VH-92A makes maiden flight | State Dept. clears Super Tucanos to Nigeria | RAF A400M participates in Mobility Guardian exercises
- The Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office has received a $57.1 million US Navy contract modification to carry out modifications to the MV-22 Osprey fleet operated by the US Marine Corps (USMC) in support of the V-22 Common Configuration-Readiness and Modernization (CC-RAM) Program. Under the terms of the agreement, the funding will go towards the retrofit of one MV-22 as a test for improving readiness and eventual modification of the MV-22 fleet to the Block C common configuration. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania (80 percent); and Fort Worth, Texas (20 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2019. The Block C configuration includes improved environmental controls, chaff/flare countermeasures, navigation upgrades and command-and-control displays.
- Lockheed Martin has announced that the VH-92A presidential helicopter has made its maiden flight. Two flights were made by Engineering Development Model 1 (EDM-1) on July 29 at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut with both sorties lasting for one hour. During the test, the team made hovering control checks, a low speed flight, and a pass of the airfield. An additional EDM-2 is on track for its first flight later this year. Expected to enter service in 2020, both helicopters will transport the president and vice president of the United States and other officials.
- The US State Department has cleared Nigeria to proceed with the purchase of 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft in a deal estimated to be worth $593 million. Sierra Nevada Corporation of Colorado will act as lead contractor in the sale, and in conjunction with the aircraft, the company will provide weapons for the platform, as well as all associated training, spare parts, aviation and ground support equipment, and hangar, facilities, and infrastructure required to support the program. The aircraft will support Nigerian military operations against terrorist organizations Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa, and Nigerian efforts to counter illicit trafficking in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea. Sierra Nevada, in partnership with the A-29’s original manufacturer Embraer, have already sold the aircraft to the Lebanese and Afghan air forces, and the team is currently demonstrating it as part of a USAF experiment that could lead to a new USAF OA-X program of record.
Middle East & North Africa
- Israel is looking into potentially purchasing the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) B-variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. So far, Israel has already placed orders for fifty F-35i Adirs—the Israeli specific version of the conventional take-off F-35A—but are now considering additional aircraft in order to replace older Boeing F-15 fighters, the oldest of which were delivered in 1976. Alternatively, Tel Aviv could order an advanced version of the F-15 but details on its capabilities remain unknown. Either way, a decision needs to be made before a new 10-year Foreign Military Financing agreement with American comes into effect at the end of the year.
- Romania has sent a letter of intent to the US government, seeking price and availability of Bell attack helicopters. The request was sent following the visit of Bell representatives to Bucharest where discussions between the company and government included the setting up of a joint venture, as well as technological and know-how transfer allowing the production of helicopter in Romania. In November 2016, Bell signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Romanian company IAR-Ghimbav Brasov Group for the potential support of the AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter. The agreement covers the possible maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) of the AH-1Z should it be procured by the Romanian government.
- The British Royal Air Force (RAF) has brought a A400M Atlas tactical airlifter to this year’s Mobility Guardian exercise in the US, the first time the aircraft has participated in such exercises. Based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash, it will participate in nine missions during the exercise, which aims to test the abilities of the Mobility Air Forces to execute rapid global mobility missions in dynamic, contested environments, and involves over 3,000 Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and international partners. The RAF plans to induct 22 A400Ms into its tactical and strategic airlift fleet, complimenting the C-17 Globemaster III currently in operation.
- In exchange for 11 Su-35 fighter aircraft, Indonesia’s Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita has confirmed that Jakarta will barter commodities such as coffee, palm oil and tea to Russia in lieu of hard cash. Lukita made the announcement while visiting Moscow for a bilateral business forum between the two countries, which also saw officials from Indonesian state trading company PT Perusahaan Perdagangan Indonesia and Russian state conglomerate Rostec sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) ahead of a formal barter deal being announced. Russia is currently facing a new round of US-imposed trade sanctions, while Jakarta is trying to promote its palm oil products amid threats of a cut in consumption by European Union countries. Indonesia, which had a $411 million trade surplus with Russia in 2016, also aims to expand its partnership in tourism, education, energy, technology and aviation among others.
- Three C-130 aircraft operated by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) are to receive avionic upgrades from Lockheed Martin. Manilla operates five C-130s of various models and ages, which had mostly been in use with the USMC before being transferred to the PAF, and have an average age of 40.2 years. Upgrades to be carried out include the replacement of its analogue cockpit with digital ones, and integrating a glass cockpit that includes touch screen displays.
- A WW1-era DH9 (found in an Elephants stable) returned to its former glory:
Categories: Daily Rapid Fire