Latest Military Aviation News (page 1)

Military aviation includes combat activities as well as flight missions that support military activities. The military are omnipresent in air navigation. Military forces are of course airspace users, but military authorities also function as air navigation service providers, airfield operators and even regulators. This section of your international aviation news magazine has been established to provide informative and high quality news offering coverage of the contemporary military aviation scene.

22/09/08: First operational exercise in the United States for Rafale fighter

From July 27 to August 27, 2008, four twin-seat Rafale fighters from French air force Squadron 1/7, “Provence”, based at Saint-Dizier, conducted this aircraft’s first operational exercise in the United States. The aim of this trip was to compare the aircraft’s operating experience, especially during foreign deployment missions, with the requirements of weapon systems used by other air forces. After a transatlantic ferry flight via the Azores, and a stopover in Bangor, Maine, the four Rafales touched down at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona on July 28. The squadron exchange at Luke AFB was very successful, meeting both human and tactical objectives and enabling the crews to get to know each other. Rafale fighters conducted simulated combats with the F-16s. According to Matt Spears, an F-16 pilot with the USAF’s 309th Fighter Squadron, “It was an amazing opportunity, and I was very impressed by the capabilities of the aircraft.” Since Luke AFB is the training base for USAF units, all squadrons passing through will learn about the Rafale’s performance capabilities. This should facilitate teamwork during combined operations.

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22/09/08: Boeing Launches Defense & Government Services Division for Market Growth

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 22, 2008 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today launched a new division within its Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) business designed to better serve customers in the vast services market. The newly established Defense & Government Services will operate as a division of Boeing IDS’s Global Services & Support business (formerly Support Systems) unit. Boeing estimates that the defense and government services market is worth approximately $400 billion over the next 10 years. The 4,400-employee division will be led by Greg Deiter and will include current company subsidiaries Boeing Service Company and Boeing Aerospace Operations.

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22/09/08: Boeing Delivers Final Mission System Simulator for NATO AWACS Upgrade

SEATTLE, Sept. 22, 2008 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has delivered the second of two mission system simulators to NATO as part of the $1.32 billion Mid-Term upgrade of NATO’s 17 E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft. The new simulator, delivered to NATO’s main AWACS operating base in Geilenkirchen, Germany, features 14 consoles on which AWACS operators train using real-world scenarios. The first simulator was delivered to the base in 2006. “This is a key milestone in the transition of the fleet to the Mid-Term configuration and provides NATO operators with an exact replica of what they’ll see and experience on the AWACS aircraft,” said Lee Strom, NATO AWACS program manager for Boeing. “We worked closely with our customer and our partners in delivering this powerful, state-of the art simulator,” Strom added.

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19/09/08: Chief of the Air Staff Guest of Honour at RAF Benevolent Fund’s Hampton Court Banquet

On the evening of 18th September the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund hosted a gala banquet for some 240 guests at Hampton Court Palace. Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, Chief of the Air Staff, was guest of honour and was joined by Lord Trenchard (Chairman of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund Board of Trustees), Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire and an impressive range of guests from companies including QinetiQ, BAE Systems and IBM (UK). The landmark event was a celebration of the 90th Anniversary of the RAF, and its enduring relationship with its principal welfare charity.

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19/09/08: BAE Systems News: First UK Tranche 2 Twin-Seat Begins Final Assembly

The first UK Tranche 2 twin-seat Typhoon is now in the final stages of assembly at BAE Systems Warton. The Tranche 2 Typhoon will provide the customer with an increased capability thanks to the improved speed and power of the aircraft’s computers combined with the stronger airframe to enable the aircraft to carry heavier weapons. The major units of the aircraft (BT017) have arrived at Warton’s final assembly facility after being manufactured in the partner nations’ facilities across Europe – the front fuselage is built at the BAE Systems Samlesbury site in Lancashire. Once delivered to the RAF, in late 2009, the jet will be used to train the next generation of Typhoon pilots.

