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[*] posted on 9-11-2018 at 11:03 AM


Russia’s Heavily Upgraded Military Transport Plane Performs Debut Flight

(Source: TASS; published Nov 08, 2018)


Russia today announced the maiden flights of its first production Il-76MD-90A military airlifter, fitted with new engines that help reduce fuel consumption by 10%, and of the Mi Mil-38T military transport helicopter. (TASS photo)

MOSCOW --- The serial-produced Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A, a heavy upgrade of the Il-76 military transport plane, performed its debut flight on November 7, CEO of the Ilyushin Aircraft Company Alexei Rogozin said on his Facebook page.

"The Il-76MD-90A is the second generation of Il-76 military transport planes. The first flight was made in September 2012 and the first evaluation flight to test its compliance with the Defense Ministry’s requirements was conducted in December 2016.

Yesterday, this was the first flight of the Il-76MD-90A with the factory No. 01-09 - the first serial-produced plane built in compliance with the performance characteristics of the Russian Defense Ministry," Rogozin said.

The Il-76MD-90A produced at the Ulyanovsk-based Aviastar-SP enterprise is a heavily upgraded version of the Il-76MD military transport plane.

The plane’s new version is outfitted with the PS-90A-76 engines that help reduce fuel consumption by 10%. The plane can carry a payload of 52 tonnes and operate at a distance of 5,000 km compared to 47 tonnes and 4,000 km, respectively, for the Il-76MD. It is capable of carrying a greater number of transportable and air-droppable military hardware.

The upgraded plane is designated to transport heavy large-size hardware and cargoes, and also to land personnel, hardware and cargoes.

The plane can also be used in emergencies areas, for example, for extinguishing fires. In October 2012, Russia’s Defense Ministry and the United Aircraft Corporation signed a contract worth 140 billion rubles ($2.1 billion) for the delivery of 39 Il-76MD-90A military transport planes to the Russian Armed Forces.

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[*] posted on 13-11-2018 at 09:35 AM


Korea-Spain Aircraft Deal Shrouded in Mystery

(Source: Korea Times; issued Nov 12, 2018)

The defense procurement agency's reported plan to sign a military aircraft swap deal with Spain is drawing attention here, as it would mark the first time for a Korean manufacturer to export trainer jets to Europe.

Under the plan, Korea is expected to sell 30 KT-1 basic trainer jets and 20 T-50 advanced trainer jets, manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), to Spain. The European country also reportedly plans to sell four to six A400M Airbus transport planes to Korea as part of the aircraft exchange deal.

The reported contract, if signed, raises hopes for Korea and KAI to tap deeper into Europe and raise its global profile in the defense industry. The deal is estimated to be worth 2 trillion won ($1.77 billion).

But Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) denied the reported plan, saying "no discussion is underway" between Seoul and Madrid over the aircraft swap deal.

"Spanish military and government authorities have yet to contact us via official routes over the deal," an official from DAPA said Sunday. After reports over the possible swap deal surfaced in recent weeks, the defense procurement agency has contacted Spain to confirm whether the country is considering the deal, but the Spanish government denied the rumor, according to the official.

The rumor came as a Spanish defense ministry reportedly plans to sell to other countries 13 of 27 A400M planes it has ordered from Airbus.

Ranking defense officials from Korea and Spain will meet next week in the latter's capital city for a joint defense committee meeting.

For this reason, media attention has been on whether both sides will have any in-depth discussion on the reported aircraft deal. But DAPA denied the possibility that either side will bring it to the dialogue table during the meeting.

"The possible swap deal is not on the dialogue agenda for the meeting," the DAPA official said. "As there have been no official proposals from the Spanish authority, the issue will not be discussed at all."

Last week, local reports said a Spanish defense official delivered the country's interest in signing the swap deal in a meeting with a Korean official on the sidelines of the Farnborough International Airshow in the U.K. in July. Some reports claimed Korea has not responded to the offer.

But DAPA said it conducted an internal fact-checking process over the report, and nothing has been confirmed over whether the Spanish authority has contacted the Korean defense procurement agency over the swap deal.

DAPA is in a position that the possible aircraft exchange contract is a win-win deal for both sides and it will welcome the reported contract if Spain delivers an official proposal.

KAI is also willing to sign the big deal with Spain, as the company has recently failed to win a U.S. jet contract. In September, the U.S. Air Force awarded a $9.2 billion Advanced Pilot Training (APT) contract to a Boeing-led consortium.

At that time, a consortium of Lockheed Martin and KAI failed to compete against the low-price strategy from the Boeing consortium.

KAI was desperate to win the bid, as the APT project was cited as a golden opportunity for the Korean company to raise its global brand image. On top of that, KAI believed the project would pave the way for the company to sign more mega contracts in the U.S. and other overseas markets.

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[*] posted on 14-11-2018 at 11:38 AM


Indonesia Signs Agreement to Sell Planes, Locomotives to Africa

(Source: The Jakarta Post; posted Nov 13, 2018)

JAKARTA --- Aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) signed on Monday purchase and sale agreements with Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire for the procurement of two planes each with total transaction value US$ 75 million, the Foreign Ministry has said.

PTDI expert on plane development Andi Alisjahbana said the signing was a follow up to agreements made during the Indonesia-Africa Forum (IAF) 2018 in Bali on April 10 to 11.

Andi said the CN 235-220 planes, which were purchased by both countries, could be used as passenger planes or for maritime patrol.

“Usually, we deliver the planes about 24 to 28 months after the contracts are signed,” said Andi as reported by kontan.co.id.

Meanwhile, state-owned train manufacturer PT Industri Kerata Api (Inka) also signed a purchase and sale agreement with Senegal on locomotive procurement, according to the ministry, but the value of the transaction was not revealed.

Under the second agreement with Senegal, Inka was also assigned to operate the Dakar-Bamako railway line, the ministry says.

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[*] posted on 14-11-2018 at 10:08 PM


PICTURE: Bahrain receives ex-Royal Air Force Hercules

14 NOVEMBER, 2018 SOURCE: FLIGHTGLOBAL.COM BY: CRAIG HOYLE LONDON

Bahrain has taken delivery of its first of two ex-UK Royal Air Force Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transports.

Acquired via the UK Ministry of Defence following its retirement from service, the aircraft underwent depth maintenance at Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group's Cambridge airport site before being approved for a return to operational use. Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the aircraft – which now carries the Royal Bahraini Air Force registration 702 – is 19 years old.


Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group

Marshall says work also included "some minor modifications and a full aircraft repaint". The UK company is also responsible for providing Manama with "elements of an initial operational capability set-up" to support the type's introduction.

Bahrain's acquisition of the surplus RAF aircraft plugs a previous capability gap, as it was the only Gulf Cooperation Council nation with no tactical airlift assets. Its first Hercules is expected to make a debut appearance at the Bahrain air show, running from 14-16 November.

"Delivery of this aircraft sees the first government-to-government transfer of a C-130J, and the Kingdom of Bahrain enter the C-130 community as a new operator," says Matthew Harvey, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group's international sales director, military aerospace.

The UK MoD opted to retire the RAF's short-fuselage C-130Js, while retaining its stretched examples. It has also sold two examples to Bangladesh, while another is to provide logistics support for the US Navy's Blue Angels aerobatic display team.
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[*] posted on 22-11-2018 at 09:24 AM


Embraer KC-390 successfully completes troop unloading test

21 NOVEMBER, 2018 SOURCE: FLIGHTGLOBAL.COM BY: GARRETT REIM LOS ANGELES

Embraer successfully completed a test of troop unloading and evacuation via the front and rear doors of its KC-390 at Brasília Air Force Base, in Brazil on 21 November.

The tests are required for the aircraft to achieve Final Operational Capability, which is part of the final military certification of the aircraft, expected to occur in the last quarter of 2019, Embraer says. The KC-390 is a medium-sized military transport aircraft powered by two International Aero Engines V2500 turbofans. The transport can carry 80 passengers or 64 paratroopers.

The aircraft received a type certification from the Brazilian aviation authority, Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil, in October. Embraer has said that the first production aircraft will be delivered to the Brazilian air force in the first half 2019. FlightGlobal’s Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the service has 27 firm orders.

The KC-390 is designed to perform missions such as cargo and troop transport, troop and cargo air delivery, aerial refueling, search and rescue and forest fire fighting. Embraer is attempting to push the aircraft into a military transport market dominated for decades by the Lockheed Martin C-130, by pitching what it claims is the lowest life-cycle cost in the market as well as top speeds that surpass its turboprop rival.

There are 38 letters of intent to order the aircraft from international customers, including six LOIs from Argentina, six from Chile, 12 from Colombia, two from Czech Republic, six from Portugal, and six from Lisbon-based aviation services firm SkyTech, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer.
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[*] posted on 29-11-2018 at 07:23 PM


Russia’s Next-Generation Light Military Transport Plane Delivered for Flight Tests

(Source: TASS; published Nov 27, 2018)


The first Ilyushin Il-112V military transport aircraft has been rolled out and prepared for flight testing. With a payload of 5 tonnes, it is intended to replace the An-24 and An-26 aircraft currently in service with the Russian Air Force. (UAC photo)

MOSCOW --- The first Ilyushin Il-112V military transport plane has been delivered for flight tests, the press office of the United Aircraft Corporation’s Transport Aviation Division reported on Tuesday.

"On November 27, 2018, the procedure of delivering the first Il-112V prototype to the flight-testing station was held at the Voronezh Aircraft Enterprise (part of the United Aircraft Corporation’s Transport Aviation Division)," the press office said.

At the flight-testing station, specialists of the Ilyushin Aircraft Company will carry out the entire range of the plane’s aerodrome tests, the press office said.

"Following their results, a conclusion will be made on the Il-112V’s readiness for its debut flight," the press office said.

The Il-112V light military transport plane capable of carrying a maximum cargo of 5 tonnes is intended to transport troops, military hardware, various armaments and other cargoes.

The aircraft is being developed to replace the An-26 and An-24 turboprop planes. The new plane is expected to be made in two modifications: for civilian aviation (the Il-112T) and for military transport aviation (the Il-112V). It was earlier reported that Russia’s top brass intended to place an order for 62 new planes.

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[*] posted on 5-12-2018 at 09:23 AM


Leonardo flies new baseline C-27J for first time

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

04 December 2018

Leonardo has flown its new baselined C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft for the first time, the company announced on 4 December.

The flight from Leonardo's Aircraft Division plant in Turin, Italy, marked a major milestone in the development of the aircraft, which has been upgraded to satisfy global air traffic management requirements. As noted by Leonardo, the aircraft has been fitted with new avionics, navigation systems, lighting, and other equipment.

As well as being fitted to all new C-27Js rolling off the production line, this new baseline configuration will also be offered to existing C-27J customers as a retrofit. These comprise Australia, Bulgaria, Chad, Greece, Italy, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Romania, Slovakia, the US, and Zambia.

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[*] posted on 20-12-2018 at 09:25 PM


PT Dirgantara in talks with Philippine Air Force for more NC212i orders

Ridzwan Rahmat, Singapore - Jane's Defence Weekly

19 December 2018


A model of the NC212i on display at Indo Defence 2018. Source: IHS Markit/Ridzwan Rahmat

State-owned aerospace company PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) is in talks with the Philippine Air Force (PAF) over possible follow-on orders for the NC212i light utility turboprop transport aircraft, an official from the company has told Jane's .

The service requires at least four to six more airframes under the Light-Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft (LLFWA) requirement and PTDI has positioned the NC212i as the most suitable candidate for the programme given commonality and scalability with earlier airframes, said Dadhik Kresnadi, PTDI's manager for market penetration and networking.

"The aircraft type is very suitable for the Philippine Air Force's requirements as it is very versatile and can be configured quickly for a number of missions, including troop transport, paratrooper dropping, medical evacuation, cargo transport, and maritime surveillance," said Kresnadi.

More importantly, the aircraft can also take off and land from austere airstrips, which allows the PAF to reach more remote areas across the Philippines archipelago, he added.

PTDI delivered two NC212i airframes to the PAF in June 2018. A PHP814 million (USD18.3 million) contract for the aircraft was signed by PTDI and the Philippines government in 2014. So far, the PAF is satisfied with the aircraft's performance and PTDI is confident of follow-on orders, said Kresnadi.

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[*] posted on 31-12-2018 at 07:58 PM


PICTURES: Il-112V undergoes taxi trials ahead of first flight

29 DECEMBER, 2018 SOURCE: FLIGHTGLOBAL.COM LONDON

The initial prototype of Ilyushin’s Il-112V transport has begun taxi trials on the runway at the VASO manufacturing plant in Voronezh, as United Aircraft (UAC) prepares the twin turboprop for its maiden flight.



