July 21, 2017
Russian defence company Kronstadt Technologies is showing in public for the first time at MAKS-2017 its latest medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) Orion-E unmanned air system (UAS).
According to the company, the Orion-E is the first UAS in Russia with long-range drones, corresponding to the international classification of the MALE class. The new Russian drone looks like a U.S. MQ-1 Predator developed by General Atomics and AVIC’s Wing Loong Block 1.
According to the promo video of Orion-E, the aircraft features a slender, 8m-long fuselage, high-aspect ratio wings, and a V-tail. The drone has 16m wingspan in flight.
The aircraft is “intended” to carry a payload of 60kg, but can lift a maximum load of 200kg, according to a production information card.
Kronstadt will work with Rosonboronexport to market the Orion-E abroad, with a specific interest in sales to Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.
July 20, 2017
Thailand to Buy T-50TH Aircraft with ELTA Radars
Thailand will acquire eight KAI T-50 Golden Eagle lead-in fighter trainers from South Korea. The aircraft will replace the Royal Thai Air Force’s fleet of 40 Aero Vodochody L-39ZA/ART Albatros.
Thailand’s military government has approved the acquisition of eight KAI T-50 Golden Eagle lead-in fighter trainers from South Korea, adding to four aircraft it acquired in 2015.
The $258 million deal will be paid over a three-year period, according to Air Vice Marshal Pongsak Semachai.
Designated T-50TH, the aircraft will replace the Royal Thai Air Force’s fleet of 40 Aero Vodochody L-39ZA/ART Albatros in the training and combat roles. The first four aircraft expected to be delivered by March 2018.
According to specifications released by KAI, the T-50TH will be fully combat capable, being fitted with fire control radar – expected to be the ELTA EL/M-2032 – MIL-STD-1760 databus and will have provision for the Link 16 data link.
Russia and Malaysia have signed an agreement on the renovation and modernization of the Russia-produced MiG-29 fighter aircraft that form parts of the Royal Malaysian Air Force, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the MAKS International Aviation and Space Salon on Wednesday. (photo : Peter Gronemann)
ZHUKOVSKIY (Moscow Region) (Sputnik) — The document was signed by Russian Aircraft Corporation (RAC) MiG Director General Ilya Tarasenko and Malaysian Air Force representative Mohamed Fadzar bin Sufad on the margins of the MAKS.
"The agreement confirms the extension of our contractual obligations for the Malaysian Air Forces on the operation of MiG-29 fighter jets. The RAC MiG will continue its cooperation with the Malaysian Air Forces and will provide technical support for these aircraft," Tarasenko said.
The MiG-29 supply contract was signed in Kuala Lumpur on June 7, 1994. The total contract value of 18 Russia-supplied aircraft was estimated at $560 billion. The MiG Corporation assumed the obligation to make the necessary adjustments and adapt the aircraft to Malaysian humid tropical climate. Malaysian MiG aircraft have come to be known as MiG-29N and MJG-29NUB, and formed Squadron 17 and Squadron 19 of the Royal Malaysian Air Force.
The Philippine has completed post qualification inspections for Raytheon Missile Systems Co. last week in United States for Fighter/Surface Attack/Lead-in Fighter Trainer (F/SA/LIFT) Aircraft Munitions Acquisition Project Lot 1.
According to MaxDefense Philippines, Raytheon is in the running to supply AIM-9L/I-1 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles for the Philippine Air Force’s FA-50 Fighting Eagle aircraft.
“If the results are positive, it won’t be long before a Notice of Award will be provided,” MaxDefense said.
MaxDefense added that air-to-air missiles being acquired are also for “future aircraft capable of carrying and firing the missiles.”
However, MaxDefense noted the decrease in Approved Budget for Contract (ABC) for the F/SA/LIFT Aircraft Munitions Acquisition Project Lot 1.
It noted that ABC was decreased to PHP 1.016 billion for unspecified number of AIM-9L/I-1 missiles including associated accessories and support, from PHP 2.636 billion for 312 missiles.
