F-35 the “preferred choice” for Berlin | KC-390 prototype pushed to limits, needs repair | T-50A test pilot breaks 100 flight hours |Nov 10, 2017 05:00 UTC
- Embraer’s first KC-390 prototype has temporarily stopped flying after stall tests conducted last month pushed the military transporter beyond its operational limits. While no work is needed on the “primary aircraft structure,” the firm does need to repair some of the aircraft’s access hatches and aerodynamic fairings before the resumption of flights. It assured that the incident would not effect the KC-390’s certification schedule and is on course to enter service next year. While Embraer did not address the cause of the test-flight incident, Brazilian trade publication Aero Magazine reported that test equipment inside the plane had come loose during a maneuver, throwing off its center of gravity, according to an unnamed engineer involved in the project.
- Lt. Col. Mark “Red” Ward, a retired US Air Force officer and current Lockheed Martin test pilot, has achieved the milestone of being the first pilot to achieve100 flight hours in the firm’s T-50A fifth-generation trainer aircraft. The platform is being considered for the USAF’s Advanced Pilot Training (APT) competition. A Lockheed press release said Ward passed the 100-hour mark shortly after take-off from Greenville on the way to the 2017 Joint Base San Antonio Air Show and Open House at JBSA-Lackland Kelly Field Annex in Texas, which took place Nov. 4-5. “This has been a great opportunity to be involved in a project that is so important to the USAF and the foundation for pilot training,” Ward said. “It’s a great plane to fly and will make an excellent trainer for generations of pilots to come.”
Middle East & Africa
- Nigeria is set to receive its remaining five Super Mushshak trainer aircraft by the end of the year, already returning four interim trainers borrowed from Pakistan. The four trainers had been used by the 401 Flying Training School in Kaduna for ab-initio flying training while the first batch of trainers was being prepared. The first batch were inducted into service on August 8.
- Switzerland has set aside no more than $8 billion in order to fulfil future fighter jet and air defense requirements. The figure is towards the lower end of the three options being considered by the government—the most on offer being a $18 billion procurement of 70 fighter aircraft, while the least expensive option would have been procuring 20 jets and accompanying ground-based air defense systems for 5 billion francs, or $5 billion. The Swiss DoD will now begin assessing which aircraft will be chosen to replace its fleet of F/A-18C/D Hornets and Northrop F-5 Tigers, with manufacturers Airbus, Boeing, Dassault, Lockheed Martin and Saab all being approached for solutions. The procurement is hoped to have concluded by 2025.
- Lockheed Martin is confident that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be selected as Germany’s Tornado fighter replacement, after Berlin confirmed that the next-generation fighter is the Air Force’s “preferred” choice. Germany is looking to replace its 85 Tornado jets between 2025 and 2030, and requests have been sent for information about the F-35, as well as three other jets: Boeing’s F-15 and F/A-18E/F fighters, as well as the Eurofighter consortium’s Typhoon. The F-35 has already been selected by several of Germany’s regional allies, including Norway, the Netherlands, the UK, Italy, Turkey and Denmark, and some have already started to receive deliveries. Belgium is expected to make a decision next year.
- Following the inclusion of funding for four maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) in the 2018 budget, the Malaysian government will soon appoint a technical team to evaluate possible options. The aircraft will also come with an anti-submarine warfare capability. Among the contenders to fulfill RMAF’s MPA requirement include Airbus Defence and Space’s C295, Indonesia’s PT Dirgantara CN235, Leonardo’s ATR72 and P-8 Poseidon which are used by the United States and Australia’s armed forces. A separate team will also assess an offer for free P-3 MPAs from Japan, although this lies outside of the original procurement and may well be used only as a temporary measure.
- Raytheon Australia and the Australian DoD have signed contracts hailing the first stage of development for the Short Range Ground Based Air Defense program. Valued at $9.3 million, the year-long work order will include Risk Mitigation Activities to see how the platform will operate in the Australian context, and the program as a whole could reach $1.7 billion. In April, Canberra announced plans to develop a ground-based missile capability using the Kongsberg-designed National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS). Raytheon Australia is acting as the prime systems integrator, while Kongsberg, which manufactures NASAMS along with Raytheon, will be a major subcontractor. The system will feature locally made components and will be mounted on Hawkei vehicles.
- South Korea is in the market for twelve new anti-submarine warfare naval helicopters, but will be requesting technology transfers and offsets to the tune of $400 million for their business. The whole project itself is valued at $780 million and will include domestic firms in the production. At present, Seoul is procuring eight AW-159 Wildcats for use onboard their Incheon-class guided missile frigates, but additional orders to Leonardo for more Wildcat could face competition from Sikorsky’s MH-60R and NHIndustries’ NH-90.
- The AW-159 Wildcat at DSEI 2017: