle” squadron which operates the "Adir" and the air force's flight test squadron continue to adapt the stealth fighter to meet the nation's specific requirements, with this work including the addition of a number of Israeli-developed systems.
Israel's initial requirement was for 75 F-35s, and the need to replace older Boeing F-15 fighters – the oldest of which were delivered in 1976 – is becoming a high-priority issue.
Sources indicate that the Israeli air force will have to choose between obtaining additional F-35s – potentially including STOVL examples – or an advanced version of the F-15. No details have been revealed of the potential F-15 variant on which evaluations are being based, but this is expected to be capable of carrying an expanded weapons load.

Aug 4, 2017

Romania Plans to Buy 36 F-16 jets by 2022

Romanian Defence has unveiled plans by Bucharest to acquire High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, and 36 F-16 fighter jets by 2022. The announcement comes in the wake of Romania’s Supreme Council of National Defence approving a plan to spend €9.8 billion (U.S. $11.6 billion) on military procurements in the years 2017 to 2026.
Romania is also aiming to purchase Patriot missiles from U.S. company Raytheon to boost its air defense capabilities, and the government plans to pay the first installment for the systems this November.

US approves A-29 Super Tucano sale to Nigeria

The U.S. State Department has approved a $593 million foreign military sale to Nigeria, including 12 A-29 Super Tucano light-attack aircraft, in order to further the nation’s campaign against the militant group Boko Haram.
Nigeria has been seeking permission from the U.S. government to buy A-29s since 2015; however, the Obama administration had put the sale on hold due to concerns about the country’s human rights record.
In February, U.S. President Donald Trump signaled his support for the sale during a phone call with Nigerian President

USS Gerald R. Ford's first flight ops

The Gerald R. Ford is now officially an aircraft carrier, having recovered and launched aircraft four different times.
Not only were Monday’s flight operations a milestone for the newly commissioned ship, but it ushered in a new, high-tech era for flight deck technology. Yet it could still be a few more years before the Navy sees whether the new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, known as EMALS, will meet all of its promise.
But the system isn’t expected to be fully capable for another couple of years. In 2014, it was discovered in testing at Lakehurst, New Jersey, that fully loaded aircraft carrying fuel were experiencing unacceptable load levels on their wings during launches.
The fix is a software upgrade for the EMALS what won’t be installed until 2019, during the ship’s post-shakedown availability. Until then, launching aircraft is not restricted, but not any with heavy fuel or bomb loads.

Jul 29, 2017

France has offered to donate 31 Jaguars to India

French daily Le Point has confirmed that President Emmanuel Macron intends to donate 31 ex-French Air Force Jaguar fighters to India
The information was first disclosed by Defense News and a high-ranking French military source has confirmed the story to Le Point.

USAF using Tesla Model S as U-2 chase cars


The U.S. Air Force had previously used the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 as chase cars for the U-2 spy plane. The flying branch has now switched to the Tesla Model S for the task.
The electric car was seen accompanying a U-2S taking off at RAF Fairford earlier this month.

Jul 9, 2017

Pentagon seeks increased P-8 ties with Norway, UK

The United States, United Kingdom and Norway have agreed in principal to create a trilateral coalition built around the P-8 maritime aircraft — though exactly what that means remains unclear.
The Pentagon announced June 29 that the three countries had established a “statement of intent to lay out guiding principles for a trilateral partnership with P-8A aircraft.” In addition, the announcement said the nations are working on a “framework for further cooperation in areas such as readiness, enhancing defense capability, and interoperability.”

Austria set to replace Eurofighter Typhoons, Economically Unsustainable

Austria is set to replace the small fleet of fighter jets to patrol its airspace following an announcement today that the collection of Eurofighter Typhoons and Saab 105 OE aircraft would be phased out.
Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil's decision follows the advice of an expert commission that had studied options for securing the country's skies after 2020. At that time, the subsonic Saab planes would reach the end of their economic lives and would be retired anyway. And because the fleet of 15 Eurofighter Typhoons are of the early Tranche-1 generation, those aircraft also are considered militarily sub par in their current configuration and economically unsustainable.

Jul 2, 2017

Block 5 MQ-9 debuts in combat

The latest version of the MQ-9 Reaper, the Block 5 variant, flew its first successful combat mission June 23, 2017, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
The aircrew flew a sortie of more than 16 hours with a full payload of weapons including GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. During the mission, the crew employed one GBU-38 and two Hellfires while providing hours of armed reconnaissance for supported ground forces