Thursday, 22 February 2018

Two Su-57 Stealth Fighters deployed to Syria

File image - Su-57


On February 21, the Russian Aerospace Forces deployed two “Pak Fa” Su-57 stealth fighter jets at their Hmeimim airbase near the Syrian coastal city of Jableh, according to Syrian pro-government activists.

The activists released a single picture that supposedly shows the two Su-57 escorted by a Su-35 multirole fighter right before they landed at the airbase. However, this photo is yet to be verified.

The Su-57 is the most advanced Russian stealth multirole fighter aircraft, and it’s not even in service with the Russian Aerospace Forces yet as it is still undergoing tests. The stealth aircraft is equipped with an X band active electronically scanned array (AESA) long range radar, and can be armed with long range air-to-air missiles as well as precision air-to-ground weapons.......Read rest of article: HERE

Guess that means things are going to get hotter

Published on Feb 21, 2018

Sukhoi Pak Fa T-50 (Su-57): Details

First Sikorsky Combat Rescue Helicopter Enters Final Assembly

The first Sikorsky HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter as it enters final assembly at Stratford, Connecticut. The timing of final assembly supports the program’s accelerated schedule and positions the aircraft’s first flight for the end of this year, two months ahead of schedule. Image courtesy of Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company.

Lockheed Martin team is on track to deliver aircraft ahead of schedule to the U.S. Air Force

STRATFORD, Conn., Feb. 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) company, is beginning final assembly of the first HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter, which will bring unprecedented capability enhancements to the U.S. Air Force rescue mission. The timing of final assembly supports the program's accelerated schedule and positions the aircraft's first flight for the end of this year, two months ahead of schedule.

"Final assembly of this first HH-60W helicopter marks a significant milestone for Sikorsky, our workforce and the U.S. Air Force," said Tim Healy, director of Sikorsky Air Force Programs. "We are on track to deliver this significant capability enhancement ahead of schedule, ensuring the U.S Air Force continues its mission 'That Others May Live.'"

The final assembly process includes installation of the new Tactical Mission Kit (TMK) delivered from Lockheed Martin's Owego, New York, facility. The integration of sensors, radar and multiple defense systems will bring added intelligence into the cockpit, giving pilots more information to make split second decisions to complete the mission.  

"The HH-60W will be the most thoroughly networked and connected vertical lift platform ever produced, bringing unrivaled capability in high-threat environments," said Healy. "The modern battlespace is an unforgiving place, no one survives on their own, and the HH-60W allows the entire suite of air and space power to be linked and employed in support of combat rescue operations, even in deep and denied territory." 

The final assembly process also involves installation of a new fuel system that features duel internal fuel tanks totaling 660-gallons, nearly doubling the capacity of the internal tank on a UH-60M Black Hawk. This enhanced capability gives the U.S Air Force crew greater range and more capability to rescue those injured in the battle space.

This Engineering Manufacturing Development (EMD) aircraft is the first to be assembled at the Sikorsky headquarters in Stratford, Connecticut. A total of nine aircraft will be built in Connecticut during the EMD phase of the program ― four EMD aircraft and five System Demonstration Test Articles (SDTA).

The U.S. Air Force program of record calls for 112 helicopters to replace the Air Force's aging HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, which perform critical combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations for all U.S. military services.

The $1.5 billion EMD and SDTA contract includes development and integration of the next generation combat rescue helicopter and mission systems, including delivery of nine HH-60W helicopters as well as six aircrew and maintenance training devices, and instructional courseware designed specifically for the HH-60W aircraft. Sikorsky successfully conducted the training systems design review in September.   

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Turkey to replace T-38 aircraft with with the Hurjet

Hurjet -

Turkey to replace T-38 aircraft with locally built armed jet

By: Burak Ege Bekdil  

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish procurement officials say the country will replace its aging fleet of T-38 trainers with the Hurjet, an armed trainer jet developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries.

The officials said the Hurjets will replace a fleet of 70 T-38s built between 1961 and 1972. The Hurjet is a jet engine version of the turboprop Hurkus, Turkey’s first indigenous basic trainer aircraft.

“Production [of the Hurjet] will not be limited to a batch of 70,” said an official with Turkish Aerospace Industries, or TAI. “Market studies have shown strong export prospects.”

