Latest updates[?]: The British Royal Air Force (RAF) holds its annual Cobra Warrior exercise in September at Coningsby Air Base in Lincolnshire and it features a premiere: Israeli Air Force aircrew and fighter jets are to take part in a joint exercise with the Royal Air Force in Britain for the first time. The exercise is the culmination of the advanced Qualified Weapons Instructor course, and usually also includes crew and aircraft from other allied air forces who fly together with the British teams in complex combat scenarios. Last year, German and Italian aircraft joined the RAF. Recent British-Israeli defense cooperation has included the training of British personnel on the use of Israeli weapons systems acquired by Britain: the Watchkeeper WK450 drone, the Exactor ground-based missile, and the Litening targeting pod carried by RAF Typhoon and Tornado aircraft.
Britain’s Watchkeeper Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Program aims to give the Royal Artillery an advanced mid-range UAV for surveillance – and possibly more. Watchkeeper will be an important system, working within a complementary suite of manned (vid. ASTOR Sentinel R1) and unmanned (Buster, Desert Hawk, MQ-9 Reaper) aerial Intelligence Surveillance Target Acquisition Reconnaissance (ISTAR) systems. This will make it a core element of the UK Ministry of Defence’s Network-Enabled Capability strategy.
The initial August 2005 contract award to Thales UK’s joint venture was worth around GBP 700 million, but that has risen, and the program expected to create or sustain up to 2,100 high-quality manufacturing jobs in the UK. The Watchkeeper platform is based on Elbit Systems’ Hermes 450 UAV platform, which is serving as a contractor-operated interim solution on the front lines of battle.
The Naval Surface Warfare Center tapped Raytheon with $9.3 million for engineering services in support of the Aegis SPY-1 radar and MK 99 fire control system. The SPY-1 radar and the MK 99 are key components of the Aegis Weapon System, the heart of the Aegis Combat System. The MK 99 Fire Control System controls the loading and arming of the selected weapon, launches the weapon, and provides terminal guidance for Antiair Warfare Systems. The AN/SPY-1 radar system is used by Aegis Ashore missile defense sites. The SPY-1 can maintain continuous radar surveillance while automatically tracking more than 100 targets at one time. Raytheon has delivered its first SPY-1 transmitter in 1981. Today, it has equipped 108 ships with 140 systems. The current order provides technical, logistical and engineering services from the original equipment manufacturer. Work is scheduled to be completed by January 2021.
The US Navy awarded Microsoft a potential five-year $1.8 billion contract to support Microsoft-made products for the Department of Defense (DoD), US Coast Guard and intelligence community. Under this deal the company will provide engineering services to help software developers and other product teams use knowledge database, tools, and source code. The contract is issued under the DoD Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI). This project was established to enable a software management process within the Department of Defense. The contract mechanism manages Information Technology agreements, assets, and policies in order to lower the total cost of ownership across the DoD, Coast Guard and intelligence community. ESI combines the DoD’s buying power with commercial software publishers, hardware vendors and service providers. Under the contract, Microsoft will perform work at various locations worldwide through Jan. 10, 2024.
Middle East & Africa
Turkey developed stand-alone software to control imported missile systems without threatening its sovereign rights, Jane’s reports. Turkey will go ahead with purchasing a Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile battery under a $2.5 billion contract, which also includes an option for a second one. The US is trying to prevent Turkey’s government from buying the S-400 defense missile system and is threatening to impose sanctions on the Turkish authorities in case they do not cancel the arms deal with Russia. They are warning, that Turkey risks expulsion from the US-led F-35 program if the country goes through with the S-400 delivery. The US is concerned, the S-400 would harm the flight safety of the fifth generation F-35 aircraft. The S-400 is an anti-aircraft weapon system, which integrates a multifunction radar, autonomous detection and targeting systems, anti-aircraft missile systems, launchers, and command as well as control center. It is able to fire three types of missiles to create a layered defense. Turkey will start to deploy S-400s in October this year.
France contracted Dassault Aviation with a $2.3 billion for 28 upgraded Rafale aircraft. The aircraft will include some of the F-4 standard’s function. The F4 standard is part of the ongoing process to improve the Rafale in line with technological progress and operating experience feedback. The update includes upgraded radar sensors and front sector optronics as well as improved capabilities in the helmet-mounted display. With the F4 standard the aircraft will be able to receive more data and strengthen the data rate. It will also feature new weapons like the MBDA’s Mica NG air-to-air missile and 1,000 kg AASM air-to-ground modular weapon. Th 28 ordered Rafale aircraft will be delivered to the French Air Force from the year 2023. After that, 30 additional Rafales will be ordered and are scheduled to be delivered between 2027 and 2030.
