International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

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hgupta
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby hgupta » 01 Feb 2020 00:31

tsarkar wrote:
Kartik wrote:Seems rather strange to me..how the heck will B'desh be able to afford any worthwhile numbers of Apaches? Even India can barely afford 2-3 dozen of the AH-64Es.

The Bangladesh economy is doing phenomenally well under the Sheik Hasina Govt. Many Indian businesses are investing there. My company is seeing 4-5x volumes growth and 2-3x margins growth in Bangladesh compared to India.


Why does Bangladesh need Apaches? The only adversary that would be used against is Indian armed forces since Bangladesh is nearly surrounded by India. I question why US is entertaining the idea of selling Apaches to Bangladesh. The only saving grace from out of this is the cost to procure, maintain, and operate the Apaches will bankrupt the Bangladeshi Army to the point where it can’t even afford to buy other weapons. A few dozen Apaches will not stop the IA for sure.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Vips » 01 Feb 2020 01:26

As it grows economically, they will try to flex their muscles against the Burmese. Bangladesh will start buying fancier toys. That is a given. First they bought submarines, Now Apaches are being considered. They also have plans to do a MMRCA contest of their own.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 05 Feb 2020 01:41

Boeing and U.S. Navy Successfully Link Piloted, Unmanned Growlers -
Test show ability of F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler pilots to remotely control fighter and attack platforms from the cockpit



ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 4, 2020 – Boeing and the U.S. Navy successfully flew two autonomously controlled EA-18G Growlers at Naval Air Station Patuxent River as unmanned air systems using a third Growler as a mission controller for the other two.

The flights, conducted during the Navy Warfare Development Command’s annual fleet experiment (FLEX) exercises, proved the effectiveness of technology allowing F/A-18 Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers to perform combat missions with unmanned systems.

“This demonstration allows Boeing and the Navy the opportunity to analyze the data collected and decide where to make investments in future technologies,” said Tom Brandt, Boeing Manned-UnManned Teaming demonstration lead. “It could provide synergy with other U.S. Navy unmanned systems in development across the spectrum and in other services.”

Over the course of four flights, 21 demonstration missions were completed.

“This technology allows the Navy to extend the reach of sensors while keeping manned aircraft out of harm’s way,” Brandt said. “It’s a force multiplier that enables a single aircrew to control multiple aircraft without greatly increasing workload. It has the potential to increase survivability as well as situational awareness.”

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 07 Feb 2020 05:19

Vips wrote:As it grows economically, they will try to flex their muscles against the Burmese. Bangladesh will start buying fancier toys. That is a given. First they bought submarines, Now Apaches are being considered. They also have plans to do a MMRCA contest of their own.


Given the astronomical cost of Apaches and their related support infra, I really doubt that it's a good fit for them given the size of their defence budget (annual defence budget of $3.4 billion). 6-8 Apaches alone will eat up almost all of their capital procurement budget, or maybe even exceed it. And a smaller number than that simply makes no sense.

if they need gunships, I'd look at what is the most affordable one that meets the set of requirements they have. Having read the Bangladeshi Army Officer's short interview upon flying the Apache, it was more like they were in awe of just being offered to buy it and saw it more as a prestige thing than anything else.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 07 Feb 2020 05:22

Finland's H-X contest heats up as evaluations advance

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Can see Saab's AREXIS electronic attack jammer pod alongwith Meteor BVRAAM here on the Gripen E

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Finland has reached the mid-way point in its HX Challenge process: an in-country evaluation of the five types on offer to meet its future fighter requirement.

Candidate number three – Saab’s Gripen E – late last month arrived at the Finnish air force’s Pirkkala air base, before Helsinki received updated request for proposal responses from the Swedish firm and its rivals on 31 January. The deployment marked the first overseas commitment made using the new-generation model.

Saab sent its newest Gripen E test aircraft, 39-10, to the Satakunta Air Command facility on 29 January, with its dedicated two-seat sensor development platform 39-7 following two days later. The pair were involved in evaluations to test the type’s suitability as a potential successor to Finland’s Boeing F/A-18C/Ds.

Prior to making its first evaluation flight, Saab displayed aircraft 39-10 carrying MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range and Diehl Defence IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missiles, plus its developmental electronic attack jammer pod.

Saab HX campaign director Magnus Skogberg describes the Gripen’s key attributes as including its low operating cost, ease of maintenance and a proven ability to operate from austere landing strips and road bases – a particular requirement for Finland.

Saab will not disclose details of its latest response to Helsinki, but in June 2019 proposed a package including 52 Gripen Es, 12 two-seat Fs and a pair of GlobalEye surveillance aircraft.

..

Uniquely among the HX candidates, Saab’s proposal to Helsinki includes dedicated surveillance platforms, to be adapted from Bombardier’s Global 6500 long-range business jet.

Finnish personnel flew aboard a Global 6000-based GlobalEye from Saab’s Linkoping site in Sweden in support of the recent evaluation. The aircraft involved is among those nearing delivery to launch customer the United Arab Emirates.

Equipped with Saab’s Erieye ER airborne early warning radar, a Leonardo Seaspray maritime radar, electro-optical/infrared sensor and electronic warfare (EW) equipment, the heavily modified is capable of simultaneously monitoring airborne, naval and land threats.

....

After submitting its updated response to Helsinki on behalf of the Eurofighter consortium, BAE says it is offering Finland “sovereign control of its defence capability and security of supply, as well as a combat-proven, swing-role aircraft which will form the backbone of European defence for decades to come.”

Dassault’s Rafale was the second type to undergo assessment, completing the activity in late January.

Lockheed Martin’s F-35A will follow next, with four of the type having departed Luke AFB in Arizona on 4 February. The Lightning II has an evaluation window within the period 7-17 February.

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet will be the last to visit, with Washington having given its initial approval for Helsinki to also be offered the EA-18G Growler electronic attack variant. The HX Challenge evaluations will wrap up with the Boeing type on 26 February.

The defence ministry has requested that contenders do not reveal the specifics of its technical evaluation, but has previously outlined a need to assess “the performance of electro-optical systems, but possibly other active and passive systems” under Finnish winter conditions.

Assessment activities are split across five areas: counter-air; -land; and –sea tasks; long-range strike; and ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) and C2.

“The environment here is challenging – not only the weather,” says HX fighter programme director Colonel Juha-Pekka Keranen. “We are testing how the candidates perform in our environmental scenarios.

“We are testing the aircraft itself, and its connectivity to other systems and our C2 infrastructure,” Keranen says. The air force also will be using mission planning and debriefing systems provided by the vendors.


Speaking at Pirkkala on 30 January, Keranen welcomed the arrival of what he described as “good bad weather”, in the form of fresh snowfall and reduced runway friction. Conditions during the Typhoon and Rafale assessments had been unseasonably mild.

Referring to the Gripen bid specifically, he says: “We will test what Saab has put in its response – for example, whether the [Leonardo Raven ES-05] radar can detect a target at 100km [54nm].”


Despite the earlier meteorological conditions failing to provide expected seasonal challenges for BAE and Dassault, Satakunta Air Command commander Colonel Aki Heikkinen notes: “The first two [types] were tested successfully, as planned.”

During a two-week wargaming exercise to be conducted later this year, the air force will use the data gathered through the current evaluations to model the performance of each candidate, including their weapons and sensors.

As well as providing fighters and support, contenders are required to deliver a package of direct or indirect industrial participation worth 30% of the total contract value.[/b]

“In their replies, tenderers have been asked to summarise the information they have provided in their initial offer and during the negotiations in a clear, updated and improved package,” the defence ministry says.

Likely changes from the original responses have been informed by Helsinki establishing a fixed price cap for the acquisition.

“Our government has given us a €10 billion budget maximum, and we have to fit everything within that,” Keranen says. Helsinki has mandated that its future system should have comparable operating costs to its current F/A-18s, with the air force to have the ability to make in-country updates to mission data.


“We hope we have received high quality, high performance and compliant offers,” programme manager Lauri Pauranen writes in a blog post published following the latest bid submissions.

“The aim is that final bids will be requested in early autumn 2020, and with this scheduled timeframe, a procurement decision can be made in accordance with the government programme during 2021.”

With initial operational capability scheduled for 2027, Keranen notes: “The first aircraft must arrive by 2025, to start training, for our air force to skill-up to operate a full fleet of HX.” Deliveries should be complete in 2030.

Skogberg notes that the Gripen E will achieve full operational capability in 2023, following the completion of operational testing by Sweden and Brazil. Noting that its 2019 outline “could give some hints” about the capability now on offer, he notes: “we can supply a substantial number of fighters.”

...


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 07 Feb 2020 05:55

Finland will get about 30 years of use out of its Hornets and it is quite safe to assume that the HX will see about that much use as well. So that's an induction in 2025 with replacement only coming in around 2055 time-frame. This would mean that they'd one major upgrade somewhere around the early 2040's. The Eurofighter nations will be hard at work on designing and/or building the Tempest or SCAF and Boeing will likewise have moved away from the Super Hornet which the US Navy plans to begin replacing around 2030-2032 time-frame with the F/A-XX.

Only the F-35 is planned to still be in production by the mid 2030's (last USAF batch to be delivered in 2038 IIRC). While SAAB's unilateral bundling of a pocket AEW capability is cheeky it is unlikely IMHO to cover the fact that they aren't really selling a platform that can live up to the competition over a 3 decade long horizon (hence Sweden itself is investing in the Tempest as a partner with the UK and Italy). If one goes by the Poland deal for Block-4 F-35A's then around 50 F-35A's for Finland (with the associated package) would cost around $7 Billion plus change. That's plenty of money to spare for a comprehensive weapons package which will be as flexible as anyone else can offer (JASSM will be integrated for them).

SAAB probably wants to sell them this deal now and a Tempest later down the road claiming that the Gripen wont cut it in the post 2035 environment (it cuts it just till the Tempest is fielded).

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 10 Feb 2020 20:11

This would be the 3rd US/US subsidiary based loyal-wingman design to have flown. I believe the UK is already on board this program as well (or a derivative of it).

Boeing Australia completes first Loyal Wingman fuselage


The Boeing Australia team recently completed major fuselage structural assembly for the first Loyal Wingman. The aircraft is one of three prototypes that will be developed as a part of the Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Program in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

“This is an exciting milestone for the development program, and the Australian aerospace industry, as we progress with production of the first military aircraft to be developed in Australia in more than 50 years,” said Dr. Shane Arnott, program director, Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS).

The Australian team has applied digital engineering and advanced composite materials to achieve cost and agility goals for the 38-foot (11.7-metre) aircraft, which is designed to use artificial intelligence in teaming with other manned and unmanned platforms.

“The partnership with Boeing is key to building our understanding of not just the operational implications for these sorts of vehicles, but also making us a smart customer as we consider options for manned-unmanned teaming in the coming decade,” said Air Commodore Darren Goldie, RAAF Director-General of Air Combat Capability. “Boeing is progressing very well with its development and we look forward to seeing the final product in the coming months.”

Arnott said Australian Industry participation had been critical to the program’s rapid development, with a 16-strong Australian industry team making key deliveries to date including:

BAE Systems Australia, who have delivered hardware kits including flight control computers and navigation equipment;

RUAG Australia, who have delivered the landing gear system;

Ferra Engineering, who have delivered precision machine components and sub-assemblies to support the program; and

AME Systems, who have delivered wiring looms to support the vehicle.

This first Loyal Wingman prototype will provide key lessons toward production of the ATS, which Boeing Australia is developing for the global defence market. Customers will be able to tailor ATS sensors and systems based on their own defence and industrial objectives.

The next major milestone will be weight on wheels, when the fuselage structure moves from the assembly jig to the aircraft’s own landing gear to continue systems installation and functional testing. The aircraft is expected to complete its first flight this year.


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The design:

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 11 Feb 2020 01:40

PLAAF senior pilot reveals poor performance in joint exercise with RTAF Gripen Cs

An early December 2019 report from inside of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) reveals previously unreleased technical details of People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Russian-built Su-27s losing a majority of engagements in a November 2015 joint exercise with the 701 Fighter Squadron of the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF). This Thai unit operates eight Saab JAS-39C and four JAS-39D Gripens.

The engagements, known as Falcon Strike 2015, were the first of three such exercises and were detailed in a lecture given by one of the PLAAF’s most heavily decorated pilots, Senior Colonel Li Chunghua Hua (李中華), at the PRC’s Northwestern Polytechnical University (西北工业大学) in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province.

Li is described as one of the most experienced Sukhoi Su-27SK/J-11A pilots in the PLAAF with some 3,200 hours in fast jets, much of them in the Russian-made Sukhoi. His revelations are unprecedented and are assessed by US intelligence as demonstrating a growing concern within the officer corps over deficiencies with the training regime for the PLAAF’s pilot cadre.

These first exercises ran at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base and showed the advantages of the smaller and more technologically-advanced Gripen over the Russian Sukhoi. Several of Li’s summations from the exercise are:

The JAS-39 performance was at its worst inside the within visual range (WVR) envelope. Over a two-day period, PLAAF pilots shot down 25 Gripens at a loss of only one Su-27. The Su-27 has an advantage over the performance of the JAS-39 due to its more powerful Salyut AL-31F engines, and the Swedish aircraft was handicapped in that it was equipped with the older-generation AIM-9L Sidewinder instead of the current-generation Diehl IRIS-T missile.

Once the exercise transitioned to beyond visual range (BVR) combat, the superiority of the JAS-39 became readily apparent. The Swedish aircraft shot down 41 Su-27s over a period of four days with a loss of only nine JAS-39s.

The Su-27s flown by the PLAAF were operating with a modified version of the NIIP N001 radar that could fire the Vympel RVV-AE active-homing air-to-air missile (AAM). But its effective detection range was only 120km in comparison with the JAS-39’s Ericsson PS-05/A at 160km. The Gripen’s Raytheon AIM-120 AAM also outranged the RVV-AE at 80km versus only 50 km for the Russian missile.

Li stated that the JAS-39C/D’s much smaller radar cross-section (RCS) at 1.5-2.0 m2 was a major factor, as the much larger Su-27 is easier to detect at 12 sq miles. The JAS-39 can also ripple-fire up to four AIM-120s simultaneously but the Su-27 can fire only one RVV-AE at a time.

Gripen achieved 88 percent of its kills at 19 miles or greater, while the Su-27 had just 14 percent of its kills at this range. The RTAF also had 10 kills at a distance of more than 31 miles compared with zero long-distance kills by the Su-27.