“Budget decrease was also made as the PAF opted to increase the budget to acquire AGM-65G Maverick missiles (Lot 2) instead, diverting almost half the original ABC for F/SAA/LIFT Munitioms Lot 1 to Lot 2,” MaxDefense said.
AGM-65 Maverick is an air-to-ground tactical missile (AGM) designed for close air support.
F/SA/LIFT Aircraft Munitions Acquisition Project is divided into several Lots. Lots 3 and 4 are for Countermeasures and 20mm Ammunition, respectively.
Air Force’s third Australian F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (A35-003) is progressing along the production line in the United States (US).
The program’s milestone coincided with a visit by Australian Ambassador to the US Mr Joe Hockey, who toured the Lockheed Martin, Fort Worth facility where the F-35A Joint Strike Fighters are being assembled.
Meeting with Lockheed Martin representatives and Joint Strike Fighter Division’s US embedded staff, Mr Hockey was briefed on the achievements of the F-35 Program. He signed the bulkhead of the aircraft as it made its way down the assembly line at the Fort Worth facility.
Head Joint Strike Fighter, Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Leigh Gordon said the A35-003 was the first of the next batch of eight Australian F-35s currently in production in Fort Worth to begin the “mate” process, where major components of the aircraft were joined together to form the aircraft structure.
“The aircraft will then make its way down the assembly line and through its check flights in preparation for delivery in early 2018,” AVM Gordon said.
A35-003 is the first F-35 to be assembled for Australia since the delivery of the first two RAAF F-35A’s in 2014.
“Like its two RAAF F-35A stablemates, A35-003 will be delivered to Luke Air Force Base Arizona in early 2018, where it will be used for F-35 pilot and maintainer training until permanently re-locating to Australia in 2020,” AVM Gordon said.
AVM Gordon said as Australia was a strategic partner in the global F-35 Program it was delivering significant benefits to Australian industry.
“As with every F-35 being produced, A35-003 includes components made by Australian companies, with more than $800m in production contracts so far.”
“More than 50 Australian companies have directly shared in production work to date, with hundreds more Australian companies who are indirectly benefiting through supply chain work,” he said.
“Australian industry will also be closely involved in sustaining the RAAF F-35As and providing through-life support services for the global fleet.”
Defence estimates industry involvement in F-35 production is expected to reach $2 billion by 2023.
Multiple military units are on the move today in Doklam as tensions continue to escalate between India and China
Multiple military units are on the move today in #Doklam as tensions continue to escalate between #India and #China. pic.twitter.com/CwgOGa0Uvz— The Intel Crab (@IntelCrab) July 20, 2017
China conducts military drill in #Tibet amid fermenting border standoff with #India https://t.co/4z9ur2xGT2 pic.twitter.com/iKmLR4RCTe— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) July 19, 2017
July 19, 2017
#Turkey Leaks Secret Locations of U.S. Troops in #Syria | @Roy_Gutman @thedailybeast https://t.co/avfUTnpdzD pic.twitter.com/Y9riszw8s2— RealClearDefense (@RCDefense) July 19, 2017
This is fucked up. // Turkey Leaks Secret Locations of U.S. Troops in Syria https://t.co/YLJMyF46mj via @thedailybeast— Kevin Baron (@DefenseBaron) July 19, 2017
Qatar - After US Navy and French Navy Qatar Emiri Naval Force concluded joint drills with Royal British Navy
Chinese sprinter Zhang Peimeng beats FTC-2000 trainer made by The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)
Chinese sprinter Zhang Peimeng was a guest in CCTV variety show Cheers Science in which he had to race against a GAIC FTC-2000 and Chengdu J-10.
Zhang beat the FTC-2000 but lost to the J-10.
Just like the real thing: three years after the "Lavi" (M-346) first arrived in Israel, the IAF upgrades its advanced training aircraft capabilities to prepare young pilots and WSOs. Some of the latest updates: external fuel tanks, live ammunition, and an updated program block
Eitam Almadon & Illy Peery
The "Lavi" (M-346) aircraft has ushered the IAF into a new era in terms of instruction, and has brought along an essential change in IAF fighter pilot and WSO (Weapon Systems Operator) training. Recently, the aircraft has been upgraded to include new features, upon the completion of a series of tests conducted by the IAF's Flight Test Squadron, which is positioned in Tel-Nof AFB. One of these features is an updated program block, which enables the aircraft to carry training munition and detachable fuel tanks.