The Hellenic Armed Forces, the combined military forces of Greece move forward with two Hellenic Navy acquisition programs for heavyweight torpedoes and maritime helicopters. The programs were approved in December and are now being forwarded to the Ministry of Defense for implementation, Jane’s reports. The Hellenic Navy wants to procure 36 533 millimeter heavyweight torpedoes for the Papanikolis-class Type 214 submarines and sole Type 209 AIP-equipped submarine, HS Okeanos. The new torpedoes are to replace AEG SUT and SST-4 torpedoes. The type 214 submarine features diesel propulsion with an air-independent propulsion system. The 209 Type is a diesel-electric attack submarine armed with eight bow 533 mm torpedo tubes and 14 torpedoes.
Two Indian Army Soldiers developed an armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for the Indian Army. The armed quadcopter prototype was a long-pending requirement of the armed forces. The quadcopter was displayed at the Army Technology Seminar in New Delhi on Friday and has been previously deployed during live operations along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan and counter-terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir. No defense service in India possess armed drones, making this a historic innovation in the history of the Indian Army.
Watch: Sorry Su-57! UK’s new f-35b and New Eurofighter typhoon-jets ready for combat-missions
On Monday Sept 21/09, ThyssenKrupp Marine informed the Greek Minister of Defence that it was canceling “The Archimedes Project” contract for 4 U-214 diesel-electric submarines with Air-Independent Propulsion technology, because the government’s payments had remained underwater for too long. That development was the just the latest chapter in a long and continuing saga. If the issue remains unresolved, or arbitration results in termination payments but no delivery, Greece could find itself without a submarine force.
Accumulated payment arrears were over EUR 520 million (then $767 million), and so ThyssenKrupp and its subsidiary Hellenic Shipyards sought international arbitration, in order to recover some of the payments due under its contract. A resolution was arrived at, but failed execution by Hellenic Shipyards has left Greece’s future submarine fleet in limbo, even as investigations and trials are sending former Greek officials to court and to jail for corruption associated with the purchase.
The Navy awarded AAI Corp. Hunt Valley with a $10.9 million contract modification to services for the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) unmanned surface vehicle platform. The UISS is a mine countermeasure system designed to influence sweeping of magnetic and acoustic mines. The system enables the littoral combat ship to perform its mine warfare sweep mission. The UISS program is expected to meet the Navy’s need for a rapid, wide-area coverage mine clearance capability to neutralize magnetic/acoustic influence mines. AAI Corporation is an operating unit of Textron Systems. In 2014, Textron Systems received a $33.8 million contract to provide its Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV) for the US Navy’s Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) program. Work for the new deal will be performed in Hunt Valley, Maryland, and Slidell, Louisiana and is scheduled to be completed by September 2019.
The Air Force tapped Raytheon Missile Systems with a $21 million modification for advanced medium range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) system improvement program software architecture and design risk reduction efforts to counter threats. AMRAAM is an active radar-guided intercept missile with inherent electronic protection capabilities for air-to-air applications against massed penetration aircraft. The Air Force and Navy AMRAAM is one of the US’ most sophisticated radar-guided, air-to-air missiles, and one of the world’s most advanced all-weather, all-environment, medium-range, air-to-air missiles for engaging enemy aircraft and missiles from beyond visual ranges. Work for the deal will be performed in Tucson, Arizona.
Lockheed Martin won a deal worth $131.6 million for sustainment engineering services for the C-5 military transport aircraft. The C-5 is the Air Force’s largest plain and features a nose cargo door and a kneeling nose gear, which allow for drive-on capability. The aircraft can haul twice as much cargo as any other airlifter. It has been in service for the US Air Force since 1969 and supported military operations in all major conflicts. The Air Force currently owns 52 Super Galaxy aircraft, which are only assigned to four units worldwide. Contracting activity is the Air Force Life Cycle Management. Work is scheduled to be finished by January 25, 2019.
Middle East & Africa
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and businessman Avihai Stolero offered Aeronautics to open negotiations for the acquisition of all the company’s shares by means of a reverse triangular merger via a company jointly owned by Rafael and Stolero. The offer is valued at $231 million, making it twice as high as their 117 million offer rejected by Aeronautics in August. Earlier this month, Aeronautics announced it has signed a five-year partnership deal with Rafael to collaborate on the development, production, marketing, and distribution of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system. Aeronautics has over 45 defense, military, and homeland security customers worldwide.