In subsequent exercises the PLAAF fared better by sending the Chengdu J-10A - and then in 2019 the J-10C - in place of the Su-27. Li pointed out that the J-10C was more of a match for the JAS-39C/D in that “its active array radar significantly improves detection distance and multi-target attack capability, the DSI (divertless) air intake of the J-10C reduces the radar intercept area while the PL-15 missile increases the range, making it an over-the-horizon platform.”

Li also commented that the next-generation version of the Gripen, the JAS-39E, is likely to feature even more advanced combat performance. His interest in the aircraft parallels a larger body of analysis within the PLA intelligence community that has had a fixation on the design and development of the Gripen as a template for PRC industry to follow.



A lot of lessons to be learnt for the PLAAF, which would have then gone on to inform decisions on J-10B, J-10C, JF-17, J-15, J-11B, J-16, J-20 etc. Underscores the importance of 'first look, first kill' in modern combat. In WVR, the Su-27 (and its iterations, like the Su-30MKI) are very very hard to beat and with the R-73E and HMS, are really dangerous. But the BVR disadvantage with the radar and the weapons versus Western fighters is apparent. Plus, the large RCS means that even a PS-05A could detect the Su-27 at 160 km.

Some key take-aways from this that could apply to the IAF- the Tejas Mk1 with its small RCS (similar or might be even smaller than that of the Gripen C @ 1.5-2 m2) and it's terrific Elta 2032 MMR radar will be able to do the same in DACT against Su-30MKI. However, the Derby BVRAAM with it's max 55-60 km range is not adequate and the Astra BVRAAM needs to be made operational on the fleet urgently. With a 100 km range, the Tejas Mk1 will be lethal then.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Vayutuvan » 11 Feb 2020 04:52

Meet SpaceBok: Legged, Jumping Robot to Explore the Moon and Mars (Video is included)
For lower gravity environments like the Moon, Mars, or asteroids, jumping can be a very efficient way to get around. "SpaceBok" is a quadruped robot designed by a student team from ETH Zurich and ZHAW Zurich. The robot is being tested using Automation and Robotics Laboratories (ARL) facilities at ESA 's technical center in the Netherlands. The robot is being used to investigate the potential of "dynamic walking" and jumping to get around in low-gravity environments. Dynamic walking allows for gaits with full-flight phases, during which all legs are off the ground. SpaceBok could potentially go up to 2-m high in lunar gravity. Like a spacecraft, the robot uses a reaction wheel to control its orientation.
...

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 11 Feb 2020 06:46

More Israeli work on the KF-X

Elbit Systems to provide Terrain Following/Terrain Avoidance for ROKAF's KF-X

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Israel's Elbit Systems announced on 6 February that it has been awarded a contract by Hanwha Systems to equip the Republic of Korea Air Force's (RoKAF's) future KF-X fighter aircraft with its terrain following/terrain avoidance (TF/TA) systems.

The Haifa-based company said in a statement that the contract, which is worth USD43 million, will be performed over a six-year period.

"Embedding Elbit Systems' TF/TA solution enables fighter jets to fly and manoeuvre safely at low-altitudes, in zero visibility, and harsh weather conditions [instrument meteorological conditions], thereby enhancing their capability to operate undetected in hostile territory," said the company.

Interfacing with the autopilot system, the TF/TA avionics system to be supplied to the South Korea "fuses data from a range of onboard sensors and a digital terrain elevation data base, together with flight performance characteristics, enabling the aircraft to maintain optimal altitude throughout the mission", it added.


South Korea has been making progress with the development of its future Korean/Indonesian Fighter eXperimental (KF-X/IF-X) fighter aircraft. The country's Defence Acquisition Program Administration confirmed in September that Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is expected to complete construction of the first KF-X prototype by the first half of 2021 and conduct the first test flight of the platform a year later.

The agency said at the time that the critical design phase of the aircraft had been completed, allowing the KF-X/IF-X project to move to the prototype construction phase.

KAI displayed in mid-October 2019 a full-scale mock-up of the KF-X at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (ADEX) 2019. KAI also showcased a mock-up of the KF-X's cockpit.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 12 Feb 2020 02:01

From AW&ST

USAF Stabilizes F-35 Buy While Upgrading Legacy Aircraft

Lee Hudson February 11, 2020

The U.S. Air Force wants to buy new F-35A and F-15EX aircraft in fiscal 2021 while simultaneously funding modernization efforts for F-22, F-15 and F-16 aircraft to remain ready to fight in all domains.

The service’s budget request for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 would spend $17.9 billion on aircraft. Combat aircraft will get 37% of this request, which includes 48 F-35As and 12 F-15EXs, according to an Air Force’s budget overview. The budget was released Feb. 10.


The Air Force set aside funding for two F-35-related military construction projects: an F-35A simulator facility for the Air National Guard that would receive $14 million, and an F-35A simulator facility for the reserves that would get $12 million, according to the request.

The Air Force is launching two F-16-related new-start projects in fiscal 2021. The first is $29.5 million for a modular mission computer and display generator upgrade. The second is a digital radar warning receiver pegged at $28.2 million.

The service says its total aircraft inventory in fiscal 2021 will be 316 F-15s, 549 F-16s, 166 F-22s and 306 F-35s.
The service had been touting its “Air Force We Need” campaign, which calls for 386 squadrons to support the National Defense Strategy; this initiative seemingly is not supported by the budget request.

But when asked, Maj. Gen. John Pletcher, Air Force deputy assistant secretary for budget, said during a Feb. 10 Pentagon briefing, “It is absolutely not dead.”

Pletcher said the 386-squadron number is what the Air Force needs to support the National Defense Strategy, but it assumes an unconstrained budget. While this is still the service’s requirement, the Air Force must present a budget that is inside the top line set by the White House Office of Management and Budget.


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 12 Feb 2020 02:03

From AW&ST

Vienna To Pursue Reparations From Airbus Over Eurofighter Sale
Tony Osborne February 10, 2020

Austria has stepped into the controversy surrounding the Airbus bribery case after documents confirmed unfair conduct in the sale of Eurofighter jets there.

Documents released by the U.S. Department of Justice following Airbus’ agreement to pay a Deferred Prosecution Agreement worth €3.6 billion ($3.9 billion) to authorities in France, the UK and the U.S. reveal that the OEM paid €55 million to 14 consultants in support of its sales campaign of the fighter to Austria, an infringement of the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which call upon defense companies to detail political contributions, fees or commissions paid for defense equipment or services.

The disclosures appear to have strengthened Austria’s ongoing pursuit for reparations from Airbus. The Austrian government has previously claimed the OEM had been fraudulently deceiving the country over the purchase of the fighter aircraft since 2002.

Now Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner says Vienna will “vigorously pursue” Austria’s claims for reparations, most notably damages worth €183.4 million.


“The agreement expressly confirms unfair conduct on the part of Airbus in connection with the sale of Eurofighters to the Republic of Austria in 2003 and confirms the suspicion of fraud reported by the Federal Ministry of Defense in 2017 that part of the amount paid by the Republic of Austria for the Eurofighter as the purchase price of €183.4 million had flowed through Germany to the dubious Vector network and to others through brokers and mailboxes to serve unfair business,” the defense ministry said in a Feb. 8 press release.

