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Aircraft modernisation and update

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buglerbilly - 8-6-2017 at 01:45 PM

Through Upgrades, Boeing Envisions Longer Utility of the F-15

by Bill Carey

 - June 7, 2017, 12:09 AM

Replacing longerons on the F-15C would extend its service life into the mid-2030s, Boeing contends. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

F-15 production is secure through 2019, and planned updates will keep the U.S. Air Force flying the multi-role F-15E Strike Eagle version into the 2040s, Boeing reports. The manufacturer also has a case to make for extending the life of the F-15C/D air superiority version of the 1970s-vintage fighter, which faces a shorter time horizon.

“The last time we delivered a Strike Eagle to the U.S. Air Force was in the mid-2000s,” Steve Parker, Boeing vice president for F-15 programs, told reporters visiting the company’s St. Louis-area manufacturing facility May 17. “Right now, over the last couple-year period, is the most amount of budget that has been allocated to the F-15 for some time—in excess of $12 billion of upgrades the U.S. Air Force is funding to take this platform into the 2040s and beyond.”

The Air Force is installing active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar on both versions of the fighter—Raytheon’s APG-63(V)3 for the F-15C and APG-82(V)1 for the F-15E. Parker said more than 125 of 200 F-15Cs have already been modified; retrofit of the F-15Es will continue into the 2020s.

According to an Air Force budget document, the service is seeking $963 million for the F-15 program in Fiscal Year 2018, which would continue the radar upgrades and development of the Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) to improve the F-15E’s ability to detect and defeat air and ground threats. The service awarded Boeing a $478.7 million engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract for EPAWSS in November, and Boeing completed a critical design review of the electronic warfare (EW) suite in February this year, according to supplier BAE Systems. The EMD contract calls for work to be completed by Aug. 31, 2020.

The introduction of an Advanced Display Core Processor II (ADCPII) mission computer with multi-core processing capability “unleashes the horsepower” of EPAWSS, an EW system that takes proven technology into “the fifth-gen domain,” Parker said. Boeing is modifying a fighter this year to begin flight tests with the system in 2018, followed by deployment in the early 2020s, he reported.

Boeing recently completed a fly-off of competing infrared search-and-track (IRST) pods that it will integrate on the F-15C/D—Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are the possible suppliers—and planned to select one system within months, Parker said.

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on March 22, however, senior Air Force and Air National Guard officers suggested the days may be numbered for the F-15C/D.

Lt. Gen. Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard, did not disagree when asked if the F-15 will be replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-16 in the air superiority role. Guard squadrons fly F-15s for the aerospace control alert mission in defense of the homeland. “There are capabilities we can add and provide on the F-16 that will provide us a gap as we try to go into the future. Overall our readiness and then our protection of the U.S. will change but I think overall we will be OK,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Scott West, Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations, said the service must make choices based on its budgetary authority. “The F-15C has served the nation well as have its pilots, for decades. It was our air superiority fighter; now F-22 has taken that role,” West said. “We do have capacity in the F-16C community to recapitalize it with an improved radar to serve the same function as the F-15 has done and thereby reduce the different systems that we have to sustain and operate…so that we can make other choices either for modernization or (to) grow end strength.”

At a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee a week later, the Air Force walked back the idea of retiring the F-15C/D fleet. “That’s pre-decisional,” said Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategic plans, programs and requirements, responding to questions from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). “We have not decided, and throughout our FYDP [Future Years Defense Program] we continue to employ the F-15C/D fleet. It’s an air superiority fighter for us, with somewhat limited capabilities from a fourth-gen perspective compared to an F-22. But we are not replacing it at this time; it is something that we are looking at as we continue to bring in more fifth-gen capability—what assets do we push out at the bottom of that chain?”

In written testimony to the Senate committee, the Air Force said it “expects the F-15E to be an integral part (of the fleet) through at least 2040,” along with the F-16.

Boeing argues that F-15C/Ds, which have a service life of 15,000 hours, could serve into the mid-2030s by replacing longitudinal spars, or longerons, along their fuselages at a cost of $1 million per aircraft. “I have the only air superiority aircraft in production in the U.S. today—that is undisputable,” Parker said. “I’m running at 1.25 aircraft a month; I have the capacity to increase that. I have plans that would enable me to do that if the customer demand was there.”

Meanwhile, Boeing has a “good, solid backlog” of F-15 orders from international customers. The F-15s it is delivering today have service lives exceeding 20,000 hours stemming from wing and fuselage redesigns over the last several years, as well as new technologies that buyers have introduced, Parker said.

New multi-role F-15SAs Saudi Arabia has ordered come with fly-by-wire flight controls. Boeing started delivering F-15SAs to the kingdom last December, and now a “double digit” number of fighters have arrived in-country, Parker said. Saudi Arabia is due to receive 84 F-15SAs and 70 upgraded fighters from a $29.4 billion arms agreement the countries negotiated in 2010-2011. Deliveries will be completed over the next three years.

Boeing will complete deliveries this year for another foreign customer that Parker declined to identify, but that AIN understands is Singapore. Another possible buyer is Qatar. The U.S. State Department approved the foreign military sale to that nation of 72 F-15QA multi-role fighters—an estimated $21 billion transaction—according to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency notification to Congress in November.

buglerbilly - 19-6-2017 at 02:33 PM

PARIS: Boeing forges ahead with advanced F-15 upgrades

18 June, 2017 SOURCE: BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

Despite rumours of a possible retirement, reassurances in President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget and ongoing upgrades have given Boeing’s F-15 line a new lease on life.

Rather than stepping away from the F-15, Boeing is doubling down on the fighter with a slew of upgrades, including conformal fuel tanks, improved longerons and a next generation integrated defensive electronic countermeasures system. After the fighter line’s production appeared to be slowing down, Boeing’s foreign prospects for the F-15 now appear hopeful.

Saudi Arabia is on track to procure 84 aircraft through 2019 and another undisclosed customer in the Middle East is looking to buy up to 72 F-15s through 2022, Steve Parker, vice-president of F-15 programmes at Boeing, told reporters in St Louis, Missouri this May.

Boeing is even mulling a new name for the revamped F-15 as a symbolic departure from the legacy Eagle pedigree, Parker says.

“We should have looked at renaming that aircraft a long time ago, that’s something we’re looking at from a Boeing perspective,” Parker says. “What we’ve created today, the outer mould line is the same, everything else has changed. It looks the same, we’ve got conformal tanks, but it is a different aircraft today. When we talk to current and prospective customers there’s that realisation.”

Prospective overseas customers are showing an interest in both the F-15 and F/A-18
US Air Force

Boeing will add conformal fuel tanks to the US Air National Guard’s F-15Cs, which perform homeland security missions to the four corners of the country. The recent $29.3 million contract award from the NATO Support & Procurement Agency (NSPA) will cover the initial integration and test of conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) for the Air National Guard’s F-15s, a 4 May Boeing press release states. The contract also covers options to purchase additional CFTs for the entire US Air Force and Air National Guard fleets of F-15C/D aircraft. The CFTs will extend the aging Eagle’s combat radius and loiter time for the guard’s air-superiority and homeland-defence missions.

The CFTs are one of many upgrades providing insurance to the F-15 line. In March, the director of the Air National Guard entertained the possibility of retiring the F-15C/Ds and replacing them with Lockheed Martin F-16s. But Trump’s FY2018 budget request did not outline plans for F-15C divestment and included a new service life-extension programme (SLEP) for the aircraft’s longerons. The proposed $7 million SLEP allows the F-15C/D fleet to meet its planned service life within acceptable risk margins, according to budget documents.

Parker also counters that switching from the F-15 to F-16 would incur significant maintenance costs. Besides the additional CFTs, the Trump budget would support ongoing upgrades, including $57 million for an infrared search and track (IRST) and $16.7 million for upgrades to the platform's Raytheon APG-63(V)3 radar. The F-15 already has IRST capability today, but Boeing recently completed a competition for the USAF to select the next generation IRST, Parker says. Boeing finished a fly-off last month for the competition and will make a decision on the next IRST in the coming months, he adds.

Last November, the USAF awarded Boeing a $479 million contract to integrate BAE's Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) on 400 F-15Es and F-15Cs.

EPAWSS will allow the Eagle to trace radar signals to a location and target aircraft. Boeing took EPAWSS through critical design review this spring and will begin modifying the aircraft with BAE, Parker says.

A 12 May notice on the Federal Business Opportunities website also outlines a sole-source award to Boeing for an F-15 C/D wing replacement programme that would produce an F-15E variant prototype wing for the legacy aircraft. In an email to FlightGlobal, Boeing clarified that the company is using a newly engineered wing, rather than the former “E” wing on the F-15C/D aircraft. The new wing has a higher fatigue life and supports additional weapons stations, a Boeing spokesman says. Any additional weight on the aircraft would be negligible, according to Parker.

“Boeing has re-engineered the wing for the Advanced F-15 and that is being used for current aircraft in production and going out to customers,” the Boeing spokesman says. “Any additional customers would receive the newly engineered wing sets that were re-designed using state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques.”

Upgrades for the F-15 include improved longerons and a next-generation integrated defensive electronic countermeasures system
Rich Paul/Boeing

Parker maintains the F-15C will not face retirement until the air force’s penetrating counter air (PCA) platform, the service’s next standoff aircraft to address air superiority gaps, comes online.

The president’s recent budget request boosted funding for the next generation air dominance effort, but USAF officials have said PCA would not reach initial operational capability until the mid- to late-2020s.

Parker doesn’t believe the advanced Eagle would serve as a candidate for the future fighter contest, noting that the US government is looking at a different type of platform. Still, he hints that technology developed on the F-15 allows Boeing to change the aircraft’s outer mould line very easily. When asked whether Boeing’s PCA pitch would include the same Advanced Eagle capabilities with a different outer mould line, Parker demurred.

“We have a lot of space and a lot of power available, so things like Talon HATE, we can do lots of things much more quickly than other fifth gen aircraft,” he says. “But I think PCA is going to be different from a wrapper perspective.”

unicorn - 19-6-2017 at 07:46 PM

Boeing's been talking up sales of the Hornets and F15s for a while, but the Super Hornet's been getting the F35s scraps (Canada) and the Eagle's not even getting those.

buglerbilly - 2-7-2017 at 05:02 PM

French Mirage Air-to-ground 2000D Getting Weapon System Upgrade

Jun 23, 2017

Thierry Dubois | Aviation Week & Space Technology

What had been designed in the late 1970s as an air-to-air fighter and subsequently transformed into an air-to-ground attack aircraft will survive in that variant until 2030 in the French forces.

The Mirage 2000D, an evolution of the Mirage 2000, is to be upgraded with an improved weapon system and better connectivity. What triggered the decision was the revised Rafale procurement plan—the next Rafale handover to the French Air Force will not happen until 2020, an outcome of the 2014-19 defense budget, which calls for a reduced delivery rate.

In 2013, then-Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian made a huge bet that Dassault export sales would offset the cut. Le Drian’s diplomatic efforts paid off, with three export contracts signed in 2015 and 2016. To maintain its capability, the French Air Force managed to obtain a concession in return.

New Capabilities for the Upgraded Mirage 2000D
- Gun pod
- New firing-control system
- Infrared MICA missiles for self-protection

The government determined the midlife update (MLU) will apply to all 55 Mirage 2000Ds in service. On the one hand, the undisclosed investment will be entirely borne by the French taxpayer, as the MLU will not be offered to export customers. On the other hand, the Mirage is less expensive to operate than the Rafale.

Most conspicuous on the upgraded aircraft will be a gun pod. It will meet a long-expressed need of crews. A gun is suitable for ground targets in asymmetric conflicts, for instance. The Mirage 2000D is being currently used by the French Air Force in Africa’s Sahel region for Operation Barkhane, fighting terrorists who mostly use light weapons.

The Mirage 2000D will reuse gun pods from retired Mirage F1s. A gun pod is considered less precise than a built-in gun.

However, that solution would have been complex to retrofit, French procurement agency DGA says. Moreover, the gun pod will be exchangeable with a Damocles laser targeting pod. The cockpit will feature a new firing-control system with dynamic symbology on the head-up display.

Overall, firing will be more straightforward. The current Mirage 2000D has an integrated firing-control system. The weapon system officer cannot fire until the “navigation-and-attack system” authorizes him to, which can be too long a process, says a DGA engineer. On the upgraded variant, each weapon will have its own firing-control system.

The existing navigation-and-attack system will be complemented by two computers, one for each crew member. “The air force will develop applications—for maps, for example,” the engineer says. The weapon system officer will benefit from a larger, touch-screen display.

The Mirage 2000D has been used for counterterrorism in Africa’s Sahel region since 2013. Credit: Wikimedia

DGA promises the 2000D will be “fully interoperable with allied armed forces,” as it will be brought up to the latest tactical data link standard.

For self-protection, infrared MICA missiles will replace the current Magic 2s. The aircraft will also become capable of carrying a combination of different bombs, whereas the current configuration has to be homogeneous.

In addition to the already agreed upgrade, the defense ministry is considering integrating Thales’s Talios laser targeting pod in lieu of the Damocles. Currently being developed for the Rafale, the Talios also has intelligence-gathering and network-centric warfare capacities.

Moreover, DGA and Dassault are mulling extending the airframe’s potential beyond the current 6,700 hr., which is already an increase over the initial 5,000 hr. 

Two aircraft are currently being refurbished—one from DGA and one from the air force—at Dassault’s production facility in Bordeaux. Dassault will use both for development. The airframer, which is the prime contractor along with missile supplier MBDA, will then supply retrofit kits. French Air Force maintenance technicians will implement them at their Clermont-Ferrand workshop.

Flight testing is planned in 2018-20 from Cazaux and Istres air bases, delivering the first eight upgraded Mirage 2000Ds in 2020. The rejuvenated fleet is hoped to last until at least 2030.

However, no plan for export is in the works. Mirage 2000s belonging to the 2000D’s generation and in service with foreign forces such as Taiwan have too-different specifications and computers.

All other versions of the Mirage 2000 are likely to retire earlier than the 2000D. The Mirage 2000N, a variant close to the 2000D but designed for nuclear strike, will retire in 2018.

The Mirage 2000D, which entered service in 1993, will coexist in the French air force with the Rafale’s advanced standard. The F3-R standard, which is to include the Talios, the air-to-air Meteor missile and a new refueling pod, is scheduled to reach initial operational capability next year. Details are scarce on the F4 standard, which will have improved networkcentric warfare capability and sensors. Evolutions in missiles and engines are planned, too. In 2023, an initial version of the F4 standard will precede the full F4 version, slated for 2025. 

buglerbilly - 18-7-2017 at 02:10 PM

Turkish F-16 jets to get structural upgrades

By: Burak Ege Bekdil, July 17, 2017

ANKARA, Turkey — A batch of 35 Turkish F-16 Block 30 fighter jets will undergo structural and avionic upgrades, Turkish aerospace sources have said.
A batch of 25 aircraft will be upgraded jointly by Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries, or TAI, as well as Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-16, they noted.
The remaining 10 aircraft will be upgraded at a Turkish Air Force support and maintenance unit in Eskisehir in Central Anatolia. Deliveries of the modernized aircraft will begin in 2018 and be completed by the end of 2023, officials said. 
The F-16s are the backbone of the Turkish fleet. 
In 2015, the Turkish Air Force received the last of a batch of F-16 fighter jets, which underwent a comprehensive upgrade. In 2011, the Turkish and U.S. governments signed a letter of offer and acceptance for the $1.1 billion modernization of 117 Turkish Air Force F-16s to a common avionics configuration. 

The upgrade created a common avionics configuration for the service's fleet of F-16 Block 40 and Block 50 aircraft. Systems integrated on Turkey's upgraded F-16s included:
- The AN/APG-69(V)9 radar installed on new F-16 advanced Block 50/52 aircraft.
- Color cockpit displays.
- The Modular Mission Computer and new avionics processors.
- The Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System.
- The Link 16 data link.
- New identification friend or foe transponders.
- AN/AVS-9 night vision goggles.
- Upgraded navigation systems.
- BAE Systems' AN/ALQ-178(V)5+ electronic warfare system, mounted internally, with radar-warning and jamming capabilities for aircraft self-protection.

The aircraft were also modified to accept new missile systems of unspecified types; some potential candidates include the AIM-9X Sidewinder, AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile and the MBDA Meteor.

Last year, TAI started negotiating with Pakistan to upgrade 74 Pakistani Air Force F-16 fighters. If finalized, the deal will involve upgrades on a batch of 74 Pakistani Air Force F-16 aircraft, including 14 fighters Pakistan will acquire from Jordan.
The Block 30 program will probably be the last upgrade effort involving F-16s, a Turkish military source said. The F-16s will then gradually be phased out as Turkey expects deliveries under the Joint Strike Fighter Program, while at the same time is trying to build an indigenous fighter jet on its own.

buglerbilly - 26-7-2017 at 04:30 PM

More Lethal Sting for RMAF's Hornets (excerpt)

(Source: New Straits Times; published July 24, 2017)

By Haris Hussain

“Stick me in this jet, and I’ll take her anywhere,” said a Royal Malaysian Air Force F/A-18D Hornet ‘driver’.”

The pilot’s confidence in the much-vaunted strike fighter’s ability to handle modern threats is due to the fact that the RMAF’s 20-year-old fleet recently underwent a comprehensive upgrade that gives it an even more lethal “sting”. The best just got better.

The programme, carried out in phases, was to enhance the Hornet’s combat effectiveness in its primary tasking in the air-to-air and air-to-ground roles.

This included the integration of four primary elements — Boeing’s Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), the super-agile, thrust-vectoring AIM-9X Sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missile, Global Positioning System (GPS) guidance kits for the GBU-31, -32, -38 and -54 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) “smart” bombs, and the Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) pods for the strike mission.

Air force chief General Datuk Seri Affendi Buang told the New Straits Times that the upgrades had given RMAF Hornets a “quantum leap in capability”.

“The upgrades will ensure the Hornet’s dominance in the modern battle space against a broad spectrum of airborne and surface threats for years to come,” said Affendi, who added that the upgrades put RMAF’s Hornets on par with Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block 1.

On Nov 28, 2011, Boeing was awarded a firm-fixed price order for “Engineering Change Proposal 618” (ECP 618) kits for all RMAF Hornets under the United States’ Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. The contract included training for ECP 618 and ECP 624, and the installation of other systems that made up the Malaysian upgrade.

Initial work was done at the Boeing plant in St Louis, Missouri, while subsequent airframes were modded at 18 Squadron’s home base — the “Hornet’s Nest” — in RMAF Butterworth. Work on the last airframe was completed in April 2015. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the New Straits Times website.


unicorn - 27-7-2017 at 11:51 AM

Isn't this the same upgrades the US and RAAF did almost a decade ago?

ADMK2 - 27-7-2017 at 11:51 PM

Quote: Originally posted by unicorn  
Isn't this the same upgrades the US and RAAF did almost a decade ago?

Yep. But hey, those 8 RMAF Hornets are 'crazy' lethal now...

Well they would be if they actually had AMRAAM, JSOW and all the stuff the US won't sell them / they can't afford anyway...

buglerbilly - 1-8-2017 at 01:39 PM

Government of Switzerland – F/A-18 Upgrades

(Source: Defense Security Cooperation Agency; issued July 28, 2017)

WASHINGTON --- The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Switzerland for F/A-18 upgrades. The estimated cost is $115 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.

The Government of Switzerland has requested the possible sale of a Service Life Extension Program for its F/A-18C/D aircraft to include up to fifty (50) Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS) with Concurrent Multi-Net 4 (CMN-4) capability; fifty (50) ARC-210 GEN 5 RT-1900A(C) radios w/Second Generation Anti-Jam Tactical UHF Radio for NATO (SATURN) frequency hopping; twenty (20) Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) Night Vision Cueing Display (NVCD); CIT Automated Dependence Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out; software enhancements to the APG-73 radar; improvements to the F/A-18 Software Configuration Set (SCS) 29C; and sustainment for the ALQ-165 Airborne Self Protection Jammer (ASPJ) system.

Operational support for these modifications will be provided through upgrades to the purchaser’s unique Mission Data System. Also included are: system integration and testing; software development and integration; support equipment; spare and repair parts; maintenance personnel and pilot familiarization training; software support; publications and technical documents; U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance; and other related elements of logistics and program support.

The estimated total case value is $115 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of Switzerland which has been, and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe. Switzerland is also a member of the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) program.

The proposed sale will allow the Swiss Air Force to extend the useful life of its F/A-18 fighter aircraft and enhance their survivability. Further, the proposed sale will increase Switzerland’s tactical aviation operational capabilities. Switzerland will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and support into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractors will be the Boeing Company, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, St. Louis, MO; Data Link Solutions LLC, Wayne, NJ; Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids, IA; Rockwell Collins ESA Vision System LLC, Fort Worth, TX. There are no known offset agreements associated with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government personnel or contractor representatives to Switzerland. However, multiple trips to Switzerland involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives will be required for technical reviews/support, and program management.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.


buglerbilly - 3-8-2017 at 01:59 PM

Three Philippine C-130s to get avionics upgrade

03 August, 2017 SOURCE: BY: Greg Waldron Singapore

Manila plans to upgrade the avionics of three Lockheed Martin C-130 transport aircraft.

The upgrade will involve converting the cockpit from analogue to digital, and integrating a glass cockpit that includes touch screen displays, says the country's air force in a statement.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the Philippines operates five C-130s: one C-130B, two C-130Hs, and two C-130Ts. The average age of these aircraft is 40.2 years.

Manila did not specify which aircraft will be upgraded, but there is a significant spread in ages across the fleet.

The two C-130Ts are of early 1980s vintage, but spent most of their operational lives with the US Marine Corps before being transferred the Philippine air force in 2016.

The C-130Hs, meanwhile, date from the mid-1970s, and the C-130B was delivered in 1961.

buglerbilly - 3-8-2017 at 02:40 PM

Thailand’s Air Force requests funds to cover F-5 Tiger II upgrades

By: Mike Yeo   9 hours ago

A T-5 aircraft prepares for flight operations during Cope Tiger 13 at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, on March 12, 2013. (2nd Lt. Jake Bailey/U.S. Air Force)

MELBOURNE, Australia — The Royal Thai Air Force has requested Cabinet approval for funds to upgrade four more Northrop Grumman F-5 Tiger II interceptors, adding to an earlier contract to upgrade 10 aircraft, the service said.

The Air Force also provided additional details of the upgrade, which includes new data links, multi-mode radars, new weapons and electronic warfare systems. The upgraded aircraft, known as the F-5T Super Tigris, will also incorporate structural improvements that the Air Force says will add approximately 15 years to its service life.

The upgrade to the four aircraft in this latest phase will cost $96.1 million, which will see the installation of the Link-T tactical data link, connecting the aircraft to the Air Force’s command-and-control network and improving the networking capability of the type.

A new multi-mode radar, which the service says will provide the Super Tigris with beyond-visual-range capability, will be fitted, which will also have a synthetic aperture mode for high-resolution ground mapping. The radar type was not disclosed, although it is believed to be Elta ELM-2032 from Israel. Leonardo had also previously offered its Grifo X-band multi-mode radar to Thailand.

Thailand’s F-5 interceptors were already using the Israeli Rafael Python-4 agile short-range air-to-air missile and Elbit DASH IV helmet-mounted sight, and will now also add the Rafael Litening 3 targeting pod and Skyshield electronic countermeasures pod to its inventory. The communications suite of the Super Tigris will also be replaced with the jam-resistant HAVE QUICK II frequency-hopping sets.

This latest request will constitute the second phase of Thailand’s Super Tigris upgrade program. Israel’s Elbit had  announced in October 2014 that it had secured an $85 million contract to perform an avionics upgrade to F-5s for an unnamed customer in Asia, although Thai sources have since confirmed that the country was the customer involved.

The Air Force’s Super Tigris jets are assigned to the 211 Squadron at Ubon in east Thailand. This upgrade will see the type flying until the 2030s, serving alongside Thailand's Saab JAS-39C/D Gripens and Lockheed Martin F-16A/B Fighting Falcons.

A senior Air Force officer previously told Defense News that Singapore has donated a number of its retired F-5s to Thailand for use as spares, with other sources putting the number of airframes at about 10.

Thailand’s Air Force is also currently upgrading 18 of its newer F-16s with new radars and other improvements that include the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System and the capability to fire the Diehl BGT IRIS-T air-to-air missile.

bug2 - 15-8-2017 at 11:42 AM

Thailand’s Latest F-5 Upgrade Features Israeli Kit

by Chen Chuanren - August 10, 2017, 7:11 AM

Yet another upgrade for the Royal Thai Air Force’s fleet of F-5 fighters. (Photo: Chris Pocock AIN)

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) is seeking government approval to upgrade four more Northrop F-5E Tiger II fighters, adding to the 10 that have been modernized since 2015. Rafael of Israel is providing most of the new avionics and weapons.