The Missile Defense Agency contracted Lockheed Martin with a $23 million sole-source, fixed-price incentive and cost-plus modification to provide Poland Aegis Ashore Engineering Agent (AAEA) engineering and security support. The modification includes AAEA test and site updates, risk mitigation support, and continued completion effort for the Aegis Ashore Poland site. Aegis Ashore is the land-based component of the Aegis ballistic missile defense system developed originally for deployment at sea aboard specially equipped U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers. Work is expected to be completed by December 2020.
South Korea will receive the first F-35A stealth fighters in March. The jets have been tested at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. The first two jets are scheduled to be combat-deployed in April or May and 10 other jets are supposed to be ready for deployment by the end of this year. South Korea approved a deal in September 2014 to acquire 40 F-35As for about $6.8 billion. The F-35A has radar-evading capabilities and can perform ground-attack and air-superiority missions with several precision weapons.
The Indian Navy successfully tested locally developed Sahayak air-droppable containers off the coast of Goa in the Arabian Sea. The Sahayak Containers are support containers designed to enhance operational logistics capability by facilitating the supply of spares and stores to ships that are deployed more than 2,000 km from the coast. The Naval Science and Technological Laboratory and the Aeronautical Development Establishment developed these cylindrical containers. A test payload of 50 kg, dropped in the container, descended to the sea with the help of a parachute.
Watch: America’s F-15E Strike Eagle vs. FA-18EF Super Hornet (Who Wins)
The Naval Air Systems Command awarded Integral Aerospace a $14.3 million contract modification for external fuel tank testing and exercises option year one for the production and delivery of 114 external fuel tanks in support of the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft. Integral Aerospace is a manufacturer of flight critical subsystems and components based in Santa Ana, California. The Boeing F/A-18E/F are twin-engine, carrier-capable, multi-role fighter aircraft variants primarily used by the US Navy. The aircraft, also called „Super Hornet“ entered service for the United States in 1999. The Boeing EA-18G Growler is specialized version of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet. It provides tactical jamming and electronic protection to US military forces and allies. The Growler has the ability to protect itself against adversarial aircraft using its AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles. Work is scheduled to be finished by May 2020.
The US Naval Sea Systems awarded Boeing a $9.3 million contract modification for the integration of the High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC) on the Poseidon P-8A submarine-hunting aircraft. The High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC) provides an all-weather, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) weapon system capable of high altitude launch of the MK-54 torpedo from the P-8A Poseidon. HAAWC consists of a modular, Air Launch Accessory (ALA) kit that attaches to the MK-54 Torpedo. the ALA transforms the MK-54 into a precision-guided glide weapon wich operates in either GPS-aided or GPS-denied environments. Back in June the the US Navy announced, it intended to award Boeing a contract for full rate production of the HAAWC Air Launch Accessory for use in launching the MK 54 Torpedo from the P-8A Poseidon aircraft from high altitude. Work will be performed in Missouri and is expected to be finished by May 2020.
Middle East & Africa
Algeria commissioned two new submarines from Russia. The Kilo class submarines Ouarsenis (031) and Hoggar (032) were commissioned during a visit by Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaïd Salah to the Mers el-Kébir naval base. They are part of a 2013/2014 order for two new Project 636 Varshavyanka (Kilo class) vessels from Russia. The project 636 Kilo class vessels are a more advanced version of the naval diesel-electric attack submarine 877 Paltus. The attack submarine are intended for anti-shipping and anti-submarine operations in shallow waters. The Project 636 boats have improved sonar systems, 533 mm torpedo tubes. They carry up to 18 homing or wire-guided torpedoes, or 24 AM-1 mines.
Ukrainian automobile manufacturer AutoKrAZ donated a 8?8 KrAZ-7634?? cab-chassis truck to the Ukrainian army. The truck, equipped with a powerful engine rated at 460hp and automatic transmission with maximum torque rated at 2500 N/m, is used for conversion to a vehicle equipped with heavy special equipment. Instead of two rectangular tanks with capacity of 350 liters, two 165-liters round fuel tanks are provided. The truck’s ergonomic mounted cab has been lowered to a height of 2800 millimeters to allow its roof to be fitted with special equipment.