“For years we have been pursuing the legitimate claims of the Republic of Austria against Airbus with all the means of the rule of law,” said Wolfgang Peschorn, head of the Procurator of Finance. “With Airbus now admitting, charges should be brought to Austria as well.”

Aerospace DAILY asked Airbus to respond to the Austrian statements, but it had not by press time. The company has previously referred to the claims as groundless.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 12 Feb 2020 05:50

From AW&ST



Croatia hopes to make a decision on the procurement of a new fighter aircraft before year’s end, defense officials say.

Zagreb currently has a request for proposals (RfP) for its multipurpose fighter jet (VBA) requirement out to governments and manufacturers and is due to receive “concrete offers” in May, Defense Minister Damir Krsticevic said. The Croatian defense ministry announced its 2020 procurement plan on Feb. 6.

The new fighter will replace Croatia’s aging and increasingly obsolete fleet of RSK MiG-21 “Fishbeds.”

The new fighter purchase is the subject of an interagency commission following the collapse of a planned buy of 12 secondhand F-16C/D Barak aircraft from Israel.

The deal faltered after it emerged that the U.S. could block it if the Israeli systems in the aircraft were not removed and the aircraft restored back to predelivery condition. The aircraft had been offered with the ability to use both Israeli and NATO-standard weaponry. The issue was a red line for Zagreb, and the deal with Israel was declared null and void in mid-January 2019.

The commission said Croatia wants a Western-made combat aircraft and a package for support, training and weapons. New-build and secondhand aircraft will be considered.

Sweden’s Saab is known to be making a proposal. Company CEO Micael Johansson said the company was responding to the RfP as he announced Saab’s 2019 full-year results on Feb. 7.

Since it gained independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, Croatia has been dependent on aging MiG-21s for air defense and policing. Zagreb grew the MiG-21 fleet in 2013 with additional refurbished aircraft from Ukraine, reportedly including some former Yemeni air force aircraft. The MiGs are expected to come to the end of their operational lives by 2024.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Rakesh » 12 Feb 2020 20:06

https://twitter.com/ReviewVayu/status/1 ... 88256?s=20 ---> Lockheed Martin has delivered the second of two KC-130J Super Hercules aerial refuelers to the France’s Armée de l'Air. France has received a total of 4 Super Hercules aircraft — 2 C-130J-30 combat delivery air lifters & 2 KC-130J aerial refuelers — through a FMS with the U.S.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 12 Feb 2020 22:58

Kartik wrote:From AW&ST

The service’s budget request for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 would spend $17.9 billion on aircraft. Combat aircraft will get 37% of this request, which includes 48 F-35As and 12 F-15EXs, according to an Air Force’s budget overview. The budget was released Feb. 10.


Last budget (current fiscal year) the USAF requested 48 F-35A's and 8 F-15 EX's. Then they sent an "unfunded priorities" list to Congress which asked for about a dozen additional F-35A's. They are getting 60 or more F-35A's in the FY20 budget that went into law a couple of months ago. This is likely to get repeated again and the USAF will likely end up with around a dozen additional F-35A on top of the 48 requested by Trump. The entire US defense budget for 2021 is a masterstroke of the services and the Pentagon raiding procurement accounts to fund next generation system R&D. They played it very smart because they know the politicians will add a ton of that procurement dollars back into the budget during the negotiations phase because this is an election year.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 13 Feb 2020 03:36

Rakesh wrote:https://twitter.com/ReviewVayu/status/1227149320501088256?s=20 ---> Lockheed Martin has delivered the second of two KC-130J Super Hercules aerial refuelers to the France’s Armée de l'Air. France has received a total of 4 Super Hercules aircraft — 2 C-130J-30 combat delivery air lifters & 2 KC-130J aerial refuelers — through a FMS with the U.S.


I wish a few of our C-130Js were also configured as KC-130Js aerial refuelers. :(

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 13 Feb 2020 03:38

Singapore Airshow 2020- Boeing sets sights on T-7A exports to Asia Pacific region

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Boeing is positioning the T-7A Red Hawk it is developing and building with Saab for military trainer and light attack requirements across the Asia-Pacific region, the US corporation announced at the Singapore Airshow on 12 February.

Thomas Breckenridge, vice-president of international sales in Boeing’s strike, surveillance and mobility business unit, told journalists that the company sees opportunities for global sales of up to 2,600 T-7As.

The US Air Force is contracted to procure 351 of these aircraft under a USD9.2 billion contract announced in September 2018. Breckenridge also indicated that Asia-Pacific countries could also emerge as principal operators of the type.

Breckenridge said factors that could prove attractive to Asia-Pacific customers include: the aircraft’s re-configurable cockpit that allows it to complement a range of advanced fighter aircraft; the ease with which training can be supported through an open mission system shared by simulator and aircraft; and the aircraft’s design, which is intended to meet future mission requirements.

He also confirmed that Boeing would pursue regional sales of the T-7A to meet procurement requirements for both trainer and light attack aircraft. Boeing has plans to build up to 48 T-7As per year for the USAF, with entry into USAF service planned for 2023. Breckenridge said the company also has capacity to integrate new export orders into its production schedules.

Breckenridge did not provide a breakdown of expected future customers in the Asia-Pacific, although he has previously confirmed that Boeing has held talks with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and other regional operators about potential programmes to supply the T-7A. Speaking in 2019 he said Boeing’s discussions with the RAAF were aimed at supporting the company’s understanding of the service’s future pilot trainer requirements.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 13 Feb 2020 03:50

From AW&ST

U.S. Air Force Fast-Tracks Radar Upgrade For F-16s
Steve Trimble February 12, 2020

The U.S. Air Force has fast-tracked a $2.24 billion program to upgrade a subset of the Lockheed Martin F-16 fleet with more powerful radars and radar-warning receivers, new budget documents show.

The Air Force’s fiscal 2021 budget submission shows plans to integrate Northrop Grumman APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars on 330 more F-16s. The new funding adds to an acquisition in fiscal 2017 and 2018 of the same sensor for a total of 72 F-16s, so the overall total of AESA-equipped Vipers should be 402 after the program is completed in fiscal 2026.

In a related move, the Air Force also plans to install digital radar-warning receivers on 300 F-16s, with initial operational capability scheduled in fiscal 2021.


The combination of the new receivers and radars will support “homeland defense against evolving threats,” according to the budget documents.

They appeared less than two months after a demonstration of a new role for the F-16. On Dec. 19, the 85th Test and Evaluation Sqdn. shot down a target drone simulating a cruise missile with a BAE Systems GR-20A, a 2.75mm guided rocket.

The Air Force has been building toward such a capability for the F-16 since March 2015, when a joint emerging operational need document called for replacing the F-16’s mechanically scanned APG-68 radars on a subset of the fleet.

To respond to the need document as quickly as possible, the Air Force integrated the APG-83 without altering the 1980s-era 1553 databus and existing mission computer.

The new order for 330 AESA radars comes with an upgrade package for the F-16s. It includes equipping the computers with high-speed data throughput, an Ethernet switch and additional memory. The upgrades are needed to “realize the full capabilities provided by AESA radars,” the budget documents say.