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18/09/08: Boeing Delivers 200,000th JDAM Tailkit

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 18, 2008 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] delivered the 200,000th Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tailkit on Sept. 17, just 10 years after JDAM guidance tailkit deliveries to the United States and allied countries began. Boeing began JDAM production in May 1998 at its weapons manufacturing facility in St. Charles, Mo., and since then has delivered every tailkit on cost and ahead of schedule. The U.S. Air Force received the 200,000th kit. “When the Air Force and Navy needed a reliable weapon with battlefield power, reach and aimpoint accuracy, the Boeing JDAM team delivered,” said Debra Rub, Boeing vice president for Weapons Programs. “200,000 deliveries later, the team is still meeting that commitment to the warfighter on schedule and on target.”

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16/09/08: Boeing Delivers Software-Defined FAB-T Radio Prototype

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., Sept. 16, 2008 — Boeing [NYSE: BA] has moved a step closer to linking military ground, air and space assets with the delivery of its next-generation Family of Advanced Beyond line-of-sight Terminals (FAB-T) prototype to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Mass. The delivery completes a key hardware and software risk reduction requirement for FAB-T Increment 2 under a program funded by the U.S. Air Force. Lincoln Laboratory will use the prototype to continue developing the DVB-S2 based waveform for airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance readout over Ka-band military satellite communications.

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15/09/08: Boeing Awarded Contract for Radar Upgrade on Saudi AWACS Fleet

SEATTLE, Sept. 15, 2008 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has been awarded a contract for the initial phase of upgrading the radar on Saudi Arabia’s fleet of five E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft. The Foreign Military Sale, not to exceed $42 million, was contracted through the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. This first phase includes a study to determine which parts are obsolete and no longer available, then locating and testing parts obtained from new sources for the modification. Phase one also includes purchase of many long lead parts and the start of software design. The next phase involves production and installation of the Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP) kits, software integration and testing, and crew training. Phase two is scheduled during the time frame of a follow-on contract expected to be awarded in 2009.

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15/09/08: Boeing Laser JDAM Demonstrated on B-52H for 1st Time

BARKSDALE AFB, La., Sept. 15, 2008 — An airman at Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB), La., loads a Boeing [NYSE: BA] Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (LJDAM) onto a B-52H aircraft for a recent demonstration flight. It was the first time the LJDAM had been carried and delivered from a B-52H. The B-52H is a heavy long-range bomber capable of carrying the largest array of weapons in the U.S. inventory. Another demonstration flight is scheduled for later this year. LJDAM consists of the standard JDAM guidance tail kit as well as a laser guidance kit that acquires and tracks laser target signals. The weapon is designed to accurately and effectively engage stationary and fast-moving targets on land and at sea. The laser guidance also provides accurate alternative targeting in a Global Positioning System-denied environment.

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12/09/08: Type Acceptance for Tranche 2 Eurofighter Typhoon

Hallbergmoos – 12 September 2008. Following the successful flight tests and the full delivery of the associated documentation, Type Acceptance for Block 8 (Tranche 2) Eurofighter Typhoon weapon systems has been agreed between Eurofighter GmbH and the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA). Commenting on the achievement, Aloysius Rauen, Eurofighter CEO stated: “2008 is proving to be a decisive year for the programme. Block 8 Type Acceptance represents a further major landmark, achieved through strong industry/customer co-operation, and one that will maintain the delivery continuity of Eurofighter Typhoon to the Air Forces.”

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11/09/08: Eurofighter Typhoon Flight Milestone: 50,000 Hours and Climbing

Hallbergmoos – 11 September 2008. The combined efforts of the five customer Air Forces and the industrial Flight Test programme have seen the Eurofighter Typhoon multi-/swing-role combat aircraft surpass the 50,000 flight hours milestone. By the end of August, the Air Forces of Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Austria had amassed some 44,500 in-service flying hours which, when coupled with the 5,900 logged by the test fleet, easily surpasses the 50,000 mark. Commenting on the achievement, Aloysius Rauen, Eurofighter CEO, stated: “This latest milestone is a recognition of the dedication of the flight crews and engineers across the Air Forces and the industrial test and evaluation teams. It is also testament to the reliability and availability of the Eurofighter Typhoon weapon system. These two elements, professionalism and technological achievement, are what define Eurofighter Typhoon as the world-beating aircraft that is in operational service today.”