The upgrade is known as the Super Tigris, and the RTAF hopes it will extend the airframe life of its F-5s from 7,200 to 9,600 hours, or an additional 15 years. The fleet has already undergone two major upgrades since the type entered service in 1978. The last upgrade made the Thai F-5s compatible with the Python 4 short-range missile and DASH IV helmet mounted sight, as well as Hands On Throttle-And-Stick (HOTAS).

The latest Phase II upgrade aims to give the Tiger beyond-visual-range capabilities, and multiple Thai sources believe that Elta’s EL/M-2032 radar will be fitted and certified with Python 5 and Derby BVR missiles; the Litening 3 targeting pod; Sky Shield jamming pod; and Link-T datalink. Link-T is RTAF’s own network, developed in a joint venture between Thailand’s Avia and Saab, and is currently found on the RTAF’s JAS-39 Gripen and F-16A/B MLU fighters.

The cockpit avionics will be changed to two multifunction color displays; have Quick II frequency hopping radio; and a digital video and data recorder (DVDR) installed. The total cost for Phase II is estimated to be approximately $96.1 million.

A Thai source estimates that the first upgraded F-5 will be rolled out in the last quarter of this year.

unicorn - 15-8-2017 at 09:05 PM

Those F5s are tired old birds.

Good for dropping bombs on poorly equipped insurgents but not much more.

bug2 - 30-8-2017 at 02:22 PM

Elbit wins Asia-Pacific F-5 upgrade work

29 August, 2017 SOURCE: BY: Dominic Perry London

Elbit Systems has won a $93 million contract from an undisclosed customer in the Asia-Pacific region for the upgrade of its Northrop F-5 fighters.

To be conducted over a three-year period, the modification will see the Israeli firm install a number of systems to the legacy type.
These include head-up displays, modernised avionics, and updated radar and weapons systems.

Flight Fleets Analyzer lists South Korea as operating the largest F-5 fleet in the region, with 134 examples in service, followed by Thailand (34) and Indonesia (9).

Yoram Shmuely, general manager of Elbit Systems' aerospace division, says: “We are proud to have been selected to perform this upgrade program, building on our vast know-how and experience in F-5 modernisation projects."

In 2004 Elbit Systems was awarded an $85 million contract from an undisclosed Asian customer, widely believed to be the Royal Thai Air Force, for avionics upgrades of its F-5s.

bug2 - 30-8-2017 at 02:24 PM

Israel to sell F-16As with upgrade package

29 August, 2017 SOURCE: BY: Arie Egozi London

Normally fierce rivals, Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries are co-operating on an upgrade package for elderly Lockheed Martin F-16As.

Israel retired its "Netz" fighters earlier this year and is now looking to sell the 40-strong inventory, which would be extensively modernised by the partners.

No details of the enhancements has been revealed, but the Israeli air force previously upgraded of its F-16C/Ds under the "Barak 2020" initiative.

The aircraft gained an avionics and mission system enhancement, as well as structural strengthening.

Modifications will begin only when a customer has signed for the aircraft.

The F-16As have been in Israeli service since 1980, but most recently have been employed as aggressor aircraft for training missions.

bug2 - 19-9-2017 at 05:05 PM

Jet Upgrade Costs Balloon to US$4.31bn

(Source: Taipei Times; published Sept 16, 2017)

By Lo Tien-pin and William Hetherington

Tsk, tsk, fancy the USA asking the Taiwanese to pay for the Upgrade development(s)...........rotten bar stewards! :no::no::no:

Upgrades to the nation’s fleet of F-16 jets will cost the nation about NT$129.6 billion (US$4.31 billion), more than NT$19.6 billion higher than the original estimate, a military source said yesterday.

The sudden increase in the cost of the upgrades includes US military demands that Taiwan shoulder more of the research costs associated with improving the jets’ capabilities and the cost of the anti-radiation missiles (ARM) that the US has agreed to fit to the aircraft, the source said.

Price rises during weapons procurement from the US are not uncommon, the source said, citing US requests for NT$10.1 billion over the original NT$30.8 billion cost of the purchase of a long-range radar warning system in 2012.

The two sides entered several rounds of negotiation before a final agreement was met on that deal, the source added.

The upgrades will give the nation’s aging fleet of F-16A and F-16B aircraft the new F-16V designation.

The F-16V will feature an AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array radar, an upgraded mission computer system and cockpit improvements.

The nation has 144 F-16s all of which are to be upgraded, the source said, adding that the original NT$110 billion was expected to be paid by 2023. The cost increase means that military budgets for the next six years will need to be adjusted, the source said.

The original agreement to upgrade the jets was made in September 2011, and more recent negotiations saw the procurement of ARM missiles and Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) systems, the source said, adding that while high-level military personnel hope to acquire US weapons and upgrade defenses, increased costs mean future purchases might need to be done in a piecemeal fashion.

The source said that while the government might have known that purchasing the ARM and JSOW systems would increase costs, officials suggested that the purchase of the weapons could be put on hold.

Amendments to the defense budget are to be discussed at the legislative session that begins on Friday, the source said, adding that a more complete explanation for the discrepancy from the original cost of upgrading the jets would also be discussed.


bug2 - 20-9-2017 at 01:26 PM

Boeing Selects Lockheed’s Legion Pod For F-15C

Sep 19, 2017

James Drew | Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

Legion Pod is a passive infrared sensor offered by Lockheed for U.S. Air Force F-15C (pictured) and F-16 fighter aircraft.
Lockheed Martin

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland—Boeing has chosen Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod long-range infrared search and track (IRST) sensor for the Boeing F-15C Eagle.

Legion Pod is based on Lockheed’s IRST21, which was developed for the U.S. Navy’s Boeing-built F/A-18 Super Hornet.

The IRST21 has been adapted to meet the needs of Air Force F-15C squadrons, whose primary mission is to clear the skies of enemy aircraft. Lockheed has been competing against Northrop Grumman’s rival OpenPod IRST system.

Lockheed announced Boeing’s Legion Pod pick on Sept. 19 during the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber conference here. Boeing acquired the F-15 production line through its merger with McDonnell Douglas, and is the Air Force’s go-to contractor for Eagle sustainment and modernization.

The Air Force designated Boeing as the source-selection authority for the IRST upgrade instead of holding its own government-led competition, thereby avoiding the potential for bid protests and contracting-related delays.

Boeing expects to award Lockheed a contract for development and production of Legion Pod next year.

Legion Pod is produced by Lockheed’s Missiles and Fire Control division, based in Orlando, Florida. The group’s vice president of fire control programs, Paul Lemmo, says Legion Pod will fill the Air Force’s “passive attack capability gap.”

Lockheed’s IRST products already are supplied to international Boeing F-15 customers. The company says it has delivered over 130 IRST21 units and Legion Pod has completed 25 flight tests on the F-15C and F-16. The first unit will be delivered to Boeing in 2018 and “additional deliveries are planned for 2019.”

“Our proven partnerships with Boeing will ensure successful execution of the F-15C Legion Pod program for the U.S. Air Force,” Lemmo says.

bug2 - 17-10-2017 at 05:30 PM

Thales Develops Active Array Radar for HAL

(Source: Hindu Business Lines; posted Oct 16, 2017)

BENGALURU, India --- Thales has developed an active array radar that meets the specific needs of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), to equip the 80 TEJAS Mk1A, the multirole Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) operated by the Indian Air Force.

The radar has successfully completed an initial flight test campaign designed to measure its performance level.

In order to meet the needs of the Indian manufacturer HAL, Thales is offering a lightweight, compact active array radar. The latter is a result of Thales’ expertise as regards the development and mastery of active array technologies – as demonstrated by the RBE2 radar installed on Rafale – combined with the operational reliability of this combat-proven technology. The RBE2 radar has actually been operated by the armed forces since 2012.

The tests conducted during summer 2017 at the Cazaux air base in France, on a test bench aircraft, focussed on metrological analyses of the radar performance. These test flights proved that the radar is fully operational and perfectly corresponds to the specific requirements of HAL for its combat and air superiority missions. It is therefore ready and able to adapt to the tight schedule imposed by the Mk1A LCA.

Thales radar is an advanced Fire Control Radar (FCR) designed for air-to-air superiority and strike missions, based on fully solid-state Active Electronically Scanning Array (AESA) technology, enabling the radar to achieve long detection ranges, high mission reliability and multi-target tracking capabilities.


bug2 - 18-10-2017 at 02:49 PM

State Department approves F-16V sale to Greece

17 October, 2017 SOURCE: BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

Greece has moved a step closer upgrading a fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16s with new radars, software-defined radios and other equipment.

The US State Department has approved a package of upgrades valued at $2.4 billion to raise the Hellenic Air Force's fleet to the F-16V standard, a Defense Security Cooperation Agency notice says.

During a joint speech at the White House with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece this week, President Donald Trump highlighted the potential sale and praised Greece’s commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The president has criticised other NATO allies for not meeting failing to commit funds worth more than 2% of gross domestic product to national security.

“I also commend Greece for being one of the few NATO countries currently spending at least 2% of GDP (gross domestic product) on defence,” Trump says..

An upgrade to the F-16V configuration would represent a critical boost to the cash-strapped Hellenic Ministry of National Defense, which has operated under a constrained budget since the 2009 economic crisis. Meanwhile, Greece has watched its regional rival Turkey move forward with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II and now its indigenous next-generation TF-X stealth fighter.

The sale, if Greece signs a contract, would replace Northrop Grumman's mechanically scanned APG-68 radars with the active electronically scanned APG-83, which is also known as Scaleable Agile Beam Radar (SABR). The F-16V also would feature the Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio Systems (MIDS-JTRS).

Greece flies a mix of GE Aviation F110-powered Block 30 and Block 50 F-16s, plus the Pratt & Whitney F100-powered Block 52 version.

bug2 - 14-12-2017 at 09:42 AM

IAI outlines Kfir developments for Colombia, Sri Lanka, ATAC

Gareth Jennings - Jane's Defence Weekly

13 December 2017

A Colombian air force technician sits on the canard of a Kfir during a 'Red Flag' exercise in 2012. Colombia has now received back into service the last of 22 upgraded Kfirs, and IAI is talking to Sri Lanka about getting that country's aircraft returned to service. Further, the company is continuing discussions with US-based ATAC about offloading Kfirs previously earmarked for Argentina. Source: US Air Force

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has noted a number of developments for its Kfir fighter, including the conclusion of an upgrade programme for Colombia, plans to upgrade and return to service aircraft for Sri Lanka, and ongoing efforts to sell additional aircraft to a US ‘Red Air’ contractor.

Speaking to Jane’s on 12 December, a senior IAI official said that the last of 22 upgraded Block 60 Kfirs was being returned to the Colombian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Colombiana: FAC) on the same day, while the company is in talks with the Sri Lankan government to upgrade and return to service its five grounded Kfir fighters. Further to these two efforts, IAI is also continuing discussions with Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) about adding to its Kfir fleet with aircraft previously earmarked for Argentina.

With regard to the Colombian upgrade, the president and general manager of IAI’s LAHAV Division, Benjamin Cohen, explained, “Colombia is receiving today the last of 22 Block 60 Kfirs that have been upgraded with new 4.5 Generation avionics. This gives the aircraft a very high capability that is comparable to the F-16 Block 52. This work was done in Colombia, and we have also delivered two new upgraded”.

FAC Kfir aircraft participated in the US Air Force’s ‘Red Flag’ exercise in 2012, since when they have received the upgrades. “The newly modernised aircraft are now ready for the next ‘Red Flag’ to be held between February and March,” Cohen said, adding, “Previously they have shown a very good performance, and I hope that this time they will do even better.” While the FAC said in 2013 that it was looking for a replacement for the Kfir, Cohen feels that this plan is no longer being pursued. “As I understand it they will now continue with them, or why else upgrade them?

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bug2 - 14-12-2017 at 07:50 PM

Fresh upgrade boosts Colombia's Kfir fleet

13 December, 2017 SOURCE: BY: Arie Egozi Tel Aviv

Israel Aerospace Industries has upgraded the Colombian air force's Kfir fighters to its latest C-60 standard, enabling the type to carry an expanded range of weapons and sensors.

Benjamin Cohen, general manager of IAI's Lahav division, says the avionics suite at the heart of the upgrade is similar to the one installed in the Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 52.

In its C-60 configuration, the Kfir receives a "zero-hour" GE Aviation J79 engine, and retains the Israeli-produced type's Elta Systems EL/M-2032 active electronically scanned array radar. This uses an open-architecture design, enabling customers to install other systems to their aircraft.

Colombia had previously modernised its Kfirs to IAI's C-10/12 configuration, fielding its first example in that standard in 2009.

In a further boost for the nation's air force, Bogotá also has acquired two Kfir TC-2 two-seat trainers. The assets will replace four aircraft lost to attrition between 2009 and 2014.

Colombian officials had considered returning two surplus Dassault Mirage 2000-5s to use before buying the additional Kfirs several months ago.

Flight Fleets Analyzer records the Colombian air force as having an active fleet of 21 of the IAI-produced combat aircraft, with its newly acquired trainers yet to enter use.

bug2 - 22-12-2017 at 04:54 PM

Taiwan fighter jets get new electronic warfare capabilities in latest upgrade

By: Mike Yeo   11 hours ago

A Taiwanese Air Force Mirage 2000-5 in the foreground and an AIDC F-CK-1 IDF in the background. (Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense)

MELBOURNE, Australia — Taiwan has completed an upgrade program of its indigenous fighter fleet, with the last two upgraded aircraft handed over to the country’s Air Force on Thursday.

According to a news report by the Taiwanese military’s official news agency, Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation handed over the upgraded F-CK-1 Ching-kuo Indigenous Defense Fighter in a ceremony attended by Air Force Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Hu Kai-Hung.

The ceremony marks the completion of Phase 2 the Hsiang-chan program to upgrade 56 aircraft to F-CK-1C/D standard. Phase 1 of the program saw 71 aircraft upgraded starting from 2009.

The upgraded aircraft feature a new glass cockpit, a 32-bit flight control computer and improved electronic warfare capabilities. The landing gear was strengthened and a digital anti-skid system added, although earlier plans to fit conformal fuel tanks to the fleet was abandoned.

The aircraft will also be able to carry the Wan Chien air-to-ground, subsonic standoff cruise missile developed by Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, or NCSIST, which was first seen in 2014 and believed to have a range of about 150 miles.

Meanwhile, Air Force officials have met with representatives from France to discuss the possibility of upgrading Taiwan’s fleet of Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter jets. Taiwanese Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Cheng Rong-Feng told Taiwanese legislators Thursday that a request was submitted during a defense cooperation meeting between the two countries in June.

He added that France has since sought information from the Taiwanese Air Force regarding the scope of work for any potential upgrade program, as well as the number of aircraft earmarked for the upgrade. However, following the briefing, Taiwan’s parliament decided to freeze funds for the upgrade pending a written report about the program from the service.

Taiwan has already separately allocated $16.7 million for the NCSIST to carry out the life extension of the Mirage 2000’s Mica and Magic 2 air-to-air missiles. Taiwan operates 55 Mirage 2000-5 fighters out of 60 originally delivered in 1997 and 1998.

The Air Force is also in the midst of upgrading 144 Lockheed Martin F-16A/B Fighting Falcon fighter jets, which will be fitted with the active electronically scanned Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar, a new mission computer and an electronic warfare suite.

bug2 - 27-12-2017 at 07:35 PM

American pilots now in Taiwan to test 4 upgraded F-16Vs; AIM-9X Block II delivery next year

A report by Taiwan’s Up Media says Aerospace Industrial Development Corp’s (AIDC) has finished the modernization of four Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) F-16s to the V-model and American test pilots have arrived on the island to carry out ground testing.

By Al Jazeera English (Taiwan F-16 Debate) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Flight testing will commence next year and another article said the AIM-9X Block II dogfight missiles will be delivered in 2018 too.


ADMK2 - 30-12-2017 at 12:06 AM

Interesting to see if the French upgrade deal for M2K-5 fighters goes anywhere. Could be a sign that perhaps Rafale could be available in years to come?

Love to see China’s reaction if Taiwan splurged on a new fleet of Rafale F4’s...

Wolftrap - 30-12-2017 at 05:03 AM

By French export rules no interests, I’d say you are right. Under economic interests, China will be less than amused military-wise, technology-wise China would likely laugh its ass off as the Taiwanese Defence Forces have the reputation to leak a lot.

unicorn - 30-12-2017 at 11:26 PM

Leak like a sieve in fact. Taiwanese spy scandals within the defence forces are an annual occurance.

bug2 - 25-1-2018 at 11:46 AM

Spain receives first P1EB-standard Typhoons

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

23 January 2018

Spain’s first two P1EB Eurofighter Typhoons are now operational, having been delivered to the air force in December 2017. Source: Eurofighter

Spain has received its first Eurofighter Typhoons to be upgraded with the latest-standard multirole capabilities.

The first two aircraft fitted to the Phase 1 Enhancements B Further Work (P1EB FW) configuration have been delivered to the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire Español: EdAE), Eurofighter partner company Airbus Defence and Space (DS) announced on 22 January.

The new-build Tranche 3 fighters were built at Airbus DS’ Getafe facility near Madrid to the same configuration that is being retrofitted into the aircraft of other partner nations. The Spanish Directorate General for Armaments and Materiel (DGAM) procurement agency took delivery of the aircraft on 22 December 2017, after which they were ferried to Albacete Air Force Base. The remaining six of the 73 aircraft currently contracted by Spain will be delivered to the same P1EB FW standard during 2018 and 2019.

The P1E upgrade affords a true ‘swing-role’ capability, whereby the pilot can seamlessly switch between air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.

In the air-to-surface mode it comprises integration of the Rafael Litening III advanced targeting pod and the Raytheon Paveway IV, Enhanced Paveway II dual-mode laser/GPS-guided bombs (LGBs), and the Paveway II LGB. The air-to-surface helmet-mounted sight system is also integrated, giving the Litening pod a significantly wider field-of-view.

Air-to-air enhancements of P1E include the digital integration of the Diehl IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missile to provide high off-boresight targeting and firing via the head-up display and helmet-mounted display (HMD).

Improved communications and voice control are also added, and greater interoperability with coalition forces is be achieved through the integration of secure Mode 5 identification, friend or foe (IFF) and an enhanced Link 16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Link 16.

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bug2 - 6-2-2018 at 09:44 PM

USAF flies CFT-equipped F-15C for the first time

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's International Defence Review

06 February 2018

An F-15C from the Louisiana Air National Guard’s (ANG’s) 159th Fighter Wing seen fitted with its new conformal fuel tanks. Source: Boeing (via Twitter)

The US Air Force (USAF) has flown a Boeing F-15C Eagle air defence fighter fitted with conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) for the first time, the manufacturer announced on 5 February.

An aircraft from the Louisiana Air National Guard’s (ANG’s) 159th Fighter Wing conducted the maiden flight of the CFT-equipped F-15C, paving the way for a significant increase in the platform’s homeland defence capabilities.

As previously related to Jane’s , the F-15C CFT upgrade has been processed through the NATO Support and Procurement Agency rather than the normal US contracting agencies, as it is the quickest means for the customer to field the capability. The CFTs are being built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) as a subcontractor to Boeing.

The F-15C CFT upgrade for the ANG is part of a wider USD12 billion modernisation effort taking place across the range of Eagle types being flown in the USAF inventory. As the largest operator of the Eagle by some margin, the USAF fields the platform in its F-15C air-superiority guise; its F-15D operational-trainer guise; and in its F-15E Strike Eagle ground-attack guise.

The USAF’s upgrade roadmap is currently funded through to 2025, with several enhancements, such as the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), already carried out and fielded.

The latest round of upgrades is built around a new advanced mission computer. The F-15C fighter and F-15E strike variant Eagles are being fitted with the new Suite 9/ Advanced Display Core Processor (ADCP) II computer hardware and software package that are designed to power advanced capabilities.

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bug2 - 8-2-2018 at 07:03 PM

SINGAPORE: Lockheed promotes IRST for region’s fighters

08 February, 2018 SOURCE: BY: Greg Waldron Singapore

Lockheed Martin is promoting infrared search and track (IRST) to help upgrade the sensor capabilities of the region’s fighter fleets.

Unlike radar, IRST is a passive sensor. It detects targets by sensing their IR signatures. This eliminates the need for an aircraft to give away its position through the transmission of radar waves.

At a presentation at the Lockheed Chalet, Paul Lemno, vice president fire control, listed several attributes of IRST, which Lockheed packages in its Legion Pod system.

IRST offers a large field of regard and, unlike radar, is immune to electronic attack. In addition, the technology is improving, offering longer range than previous iterations of IRST technology.

While Lemno declined to discuss the range at which IRST can detect targets, he said that it can create tracks of sufficient quality to launch weapons.

On legacy aircraft, the Legion Pod can be installed on a centre line pod, or on a cheek station under an engine inlet. While IRST has definite utility, one area of weakness is overcast, cloudy weather, says Lemno.

Lockheed has implemented IRST on fighters such as the Boeing F/A-18 E/F, F-15C, and F-16.

bug2 - 9-2-2018 at 01:09 PM

BAE to upgrade HUD on UAE F-16 fleet

09 February, 2018 SOURCE: BY: Greg Waldron Singapore

Lockheed Martin has tapped BAE Systems to upgrade heads-up displays (HUD) for the United Arab Emirates F-16 Block 60 fighters.

The work will see the aircraft's existing cathode ray tube projector with a digital projector, says BAE in a statement.

“To the naked eye, the pilot sees no difference in performance when our Digital Light Engine HUD is installed," says Andy Humphries, director of advanced Optics at BAE Systems. "It retains the existing optics, video camera, and control panel."

“The real difference is the significant cost savings our customer will experience over the product’s life cycle as a result of reduced maintenance and spares requirements.”

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the UAE air force operates 78 F-16 Block 60s.

bug2 - 24-2-2018 at 04:22 PM

New wings on Qatar F-15s pave upgrade path for USAF

23 February, 2018 SOURCE: BY: Stephen Trimble Orlando

A Qatari order for the F-15 Advanced Eagle will introduce a new structural upgrade for the wing that could be offered as a service life extension option for the US Air Force’s F-15Cs and for the fleets of other international customers, a top Boeing manager says.

The government of Qatar awarded Boeing a $6.2 billion contract for 36 F-15QA (Qatari Advanced) fighters in late December that extends the St. Louis-based production line through the end of 2022.

The F-15QA introduces a number of previously-announced features, including an advanced cockpit system with a large format display, says Steve Parker, Boeing’s vice-president of F-15 programmes.

In an interview with FlightGlobal on 22 February, Parker also confirmed the F-15QA also will be delivered with a redesigned wing that strengthens the internal structure without changing the aerodynamics,. The redesign was made possible by using advanced new manufacturing techniques developed within Boeing in the last few years, he adds.

As the F-15QA enters development, Boeing sees opportunities to replace the wings on existing F-15Cs, if the USAF decides to keep the twin-engined fighter in service for more than two more decades.

Over the past two years, the USAF has discussed options for keeping a subset of the F-15C fleet in service through the mid- to late-2030s. Those aircraft would require a longeron replacement with a $1 million cost per shipset, Parker says.

Some Air Force officials also are discussing options to keep the F-15Cs in service even longer, which could require a wing replacement, Parker says.

The additional life extension is currently “not required, but it my be something they want to do”” Parker says. “We’re just giving them some options.”

Other customers, including the Japan Air Self-Defence Force, also may consider structural upgrades to keep their F-15s in service beyond planned retirement dates, Parker says.

Boeing showed off other possible upgrades for the 45-year-old F-15 fleet in a virtual reality display set up inside the exhibit hall of the Air Warfare Symposium on 22-23 February. The digital imagery included a concept for a “conformal technology pod”. It would replace the conformal fuel tank with a pod that can carry advanced sensors, such as a side-looking synthetic aperture radar. Boeing also showed images of an F-15 adorned with the “Amber” multiple ejector rack, allowing the fighter to carry up to 22 air-to-air missiles.

Those proposed new upgrades come after a multi-year revitalisation of F-15 capabilities, including a new mission computer, electronic-scan radar, a new electronic warfare suite, fly-by-wire flight controls, newly-activated weapon stations and the more powerful GE Aviation F110-GE-129 engines.

“We’re just taking the F-15 through a metamorphosis,” Parker says.

Moreover, plans to win new orders for the F-15. Qatar ordered 36, but is approved by the US Congress to order up to 72, Parker says. Boeing also is delivering a requested classified briefing about the F-15 to the German air force, as one of several candidates to replace the Germany’s fleet of Panavia Tornados, Parker says.

“It’s not dead by a long shot,” he adds. “It’s got a bright future ahead.”

bug2 - 22-3-2018 at 07:42 PM

Boeing to award F-15C Legion Pod contract before end of year

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's International Defence Review

21 March 2018

A Legion Pod fitted to the centreline of an F-15C Eagle. Boeing expects to award a contract to Lockheed Martin for the further development and production of the IRST pod. Source: Lockheed Martin

Boeing expects to award Lockheed Martin a full development and production contract before the end of the year for the integration of the Legion Pod onto the F-15C Eagle combat aircraft, a senior official told Jane’s on 22 March.

The modular infrared search-and-track (IRST) sensor package has already flown on the Eagle, and has been chosen by the F-15 original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to replace the current interim IRST that is packaged in the Talon HATE communications pod carried on the aircraft’s centreline.

“Prime contractor Boeing and partner Lockheed Martin worked with the US Air Force [USAF] to conduct 11 test flights of the new system at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida in January,” Steve Parker, vice-president F-15 Programs at Global Strike, Boeing Military Aircraft, told Jane’s . “Legion Pod gives the F-15 the ability to search for and track targets in radar-denied environments. A full development and production contract award is expected later this year.”

Although a USAF platform and upgrade programme, the choice for the F-15C IRST system has been left to Boeing. IRST enables the host aircraft to acquire and track airborne targets through the heat generated by the jet engine and through aerodynamic heating of the airframe as it travels through the atmosphere. Being a passive system, the target aircraft does not know that it is being tracked.

The Legion Pod houses the IRST21 long-wave infrared sensor (officially designated AN/ASG-34), which is already fitted to the US Navy’s Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fleet as part of an interim drop tank/IRST sensor combination. As noted in Jane’s C4ISR & Mission Systems: Air , the Legion Pod is equipped with advanced networking and data processing technology, and also supports the emerging Multi-Domain Adaptable Processing System.

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bug2 - 24-4-2018 at 09:30 PM

US controls drive Chile towards Israeli upgrade for F-16s

Jose Higuera, Santiago - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

24 April 2018

The Chilean Air Force is looking again at putting some of its 46 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters through a service life extension programme (SLEP), local military sources have told Jane's .

The SLEP, which would incorporate changes to avionics and weapons, would free the aircraft from end user controls and limitations set by the United States under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system.

According to the sources, the deployment of F-16s armed with AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) to provide security over Santiago City during a 2013 summit between Latin American, Caribbean and EU leaders required US authorisation.

The Chilean authorities accepted those controls in 2002, when a first batch of 10 newly built F-16C/D Block 50 aircraft were ordered through the FMS system.

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bug2 - 26-4-2018 at 08:35 PM

ILA: Eurofighter to upgrade Typhoon engine to lift sales

25 April, 2018 SOURCE: BY: Michael Gubisch Berlin

Eurofighter will upgrade the engines and systems on its Typhoon combat aircraft as part of a bid to replace Germany’s fleet of Panavia Tornados and support efforts to sell additional aircraft to other European countries.

On 24 April, Airbus and Eurofighter submitted to Germany’s defence ministry an offer to replace the nation's 90 Tornados, which are to be phased out from 2025.

Eurofighter chief executive Volker Paltzo, speaking at the ILA air show in Berlin on 25 April, said that the consortium intends to increase the thrust of the Typhoon’s Eurojet EJ200 engine by “about 15%”, in order to boost payload and range. Each Typhoon is powered by a pair of the 13,500lb-thrust (60kN) engines.

Paltzo says the upgrade will also include additional capabilities for the Euroradar Captor-E active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar that has been in development since 2014.

Describing the Captor-E as a “real game changer” capable of simultaneously tracking multiple targets in the air and on the ground, he says the ongoing development effort includes a “growth plan” to further increase capabilities in future.

The Eurofighter represents a “perfect” and “logical” choice for Germany, because the country already operates 130 Typhoons and economies of scale would deliver savings in terms of both fleet introduction and costs per flight hour, says Paltzo.

Acquisition of the type would also be “the least risk solution” as “Germany knows, uses and understands our aircraft”, he adds.

Saying that Eurofighter expects to replace Germany’s full Tornado fleet, Paltzo asserts the Typhoon will deliver “every capability and perform every mission” that the country’s Tornados “currently” undertake. Berlin uses the ageing Panavia aircraft for roles including ground attack and electronic warfare.

In addition to the benefits for Germany, Paltzo says the selection of the twin-engined type would also be the “right choice for Europe”, because the production would sustain the region’s defence aerospace industry as a “natural bridge”, until a projected future European fighter programme is established.

France and Germany tentatively agreed in late 2017 to develop a future combat air system that is “currently” expected to enter service around 2040.

“The technologies we are developing for Eurofighter today will go hand in hand with those technologies we expect to see on a future European fighter programme – manned or unmanned,” says Paltzo.

He says that he expects the Eurofighter to stay in production into the 2030s, remaining in service until around 2060.

The consortium sees potential to sell a total of 300 additional aircraft, and has ongoing sales campaigns with the governments of Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Poland and Switzerland as they look to upgrade legacy fleets.

Of existing orders for about 620 aircraft, 536 units have been delivered.

Belgium is expected to make a decision by July about the acquisition of 35 aircraft; Eurofighter has recently submitted a final offer to Brussels, Platzo says. Finland is considering the purchase of 64 aircraft, while Switzerland is to decide by 2019 about an order for 30-40 units, he adds.

Bulgaria’s government is evaluating an order for at least eight units, while Poland is “still shaping its requirements”.

bug2 - 26-4-2018 at 09:06 PM

Israel outlines C-130H modernisation

26 April, 2018 SOURCE: BY: Arie Egozi Tel Aviv

Israel is to perform a major avionics modernisation on its 10-strong fleet of legacy Lockheed Martin C-130H transports.

Although a number of partial upgrades have previously been implemented, the Israeli air force says the latest effort will be "a complete revolution".

The enhancements will see engine management and navigation systems replaced with newer digital versions, an improved autopilot, and the installation of an up-to-date radar.

No details of the systems suppliers have been revealed, however, or the timeline for completion.

In addition, the air force has ordered a new simulator for the type, due for delivery in 2021, to reflect the changes to the aircraft.

bug2 - 30-4-2018 at 04:22 PM

April 28, 2018 / 8:08 PM / 2 days ago

Greece approves F-16 fighter jet upgrade deal with the United States

Reuters Staff

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece on Saturday approved a deal with the United States to upgrade dozens of its F-16 fighter jets at a cost of roughly 1.2 billion euros (1.06 billion pounds), a measure the bailed-out country said would not harm its future fiscal progress.

The potential deal to overhaul the aircraft came to light during a visit by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to the White House in October.

Greece’s top decision-making body on foreign affairs and defence matters, KYSEA, which Tsipras heads, unanimously sealed the agreement for the upgrade on Saturday, the premier’s press office said in a statement.

Three of the 85 jets earmarked for modernisation will be upgraded in the United States while the rest will be refurbished in Greece, a Greek defence ministry source said, adding that the cost would be about 1.2 billion euros.

The government said last year the overhaul would be paid in annual instalments of about 110 million euros over a decade.

Athens said on Saturday that Washington had accepted a revised Greek proposal that takes into consideration the country’s fiscal obligations in the coming years. It did not give details on the revised proposal.

Greece, which will exit its third international bailout in August but will still have to attain primary budget surpluses in the medium term, has said the deal should not worry its EU lenders.

Defence spending has been reduced during Greece’s seven-year debt crisis, which shrank the size of its economy by more than a quarter and drove its jobless rate to nearly 28 percent.

However, the country still spends about 2 percent of its gross domestic product — roughly 3.5 billion euros — on defence, more than the EU’s average. That is largely due to long-standing tensions with its neighbour and fellow NATO member Turkey, which have risen in recent months.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Helen Popper

bug2 - 5-5-2018 at 07:48 PM

New Life for F-16s a ‘Great Deal’ for Department of Defense, Taxpayers

(Source: Air Combat Command; issued May 03, 2018)

This US Air Force F-16C fighter of the Thunderbird aerobatic team is the first of 300 F-16C/Ds to receive structural modifications as part of the F-16 Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) that will keep them flying for decades. (USAF photo)

HILL AFB, Utah --- The Ogden Air Logistics Complex reached a major milestone in extending the life of one of the Air Force’s most tested and flown multi-role fighter fleets.

An Air Force Thunderbird jet is the first of what will be roughly 300 refurbished C and D model F-16’s that will roll off the shop floor of the 573rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron here after receiving multiple structure-strengthening modifications.

“As a former maintenance officer for the Thunderbirds, I can fully grasp the significance of this achievement by the 573rd AMXS,” said Brig. Gen. Stacey Hawkins, Ogden Air Logistics Complex commander. “Not only did the team increase aircraft availability for the Air Force’s most visible fighter squadron, but it paved the way for increasing combat lethality for our warfighters across the globe.”

The F-16 Service Life Extension Program will keep the jets flying until nearly 2050, thanks to a partnership between the Ogden Air Logistics Complex and the Air Force Lifecycle Management Center’s F-16 Systems Program Office.

The program combines a dozen structural modifications into one repeatable package – from bulkheads to wings and canopy. The jets, which became operational in 1979, and were originally deemed air worthy for up to 8,000 flight hours, will have their life extended up to 12,000 flying hours – possibly more, said Capt. Randy Nemerson, F-16 SLEP acquisition manager.

All the stateside SLEP modifications will be completed at Hill. Years of planning and testing have gone into the program here. AFLCMC, depot and contract engineers have worked together to lay the groundwork, said Nemerson.

The Thunderbird jet was the first of four F-16s that will be used as “validation and verification” aircraft. Maintainers use the challenges and lessons learned on these first aircraft to better establish the cost, workflow and timeline for the modifications.

“The Thunderbird jet presented some challenges. This is the largest structural upgrade we’ve ever done,” said Joe Gardenhour, civilian leader in the 573rd AMXS. “But we’re excited. This program moves beyond the usual modifications into a standard package of repairs, and it is going to bring stable workload into the depot for years to come.”

As with nearly every major maintenance program, SLEP is a group effort in the complex. The maintenance support group is hunting for space for the increased workload. The entire team is working on hiring, training and certifying a new crop of mechanics and technicians to take on SLEP.

In the commodities maintenance group, where F-16 wings will be refurbished, advanced and automated machinery needs to be purchased and installed along with older, refurbished machines and jigs.

Repairing the wings in-house is a big undertaking, doubling the squadron’s current wing workload, but engineers say it will save millions of dollars. Schedules between the back shops and aircraft maintenance also need to be closely coordinated so parts and tools are ready at the proper times for tear down and reassembly.

“This is really is a big initiative across the complex, but in commodities we support everyone – F-35, F-22, C-130, A-10s, so there’s always something new and we’re pretty accustomed to taking on the challenge,” said Shane Olsen, leader of the 533rd Commodities Maintenance Squadron.

Once the final processes and workforce are in place, the goal is to complete each SLEP jet in 9 months at a cost of $2.4 million, a small fraction of the cost of buying a new aircraft. The F-16 SPO is also working on a separate software and technology upgrade for the F-16.


bug2 - 10-5-2018 at 09:19 AM

First F-16 to receive life extension modifications rolls out of shop

09 May, 2018 SOURCE: BY: Garrett Reim Los Angeles

An Air Force Thunderbird jet was the first Lockheed Martin F-16 to have a service life extension – modifications that will add more than 4,000 flight hours to the aircraft’s lifetime.

The aircraft is one of about 300 refurbished C and D models of the F-16s that will roll off the shop floor of the 573rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah after receiving structure-strengthening modifications, the USAF announced on May 3.

The F-16 service life extension programme is aimed at keeping the fighters flying until close to 2050. The jets became operational in 1979 and were originally deemed air worthy for up to 8,000 flight hours, but will have their life extended up to 12,000 flight hours as part of the programme. The jets will receive a dozen structural modifications, including changes to their bulkheads, wings and canopy.

“The Thunderbird jet presented some challenges. This is the largest structural upgrade we’ve ever done,” said Joe Gardenhour, civilian leader in the 573rd AMXS. “This programme moves beyond the usual modifications into a standard package of repairs, and it is going to bring stable workload into the depot for years to come.”

The Thunderbird jet was the first of four F-16s that will be used as validation and verification aircraft. Maintainers will use lessons learned from these first aircraft to better establish the cost, workflow and timeline for the modification of future aircraft.

Once the final processes and workforce are in place, the USAF’s goal is to complete each fighter in 9 months at a cost of $2.4 million.

bug2 - 18-5-2018 at 09:41 PM

KAI and Rockwell Collins team up for Korean Chinook upgrade

Jon Grevatt, Bangkok - IHS Jane's Defence Industry

18 May 2018

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Rockwell Collins have signed an agreement to collaborate on upgrading the Republic of Korea Armed Forces’ Boeing CH-47D Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.

Under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) – signed on 17 May – the two companies will “technically collaborate on the design, modification [and] flight tests” of the Chinook helicopters, said KAI in a statement.

Collaboration will commence immediately in preparation for a tender that is expected to be issued later this year, it added.
In addition to the South Korean Chinook programme, KAI said the MoU would also provide an opportunity for the two companies to collaborate on exploring opportunities for aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) programmes in regional markets.

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bug2 - 22-5-2018 at 08:10 PM

Brazil launches Tucano modernisation programme

Santiago Rivas, Buenos Aires - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

22 May 2018

The Brazilian government is analysing proposals for the modernisation of 50 Embraer T-27 Tucano trainer aircraft flown by the air force’s Academia da Força Aérea military aviation school.

The modernisation will be focused on the cockpit, replacing the analogue instruments with multifunctional displays and new avionics under a programme called Projeto T-27M. The intention is to install one 10-inch or two 6-inch displays plus two smaller displays for each of the two crewmembers.

The new systems must not require structural modifications to the aircraft, which were delivered more than 30 years ago. The plan is to have two prototypes ahead of the main 48 production standard refits, with all 50 aircraft to be back in service within two years.

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bug2 - 25-5-2018 at 07:00 PM

Boeing expects Super Hornet Block 3 test aircraft delivery by end of 2019

Pat Host, Washington, DC - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

24 May 2018

Key Points

- Boeing expects two Super Hornet Block 3 test aircraft to be delivered at the end of 2019
- The Block 3 upgrades also include an improved cockpit display and radar

Boeing expects to deliver two F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block 3 test aircraft at the end of 2019, according to a company official.

Jennifer Splaingard, development programme manager for F/A-18 and EA-18, told reporters on 23 May that these two test aircraft will include Block 3’s new advanced cockpit system (ACS), which includes a new 25×48 cm touchscreen display that provides the pilot with the capability to see, track, and target multiple long-range targets generated by the common tactical picture.

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bug2 - 18-7-2018 at 08:57 AM

FARNBOROUGH: Lockheed selects BAE for F-16 computer upgrade

17 July, 2018 SOURCE: Flight Daily News BY: Stephen Trimble Farnborough

BAE Systems will supply new flight control computers potentially to upgrade Lockheed Martin F-16s operated by the UAE, the company announces today.

Lockheed selected BAE to supply the Digital Flight Control Computer for the fly-by-wire, single-engined fighter.

The initial order covers design, flight test and certification of the new computers, with a follow-on production order of 100 systems expected in 2020 and 2021.

Further orders could be signed under the current agreement to supply flight control computers for upgrades and “potential new builds of F-16s”, BAE says.

Bahrain has placed an order for the F-16 Block 70 to restart Lockheed’s assembly line, which is being moved to Greenville, South Carolina. Lockheed also is marketing the aircraft to the Indian military.

A total of up 315 units could be ordered for F-16s through 2028, BAE says.

bug2 - 30-7-2018 at 07:41 PM

IRGC reactivates and upgrades Su-22 strike jets

Reuben F Johnson, Kiev - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

27 July 2018

Weapons including what appear to be a Bina laser-guided missile and a glide bomb are seen displayed in front of one of the Su-22 strike aircraft. Source: Mehr News Agency

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced on 25 July that it had reactivated and upgraded 10 Sukhoi Su-22 aircraft.

Iranian media outlets reported that IRGC commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari and IRGC Aerospace Force commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh had attended a ceremony to mark the aircraft’s return to service. They cited Brig Gen Hajizadeh as saying the Su-22s can launch guided air-to-ground munitions and air-to-air missiles, as well as share data with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). He added that there is a plan to arm them with cruise missiles with a range of 1,500 km.

Iranian television showed footage of the Su-22s at a location that could be identified as the IRGC airbase next to Shiraz International Airport. The base was used by the IRGC’s Su-25s before they were transferred to Iraq in 2014: a donation that left the force without any fast jets until now.

The television coverage showed five Su-22s flying together and one on the ground carrying a targeting pod and what appeared to be a laser-guided munition that may have been a Bina.

Unveiled in 2014, the Bina looks like a US AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missile fitted with a semi-active laser seeker. At that time, it was seen being launched by one of the IRGC’s Su-25s.

The work on the Su-22s was reportedly done by Iranian experts without foreign assistance, which would have violated the sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic by the UN Security Council.

In the past, former Soviet repair plants were involved in assisting Iran with maintenance of its Russian-made equipment.

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bug2 - 31-7-2018 at 11:30 PM

Alsalam to modify Saudi F-15s to enhanced standard

31 July, 2018 SOURCE: BY: Craig Hoyle London

Alsalam Aerospace Industries has been awarded an almost $59.7 million, fixed-price contract to convert six Boeing F-15S fighters to the enhanced SA-model configuration for the Royal Saudi Air Force.

Detailed by the US Department of Defense in a 24 July contract notice, the award covers conversion activities to be conducted at Alsalam's Riyadh facilities by August 2020, along with programme management and labour costs.

Alsalam is already a component supplier to its part-owner Boeing on the new-build F-15SA, manufacturing and assembling wings, forward fuselages, pylons and adapters.

Boeing rolled out Riyadh's first F-15SA in April 2013, describing the update as offering "improved performance and increased survivability at a lower life-cycle cost" than previous models of the twin-engined type. A total of 84 new aircraft are being produced, while 68 others will undergo modernisation.

Updates include the installation of a Raytheon APG-63(V)3 active electronically scanned array radar, BAE Systems digital electronic warfare suite, and the addition of two more under-wing weapon stations.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows Saudi Arabia as currently operating 191 F-15s, with this total including 67 S-model examples, aged between 18 and 22 years, and 44 in the SA configuration, including three upgraded examples.

bug2 - 1-8-2018 at 09:31 AM

Kuwait to upgrade legacy Hornets with new countermeasures

Gareth Jennings, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

31 July 2018

Kuwait is to upgrade its Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornet combat aircraft with defensive countermeasures to be delivered by the end of March 2021.

According to the US Department of Defense (DoD), Raytheon has been awarded USD32 million to deliver F/A-18 CD-108B/ALE-50(V) control, dispenser, decoy, countermeasures (commonly known as the Integrated Multi-Platform Launch Controller [IMPLC]), Lot 13 full-rate production for the government of Kuwait. In all 38 IMPLCs will be procured to equip the Kuwaiti Air Force’s (KAF’s) legacy Hornet fleet.

The contract, which is included in a USD34.6 million award that contains the induction and repair of IMPLC assets in support of the US Navy, was announced on 30 July.

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bug2 - 15-9-2018 at 12:08 AM

Lockheed Martin to Upgrade Greek F-16 Fighter Jets (excerpt)

(Source: Greek City Times; posted Sept 13, 2018)

Lockheed Martin announced that it will launch the upgrade of 85 Greek F-16 fighter jets with the Block 70/72 Viper system next Monday.

Making the announcement today during a press conference in Thessaloniki was Lockheed Martin’s VP Business Development Initiatives in Europe Dennys Plessas, who explained the timetable of the upgrade and said that “a great part of the upgrade will take place in Greece.”

The first two years will be spent on engineering for the prototype and the registration of the systems. The installation on Greek fighter jets will take place during the third year of the program, and the Hellenic Airforce pilots will be trained in the fourth year. The training is anticipated to be brief, as he said, because of the expertise of Greek fighter pilots. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Greek City Times website.


bug2 - 23-9-2018 at 12:40 PM

Saab suggests capability upgrade for SAAF Gripens

21st September 2018

By: Rebecca Campbell
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Swedish aerospace and defence group Saab has proposed to the South African Air Force (SAAF) than it adopt the latest incremental update developed for the JAS39C and JAS39D Gripen fighter. The update is designated MS 20.

"The Gripen was developed with the concept of continuous upgrades – small upgrades every second or third year," explained Saab senior marketing executive: Middle East and Africa Mats Lundberg to Engineering News Online at the Africa Aerospace and Defence 2018 exhibition. "This was a requirement of the Swedish Air Force. They want to be ahead of the threats and have the latest technology. We believe we can do this best through continuous small upgrades."

The MS 20 upgrade had already been implemented by the Swedish, Czech and Hungarian Air Forces. "We are proposing that the other operators of the Gripen [South Africa and Thailand] also adopt the same standard," he stated. "It makes it easier for us to support the Gripen if all are to the same standard -- we are only a relatively small company!"

The SAAF's Gripens were currently to "quite good standard", he reported. The aircraft had been operated in South Africa for ten years and had undergone a number of upgrades already. But MS 20, which was a software package, would enable the aircraft to integrate new systems and capabilities.

For example, it would allow the aircraft to operate beyond visual range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAMs) – and Denel Dynamics was developing the Merlin BVRAAM. MS 20 would also increase the performance of the Gripen's radar and would allow the fitting of an automated Ground Collision Avoidance System. The Swedish Air Force was using MS 20 to improve the reconnaissance performance of its Gripens.

"A customer does not need to adopt the full range of capabilities offered under MS 20, only those that they need," assured Lundberg. "MS 20 also addresses obsolescence issues and forms part of obsolescence management, when it comes to software. It streamlines things."

The MS 20 package could be customised to meet the specific needs of each operator. In the case of South Africa, Saab would do a development study in conjunction with the SAAF and South African industry. Then a SAAF-customised MS 20 would be developed in South Africa and integrated on to the aircraft.

"It would then be verified using the test capability already established in South Africa -- the Gripen Fighter Test Centre at [the Denel test range at] Overberg," he pointed out. "It would be a two-three year programme, done in South Africa, involving South Africans. It would not be a case of just 'dropping in' a system developed in Sweden."

"We understand that funding is short in South Africa, and that the Gripen is probably not a priority right now, but we are seeking a good financial model, in collaboration with the Swedish government and the Swedish defence procurement agency," he affirmed. "We recognise that this will take time. But getting involved in MS 20 will benefit South Africa, including local industry. It will also assist with weapons system development in South Africa -- with MS 20, it would be possible to test new local weapons with the Gripen."

bug2 - 1-11-2018 at 09:24 PM

Egypt to upgrade F-16C/D Block 40 powerplants

Gareth Jennings, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

31 October 2018

Egypt is to upgrade the engines of an unspecified number of its Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft under a USD273.5 million contract announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 31 October.

An Egyptian Air Force F-16 preparing to depart on a combat mission in 2015. The service is to upgrade the General Electric engines of a number of F-16C/D Block 40 aircraft that it received between 1991 and 2001. (Egyptian MoD)

Under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract General Electric (GE) will upgrade the F110-GE-100 powerplants fitted to Egyptian Air Force (EAF) F-16 aircraft.

Work will be performed in the US and will be complete by 30 October 2023.

Also known as the Block 30 powerplant, the F110-GE-100 is the alternate engine for the Block 30/32/40-variants of the F-16 that was fitted from December 1985 (the primary engine being the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220).

According to Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft: Development and Production the EAF received 36 F110-GE-100-powered F-16C and 81 F110-GE-100-powered F-16D Block 40 aircraft between October 1991 and June 2001 (during this timeframe, it also received aircraft fitted with the F100-PW-220 primary engine), though not all of these will remain in service today.

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bug2 - 9-11-2018 at 09:11 PM

Chile to modernise F-16s, procure additional aircraft

Jose Higuera, Santiago - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

09 November 2018

Chile is to modernise its fighter fleet as a matter of urgency, senior air force officials told Jane’s on 8 November.

Chile is to upgrade 36 of the 44 F-16s it received from the Netherlands, with between eight and 10 more to be procured. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)

The service’s new commander, General Arturo Merino, has instructed that the upgrade of Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters should be given priority, along with the procurement of new F-16 Block 50 aircraft to bolster the fleet.

According to officials, the upgraded F-16s are to be equipped with active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars that come with the F-16V Block 70 variant of the aircraft. It is unclear if the Block 50 aircraft being purchased will also be upgraded with the AESA.

Under the programme, 36 of the 44 F-16s that were acquired second-hand from the Netherlands between 2006 and 2011 will be updated. A further eight to 10 F-16s will be procured to augment the existing fleet.

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bug2 - 16-11-2018 at 06:24 PM

Successful Qualification of the Rafale F3-R Omnirole Combat Aircraft

(Source: French Defense Procurement Agency, DGA; issued November 14, 2018)

A Rafale drops a Safran AASM Hammer the air-to-ground modular weapon in its laser terminal guidance version (SBU-54), which can hit moving targets moving at high speeds with metric accuracy. (DGA photo)

On October 31, 2018, the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) officially qualified the so-called “Rafale F3-R,” the new Standard for the Rafale omnirole combat aircraft. This successful and tremendous achievement was completed on time, on budget, and in full compliance with contractual performance.

All the 144 Rafale aircraft currently in service in the French Air Force and in the French Navy (as of November 14, 2018) will be upgraded to this new “F3-R” Standard and the first ten aircraft will be delivered (four by the end of this year) to the warfighters for further operational evaluation.

On December 30, 2013, the DGA awarded to French industry a nearly €1 billion contract for the development and integration of the Rafale F3-R.

The Rafale program is evolving through the development and the implementation of successive “Standards”, each of them bringing improved performance and additional capabilities to the Rafale omnirole combat aircraft, in order to match perfectly the evolution of the operational requirements from the warfighters.

Accordingly, the new “F3-R” Standard contains important software and hardware evolutions and adds three new major and genuinely game-changing capabilities to the Rafale.

The “RBE2 AESA radar-Meteor BVRAAM” combination maintains the Rafale at the forefront of modern air combat

The first major “F3-R” capability is the full integration of the Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) MBDA “Meteor”.

Thanks to the extended range capability of the RBE2 AESA (Active Electronically-Scanned Array) radar (noteworthy is the fact that the Rafale is the only European combat aircraft in operational service to incorporate today the cutting-edge “AESA” radar technology), the Rafale equipped with the Meteor is able to intercept targets at very long range, when the MICA (RF/IR) missile complements this truly impressive air-to-air capability, both for combat interception and self-defense.

Indeed, the “RBE2 AESA radar-Meteor BVRAAM” combination maintains the Rafale at the forefront of modern air combat.

On April 6, 2017, teams from the DGA, Dassault Aviation, MBDA and Thales successfully completed the final guided firing (integration flight test) of the Meteor long-range air-to-air missile against an aerial target from a Rafale. This fifth, global, firing completed the full integration flight testing campaign of the Meteor air-to-air missile onto the Rafale.

Since the first test on April 28, 2015, this campaign, conducted smoothly and uneventfully, demonstrated and confirmed better performance than those expected at the inception of the program. All the functionalities were successfully tested (such as the activation of the data-link between the Rafale and the missile) in many aircraft flight conditions (speed, load factor) and electronic warfare environments.

The new-generation “TALIOS” laser targeting pod

The second major “F3-R” capability is the integration of the new-generation “TALIOS” (TArgeting Long-range Identification Optronic System) laser targeting pod.

Designed by Thales, TALIOS is the first optronic targeting pod to cover the entire decision chain, from intelligence gathering through to neutralization. With the latest-generation high-resolution infrared and electro-optical sensors, line-of-sight stabilization, and high-performance image processing, its capabilities range from deep strike with precision-guided munitions to air-to-air target identification and close air support, both in daytime and by night.

In short, the TALIOS pod features cutting-edge capabilities in target detection, recognition and identification, by day and night, primarily for high-precision air-to-ground strikes.

TALIOS: Multifunction Pod: from targeting to NTISR


• Compatible with laser guided weapons, INS/GPS guided missiles and imagery-guided weapons

• Attacks in autonomous or cooperative mode, using integrated laser spot tracker and laser marker

• Long range damage assessment capability

• Target recognition capability

• Positive identification in complex environment

• 3D localization

• Integrated navigation FLIR

• Real-time data-link transmission


• Medium range day/night small targets reconnaissance


• Day/night visual airborne target identification

Full integration of the laser-guided AASM “HAMMER” air-to-ground weapon

The third major “F3-R” capability is the full integration, onto the Rafale, of the Safran AASM “HAMMER” air-to-ground modular weapon in its laser terminal guidance version (NATO designation: SBU-54).

The AASM SBU-54 “HAMMER” is capable of engaging moving land targets, or high-speed agile marine targets, with metric accuracy, especially during opportunity strikes, as proven during recent conflicts.

The Rafale is an extremely effective new-generation, combat proven (Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Central African Republic, Iraq, and Syria; more than 30,000 flying hours in combat operations have been completed so far by the Rafale fleet) omnirole tactical fighter, but development is continuing apace to exploit more and more of the aircraft’s tremendous capabilities, and to seamlessly add new ones.


1. The Rafale will ultimately replace all the current types of legacy fighter aircraft in the inventory of the French Air Force and the French Navy.

2. To date, 180 production aircraft have been ordered for the French Air Force (in two versions: the single-seater Rafale C and the two-seater Rafale B) and for the French Navy (the single-seater Rafale M). Since 2015, 96 Rafale aircraft have also been ordered for the Egyptian Air Force (24 aircraft), for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (36 aircraft) and for the Indian Air Force (36 aircraft).

3. As of November 14, 2018, 151 production aircraft have been delivered to the French warfighters (46 Rafales M for the Navy; 48 Rafales C and 57 Rafales B for the Air Force) and 20 Rafales have been delivered to the Egyptian Air Force.

4. Missions of the Rafale omnirole fighter:
-- air defence and air superiority;
--close air support;
-- deep strike;
-- engagement of surface targets (with laser-guided bombs, all-weather stand-off precision weapons, or cruise missiles); SEAD/DEAD capabilities;
-- anti-ship attack;
-- nuclear strike;
-- real time tactical and strategic reconnaissance (ground and naval targets);
-- in-flight refuelling (“buddy-buddy” tanker capability for the Rafale M).


bug2 - 29-11-2018 at 11:39 AM

UPDATE: RTAF seeks to upgrade Gripen combat aircraft to MS20 configuration

Gabriel Dominguez, Surat Thani - Jane's Defence Weekly

28 November 2018

An RTAF Saab Gripen C on the tarmac at Surat Thani Airbase. The RTAF is looking to upgrade its fleet of 11 Gripen C/Ds to the MS20 configuration. Source: IHS Markit/Gabriel Dominguez

Key Points

- The RTAF is looking to upgrade its Saab Gripens
- The plan, however, does not yet appear to be a fully funded programme

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) is looking to upgrade its fleet of 11 Saab JAS 39 Gripen C/D multirole combat aircraft to the MS20 configuration.

"We are planning to upgrade the Gripens to the MS20 standard. We have seen the capabilities of the current standard and it would do everything we need," Group Captain Prachya Tippayarat, deputy commander of the RTAF's Wing 7 at Surat Thani Air Base, told Jane's on 27 November. However, no details were provided as to when the upgrade would take place.

According to Saab, the move, which would involve hardware and software upgrades, is designed to enhance the Gripens' ability to engage ground targets by incorporating unguided and laser-guided bombs into the aircraft's payload inventory. The platform's air-to-air capability would also be enhanced by the introduction of new radar modes. The MS20 standard, which offers an optional ground collision avoidance system (GCAS), would additionally enable the aircraft to fire MBDA's Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM).

The RTAF officially stood up its Swedish-sourced integrated air defences in July 2011, a few months after receiving its first six Gripens at Surat Thani in southern Thailand. Two years later the service received its second and final batch of Gripen aircraft. In January 2017 one aircraft was lost in a crash, which the service is now seeking to replace. However, no timeline for this has been announced.

Thailand's air-defence system consists of the Gripen fighters, two Saab 340 Erieye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, and an associated ground-based command-and-control facility. Tactical datalinks connecting these assets with others in the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) were provided by local industry in collaboration with Saab in a bid to create a network-centric air force.

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bug2 - 29-11-2018 at 05:52 PM

Eurofighter key to securing European defence industrial sovereignty – CEO

Gareth Jennings, Berlin - Jane's Defence Weekly

28 November 2018

Eurofighter says that further development of the Typhoon would maintain European sovereignty while bridging the gap through to the Future Combat Air System to be developed by Airbus and Dassault. Source: Eurofighter

The multinational Eurofighter project is key to securing Europe's defence industrial sovereignty as efforts shift to developing the next-generation of combat aircraft, the consortium's CEO said on 28 November.

Speaking at the Berlin Security Conference, Eurofighter CEO Volker Paltzo said that the project has been "the glue" for Europe's defence industry over the previous decades, and that it will continue to be the foundation for the continent's future defence industrial collaboration as work begins to develop the Next-Generation Fighter (NGF) as part of the wider Franco-German Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

"The Eurofighter is the current and future backbone of European defence," he said. "It has acted as a catalyst for industrial co-operation, and Europe needs more projects like this [that afford it] a sovereign defence capability."

The Eurofighter Typhoon is Europe's largest defence project, with 623 aircraft ordered across nine nations. Of these, 549 have been delivered and more than 500,000 hours flown. There are further potential orders for some of the core nations of Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom that will take production well into the 2030s, and the aircraft itself will remain in service through to the 2060s. "As we continue to develop new technologies and capabilities, the Eurofighter will serve as a natural bridge into the FCAS project," Paltzo said. "For the long-term evolution of the Eurofighter we have a clear capability roadmap to maintain the aircraft's relevance for years to come."

This roadmap has already begun, Paltzo said, noting the work in the UK to cross-deck the air-to-ground capabilities of the Panavia Tornado under the Royal Air Force's Project Centurion. These capability enhancements could serve also as a technological pathway to the continent's future fighter efforts, Paltzo noted, with upgrades being considered including satellite communications, enhanced datalinks, low-observable (LO) communications compatibility, large area display, helmet-mounted displays, as well as improvements to the Eurojet EJ200 powerplant for greater thrust, efficiency, and weapons carriage.

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ADMK2 - 29-11-2018 at 11:01 PM

Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
UPDATE: RTAF seeks to upgrade Gripen combat aircraft to MS20 configuration

Gabriel Dominguez, Surat Thani - Jane's Defence Weekly

28 November 2018

An RTAF Saab Gripen C on the tarmac at Surat Thani Airbase. The RTAF is looking to upgrade its fleet of 11 Gripen C/Ds to the MS20 configuration. Source: IHS Markit/Gabriel Dominguez

Key Points

- The RTAF is looking to upgrade its Saab Gripens
- The plan, however, does not yet appear to be a fully funded programme

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) is looking to upgrade its fleet of 11 Saab JAS 39 Gripen C/D multirole combat aircraft to the MS20 configuration.

"We are planning to upgrade the Gripens to the MS20 standard. We have seen the capabilities of the current standard and it would do everything we need," Group Captain Prachya Tippayarat, deputy commander of the RTAF's Wing 7 at Surat Thani Air Base, told Jane's on 27 November. However, no details were provided as to when the upgrade would take place.

According to Saab, the move, which would involve hardware and software upgrades, is designed to enhance the Gripens' ability to engage ground targets by incorporating unguided and laser-guided bombs into the aircraft's payload inventory. The platform's air-to-air capability would also be enhanced by the introduction of new radar modes. The MS20 standard, which offers an optional ground collision avoidance system (GCAS), would additionally enable the aircraft to fire MBDA's Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM).

The RTAF officially stood up its Swedish-sourced integrated air defences in July 2011, a few months after receiving its first six Gripens at Surat Thani in southern Thailand. Two years later the service received its second and final batch of Gripen aircraft. In January 2017 one aircraft was lost in a crash, which the service is now seeking to replace. However, no timeline for this has been announced.

Thailand's air-defence system consists of the Gripen fighters, two Saab 340 Erieye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, and an associated ground-based command-and-control facility. Tactical datalinks connecting these assets with others in the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) were provided by local industry in collaboration with Saab in a bid to create a network-centric air force.

(333 of 837 words)

Yep that and about 40 upgraded F-16’s...

unicorn - 30-11-2018 at 10:47 PM

Quote: Originally posted by ADMK2  
Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
UPDATE: RTAF seeks to upgrade Gripen combat aircraft to MS20 configuration

Gabriel Dominguez, Surat Thani - Jane's Defence Weekly

28 November 2018

An RTAF Saab Gripen C on the tarmac at Surat Thani Airbase. The RTAF is looking to upgrade its fleet of 11 Gripen C/Ds to the MS20 configuration. Source: IHS Markit/Gabriel Dominguez

Key Points

- The RTAF is looking to upgrade its Saab Gripens
- The plan, however, does not yet appear to be a fully funded programme

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) is looking to upgrade its fleet of 11 Saab JAS 39 Gripen C/D multirole combat aircraft to the MS20 configuration.

"We are planning to upgrade the Gripens to the MS20 standard. We have seen the capabilities of the current standard and it would do everything we need," Group Captain Prachya Tippayarat, deputy commander of the RTAF's Wing 7 at Surat Thani Air Base, told Jane's on 27 November. However, no details were provided as to when the upgrade would take place.

According to Saab, the move, which would involve hardware and software upgrades, is designed to enhance the Gripens' ability to engage ground targets by incorporating unguided and laser-guided bombs into the aircraft's payload inventory. The platform's air-to-air capability would also be enhanced by the introduction of new radar modes. The MS20 standard, which offers an optional ground collision avoidance system (GCAS), would additionally enable the aircraft to fire MBDA's Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM).

The RTAF officially stood up its Swedish-sourced integrated air defences in July 2011, a few months after receiving its first six Gripens at Surat Thani in southern Thailand. Two years later the service received its second and final batch of Gripen aircraft. In January 2017 one aircraft was lost in a crash, which the service is now seeking to replace. However, no timeline for this has been announced.

Thailand's air-defence system consists of the Gripen fighters, two Saab 340 Erieye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, and an associated ground-based command-and-control facility. Tactical datalinks connecting these assets with others in the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) were provided by local industry in collaboration with Saab in a bid to create a network-centric air force.

(333 of 837 words)

Yep that and about 40 upgraded F-16’s...

Yeah, funny how they forgot that....

bug2 - 1-12-2018 at 04:30 PM

US government, Boeing to help Japan upgrade missile, electronic warfare capabilities for F-15 jets

By: Mike Yeo   13 hours ago

This illustration shows the F-15 2040C with an increased missile load. (Courtesy of Boeing)

TOKYO — Japan’s planned upgrade of its Boeing F-15 Eagle fighter jets will involve support from the United States and Boeing, the Japanese Defense Ministry has confirmed.

Shigeyuki Uno, the principal deputy director of the defense planning and programming division of Japan’s Ministry of Defense, told Defense News during an interview at the ministry’s headquarters that the U.S. government and Boeing will provide support for the upgrade through the Foreign Military Sales process, adding that the Japanese defense and aircraft industry will also be involved.

The Defense Ministry requested $89 million to upgrade two of its F-15J/DJ interceptors in its latest budget request for its next fiscal year, presumably to serve as prototypes for the upgrade program. A further $386.7 million was requested for nonrecurring costs for the program.

The upgrades will cover what the budget request describes as “new electronic warfare equipment with the ability to respond to increased capabilities of neighboring countries’ air forces.” The upgrades are also expected to increase the number of missiles Japan’s F-15s can carry, as well as integrate standoff missiles such as the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile.

Boeing displayed a model of its Advanced F-15 Eagle concept carrying 18 air-to-air missiles at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition in Tokyo that ended Nov. 30, a significant increase from the maximum of eight carried by the F-15 in its current air defense configuration.

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While Boeing has a model of the F-15 Advanced Eagle bristling with AIM-120 AMRAAMs

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Uno also confirmed that the F-15J’s radar would be part of the upgrade, although the budget request document did not specifically mention that an improved radar will be part of the program.

While Uno did not say so, the new radar will almost certainly be an active electronically scanned array, as Boeing has a clear pathway integrating such radars on the F-15, with U.S. Air Force F-15C/Ds, Singapore’s F-15SGs and Saudi Arabia’s F-15SAs using the Raytheon AN/APG-63(V)3 radar, while American F-15E Strike Eagles are being fitted with the AN/APG-63(V)1 by the same company.

Uno added that Japan’s newer F-15J/DJs, which were originally built to Multi-Stage Improvement Program standards — of which about 88 were further upgraded in the past decade to incorporate additional improvements like Link 16 — will be the first to receive this latest round of improvements.

Japan’s midterm defense program guidelines, set to be released by the end of 2018, are expected to provide more details on this program, including the number of F-15s Japan plans to upgrade.

Mitsubishi built 213 F-15s under license for Japan between 1981 and 1999, of which some 200 remain in service with seven combat squadrons based throughout Japan, and one more acting as a dedicated aggressor unit.

bug2 - 11-12-2018 at 09:39 AM

Industry Offer for Eurofighter’s AESA Radar Production Due This Month

(Source:; posted Dec 10, 2018)

PARIS --- The industry consortium developing the new AESA radar for the Eurofighter is due to submit its offer for the production and retrofit of the Captor-E radar by the end of the month.

The offer will be submitted to the NETMA, the program’s executive agency, and could be followed by a production order as early as mid-2019, according to the German defense ministry’s autumn report on armaments programs, released Dec. 7. NETMA – the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency – manages the two programs on behalf of the UK, Germany, Spain and Italian governments.

The Captor-E consortium is developing the AESA radar under a €1 billion contract awarded on Nov. 19, 2014, to Eurofighter Jadgflugzeug GmbH by NETMA, and completed hardware development in June, the report states.

No production decision has yet been taken for the four partner countries, but as the Eurofighters to be delivered to Kuwait in late 2020 are to be the first with the AESA radar, initial production radars must be delivered in 2019.

However, there have been delays in complex software development due to resource constraints, and their effects are being examined so the necessary mitigation steps can be worked out, the report adds.

This means that the target date for retrofit of the Captor-E radar in German Eurofighters, while h aving been delayed to 2022, can nevertheless be realized.

Updates to the Eurofighter program, including obsolescence elimination, development of the EURODASS, role adaptation, and integration of the METEOR missile) have added €585 million over the initial estimate, according to the report, while the AESA radar has added €78 million to Germany’s costs.

In order to cover the needs of the four nations, the radar’s development included a multi-channel receiver (MCR), and in September 2017 industry was asked to submit a related offer by the end of 2018.

In the meantime, “The consequences of industry-indicated delays in the ongoing development of the AESA radar and the mitigation measures proposed by the industry must be thoroughly analyzed and critically assessed,” the report adds.

The future of the program is complicated by the fact that, while Germany is complementing the ongoing development with a multi-channel receiver, the United Kingdom, on the other hand, continues to demand a new radar development which focuses on the application for electronic warfare.

“In terms of armament policy, key technologies in the field of reconnaissance sensors use German-developed and secured systems, the availability of which is of substantial security interest for the Federal Republic of Germany,” according to the report. “The shares in the development and manufacturing program of the AESA radar contribute to maintain national engineering and manufacturing capacity in this segment.”


bug2 - 14-12-2018 at 04:32 PM

Grifo-E on Target to Hit Key Development Milestones

by Beth Stevenson - December 13, 2018, 10:11 AM

Grifo E is compact enough to be applicable to a range of light fighter/attack types. (photo: Leonardo)

Leonardo expects to roll out the first prototype of the new electronically-scanned (e-scan) version of its Grifo fire control radar by mid-2019, targeting a maiden flight of the sensor by the end of the same year.

Launched in July 2018, the Grifo-E is derived from the company’s mechanically-scanned (m-scan) family of Grifo radars developed at its Nerviano, Italy, facility, and is a gallium nitride (GaN), liquid-cooled, eight-channel receiver active electronically-scanned array radar.

Its development is aimed at offering the sought-after e-scan capability to customers who wish to add this technology to light attack platforms, and at a lower cost point than systems integrated on high-end fighters. During the initial phase of testing, a basic set of modes will be used, but, by 2020, both the legacy and new modes will be integrated.

“Our aim is to complete this development by the end of next year,” Federico Scannapieco, senior v-p for radar and advanced targeting (Italy) for Leonardo, told AIN at Nerviano in December. He added that Leonardo is hoping that a launch customer will help steer the direction of the later tests of the program, integrating their modes into the radar to tailor it accordingly, and to ultimately help facilitate completion of radar testing.

The antenna for Grifo-E fits an aircraft the size of an M-346, but the company is open to incorporating it into different aircraft types depending on the requirements and it is exploring different options for the trials, although flight testing will start on a rotorcraft.

E-scan fire control radar development for the company is typically carried out at its Edinburgh, Scotland site, where radars for the Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen E are manufactured, although the receiver and processor for the new variant are being jointly designed by the UK and Italian divisions of the company.

It is using elements of the higher-end designs to incorporate into Grifo-E, and the decision to incorporate GaN into the design was driven by an identified target market for fighters including the Northrop Grumman F-5 and Dassault Mirage. Leonardo has also identified the Aero Vodochody L-159/259 as a potential aircraft for integration, which could offer an alternative to the Israeli sensor currently being offered for the latter variant. The L-159 is already fitted with an m-scan Grifo L radar.

Leonardo is expecting that 60 percent of the demand will come from customers wishing to retrofit existing aircraft, and the remaining 40 percent will come from new-build light attack aircraft, although most of the existing customers of Grifo are unlikely to make the jump to the e-scan because of the age of some of the aircraft that they operate. Scannapieco added that the m-scan version of Grifo is already compatible with an array of weapon types, and this will be carried through to the e-scan version.

While e-scan development is a clear consideration for the company, he added that m-scan development “isn’t dead”, as the cost of an electronically-scanned radar is some 50 percent more in initial expenditure for a customer, which may deter some from buying this level of technology. “The evolution of the combat radar is inevitably going in the direction of e-scan,” Scannapieco said, “although we still believe m-scan has a market”.

The next development for the radars will be the incorporation of solid-state technology as it begins to reach a required level of reliability to replace the traveling wave tube currently used, and a transmitter with this feature is expected to be ready by 2020.

bug2 - 21-12-2018 at 08:18 PM

Greece: F-16 modernization

Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $996,775,000 firm-fixed-price contract for F-16 upgrades. This contract provides for the upgrade of 84 F-16 aircraft to the V-configuration. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas; and Athens, Greece, and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2027. This contract involves 100 percent Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to the government of Greece. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. FMS funds in the amount of $488,419,750 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8615-19-C-6050).

bug2 - 22-12-2018 at 03:03 PM

First Flight for the Rafale F3-R

(Source: French Air Force; issued Dec 20, 2018)

(Unofficial translation by

The French Air Force has carried out the first flight of the latest equipment standard of the Rafale fighter. Known as F3-R, the new variant will be able to operate the Meteor BVRAAM, the Talios designating pod and the latest AASM weapon. (FR AF photo)

On Monday, December 10, 2018, the first Rafale aircraft upgraded to the French Air Force’s latest F3-R standard, made its first flight from Air Base 118 at Mont-de-Marsan.

Implemented by the Air Force’s air trials expertise center, the F3-R standard is the latest step in the Rafale's evolution since its entry into service in 2004.

Awarded in December 2013, the contract for this new standard will mainly allow Rafale to operate the long-range Meteor air-to-air missile, the Talios target designation pod and the laser-guided version of the Modular Air-to-Ground Weapon (AASM), adapted to hit moving targets.

On F3-R, there are evolutions in many fields, but the most important one is the one related to the safety and the protection of the aircraft and its crew: the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (AGCAS). This forms a sort of protective bubble around the aircraft, so to avoid a collision with the ground when, for example, a pilot loses consciousness. This is the first time such a system has been fitted to a French military aircraft.

For the air force’s military air trials center (CEAM), flight tests will continue for several months to assess and define the operational doctrine and tactics that will be recommended to the forces.


bug2 - 5-1-2019 at 07:54 PM


(Source: Indian Ministry of Defence; issued Jan 02, 2019)

Russian SU-30 and indigenously manufactured SU-30MKI are not the same, hence, one to one comparison of cost may not be appropriate.

The higher cost of indigenously manufactured SU-30MKI is due to following factors:
-- Additional modifications are incorporated in the indigenous Su-30MKI to enhance the operational capability and to suit Indian Air Force (IAF) requirements.
-- Being a Transfer of Technology (ToT) programme, cost is involved towards payment of license fee to Russian side.
-- Owing to the low volume of production of Indian SU-30 MKI as compared to Russian SU-30, economies of scale come into play.
-- Import of raw materials and proprietary components from Russia involves dependency on Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for the offered kit costs, which are not proportionate with the kit contents.

However, indigenous manufacturing has created advanced skill sets in the country, a step towards self-reliance and will result in lower Life Cycle Cost and reduced dependency on OEM on repair & maintenance and faster turn-around time and quick support to IAF bases.

Since the facilities are indigenously established, future production supplies are likely to be cheaper if new order for bulk production is placed on HAL.

The Contract for upgradation of 61 Jaguar Display, Attack, Range and Inertial Navigation-I (DARIN-I) aircraft to DARIN-III standard was signed with HAL in December 2009.

Contractual timelines for Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) and Final Operational Clearance (FOC) were December 2012 & June 2013 respectively. Contractual timelines for delivery of all the Series Upgrade aircraft was December 2017. IOC has been obtained in February 2017. FOC has not yet been achieved.

The delay in the project is due to following reasons:
-- Introduction of certain new requirements projected by IAF which required additional software design, implementation and flight trials efforts.
-- Delay in supply of certain Buyer-Furnished Equipments by IAF.
-- Upgradation of certain equipment like Smart Multi-Function Display sought by IAF.

The development of Mission Computer was taken up by HAL through its Joint Venture Company, HAL Edgewood Technologies Limited (HETL). After some initial delay, the development of Mission Computer has now been completed.

Regarding Smart Multi-Function Display (SMFD), as per the revised requirement of IAF, a suitable alternative has been identified by HAL. This SMFD has also attained certification.

The progress of Jaguar DARIN-III upgrade programme is regularly reviewed by Ministry of Defence through meetings with HAL & IAF.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Hariom Singh Rathore in Lok Sabha today.


bug2 - 9-1-2019 at 09:19 AM

Serbia resumes G-4 Super Galeb upgrade

Igor Bozinovski, Skopje - Jane's Defence Weekly

08 January 2019

Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin told media on 29 December that work has resumed on the upgrade of the Soko G-4 Super Galeb single-engine advanced training and light attack aircraft. No further details were provided.

In March 2018 the Serbian Ministry of Defence (MoD) presented the G-4 upgrade at the second Southeast Europe Aviation Summit (SEAS) in Belgrade. The upgraded Super Galeb, designated ‘G-4MD’, will feature updated avionics and an integrated navigation/attack system, which, in combination with an increased payload capacity, will allow the integration of more versatile weapons, including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles. In addition to reducing pilot workload, the upgrade will focus on advanced training features, including mission planning, debriefing, and virtual training.

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bug2 - 15-1-2019 at 11:27 AM

France launches F4 upgrade for Rafale

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

14 January 2019

France has formally launched development of the F-4-standard for the Dassault Rafale combat aircraft, the manufacturer announced on 14 January.

Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, received the F4-standard development contract for the Rafale during a visit by French defence minister Florence Parly to the company’s Mérignac production facility near Bordeaux.

“The F4-standard guarantees that Rafale will remain at world-class level so that our combat air forces can carry out all their missions with optimum efficiency,” Trappier said, adding, “This new standard also guarantees that Rafale will remain credible on the export market, [and] confirms the continuous improvement approach and helps develop the manufacturers' skills.”

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bug2 - 15-1-2019 at 04:20 PM

France orders upgraded Rafale warplanes for $2.3 billion

By: Christina Mackenzie   11 hours ago

PARIS — The French government today signed a €2 billion contract with Dassault Aviation for 28 Rafale aircraft and gave the go-ahead for development of the aircraft’s F4 standard which should be validated by 2024, although some functions will be ready by 2022.

The 28 aircraft will include some F4 functionalities and be delivered to the French air force from 2023. Defense Minister Florence Parly announced that a further 30 aircraft at the full F4 standard would be ordered in 2023 for delivery between 2027 and 2030.

The F4 standard will have upgraded radar sensors and front sector optronics as well as improved capabilities in the helmet-mounted display. It will have new weapons, notably MBDA’s Mica NG air-to-air missile and 1,000 kg AASM air-to-ground modular weapon, be able to carry the new Scalp missiles and be equipped with the Talios multifunction optronic pod made by Thales.

The Rafale F4 will feature novel connectivity solutions to improve the aircraft’s effectiveness in network-centric warfare. “We’ll be able to receive more data, strengthen our data rate, talk, receive, notably thanks to satellite communication and software defined radio: the Rafale F4 will move even further into the era of data,” Parly said at the Dassault factory in Mérignac near Bordeaux.

“The F4 standard guarantees that Rafale will remain at world-class level so that our combat air forces can carry out all their missions with optimum efficiency, whether in coalition operations or completely independently, as required by the French nuclear deterrent,” said Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation. He added that “this new standard also guarantees that Rafale will remain a credible reference on the export market.”

The F1 standard was specific to the first aircraft for the French Navy. The F2 standard gave it air-to-ground and air-to-air capaiblities, while the F3 and F3R gave it extended versatility.

bug2 - 17-1-2019 at 05:12 PM

Raytheon Selected for Classic Hornet AESA Radar Upgrade

(Source: Raytheon Co.; issued Jan 15, 2019)

The U.S. Navy has selected Raytheon to upgrade its remaining legacy Boeing F-18C/D Hornet fighters by retrofitting them with the APG-79(v)4 AESA radars; deliveries of the upgraded aircraft will begin in 2020 and end in 2022. (USMC photo)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. --- The U.S. Marine Corps selected Raytheon's APG-79(v)4 AESA radar to equip its F/A-18C/D classic Hornet fleet. Raytheon will begin delivering radars in 2020 and complete deliveries by 2022.

The APG-79(v)4 is a scaled version of the APG-79 AESA radar integrated on the U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Air Force's Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers. Along with improved targeting capabilities, crews gain an edge in crucial operations across the spectrum – including air dominance, maritime strike and air-to-surface missions.

"With AESA radars, fighter jet pilots and crews tip the scales in their favor over their adversaries," said Eric Ditmars, vice president of Raytheon Secure Sensor Solutions. "Now that the APG-79(v)4 is slated to fly on the classic Hornet, Marine Corps pilots will be able to identify, track and engage more targets over a greater distance than ever before."

Crews will see improved radar reliability, reducing maintenance hours while increasing availability for flight. Because the APG-79(v)4 shares more than 90 percent commonality with the APG-79, the Marine Corps will benefit from the same global sustainment and upgrade path already in place for the system.

Raytheon Company, with 2017 sales of $25 billion and 64,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.


bug2 - 23-1-2019 at 05:29 PM

Launch of the New “Standard F4” for the Rafale Omnirole Combat Aircraft

(Source: French Defense Procurement Agency, DGA; issued Jan 21, 2019)

(L to R) French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly; Dassault Aviation Chairman and Chief Executive Eric Trappier and Chief Executive of the French DGA, Joël Barre, pose with the Rafale F4 development contract (Dassault Aviation photo).

On January 14, 2019, French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, announced the award of a contract for the development and integration of the so-called “Rafale F4”: the new Standard for the Rafale omnirole combat aircraft, which will be delivered to the warfighters in 2023 (first step) and in 2025 (last step).

The Rafale program is evolving through the development and the implementation of successive “Standards”, each of them bringing improved performances and additional capabilities to the Rafale omnirole combat aircraft, in order to match perfectly the evolution of the operational requirements from the warfighters.

The most recent Standard, called “Rafale F3-R”, was officially qualified on October 31, 2018, by the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA). It contains important software and hardware evolutions and adds three new major and genuinely game-changing capabilities to the Rafale: the full integration of the Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) MBDA “Meteor”; the integration of the new-generation Thales “TALIOS” laser targeting pod; and the full integration of the Safran AASM “HAMMER” air-to-ground modular weapon in its laser terminal guidance version (NATO designation: SBU-54).

The new Standard officially launched on January 14, 2019, “Rafale F4”, is based on the four following pillars:

• Enhanced connectivity and associated networking modes:

Collaborative combat is now crucial for taking part in coalition operations, countering new types of threats and conducting sovereignty operations.

The Rafale F4 will be a genuine “connected aircraft”, implementing innovative connectivity solutions to optimize its operational effectiveness in networked/collaborative combat, with new satellite and intra-flight data-links, communication server and software-defined radio. Its ability to collect, analyze and share data will constitute a powerful force multiplier that will enhance all airborne, surface and ground-based assets in the battlespace.

• Enhanced survivability:

The sensors of the Rafale will be improved in order to maintain the aircraft’s operational capabilities and survivability against new and future threats. Improvements will mainly concern the RBE2 AESA (Active Electronically-Scanned Array) radar in the air-to-ground mode (noteworthy is the fact that the Rafale is the only European combat aircraft in operational service to incorporate today the cutting-edge “AESA” radar technology), the integrated advanced self-protection and countermeasures system (SPECTRA electronic warfare system) with new threat detection and jamming capabilities, and the multi-spectral Front Sector Optronics (FSO).

• Enhanced lethality and weapons capability

The Rafale F4 will mainly add:
-- the air-to-air missile MBDA “MICA NG” (with an infrared seeker or a radio frequency seeker), which will be delivered from 2026 onwards;

-- the Safran AASM “HAMMER” air-to-ground modular weapon with a 1,000 kg bomb body;

-- the MLR (Mid-Life Refurbishment) version of the MBDA “SCALP” long-range cruise missile, which will be delivered from 2020 onwards.

• Enhanced operational readiness and in-service support

The Rafale F4 will include a new Prognosis and Diagnostic Aid System introducing predictive maintenance capabilities (the purpose of predictive maintenance is to anticipate failures before they occur). Other maintenance optimization features are scheduled, particularly with solutions based on Big Data and artificial intelligence. Lastly, the aircraft will be equipped with a new control unit for the Safran M88 engine.

Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed Forces, said: “These F4 Standard improvements will bring the Rafale to the highest level of combat aircraft capability worldwide, and will allow our national forces to keep relevant their air dominance in more and more contested environments.”

Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, said: “The F4 Standard guarantees that Rafale will remain at world-class level so that our combat air forces can carry out all their missions with optimum efficiency, whether in coalition operations or completely independently.”

Patrice Caine, Chairman and CEO of Thales, said: “The Rafale F4 Standard's sensors and communication systems will be a key driver of the shift towards collaborative combat.”

The Rafale is an extremely effective new-generation, combat proven (Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Central African Republic, Iraq, and Syria; more than 40,000 flying hours in combat operations have been completed so far by the Rafale fleet) omnirole tactical fighter, but development is continuing apace to exploit more and more of the aircraft’s tremendous capabilities, and to seamlessly add new ones.


1. The Rafale will ultimately replace all the current types of legacy fighter aircraft in the inventory of the French Air Force and the French Navy.

2. To date, 180 production aircraft have been ordered for the French Air Force (in two versions: the single-seater Rafale C and the two-seater Rafale B) and for the French Navy (the single-seater Rafale M). Since 2015, 96 Rafale aircraft have also been ordered for the Egyptian Air Force (24 aircraft), for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (36 aircraft) and for the Indian Air Force (36 aircraft).

3. As of January 21, 2019, 152 production aircraft have been delivered to the French warfighters (46 Rafales M for the Navy; 48 Rafales C and 58 Rafales B for the Air Force) and 23 Rafales have been delivered to the Egyptian Air Force.

4. Missions of the Rafale omnirole fighter:

The Rafale has been designed to perform the full spectrum of combat aircraft missions:

-- air defense and air superiority;
-- close air support;
-- deep strike;
-- anti-ship attack;
-- nuclear strike;
-- real time tactical and strategic reconnaissance (ground and naval targets);
-- in-flight refuelling (“buddy-buddy” tanker capability).


bug2 - 8-2-2019 at 02:39 PM

How Iran Keeps Its Aging F-5 Fleet Alive

Feb 8, 2019 Babak Taghvaee | Aviation Week & Space Technology

On Nov. 3, 2018, a so-called mass-production line for Iran’s domestically made Kowsar-1 combat training aircraft was presented during a public ceremony to emphasize the nation’s self-sufficiency. The event took place just one day before U.S. President Donald Trump reimposed severe economic and industrial sanctions on Iran.

Project “Kowsar-I,” formally unveiled just a few months prior by the Iranian defense ministry, is not focused on producing clones of U.S.-made Northrop F-5E/F Tiger IIs, but rather is about giving new life to the existing fleet of 58 Tiger IIs now in service with the Iranian Air Force, according to officials from the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Co. And depending on the political situation in Iran, they may wind up in service into the 2040s.

- Iran plans to upgrade 57 F-5E/Fs over the next 10 years
- Iran’s Kowsar-I uses an IEI-made radar based on a Chinese copy of the Italian Grifo 7

The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) has 325 fighter jets; the easiest to operate and maintain among them is a fleet of 44 F-5Es and 14 F-5Fs. Those 58 F-5E/Fs are what remains from a purchase by Iran’s imperial government under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program in the 1970s. They were intended as a stop gap until the first batch of 140 Lockheed Martin F-16 A/Bs were delivered and were meant to be phased out after 1984.

But the fall of Iran’s secular, imperial government and rise of its Islamic Republic ended all previous military programs. As a result, the F-5E/Fs have remained in service for four decades and now comprise the core of the IRIAF’s fighter fleet.

The first Project Kowsar prototype started test flights in August 2018. Credit: Kayvan Tavakkoli

What ensued in the intervening years is a study in how Iran, largely cut off from U.S. suppliers, kept the aircraft in flight—from reverse-engineering efforts to modernization programs.

The first, Project Saeghe-80, was an airframe upgrade that drew from former Northrop engineers and designers. Another team contracted with China’s National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp. (Catic) to pursue avionics and weapons upgrades under the name Silk Road II (SR.II).

The teams used the first reverse-engineered F-5E Azarakhsh as the project’s testbed. Though prototypes of the SR.II project were presented in 2007 as indigenously made Azarakhsh fighters, the program was soon canceled.

It was somewhat revived later that year by Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran’s Islamic Republic. Khamenei visited the Owj complex of IRIAF in Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran, where three F-5Es had been converted to the three SR.II prototypes; three other F-5Es became the Saeghe. Khamenei ordered the Owj to share its experience and knowledge with Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries (IAMI) to continue the Saeghe and SR.II projects in their facility in Shahin Shahr, Isfahan.

The Kowsar hangar where F-5Fs are under production and F-5Es are undergoing modernization. Credit: Kayvan Tavakkoli

In 2009, both Iran Electronics Industries (IEI) and Isfahan Optics Industries contracted with 10 top Iranian universities, 72 privately run companies, 44 suppliers and 63 science and research foundations to help with design and development of every single part of the new avionics package for Iranian F-5E/Fs that would be based on Catic’s canceled SR.II work.

A family of F-5F upgrades was running on a separate track. In 2005, the IRIAF had just 15 F-5Fs and sought more. Owj complex was assigned to modernize five new F-5Fs to the SR.II standard. The airplane was completed in 2016, but delayed because its designated engine, the General Electric J85-GE21 turbojet, was unavailable. Ground tests were postponed to 2017, when a pair of Iranian-made J85-GE-21s were installed on the airplane. Those J85-GE-21s were produced by Iranian Turbine Industries Organization in cooperation with the IRIAF’s Owj. About 20% of the engine parts were procured through the General Electric supply base; the remaining 80% were produced in Iran by the Owj complex, according to an Owj official.

In 2012, IAMI started completion of construction of the first F-5F of project SR.II, which later became the first prototype of the Project Kowsar-I. In 2017, the project to modernize the IRIAF’s F-5E/Fs was dubbed Kowsar with the intention of sowing confusion with the name of an Iranian Advanced Jet Trainer development program called Kowsar-88.

The initial Project Kowsar prototype logged its first flight on Aug. 5, 2018, and after three more test flights it was transferred to the Mehrabad International site to be unveiled as an Iranian-made fighter jet during an official ceremony at the No. 1 plant of Iranian Aircraft Industries. Project Kowsar is more accurately described as a modernization of the Iranian F-5 Tiger IIs, and is considered a domestic achievement.

Iran unveils its Project Kowsar prototype number 3-7400 to the public. Credit: Ali Naderi

The project is not entirely designed and produced in Iran, though. According to the IAMI, the first Kowsar-I’s wiring, structure and fuselage are completely produced in Iran, while 95% of its avionics systems are Iranian as are 75% of its other components. Also 90% of its Owj J85-GE-21 turbojets are manufactured in-country. This is significant progress compared to the previous projects. Only 50% of the components of the Saeghe II, which added a dual-vertical stabilizer to the F-5F, and just 30% of the components of the Saeghe I—the product of Project Saeghe-80—were Iranian-made. The J85-GE-21 engines were completely U.S.-made.

The complexity and cost of converting the fleet into dual-stabilizer fighter jets led the IRIAF to stop converting F-5E/Fs into Saeghes. The air force’s constrained budget meant the IRIAF could no longer make wholly new aircraft.

Since November, the mass production line for Kowsar-I fighters has focused on the first prototype, four more F-5Fs and two F-5Es. The next stage will be to upgrade 57 F-5E/Fs and seven Saeghe I/IIs over 10 years (about six aircraft per year). Limited budgets may stretch the time line to 2040, when the IRIAF would be operating 71 F-5E/Fs and Saeghes, all upgraded to the Kowsar-I and -II standard.

Kowsar-I is now equipped with a radar manufactured by IEI, which was derived from a Chinese copy on an Italian Grifo 7. It is currently installed on the three SR.II prototypes. The Chinese variant has a maximum 55-km (34-mi.) detection range—nearly three times more than that of the original AN/APQ-153 radars on Iranian F-5E/Fs. Similar to the SR.II, the Kowsar’s weapon system allows it to use vintage U.S.-made AIM-9J Sidewinders and Chinese-made PL-5C infrared-guided short-range air-to-air missiles. All Kowsar-I/-IIs also will be equipped with Iranian-made 930-4 radar warning receivers and two 941-4AC chaff/flare dispensers for protection against missiles.

On the instrument panel, the Kowsar-I has three large liquid crystal multifunction displays (MFD) showing radar, attitude and horizontal data, GPS and Russian Glonass satellite navigation, an integrated moving map, armament panel, fuel-system information and more. A pair of small cathode ray tube (CRT) MFDs show engine performance. Small and analog secondary indicators have been retained. All of the switches for the external and internal fuel systems as well as for cabin temperature, pressurization, canopy defog and anti-ice remain on the front instrument panel. In the aft cabin, Kowsar-I has four large MFDs and two small CRT MFDs for engine instrumentation.

If the air force does not have the opportunity to rebuild, its 71 F-5E/Fs and Saeghe I/IIs—all modernized under Project Kowsar—will be the backbone of its fighter fleet in the 2030-40s. If that is the case, Iran will have the world’s oldest F-5s still in operational service.

bug2 - 27-2-2019 at 11:56 AM

Spain receives first upgraded Tranche 1 Eurofighter

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

26 February 2019

The first of 15 T1 Eurofighters to go through the OFP-02 upgrade plan has been handed back to the Spanish Air Force for trials. Source: Airbus

The Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire Español [EdAE]) has received the first of 15 upgraded Tranche 1 (T1) Eurofighter combat aircraft from Airbus, the company announced on 25 February.

The single-seat aircraft (serial SS003) was re-delivered to the EdAE from Airbus' Getafe facility near Madrid following the introduction of hardware modifications, which support the Operational Flight Program 02 (OFP-02) upgrade plan developed by Spain's Armament and Experimental Logistics Centre (CLAEX).

As noted by Airbus, as part of the upgrade T2 and T3 equipment was fitted to the T1 aircraft, including a computer symbol generator, a digital video and voice recorder, a laser designator pod, and a maintenance data panel.

This first single-seat Eurofighter, along with a two-seat aircraft currently undergoing the upgrade, will be used initially by CLAEX as test platforms for the qualification of these new capabilities that will be implemented on the EdAE's T1 Eurofighters.

The Eurofighter T1 upgrade is part of a wider modernisation plan for the EdAE's combat fleet that is called Road Map 2035++. Speaking at the IQPC International Fighter Conference in Berlin in late 2018, Brigadier General Leon-Antonio Machés Michavila noted that this roadmap plans to take Eurofighter T1+ capability upgrades out to the early 2030s for an out-of-service date (OSD) of about 2040. For the T2/3 Eurofighters, Spain plans a mid-life upgrade (MLU) to be developed from 2021 and to run through to 2032, for an OSD beyond 2045. Alongside these Eurofighter plans, the Road Map 2035++ also includes the Boeing EF-18 Hornet, which has an OSD planned for about 2032.

Running concurrent to its upgrade plans, Spain has joined the Franco-German effort to develop a Next-Generation Fighter (NGF) as part of a wider Future Combat Air System (FCAS). A release of a common operational document is expected in about 2020.

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bug2 - 27-2-2019 at 12:16 PM

HAL showcases upgraded Jaguar MAX combat aircraft

Rahul Udoshi, Bangalore - Jane's Defence Weekly

26 February 2019

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) showcased the Jaguar upgrade suite, designated as Jaguar MAX (Mothership for Augmented Xploitation) during the 20-24 February Aero India 2019 exhibition in Bangalore.

A schematic diagram of the Jaguar MAX configuration, displaying some of its main features. (HAL)

HAL displayed new avionics, a cockpit, and a model of the heavily armed upgraded Jaguar (Jaguar MAX) ground-attack aircraft, which are being offered for the Indian Jaguar S/M/B (I) fleet, likely to be known as the Display Attack Ranging Inertial Navigation-III Plus (DARIN III+) standard. The original DARIN III standard is a modernisation effort that includes new avionics and cockpit, in addition to the integration of modern armaments. The upgrade is being developed and implemented in phases.

The Jaguar MAX primarily features an EL/M-2052 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar from Elta, an AESA-based wide-band jammer, a combined interrogator transponder, a flight management system, a configurable cockpit with a larger area display, a voice command system, a helmet-mounted display, an L-band datalink for long-range missions, a GAGAN/GPS/GLONASS-aided INS (with IRNSS optional), a software defined V/UHF radio, and modernised engines (optional).

The aircraft can be configured with a Radar Targeting Pod (2 seat-variant)/Laser Pod/Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Pod/Electro-Optical (EO) Pod to meet various mission requirements.

The Jaguar MAX is envisioned to carry and launch various next-generation air-launched weapons, including a gliding heavy-weight new-generation precision-guided munition; five sensor-based, multi-warhead, anti-tank smart bombs; a new-generation laser-guided bomb; 16 gliding, lightweight smart anti-airfield weapons; a sea skimming anti-ship missile; two new-generation short-range air-to-air missiles; four next-generation beyond visual-range air-to-air missiles; five advanced medium-range cruise missiles; and 12 swarming unmanned air vehicles.

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bug2 - 11-3-2019 at 07:39 PM

Rafale F4 to get upgraded SPECTRA fire control radar avoidance system

Tom Withington, London - Jane's International Defence Review

08 March 2019

The SPECTRA self-protection system is to equip the Rafale as part of the forthcoming F4 initiative. This could enhance the system’s capabilities regarding MMW radars. Source: MBDA

Dassault's Rafale F4 multirole combat aircraft is to include an upgraded version of a Thales/MBDA Rafale Fire-Control Radar Protection and Avoidance System (Système de Protection et d'Évitement des Conduites de Tir du Rafale: SPECTRA) self-protection suite.

SPECTRA is designed to protect the aircraft against radar frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) threats, principally those from radars, and RF/IR-guided air-to-air/surface-to-air missiles (SAMs/AAMs). The ensemble comprises laser, missile, and radar warning receivers, together with a jammer and a chaff/flare dispenser. These are controlled by an electronic warfare management system.

Thales and MBDA have released few details regarding the SPECTRA's RF performance but it is thought to encompass a 2 GHz to 20 GHz waveband. Some sources have stated that this waveband could be as wide as 2 GHz to 40 GHz.

In February the French government awarded Dassault a contract to develop the Rafale F4. In March 2017 the French government authorised development of the F4 configuration, and the first such aircraft is expected to be qualified in 2023, according to Dassault.

Few details have been released regarding the upgrades to SPECTRA under the F4 initiative. There has been speculation that the RF detection frequencies it covers may have increased, possibly detecting RF threats in the Millimetre Wave (MMW) band.

MMW frequencies typically stretch from 30 GHz to 300 GHz, and MMW radars are increasingly attractive for military applications. As the appellation suggests, MMW transmissions have very short wavelengths. For example, frequencies of 50 GHz have wavelengths of 5.99 mm. This allows the generation of highly detailed target imagery, albeit at the expense of range.

For missile designers, such radars can provide an RF seeker with exceptionally sharp target imagery, helping to ensure that the correct target is engaged, and assisting countermeasures rejection.

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bug2 - 13-3-2019 at 04:46 PM

JF-17 Block 3 Jet Expected to Be Fitted with Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar

(Source: Global Times; posted March 12, 2019)

A JF-17 fighter jet of the Pakistan Air Force takes off during the "Shaheen VI " joint training exercise held by the air forces of China and Pakistan in September 2017. (Chinese MoD photo)

The development and production of the JF-17 Block 3 are underway, said Yang Wei, a Chinese legislator and chief designer of the China-Pakistan co-developed fighter jet, as he aims to enhance the jet's informatized warfare capability and weapons.

"All related work is being carried out," said Yang at a Thursday press conference featuring Chinese legislators and political advisers in aviation, China Aviation News reported Friday.

The third block will see the JF-17's informatized warfare capability and weapons upgraded, Yang said.

Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times on Monday that the JF-17 Block 3 is expected to be fitted with an active electronically scanned array radar, which can gather more information in combat, enabling the fighter jet to engage from a farther range and attack multiple targets at the same time. A helmet-mounted display and sight system could also allow pilots to aim whatever he sees.