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 13 Feb 2020 04:10

This is a capability that I really want to see on the Mk1A and MWF, given the experience of Balakot. Actually I would like a decoy system to be on each and every IAF platform, but especially fast jets. Either in conjunction with or as a standalone system if a towed decoy system is not available.

From AW&ST
Image
BriteCloud Decoy Goes Global
Angus Batey February 11, 2020

Interest in the Leonardo BriteCloud decoy system is growing around the world. It allows pilots to eject a round from their standard chaff or flare dispensers that will emit signals similar to, but stronger than, the radar returns of the platforms, causing inbound missiles to divert from the aircraft and toward the decoy.

“The work with the U.S. is ongoing,” said Rob Laidlar, a former UK Royal Air Force fast-jet squadron leader who is now campaign manager for combat air electronic warfare with Leonardo’s electronics division. “We’ve got a really good, close working relationship with the guard, and with the American acquisition community, based on this work.

“A Foreign Comparative Test is a process reserved for technologies which cannot be found in the U.S., which the U.S. may find useful in service,” he continued. “BriteCloud is the only product of its type in the world at the moment, so is really quite groundbreaking.”

The U.S. Air National Guard is due to conduct a technical valuation of BriteCloud on F-16s, though Laidlar is unable to say when the process will transition to flight testing. It also is going to take some time for the process to conclude.

“It’s a really rigorous process,” he said. “It’s not some kind of science experiment; it’s a really comprehensive test-and-trial process which generates an actual operational capability. At the end of it, there should be a fully validated product. That process does take a while and is probably going to be measured in terms of months, if not toward two years. At the end of that, hopefully an operational capability will be declared. But that will be 12 months to two years from now.”

The 55T version of BriteCloud is optimized for larger, slower-moving aircraft.

BriteCloud is available in two versions, with a third variant nearing production. The original version, BriteCloud 55, is a cylindrical round that will fit the standard 55mm flare-and-chaff dispensers used by many Western European military aircraft. BriteCloud 218 packages the same capability into a rectangular (2 x 1 x 8 in.) “brick,” suitable to be dispensed by F-series jets. The third variant—BriteCloud 55T—is a 55mm round optimized for larger, slower-moving transport aircraft.

“What we’ve done within the 55T is improved the output of the battery and the power amplifier, and increased the overall power output of the round,” Laidlar explained. “[The purpose is] that it generates sufficient power to mask the greater radar cross-section of a larger aircraft such as a [Lockeed Martin C-130] Hercules or an [Airbus] A400M. That’s useful for when you have to put larger aircraft into potential harm’s way, such as VIP or special-mission aircraft, which by dint of what they do tend to get closer to threats than maybe other transport aircraft.”

Back in the UK, meanwhile, BriteCloud is being tested ahead of deployment on the RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoon fleet. The system was fielded on the Panavia Tornado and flown on combat operations shortly before that platform was retired.

“Some tests have already been undertaken,” Laidlar noted. These were “some comprehensive trials to confirm the interaction between BriteCloud and Typhoon. We expect further announcements about operational capability in the near future.”

BriteCloud’s integration onto the Typhoon appears to have taken longer than anticipated because of delays fielding the platform’s forthcoming Smart Stores Dispenser. When integrated, the new dispenser will use 218-format rounds; until then, Typhoon’s stores are in 55mm format.

“In lieu of getting ready for smart dispense, a regular—if you will—integration of BriteCloud onto Typhoon is underway,” Laidlar says. “That [means] we afford that capability uplift to the aircraft ahead of smart dispense.”

The integration of the 55mm version ought to help ease the process of integrating BriteCloud 218 once the new dispensers are fitted.

“There’s a lot of work that reads across to a smart-dispense store as well,” Laidlar added. “In terms of how the aircraft will use the store, how it flies with it, and how it performs, that reads across. So initially it would be the 55mm version; then in the future it would go down the smart-dispense route, as and when the aircraft is ready for that.”

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 13 Feb 2020 04:50

US Special Ops Command plans to buy 75 light attack aircraft for armed overwatch

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The US Special Operations Command plans on buying 75 fixed-wing aircraft for its just-announced Armed Overwatch programme.

The aircraft are intended for close air support of special operations troops, according to a notice announcing an upcoming industry day posted online 3 February.

“Armed Overwatch will provide Special Operations Forces deployable and sustainable manned aircraft systems fulfilling close air support, precision strike, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in austere and permissive environments,” says the notice.

The programme is similar to a faltering light attack experiment within the US Air Force (USAF), which aims to show light attack aircraft, specifically the Textron Aviation AT-6 and Sierra Nevada /Embraer A-29, could cheaply boost the air-to-ground attack capabilities of US allies and foreign partners. To further that experiment, the service announced in October 2019 that it planned to give Textron and Sierra Nevada orders for purchase of two to three light attack aircraft each.

The Armed Overwatch programme is closer to the USAF light attack experiment’s original goal of providing the US military with a cheaper alternative for air-to-ground attack missions, compared with expensive-to-fly fourth and fifth generation fighters such as the Boeing F-15E or Lockheed Martin F-35.
...

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 13 Feb 2020 05:51

^^ The US Army and SOCOM were always better suited for this type of capability. It would have been a huge distraction to USAF modernization.

The F-16 upgrades were always planned but were constantly moved to the right during the lower Obama era sequestered budgets. Now there is more funding so they are adding them back into their budgets.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 13 Feb 2020 05:58

Boeing delivers first Super Hornet with 1500 hours service life extension

Boeing delivered the first F/A-18E/F Super Hornet with a 1,500h service-life extension to the US Navy (USN) on 21 January.

The US manufacturer plans to deliver the second service-life-extended Super Hornet by the end of February, with a third to be handed to the service in April, it says on 6 February.

The Service Life Modification programme initially extends the aircraft’s usability from 6,000h to 7,500h.

Boeing and the USN plan to bring back the fighter aircraft for additional modifications starting in 2022. Those follow-up modifications will increase aircraft service life to 10,000h and integrate Block III upgrades, which include conformal fuel tanks, a faster mission computer and a more-robust communications system.

The Block III upgrades will also eventually give the Super Hornet the ability to control Loyal Wingman unmanned air vehicles – a new class of robotic combat aircraft the US Department of Defense is eyeing as an inexpensive way to boost its firepower.


Boeing has inducted 15 F/A-18E/Fs into the Service Life Modification programme on production lines in St Louis, Missouri and San Antonio, Texas. The company plans to deliver five more of the fighters in 2020.

..

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 13 Feb 2020 06:34

Thailand shows F-5 Tiger fighter upgrade

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Making a debut appearance at the Singapore Airshow are a single-seat Northrop F-5TH and two-seat F-5THF fighters from the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF). The F-5 was once widespread throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including in Singapore itself, but numbers are dwindling. Thailand continues to fly a squadron equipped with the survivors of 40 F-5Es and six F-5Fs acquired in the 1970s. In order to prolong their usefulness and to maintain their combat viability, the aircraft have gone through the Super Tigris upgrade program, and they are expected to serve into the early 2030s.

Thailand acquired 40 F-5Es and six F-5Fs in the late 1970s, of which 12 single-seaters and a pair of two-seaters went through the F-5T/TF Tigris upgrade from 2003. Originally the RTAF planned to upgrade around 30 to equip two squadrons, but one of the units subsequently converted to the Saab Gripen C/D instead.