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10/09/08: Boeing Completes Mission System Flight Testing for US AWACS Block 40/45 Upgrade

SEATTLE, Sept. 10, 2008 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has completed mission system flight testing for Block 40/45, the largest upgrade in the history of the U.S. E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet. During a 15-month period from April 2007 to July 2008, Boeing and the Air Force’s Joint Test Force flew missions aboard Test System 3, an AWACS test aircraft, to complete the System Design and Development program. “Test data indicate the Block 40/45 system meets or exceeds all its key performance parameters and technical performance requirements,” said Stu Oliason, 40/45 System Design and Development program manager for Boeing. “The success of this flight-test program is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of hundreds of 40/45 employees. We’re all very excited about bringing this new capability to the warfighter,” Oliason added.

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08/09/08: Boeing, Airborne Laser Team Begin Firing High-Energy Laser on ABL Aircraft

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Sept. 08, 2008 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA], industry teammates and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency on Sept. 7 achieved a major milestone in the development of the Airborne Laser (ABL) missile defense program by firing a high-energy chemical laser onboard the ABL aircraft for the first time during ground testing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. “The achievement of ‘first light’ onboard the Airborne Laser aircraft is a key milestone for the ABL team,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. “The team did an extraordinary job preparing ABL for this important test. The program remains on track to reach the missile shoot-down demonstration planned for 2009.” “The start of laser firings marks the completion of a 10-month effort to install and integrate the high-energy laser and prepare it for testing,” said Mike Rinn, vice president and program director of ABL. “Using Lean process improvements, a joint contractor team reduced laser installation time on the aircraft to about a third of the time required when the laser was installed in the system integration laboratory at Edwards.”

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07/09/08: The Royal Air Force reports: Dambusters take over Op Telic air support role

Responsibility for Fast Air Support and Tactical Reconnaissance for Operation TELIC has transferred to Lossiemouth-based 617 Squadron, ‘The Dambusters’, enabling personnel from 12 (Bomber) Squadron a well-earned rest following a demanding two month deployment. Working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and employing a 12-hour shift cycle, 12 Squadron’s multi-skilled personnel, formerly five trades rolled into three, endured the searing 50 degree temperatures throughout the day along with a particularly uncomfortable 80 per cent humidity through the night to provide an impressively high rate of serviceable aircraft. Demonstrating flexibility, hard work and determination the ground crew generated an aircraft serviceability rate of 98 per cent across the detachment, a figure which rose to one hundred per cent serviceability in the last five weeks.

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05/09/08: Boeing to Provide C-17 Aircrew Training to Royal Australian Air Force

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 05, 2008 — Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced today that it has been awarded a $33 million U.S. Air Force Foreign Military Sales contract to provide a C-17 Aircrew Training System (ATS) to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The contract marks the first international sale of the system. The ATS, which will be located at the RAAF’s Amberley base, consists of a Weapons Systems Trainer, a loadmaster station and a learning center. Boeing subcontractor Flight Safety International of Tulsa, Okla., is providing the hardware for the program. Boeing Support Systems is responsible for software development and integration as well as program management. The contract also includes logistics support, to be provided by Boeing Australia Limited. The RAAF operates four C-17 Globemaster III airlifters, all delivered between November 2006 and January 2008 and based in Amberley.