Russia’s Missile Troops and Artillery will be completely rearmed with Iskander-M tactical ballistic missile systems this year. The 9K720 Iskander-M is a short-range system deployed by Russian, which includes a cluster munitions warhead, a fuel-air explosive enhanced-blast warhead, a high explosive-fragmentation warhead, an earth penetrator for bunker busting and an electromagnetic pulse device for anti-radar missions. In 2011 the Kolomna-based Machine-Building Design Bureau (KBM) and the Russian Ministry of Defense signed a long-term contract under which KBM was to deliver two Iskander-M brigades to the military per year. The implementation of the contract began in the year 2013.
The Czech company LOM Praha agreed to buy four L-39NG next generation jet training aircraft from Aero Vodochody in 2020. The order ist valued at $49.2 million. LOM Praha military aircraft maintenance, repair, overhaul, and training provider will be the launch customer for the L-39NG and has an option to buy two additional aircraft. The company’s machines are used for pilot training services. The L-39NG is a single-engine two-seated aircraft, that achieves a speed of 750 kilometers per hour. The first pre-serial machine took off for the first time last December. Serial production is scheduled to begin in 2020.
The Indian Army is in the process of spending an estimated $503 million on a new service rifle for its frontline infantry troops. The Indian Ministry of Defense is about to enter a three-month negotiation period with US-based SIG Sauer to procure SIG 716 battle rifles. SIG 716 uses a short stroke piston-driven operating system and has a 16 inch hammer-forged free floating barrel.
Watch: Finally! Japan launch its first aircraft-carrier and 105 F-35 super-fighter jets
Latest updates[?]: The Czech company LOM Praha agreed to buy four L-39NG next generation jet training aircraft from Aero Vodochody in 2020. The order ist valued at $49.2 million. LOM Praha military aircraft maintenance, repair, overhaul, and training provider will be the launch customer for the L-39NG and has an option to buy two additional aircraft. The company’s machines are used for pilot training services. The L-39NG is a single-engine two-seated aircraft, that achieves a speed of 750 kilometers per hour. The first pre-serial machine took off for the first time last December. Serial production is scheduled to begin in 2020.
Runway Buzz: L-159As
Czechoslovakia originally ordered 72 of Aero Vodochody’s sub-sonic L-159A single-seat light attack jets. Their preceding L-39/59 Albatros trainer and light attack aircraft family became the world’s most popular jet trainers during the Cold War, and the L-159A Advanced Light Combat Aircraft was positioned as a modern derivative, offering full combat capability and compatibility with western weapons. The resulting aircraft filled a useful niche for the Czechs, but its overall success always depended on exports.
Unfortunately, the Soviet Union’s demise lost the Albatros family its global market niche, and killed the military aid subsidies that had helped promote it. Worse, the L-159’s program cost grew from CZK 20-30 billion to over 51 billion Koruna. That left the Czech government in a bind. In response, they kept 24-35 jets for operational use, and have been trying to sell off 36-47 of the L-159As (one aircraft has been lost) since 2002. They also moved to privatize state-owned Aero Vodochody, which took place in November 2006.
A few 2-seat L-159T conversions have been performed with CzAF funding, as a demonstration of their potential to become dual-role trainer/attack aircraft. That has helped Aero tout the planes to Afghanistan, Bolivia, Colombia, Georgia, Indonesia, Iraq, and Nigeria. Their breakthrough, such as it is, came elsewhere.
The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support contracted McRae Industries Inc. with $9.9 million for flame-resistant combat boots. McRae Industries’ Footwear division provides quality combat boots to the US Army. During the Vietnam War McRae received a contract award from the US government to manufacture military combat boots for the US Army using the “direct molded sole” (DMS) design. The award is a firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Work will be performed in North Carolina and is scheduled to be completed by January 8, 2020.
Clark Nexsen won a potential five-year, $60 million contract from the US Navy to provide multi-discipline, architect-engineering services in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic area of responsibility (AOR). The Work includes designing, building, planning, repairing, altering or demolishing various Navy or government facilities. Facilities include, but are not limited, personnel housing facilities, training facilities, and industrial maintenance facilities. Projects involve architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, civil, landscape design, fire protection, commissioning and interior design. Clark Nexsen received a $528.9 initial task order to create preliminary designs and assess planning requirements for a corrosion control and paint facility. The company is scheduled to complete the task in March. Work for the contract is scheduled to be completed by January 2024.