The high-wing design is powered by two Klimov TV7-117ST turboprops. The initial variant is the Il-112V military transport, with a civil Il-112T version also planned.

The Il-112V’s flight-test schedule has been subject to several delays but under UAC's most recent plan the maiden sortie had been expected before the end of 2018.


Igor Stryuk/VASO
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[*] posted on 5-2-2019 at 11:26 PM


An-124 Ruslan Replacement Takes Shape

by Vladimir Karnozov - February 4, 2019, 5:27 AM


The VKS (Russian air and space force) operates around 20 An-124s. (Photo: Vladimir Karnozov)

The Kremlin is considering options to replace the Antonov An-124 Ruslan heavyweight airlifter for Russian military and civil operators. The new aircraft would be produced at the older type’s manufacturing line at the Aviastar-SP factory in Ulyanovsk. TsAGI—the Russian acronym for the Central Aerohydrodynamics Institute—is offering a concept referred to as Slon (elephant). It features a new wing made of composite materials with a higher aspect ratio and a gross weight increase to 490 to 500 tonnes, of which 214 and 222 tonnes are the weight of the structure.

The proposal was announced at MAKS’2017, but shortly after that United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) denied having any firm plans relating to the new aircraft. Despite this, TsAGI has been detailing the initial concept. Last month the institute issued a statement that it had completed shaping an aerodynamic layout of a future freighter and made a scale model for wind tunnel testing, scheduled to be undertaken in August-September 2019.

The intended Ruslan replacement remains a high-wing monoplane with four turbofans on wing pylons and bears a passing resemblance to the Antonov design. It will be able to transport 150 tonnes of freight over 3,800 nm, or 180 tonnes over 2,650 nm at a cruise speed of 460 knots. Instead of using the Ukrainian-designed and made D-18T turbofans, the Slon would be powered by indigenous PD-35s being developed for the Sino-Russian CR929 jetliner, which produce 35 tonnes of thrust compared to 23. Lower fuel-burn provides for a two-fold range increase compared to the An-124-100-150M, which can haul 150 tonnes to 1,675 nm or 80 tonnes to 4,600 nm.


This graphic illustrates the longer wings and fuselage of the Slon design when compared with the Ruslan. (Illustration: TsAGI)

The Slon has larger dimensions: length is 270 feet (82.3 meters) versus 227 feet for the Ruslan, height is 78.7 feet compared with 68.9 feet, and wingspan between 286 feet and 290 feet versus 240.5 feet. There are two versions of fuselage mating a universal wing, one shaped to the requirements of the Russian MoD and the other to that of Volga-Dnepr Airlines. The military demand includes carrying infantry fighting vehicles in two lines along the cargo cabin, which dictates a cabin width of 21 feet, whereas Volga-Dnepr requires a width of 17.4 feet as opposed to 14.4 feet in the An-124. The MoD’s specification calls for a range of 4,100 nm with 300 armed soldiers plus 100 servicemen making up the crews of five Sprut SDM-1 air-transportable lightweight tanks.

Since UAC’s foundation in 2008, the Kremlin has considered resumption of Ruslan production on several occasions, each time postponing a decision. Unless substantial foreign orders for the Slon are gained, it will be difficult for the manufacturer to make the financial investment work. The Ruslan production run came to just 56, of which two-thirds were built at Aviastar. In 2014, following a rift between Kiev and Moscow, the Kremlin ordered Ilyushin to provide industry support to An-124 operators in Russia. After the demise of Polet, Volga-Dnepr remains the only commercial operator in the country, with a fleet of 12 An-124s. The Russian air and space force (VKS) operates about 12 airworthy examples (plus eight in the 224th Air Detachment with a special status) and keeps several aircraft in storage. The head of the VKS’s military-transport aviation (command), Lieutenant General Vladimir Benediktov, pledged to place a launch order for “a reworked Ruslan.”
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[*] posted on 13-2-2019 at 01:50 PM


M28 05 Aircraft Delivered to Germany

(Source: PZL Mielec; issued Feb 11, 2019)

MIELEC, Poland --- An M28 short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft manufactured at PZL Mielec, a Sikorsky plant in Poland, has been officially handed over to a German commercial aviation company – PD Sicherheit.

The aircraft sales contract was signed by both parties in 2018. The contracted unit was scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2019. The contracted M28 aircraft, has joined its German M28 family including two previously procured aircraft.

During the M28 delivery ceremony, the client expressed his utmost satisfaction and appreciation of the currently used M28 aircraft and shared hope of expanding his M28 fleet in the near future.

Apart from paratroop training, the portfolio of PD operations performed on the M28, will be expanded with a variety of other missions.

Only two days after the delivery, the M28 aircraft set out on a transatlantic flight to Canada where it was operated during paratroop training.

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[*] posted on 19-2-2019 at 09:24 PM


PICTURE: Pilatus delivers PC-24 to Swiss government

19 FEBRUARY, 2019 SOURCE: FLIGHT INTERNATIONAL BY: KATE SARSFIELD LONDON

Pilatus has delivered a PC-24 to the Swiss government. The superlight business jet – serial number 121 and carrying the registration T-786 – was handed over during a dedicated ceremony in Berne on 18 February, and will replace a similarly sized Cessna Citation XLS in service.

The eight-seat PC-24 will be used for government transportation “primarily around Europe, and operated by the Swiss air force".


Pilatus

Pilatus chairman Oscar Schwenk describes the latest addition as “the new Swiss Air Force One” and says he is “confident that other governments will adopt the PC-24 once they see the unrivalled opportunities and flexibility which it offers.”

Certificated in December 2017, the Williams International FJ44-4A-powered aircraft has a range of 2,000nm (3,700km), a cruise speed of 440kt (810km/h) and is designed to take off from and land on runways with a length of only 856m (2,810ft), including grass and gravel strips. This feature gives the aircraft access to more than 20,000 landing sites around the globe, says Pilatus – more than twice as many as competing light-jet category models, including the XLS.