The Turkish military is planning to use the Hurjet for training and for close-air support missions with the country’s F-16 fighters.

“The Hurjet would be a strategic asset in our anti-terror warfare,” an Air Force officer said.

Turkey’s military has been fighting Kurdish militants in the country’s southeast as well as in neighboring Syria and Iraq. The fighting has claimed more than 40,000 lives since 1984.

TAI’s board gave the official go-ahead for the Hurjet program in August. The company has since been working on the architectural phase.

“We are hoping to have Hurjet’s maiden flight in 2022,” the TAI official said.

In addition to asymmetrical warfare, Turkey’s military is planning to use the Hurjet in border security missions.

The Hurjet will have a maximum speed of Mach 1.2 and can fly at a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet. The Hurjet will have a maximum payload of 3,000 kilograms, including ammunition, radar and camera.

Turkish officials have successfully tested the Hurkus-C, an armed version of the Hurkus family, equipped with L-UMTAS, a laser-guided long-range anti-tank missile. L-UMTAS was developed by the state-controlled missile-maker Roketsan primarily to operate from attack helicopters. In 2016, the system was qualified and integrated into the T-129, a Turkish attack helicopter built under license from the Italian-British AgustaWestland.

The aircraft also features other locally developed ammunition including CIRIT, TEBER, HGK and LGK. It can also use INS/GPS-guided bombs, conventional bombs, non-guided rockets and machine guns.

The armed Hurkus features armored body parts, a self-protection system, a data link, laser tacking, an electro-optical and infrared pod, an external fuel tank, and advanced avionics, according to TAI.

With a 1,500-kilogram payload that can be utilized through seven external hardpoints, the Hurkus-C will perform light-attack and armed reconnaissance missions.

TAI’s engineers began to design the Hurkus in 2004. For the Hurkus program, TAI signed two contracts with Turkey’s procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries: one for prototype development and the other for serial production.

Under a June 2014 serial production contract, TAI will deliver 15 aircraft with a follow-on option for 40 more.

The Hurkus platform features a single Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68 turboprop engine that comes with a power rating of 1,600 shaft horsepower and a maximum speed of 574 kph. TAI’s sister company, Tusas Engine Industries, which specializes in engines, is locally developing a turboshaft engine to replace the Pratt & Whitney Canada engine.

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TAI Hurkus Basic Trainer Aircraft: Details

Northrop Developing 6th Gen Fighter design for both the Navy and Air Force

FA sixth-generation concept -

Northrop Developing 6th Gen Fighter Plans

By: Aaron Mehta  

LOS ANGELES — Northrop Grumman has stood up a pair of teams dedicated to developing a "sixth-generation" fighter for both the Navy and Air Force, years before the services intend to issue requests for information on potential replacements for current aircraft.

It's an aggressive move that Tom Vice, president of Northrop's aerospace division, hopes will pay off in a big way for his company.

"Northrop Grumman will compete for the next generation fighter," Vice flatly declared, noting that there is a program manager already leading a team of Northrop staffers on the program.

When asked whether he envisioned Northrop acting as a prime contractor on a future fighter, he added "of course."

Vice's comments were made during a trip to Northrop facilities in California, arranged and paid for by the company.

Both the Air Force and Navy have begun preliminary planning for what is referred to as next-generation air dominance, or "sixth-generation" fighters. After working together on the F-35 joint strike fighter, the two services are looking at procuring their own respective jets.

The Navy's program is dubbed F/A-XX, while the Air Force's effort is known as F-X. In September, Col. Tom Coglitore, Air Superiority Core Function Team chief at Air Combat Command, told Defense News he wants to see Milestone A acquisition activity in early fiscal 2018.

A spokesman for Northrop confirmed that there are individual teams focused on each of the service requirements.

Vice indicated that Northrop is looking at a supersonic, tailless airplane design as a potential solution, something he noted no one has ever done before.

"You don't see any supersonic airplanes today without tails," Vice said. "Why? It's really hard. But if you think about new ways to do advanced computing, very high speed processing, new materials – that's why the research we do is so important, so we can build what could likely be the next-generation fighter in 20 years. It's going to require that kind of technology, because to build that airplane is going to be really, really hard."