Pakistan, the main user of the JF-17, could further share information between the fighter and other platforms, taking advantage of the whole combat system to effectively defend against strong opponents like India, Wei said.

With the new upgrade, Wei expects the JF-17 Block 3 to match an improved version of the F-16 fighter jet.

Yang said that the development and batch production for the JF-17 Block 3 are going simultaneously, thanks to the broad experience.

Wei said this probably means while the upgrades like the new AESA radar are still in development, the airframe, which remains roughly the same, can be manufactured without waiting.

Once new developments are complete, they can be fitted on the airframe very fast, ensuring a quick delivery time, Wei said.

The JF-17, or the FC-1, is a single-engine multi-role light fighter jet jointly developed by China and Pakistan for export, according to the website of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

When asked about which countries have inquired about the JF-17 Block 3, Yang said "A lot of countries have come to buy. You sign [a contract for the JF-17], you benefit."

The JF-17 is often described by its manufacturer and military observers as an advanced but also cost-effective fighter. It is currently contending with India's Tejas and South Korea's FA-50 in Malaysia's new fighter jet purchase plan, with the JF-17 being the most competitive option, Wei said.

Myanmar and Nigeria have reportedly purchased the Chinese-Pakistani warplane.


bug2 - 14-3-2019 at 09:08 AM

F-16 sustainment hub to be established in Norway

Charles Forrester, London - Jane's Defence Industry

13 March 2019

The new Falcon Depot will enable deeper maintenance of the RNoAF's F-16 fleet to be undertaken in Norway. Source: Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF)/Morten Hanche

Lockheed Martin announced on 12 March that it had signed an agreement with AIM Norway to establish a licensed maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) hub for the F-16 Fighting Falcon in Kjeller, Norway.

The agreement will involve the establishment of a "Falcon Depot" centre, expanding on the existing MRO capabilities offered by AIM Norway at the site in north-east of Oslo. The centre will support the Royal Norwegian Air Force's (RNoAF's) fleet of F-16A and F-16B aircraft, as well as those operated by other European air forces.

Susan Ouzts, vice-president of Lockheed Martin's F-16 Program, said, "this first-of-its-kind Falcon Depot Centre reflects the strong global demand for F-16 sustainment services, which is poised to grow as we continue to produce new F-16s and upgrade existing aircraft."

The RNoAF operates 45 F-16A and 10 F-16B aircraft from bases at Bodø and Ørland, with the aircraft entering service in the early 1980s. The aircraft have been receiving significant structural overhauls, including new wings, to enable their service life to be extended to 2023. An undisclosed number of aircraft were found to have cracks between 2014 and 2016, adding impetus to the overhaul programme.

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bug2 - 10-4-2019 at 04:05 PM

Milestone and contract award boost USAF Eagle upgrade effort

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's International Defence Review

09 April 2019

Boeings EPAWSS EW upgrade for the F-15 Eagle made its maiden flight on 8 April. Source: Boeing

The US Air Force (USAF) effort to upgrade its Boeing F-15 Eagle combat aircraft took a step forward on 8 April, with a significant developmental milestone and a further contract award for two of the proposed enhancements.

Boeing announced that the Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System (EPAWSS) upgrade had made its maiden flight on an F-15 testbed, while on the same day the Department of Defense (DoD) contracted the company for low-rate initial production (LRIP) lot 3 of the Advanced Display Core Processor II (ADCP II) for the aircraft.

The EPAWSS flight took place aboard an aircraft flown by the USAF's 40th Flight Test Squadron located at Eglin Air Force (AFB) in Florida, and was described by Boeing as being "successful". Developed by BAE Systems as a sub-contractor to Boeing, the EPAWSS is designed to sample the radio-frequency (RF) spectrum, identify threats, prioritise, and allocate jamming resources against the threats, and will replace the 1980s-vintage Tactical Electronic Warfare Suite (TEWS) currently fitted to the USAF's more than 400 F-15C and F-15E-variant Eagles.

At the same time as the EPAWSS maiden flight, the DoD awarded Boeing USD91.3 million for LRIP 3 of the ADCP II boxes. The ADCP II (also known as Suite 9) is billed by Boeing as the world's fastest flight mission computer, capable of processing up to 87 billion instructions per second. "This is an important enhancement for the F-15, as it unleashes the 'horsepower' of the electronic warfare suite currently being developed," the company has previously told Jane's .

Both the EPAWSS and the ADCP II are part of a wider USD12 billion modernisation programme taking place across the range of Eagle types being flown in the USAF inventory.

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bug2 - 29-4-2019 at 10:22 PM

Brazil to modernise just 14 AMX jets

Victor Barreira, Rio de Janeiro - Jane's Defence Weekly

28 April 2019

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) will field 14 modernised Alenia-Embraer AMX light attack fighters instead of 43 as originally planned, the services Comisso Coordenadora do Programa Aeronave de Combate (COPAC) procurement organisation recently told Janes . Embraer Defense & Security was earlier tasked to modernise 33 single-seat A-1As and 10 twin-seat A-1Bs.

Brazil originally received 56 aircraft (45 A-1As and 11 A-1Bs). However, numbers to be upgraded were reduced due to budget constraints, and the FAB currently has about 20 non-modernised aircraft in its inventory.

The latest plan oversees the modernisation of 11 A-1As and three A-1Bs. The first modernised A-1M was received in September 2013.

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bug2 - 1-5-2019 at 08:47 PM

US seeks to restart parts manufacture for Taiwan F-5s

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

30 April 2019

The United States is looking to source new-build spare parts to support Taiwans fleet of F-5 combat aircraft. Source: IHS Markit/James Hardy

The United States is considering recommencing parts production for the Northrop F-5 Tiger II fighter aircraft to support Taiwan's ageing fleet.

Having previously sought to source surplus parts, the US Air Force (USAF) on 30 April issued a request for information (RFI) for new-build parts to sustain the Republic of China Air Force's (RoCAF's) single-seat F-5E and twin-seat F-5F platforms that have been in service since 1974 and 1976 respectively (having originally received 242 F-5E and 66 F-5F aircraft, it is unclear how many remain operational today).

"The Proven Aircraft Program Office, located at Hill AFB, Utah, is anticipating the award of a contract to procure F-5 unique parts from qualified manufacturers. Parts must be factory new or new manufacture and not from aftermarket vendors," the solicitation said.

A total of 1,771 parts are required, although the USAF did not specify what they might be. The service said industry responses are due by 10 00 h MST on 29 May, and that it plans to begin the effort in fiscal year (FY) 2020.

The USAF's search for new parts for the RoCAF's F-5 fleet comes about six months after it issued an RFI for surplus parts. At that time it said it was looking to source 45 items ranging from windshield panels through to circuit cards.

As the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), Northrop Grumman will be the most likely candidate to fulfil the USAF's requirement for F-5 spare parts for Taiwan. However, the F-5 is an old platform, and while there are about 1,000 of the type still in service globally, the company has previously admitted that it has not provided the level of sustainment and support for this aircraft that would normally be expected from an OEM. In 2010 Northrop Grumman announced that it was teaming with RUAG Aviation and Astronautics to launch an F-5 and T-38 Talon support and sustainment programme, in a belated attempt to re-engage in providing through-life support for the legacy aircraft.

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bug2 - 2-5-2019 at 08:58 PM

IDEF: Aselsan pitches AESA radar at F-16 upgrade market


Aselsan used the IDEF exhibition in Istanbul to showcase its latest airborne radar developments, including an active electronically scanned array (AESA) design that is being pitched for integration on the Turkish air force's fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16s.

The new radar is currently company funded, and leverages Aselsan's experience in developing AESA sensors for ground and naval applications. Ground-based testing is due to finish by 2022, but the company currently has no plans to fly the system on board a test aircraft.

Grant Turnbull

Aselsan says the multifunction radar will be capable of non-co-operative and automatic target recognition, while also featuring protection against radar frequency jamming, and has electronic support and electronic attack functions.

Its air-to-air capabilities include extended-range search, track while scan modes and weather detection, as well as multiple target tracking, providing mid-course guidance for missiles and battle damage assessment.

For ground surveillance applications, the design features synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and ground moving target indication/tracking (GMTI/T) modes, along with air-to-ground ranging.

Aselsan believes its AESA radar could eventually compete with systems such as Northrop Grumman's APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar on the domestic and export market. The Northrop system leverages technologies used on the Lockheed F-35 and is being integrated onto US Air Force F-16s as part of a service life-extension project.

Aselsan also displayed a new lightweight SAR pod designed to be fitted to light aircraft and unmanned air vehicles. The company says the system weighs 23kg (52lb) and requires 300W of power. Operating modes will include providing GMTI and SAR imagery the latter including a coherent change detection function plus maritime modes, including sea search.

The pod currently consists of a fixed X-band radar antenna, and testing is planned to conclude in 2021.

bug2 - 1-6-2019 at 01:18 PM

Aero Will Overhaul 16 L-159 Aircraft for the Czech Army for CZK 1.6 Billion

(Source: AERO Vodochody Aerospace; issued May 30, 2019)

Aero Vodochody has been awarded a contract to overhaul and modernize the Czech Air Forces fleet of 16 single-seat L-159 lightweight fighters, which will also be upgraded with modernized avionics. (Aero photo)

AERO Vodochody Aerospace a.s. and Czech Ministry of Defence announced during the International Defence and Security Technologies Fair in Brno, Czech Republic contract for maintenance of 16 L-159 aircraft in four years. The total value of the so called PP16 contract - maintenance after 16 years of service is CZK 1.6 billion.

The PP16 is a second regular maintenance check of single seat L-159s, the first check after eight years of service was performed by Aero in 20092013. The PP16 contract includes the renewal of the operating period for the next eight years. The maintenance work consists of inspection of all parts of the aircraft including all the equipment.

Besides the necessary maintenance, several upgrades are part of the contract. One of them is adjustment for use of NVG (night vision goggles): adaptation of the cockpit and installation of internal and external airplane lighting (positional, anti-collision and formation lights). Aero cooperates with the Czech army to make the whole L-159 fleet NVG compatible. All L-159T2 aircraft, which will come to the service of the Czech Air Force in following days, are prepared for training in night vision; adaptation for NVG is also part of upgrade of L-159T1 to T1+.

Another upgrade is installation of ESIS - Electronic Standby Instrument System, able to substitute several standby instruments and provide the pilot with attitude, airspeed, altitude, vertical speed and heading data in the event of a panel failure. Aero installed ESIS already to L-159T1 aircraft operated by the Czech Army.

Aero is a long-term partner to the Czech Army. Together, we are working to ensure that the L-159 serving in the Czech Air Force meets the requirements for modern aircraft to perform military operations and advanced pilot training, and to allow the Czech military to meet its international obligations. Thanks to close cooperation with our most important customer, we can further improve and extend the capabilities of the L-159 aircraft, said President of Aero Vodochody Dieter John.

Filip Řha,Deputy Minister for Armaments and Acquisitions, added: "The L-159 contract for the maintenance and modernization confirms that domestic companies play important role in building and maintaining our military capabilities."

Czech Air Force is currently operating 16 single seat L-159 aircraft and 5 two seat L-159T1 trainers. In following days, Aero will also deliver to the Czech Army three L-159T2. The new T2 two seat aircraft have newly built central and forward fuselage, several significant improvements, mostly in equipment of both cockpits and in the fuel system, and are fully NVG compatible.

Each cockpit is further equipped with two Multi Function Displays and upgraded version of an ejection seat VS-20. The aircraft is also adapted to offer a pressure refueling capability. The Grifo radar, commonly used in single seat version, is now integrated also into the two seat L-159T2 as well as the self-protection systems (countermeasures and radar warning receiver).

L-159 aircraft mates Aeros long-term experience in development and production of military jet aircraft, in the category of which Aero represents historically the largest producer in the world, with latest advances in avionics, engine and aircraft systems technology. The L-159 is a light multi-role combat aircraft designed for a variety of air-to-air, air-to-ground and reconnaissance missions.

The aircraft is equipped with a state-of-the-art multi-mode radar for all-weather, day and night operations and can carry a wide range of NATO standards stores including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and laser guided bombs. The two-seat L-159 is a derivate of the single-seat L-159, primarily designed for Advanced and Operational/Lead-In Fighter Training. The L-159 configuration can also be tailored to customer specific requirements and adapted to needs of basic training as well as combat missions including air-to-ground, patrol and reconnaissance missions.

AERO Vodochody Aerospace a.s. focuses on the design and manufacturing of military and civil aircraft and is the largest aviation manufacturer in the Czech Republic and one of the oldest aerospace companies worldwide. With a huge existing fleet of L-39 and with a brand-new aircraft, L-39NG, Aero is positioning itself as a leader in the jet training market. In the field of civil aviation, Aero partners with many of the world's largest manufacturers in a diverse range of projects.


bug2 - 17-6-2019 at 07:18 PM

French Air Forces DACAS declared operational on Rafale

Rupert Pengelley, London - Jane's International Defence Review

14 June 2019

A French Air Force Rafale B F3 takes on fuel from a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker when taking part in Operation Inherent Resolve in July 2017. Frances ALLIANCE DACAS system is now officially operational aboard this type of aircraft. Source: Copyright USAF/Staff Sgt Michael Battles

The French Air Force has officially achieved initial operating capability (IOC) with its digitally aided close air support (DACAS) system aboard its two-seat Rafale B F3 strike aircraft, according to Brigadier General Etienne Patry, Chief of Staff of Air Force Command for the French Air Force.

The French Air Force DACAS equipment suite - known as ALLIANCE (Applicatif Logiciel Interoprable d'Aide Numrique sur Calculateur Embarqu) - includes ground, air, and headquarters subsystems.

Speaking at the IQPC Close Air Support Summit held in London at the end of May, Brig Gen Patry told delegates that IOC had been achieved in February 2019, and that the corresponding training course for the DACAS ground element (ALLIANCE Sol) had since begun at the Franco-German Air-Ground Operation School, Nancy.

As previously reported by Jane's , French officials had been expecting ALLIANCE to have achieved IOC two years ago, the last elements nominally having been certified during Exercise 'Bold Quest 16.2', when the airborne component was formally evaluated aboard a Mirage 2000D in its Scarabe (Systme de communication aroterrestre de restitution, d'acquisition et de bibliothque embarque volutif) kneepad configuration, designated ALLIANCE SCA.

Meanwhile, Rafale crews have been employing an alternative cockpit-integrated display known as DECALCO (ALLIANCE DEC). Although early versions of Scarabe were first into service in 2008 for use alongside coalition forces in Afghanistan, the Mirage 2000D will not officially achieve IOC with ALLIANCE until sometime "in the summer" (meaning June 2019 or later), according to Brig Gen Patry.

In Brig Gen Patry's view, there is a need to "stabilise" transatlantic DACAS system developments, these having been subjected to constant tweaking or "never-ending improvement" that has militated against commonality in training and consistency in interoperability standards.

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bug2 - 19-6-2019 at 02:15 PM

Litening and RecceLite Gain SAR Capability

by David Donald - June 18, 2019, 5:30 AM

Rafaels Litening and RecceLite targeting and reconnaissance pods have a free slot in their electronics bay for additional systems, here filled by an Elta synthetic aperture radar (in yellow), with the associated antenna mounted on the inside of the bay door, also in yellow. (Photo Mark Wagner)

Rafael is displaying the latest versions of its Litening targeting pod and related RecceLite ISR pod, both of which are being shown with an Elta synthetic aperture radar (SAR) added this week at the Paris Air Show. SAR can produce reconnaissance imagery in any weather, and can also be used to cue the pods highly sensitive electro-optical (EO) sensors.

The phased-array antenna for the SAR is mounted on the door to the pods avionics bay, while the associated electronics are located in an empty slot in the bay that has been created by the miniaturization of the pods existing systems. This empty space could also be used for alternative add-on systems, such as those for electronic intelligence-gathering or communications. The SAR and other systems can be incorporated into existing Litening 5 pods.

Its latest Litening 5 pod marks a move away from being a dedicated laser designation system to one that can also provide targeting from long standoff distances for GPS- and EO-guided weapons. This reflects the range limitations imposed on laser guidance caused by the growing diffusion of the laser designation spot as range increases.

Rafael (Static display A8) has developed advanced algorithms that can extract highly accurate coordinates from the pods electro-optic imagery to provide guidance to GPS weapons, and also for thosesuch as the companys Spice 250that use inertial midcourse guidance and EO guidance with automatic target recognition in the terminal phase. Recent combat experience in the Middle East has shown that GPS can no longer be relied upon for weapons guidance.

The Litening 5 can track and designate for multiple targets, and also introduces a color CCD camera in place of the earlier monochrome unit, a move that reflects the greater adoption of color cockpit displays in tactical aircraft. It also has a large-aperture forward-looking/shortwave infrared (FLIR/SWIR) sensor.

Using the same basic pod structure as the Litening, the RecceLite employs similar FLIR/SWIR optics as the targeting pod, but has a different day camera operating in both color (RGB) and near-infrared (NIR) channels, the latter offering better atmospheric performance and better discrimination between man-made and natural objects of similar visual color.

While Litening is essentially a video-based system operated by the pilot, RecceLite is a step and stare system recording fixed frames at up to 120 Hz. In normal operation, the pod is programmed before flight to perform a variety of missions simultaneously, ranging from standoff reconnaissance to tactical missions. The pod performs its missions autonomously, requiring no input from the pilot, although onboard control is available if needed in certain operational scenarios.

RecceLite has a dual-band datalink antenna underneath, which transmits gathered imagery in real-time to a ground station for exploitation. The system includes advanced stitching capability that can build wide-area images from a mosaic of individual frames.

A Ku-band link transmits over ranges of several hundreds of kilometers, while a C-band link can transmit tactical imagery down to forces on the ground. The two-way links allow the pods mission to be reprogrammed from the ground station while in flight.

bug2 - 19-6-2019 at 02:27 PM

Marshall, Stratasys Print Certified Parts For C-130

by Mike Farish - June 18, 2019, 3:14 AM

The Stratasys Fortus 450mc 3D printer

Marshall Aerospace and Defence, based in Cambridge, England, has started to use additive manufacturingalso known as 3D printingto make aerospace components certified for in-flight aircraft interior applications. The components are manufactured on a Stratasys (Hall 4 Stand D192) Fortus 450mc machine using a tough resin material called ULTEM 9085 that meets flame, smoke, and toxicity requirements.

Parts made so far include ductwork for what the company will only identify as a special missions aircraft, and an emergency knife-holder and thumb switch fitted to the control column to operate chaff and flare defensive measures for a Lockheed C-130 Hercules of the Royal Air Force.

The machine employs a process known as fused deposition modeling (FDM) in which the resin is heated to more than 200 deg C and then extruded in molten form to manufacture parts layer-by-layer without any requirement for a mold to be machined beforehand. As a result, not only are lead-times cut from what might otherwise be weeks or months to just a few days, but so are costs. Part cost is also independent of the numbers involved so there is no financial penalty for the low-volume production requirements associated with aircraft maintenance, repair, or modification.

According to engineering director Stuart Hossack the company received approval from EASA in February last year to use the machine to make parts for in-flight use. He confirmed that the first flight-certified additively manufactured part made by the companywhich was in fact the thumb switchtook to the air in May 2018. By the same time this year, he said the company had used the process to make a total of 14 different part types for in-flight use, with the actual number of individual parts numbering more than 20. All the parts involved have been designed by Marshall Aerospace.

Speed of design iteration is another important factor. In the case of the thumb switch, for instance, the company reported that after alterations to an initial configuration were requested, the whole process of amending the design and printing out a new approved part was completed within a single day.

Marshalls use of additive techniques also extends to making parts for on-ground operations and development prototyping applications. These can involve the use of a second Stratasys FDM machine at the sitean F370 3D printerwhich, though not certified to produce parts for in-flight use, is again described as making a significant contribution to streamlining design and development procedures.

One example in which the 450mc machine was used led to a complete material replacement in the final part. This was for the production of a prototype ducting adapter used to provide cooling air to an aircrafts avionics while it is on the ground.

The initial intention had been to print a prototype in a thermoplastic material to validate the design before machining the final part in aluminum. But according to Marshall Aerospace additive manufacturing engineer Chris Botting, the prototype worked so well that the final part was instead 3D printed in a nylon material. As well as providing a significant cost reduction compared to machining the part out of aluminum, he said the new part also provided a 63 percent reduction in overall weight.

Elsewhere, 3D printing has also been used as a prototyping tool even where material replacement has not been an option. It was used, for instance, to create a full-size model of a housing for a missile warning sensor being fitted as a modification to the front fuselage of a Hercules.

That model was used to test the form and fit of the final part, which necessarily had to be machined from aluminum. The company said that this exercise successfully derisked the manufacture of the housing, which then fitted exactly, first time, with no need for further machining.

bug2 - 19-6-2019 at 06:48 PM

PARIS: Elettronica prepares to test new electonic warfare system

19 June, 2019 SOURCE: Flight Daily News BY: Grant Turnbull Paris

Italian electronic warfare specialist Elettronica which provides key systems for platforms such as the Eurofighter Typhoon as part of the EuroDASS consortium is displaying its new SISPROS family of interception, analysis and intelligence systems at the show.

The SISPROS (SIGINT and Self Protection System) family includes the lightweight ELT/162 radar warning receiver, which will be able to provide a protection functionality for airborne platforms, as well as an electronic support measures/electronic intelligence capability. With the latter, the RWR can be configured to provide detailed parameters of a specific transmitter.

Daniela Pistoia, corporate chief scientist at Elettronica, says fight testing of the ELT/162s RWR mode will be conducted later this year, while the ESM mode will undergo the same process during 2020. The new system will supersede the company's existing ELT/160 unit, introducing new technologies such as direct sampling and artificial intelligence.

The RWR system performs in the 2-40GHz bandwidth range, while the ESM capability operates in the C-band.

Pistoia notes that unlike legacy systems, the new RWR takes full advantage of digital technologies, meaning it is highly resistant to interference and adaptive to the electromagnetic environment. Being software- rather than hardware-based, the system is reconfigurable either to new platforms or threats via updates.

In the future, this will allow users to perform a variety of functions without changing the hardware itself, similar to the app approach on mobile phones today. "In this system, we have the radar warning function which can be isolated by downloading just the radar warning 'application' on the same processor," Pistoia notes.

Elettronica is also working on its EDGE jamming pod, to counter emerging and complex radar frequency threats. The equipment will give a host platform an electronic-attack functionality for missions such as suppression of enemy air defences, providing protection for strike packages. EDGE can also perform ELINT tasks, acquiring detailed information on enemy radar systems.

"It is one of the technologies that we are proposing for the mid-life upgrade for the Eurofighter Typhoon," Pistoia says.

Mupp - 20-6-2019 at 12:22 AM

Translated from Italian.

Eurofighter Typhoon 4.0
Made a first important step along the road to the modernization of the Eurofighter TYPHOON. The NETMA Agency has granted the Eurofighter Consortium a contract for a feasibility study relative to the Long Term Evolution (LTE) of the TYPHOON. The contract has a duration of 19 months for the part of the platform and 9 months for the part motor, for a total value of 53 million euro.

In detail, the contract provides for the assessment of the feasibility of a series of radical changes, including: adoption of a new cockpit with the clear display, increase of 15% of the power of the engine, EJ-200, adoption of a High Speed Data Network, and an Enhanced Target Data Management, and modernization of the system of self-protection electronics DAS.

Regarding this last aspect, the Consortium of the Euro-DASS format from Leonardo and Electronics, as design authority, Hensoldt, and Indra, has already received its order in which it will be conducted a study which must take account in particular of the new threats sophisticated bubbles A2/AD and of the optimization of the functionality of the DAS with the radar to AESA CAPTOR-E.

The LTE, in addition to ensure maintenance of the relevance of the TYPHOON until after 2040, you must allow the de-risking of some of the technologies is then placed on the future TEMPEST and FCAS.,3_id,3107.html

bug2 - 20-6-2019 at 10:01 AM

Go to the Leonardo thread in the Defence Industry thread and you'll see more on it.

bug2 - 20-6-2019 at 11:44 AM

A bit more on this.....

Paris Air Show 2019: Eurofighter launches long-term development plan for Typhoon

Gareth Jennings, Paris - Jane's Defence Weekly

19 June 2019

Eurofighter has agreed with the NATO Eurofighter & Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), on behalf of the partner countries, on a long-term capability development plan for the Typhoon combat aircraft that will span the coming decades.

Eurofighter has launched a study to look at improving the capabilities of the Typhoon beyond the current round of performance enhancement packages. (Eurofighter)

Announced at the Paris Air Show on 19 June, which is being held from 17 to 23 June, the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) plan aims to take the Typhoons capabilities out to beyond the performance enhancement (PE) packages that are being rolled out across the partner countries of Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK.