The Stans-based airframer has delivered 22 PC-24s to date from a backlog of 84 aircraft. This includes 18 examples last year – slightly short of the 23 shipments Pilatus had forecast for the 12 months ended 31 December. Output of 40 PC-24s is planned for in 2019.
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[*] posted on 19-2-2019 at 09:27 PM


Boeing And Embraer Expand KC-390 Sales Talks

Feb 18, 2019 Steve Trimble | Aerospace Daily & Defense Report


KC-390 Embraer

ABU DHABI—Boeing and Embraer are in talks with five countries to buy the KC-390 airlifter and air refueling aircraft, including at least two that have opened discussions since the two manufacturers announced a formal partnership, a Boeing executive said on Feb. 18.

Embraer launched development of the KC-390 in 2009, but signed an agreement in 2016 with Boeing to support global marketing and sustainment. The partnership deepened over the summer, when Boeing and Embraer agreed to form a joint venture to market the KC-390. Boeing also agreed to acquire 80% of Embraer’s commercial aviation business and establish a separate joint venture.

Both deals are expecting to be finalized this year, pending the Brazilian government's approval. But Boeing already is involved in marketing the KC-390 under the 2016 agreement.

“Right now, there are five that we’re talking to—pretty solid countries,” said Mark Bellew, director of sales and marketing for International Government Services at Boeing Global Services.

The five countries extend beyond Embraer’s original teaming agreements with the governments of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic and Portugal.

“We have a couple of new ones that have come here and asked us questions lately as well,” Bellew said.

The KC-390 is scheduled to enter service this year with the Brazilian Air Force, which has ordered 28.
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[*] posted on 22-2-2019 at 01:26 PM


Airbus Certifies A400M Cargo Hold Tanks Refueling Unit

(Source: Airbus; issued Feb 21, 2019)


The Airbus A400M was delivered without a fully-certified and operation air refuelling system, but this vital capability is gradually being acquired in small but steady steps. (Airbus photo)

GETAFE, Spain --- Airbus has successfully completed the certification flight tests for the A400M Cargo Hold Tanks (CHT) refueling unit, taking a new step towards the full certification of the aircraft for air-to-air refueling operations as a tanker.

The campaign, performed together with the Spanish Air Force Test Centre (CLAEX), featured a total of nine flights where 90 tonnes of fuel were dispensed to Spanish Air Force F-18 receivers and to another A400M prototype as a representative heavy aircraft receiver.

The test campaign included the development and certification of the Cargo Hold Tanks with the latest Fuel Quantity Management System software, to be certified during 2019, enhancement of the night refueling vision system and preliminary testing of helicopter air-to-air refueling capabilities.

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[*] posted on 27-2-2019 at 09:38 PM


Avalon 2019: Leonardo and Northrop Grumman team up for New Zealand Spartan bid

Jon Grevatt, Melbourne - Jane's Defence Industry

26 February 2019


Leonardo and Northrop Grumman Australia have signed an agreement to jointly bid to supply the C-27J transport aircraft to New Zealand. The two companies are also partnered on supporting Australia’s fleet of C-27J aircraft. Source: Australian DoD

Leonardo and Northrop Grumman Australia have signed an agreement to partner on a bid to supply the Italian group's C-27J Spartan transport aircraft to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

The memorandum of understanding - signed on 27 February at the Avalon Airshow 2019 - is intended to meet New Zealand's requirement under its Future Air Mobility Capability (FAMC) programme.

Officials told Jane's that the agreement positions Northrop Grumman to provide through-life support services for the C-27J in service with the RNZAF. New Zealand is expected to issue a tender to support the procurement in the second half of 2019, they said.

The Leonardo-Northrop Grumman teaming will also look to leverage the existing partnership between the two companies to support the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) fleet of C-27Js, said officials.

The RAAF ordered 10 C-27Js in 2012 for AUD1.4 billion (USD1 billion). The fleet reached initial operating capability (IOC) in December 2016, and Northrop Grumman secured a AUD200 million contract to support the aircraft in November 2017, providing engineering and logistics services.

"Under this new agreement Northrop Grumman will provide support services to New Zealand in line with what they have been doing here in Australia," said one Leonardo official.

"We want to exploit the positive aspects of ongoing collaboration between Leonardo and Northrop Grumman, which may bring benefits for both New Zealand and Australia as they collaborate and undertake joint operations. A common team, supporting both countries, might be of interest to New Zealand."

He added that in supporting the C-27J in service with the RNZAF both Leonardo and Northrop Grumman would consider investing in New Zealand to develop maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) capability in the country.

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[*] posted on 27-2-2019 at 09:49 PM


Avalon 2019: Japan promotes Kawasaki C-2 to Asia-Pacific customers

Jon Grevatt, Melbourne - Jane's Defence Industry

27 February 2019

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) exhibited its C-2 transport aircraft at the 2019 Avalon Airshow, representing the first time that the platform, produced by Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), has been promoted at an aerospace show in the Asia Pacific.

In promoting the aircraft at Avalon – activity that includes several scheduled flight demonstrations – officials from the JASDF and the Japanese Ministry of Defense’s (MoD’s) Acquisition, Technology, & Logistics Agency (ATLA) told Jane’s that they are aiming to showcase some of the aircraft’s capabilities to regional customers.

The C-2 aircraft was displayed on the international stage for the first time at the Dubai Airshow in November 2017.

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[*] posted on 3-3-2019 at 11:39 AM


Elbit Systems' Terrain Following-Terrain Avoidance System Declared Operational Onboard C-130 Aircraft

(Source: Elbit Systems; issued Feb 28, 2019)


This well-equipped cockpit fitted to an unidentified country’s C-130 transport aircraft features six large glass flat panels as well as head-up displays for pilot and co-pilot, to which Elbit has now integrated its Terrain Following-Terrain Avoidance System. (Elbit photo)

HAIFA, Israel --- Concluding extensive flight testing and verification by Special Operations pilots, Elbit Systems' new Terrain Following and Terrain Avoidance (TF/TA) system was declared operational onboard C-130 aircraft of an unidentified Air Force. The provided TF/TA system is part of an Elbit Systems' lead comprehensive C-130 avionics upgrade program.

Elbit Systems' TF/TA system enables military transport aircraft to safely conduct low altitude flights in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC), significantly extending their operational envelope.

The Company's TF/TA system combines high resolution ground mapping data from an onboard Terrain Following Radar that is complimented by a Digital Terrain Elevation Database, offering high maneuverability. The system's real-time terrain data processing and advanced algorithms, take into account the aircraft's flight performance characteristics, thus enabling anticipation of variations in the terrain and providing optimized climb/descent commands to keep the aircraft in the selected altitude for the entire mission.

