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Sikorsky’s King Stallion Gets USMC Seal of Approval | Vietnam Picks Up More King Cobras | Pakistan Seems to be Garnering Interest for JF-17s

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Americas * The USMC seems to have given the seal of approval to the latest CH-53 after the first marine pilot to test the helicopter commended its abilities. Lt. Col. Jonathan Morel tested the CH-53K King Stallion which is set to become the largest and heaviest helicopter in the US military. Two hundred of the rotorcraft will be procured by the USMC in a deal worth $25.5 billion. * Canada is to launch a tender for companies to provide its training program for future pilots in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). The multi-year deal is said to be worth $1.07 billion, but could potentially be worth $4 billion over twenty years. The new competition has Ottawa seeking to obtain not just a standard pilot training program, but one that will be capable of training pilots to operate the next generation of fighter aircraft by 2021. News of the program comes as the new Liberal government seeks to modernize the Canadian Air Force fleets for the best possible value. The vetting process has seen the planned acquisition of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter cancelled in favor of a more cost effective jet. Europe * France has confirmed that it is to […]
Americas

* The USMC seems to have given the seal of approval to the latest CH-53 after the first marine pilot to test the helicopter commended its abilities. Lt. Col. Jonathan Morel tested the CH-53K King Stallion which is set to become the largest and heaviest helicopter in the US military. Two hundred of the rotorcraft will be procured by the USMC in a deal worth $25.5 billion.

* Canada is to launch a tender for companies to provide its training program for future pilots in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). The multi-year deal is said to be worth $1.07 billion, but could potentially be worth $4 billion over twenty years. The new competition has Ottawa seeking to obtain not just a standard pilot training program, but one that will be capable of training pilots to operate the next generation of fighter aircraft by 2021. News of the program comes as the new Liberal government seeks to modernize the Canadian Air Force fleets for the best possible value. The vetting process has seen the planned acquisition of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter cancelled in favor of a more cost effective jet.

Europe

* France has confirmed that it is to buy four C130 Hercules transport planes from Lockheed Martin. Plans to procure that aircraft are said to have been in the works since May 2015, coinciding with the crashing of an Airbus A400M that month. France, along with several other European NATO members, are set to buy the European A400M, but production delays and technical errors have seen these governments become wary of the planned procurements. Deliveries of the C130s could start as early as 2017 and would see service in missions conducted by France in Syria.

Africa

* South Sudan has admitted to purchasing Chinese made shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. An army official for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army said that the arms were acquired through the neighbouring countries of Kenya and Uganda. Knowledge of the transaction caused the US government to issue a travel warning to its citizens in the region, urging them to consider their choice of transport. Fighting has been ongoing in the southern provinces of Sudan between the South Sudan government and a revolutionary insurgency in a conflict that has seen mass emigration and reports of human rights abuses.

Asia Pacific

* Vietnam has received possession of two more Su-30MK2 fighters, bringing the current number now operated to to thirty two. Dubbed the King Cobra, the Vietnamese Air Force hopes to have this increased to thirty-six by the end of 2016. The latest order, for twelve jets, was signed in 2013 and worth $600 million. Flight training for the aircraft is being provided by the Indian Air Force, who also operate the Russian made aircraft in their own military. In the past, India has trained Vietnamese naval personnel in operating Russian Kilo-class submarines.

* Indonesia is to procure a number of air launched missiles from Russia and possibly the US. Funding has been released to the Indonesian Air Force to acquire $38 million worth of missile stock. The missiles to be bought are listed as the Kh-31A and Kh-31P short-range air-to-surface missiles, and the Kh-59ME powered stand-off weapon. They will also look to acquire the US made AIM-120 advanced medium air-to-air missiles.

* The recent heavy promotion by Pakistan of its indigenously produced JF-17 fighter has led to claims that export orders are on the increase. Despite this, Sri Lanka has claimed that it has not made a decision on whether they are to purchase the aircraft for themselves. Recent weeks have seen much ink used in reporting interest in the aircraft by both the Sri Lankan and Indonesian air forces, but as of yet, no official confirmation for orders have been issued. The JF-17 Thunder is co-produced between Pakistan and China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation.

* Philippines are to make their brand new FA-50 fighters combat ready after purchasing $225k worth of 20mm ammunition. The South Korean manufactured jet uses the 20mm rounds in its modified A50 gun system utilized mostly in close-quarter and strafing missions. The first two FA-50 were received by Manilla last December, with ten more being delivered throughout 2017. The $402 million modernization aims at having a full combat wing developed by 2028.

Today’s Video

* French Rafales armed with the SCALP EG cruise missile launched in Syria:

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