Tensions Mount Over Syria | Russia Installing Comm Systems for Chinese Su-35s | Iran: Russia Delivering S-300sNov 25, 2015 00:20 UTC
- One of two Lockheed Martin X-56A Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) has crashed during testing in California. According to a US Air Force statement, the UAV crashed shortly after take off and sustained significant damage. The aircraft had already made 16 successful test flights and spent a total of 6 hours in the air prior to the accident, since its first flight in July 2013. Testing will continue with the USAF’s second X-56A.
- The Mexican Navy has completed an Airbus C295W flight from Mexico to Bolivia. Landing in El Alto airport in La Paz, the flight was aimed at demonstrating the aircraft’s ability to operate in extremely hot and high conditions. With La Paz located at over 4,000 meters above sea-level, the ability to operate in such conditions is important for missions in several countries in the region, and has been hailed as quite the success by both Airbus and the Mexican Navy.
Middle East North Africa
- Vladimir Putin has called the downing of one of its fighters by Turkey (in Syria) a “stab in the back.” Turkey defended the decision to down the Su-24 after repeated warnings that the Russians had violated Turkish airspace on the Syrian border. The shooting of the plane is the first time a NATO member has downed a Russian or Soviet aircraft since the 1950s. World stock markets fell as a result, as investors worried that tensions could escalate, and as a growing cast of characters continue maneuvers, air strikes and missile launches in the skies of Syria.
- The US Army has begun the second phase of its training and equipping mission in the Ukraine. The $265 million “Operation Fearless Guardian” aims to allow Ukrainian forces to operate more safely and effectively in the field and to monitor and secure its borders. At present, there are 300 US troops in western Ukraine facilitating the mission along with other NATO members and other US personnel. Escalating conflict in the eastern Donbass region has gone mostly unnoticed by a media focused on Russian and NATO intervention in Syria. Since violence erupted last year, over 6,000 people have been killed in the Donbass region alone with many more either internally displaced or having fled to Russia.
- Russia is to install communications systems for China as part of the $2 billion sale of Su-35 fighters. The deal includes the delivery and installation of the NKVS-27 communications system which will begin in 2016. The delivery of the 24 fighters will follow in 2017. It has been speculated that the Chinese may attempt to reverse engineer and copy the design of the aircraft as it did Su-27SK and could include the communications system. The NKVS-27 is designed to ensure information interaction between CPs and crews of any aircraft. Interaction may be by means of conversations through voice communications radio networks as well as data exchange through data exchange radio networks.
- A Pakistani Air Force (PAF) pilot has died during a training flight. Muarium Mukhtiar died after her FT-7PG crashed due to an unspecified in-flight emergency. Muhtiar was one of 20 female pilots in the PAF since females were allowed combat roles in 2006. The accident has been one in a series of crashes of PAF aircraft this year which included another fighter in September, and two military helicopters in August and May. Pakistan is currently revamping its older aircraft in service and co-developing new fighters with China to reduce dependence on western companies.
- Indonesia has announced plans to purchase a new AW101 in 2016. The helicopter will replace the air force’s aging AS332 Super Puma and will be used as presidential transport as well as for other VVIPs. The purchase will be followed by the sale of two more AW101s in 2017, replacing the remaining Super Pumas which have been in service for the last 25 years. Its nice to see President Widodo treating himself to a new luxury aircraft.
- According to the Iranian Ambassador to Russia, the delivery of the S-300 missile defense system has begun. The first of five shipments of the system comes months ahead of schedule and in advance of the lifting of some economic sanctions against Iran. An expansive interpretation of the July agreement between Iran and six other nations over its nuclear program paved the way for the $600 million sale earlier this month. Russia had previously and repeatedly used the prospect of selling the system to Iran as a bargaining chip on other matters over the past three years.
- The commencement of sorties from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft