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December 2009

A U.S. Army released video showing the Apache at work. (2007)

A400M Maiden Flight

The newest European Military Transport Aircraft, Airbus A400M took off on its maiden flight today from Seville Airport in Spain, as seen in the official Airbus Military video below. (read more...)

New EC225 SAR Helicopter for the French Navy

The French Navy has placed an order for two EC225s helicopters, to be used for search and rescue (SAR) missions. The new helicopters will replace older Super-Frelon helicopters, which are near the end of their service life. Eventually, the French Navy's Super Frelons will be replaced by NH90 NFH helicopters, expected to enter service at the base in late 2011. (read more...)

First Sale of Erieye 340 AEW in the Middle East

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has acquired two Saab 340 airborne early warning (AEW) surveillance aircraft under a contract worth about US$215 million. The recent acquisition is the second sale of Saab 340 AEW platform in recent years, following the delivery of the first Erieye to Thailand earlier this year. The first Erieye surveillance system was delivered to the Swedish Air Force on a Saab 340 aircraft platform. The system has also been installed on the Brazilian Embraer-145 aircraft and is operational in Brazil, Mexico and Greece. The system will soon be delivered to Pakistan on Saab 2000 aircraft.

UAE Acquired 25 PC-21 Turbo Trainers

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force & Air Defense (AF&AD) is revamping its basic and advanced flight training with the acquisition of 25 PC-21 turboprop trainers from the Swiss company Pilatus Aircraft Ltd, under a contract worth about US$500 million. UAE has selected the aircraft after the air forces of Switzerland and Singapore. The first aircraft will be delivered in 2011. The UAE will also operate an integrated ground based pilot training system to support the aircraft.

Chinooks for the UAE, Turkey

The United Arab Emirates is interested in buying 16 of the latest Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters, as part of a $2.0 billion package including helicopters, communications and self protection systems. The Pentagon is also offering Turkey 14 CH-47F and support package for $1.2 billion.

EA-18G Cleared for Full Rate Production

Boeing is moving the EA-18G Growler into Full Rate Production (FRP) following approval by the U.S. Navy after the aircraft achieved initial operational capability (IOC) on September 22 this year, operating with U.S. Navy electronic attack squadron VAQ-132, based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. The first potential deployment of the Growler is slated for 2010, while the Navy expects the Prowler-to-Growler transition to be completed by 2013. (read the full story...)


Boeing delivers Wedgetail to Australian Air Force

Last month Boeing delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) the first two Boeing 737 based Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft, part of 'Project Wedgetail'. Three additional Wedgetail aircraft will be delivered to the RAAF by the end of 2010, including one upgraded in the final AEW&C configuration with Electronic Support Measures (ESM). The aircraft were delivered at RAAF Base Williamtown, the main operating base for the Wedgetail fleet. All aircraft in the Wedgetail fleet will be upgraded in the final configuration in early 2011.

First UH-60M Delivered to Bahrain

Sikorsky has delivered the first of nine UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to the Defense Forces of Bahrain. Deliveries are scheduled to continue into 2010.

MC-12 Reaches 1,000th Combat Mission

Members of the 362nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron at Balad AFB in Iraq recently reached 1,000 combat sorties in the MC-12W Liberty aircraft only five months after arriving in-theater.

Merlins Cleared for Operations in Afghanistan

After delivering its latest helicopter force to Afghanistan, the RAF declared the Merlin helicopter operational ready in theater, one month ahead of schedule. This declaration of an Initial Operating Capability (IOC) means that following transportation to Afghanistan; re-assembly and pre-flight checks, Merlins are now available for operational flying on the front line. Operating with No 78 Squadron A Flight, each Merlin can transport up to 20 troops and deliver supplies to and from the Forward Operating Bases (FOB) in theater. The squadron will complete its full deployment of Merlin by the end of this year, providing a significant increase in UK military helicopters in addition to the Chinook, Sea King and Lynx.

India grounds Su-30 Fighters

An Indian Su-30MKI fighter jet crashed on November 30, 2009 near Jaisalmer in the northwestern state of Rajasthan during a routine exercise. Both crewmen ejected safely and survived. This is a second accident involving the Su-30MKI.

Russian Tu-142 Recce Bomber Crash at Sea

A Russian Tu-142M3 (Bear F) reconnaissance plane was lost at sea on Friday, November 6, 2009 on a combat training mission over the Tatar Strait in the Far East, killing the entire 11 men crew. The turboprop aircraft modified from the T-95 Bear strategic bomber routinely operates in support of Russian Navy operations, on recce missions and anti-submarine warfare (ASW).




Boeing Performs First Flight Test of Apache Block III

The Boeing AH-64D Apache Block III program has completed the first flight of its structures test aircraft Nov. 23, 2009. The aircraft being tested is equipped with the composite main rotor blade, composite horizontal stabilator, and -701D engines, which include an enhanced digital electronic control unit. The aircraft also features a split-torque face gear transmission that increases power throughput by more than 20 percent within the same physical operating space as the legacy transmission. An avionic avionics test aircraft has already began flight testing in 2008. The Army and Boeing continue to work toward an anticipated Department of Defense acquisition process Milestone C decision in April 2010.

Navy to Improve Osprey Durability in Desert Conditions

Bell Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, has being awarded a US$105 million contract modification for upgrading of 91 MV-22 and 21 CV-22 aircraft. This work relates to the Block C upgrade of the tilt-rotor aircraft, adding engine air particle separator and installation of a shaft driven compressor inlet barrier filter to improve the aircraft operability in desert conditions. The Osprey is currently being deployed in Afghanistan, supporting the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Helmand.

France to upgrade Naval Rafales to F3 standard

The French Ministry of Defense announced the allocation of €300 million for the modernization of the first 10 French Navy Rafale F-1’s delivered in 1999, bringing them to the same standard as the latest production Rafale F-3. In addition to precision attack capability, provided by GPS and laser guided munitions, the F3 variant also provides advanced reconnaissance capabilities (via integration of the Recon NG pod), long range nuclear strike with the future ASAMP-A missiles and naval strike with Exocet AM39 missiles. Originally expected around 2012, the upgrade was brought forward to 2010. The upgrade will be performed at the Dassault Rafale production line and is scheduled to complete within 12 and 18 months, at that time, the French Navy could begin phasing out of the Super Etendard. Following the loss of two aircraft several months ago, the French Navy has 16 operational Rafales, two already conform to the latest F3 Omnirole standard and two are being upgraded from F2 to F3.

Brazil, Ukraine Plan Using Scrapped ICBMs to Launch Satellites

While Iran and North Korea are using their space programs as a 'legitimate' platform to test lkong range missile technology, Ukraine and Brazil are taking the opposite way – the national space agencies of Ukraine and Brazil are cooperating on the conversion of Ukrainian Tsyklon-4 intercontinental ballistic missiles into a civilian satellite launcher. The Ukrainians are hopeful that if the program is successful, the Tsyklon-4 could become a launch vehicle for potentially dozens of commercial satellites to be launched into orbit from Brazil's Alacantara space centre. The first Ukrainian-Brazilian rocket could be launch in 2010, given adequate funding is available in time.

RAF Chinook Fleet to Reach 70 Helicopters

The UK announced plans to increase heavy airlift in support of operations in Afghanistan. As part of this plan, Boeing will deliver the British Ministry of Defence announced 22 new Chinook helicopters between 2012 and 2013. The new procurement will increase the Royal Air Force (RAF) Chinook fleet from 48 to 70 airframes. (read more...)

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