The current Super Tigris modernization goes further and brings them to a high equipment standard that the RTAF describes as a “4.5 generation fighter.” The upgrade of 10 aircraft was authorized in 2014 and another four in 2017. They serve with 211 Squadron at Ubon Ratchathani.

Both Tigris and Super Tigris upgrades are provided by Elbit Systems of Israel, drawing on the company’s experience with a number of other international F-5 update efforts, such as the Brazilian F-5EM/FM upgrade with Leonardo Grifo-F radar and Chile’s F-5 Tiger III Plus variant that has the Elta EL/M-2032 radar, both of which feature Israeli weapon options. Some years ago Singapore also upgraded its F-5E/Fs (as F-5S/Ts) with Grifo-F radar, Israeli missiles, and Elbit computers, but the fleet was retired in 2015.

The Super Tigris program has upgraded most elements of the F-5, including a structural life extension from 7,200 to 9,600 hours, giving them another 15 years of service, according to the RTAF. A revamped cockpit features two multifunction color displays, a new head-up display and upfront control panel, a new environmental control system, and a digital video recorder. The pilot is provided with Elbit’s DASH IV helmet-mounted sight.

In terms of communications the Super Tigris is equipped with ARC-164 Have Quick II jam-resistant radios and Thailand’s own Link-T datalink system. This allows the F-5s to be linked into the air defense command and control network that also includes the F-16s, Saab Gripen fighters of 701 Squadron, and Saab 340 AEW aircraft of 702 Squadron.

Super Tigris F-5s have a new radar that offers beyond-visual-range air-to-air capability and a synthetic aperture radar mode that produces high-resolution “patch maps” for accurate air-to-surface targeting. The radar type has not been disclosed but is widely believed to be the EL/M-2032. The Super Tigris aircraft can also carry the Rafael Litening III electro-optic/laser targeting pod and the Rafael Sky Shield jamming pod. Matching these new sensors are new weapons from Israel, including the Elbit Lizard laser-guided bomb. While the Rafael Python IV imaging infrared short-range air-to-air missile was introduced with the Tigris upgrade, the Super Tigris adds Python V and the active-radar Rafael Derby.

...

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 13 Feb 2020 17:31

Kartik wrote:From AW&ST

The service says its total aircraft inventory in fiscal 2021 will be 316 F-15s, 549 F-16s, 166 F-22s and 306 F-35s


This is a good data point. You can expect the F-35A fleet to exceed the F-16 fleet by around 2025. The USAF will also by that time become an almost entirely F-15E family operator, as far as the Eagle fleet is concerned, with around 80 of those 144 F-15EX having been inducted by 2025 (but they aren't going to be waiting for F-15C's to retire.. I think retirements happen earlier).

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 14 Feb 2020 01:24

So when do F-15Cs retire from the USAF?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 14 Feb 2020 01:53

Kartik wrote:So when do F-15Cs retire from the USAF?


Whenever the Congress allows the Air National Guard to retire them. There is only 1 F-15C squadron left outside of the guard. Rest of them are all in the ANG. I think the plan is to start retiring them pretty soon and the pace may actually be faster than what the delivery rate is for the F-15 EX. Boeing has already begun assembling the first two F-15 EX's for the USAF, even before they've received the contract for them and the plan is to deliver them to the USAF by the end of 2020. I think a 6-8 month test program will follow because the F-15EX is not the same as either the F-15 SA (which the USAF certified) nor the F-15E upgrades that the USAF has now in service or in the works. So the USAF can begin sending operationally bound F-15EX's to guard squadrons probably in 2023 (the first 12 that will be ordered as part of the FY21 budget) since the first 4-6 or so F-15EX's will be retained at Edwards to continue testing and testing of future upgrades and training etc.

From last year..before the FY20 budget was signed into law -

Boeing’s plans to deliver the first two test aircraft for the F-15EX fighter program by the end of next year are still on track, despite the budget gridlock on Capitol Hill, according to a company executive.....

“We'd love to get them on contract and that can't happen unless the [appropriations] bill is authorized by the Congress,” Prat Kumar, vice president for F-15 programs at Boeing Defense, Space and Security, said Nov. 18 during a briefing with a small group of reporters at the company’s St. Louis facilities. “For now, we are leaning in and it's safe to say that right now we are progressing because the company has stepped forward and made some investment into this program ahead of the CR … and us getting on the contract.LINK


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 14 Feb 2020 04:37

So the SLEP for the F-15Cs didn't work out as planned?

USAF looks to dramatically extend F-15 service life

The USAF has also revealed new interest in critical avionics and mission system upgrades for the 40-year-old airframe, as it seeks to keep at least some of its 414 F-15C/D fighters and F-15E fighter/bombers flying for decades to come.

A USAF F-15C fighter has already entered a four-year fatigue test cycle at Boeing's factory in St Louis, Missouri, said Brad Jones, the company's director of F-15 development programmes. It will be joined soon by an F-15E Strike Eagle.

Boeing's tests will determine if the service life of the F-15C/D can be extended from 9,000h to 18,000h, Jones said. The service life of the F-15E was originally set at 8,000h but could potentially be raised to 32,000h after the tests are complete.

If the USAF peacetime annual flight-hour average is set at 300h, the service life increase should keep both models flying for several more decades.

The fatigue tests will indicate possible sources of structural failures. Only four years ago, the USAF grounded its F-15Cs after a longeron failure caused one aircraft to disintegrate in flight. An investigation showed that longeron cracks were limited to a handful of F-15C/Ds, which were immediately retired.

..

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 14 Feb 2020 04:42

No it wasn’t considered to be worth it in the end for reasons having to do with both structural upgrades and overall capability and readiness. Once the Mattis directive came out of that he wants all F series aircraft to be at 80% MCR this plan was dropped as trying to sustain airframes which have an average life of closer to 8600 hours is going to be problematic and expensive even with structural upgrades and new wings which they would have needed. Also, the F-15EX is a going to easily last the ANG 20,000 hours at a minimum ( probably more) and so they really won’t have to worry about It for a long time. Plus it keeps three airframe manufactures within the USAF fighter supply chain which is always good going into prototype development and competitive phase for the F-22 replacement.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby MeshaVishwas » 14 Feb 2020 06:56

IsAF pilots practice their dog fighting, and English, in war games with French
https://www.timesofisrael.com/iaf-pilot ... th-french/

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 15 Feb 2020 03:14

The C-130 Hercules Sets a World Record ... Again!


The 2020 Guinness Book of World Records features the LM-100J commercial freighter and derivative of the C-130J-30 Super Hercules as the world record holder for the “Heaviest Aircraft to Perform an Aerobatic Loop.” Here’s the official entry:

“On 18 July 2018, a 38,740-kg (81,000 lb) LM-100J performed a loop as part of its demonstration flight at the Farnborough International Airshow in Hampshire, UK. The aircraft was flown by test pilot Wayne Roberts and his co-pilot, Steve Knoblock.”
Then-LM-100J Chief Test Pilot Wayne Roberts pointed out that the maneuver wasn’t a loop, but rather a “corkscrew” for safety considerations. Roberts said he designed the display to highlight the aircraft’s exceptional tight turn capabilities; low drag to climb and accelerate in a turn; and situational awareness to maneuver safely over a precise path close to the ground.