Elbit Systems' TF/TA is offered to military air-lifters and helicopters and can be implemented as part of the Company's basic Communication, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) avionics upgrade suite or as a stand-alone component.

Elbit Systems Ltd. is an international high technology company engaged in a wide range of defense, homeland security and commercial programs throughout the world. The Company, which includes Elbit Systems and its subsidiaries, operates in the areas of aerospace, land and naval systems, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance ("C4ISR"), unmanned aircraft systems, advanced electro-optics, electro-optic space systems, EW suites, signal intelligence systems, data links and communications systems, radios and cyber based systems.

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[*] posted on 5-3-2019 at 03:09 PM


Nepal to receive M28 tactical airlifters from United States

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

04 March 2019


A PZL Mielec M28 light transport aircraft at the company's facility in southern Poland. Nepal is to receive two such aircraft by the end of the year. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

Nepal is to receive a pair of PZL Mielec M28 short take-off and landing (STOL) light transport aircraft under a contract announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 1 March.

The USD18.98 million Foreign Military Financing (FMF) award to the Polish aircraft manufacturer covers two of the latest Block 5 aircraft, as well as services and support. The aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to Kathmandu by 20 December.

The Nepalese Army Air Wing already has one M28 in its inventory, which was donated by the Polish Air Force in 2004. However, this aircraft crash-landed at Kolti Airport in 2017 with images posted of the scene indicating that the damage was beyond economical repair.

A westernised development of the Soviet-built Antonov An-28 'Cash' light transport aircraft, the M28 made its maiden flight in 1993. When US helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky acquired PZL Mielec in 2007, the fixed-wing M28 largely fell by the wayside as efforts were focused instead on the rotary-wing S-70i Black Hawk. The arrival of Lockheed Martin in 2015, with its C-130 Hercules heritage, has seen a renewed and reinvigorated effort to market and sell the M28 with promotional tours around Latin America and the developing world in particular.

The M28's rough-field and STOL capabilities make it well suited to the harsh operating environment of Nepal. Fitted with a fixed tricycle undercarriage, the M28 has a maximum payload of 2,300 kg (300 kg of which can be carried in a ventral baggage pod) with rear cargo doors for easy on/off-loading; requires a runway of just 500 m (needing only 204 m to land); has a maximum speed of 192 kt; a service ceiling of 25,000 ft; and a range of 1,673 n miles (ferry with additional cabin tanks).

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[*] posted on 29-3-2019 at 12:11 PM


India concludes price negotiations to acquire 62 C295 transport aircraft

Rahul Bedi, New Delhi - Jane's Defence Weekly

28 March 2019


Indias MoD has concluded price negotiations to acquire 62 C295 tactical transport aircraft (similar to this one) for the IAF and ICG. Source: Airbus

India's Ministry of Defence (MoD) has concluded price negotiations to acquire a total of 62 Airbus Defence and Space C295 medium transport aircraft (MTA) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).

IAF sources told Jane's on 28 March that the MoD's Contract Negotiation Committee (CNC) concluded consultations with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) - which is in a joint venture (JV) with Airbus for the MTA programme - to procure the 62 platforms for around EUR2.8 billion (USD3.15 billion).

They said the aircraft deal - which would include 56 platforms for the IAF to replace the service's ageing fleet of Avro 748M transports, and six for the ICG - is expected to be signed after a new Indian government assumes office following general elections set to begin on 11 April.

The MTA programme envisages the direct import of 16 C295s and the local assembly/licence-building of the remaining 46 aircraft at a facility set up by the JV near Bangalore. In keeping with the 2013 MTA tender, 24 of these will be imported in kit form for local assembly and include a 30% indigenous content. The level of indigenous content is then expected to double to 60% in the remaining 22 platforms.

Delivery of the first locally assembled C295 is expected to begin within 60 months of the contract being signed, industry sources said.

Senior IAF officers said that while the IAF's C295 version will fulfil its requirement for a tactical airlifter, the ICG variant is expected to operate as a multimission maritime aircraft.

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[*] posted on 30-3-2019 at 12:53 PM


ANALYSIS: Britten-Norman pledges return to civil manufacturing

29 MARCH, 2019 SOURCE: FLIGHT INTERNATIONAL BY: MURDO MORRISON LONDON

Perhaps Britten-Norman's greatest success is that it has survived. In its early 1970s heyday, the UK's only commercial aircraft manufacturer since BAE Systems axed its regional jet activities in 2001 was shipping 100 piston-twin BN-2 Islanders a year. Today, annual production of its no-nonsense utility and nine-passenger transport has shrunk to just one or two examples.

However, the 65-year-old company has never gone away, surviving several bankruptcies over the decades, and more recently, the financial crash, the arrival of a clean-sheet competitor, and a messy dispute with its landlord that forced it to relocate from its headquarters of over 40 years at Bembridge, on the Isle of Wight, to a site near Southampton.


Twin engines plus rugged construction are an advantage when serving remote locations
Britten-Norman


It is there, at the former RNAS Lee-on-Solent, known as HMS Daedalus, where William Hynett, Britten-Norman's long-serving chief executive and minority shareholder, hopes to resurrect the fortunes of the Omani-owned airframer with a new focus on the commercial market, raising annual production to a "commercially viable" four aircraft a year, on top of a number of refurbishments.

The company's plans for a new civil aircraft assembly and maintenance facility, in two new buildings on the new local authority-owned aviation park, complete with airfield access, come after almost a decade of "making do" in sheds that Hynett admits have been too small. That has forced the firm to take its foot off the marketing pedal, he says, and, at times, even turn away business.

The move to the mainland came in 2010 after the farmer who owned the Bembridge airfield fell out with Britten-Norman placing straw bales over the runway to prevent access. The same year, the company also stopped outsourcing subassemblies to Romaero in Bucharest its supplier for four decades after Romania's entry to the EU rendered labour rates uncompetitive.

STAYING AFLOAT

Production at Lee-on-Solent has been slow to pick up, although a plum UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) contract to build 10 Defender military variants of the Islander and support the fleet in Iraq and Afghanistan has provided much-needed revenue in the past decade. Maintenance and overhaul business from owners of some of the several hundred Islanders in operation has also been a lifeline.

