The Commemorative Air Force Inland Empire Wing planned a massive 17-aircraft flyover of Los Angeles on May 25 to mark Memorial Day and salute COVID-19 essential workers. The Air Force honors both veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice and healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis with the flyover Monday.
The US Navy completed its investigation into the fatal crash of a VFA-151 F/A-18E which killed the pilot on July 31, 2019. Lt. Cmdr. Charles Z. Walker was navigating through the Star Wars canyon in California’s Death Valley National Park when his jet slammed into a wall not far from seven French tourists. The report stated that the “flight profile created conditions where the processing time and subsequent reaction time required of the pilot made it difficult for the aircraft to exit the canyon safely.” Walker was not current in low altitude training and he was required to fly at least 500 feet above ground level. Investigators also did not find evidence that Walker was flying at a low altitude for thrills. All seven French tourists suffered burns from the fire started by the crash.
Middle East & Africa
South African state defense firm Denel recently said it could not pay salaries for May and wages for June and July were at risk, highlighting the gravity of its financial position. Despite a slight easing of South Africa’s lockdown restrictions this month, Denel is running a reduced operation. The company is one of a number of struggling state enterprises the government has been keeping afloat with bailouts but are now being battered by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Denel Chief Executive Danie du Toit said in a separate statement the company was in ongoing conversations with the government “to find solutions to the current crisis.”
The Royal Air Force’s 617 Squadron, the Dambusters, are preparing to deploy aboard aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth next time. Squadron personnel as well as Lightning Team UK members are getting ready to go into isolation so that they will not pass COVID-19 to sailors aboard the warship. The preparation to deploy has seen a number of added challenges as different processes and measures have been put in place to ensure that members of 617 Squadron and supporting personnel do not pass the coronavirus to the crew of the carrier, which has already had a period of isolation at sea. The squadron and personnel will all be tested for the virus and on confirmation of a negative result will be allowed to enter the quarantine area.
Starting May 25, the Austrian army is conducting a large-scale flight exercise. Eurofighter jets will complete daily supersonic test flights for almost two weeks. From May 25th to June 5th, the Eurofighter pilots of the Austrian Armed Forces will train supersonic intercept maneuvers. Two supersonic flights per day are scheduled between 8am and 4pm, Monday through Friday. According to the army, the purpose of the training is „the close and time-critical coordination between military pilots, radar control officers and military and civil air traffic control. Furthermore, the pilots train under real physical stress, which cannot be simulated. The training is indispensable for a working Austrian airspace surveillance. It serves to continue to ensure safe flight operations in all cases.”
According to Defense News, the Indian Air Force is overhauling its plan to induct 114 medium-weight multirole fighters. Reportedly, a senior service official said the aircraft will be built in India with significant foreign technology transfer and no foreign procurement. The effort will cost about $17 billion under the Make in India economic policy. The multirole fighters will be manufactured by domestic private defense companies with one of the original equipment manufacturers approved by the government. The process for selecting contractors is yet to begin, but a Ministry of Defense official said the businesses will be selected within three years.
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