The routine underscored the Super Herc’s unmatched capabilities when it comes to supporting mission requirements that require low heights and slow speeds, such as firefighting.

The Hercules Family is no stranger to the Guinness World Records as the C-130 has been cited for at least three aircraft-specific records in addition to 54 National Aeronautic Association records:

“Longest Production Run for a Military Aircraft”
“First Laser Gunship”
“Most Complex Aircraft Weapons System”





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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 15 Feb 2020 03:20

Update- Newer F-35As cracking due to gun use

Lot 9 and newer F-35As have developed cracks after gun use
The aircraft variant’s gun inaccuracy has stumped the programme for years

The Pentagon has restricted gun use on Lot 9 and newer Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) conventional variants to combat-only after discovering cracks in the aircraft after gun operation.

Robert Behler, director of operational test and evaluation (DOT&E), said in his fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) report released on 30 January that units flying these newer F-35As discovered cracks in the outer mold-line coatings and the underlying chine longeron skin, near the gun muzzle, after the gun was used.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 15 Feb 2020 03:21

Kuwait declines receipt of Caracal helos, Airbus unaware of any problem

Image

A Kuwaiti Ministry of Defence (MoD) statement saying that it had refused to receive two Airbus Helicopters H225M Caracal medium-lift rotorcraft on account of technical malfunctions has been denied by the manufacturer, which told Jane's on 13 February that it has received no such notification.

On 12 February the Kuwaiti MoD said that that, in response to enquiries made on the issue by national lawmakers, it was forming a "specialised technical committee" to examine the reason why a pair of H225M helicopters could not be accepted from Airbus and "to address the root causes […] to prevent a repeat. The move was made out of complete concern for the safety of air force pilots and employees."

The MoD added that, further to setting up this committee, it has suspended all deliveries "pending the conclusion of the committee's inspection of the problem and the receipt of the manufacturer's report on the malfunction suffered by some of the aircraft". The ministry will make "an appropriate decision" about resuming deliveries only once it has received assurances that no such problems will occur again the future.

In response to a comment from Jane's, an Airbus Helicopters spokesperson said, "We are aware of the [Kuwaiti statement]. We have not received any official notification from our customer and we remain at their disposal to provide support as required."

Kuwait signed a contract with Airbus Helicopters to procure the 30 H225Ms for a reported EUR1.7 billion (USD1.14 billion at the time) following a type selection that was made in mid-2015, and includes support and services. Of these, 24 will go to the Kuwaiti Air Force and six to the Kuwait National Guard to be used for combat search-and-rescue, naval operations, medical evacuation, and military transportation.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 15 Feb 2020 03:25

Kartik wrote:The aircraft variant’s gun inaccuracy has stumped the programme for years


No it hasn't stumped them at all. The problem was discovered, isolated, root-caused and the program and contractor went back to design and develop solutions which have to go through their paces and prove out before they can be incorporated. It was just that the USAF had that super low in their priorities because the gun on the F-35 A is the least useful capability it has and is basically there so that folks don't cry foul given a subset of the A-10's will be recapitalized by the F-35A. Honestly the gun on the f-35a is a joke. For reference, the F-35A's 25mm cannon has just about enough munition for a 4-5 second of trigger pull which translates to roughly 2 x 2 second pulls. The A-10 has about 9-10, 2 second trigger pull capacity.

They would have been much better off with a podded gun as the current gun was simply a "let's do it so that senators/congressmen with A-10's in their districts don't bother us in the future" decision. The Navy and the Marines were smart with their podded solution. No one in their right mind is going to ask a fifth generation stealth fighter to go do a strafing run and fewer and fewer future conflicts will allow the F-35A to do it without risking being shot out of the sky by a MANPAD or some other form of air-defense. Keep in mind that the F-35A's internal cannon with its 25 mm round is really optimized for Air-Ground usage. Had it been a simpler A-A requirement they would have just integrated the F-22's M61A2 solution and called it a day. The gun accuracy was determined adequate for Air-Air (with software fixed) and the USAF accepted the aircraft for IOC with a contractual obligation for the contractor to go out and upgrade the hardware that was the cause of misalignment. They are only now getting through the other things they have to do to get going on some of the lower priority areas that need to be addressed. About 92% of the original "specs" on the F-35 have been delivered, developed and fielded. Some of the remaining 8% will be deferred either to block-4 or deferred indefinitely (determined too expensive to develop/field or no longer relevant). The gun fix, along with ALIS are the two areas which will be fixed in the next couple of months (gun) or the next couple of years (ALIS).

Air Force expects fix this spring to cracked F-35 panels caused by gun misalignment


The Air Force expects the F-35 program will begin fielding a fix this spring that will address problems with the A-model gun that have caused cracks in the muzzle. A recent report from the Pentagon's top weapons tester highlighted continued problems with the F-35A gun’s accuracy, which it attributed to a misaligned muzzle. That misalignment has caused cracks in the panel surrounding the muzzle and led to a decision by the Air Force to restrict gun use for low-rate initial...

She said the initial panel update kits are expected to begin fielding this spring, and production aircraft will have the new panel built in starting this summer. McAndrews noted that modifications to fielded aircraft can be made at their home stations, and restrictions will be removed as the fix is installed.

Although gun training has been limited, McAndrews said units have a mix of old and new aircraft, so some training is still able to occur.



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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 15 Feb 2020 20:58

USAF to Start Buying ‘Extreme Range’ JASSMs in 2021


The newest variant of the Air Force’s advanced, stealthy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile will start low-rate initial production next year, with deliveries beginning in 2024, according to the service’s budget request.

The Air Force’s fiscal 2021 request includes $506 million total for JASSMs, including $60 million in initial funding for 40 AGM-158D variants—previously known as the JASSM-XR, or “Extreme Range,” according to service budget justification documents.

Lockheed Martin began development on the missile in 2018 with an initial $51 million contract from the Air Force Lifecycle Management Center. In October, Lockheed said the new variants would enter the production line as part of the 19th lot of JASSMs.

The upgrade includes a missile control unit, changes to the wings, a different paint coating, an Electronic Safe and Arm Fuze, a secure GPS receiver, and program protection requirements, according to the Air Force. All of these upgrades make the unit cost of the AGM-158D approximately $1.5 million, up from the $1.04 million cost of an AGM-158B JASSM-ER. The B variant has a range of about 500 nautical miles, while the D reportedly extends up to 1,000 nautical miles.

Lockheed will deliver five per month starting in January 2024, and the service plans to integrate the missiles with the B-1B. The Extended-Range variant, which entered full-rate production in 2015, already has been integrated on the B-52, F-16, B-2, and F-15E.

As part of the overall JASSM request, the service plans to buy 336 of the B-variants at a total cost of $352 million, according to budget documents. That total is below the expected buy of 400 JASSM variants as part of the Lot 19 buy, according to an October sources-sought notice.