However, "the priority now is to get Daedalus up and running", says Hynett, who plans to establish production lines in the new hangars in months. This will allow Britten-Norman to target the commercial market again, an area the "artificially capacity-constrained" company has neglected since 2010 as it has focused its limited resources on the MoD and overseas government contracts.

"A sustainable model for us is one new-build and one refurbishment a quarter, but in the past few years this has been difficult," he says. "We want to get back to a more even split between our commercial and military work. The MoD is an important contract, but it is a modest-sized fleet, compared to what's out there in the rest of the world, and they need our help."

Although the Islanders design is 54 years old, Hynett believes the rugged airframe holds its own against newer, sleeker, lighter rivals, such as the Tecnam P2012 Traveller, which is currently entering service with launch customer US airline Cape. "The Islander is what it is," he says. "It is excellent in most respects. Its shortcomings we accept, but we believe it is as relevant today as it was in the sixties."

In fact, Hynett is "not convinced" the Italian type is a direct competitor. "The Tecnam is very light and aerodynamic, but we're like a Land Rover. What is great about the Islander is that it gets beaten up a lot. It is built so solidly." He regards the equally venerable Textron Aviation Cessna Caravan as a closer rival, although he says the Islander has the "big advantage" of having twin engines.


Defender military variant has supported production over past decade
Britten-Norman


On around 80% of the almost 1,300 Islanders produced during the past 50 years, these engines are Lycoming O-540s. Rolls-Royce B17 turboprops, which deliver a slightly higher maximum take-off weight than their piston counterparts, power the remainder mostly aircraft on government or special mission use.

Britten-Norman is mulling over a full-authority digital engine control (FADEC)-equipped engine the P2012's Lycoming TEO-540 IE-2 comes with FADEC but Hynett wants to "see how it goes" for Tecnam first. In the cockpit, he is sticking with Garmin's G600 TXi as standard, rather than the P2012's G1000: "It does 90% of what a G1000 does and we don't see the benefit of making the Islander pricier."

HEDGING BETS

The firm is also opening a training centre in Malta, chosen because of its favourable weather, and "strong cultural fit". Hynett a high-profile Brexit campaigner during the 2016 referendum says the decision to open in the EU state is also part of a contingency plan, "in the event that the UK and EU fail to negotiate an effective bilateral relationship".

Together with its MoD work, refurbishments have represented the majority of Britten-Norman's revenues in recent years. It recently signed a contract to upgrade four Islanders operated by Romanian aerospace research institute Incas with G600 TXi glass cockpits. Last year, it began a similar upgrade effort on five Islanders operated by the Falkland Island Government Aviation Services.

Islanders have operated in the South Atlantic territory since 1979 the first one was destroyed in the Falklands War in 1982. The type still carries out exotic and unusual missions in various corners of the world, from ferrying wealthy tourists to a luxury resort on Tahiti to operating the world's shortest scheduled air route Loganair's 1min hop from Westray to Papa Westray in Scotland's Orkney islands.


The company plans to soon move into new hangars at Lee-on-Solent
Fareham council


That global spread of often tiny operators creates its own challenges. When we spoke to Hynett in the company's new head office in Londons Mayfair, he had just returned from a 24h trip to visit a customer in central Asia that operates a single Islander: "Its a long way to go, but it's what we have to do," he says.

Despite his faith in ongoing market demand for the type, and his ambitions to restore modest commercial aircraft production, Hynett knows Britten-Norman will never return to its glory days of high double-digit annual production. "New build is capital-intensive and that is why we have gone for a deleveraged business in the past 10 years," he says.

"Besides, when we were producing 100 aircraft a year we were selling them at a loss, which is why we went bankrupt," he adds. "Now, when we produce aircraft we will do it at a modest profit."

THE COMPETITION: TECNAM P2012

While Britten-Norman is striving to put itself back on its feet with admittedly modest ambitions for its BN-2 Islander it will not be able to brush off competition from an all-new rival from Italy, which aims to take charge of the piston-twin utility market.

Indeed, where the Islander was designed half a century ago, Tecnam is billing its Lycoming TEO-540-powered P2012 twin as the first aircraft to be certificated in this segment for decades. Walter da Costa, Tecnams global sales and marketing director, sees the Traveller replacing many of the thousands of ageing legacy piston types serving island and other remote communities from Scotland to the South Pacific; types in da Costas sights include the Islander and Cessna 402.


P2012
Tecnam


What makes the Traveller such a significant competitive force is Tecnams relationship with its launch customer, Massachusetts-based Cape Air. The employee-owned carrier has ordered 100, and helped Tecnam design the aircraft from scratch; several examples will be delivered this year.

At a newly extended facility in Capua, Tecnam plans to build around 15 Travellers in 2019, including eight to 10 for Cape Air. The airframer has 30 additional orders; plans are to lift production to 25 in 2020 and 35 in 2021.

As of late 2018, Cape Air had 83 Cessna 402s in its fleet. But neither Cessna nor Piper would work with it to design a new passenger aircraft, so it turned to Tecnam. Cape Airs requirements included single-pilot operation, a modern but unpressurised cockpit and cabin, a high wing for better passenger visibility and rough runways, fixed landing gear, a metal structure, and removable panels to give mechanics easy underfloor access in other words, an aircraft designed for hops between small airfields of the sort found in coastal and island locations.

Da Costa stresses simplicity of design and maintenance as key features of the Traveller design.

The P2012 has a maximum cruise speed of 190kt (351km/h) and maximum take-off weight of 3,600kg (7,930lb). A large passenger door, twin cockpit doors, a spacious cabin, and a range of 950nm (1,750km) means the type is suitable for a wide range of missions, from commuter and charter air taxi to medevac, troop transport and cargo.

In cabin size, the Traveller, Cessna 402 and Islander are direct rivals. Other modern aircraft that might appeal to operators include the single-engined Quest Kodiak and Viking Air Twin Otter. The latter, in particular, is larger, heavier and more expensive.


Twin Otter
Viking Air
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[*] posted on 1-4-2019 at 08:51 PM


Russia announces first flight of Il-112V tactical airlifter

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

01 April 2019


The Ilyushin Il-112V making its maiden flight on 31 March. Source: UAC

Russias United Air Corporation (UAC) announced the maiden flight of the Ilyushin Il-112V tactical airlifter on 31 March.

