The US Navy’s Tactical Combat Training System Increment II (TCTS II) pod made its first flight on December 11, 2020. A flight with the pod on two F/A-18Es took place on December 15. The TCTS II system, developed by Collins, is the first certified encrypted, multi-level security training pod that communicates with both airborne and ground equipment.
The Boeing F-15EX fighter jet completed its first flight Tuesday, paving the way for the early delivery of the first two of the new fighter jet to the Air Force later this quarter, Boeing announced. According to the company, the jet took off from St. Louis Lambert International Airport and completed a 90-minute test flight before returning to the airport. Matt Giese, Boeing F-15’s chief test pilot, checked out the jet’s avionics, advanced systems and software while a test team monitored the data collected during the flight in real time, confirming that the aircraft performed according to plan.
Middle East & Africa
The ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba, is convinced that the deal for the sale of F-35 stealth fighters to his country will be implemented when the “review” of pending arms deals is finished. The UAE ordered 50 F-35 stealth fighters and 18 armed drones worth a total of $23 billion. During a virtual conference of the Washington Institute on Monday, he said “We did everything by the book and they will discover that once the review is complete and it will proceed,” describing the review as “pro forma”. The State Department announced that the administration is “temporarily pausing the implementation of some pending U.S. defense transfers and sales” to allies. Regarding the move, Ambassador Al Otaiba said “If you are going to have less of a presence and less involvement in the Middle East you can’t at the same time take tools away from your partners who are expected to do more.”
It has been disclosed that Greece’s first upgraded F-16V will be flying to the United States on February 4 for certification purpose. F-16V #005 will make a stop in Belgium before cross the Atlantic Ocean for Fort Worth. It will make 10 mid-air refuelings during the trip.
Over 200 Air Force personnel from Texas’ Dyess Air Force Base are traveling to Norway to support upcoming Bomber Task Force missions out of Norway’s Orland Air Base. US Air Force personnel will travel with an expeditionary B-1 Lancer bomber squadron and train in a variety of areas, US European Command said. The training will include operations in the high north and improving interoperatbility with allies and partners from across Europe.
Kazakhstan has taken delivery of the Buk-M2E air defense missile system that it ordered back in 2018. The Buk missile system is a family of self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air missile systems. It was developed by the Soviet Union and later the Russian Federation. The system is designed to counter cruise missiles, smart bombs, fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft and UAVS.
Watch: Buk-M3 medium range SAM system