The Air Force’s budget also requests $19.8 million total for five Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles, another variant of the JASSM developed for offensive anti-surface warfare. The Navy is the lead on this program, and it has been integrated on both the B-1 and F/A-18. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced Feb. 7 that the State Department has approved the sale of 200 LRASMs to Australia for an expected price of abo
ut $990 million.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Prithwiraj » 16 Feb 2020 07:32

Dhoti and Chappal clad rag tag Army of Houthi Rebels managed to shoot down a Saudi Airforce Tornado yesterday !! They have made some really impressive "juggad" to convert Air to Air missiles into Surface to Air. Incredible given how meagre their resources are

Various footages of the shoot down and aftermath






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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby NRao » 17 Feb 2020 05:56


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 18 Feb 2020 01:20

Saudi Tornado fighter jet shot down over Yemen

A Saudi-UAE-led coalition fighting Yemen's Houthi rebels has confirmed that one of its fighter jets went down in the war-torn country.

The Royal Saudi Air Force Tornado aircraft "crashed" in northern al-Jawf province during an operation to support Yemeni government forces, the coalition said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency on Saturday.

The statement came after a spokesman for the Houthis said the group's fighters had downed a Tornado jet belonging to "enemy forces" in the same province, according to a statement carried by their broadcaster Al Masirah TV on Friday.

Yahya Saria also said the plane was downed with an advanced surface-to-air missile..

..

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 18 Feb 2020 01:27

From AW&ST

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Paris, Berlin Issue Long-Awaited FCAS Demonstrator Contracts
Tony Osborne February 13, 2020

TOULOUSE—France and Germany have awarded long-awaited contracts for the “decisive” initial demonstrator phase for the Franco-German-Spanish Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

The contracts, worth a total of €155 million ($168 million) and equally funded by Paris and Berlin, were announced late Feb. 12 as Airbus prepared to announce its 2019 financial results.

The funding pays for the first 18 months of work—Phase 1A—to develop the demonstrators and mature new technologies, and will support work by primes Dassault and Airbus, as well as their partners MTU Aero Engines, MBDA, Safran and Thales.

Contract award for the demonstrator program had been expected last summer at the Paris Air Show but this was held up by the need to secure approval from the German Parliament; a January deadline agreed by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel last October also was missed. That deadline followed warnings from industry that the program had to make progress or risk losing momentum.

The program hopes to a deliver a fighter technology demonstrator for flight tests as early as 2026, with Dassault acting as prime and Airbus as a main partner. It also will deliver remote carrier aircraft—unmanned aircraft systems that will operate alongside the fighter as a loyal wingman or providing electronic warfare or surveillance capability. Airbus will lead on the development of the remote carrier, with MBDA as a main partner.

Airbus also will lead the development of the so-called combat cloud network connecting FCAS with other platforms including the remote carriers, other fighters, tankers and intelligence-gathering assets.

Development of a demonstrator engine, likely based on the Safran M88 powerplant from the Dassault Rafale, will be led by Safran with MTU as main partner.

Airbus says a simulation environment also will be jointly developed by the company to “ensure the consistency between demonstrators.”

“The launch of the Demonstrator Phase underlines the political confidence and determination of the FCAS partner nations and the associated industry to move forward and cooperate in a fair and balanced manner,” the company said in a statement.

Spain and additional suppliers to the FCAS program will be introduced in Phase 1B after the conclusion of Phase 1A, Airbus says.

Kartik
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Kartik » 18 Feb 2020 01:35

From AW&ST

Image


A multi-target air-to-air weapon and gun-armed close-support missile are among new projects DARPA plans to launch in fiscal 2021. New approaches to communicating in contested environments, attacking signals and countering laser weapons are also on the list.

The Defense Department is seeking $3.57 billion in funding for its advanced research projects agency in 2021, an increase of just over 3% from 2020.

Among the projects planned for initiation in 2021 is LongShot, for which DARPA is seeking $22 million. LongShot will demonstrate an air-launched weapon system that will use a slower-speed, longer-range air vehicle for transit to the engagement zone where it will launch multiple air-to-air missiles.

The weapon will be carried externally on existing fighters or internally on bombers. Multi-mode propulsion will significantly increase engagement range while allowing air-to-air missiles to be launched closer to their targets, reducing reaction time and increasing terminal energy and kill probability.

LongShot appears to be a follow-on to the Flying Missile Rail concept revealed by DARPA in 2017. This was a device carrying a pair of AIM-120 air-to-air missiles that could remain under the wing of and F-16 or F/A-18 or fly away from the host aircraft, acting as a booster to extend the range of the missiles.


“LongShot will explore new engagement concepts for multi-modal, multi-kill systems that can engage more than one target,” according to DARPA budget documents. Fiscal 2021 funding would take the program through to a preliminary design review for the demonstration system.

DARPA is seeking $13.3 million for begin the Gunslinger program to demonstrate a tactical-range weapon that will combine the maneuverability of a missile with ability of a gun to engage different types of target. Envisioned missions are close air support, counter insurgency and air-to-air engagements.

Metrics for the system are total range, including transit, loiter and engagement, as well as effectiveness, according to the documents. Development of such a missile system will require vehicle concepts that have the aerodynamic, propulsion and payload to enable a wide operational envelope, says DARPA.

Gunslinger will also require “algorithms that support maneuvering and target recognition to enable expedited command decision making for selecting and engaging targets, and approaches to incorporating modularity of design to reduce cost,” the documents say.

DARPA is seeking $15.1 million in 2021 for another new project, Counter High Energy Lasers (C-HEL), which aims to develop a system to detect, locate and disrupt energy laser weapons before they can inflict irreversible damage.

The project will study novel sensors, protective materials and obscurants as well as optical and kinetic defeat systems. Fiscal 2021 funding would take the project through the conceptual design review for an initial operational C-HEL system and field testing of protective coatings.

Developing small photonic terminals that can establish high-bandwidth communications links between microsatellites and mobile platforms is the goal of Portable Optical Integrated Network Transceivers (POINT), a new project for which $9.2 million is sought in 2021.

Existing optical terminals with gimballed telescopes are too large for microsatellites, and POINT will leverage the recent developments in optical phased-array transmitters to develop transceivers with no moving parts, dramatically reducing their size, weight and power requirements.

Providing tactical beyond-line-of-sight communications in an anti-access/area-denial environment by deploying low-cost expendable repeaters ground vehicles, unmanned aircraft, high-altitude platforms and low-orbiting satellites is the goal of the new Resilient Networked Distributed Multi-Transceiver Communications (RNDMC) project, for which $7.4 million is sought in 2021.

Proportional Weapons, for which $6 million is sought in 2021, is a new project to develop a real-time capability to tune the effects of families of munitions to be able to breach a structure, or clear an area, while minimizing collateral damage. “Novel approaches are needed that are absolutely effective from the air or ground against several scales of primarily urban, concealed threats while not being catastrophically destructive,” say DARPA budget documents.

Other new projects for fiscal 2021 include: Dynamic Airspace Control ($13.7 million), to develop ways to surveil and manage local airspace without using high-power radar; Non-Kinetic Effects ($7.5 million), to develop new electronic-warfare systems to sense, attack and also protect signals; and Port Defense ($7.4 million), to use expendable unmanned undersea vehicles for mine countermeasures.

brar_w
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 18 Feb 2020 01:47

Kartik wrote:The contracts, worth a total of €155 million ($168 million) and equally funded by Paris and Berlin, were announced late Feb. 12 as Airbus prepared to announce its 2019 financial results.


$168 Million over 18 months after nearly a year of negotiating and multiple HOS or defense minister level photo ops. At this rate, they are smart to target a 2040 time-frame.


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