The twin-turboprop aircraft made its first flight from the Voronezh Aircraft Plant on the same day as the announcement.

The Il-112V was selected to replace the Soviet-era Antonov An-26 Curl airlifter in 2003, with more than 100 airframes set to be delivered to the air force. However, the effort stalled following the Russian Ministry of Defences (MoDs) cessation of funding in May 2010, only to be revived again in 2014.

In 2015 it was reported that a production contract would be awarded before the end of 2017, but according to Janes All the Worlds Aircraft: Development & Production this did not happen and to date no such contract has been announced. Design deficiencies and cost overruns have also led to speculation that the project might yet be cancelled.

Assuming it is built, the Il-112V will have an estimated payload of about 5 tonnes, which is somewhat less than its chief Western rivals (the Airbus Defence and Space C295 can carry 7 tonnes, while the Alenia Aermacchi C-27J Spartan can carry 11 tonnes). It will be provisioned to transport 35 passengers or 18 stretchers or 34 paratroopers, and have a cruise speed of 300 kt, as well as a range of about 1,200 km.

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[*] posted on 4-4-2019 at 05:54 PM


FAB to Receive First KC-390 Aircraft in 2019

(Source: Brazilian Air Force; issued April 02, 2019)

(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)


Embraer plans to deliver the first KC-390 transport-tanker aircraft to the Brazilian Air Force by June, five years after signing the production contract, with a second one to follow by the end of the year. Brazil has 28 aircraft on order. (Embraer photo)

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) is counting down to receive the first units of the largest military aircraft ever produced in Brazil. At a press conference held on Tuesday (02) at LAAD 2019, in Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Ing. Walter Pinto Junior, Director of Embraer's KC-390 program, spoke with the press about the outlook in the final stretch of the process of the KC-390.

"In this 2019 edition of LAAD, we are pleased to celebrate a significant milestone in the program, which is the beginning of KC-390 series production," he said, showing the current state of the first three aircraft to be delivered to the FAB. "It is worth mentioning the participation of the FAB from the drafting of requirements, the concepts, until the verification of the same in the tests," he added.

The first aircraft is expected to be delivered in the first half of 2019 and later this year the FAB will receive the second unit. In 2014, FAB signed the purchase contract for 28 aircraft.

The 1st Troop Transport Group (1st GTT), established in Ala 2, in Anpolis (GO), in 2018, will be the first operational unit of the FAB to receive the aircraft.

The Chairman of the Coordinating Committee of the Combat Aircraft Program (COPAC), Air Brigadier Marcio Bruno Bonotto, spoke about the latest adjustments that are being made to the first KC-390. "We are finishing initial preparations for Ala 2 to receive the aircraft, with commissions analyzing the receipt of the first aircraft and finalizing the maintenance and pilot training courses. The certification test campaign will continue until 2020 to release the aircraft's capabilities and meet the needs of the FAB," he said.

In 2018, the KC-390 has already received certification from the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC). In 2019, it has undergone certification tests for various missions, such as cargo launch, assault landing (landing, runway launch and takeoff in sequence) and In-Flight Refueling (REVO).

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[*] posted on 19-4-2019 at 02:17 PM


KC-390 Enters Home Stretch For Military Certification

Apr 19, 2019 Guy Norris | Aviation Week & Space Technology

KC-390 Poised for Prime Time

With military certification beckoning, production accelerating and a potential marketing jump start from the pending Boeing joint venture, Embraer is gearing up for the most crucial phase yet of its KC-390 tanker-transport program.

Ground zero for this effort is Embraers Gaviao Peixoto facility in central Brazil where flight testing and final assembly take place. We are moving from the development and certification phase to the production phase, although we still have some flight tests to complete to show compliance with the military certification requirements, says KC-390 Vice President Walter Pinto, Jr.

Production is ramping up to meet the delivery schedule to the Brazilian Air Force [FAB], says Pinto. Four aircraft are on the final assembly line; fuselage sections for the seventh production airframe and the wing set for the ninth KC-390 have entered the facility, while major components for the 10th are in the supply chain. The production system is designed for up to 18 aircraft a year, depending on sales.

- Parts for the 10th KC-390 are in the production supply chain
- Final systems and refueling flight tests are underway
- Sales hopes grow with bigger Boeing involvement

The first production aircraft, No. 3, is complete and was to be the first aircraft to be delivered to the FAB. But instead it joined the certification and flight-test campaigns in October, says Pinto. The aircraft was diverted to the test effort after the first prototype was damaged in a runway overrun in May 2018. The first aircraft for the air force, No. 4 or FAB1, is in final assembly with its IAE V2500-E5 engines attached.

We are getting ready to deliver this by the end of [June]. Production is going smoothly although, of course, as with any new production line, we have faced challenges and are learningjust as we have with flight tests, says Pinto. Minor corrections have been done to improve assembly and make it easier to put together, but nothing dramatic.


The first production KC-390 for the Brazilian Air Force, FAB1, nears completion at Embraers Gaviao Peixoto facility in central Brazil. Credit: Guy Norris/AW&ST

Between the first production and two prototype KC-390s, the test fleet has logged more than 2,000 flight hours since first flight on Feb. 3, 2015. Brazilian civil certification was received in October 2018. We are now fully focused on military certification and are expecting to achieve this in about 600 more flight hours if all goes smoothly, he says.

Recent tests include troop unloading and emergency evacuation trials at Brasilia AFB, in which the upper fuselage escape hatches were used along with forward and aft doors. Loading tests with various military vehicles and helicopters have also been undertaken, ranging from a pair of tracked M113 armored personnel carriers and an Avibras Astros rocket launcher to a UH-60 Black Hawk. Flight tests have proved the KC-390s ability to air-deploy loads ranging from 16 48 X 48-in. containers to two 96 X 48-in. containers to multiple drop zones on a single mission. Other tests include night-vision compatibility trials with the Brazilian forces, high-altitude/low-opening parachute tests and lightweight airdrops.

Upcoming tests include low-velocity airdrops of loads up to 19,000 kg at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, using aircraft No. 3. Additional low-speed tests to prove the combat offload capability are also scheduled at Gaviao Peixoto, as are final flight tests of the self-protection system. Developed with AEL Sistemas, a Brazilian-based subsidiary of Elbit Systems in which Embraer has a 25% stake, this includes chaff and flare dispensers and a directional infrared countermeasures system.