The "Lavi" (M-346), manufactured by the Italian "Leonardo" company, is an advanced fighter instruction aircraft which replaced the "Ayit" (A-4 Skyhawk) and "Netz" (F-16A/B). The Italian aircraft is utilized by IAF Flight Academy Fighter Division cadets and its graduates in their Operational and Advanced Operational Training Course with the "Flying Tiger" squadron in Hatzerim AFB. These courses serve as an intermediate stage between the completion of their basic flight training and their integration in the IAF's operational squadrons. "We have clocked the highest number of flight hours on this aircraft amongst all of its operators around the world, and the experience we acquired allows us to highly improve the jet's influence on the our aircrew members' training process," said Lt. Col. Rotem, head test pilot at the Flight Test Squadron.
Updating the Program
The "Lavi" aircraft arrived in Israel with an empty configuration, devoid of external loads, and passed test flights conducted by the Flight Test Squadron in attempt to ensure that the aircraft was ready for full use, and that all of its systems were up to the IAF's safety standards. As part of the tests, the squadron's test pilots and engineers evaluated the factors influencing the aircraft's behavior. Amongst others, the difficulty level of the aircraft's operation was tested in complex scenarios such as air-air combat and attack maneuvers.
The aircraft's integration program included a gradual update of four avionics and configuration blocks upon their arrival in Israel. Program block updates are upgrades to the jet's capabilities, enabling a new flight configuration. After the block was heavily tested evaluation flights were performed by the "Flying Tiger" squadron.
"Alongside its upgraded avionics, the aircraft is so advanced that all of its functions are computer-based. Its program block also deals with its avionics and steering systems – which means that in order to develop a new flight configuration or equip the 'Lavi' with external loads, an update to the aircraft's program block was necessary," says Lt. Col. Rotem. "We later flew the upgraded aircraft, shared the information with the relevant factors, and released a debrief in order to enable the flight academy to operate the aircraft with the latest block."
More Fuel, Less Flights
Additional upgrades to the "Lavi" jet's capabilities are the ability to carry BDU-33 training bombs and detachable fuel tanks to prolong its flight time. Upgrades of this kind allow the IAF to maximize the training progress of its young aircrew members, as they play an integral part in bringing the "Lavi", a training aircraft, close to the technological level of the operational platforms which aircrew members will encounter in the IAF's operational squadrons.
The "Lavi" arrived with a configuration which allowed enough fuel for a 1 hour and 15-minute flight. The desire to extend the flight time created a need for external fuel tanks, which will allow extra time in the air. In training flights today, trainees' aircraft are often joined by an instructor's aircraft. Using external fuel tanks, the instructor's aircraft will be able to stay in the air for prolonged periods of time while trainees rotate, and many flights will be spared.
"Live ammunition will improve our training"
The "Lavi" has the ability to release bombs virtually, so that the only difference between the old method and the new is the sight of the bomb hitting the ground. New training bombs will raise the bar for the training of young pilots and WSOs. "The 'Lavi', like the IAF's operational aircraft, has a networked function capability, which enables parallel management of weapon systems in a number of aircraft, such as missiles and bombs. In terms of flight, it is reminiscent of the fighter jets used by the IAF. An addition of live munition will improve our operational training exponentially," says Maj. Omer, Deputy Commander of the "Flying Tiger" Squadron.
Soon: Networked "Lavi" Simulators
Fighter Division Flight Academy cadets and young graduates all train in the "Lavi" simulator, which is composed of four separate training chambers, in which they undergo many training sessions and emergency simulations. The Flight Test Squadron will soon conduct a test to examine the simulator's connectivity, which will enable the IAF to connect between the test chambers and bring with it the option for mutual training sessions for a number of aircrew members simultaneously.
