DSCA clears Chinooks for Spain, F-16s for Slovakia | Aero Vodochody peddles L-39NG trainers to Senegal | CV-22s begin Japan deployment one year early
- Indian media reports that both Chile and Peru are interested in procuring the Brahmos cruise missile, a joint development by both Russia and India. According to the Financial Express citing anonymous officials, “The Chilean armed forces are interested in buying the missile. There have been active discussions between the two sides.” Meanwhile, Peru has made several expressions of interest, with further inquiries following upon the successful trials of the missile aboard the SU-30 fighter jet. In preparation for the potential South American sales, the BrahMos Company is now registered with the government of Chile which will help in future sales in case negotiations culminate on a positive note, sources say.
- General Electric will provide engines for US Navy F/A-18 aircraft as part of a $91.5million contract modification awarded by the service on April 3. According to the deal, the firm will provide 24 Lot 22 full-rate production F414-GE-400 engines with work to take place in Lynn, Massachusetts (59 percent); Hooksett, New Hampshire (18 percent); Rutland, Vermont (12 percent); and Madisonville, Kentucky (11 percent). Contract completion is scheduled for February 2019.
- Embraer’s KC-390 tanker-transport prototype that recently returned to testing following an earlier test mishap has featured at the FIDAE air show in Santiago, Chile. The debut appearance in Chile comes eight years after the Chilean government committed to the KC-390 program, however, only Portugal has so far moved forward with plans to buy the aircraft. According to Flight Global, Gen Lorenzo Villalón Del Fierro, chief of the general staff of the Chilean air force, declined to answer any questions about fixed-wing aviation procurements during FIDAE. Damaged during a slow-speed stall test, the prototype had its aerodynamic wing-to-body fairing and the fuel sponsons on the fuselage replaced, returning to service last month.
- A Brazilian-made wide area and head-up displays for the Saab Gripen E/F will be offered to all customers of the single-engined fighter as a potential cockpit upgrade, the head of the program’s Brazilian unit has said. Mikael Franzén, head of Business Unit, Gripen Brazil, said Saab will “make them available for all Swedish air force customers.” The Brazilian air force’s $5.4 billion order for 36 Gripen fighters includes several changes from the Swedish air force version. Instead of three multifunction displays, the FAB selected a 19in by 8in wide-area touchscreen made by AEL Sistemas, an Elbit Systems subsidiary based in Brazil. The latest version both the wide area and head-up displays are now in safety-of-flight testing with Saab, according to AEL.
Middle East & Africa
- Czech firm Aero Vodochody has sold four L-39NG training fighter jets to Senegal, a company statement has said. It marks the once struggling firm’s first international sale of new aircraft in 20 years. The sale of the light attack version of the aircraft is the first of a series the company is seeking to close abroad after bringing in industry veteran Giuseppe Giordo as president in 2016 to help turn the company around. “The L-39NG aircraft is the new future of Aero Vodochody,” Giordo said adding, “We also have two additional contracts in a very mature state of negotiation.”
- The US State Department has cleared the sale of 17 CH-47F Chinook helicopters to the Spanish military. Valued at $1.3 billion, the foreign military sale comes with a host of associated parts and mission equipment including the AN/AAR-57A(V)8 Common Missile Warning System (CMWS). According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), “The proposed sale of the CH-47F aircraft will improve Spain’s heavy lift capability,” adding that “Spain will use this enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats. Spain will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.”
- Slovakia has been preemptively cleared to proceed with the potential sale of F-16 Block 70/72 fighters following clearance by the US State Department. According to a DSCA statement, the $2.9 billion package will also include 30 AIM-120C7 air-to-air missiles, 100 AIM-9X air-to-air missiles, 150 guidance kits for Joint Direct Attack Munition bombs, 400 MK-82 or BLU-111 500-pound bomb bodies and 400 fuzes. While Slovakia has yet to decide on an aircraft that will go towards replacing its Soviet-era fleet of MiG-29s, the eventual winner will give Bratislava a fourth generation fighter capability that is interoperable with the United States and NATO.
- US Air Force CV-22 tiltrotor aircraft will deployed to Japan this week, a year ahead of schedule. Five aircraft are scheduled to touchdown in Yokota Air Base in Tokyo this week and the deployment aims to address “regional security concerns in line with the recently released 2018 National Defense Strategy and also provides a platform that can rapidly react to natural disasters or crises,” a US Forces Japan (USFJ) statement said. According to Defense News, the CV-22s will remain at Yokota for a short time before leaving to conduct training around the region for the next few months and will continue to operate from Yokota upon their return. A total of 10 aircraft are expected to be assigned to Yokota as part of a phased-basing plan over the next several years, according to USFJ.
- Night-time, mid-air refueling of the MiG-31:
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