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[*] posted on 8-6-2017 at 01:45 PM
Aircraft modernisation and update


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.
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[*] posted on 19-6-2017 at 02:33 PM


PARIS: Boeing forges ahead with advanced F-15 upgrades

18 June, 2017 SOURCE: Flightglobal.com 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.”
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[*] posted on 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.



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[*] posted on 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. 
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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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.

https://www.nst.com.my/news/exclusive/2017/07/260429/more-le...

-ends-
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[*] posted on 27-7-2017 at 11:51 AM


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



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[*] posted on 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...




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 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.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 3-8-2017 at 01:59 PM


Three Philippine C-130s to get avionics upgrade

03 August, 2017 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com 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.
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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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.




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[*] posted on 30-8-2017 at 02:22 PM


Elbit wins Asia-Pacific F-5 upgrade work

29 August, 2017 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com 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.
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[*] posted on 30-8-2017 at 02:24 PM


Israel to sell F-16As with upgrade package

29 August, 2017 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com 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.
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[*] posted on 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.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 18-10-2017 at 02:49 PM


State Department approves F-16V sale to Greece

17 October, 2017 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com 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.
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[*] posted on 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?

(328 of 714 words)
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[*] posted on 14-12-2017 at 07:50 PM


Fresh upgrade boosts Colombia's Kfir fleet

13 December, 2017 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com 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.
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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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.

Read more at http://alert5.com/2017/12/27/american-pilots-now-in-taiwan-t...
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[*] posted on 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...




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 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.
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