The ability to simultaneously simulate the same mission is critical and inseparable from fighter pilot and WSO training, and as a result, an advanced, networked mission simulator is purchased along with the aircraft. "The simulator allows us to sit in a dome and see the action from a cockpit identical to a real one. It gives us the ability to fly in a formation of four on the ground, and train both pilots and WSOs. The FTS (Flight Test Squadron) will soon test the connected simulators, and enable the IAF to connect a number of simulator chambers for the purpose of mutual training."
"In the future, I see the 'Lavi' acquiring additional abilities which will drastically improve aircrew training. Abilities related to hardware and software," concluded Maj. Omer. Maj Omer added that they strive to join the IAF's operational networks, and by doing so, connect to the entire air force and perform joint training missions with the entire fighting division."
Aircraft carriers of US Navy, Indian Navy, and JMSDF helicoper carrier close Exercise Malabar with trilateral maneuvers in the Bay of Bengal
Video exposes Turkey's Sunni Arab force (Euphrates Shield) doing ethnic cleansing by shooting unarmed Kurdish civilians in N. Aleppo
July 18, 2017
Malaysia has put on hold a $2 billion plan to replace its aging fleet of combat aircraft, looking instead to upgrade its aerial surveillance capabilities to confront the growing threat of militancy inspired by the Islamic State group, a source with knowledge of the matter said.
Southeast Asia's third-largest economy has for several years been weighing the competing merits of France's Rafale jet and the Eurofighter Typhoon, built by Britain's BAE Systems, as it looks to buy up to 18 jets to replace its Russian MiG-29 fighters - nearly half of which are grounded.
The Rafale fighter - built by Dassault Aviation SA - was until recently seen as the frontrunner, with the support of key officials in Malaysia's defense ministry.
But Malaysia has shelved those plans for now as it looks to boost aerial surveillance that will be critical in its fight against militancy, a defense ministry source told Reuters.
The decision comes as Islamist fighters continue to battle security forces in Marawi in the southern Philippines. Malaysia and Indonesia, which share the nearby island of Borneo, are working with the Philippines to conduct air and maritime patrols along their shared borders in the Sulu Sea.
"With regards to Rafale, France is still pushing for it as evidenced during the recent air show in Paris," said the source, on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media on the discussions.
"However, due to the current situation, Malaysia is focusing more on maritime patrol aircraft rather than multi-role combat aircraft."
More than 400 people have been killed in fighting in Marawi, on the Philippine island of Mindanao, which was seized by pro-Islamic State militants on May 23.
The crisis in Marawi has unnerved governments across Southeast Asia, worried the region could potentially become the next base for the Islamic State, especially with fighters returning home from Iraq after the fall of the group's Mosul stronghold.
Besides conducting joint patrols, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have also agreed to pool intelligence and tackle militant financing.
Discussions for fighter jet procurements typically take years and an impending general election, which must be called by June 2018 but is expected this year, was already expected to delay Malaysia's final decision.
The source said Malaysia's jet fighter talks were only "temporarily suspended" and could resume in the future, but the priority was to secure new surveillance planes by 2020.
Malaysia's decision to suspend its jet fighter acquisition program will come as a blow to Dassault's Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon, the two main competitors for the deal to replace the Royal Malaysian Air Force's (RMAF) squadron of Russian MiG-29s.
Spokesmen for Dassault and Eurofighter, a consortium including Airbus BAE Systems and Leonardo of Italy, declined to comment. BAE Systems did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said in March that the Rafale deal was discussed during then French President Francois Hollande's visit to the Southeast Asian nation, but that Malaysia was "not ready yet to make a decision".
Dassault was awarded a contract in September last year to deliver 36 Rafale jets to India, and hopes to make additional sales to New Delhi.
Dassault Chief Executive Eric Trappier said in May that the company was "notably in talks" with Malaysia and India to secure one new contract by 2018.
BAE Systems, which leads the regional sales campaign for the Typhoon, is looking to kick off its entry into Southeast Asia with the sale of its multi-role combat aircraft to Malaysia.
Malaysia has four Beechcraft BT200T surveillance aircraft, but one of the planes crashed in December killing the pilot.
The defense ministry source said Kuala Lumpur was looking at acquiring four more surveillance planes that were larger and had a longer range than its existing assets, such as aircraft built by Lockheed Martin.
