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Author: Subject: Aircraft modernisation and update
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[*] posted on 30-12-2017 at 11:26 PM


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



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[*] posted on 25-1-2018 at 11:46 AM


Spain receives first P1EB-standard Typhoons

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

23 January 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 6-2-2018 at 09:44 PM


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

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's International Defence Review

06 February 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 8-2-2018 at 07:03 PM


SINGAPORE: Lockheed promotes IRST for region’s fighters

08 February, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Greg Waldron Singapore

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lockheed has implemented IRST on fighters such as the Boeing F/A-18 E/F, F-15C, and F-16.
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[*] posted on 9-2-2018 at 01:09 PM


BAE to upgrade HUD on UAE F-16 fleet

09 February, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Greg Waldron Singapore

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

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

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

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

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the UAE air force operates 78 F-16 Block 60s.
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[*] posted on 24-2-2018 at 04:22 PM


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

23 February, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Stephen Trimble Orlando

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s not dead by a long shot,” he adds. “It’s got a bright future ahead.”
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[*] posted on 22-3-2018 at 07:42 PM


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

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's International Defence Review

21 March 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 24-4-2018 at 09:30 PM


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

Jose Higuera, Santiago - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

24 April 2018

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 26-4-2018 at 08:35 PM


ILA: Eurofighter to upgrade Typhoon engine to lift sales

25 April, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Michael Gubisch Berlin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bulgaria’s government is evaluating an order for at least eight units, while Poland is “still shaping its requirements”.
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[*] posted on 26-4-2018 at 09:06 PM


Israel outlines C-130H modernisation

26 April, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Arie Egozi Tel Aviv

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

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

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

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

In addition, the air force has ordered a new simulator for the type, due for delivery in 2021, to reflect the changes to the aircraft.
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[*] posted on 30-4-2018 at 04:22 PM


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

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

Reuters Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Helen Popper
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[*] posted on 5-5-2018 at 07:48 PM


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-ends-
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[*] posted on 10-5-2018 at 09:19 AM


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

09 May, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Garrett Reim Los Angeles

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

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

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



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

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

Once the final processes and workforce are in place, the USAF’s goal is to complete each fighter in 9 months at a cost of $2.4 million.
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[*] posted on 18-5-2018 at 09:41 PM


KAI and Rockwell Collins team up for Korean Chinook upgrade

Jon Grevatt, Bangkok - IHS Jane's Defence Industry

18 May 2018

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 22-5-2018 at 08:10 PM


Brazil launches Tucano modernisation programme

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

22 May 2018

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 25-5-2018 at 07:00 PM


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

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

24 May 2018

Key Points

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 18-7-2018 at 08:57 AM


FARNBOROUGH: Lockheed selects BAE for F-16 computer upgrade

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

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

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

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

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

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

A total of up 315 units could be ordered for F-16s through 2028, BAE says.
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[*] posted on 30-7-2018 at 07:41 PM


IRGC reactivates and upgrades Su-22 strike jets

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

27 July 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 31-7-2018 at 11:30 PM


Alsalam to modify Saudi F-15s to enhanced standard

31 July, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Craig Hoyle London

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

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

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

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

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

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows Saudi Arabia as currently operating 191 F-15s, with this total including 67 S-model examples, aged between 18 and 22 years, and 44 in the SA configuration, including three upgraded examples.
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[*] posted on 1-8-2018 at 09:31 AM


Kuwait to upgrade legacy Hornets with new countermeasures

Gareth Jennings, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

31 July 2018

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 15-9-2018 at 12:08 AM


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

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

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

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

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

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

https://greekcitytimes.com/2018/09/13/lockheed-martin-to-upg...

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[*] posted on 23-9-2018 at 12:40 PM


Saab suggests capability upgrade for SAAF Gripens

21st September 2018

By: Rebecca Campbell
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"We understand that funding is short in South Africa, and that the Gripen is probably not a priority right now, but we are seeking a good financial model, in collaboration with the Swedish government and the Swedish defence procurement agency," he affirmed. "We recognise that this will take time. But getting involved in MS 20 will benefit South Africa, including local industry. It will also assist with weapons system development in South Africa -- with MS 20, it would be possible to test new local weapons with the Gripen."
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[*] posted on 1-11-2018 at 09:24 PM


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

Gareth Jennings, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

31 October 2018

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


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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 9-11-2018 at 09:11 PM


Chile to modernise F-16s, procure additional aircraft

Jose Higuera, Santiago - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

09 November 2018

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


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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 16-11-2018 at 06:24 PM


Successful Qualification of the Rafale F3-R Omnirole Combat Aircraft

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The new-generation “TALIOS” laser targeting pod

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

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

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

TALIOS: Multifunction Pod: from targeting to NTISR

Air-to-Ground

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

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

• Long range damage assessment capability

• Target recognition capability

• Positive identification in complex environment

• 3D localization

• Integrated navigation FLIR

• Real-time data-link transmission

Reconnaissance

• Medium range day/night small targets reconnaissance

Air-to-Air

• Day/night visual airborne target identification

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

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

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

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

BACKGROUND NOTES

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

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

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

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

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