Embraer is also gearing up for a series of tanking tests in which the KC-390 will act as both refueler and receiver. We have done dry contacts with another KC-390, but now we are going to transfer fuel from KC to KC, says Marcio Eduardo Monteiro, KC-390 program senior manager of product development. We did dry contacts with FAB F-5s, and now we are going to do wet contacts with those and also the AMX [ground-attack aircraft].


The third KC-390 for delivery is being readied for wing mating at Embraers Gaviao Peixoto site. Credit: Guy Norris/AW&ST

We will also do dry and wet with the KC-390 to a KC-130 and with the KC-390 as a receiver, Monteiro adds. Helicopter refueling tests are also planned for this year, using aircraft No. 2 and a FAB Helibras H36 Caracal (Super Puma). Embraer has conducted low-speed testing with the wing-mounted hose-and-drogue units deployed. We have demonstrated good flight stability at low speeds, says Pinto.

Airbus hit challenges refueling helicopters with the A400M airlifter. There are questions and concerns from the market about how the KC-390 can do it, but we will demonstrate how the aircrafts flight-control system and flight surfaces give it that extra capability, he says. It is completely different aerodynamically to what people have been used to with legacy and current aircraft like the C-130, Pinto notes.

Although the only firm order in hand is the Brazilian Air Forces requirement for 28 aircraft, Embraer is edging closer to converting letters of intent from a string of smaller nations. These include Argentina, Chile, Colombia and New Zealand, the latter having publicly discussed acquiring five KC-390s to replace its C-130s. Interest has been shown by the Czech Republic and Portugal as well as SkyTech, an Australian/Portuguese joint venture that plans to take up to six KC-390s to operate with air forces under leasing arrangements.


With mid-altitude airdrop tests completed, KC-390 No. 3 will head to Yuma, Arizona, for low-velocity airdrops. Credit: Embraer

Despite comments made early in the year by the chief of Portugals air force, Gen. Manuel Teixeira Rolo, who noted that price might be an issue clouding the KC-390 deal, things have improved dramatically, Pinto says. We have worked with them to better understand the gap they are focused on. We also understand their requirements and have been working on our end. And they have worked it at their end.

In January, Rolo told Portugals national defense committee that Embraer was asking more for the planned five-strong fleet than the 830 million ($949 million) budgeted by Lisbon.

We have discussed some changes to the package in order to meet their budget, Pinto notes. They have a limited budget, and the contract is not only about the aircraft, it is about the whole package, including support and training. We have looked into the configuration of the aircraft to see how we could still meet their requirements in a different way. They would reduce their requirements on their side, and we would on ours. But it is a fixed budget and it is public, and we have to work with that.

Embraer is confident that sales prospects will brighten with entry into service and says there has already been an uptick in interest since it announced plans with Boeing to form a joint venture to market the airlifter. This builds on an earlier marketing and support agreement signed in 2016 and comes as Boeing closes in on acquiring 80% of Embraers commercial aircraft business.

The main idea is to open up new markets and sell the aircraft in countries that would be more difficult for us [on our own]. The influence of the U.S. is completely different than Brazils, says Pinto.

On the potential for setting up a U.S. assembly line, Pinto adds: Everything we eventually move, such as production in the U.S., depends on the addressable market. We know that to sell to the U.S. government we have to respect the Buy American Actso it all depends on the business case. We are evaluating everything.
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[*] posted on 29-4-2019 at 11:06 PM


Ukraine Suspends Joint Venture with Saudi Arabia to Build An-132 Aircraft

(Source: Middle East Monitor; posted April 29, 2019)


Ukraine is reported to be looking for a new partner, after deciding to pull out of a joint venture with Saudi Arabia to build the An-132, a re-engined and improved variant of its twin-turboprop An-32 medium transport aircraft, seen here during its maiden flight. (AN photo)

Ukraine has suspended a joint venture with Saudi Arabia to produce the An-132 military transport aircraft.

President of Ukraine Antonov State Company, Alexander Donets, which manufactures the aircraft, announced on Friday that the company will continue to build the vehicles but with a new partner.

In the framework of this project, an An-32D was built and tests began, but for reasons not related to the Antonov company, this process has stopped. There have been changes in the project partners in Saudi Arabia, Donets said.

In February 2016, Saudi Arabia signed agreements with a number of companies including Ukraines Antonov to establish five organisation specialised in the transfer and localisation of advanced technologies in the fields of military and civilian aircrafts, satellites, radars and clean energy.

King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and the Antonov company planned a joint venture to build a total of 80 aircrafts, some of them in Ukraine, and the others in Saudi Arabia.

The Antonov An-132 is an advanced version of the An-32 cargo plane.

In December 2016, the first model of An-132 flew over Ukraine in the presence of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Saudi representatives.

Observers believe the suspension of the joint venture is a result of the Kingdoms rapprochement with Russia.

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[*] posted on 1-5-2019 at 09:00 AM


Antonov stalls An-132D programme

Charles Forrester, London - Jane's Defence Industry

30 April 2019


Progress on the Antonov An-132, seen here at the Paris Air Show in 2017, has stalled. Source: IHS Markit/Patrick Allen

The development of the Antonov An-132D twin-turboprop transport has been put on hold following a breakdown between the Ukrainian and Saudi Arabian development parties.

In an interview with Ukraine's Unian news agency, Antonov president Alexander Donets revealed that the collaboration with Saudi Arabia over the development and manufacture of the aircraft had been suspended.

According to Donets, the company had fulfilled an initial contract with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) for a demonstrator aircraft and had been approved to undertake construction of an assembly facility in Taif in conjunction with Taqnia Aeronautics. However, a change in programme partner took place in Saudi Arabia, leading to the suspension of the programme.

Donets added that a military customer had also changed the requirements for the aircraft, thereby leading to the preference of another platform to fulfil the acquisition. The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) had previously committed to six aircraft - four in a search-and-rescue configuration and two for electronic warfare - with Antonov hoping for further orders for configurations such as military transport and gunship.

Despite the setback, Donets said that the company had been working to pitch the aircraft to India, which already operates the predecessor aircraft, the Antonov An-32 'Cline'. A major upgrade of the Indian Air Force's An-32 fleet began in 2009 but experienced delays following Russia's annexation of Crimea and its effect on the component supply chain.

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