Oct 29, 2019 05:00 UTC
The US Air Force has decided to buy two to three A-29 and AT-6 light attack aircraft. The final request for proposal was published on October 24. The A-29 will be deployed at Hurlburt Field, Florida, by Air Force Special Operations Command to develop an instructor pilot program for the Combat Aviation Advisory mission. The contract award is expected to be end of the year. The AT-6 will be going to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, for continued testing and development of operational tactics and standards for exportable, tactical networks by Air Combat Command. The propeller-driven planes will be part of the Light Air Support program of the Air Force, which seeks a light counter-insurgency, ground attack and reconnaissance aircraft. The Air Force and US Navy have flown both planes since 2017 to assess their capabilities.
The USS Gerald R. Ford completed a five-day pierside exercise, the US Navy announced, although it may not be ready for service until 2024. The “fast cruise,” a final exercise in the ship’s 15-month Post Shakedown Availability series of tests, put Navy personnel into scenarios that tested their ability to respond to challenging situations while still at the Huntington Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding site in Virginia. Upcoming tests include the Full Ship Shock Trial, in which explosives are detonated near a new Navy vessel to simulate near-misses in a battlefield environment to test the validity of the ship’s construction.
Middle East & Africa
Turkish president Erdogan and Russian president Putin agreed on a 10-point plan under which Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) will be removed from most of the Syrian border east of the Euphrates river. From Tuesday on, Russian and Turkish forces will start to patrol a narrower, 10 kilometer strip of land in northeast Syria. Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist organization linked to Kurdish insurgents in southeast Turkey. Its Syrian offensive, launched after President Donald Trump pulled out 1,000 US troops from the area, drew criticism from Turkey’s NATO allies. Russia has already warned the YPG that it will face the full force of Turkey’s army, the second biggest in NATO, if it fails to withdraw its fighters and weapons from the designated area in northeast Syria within the agreed deadline.
The Royal Air Force has retired its Short Tucano at RAF Linton-on-Ouse after 30 years of service. They were trainer planes for pilots wanting to progress onto fast jets. As 72 Squadron will move from North Yorkshire to Wales, the Tucano’s replacement aircraft, the Texan, will enter service. The plane was first built in Belfast and conducted its maiden flight in Brazil in 1986. “The Tucano represents a different generation of aircraft, where the cockpits have instruments that look like clocks,” explained Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston.
The Czech Republic became the sixth country to join the European Union/NATO Multinational Multi Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF). NATO announced on October 24 that the country had joined Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway in operating eight Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft in an attempt to offset some of Europe’s reliance on the United States for aerial-refueling services. This initiative was launched by the Netherlands and Luxembourg in 2016 and aims to boost the ability of European allies to refuel aircraft in mid-air. The initiative has been supported by NATO and the European Union. The aircraft are owned by NATO and procured by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency through the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation.
The Indian Air Force testifired two BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles on October 21 and October 22. The Diplomat reports that the aim of the test launches was to validate the IAF’s ability to hit targets at a distance of up to 300 kilometers with pinpoint accuracy. The missiles were fired in operational configuration to assess mission readiness and swift deployment of the tactical missile over long distance. The BrahMos is a derivative of the Russian-made P-800 Oniks over-the-horizon supersonic anti-ship cruise missile with a range estimated at between 300 to 400 kilometers. It is thought to be capable of reaching top speeds of up to Mach 3.
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