Middle East & Africa
The Pakistan Army’s artillery corps inducted a locally developed rocket as part of its multiple rocket launchers. The A-100 is a 300 mm, 10-tube multiple rocket launcher, developed by Beijing-based China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. The A-100 rocket is 7.3 meters long, weighs 840 kg, carries a 235 kg warhead, and is stabilized by spin, thrust, and stabilizing fins. It has a range of over 100 kilometers. The Pakistan Army is surrounded by two hostile neighbors on the Eastern and Western side. The rockets will mainly be stationed towards India, which lies on the Eastern side.
The French defense procurement agency along with Dassault Aviation conducts a low visibility test campaign of the Neuron UCAV demonstrator at the agency’s flight testing facility at Istres airbase. The Neuron unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAF) demonstrator is being developed with international cooperation, led by Dassault Aviation. The current campaign is the UCAV’s fourth low observability campaign and aims to study the employment of aircraft like Neuron against airborne sensors, ground radars, and shipborne systems.
Former head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Lord West questions the UK government’s commitment to buying F-35B Lightning stealth jets. In September 2018 F-35B aircraft have landed on deck of the HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time. Lord West finds it necessary to purchase enough of the necessary variant for both Queen Elizabeth class-carriers and to have an operational unit for training and repair. Having fewer than 90 F-35B jets. The United Kingdom is currently holding 16 F-35B jets at RAF Marham in Norfolk and in the United States. In November 2018 the British Defense Secretary announced, the UK would order 17 more aircraft.
Indonesia ordered 17 additional medium-lift helicopters for the armed forces from the country’s primary defense contractor PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI), Jane’s reports. The contract includes eight Airbus Helicopters H225Ms for the Indonesian Airforce (TNI-AU) and nine Bell 412EPIs for the Indonesian Army (TNI-AD). The H225M is a long-range tactical transport military helicopter. The twin-engined aircraft can carry up to 29 seated troops. The Bell 412EPI is a Bell Helicopter and an upgrade to the basic Bell 412EP helicopter, providing an electronically controlled PT6T-9 engine and Bell BasiX-ProTM integrated glass cockpit display system.
Chengdu Aircraft Research and Design Institute completed its turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) engine development phase. The Chengdu Aircraft Research and Design Institute is a Chinese design institute, which offers aircraft design and multidisciplinary research services for the aerospace industry. The TBCC engine is intended for use in hypersonic vehicles. It combines a turbine and a scramjet engine and offers an ideal single-engine solution to achieving the shift from low speed to hypersonic speed. The engine will allow an aircraft to fly five to six times faster than the speed of sound.
Two more Russian Mil Mi-17V-5 “Hip-H” medium transport helicopters were delivered to the Royal Thai Army (RTA), Jane’s reports. The Mi-17V-5, produced by Kazan Helicopters is designed to transport cargo inside the cabin and in external sling. It can be deployed in troop and arms transport, fire support, convoy escort, patrol, and search-and-rescue (SAR) missions. The RTA already operates five Mi-17V-5 platforms and ordered the current two Mil Mi-17V-5s back in September 2017 with the contract signed in December of the same year. The platforms were delivered in December 2018.
Watch: HMS Queen Elizabeth concludes fast jet trials with F-35s
Multinational projects are often fraught affairs, and Europe’s stealth Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) had its own close calls. In November 2005, a Forecast International report on the future UAV market saw political trouble coming for the proposed 6-nation nEUROn project, unless the partner nations could get their act together and agree. In the end, the project got rolling with committed funding of EUR 535 million and counting, and the French DGA (Délégation Générale pour l’Armement) procurement agency acting as the program executive. This FOCUS article covers the Neuron program’s 3-fold goals, envisioned platform, program structure and schedule, and ongoing contracts and developments. In the wake a Franco-British joint UCAV development memo, Britain’s Taranis project has been added to this article in a separate coverage stream.
Thailand has been an American defense industry customer for many decades, but recent purchases have begun to diversify its sources. A 2005 deal for Russian SU-30s fell through, but instead of buying more F-16s, the Thais chose Sweden’s JAS-39 Gripen and Saab’s Erieye AWACS turboprops. Chinese tanks are being supplemented with Ukrainian BTR-3 Armored personnel carriers, and Thai soldiers may be found carrying Russian SA-18 Igla man-portable anti-aircraft missiles. Now this trend has extended to the helicopter fleet.
With many of its aged Bell 212 and UH-1H Hueys grounded due to maintenance issues, the Thai government was looking to beef up its helicopter fleet with new equipment, even as it planned a $30 million upgrade and refurbishment program for some of its 150 or so Hueys officially in inventory.