An initial EUR53.7 million (USD60.2 million) study contract will comprise 19 months for the aircraft and 9 months for the Eurojet EJ200 powerplant.

(111 of 497 words)

bug2 - 22-6-2019 at 02:24 PM

PARIS: Eurofighter launches long-term enhancement programme

21 June, 2019 SOURCE: Flight Daily News BY: Grant Turnbull Paris

The long-serving Eurofighter Typhoon could soon see additional enhancements as part of a Long Term Evolution (LTE) effort, which aims to boost the platforms capabilities until next-generation assets such as the Franco-German New Generation Fighter revealed earlier this week are brought into service.

At the show, Eurofighter, Eurojet Turbo and the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), announced the signing of study contracts worth 53.7 million ($60.1 million) that will support the future development of the Typhoon platform.


We look forward to working with our core nations to determine what this aircraft needs to be doing in the next couple of decades, said Herman Claesen, Eurofighter chief executive, at the show. And of course this will complement the ongoing drumbeat of phased enhancements [to the Typhoon].

These include the UK Royal Air Forces Centurion project, which has seen the capabilities of the now-retired Panavia Tornado GR4 transition to the Typhoon. Elements included integration of the MBDA Brimstone 2 and Storm Shadow air-to-surface weapons, and Meteor air-to-air missile. This has now been completed and is in operational service.

That capability is quite exceptional, and already proven in theatre with good feedback, says Claesen.

The contracts will span 19 months for the aircraft itself, and nine months for the engine elements. This will result in a clear costed roadmap into the future, to give our customers the capabilities they want for the next decade beyond the current enhancement programmes, says Raffael Klaschka, head of marketing for Eurofighter.

It is a very strong signal from our core partner nations in the confidence and commitment to further develop and enhance an already fantastic aircraft, he adds. It will also make sure that we steer the focus of development in the right direction and the only right direction is to fulfil the operational needs of today, tomorrow and the future.

Areas for the LTE study to consider will be operational flexibility, including enhanced EJ200 engine performance that could improve thrust, range and persistence, as well as adaptive power and cooling techniques.

Human-machine interface improvements could include a new large area display as well as enhancements to the pilots helmet display. A key area will also be improving the Typhoons mission system architecture, introducing aspects such as high-speed data networks and enhanced target data management.

The latter is seen as particularly important in future combat, as more digital data is generated, transmitted and utilised both from the platform itself via multispectral sensors, and via discreet high-speed data links, including unmanned loyal wingmen.

This will maintain Eurofighters leading-edge capability by ensuring it has the electronic warfare suite that will be required in this highly contested and congested future operating environment, says Klaschka.

The threats to aircraft have never been so hostile, notes Mark Hewer, vice-president of integrated mission solutions at Leonardo, because many are now agile, programmable and updatable. Threats such as the SA-21 [S-400] and SA-22 [Pantsir S1] these high-end, long-range and short-range systems are becoming integrated, and that allows the threat environment to be even more lethal.

The LTE study will also look at enhancing the Praetorian Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS), which is supplied by the EuroDASS consortium, led by Leonardo and also involving Elettronica, Hensoldt and Indra.

Hewer says that the technologies that make up the Praetorian DASS soon to also include Leonardo's BriteCloud expendable decoy provide the Typhoon with digital stealth technologies.

The LTE study is likely to look at physical stealth improvements also, although this will probably be limited to special coatings rather than an airframe redesign. Stealth is important, but counter-stealth technologies are developing, says Hewer.

The study is additional to the ongoing E-Scan radar effort, which aims to upgrade the Eurofighter's current mechanically-scanned radar with a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) system. The first AESA-equipped Typhoon will be delivered to the Kuwaiti air force, although it remains unclear when partner nations Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK will adopt this capability.

bug2 - 28-6-2019 at 12:25 PM

Upgrades for the CF-18 to Be Operational Until 2032

(Source: Canadian Department of National Defence; issued June 26, 2019)

Responding to a report by the Auditor-General, the Canadian Department of National Defence has revealed that the first phase upgrade of its fleet of CF-118 Hornet fighters will begin in summer 2019, with upgrades completed by 2025. (RCAF photo)

In the report released in fall 2018, the Auditor General found that, other than some weapons upgrades in 2011, National Defence had not significantly upgraded the CF-18 for combat since 2008. The Auditor General concluded that the CF-18s capabilities are not up to date with most modern combat aircraft and air defence systems and that the problem would get worse with time.

As such, the Auditor General requested that National Defence analyze the upgrades required for CF-18 fighter aircraft to be operationally relevant until 2032 and to seek approval for those which were achievable.

The Department of National Defence agreed to the Auditor Generals recommendation. The Departments response highlighted plans to seek approval on regulatory and interoperability upgrades to continue flying the CF-18 until 2032. In addition, the Department stated that the Royal Canadian Air Force is conducting an analysis of required combat system upgrades. The Management Action Plan provided further information on the timelines for these commitments.

Progress Update

As committed to in the Departments response to the Auditor Generals report, the Royal Canadian Air Force is moving forward with seeking approval for a number of enhancements and upgrades to extend the life of the CF-18 fleet until transition to the permanent replacement fleet.

These enhancements and upgrades are to be delivered under one project in two phases.

-- Phase 1: This phase will provide upgrades to address CF-18 interoperability and regulatory deficiencies to address new and changing standards. These upgrades will maintain CF-18 compliance with both evolving aviation regulatory requirements, and updated allied interoperability standards, until the permanent replacement aircraft is in place, expected in 2032.

Phase 1 of the project is expected to begin in summer 2019, with upgrades completed by 2025.

-- Phase 2: This phase will aim to provide combat enhancements to the aircraft that are both operationally effective and technically feasible, through to 2032. The Royal Canadian Air Forces analysis is underway to confirm combat systems upgrades.

National Defence has a robust process to determine the required upgrades. This includes the work of the Fighter Capability Office, which continually assesses fleet readiness and capability.

The CAF also uses multi-national training exercises, such as exercise Maple Flag, to assess the capability of Canadas fighter fleet in comparison to Canadas allies, as well as against modern air and ground threat systems.

The above is excerpted from the Canadian Governments response to the autumn 2018 report by the Auditor-General of Canada on Canadas Fighter Force. Click here for the full response (7 PDF pages) on the Canada House of Commons website.


ADMK2 - 29-6-2019 at 12:17 AM

So they will basically add an AESA radar dish, a new EO/IR pod, new EWSP systems and weapons and hey presto! A new fighter for the next decade and beyond...

bug2 - 4-7-2019 at 01:53 PM

Serbia outlines Orao modernisation programme

03 July, 2019 SOURCE: BY: Igor Salinger Belgrade

Serbia's defence ministry has detailed a major upgrade programme being performed on its Soko J-22 Orao combat aircraft and NJ-22 trainers, which will significantly enhance the type's operational capabilities.

Speaking at the Partner 2019 exhibition in Belgrade in late June, Nenad Miloradovic, the defence ministry's assistant for defence technologies, confirmed that the modernisation activity unofficially dubbed Orao 2.0 will be conducted in two phases.

Igor Salinger

Work to be completed by the end of this year includes incorporating new navigation and targeting systems in the rear cockpit of the two-seat NJ-22. Miloradovic says Belgrade has purchased Safran's Sigma 95 inertial navigation system, which sources indicate will be integrated with a mission computer and multifunctional displays developed by local manufacturer Teleoptik-Ziroskopi.

The first phase of work will also integrate new weapons. This process will enable the NJ-22 to be flown with a weapons system officer in the rear cockpit, so that the type can serve as a dedicated ground-attack asset.

Miloradovic says the second phase of modernisation work will include "complete digitalisation" of the aircraft's cockpit, without revealing further details.

Serbia signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus in 2016 linked to "technological support in modernisation of training and light combat aircraft", as part of a wider partnership linked to Belgrade's purchase of H145M and H215 helicopters.

The Rolls-Royce Viper-engined Orao is currently capable of carrying unguided weapons including 57mm and 128mm rockets and "dumb" bombs, plus Raytheon AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles.

The defence ministry says it will gain new ground-attack weapons with a range of up to 22nm (40km) and "beyond visual range" performance, along with a laser-guided rocket update.

Other additions could include integrating the infrared-guided Vympel R-60MK short-range air-to-air missile and countermeasures equipment.

Serbia currently has about 10 J-22 and NJ-22 Oraos in an airworthy condition, plus a number of stored airframes, including in the IJ and INJ reconnaissance variants. The platform's expected service life was initially set at 24 years, but structural inspections have indicated that some examples could have this doubled or be approved for a further 1,000 flight hours following overhaul.

bug2 - 22-7-2019 at 09:57 PM

RIAT: How Typhoon updates put Centurion on guard for UK

20 July, 2019 SOURCE: Flight International BY: Craig Hoyle London

The past 12 months have seen a momentous shift in the UKs combat aircraft balance, with Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4s having received new ground-attack weapons, its last Panavia Tornado GR4s retiring and the types successor the Lockheed Martin F-35B conducting its first operational missions in the Middle East.

One of the RAFs most crucial requirements of recent times has been to ensure a seamless handover of duties between the Tornado and Typhoon, via a 425 million ($540 million) activity called Project Centurion.

Crown Copyright

Key additions required to ensure that the Eurofighter could pick up the precision strike duties of its predecessor included incorporating MBDAs Brimstone 2 air-to-surface weapon and Storm Shadow cruise missile. These have added to an offensive mix that already included Raytheon UKs Paveway IV precision-guided bomb.

At last years Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), the RAF announced that initial multirole capability enhancements delivered under Phase 0 of Project Centurion had been used for the first time during the UKs Operation Shader contribution to multinational duties over Iraq and Syria.

This was followed by a Phase 1 update also referred to as P2EA enhancements for the broader Eurofighter programme which also added MBDAs Meteor beyond visual-range air-to-air missile and an initial capability with Storm Shadow. A subsequent P3EA/Phase 2 update enabled full utility of the cruise missile, along with availability of Brimstone the RAFs preferred all-weather precision strike weapon for operations in the Middle East.


On 18 December 2018, the RAF approved release to service for the full Typhoon evolution package: some three months ahead of its planned last use of the venerable Tornado. In addition to providing operational continuity for the coalition campaign against Islamic State militants, the declaration also marked the culmination of an intense period of almost four years of planning, development and testing for an industry and Ministry of Defence/RAF team.

The scale of what we had to deliver was incredible, integrating three major new weapons onto an aircraft at the same time, bringing together work divided into 70 different contracts, and doing it all in just 47 months, says Andy Flynn, Eurofighter and Centurion capability director at BAE Systems Air. With the carefully planned run-down of the Tornado GR4 force allowing no option of an operational extension, he adds: The consequences of not delivering on time were huge.

To ensure that the activity was ultimately completed ahead of schedule, the joint UK test team was able to call on input from elsewhere within the four-nation Eurofighter consortium during key phases, such as weapons testing. This included having Italian test aircraft perform flight trials with the Storm Shadow and Spanish assets assist with Meteor testing.

Crown Copyright

With the trio of new weapon types now successfully fielded by the RAF (Meteor-armed example, above, on quick reaction alert duty), the Typhoon is also set to receive a wide range of further enhancements over the coming years for core Eurofighter nations Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, and also for international customers.

Project Centurion showed we are able to work together to keep Typhoon at the forefront of military technology, and do it in an agile way, says Flynn. This pipeline of innovation will continue to allow us to unleash the full potential of Typhoon there is a lot more to come.

Kuwait will be the first to introduce Typhoons equipped with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar developed by the Euroradar consortium, in place of the mechanically scanned Captor M. Qatar will also receive aircraft with the new sensor.

An AESA update has long been viewed as potentially also on the cards for the programmes European partner nations, but none have yet signed contracts to integrate the technology with their fleets.

Meanwhile, the EuroDaSS electronic warfare consortium that provides the platforms Praetorian self-protection system is working towards integrating Leonardos BriteCloud expendable active decoy with UK examples. The same system previously protected the RAFs Tornado GR4s while operating over Iraq and Syria.

At last months Paris air show, the Eurofighter consortium formed of Airbus Defence & Space, BAE and Leonardo announced new study contracts worth 53 million ($60 million) concluding by early 2021, which will explore a package of further updates for the multirole type.


Key aspects of a proposed long-term evolution plan include cockpit enhancements, potentially including a wide-area display, expanded electronic warfare capabilities and new weapons. Its Eurojet EJ200 turbofan engines, meanwhile, could gain an increase in thrust, range and persistence, and what Eurofighter refers to as adaptive power and cooling techniques.

Notably, proposed high-speed data networks and an enhanced target data management capability could assist during future operations, potentially including so-called unmanned loyal wingman or remote carrier vehicles.

Describing the mid-life update as a clear, costed roadmap into the future, Eurofighter marketing manager Raffael Klaschka says: It is a very strong signal from our core partner nations in the confidence and commitment to further develop and enhance an already fantastic aircraft.

We look forward to working with our core nations to determine what this aircraft needs to be doing in the next couple of decades, Eurofighter chief executive Herman Claesen said at Le Bourget. This will complement the ongoing drumbeat of phased enhancements.

The consortium also believes its product is the ideal platform to receive emerging technologies that might in time equip future European combat assets, such as the UKs Tempest and a New Generation Fighter being studied by France, Germany and Spain.

By mid-June, Eurofighter had delivered 558 production aircraft.

Of this total, Ciriums Fleets Analyzer shows that 504 are currently in frontline service, with another 11 supporting development and test activities by Airbus, BAE and Leonardo. In addition to the four partner nations, other users are Austria, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Fleets Analyzer data also shows that the firm order backlog for the Typhoon stands at 62 units, including remaining examples for the launch nations and a combined 52 for Kuwait and Qatar.

This suggests the consortium needs to secure additional deals before too long, if it is to avoid a costly break in production.
Dean McCumiskey, BAEs sales director air, identifies several short-term sales opportunities for the Typhoon.

We have prospects in Germany, Spain and Switzerland, which are being led by Airbus on behalf of the consortium, and in Finland, where the campaign is being led by BAE Systems, he says.

For the Finnish contest, BAE is pitching a swing-role Typhoon able to perform the full spectrum of air-to-air, air-to-ground, electronic warfare and intelligence-gathering missions, McCumiskey says, along with the widest range of weapons in the HX competition, including deep strike and anti-ship missiles. Helsinki will also consider proposals based on the F-35, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, Dassault Rafale and Saab Gripen E/F.

While the programmes current production rate safeguards deliveries until the early 2020s, he notes: The German requirements to replace its Tranche 1 Eurofighters and Tornado fleet are the next potential orders, with Spain also looking to add to its fleet. We believe Typhoon to be an attractive offer in each of these competitions.

With these opportunities, I believe we will see Typhoon in production into the 2030s and beyond, McCumiskey says.

Noting that the aircraft is designed to continuously evolve, he adds: The announcement at the Paris air show underpins this and highlights the partners combined commitment to maintaining Typhoons position at the forefront of combat air capability for decades to come. This, he contends, makes the type a compelling proposition for any air force.

bug2 - 23-7-2019 at 06:39 PM

Pratt & Whitney wins $254m to remanufacture foreign F100 engines

22 July, 2019 SOURCE: BY: Garrett Reim Los Angeles

Pratt & Whitney (P&W) Military Engines won a $254 million contract to remanufacture an undisclosed number of F100 engines for Foreign Military Sales customers of the USA.

The F100 engine family is used by 22 nations allied with the USA to power Boeing F-15E Eagles and Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcons. The recent remanufacturing contract will support engines in Chile, Indonesia, Taiwan, Poland, Greece, Iraq, Pakistan, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Thailand and Morocco, according to a Department of Defense notice online.

Boeing F-15

The contract will support the overhaul of a wide variety of F100 variants, including the newest type, the F100-PW-229 Engine Enhancement Package (EEP). The -229 EEP lengthens the powerplants maintenance interval from 4,300 to 6,000 total accumulated cycles, which P&W claims extends the typical depot interval from seven to 10 years and provides a 30% reduction in life-cycle costs.

Work will be performed at P&Ws facilities in East Hartford, Connecticut, Midland, Georgia, and Midwest City, Oklahoma.

The work is expected to be completed by 30 July 2024.

The F100 provides up to 29,160lb-thrust (130kN). The F-16C/D lightweight fighter is powered by one F100, while the F-15E air superiority fighter is propelled by two.

bug2 - 23-7-2019 at 07:00 PM

Strained Russia, Ukraine ties slow India AN-32 upgrades

23 July, 2019 SOURCE:

The upgrade of Indian air force Antonov AN−32 tactical transports is well behind schedule and is only likely to be completed by 2025 - an eight year delay from the original plan.

Indias Minister of State for Defence, Shripad Nayak, has informed parliament that a total of 55 aircraft have been upgraded to the AN-32RE (re-equipped) standard.

Upgradation of the remaining aircraft is planned in a phased manner depending upon the supply of [modification] kits by Ukraine, he says.

There is shortage of certain spares [of Russian origin] due to strained relations between Russia and Ukraine.

The AN-32E
Spets Techno

The air force received 110 AN-32s from the former Soviet Union between 1984 and 1991.

A $400 million Total Technical Life Extension, overhaul and upgrade contract for 105 of the type was inked with Ukrainian state enterprise Spets Techno Export in June 2009. All were to have been upgraded to the AN-32RE standard by March 2017.

Plant 410 of Civil Aviation and Antonov in Kyiv, Ukraine, completed the modernisation of the first 40 AN-32REs, with the first delivered in 2011 and the last in November 2015.

Since then, the air forces No.1 Base Repair Depot in Kanpur has upgraded 15 examples in India. The air force is now down to a mixed fleet of 98 AN32RE/AN-32 aircraft.

In addition to a longer Total Technical Life and new Motor Sich Ai-20 engines, the AN-32RE includes a new radar, ground proximity warning system, collision avoidance system, satellite navigation system, distance measuring equipment and upgraded radio altimeters. The cockpit features improved crew seats, a new oxygen system and two MFDs.

Eleven of these systems are of western origin, with nine sourced from the USA and one each from France and Switzerland.

As per Indias ministry of defence, there have been 15 accidents involving the AN-32 since the type was inducted into service 35 years ago. The most recent being the loss of an AN-32 in June with no survivors, which occurred in the North Eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.

bug2 - 12-8-2019 at 11:40 AM

Precooler Technology Could Bring Advantages To Fighter Engines

Aug 12, 2019

Tony Osborne | Aviation Week & Space Technology

Technology developed by Britains Reaction Engines for its SABRE (Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine) hypersonic powerplant is to be fitted on the Eurojet EJ200 engine from a Eurofighter Typhoon to understand if the technology can help transform the powerplants operating envelope.

The 10 million ($12 million) project announced by the Royal Air Force (RAF) Rapid Capability Office (RCO) in July will see BAE Systems, Reaction Engines and Rolls-Royce engineers work to better comprehend Reactions precooler technology and how it could be integrated for use on a jet engineperhaps even the powerplant for Britains future combat aircraft, the Tempest.

- Two-year project will scope integration to better understand precooler potential benefits
- Heat exchanger is an enabler for Reaction Engines SABRE technology
- The trials represent the first acknowledged application of the precooler technology

At high speed, jet engines struggle with a thermal challenge as air entering the intake becomes too hot, reducing thrust and limiting the ability to reach speeds beyond Mach 3. Reactions precooler, essentially a highly efficient heat exchanger, already has proven its ability to quench megawatts of heat energy from the incoming air. Trials in the U.S. have shown the precooler technology to cool intake airflow from more than 800F (426C) to around 212F in just 1/20th of a second, helping to maximize performance.

Applied to a fighter engine, the precooler could allow it to work more efficiently at high speeds but also enable manufacturers to be less reliant on exotic, expensive and heat-resistant materials such as titanium. This could lead to lower costs in terms of purchase and maintenance, which are both key focuses of Britains Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative (FCAS TI). The goal of the FCAS TI is to research and develop new technologies that can be spiraled into Britains Eurofighter Typhoons and Lockheed Martin F-35s, but also potentially featured in a combat aircraft to replace the Typhoon in the 2030s.

Installation of Reaction Engines precooler to the Eurojet EJ200, which normally powers the Eurofighter Typhoon, represents the first acknowledged use of the technology on a jet engine. Credit: Tony Osborne/AW&ST

This is Phase 1 of something more, Air Vice Marshal, Simon Rocky Rochelle, chief of staff for capability and the brainchild behind the RAFs RCO, said at the Royal International Air Tattoo, where the contract was signed. There is something here that needs to be explored, investigated, tested and tried.

Over the next two years, engineers will study how the precooler can be integrated onto the EJ200. Once this is established, the engine and precooler will be ground-tested together.

This isnt about a new market for EJ200. We are using existing assets to try and address that heat challenge, Conrad Banks, Rolls-Royces chief engineer for future defense programs, tells Aviation Week.

If you can cool the intake air down, suddenly you can expand the flight envelope of your gas turbine and it introduces some exciting supersonic and hypersonic applications.

There is no suggestion the UK is looking for a hypersonic fighter, especially with the high costs associated with the airframe alone. Nonetheless, the technology could enable higher supercruise performancesustained supersonic flight without the use of afterburner, or more simply better fuel economy.

What we will do on the testbed is assess the drop in temperature and then see how that affects the core of the engine, that then validates our model. . . . This is not about massively changing the engine, Banks explains.

How the precooler could be fitted to the engine is also part of the scope of the study. One option could be a donut-like configuration around the intake, Banks suggests. The work also will consider how the introduction of a precooler affects the rest of the airframe and whether such an installation is affordable.

The precooler fitted to the EJ200 will be designed and scaled to the engine to match its performance, says Banks.

As Banks describes it, the technology will not change the low-observability aspects of the platform such as the engines infrared signature, pointing out that will depend on what is done on the back end of the engine. However, officials note such a heat exchanger also could be mounted to the rear of the engine.

For Reaction Engines, the trials build on its lightweight heat exchanger (HTX) experiments, which were conducted in Colorado and used a J79 engine from an F-4 Phantom to feed the precooler. The technology is key to the companys SABRE concept, which is targeted at air-breathing hypersonic and space access vehicles. In this role, the engine is designed to efficiently extract oxygen from the atmosphere for rocket combustion. In the fully integrated SABRE, the chilled air will be passed from the HTX to a turbo-compressor and into the rocket thrust chamber, where it will be burned with sub-cooled liquid hydrogen fuel.

Reaction Engines has raised over 100 million in the last three years from public and private sources. In addition, the UK government in 2013 announced a 60 million commitment to assist with the demonstrator engines. Strategic investments also have been made at BAE Systems in 2015 and more recently in 2018 by Rolls-Royce and by Boeings capital venture arm, HorizonX.

bug2 - 29-8-2019 at 09:10 PM

L3 Taps Collins For C-130H Avionics Upgrade

Aug 28, 2019

Bill Carey | Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

The Collins Aerospace Flight2 avionics system is depicted on a C-130H: Collins Aerospace

L3Harris Technologies has selected Collins Aerospace to provide avionics for the U.S. Air Forces C-130H Avionics Modernization Program Increment 2 (AMP INC 2) upgrade of 176 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Hercules turboprops.

Collins will supply its Flight2 integrated avionics system to replace more than 100 analog instruments in the current C-130H cockpit with seven multifunctional displays, three control display units and a new digital autopilot, the company said Aug. 28.

The avionics system will support Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out functionality on the C-130Hs, though ADS-B is not part of the Collins project scope, said Marc Ayala, Collins Aerospace director of Air Force sales and business development.

The FAA has mandated that all aircraft flying in most U.S.-controlled airspace report their position by ADS-B Out as of January. But the agency has made allowances to accommodate military aircraft that are not equipped by the compliance date.

The Air Force announced its selection of L3 for the AMP INC 2 contract on June 4, awarding the company a $499.5 million fixed-price incentive contract for the fleet upgrade, plus training and logistics requirements. Work will be concentrated at L3s facility in Waco, Texas, with an expected completion date of Sept. 30, 2029.

Earlier this year, Collins announced a subcontract from Portuguese aerostructures company OGMA to supply the Flight2 upgrade for four C-130Hs operated by Portugals air force.

Prior to our selection for the AMP INC 2 program, 190 C-130 aircraft already have been modified, or are on contract to be modified, with our proven Flight2 avionics, said Dave Schreck, Collins vice president and general manager for military avionics.

These aircraft are important to national security, and by working with L3Harris, our integrated avionics system will support the extension of the life of the planes for another 20 years, Schreck added.

bug2 - 5-9-2019 at 09:22 AM

Eurofighter Typhoon DASS enhancement study contract awarded

Richard Scott, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

04 September 2019

The four-nation European defensive aids subsystem (EuroDASS) industry consortium has been contracted to explore potential upgrades for the Praetorian DASS equipping the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, Eurofighter announced in a press release on 4 September.