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05/09/08: Boeing’s C-130 AMP Flight Marks Completion of Software Development

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 05, 2008 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] announced today that it has completed software development for its C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP). The milestone was achieved following the successful flight test of aircraft AMP 2 (H2.5), conducted by Boeing and the U.S. Air Force on Aug. 18. During the 1.6-hour flight from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., the combined Boeing/Air Force crew tested the functionality of Core Complete 2.2. “This is a great day for the AMP team,” said Mark Angelo, Boeing C-130 AMP program manager. “This flight marks the completion of the developmental stage of both the aircraft’s hardware and software. We are ready to begin Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) early next year.”

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04/09/08: U.S. Navy P-3 Orions To Receive Lockheed Martin

Marietta, Ga., September 4th, 2008 — Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] has received a $129.3 million contract to build a total of 13 new outer wing sets for the U.S. Navy’s P-3 Orion fleet. The all new production outer wings will be delivered to the Navy beginning in early 2010 for installation on selected aircraft. “Lockheed Martin has a long, proud history of providing P-3 sustainment and support to the U.S. Navy,” said Ray Burick, Lockheed Martin vice president of P-3/S-3 programs. “This new wing order is the next step in that partnership.” Lockheed Martin’s P-3 wing production line opened in March 2008 and is the cornerstone of the company’s P-3 Aircraft Service Life Extension Program (ASLEP). Lockheed Martin currently has the Royal Norwegian Air Force and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service under contract for P-3 Life Extension Kits, and has submitted a response to the Canadian Forces under a Request For Proposal. A proposal for the Taiwan P-3 fleet is also in work.

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03/09/08: RAF: ‘Rebel Roar’: 901 Expeditionary Air Wing recently saw the responsibility for reconnaissance and fast air cover change from 12 to 617 Squadron.

The seamless transition of responsibility gave rise to what is thought to be a new first for the Royal Air Force. Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr) John “LATKA” Datka, 41 from Texas, a United States Navy (USN) pilot currently serving with 617 Squadron ‘Dambusters’ and Lieutenant (Lt) Joe “HAINS” Kato, USN, a Weapon Systems Operator assigned to 12 Squadron provided an all American crew for a sortie over the Middle East in a Royal Air Force Tornado GR4. Lt Kato, 31 from Juneau, Alaska said “I think we confused some people when they heard two American accents from the same British GR4 callsign. We actually got a couple comments on it from tankers and controllers.” The sortie was a 6 hour Tactical Reconnaissance mission flown over Baghdad and included mid-air refuelling from a Royal Air Force VC10 Tanker. The sortie went to plan providing Coalition Forces with up-to-date imaging.

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03/09/08: Canadian Air Force: Tigers make change of command parade unique

This summer, Maj Georgie Jones wanted to make 424 “Tiger” Transport and Rescue Squadron’s change of command ceremony at 8 Wing Trenton, Ont. “a little bit different.” She certainly succeeded, perhaps even raising the bar for squadrons across the country. The former deputy commanding officer of 424 Squadron (now with the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre at 8 Wing) was tasked with organizing the event that would see incoming Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Tom Dunne replace outgoing Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Chuck Collings – so Maj Jones decided to take the initiative. To celebrate the tiger in the squadron’s heraldic crest, she borrowed two Siberian tigers from Jungle Cat World, near Peterborough, Ont., and made them a part of the ceremony. Together, 14-month old Nadia and three-month-old Nisha, stole the show.

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03/09/08: Diehl BGT Defence signs a contract with SENER for the IRIS-T Surface-to-Air missile control section

SENER and Diehl BGT Defence (DBD) have signed an agreement in IRIS-T SL (Extended Range Surface Launched) programme framework, making SENER a subcontractor for the design of the IRIS-T Surface-to-Air missile’s control system. This version of the missile, called IRIS-T SL, will be integrated as a complementary weapon to the Patriot PAC-3 in the multinational MEADS antiaircraft defence programme under contract to the German Defence Ministry. According to the signed agreement, SENER is in charge of the mechanical and electronic design and development of the actuators making up the control section. It is also in charge of manufacturing prototypes that will be used to check the design and to qualify the missile, and eventually of future unit mass production. The control section, located in the missile’s tail, is in charge of fixing its trajectory by fins movements and motor thrust vectoring according to the commands from the guidance section.