Rather than buying Bell 412s like the Air Force, or the UH-60 Blackhawks that equip many other American allies, the Thai Army has picked a different platform: Russia’s Mi-17s – and will take the money from the Huey upgrade program in order to double the Mi-17 helicopter order to 6…
The US Naval Air Systems Command awarded L-3 Technologies with a $12.6 contract modification to manufacture, test, deliver, manage, and support the common data link Hawklink AN/SRQ-4 systems for the MH-60R aircraft. The Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission helicopter is equipped for a range of missions including anti-submarin warfare, anti-surface warfare, search-and-rescue, naval gunfire support, surveillance, logistics support and personnel transfer. AN/SRQ-4 is the shipboard element of a situational awareness system that links the MH-60R helicopter with surface warships in the area. The L3 Technologies’ next-generation AN/SRQ-4 provides Command/Control, sensor data transfer, data link operation and comprehensive built-in test. CDL Hawklink offers real time exploitation of aircraft sensors, extending situational awareness over the horizon. L3 Technologies’ Communication Systems produce network and communication systems, secure communications products, radio frequency components, satellite communication terminals and space, microwave and telemetry products. The products include secure data links that are used to connect a variety of space, airborne, ground and sea-based communication systems and are used in transmission, processing, recording, monitoring and dissemination functions. Work is scheduled to be finished by December 2020.
The US Navy contracted General Dynamics with $91.4 million for the planning and execution of maintenance and upgrades to the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). The George H.W. Bush is a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier of the US Navy, named after the 41st president of the United States, who was a naval aviator during World War II. Northrop Grumman built the aircraft carrier using a modular construction of 161 super-lift sections. The George H.W. Bush is part of Carrier Strike Group 2 and spent 119 days at sea in 2018. It was designed as a transitional ship between the Nimitz Class and the Ford Class. As such, CVN 77 has been a candidate for development, evaluation, and incorporation of a range of advanced technologies and acquisition reform initiatives. The contract funds the 2019 dry-docking planned incremental availability of the vessel, which includes the planning and execution of depot-level maintenance, alterations, and modifications that will update and improve the ship’s military and technical capabilities.
For the first time Chile showcased the Elbit Systems Hermes 900 medium-altitude long endurance UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that it acquired from Israel in 2011. The Chilean Airforce highlighted the roles of several of its aircraft in fighting recent wildfires. Chile was Israel’s first export customer for the Hermes 900. The UAV was shown on static display at Quintero Air Base. The Hermes 900 is designed for tactical missions, has an endurance of over 30 hours and can fly at a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet. It is currently assigned to surveillance and monitoring.
Middle East & Africa
Israel is looking into the loss of a canopy from a Boeing F-15 Eagle Combat aircraft during a training flight at 30,000 feet last week. A twin-seat F-15 ‘Baz’ (Falcon) suffered an explosive canopy separation. The pilots radioed the control tower, slowed their flight, began an orderly descent and landed safely at the Nevatim Airbase east of Beersheba. All training flights on the F-15 are currently on hold. The F-15 Eagle is a twin-engined, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft weighing up to 30 tons. The fighter is armed with air-to-air missiles that can be launched from beyond visual range, and has air-to-ground capability to penetrate hostile air and ground defenses to deliver up to 24,000lb of precision ordnance.
The Netherlands ended its F-16 mission in the Middle East. Six F-16 aircrafts deployed by the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) operated from Al-Azraq in Jordan since January 2018. They supported troops on the ground and conducted more than 3,000 missions using their weapons about 2,100 times to attack targets such as vehicles, logistic nodes, and weapon positions of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and eastern Syria. The F-16 is a single-engine supersonic multi-role fighter aircraft developed by Lockheed Martin for the US Airfare. The dutch F-16s remain available in support of NATO.
Singapore abandoned its F-15 training plans in New Zealand. The Ministry of Defense was looking to use the uncongested airspace of New Zealand to train Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) crews on the Boeing F-15SG Eagle combat aircraft. The decision follows nearly two years of discussions between the two countries. The training was supposed to be conducted in Ohakea, in Manawatu on the North Island. The Singapore Ministry of Defense gave no specific reasons why the proposal was cancelled.
The Indian Navy establishes a new naval airbase on its Andaman and Nicobar Islands territory. Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba will commission the new Base christened as the INS Kohassa on January 24. The Indian Navy wants to extend the base into a bigger air base in future. The airbase will be able to handle Helicopter and Dornier Aircraft and will initially feature a 1,000 meter long runway, which will later be extended to 3,000 meters to enable operations to be carried out by fighters and other aircraft.