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Author: Subject: Aircraft modernisation and update
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[*] posted on 29-11-2018 at 12:39 PM


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

Gabriel Dominguez, Surat Thani - Jane's Defence Weekly

28 November 2018


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

Key Points

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

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

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

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

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

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

(333 of 837 words)
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[*] posted on 29-11-2018 at 06:52 PM


Eurofighter key to securing European defence industrial sovereignty – CEO

Gareth Jennings, Berlin - Jane's Defence Weekly

28 November 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 30-11-2018 at 12:01 AM


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

Gabriel Dominguez, Surat Thani - Jane's Defence Weekly

28 November 2018


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

Key Points

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

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

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

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

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

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

(333 of 837 words)


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




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 30-11-2018 at 11:47 PM


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

Gabriel Dominguez, Surat Thani - Jane's Defence Weekly

28 November 2018


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

Key Points

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

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

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

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

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

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

(333 of 837 words)


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


Yeah, funny how they forgot that....




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[*] posted on 1-12-2018 at 05:30 PM


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

By: Mike Yeo   13 hours ago


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mitsubishi built 213 F-15s under license for Japan between 1981 and 1999, of which some 200 remain in service with seven combat squadrons based throughout Japan, and one more acting as a dedicated aggressor unit.
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[*] posted on 11-12-2018 at 10:39 AM


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

(Source: Defense-Aerospace.com; posted Dec 10, 2018)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-ends-
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[*] posted on 14-12-2018 at 05:32 PM


Grifo-E on Target to Hit Key Development Milestones

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next development for the radars will be the incorporation of solid-state technology as it begins to reach a required level of reliability to replace the traveling wave tube currently used, and a transmitter with this feature is expected to be ready by 2020.
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[*] posted on 21-12-2018 at 09:18 PM


Greece: F-16 modernization

Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $996,775,000 firm-fixed-price contract for F-16 upgrades. This contract provides for the upgrade of 84 F-16 aircraft to the V-configuration. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas; and Athens, Greece, and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2027. This contract involves 100 percent Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to the government of Greece. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. FMS funds in the amount of $488,419,750 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8615-19-C-6050).
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[*] posted on 22-12-2018 at 04:03 PM


First Flight for the Rafale F3-R

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

(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 5-1-2019 at 08:54 PM


SU-30 MK JET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 9-1-2019 at 10:19 AM


Serbia resumes G-4 Super Galeb upgrade

Igor Bozinovski, Skopje - Jane's Defence Weekly

08 January 2019

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

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

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[*] posted on 15-1-2019 at 12:27 PM


France launches F4 upgrade for Rafale

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

14 January 2019

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

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

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

(131 of 295 words)
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[*] posted on 15-1-2019 at 05:20 PM


France orders upgraded Rafale warplanes for $2.3 billion

By: Christina Mackenzie   11 hours ago

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

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

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

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

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

The F1 standard was specific to the first aircraft for the French Navy. The F2 standard gave it air-to-ground and air-to-air capaiblities, while the F3 and F3R gave it extended versatility.
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[*] posted on 17-1-2019 at 06:12 PM


Raytheon Selected for Classic Hornet AESA Radar Upgrade

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 23-1-2019 at 06:29 PM


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

• Enhanced connectivity and associated networking modes:

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

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

• Enhanced survivability:

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

• Enhanced lethality and weapons capability

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

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

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

• Enhanced operational readiness and in-service support

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Missions of the Rafale omnirole fighter:

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

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

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[*] posted on 8-2-2019 at 03:39 PM


How Iran Keeps Its Aging F-5 Fleet Alive

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

If the air force does not have the opportunity to rebuild, its 71 F-5E/Fs and Saeghe I/IIs—all modernized under Project Kowsar—will be the backbone of its fighter fleet in the 2030-40s. If that is the case, Iran will have the world’s oldest F-5s still in operational service.
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[*] posted on 27-2-2019 at 12:56 PM


Spain receives first upgraded Tranche 1 Eurofighter

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

26 February 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 27-2-2019 at 01:16 PM


HAL showcases upgraded Jaguar MAX combat aircraft

Rahul Udoshi, Bangalore - Jane's Defence Weekly

26 February 2019

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


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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 11-3-2019 at 08:39 PM


Rafale F4 to get upgraded SPECTRA fire control radar avoidance system

Tom Withington, London - Jane's International Defence Review

08 March 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 13-3-2019 at 05:46 PM


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 14-3-2019 at 10:08 AM


F-16 sustainment hub to be established in Norway

Charles Forrester, London - Jane's Defence Industry

13 March 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 10-4-2019 at 05:05 PM


Milestone and contract award boost USAF Eagle upgrade effort

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's International Defence Review

09 April 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 29-4-2019 at 11:22 PM


Brazil to modernise just 14 AMX jets

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

28 April 2019

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 1-5-2019 at 09:47 PM


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

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

30 April 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[*] posted on 2-5-2019 at 09:58 PM


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

02 MAY, 2019 SOURCE: FLIGHTGLOBAL.COM BY: GRANT TURNBULL ISTANBUL

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

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


Grant Turnbull

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

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

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

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

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

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