Lasting 18 months, the Praetorian Long Term Evolution (LTE) study activity will characterise the future threat environment and identify technologies and techniques intended to enhance the survivability of Typhoon out to 2050 in the face of these evolving threats.

Developed by the Leonardo-led EuroDASS consortium - also comprising Elettronica, Indra, and Hensoldt - the Praetorian DASS is designed to provide Typhoon with threat detection, evaluation, and countermeasures against both air-to-air and surface-to-air threats. The system includes electronic support measures, an active missile approach warner, electronic countermeasures, towed decoys, and initiation of chaff/flares.

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bug2 - 5-9-2019 at 02:25 PM

Fourth-Generation Fighters Experiencing Rebirth


By Jon Harper

F/A-18 Super Hornet
Photo: Defense Dept.

PARIS Fifth- and sixth-generation aircraft have been grabbing headlines of late. But far from being yesterdays news, fourth-generation fighters are being upgraded with new technology to keep them flying and operationally relevant for decades to come.

In March, the Navy awarded Boeing a three-year contract valued at approximately $4 billion for 78 new Block 3
F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. The company will also begin converting legacy Block 2 Super Hornets to Block 3 in the early 2020s.

The new configuration includes a number of upgrades. Some observers have described it as a 4.5-gen aircraft to suggest that it will be superior to legacy fourth-generation planes.

This is not an old capability, Thom Breckenridge, Boeings vice president of international sales for strike, surveillance and mobility, said during a briefing at this years Paris Air Show. The U.S. Navy is making these significant investments [and] making it a next-generation capability.

Conformal fuel tanks are expected to extend the range of the plane about 120 nautical miles.

The use of conformal rather than external fuel tanks opens up space for additional weapons stations, he said. There are lots of possibilities about what future things they can carry.

The aircraft will have a lower radar cross section than previous configurations, making them less observable to enemy radar.

It also features an advanced cockpit system, as well as a distributed targeting process network and an advanced tactical data link.

This is the thing thats allowing the data-sharing thats becoming so important between the platform itself, other aircraft in the fleet as well as other assets in the joint force that are operating together, Breckenridge said.

Additionally, the fighters service life will be extended from 6,000 hours to 10,000 flight hours.

The new configuration is expected to be a long-term business generator for Boeing.

That combination of the new-build Super Hornet production line, as well as the upgradation of the existing fleet into Block 3s is going to take our ability to deliver this capability into 2033, Breckenridge said.

The company is in discussions with a number of foreign customers about the Block 3 platform, and it plans to compete for contracts in Canada, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, and with the Indian navy and air force, he said.

Boeing is also upgrading another older platform, the F-15. The new variant, known as the F-15EX, represents a huge capability leap from previous iterations, Boeing test pilot Matt Phat Giese told reporters.

It includes an advanced radar and cockpit display, electronic warfare system and expanded weapons capacity. The platform can carry up to 22 air-to-air-missiles depending on the configuration, he added.

Boeing Vice President for Global Sales and Marketing Jeff Shockey said the platform was designed to be able to carry hypersonic weapons cutting edge missiles that can travel at speeds of Mach 5 or faster and are highly maneuverable once they are fielded.

Other enhancements include a digital fly-by-wire flight control system to aid pilots, and an advanced display core processor II mission computer which can process billions and billions of instructions per second, Giese said.

The aircrafts service life will extend well beyond 10,000 flight hours, he noted.

Shockey said he would describe the F-15EX as at least 4.75[-gen] because of its advanced capabilities.

While the F-15EX wont be stealthy like the fifth-generation F-35, it would still be useful in high-end fights against advanced adversaries, Giese said. At the end of the day you have to service the targets, and you do that with precision-guided munitions that could be launched from the platform.

The Pentagon intends to procure 80 F-15EXs over the next five years at an estimated procurement cost of about $7.9 billion, and a total of 144 aircraft over the long term.

Shockey said Boeing could deliver the first two units to the Air Force by late next year.

He declined to identify potential international customers, but noted that the F-15EX has piqued peoples interest.

Its a really attractive package when you look at the purchase price [and] sustainment, he added.

Boeing isnt the only U.S. aerospace giant enhancing fourth-generation fighters. Lockheed Martin is upgrading the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Legacy platforms are being turned into F-16Vs, also referred to as a Viper upgrade.

Were doing that right now for four countries [and are] in discussions with several more, Randall Howard, Lockheeds F-16 business development director, told National Defense. Weve got a little more than 400 of those on contract, and I can see another 400 or 500 more over the next five to seven [to] eight years.

The U.S. Air Force is upgrading about 70 of its F-16s with Viper capabilities, and the intent is to eventually upgrade at least 300, he said.

The improvements include a new avionics suite and Northrop Grummans APG-83 scalable agile beam radar. The system shares almost 95 percent software commonality and about 70 percent hardware commonality with the radar on the Lockheed Martin-built F-35, he noted. It also has a new mission computer with higher speeds, more processing capability and a new data bus management system.

Were able to take fifth-gen technologies because we have them and, in many cases, roll those back into our fourth-generation aircraft, Howard said.

New production units with F-16V capabilities are known as Block 70/72. We call the new aircraft Block 70 or 72, but it shares the avionics infrastructure and systems with Viper, so many of our customers call them both Vipers, he explained.

The service life of the aircraft has been increased from 8,000 to 12,000-plus flight hours, he noted.

Bahrain is the initial overseas customer for the new-build units. Lockheed was awarded a $1.1 billion contract for 16 aircraft. That program is off and running and weve opened up a new production facility in Greenville, South Carolina, he said.

The State Department has approved the sale of 25 new F-16s to Morocco and 23 Viper upgrades with a total estimated value of $4.8 billion. Slovakia has signed an agreement for 14 new aircraft that could be worth up to $1.3 billion. Additionally, the State Department has approved the sale of eight F-16s to Bulgaria with an estimated value of $1.7 billion.

We see an increased interest across Central and Eastern Europe because their former Soviet-era MiG aircraft are running out of serviceable life, Hudson said. Thats all happening at a very tense time from a national security perspective for each of those countries, and so theres a great interest in replacing those aircraft with Western aircraft.

On the other side of the globe, Lockheed is in discussions with several Southeast Asia nations, Howard said, which could lead to deals for another 100 or so new aircraft in the very near term. The company is also offering the platform to India.

Meanwhile, European countries are working on improvements to their own fourth-generation systems.

Saabs Gripen E features a number of new capabilities, noted Jerker Ahlqvist, vice president of business area aeronautics.
Its an entirely new airframe and inside the airframe we introduced a completely new avionics system and avionic structure, he said in an interview. Weve managed to separate the flight critical systems from the tactical systems which means that for the operator they dont have to wait years and years before they have an increased capability on the aircraft. It can be done very quickly.

The plane has enhanced range and weapons stations. To increase performance, the company put in a new engine, which gives the platform super-cruise capability.

The jet can operate from short runways, Ahlqvist noted, and only needs about 800 meters of space for takeoff and landing. Sweden has a requirement to be able to operate from public roadways in the event that enemy attacks on its airbases render their runways unusable, he explained.

The platform has a new active electronically scanned array radar, electronic warfare system and advanced data links to connect the platform with other military assets. The computer hardware can also be updated when improvements become available, he noted.

The avionics structure will be able to incorporate artificial intelligence capabilities in the future, Ahlqvist said.

Were looking to see how can we use AI in the aircraft because we know that the battlefield in the future will be a very tough environment with a lot of information coming in which the pilot will not be able to handle himself, he said.

Ahlqvist said he wouldnt describe the aircraft as a fourth-generation fighter. Because its so quick to upgrade, [the concept of] generations doesnt really apply to Gripen in that way.

Saab was awarded a $6 billion contract in 2013 to develop the Gripen E. The company is under contract to provide 60 platforms to Sweden, with the first expected to be delivered later this year.

Brazil is on contract to buy 36 aircraft including eight Gripen Fs, the dual-seat version of the Gripen E for an estimated total value of about $4 billion. Delivery will begin in 2021, Ahlqvist said. Saab is also targeting Finland, India, Colombia, Switzerland and Canada as potential buyers.

Additionally, the company is pondering a maritime version of the Gripen E. Weve done the concept study, we know pretty much what it would be, but the full-blown design work wont start until we have a customer for it, he said.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Eurofighter consortium which includes the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy plans to add a slew of new capabilities to its fourth-generation Typhoon beyond the current phased enhancements programs.

Eurofighter and Eurojet were recently awarded a $60 million contract via the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency to conduct a long-term evolution study for the Typhoon.

The 19-month review will result in a clear roadmap for introducing new capabilities, said Raffael Klaschka, head of marketing for Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH.

Its a very strong signal from our core partner nations of their confidence and commitment to further develop and enhance an already fantastic aircraft, he said during a media briefing. This would be the biggest and most ambitious capability upgrade that the platform has undergone, he noted.

Enhanced engine performance, new adaptive power and cooling techniques, human-machine interfaces to include the cockpit and pilot helmet, and a new mission systems architecture with a high-speed data network and enhanced target data management, are some of the improvements to be examined.

An upgraded mission system architecture that enables greater processing power, more memory capacity and mission data options will be a big game-changer, Klaschka said.

This will support the generation, transmission and utilization of the ever-increasing amounts of digital data both onboard via ... multi-spectral sensors and offboard via high performance discrete tactical data links.

An electronic warfare suite that will enable the aircraft to operate in highly contested environments is a top priority, he said. The Typhoon is expected to possess a high level of digital stealth.

Physical stealth is one way to allow this freedom of movement in a contested airspace, but that will become more challenging as the [enemy] sensors develop, Klaschka said. Increasingly it is a digital environment that will play a part in how you can hide or move.

Systems that could enable digital stealth include towed decoys, flare and chaff dispensers, front and rear missile warning antenna, and wing tip-mounted electronic support measure/electronic countermeasures pods, according to Eurofighter presentation slides.

New technologies to be developed for the Typhoon are expected to feed into sixth-generation fighters that a number of European nations are pursuing, to include manned-unmanned teaming, Klaschka noted. Plans call for adding automation and machine learning capabilities to the platform.

Were paving the path to stay relevant for the next decades to come, he said.

bug2 - 5-9-2019 at 02:50 PM

Israeli Firm Reportedly in Talks to Modernize Ukrainian MiG-29s

(Source: Forecast International; issued Sept 03, 2019)

An Israeli defense firm is said to be in talks with the Ukrainian defense industry over a contract to modernize the Ukrainian Air Forces MiG-29 fighter jets.

The Defense Industry Courier, a Ukrainian website, reported on August 30 that Elbit Systems is looking to participate in modernization of the Ukrainian Air Forces MiG-29s. The website quoted a source in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry as saying the MiG-29s will receive fundamentally new capabilities and the latest weapons for airborne warfare as part of a modernization contract that is being discussed with Israels Elbit Systems.

According to the report, up to 11 MiG-29s could be modernized under the effort. The expected cost of the overhaul will be $40 million per plane, or about $440 million if all 11 undergo modernization.

The source indicated to Defense Industry Courier that a contract has not yet been signed. There is no confirmation of the sources information and neither side has publicly commented on the report.

The reported negotiations could plausibly be related to Ukraines planned MU2″ upgrade program that has been in effect for the last few years. That overhaul program calls for the integration of new air-launched armaments as well as updated onboard electronics. Ukrainian media have previously suggested that foreign partners could be involved in the process, without specifying further.

One aircraft serving as a prototype for the upgrade program has already been overhauled, and Ukraine aims to begin modernizing more of its fleet next year.


bug2 - 5-9-2019 at 03:05 PM

Leonardo and the Polish Armaments Group Unveil Next Generation W-3 Helicopter Concept at MSPO 2019

(Source: Leonardo; issued September 03, 2019)

Aiming to compete for the Polish militarys requirement for a battlefield support helicopter, Leonardo and PGZ have designed a major update for the Polish-designed and produced W-3 Sokol helicopter which includes this all-glass cockpit. (Leonardo photo)

KIELCE, Poland --- Leonardo, through its industrial pillar in the Polish helicopter sector PZL-Świdnik, and the Polish Armaments Group, jointly with the Polish aviation industry and R&D centres, present a next generation multirole military helicopter concept based on a legacy W-3 Sokł platform at MSPO 2019.

The new concept comprises state-of-the-art technologies offered by the Polish aviation industry. In the future this solution could meet the requirements of the Polish Armed Forces for a new generation of Battlefield Support helicopters. The collaborative project oversees a major modification of the W-3 platform which is the basis of the helicopter fleet of the Polish Armed Forces.

Only the latest and already tested technologies available on the market have been used for the new concept, without compromising the Polish military needs through the guarantee of shorter delivery times, high level of reliability and savings in terms of the acquisition and operating costs.

The helicopter will be equipped with new blades and main rotor and a fully digital avionics system, covering a glass cockpit, Flight Management System (FMS), Synthetic Vision System (SVS), digital maps and Terrain Avoidance Warning System (TAWS), as well as a 4-axis digital autopilot, new communication system, an Engine FADEC and Health & Usage Monitoring System (HUMS).

All of this, combined with mission equipment and additional 200 kg of useful load (owing to an increase from 6400 kg to 6600 kg MTOW) will offer remarkable improvement in terms of performance and the operational capability of the helicopter.

On display at MSPO 2019 there will be a mock-up of the new generation W-3 concept helicopters cockpit. This concept further highlights the stringent global standard capabilities of the Polish aviation industry and how it can meet the battlefield demands of the Polish Armed Forces as well as the mission needs of the Polish military end-users.

The type will meet latest requirements of NATO countries to remain in service for another 30 years and overcome a design generation gap between previous and latest generation systems. The venture will also see a significant technology transfer from Leonardo to PZL-Świdnik which, in turn, will enable the Polish aviation industry to further consolidate its growth domestically.

Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters MD said: A key significance in the development of the new generation W-3 concept helicopter is through the transfer of technology with a view to guarantee to clients the operational autonomy and the broadest possible involvement of Polish industry. Particularly, the major role of our long-term partner, i.e. the Polish Armaments Group and companies belonging to it, which will be involved to a high degree in all phases of the project starting with the design, through to development, and the production which will support the helicopter into the future.

Sebastian Chwałek, Vice President of the Polish Armaments Group said: Companies of our Group bring into the modernization project several state-of-art solutions and competencies, including among others weapon systems equipped with guided and unguided missiles and firearms. Integration of those solutions on W-3 helicopter will allow this rotorcraft to support effectively soldiers in deployment of the tasks set on them, at the same time guaranteeing to the Armed Forces permanent access to munitions that can be used also by other armies of the NATO.

The next generation W-3 helicopter will provide the Polish Armed Forces with advanced battlefield support capabilities through a wide range of mission equipment, covering fully integrated armaments system [Air-to-Air missiles, Anti-tank missiles, 70mm rocket pods, cannon pods (12.7/20 mm), machine gun installed in a cabin] and an Integrated Defensive Aids System, an Electro Optical Surveillance System, NVG Compatibility and Head Up Display.

The helicopter will be able to perform a wide range of missions: troop transport, Special Forces insertion/extraction, CSAR, Intelligence, Surveillance and Armed Reconnaissance, MEDEVAC/CASEVAC.

Leonardos industrial presence in Poland is mainly through its subsidiary PZL-Świdnik, a Polish helicopter manufacturer which can boast over 65 years of experience in the industry gathered during manufacturing of over 7400 helicopters for customers in over 40 countries. Owing to this, Poland is one of few countries with the capability to design, develop, manufacture and service helicopters on their own.

PZL-Świdnik is a core partner of the Polish Ministry for National Defence: almost 160 PZL-Świdnik-made helicopters are in service with the Polish Armed Forces of which approximately 70 W-3 units. Almost 80% of all helicopters delivered to the Polish Armed Forces in recent years have been designed in Świdnik (SW-4 Puszczyk, W-3PL Głuszec and W-3WA Sokł, including VIP configuration for transportation of top-ranking state officials).

PZL-Świdnik currently has approximately 3000 employees, including more than 650 engineers, and cooperates with over 800 Polish enterprises. Leonardo is also present in many other major military programs in Poland; this concerns M-346 Bielik trainer for the Polish Air Force or Rosomak program for the Polish Army implemented in cooperation with PGZ.

Leonardo has also supplied several defence and security systems, such as the ground segment of the Italian observation satellites, COSMO-SkyMed, early warning radars and coastal surveillance systems, which greatly improve Polands security.

Polish Armaments Group (Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa, PGZ) is one of the largest defence corporations in Europe. It brings together more than 50 companies of key importance to the Polish defence industry: factories, maintenance facilities, and research centres. It employs more than 18 000 people and generates more than 5.5 billion PLN of annual revenue. PGZ manufactures innovative systems and solutions used by the Polish Armed Forces and allied formations.


bug2 - 9-9-2019 at 01:38 PM

U.S. Air Force B-52 Upgrades Kick Off With Focus On Strong Early Start

Sep 9, 2019

Steve Trimble | Aviation Week & Space Technology

A clear sign of the revived fortunes for the B-52H fleet is a sudden scheduling dilemma. As the U.S. Air Force juggles reengining, radar replacement and the integration of a host of advanced new weapons on the 60-year-old strategic bomber, finding enough aircraft to support flight testing and operational requirements has become an unexpected problem.

Prime contractor Boeing is trying to help the Air Force find a creative solution. A traditional approach would call for dedicating at least two B-52Hs to each upgrade project, but that would deprive operational squadrons of too many aircraft. The solution may be to combine tests from multiple projects on a single flight, but that requires orchestrating multiple technologies in development on different timelines and contracts, says Scot Oathout, Boeings bombers program director.

- Source selection for new engines to open around year-end
- Future defensive upgrades are considering crew size reduction

It is a scheduling challenge that would have seemed quite unlikely a few years ago. The Rand Corp. think tank in 2015 called for retiring the B-52H fleet as a cost-saving measure. But the Air Force moved in a different direction in 2018, choosing to retire the younger B-1 and B-2 fleets by 2040 and organize the bomber mission around future B-21s and B-52Hs.

The new commitment to operate the B-52H fleet through 2060 implied a heavy price for modernization. The B-52Hs age was underscored in June with a photo released by the Air Force of the captive-carry test of the Lockheed Martin AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), a hypersonic boost-glide weapon. Fifty years ago, the same B-52H launched the Lockheed D-21, a Mach 3.2 surveillance drone operated by the CIA until 1972.

So now the Air Force is catching up for lost time. Over the next decade, the B-52H fleet will be transformed with new sensors, engines and weapons. More upgrades are still under evaluation, including an avionics and defensive systems refresh that could further reduce the crew size to four from the current five. But the focus within the program is just getting through the next few years with so many overlapping upgrade schedules on the books.

We have two rather larger programs going on, as we look to make sure we get those started and going well before adding too many more big programs at this time, Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, program executive officer for fighters and bombers, told reporters recently. We have to get this right. We do have a workforce that is not infinite.

The availability of the B-52 fleet is under pressure as the Air Force seeks to modernize the aging platform. Credit: U.S. Air Force

The spotlight is on the B-52 reengining program. Boeing is on contract with three engine companies to complete a conceptual design for replacing all eight 1950s-era TF33s on each B-52H with turbofan engines, such as the GE Aviation CF34-10 or Passport, Pratt & Whitney Canada PW800 or Rolls-Royce BR725.

The conceptual designs explore solutions to the complications of grafting a modern propulsion system onto a 1950s airframe.

The complexities include the problem of shifting from a 1950s philosophy of mounting the engine to the wing pylon at the engine core, to the modern approach of attaching the engine at the fan section, says James Kroening, Boeings B-52 modernization program manager.

All three engine companies will complete the concept designs by around November, Kroening says. Once the design baselines are fully understood, Boeing will open the source selection process by year-end or in early 2020 for a single contractor to supply at least 608 engines.

Boeing selected Raytheon in July to replace the original Westinghouse APQ-166 radar with an active, electronically scanned array (AESA) derived from the antenna of the Boeing F/A-18E/Fs APG-79 and the processor for the F-15SAs APG-82.

The program is in a pre-engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase through early 2021, then will transition into EMD until a scheduled initial operational capability milestone in early 2026, says Michael Riggs, B-52 radar modernization program manager. All 76 B-52Hs now in service will be upgraded with the more reliable and powerful AESA radars by 2030, he says.

At the same time, the Air Force plans to integrate several new weapons on the B-52H for prototyping demonstrations and as future munitions. The testing includes launching of the AGM-183A, the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon and the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept. The Air Force also plans to integrate the nuclear Long-Range Standoff Weapon, which remains in source selection.

bug2 - 17-9-2019 at 08:58 AM

AFA 2019: General Electric qualifies F110-129 engine for F-15EX

Pat Host, Washington, DC - Jane's Defence Weekly

16 September 2019

General Electric (GE) Aviation's F110-129 engine is fully qualified for the Boeing F-15EX fighter that the US Air Force (USAF) intends to buy, according to a company statement.

GE Aviation spokesman David Wilson said on 12 September ahead of the Air Force Association's (AFA's) conference that, in addition, the F110-129 is the only qualified engine for the F-15EX. He said the latest Boeing F-15 Eagle with its digital fly-by-wire control was qualified with the F110-129 engine to approve the foreign military sale (FMS) sale of this configuration to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Recent sales of the engine, Wilson added, have included as part of recent Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon international sales.

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bug2 - 19-9-2019 at 12:04 PM

DSEI 2019: SEAD indecision puts pressure on USAF F-16 fleet

12th September 2019 - 14:00 GMT | by Tim Martin in London

The USAF is still unsure of which trade offs it will have to make as part of an overdue F-16 modernisation programme the basis of which is underpinned by a need to strengthen Suppression of Enemy Air Defence [SEAD] mission capabilities.

Despite $7 billion of DoD expenditure spent on funding a number of currently running F-16 programmes, such as flight testing with the Northrop Grumman made APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, high-speed data network integration and the addition of high definition flight displays, a decision on whether to introduce a digital EW suite to future improvements is yet to be taken.

We're not sure exactly which direction we're going to go on that stuff Lt Col Matt Russell, chief of F-16 flight testing, USAF told Shephard, but did confirm that integration of the JASSAM ER Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range variant will be part of the modernisation plan.

In the time since a last modernisation effort was undertaken in 2005, a more complex picture of lethal air defence threats has emerged, including a need to counter increasingly long-range and high-altitude systems, passive detection, passive targeting and directed energy issues, he made clear.

All high value assets have to stay out further from the fight [because of more capable air defence threats] which becomes a problem when talking about battle management, communication nodes in the air have to be further out too, he said.

The need for greater F-16 capabilities to be finalised and continue with SEAD sorties is also pivotal because of the USAF F-35 fleet, barely starting to deploy, Russell added.

If anything kicks off, were going to be limited, he warned.

The likelihood of enhancing the F-16 to a similar level of capability as the F-35 is all but insurmountable and impractical, with Russell making clear that a modernisation of that kind would be too difficult and too expense.

I don't know how many antennas the F-35 has on it, just for radar warning, they are all over the airframe, to put that on the F-16 youd have to pull skins, pull panels, and run wires throughout the whole body [of the jet], he explained.

We havent made a decision on how we are going to handle that problem but we have to make a decision at some point.

bug2 - 24-9-2019 at 07:58 PM

Hot Weather Trials Campaign for the Rafale F3-R

(Source: French Air Force; issued Sept. 16, 2019)

(Unofficial translation by

During the first half of July, the French Air Force deployed two two-seat Rafale B combat aircraft to Al Dhafra, Frances air base in the UAE, to flight-test the aircrafts latest F-3R capability standard. (French AF photo)

From July 1 to 17, 2019, a team from the French Air Force Test & Evaluation Center (Centre des Exprimentations Ariennes Militaires, CEAM) conducted a series of Rafale F3-R at trials at air base 104 at Al Dahfra, in the United Arab Emirates.

The trials focused on three areas: the Talios laser designation pod, the effectiveness of the terrain monitoring radar in a desert and sandy environment and the thermal protections of the Rafale cockpit. In addition to these evaluations, the forces pre-positioned at air base 104 attended transformation and information sessions.

The experimental team was made up of specialists from the CEAM as well as crews and technical teams from the Practical Experiments and Reception Center for Naval Aeronautics, the French Navys counterpart of CEAM, DGA Flight Tests and technical staff from Thals Laser and Dassault Aviation.

During thirty missions, taking advantage of the thermal constraints of the environment, the experimenters pushed these different equipment items to their performance limits, in conditions close to those of the theaters of operations in which the Air Force operates. The goal was to verify that the equipment that the forces will be shortly operating is both in line with expectations, and adapted to their needs.

Created in 1933 in Reims, and relocated in 1945 to the air base 118 at Mont-de-Marsan and officially recognized as an Air Warfare Center, the CEAM is the arm of the air staff which defines the capabilities of the Air Force. It contributes to their development, prepares their integration and supports their operational use.


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