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02/09/08: Lockheed Martin Awarded Contract to Support New NIH Organization: Contract reinforces Corporation’s growth in health arena

Rockville, Md., September 2nd, 2008 — Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] announced today that the corporation received a single-award Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contract worth up to $32 million over 5-years to support the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Lockheed Martin will provide technical, scientific, management and administrative services for NIH’s Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives (OPASI). A newly-established organization, OPASI provides NIH and its constituents with methods and information to manage their complex scientific portfolios in the areas of emerging scientific opportunities or public health challenges. Lockheed Martin will work side-by-side with NIH staff to design, develop and maintain Web sites and databases; provide program evaluation and analysis; manage projects; and formulate standards and policies.

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01/09/08: Gripen NG Fighters for The Netherlands: Following the submission of its proposals in response to the Dutch MoD’s F-16 Replacement programme, the Saab/Gripen team held a press conference in Den Haag to outline its proposals.

The Saab proposal is a comprehensive response to the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-16 fighter replacement Questionnaire. Saab is offering an all-inclusive package comprising eighty-five (85) fully compliant NATO interoperable Gripen Next Generation (NG) true multi-role fighter aircraft with unrivalled availablilty, tailored for the future Net Centric (NCW) operational environment. Gripen NG will meet the demanding operational requirements of the RNLAF over the next 50 years and its unrivalled multi-role capability will provide the RNLAF with tactical flexibility in an unknown future. Gripen NG offers operational dominance and flexibility with outstanding mission survivability. Air-to-air superiority is guaranteed with METEOR, AMRAAM, IRIS-T, AIM-9X, 12 missile capability, supercruise and Gripen NG’s superior situation awareness is delivered through an AESA radar, IRST, HMD, leading edge avionics design, next generation data processing and a state-of-the-art cockpit. These features, coupled with Gripen NG’s inherent Net Centric Capabilities including advanced data communications, dual datalinks, satellite comms and video links, coupled with increased range and thrust from its General Electric F414G Turbofan engine.

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29/08/08: RAF Search and Rescue in ITV Border Series

Royal Air Force Search and Rescue crews from 202 Squadron based at RAF Boulmer in Northumberland, are featured in RAF Rescue; a new eight part television series starting Thursday 4th September at 23:10 on ITV Border. RAF Rescue was filmed over the spring and summer of this year and focuses on all aspects of ‘A’ Flight’s Search and Rescue team who keep the iconic yellow Sea kings in the air performing numerous rescues each year. From pilots to ground crew, to the winchmen who precariously dangle hundreds of feet below the helicopter; RAF Rescue follows all their efforts around the clock as they carry out life-saving missions.

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29/08/08: Royal Air Force develop Iraqi flight safety

This week the Royal Air Force held the first combined flight safety meeting at the Basrah International Airport, which is becoming a significant transport hub for Iraq’s second city. The meeting, that was hosted by the Group Captain Dean Andrew, the Commanding Officer of 903 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW), brought together a host of key Iraqi Air Force and Basrah International Airport management to develop a strategy to bring the airport flight safety into line with international standards. “This meeting was a real mile stone in the ongoing development of Basrah International Airport into a fully functioning commercial hub. This is a small, but significant step will enhance the attraction of Southern Iraq to investors from all over the world allowing commerce and reconstruction to flourish,” said Group Captain Andrew.

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29/08/08: Operation Alouette Mobile location changed to 14 Wing Greenwood at the Canadian Air Force

WINNIPEG – 14 Wing Greenwood, N.S. will play host to Operation Alouette Mobile during the month of September, which will involve the deployment of CF-18 fighter aircraft and some 250 personnel from 3 Wing Bagotville, Que. The deployment is taking place to allow for runway construction at 3 Wing Bagotville, a main operating base for CF-18 aircraft. The base has an important NORAD mandate, which has men and women on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The deployed contingent will still be required to maintain their NORAD commitments during the exercise.

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