"We're looking at a commercial-based platform, which is more affordable, compared to a military specific platform," the source said.
Boeing has completed the delivery of eight more F-15SG Eagle multirole fighter jets to Singapore, according to data from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA’s website showed that the last of eight F-15SGs on its civil register had its registration canceled in the middle of June, with export being listed the reason for cancellation and its destination listed as Singapore.
This last aircraft, with the FAA registration N361SG/05-8361, was classified as an experimental aircraft in its registration details under the categories of research and development as well as crew training. It is the only one of the eight to be classified as such, and had been noted to be flying over Boeing’s facilities in St Louis, Missouri, as far back as September 2016.
The reason for this classification is unknown; however, the FAA defines its research and development classification as “to conduct aircraft operations as a matter of research or to determine if an idea warrants further development. Typical uses for this certificate include new equipment installations, operating techniques, or new uses for aircraft,” while crew training is for aircraft that are used “for training the applicant’s flight crews in experimental aircraft for subsequent operation of aircraft being flight tested in type certificate programs or for production flight testing”.
These eight F-15SGs on the FAA’s database were first registered in mid-2014 by Boeing. Deliveries of these aircraft began in early 2016, with the first aircraft seen in April at the Republic of Singapore Air Force's training detachment at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho.
It's unknown why Boeing registered the military F-15SGs on the FAA’s civil aircraft database, with a source having suggested to Defense News that it may be due to the aircraft being acquired by Singapore under a Direct Commercial Sales contract with Boeing, although previous batches of Singapore’s F-15SGs and military aircraft for other countries acquired under similar contracts were not placed on the FAA register.
When asked, Boeing referred Defense News to Singapore’s Defence Ministry, which in turn declined to confirm if Singapore has taken delivery of the jets, citing operational security.
Singapore, which is very secretive regarding its military, has also not disclosed the number of F-15SGs it has acquired, although a count of the airframes seen so far would indicate that it has 40 aircraft if these latest eight are included.
The F-15SG is one of the most advanced F-15 models currently in service, being equipped with the Raytheon AN/APG-63(v)3 active electronically scanned array radar and Lockheed Martin’s Sniper targeting pod.
Singapore also flies 60 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 52 fighters that are currently being upgraded with AESA radars and new mission computers, and is a partner in the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program, although it has not committed to any orders.
“Post Qualification inspections on Embraer are now ongoing in Brazil after the aircraft manufacturer was declared the single lowest compliant bidder for the Philippine Air Force’s Close Air Support Aircraft acquisition under the Revised AFP Modernization Program Horizon 1 phase,” MaxDefense Philippines said in its social networking page.
MaxDefense added that being the only compliant bidder, Embraer should pass this process to avoid further delays in the project.
The said project, Close Air Support Aircraft Acquisition Project for the Philippine Air Force, already faced several delays in the past years.
“Embraer was determined as the lowest calculated bidder for the Close Air Support Project, but they still have to undergo and pass the post-qualification inspection to be awarded the contract,” the Department of National Defense (DND) told Update Philippines last month.
Post-qualification inspection includes the checking of manufacturer’s facilities and the aircraft offered which is the A-29 Super Tucano.
The said project will acquire six close air support aircraft to replace/complement the Air Force’s Rockwell OV-10 “Bronco” turboprop attack planes.
Airbus put Thailand on its C295 world tour map by displaying the C295 MSA aircraft for Thai government to consider as they see the opportunity to break into the Thai market to replace the aging fleet of Do-228, Fokker F.27, and P-3T maritime surveillance aircraft. Airbus claim that it's more advanced avionic and mission flexibility make the C295 an ideal choice to replace those fleet.
The C295 on display to Thailand is the Brazilian Air Force Maritime surveillance version with surface search radar, EO/IR, as well as the medical compartment option to be installed on the MEDEVAC mission.
Thailand currently operate many types of Airbus' aircraft. A total of 12 C212s is in service with the Royal Thai Army and the Department of Royal Rainmaking of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative. Another 4 of CN235s is in service with the Royal Thai Police and recently RTA has taken delivery of this sole C295 transport aircraft.