He also hinted that making a system optionally manned would be relatively easy for the company.

While Vice may be confident in his program, outside analysts have questioned whether Northrop can survive long-term as an attack airframe manufacturer, especially if it loses out on the Air Force's Long Range Strike-Bomber program.

That program is expected to award a contract to either Northrop or its competitor, a team of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, in late spring or early summer.

UPDATED 1/21/15: This story was updated to clarify that there are two Northrop teams working individually on the Navy and Air Force programs.

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FA sixth-generation concept -

US Must Halt F-35 Sales to Turkey Over ‘Dangerous’ Provocations

US Must Halt F-35 Sales to Turkey Over ‘Dangerous’ Provocations - Greek LobbyCC0

A Greek-American lobbying organization and the Armenian National Committee of America have launched an effort to halt the sale of 100 F-35 aircraft to Washington’s NATO ally Turkey over Ankara’s “consistently and steadily more dangerous” provocations, a Greek-American lobbyist said recently.

"We have gone beyond the over-the-top rhetoric used by Turkey, which seems to want to compete with North Korea for most provocative declarations: Its actions in the Aegean [Sea], its formal action in terms of navtexes (navigational text messages) and notams (notices to airmen) and its deploying naval forces against energy exploration in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone are inviting an escalation that might make the 1996 Imia crisis look tame," Endy Zemenidis, executive director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council, told the Greek publication Kathimerini on Tuesday.

Zemenidis referred to a crisis in 1996 in which Turkey and Greece nearly engaged in a military conflict over a territorial dispute about a pair of uninhabited islands in the Aegean Sea, which mostly separates the two countries.

Congress has already shown a willingness to halt arms deliveries to Turkey. The US Senate voted to block a $1.2 million deal to sell Turkey semi-automatic handguns and ammunition last September following the assault of US protesters and police officers by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security detail during a visit to Washington last May.

"There will be very strong opposition in Congress — which already acted against small arms sales to Turkish security forces — and in which measures challenging the F-35 transfer have been circulated," the lobbyist said, noting that Turkey's opponents in Washington are "growing in numbers" while "Congressmen willing to defend Turkey are in pretty short supply nowadays."

"Turkey has been an unreliable ally," Zemenidis added. "Turkey was ambivalent in fighting ISIS [Daesh], which forced the US to seek other allies. When the Kurds emerged as the most effective anti-ISIS allies, Turkey took military action against them. Right now, the US cannot ignore that its weapons are being used by a nominal ally to undermine its strategic goals and interests."

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Plot Thickens as Finland Braces for Historic Fighter Jet Acquisition

Finnish Air Force F-18 Hornet

With the Nordic nation's existing fleet of 64 US F-18 Hornet jets becoming increasingly obsolete and expensive to maintain, five contenders are expected to run in the upcoming tender.

As Finland is heading toward the largest military purchase in its history, the suspense is building. The modernization of the Finnish Air Force is expected to cost up to €10 billion ($12.5 billion), with at least as much spent on maintenance and updates in the upcoming 30 years, Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported.

Finland's current fleet of 64 US F-18 Hornets is estimated to have seven to twelve years left in operation. To offset their gradual decommission, the Nordic nation has five replacement contenders on its radar: the F-35 (Lockheed Martin), the F/A-18 Super Hornet (Boeing), the Gripen E (Saab), the Rafale (Dassault) and the Eurofighter Typhoon.

According to Lauri Puranen of the Defense Ministry, the stakes are particularly high as the goal is to acquire a system that will be still in service after 30 years and will be able to be updated further on to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

According to Puranen, it is therefore about "getting a whole system with many components" rather than an array of aircraft. Therefore, factors such as sensors, wiring and ability to work in units will be considered, he stressed.
Puranen revealed that the purchase price/maintenance cost ratio is expected to be 40/60.

Charly Salonius-Pasternak of the Finnish Foreign Affairs Institute argued that the upgradability of the new aircraft is crucial, as it yet difficult to envisage the needs of the air force in the decades to come. Since all the five contenders are expected to be up to a certain level, the question was rather which of them will offer anything beyond that level.

In addition to fighter jets' performance per se, security policy implications will be taken into consideration as well, he stressed.

The last air force update of this scope was carried out in 1992, when it was decided to buy 64 Hornet jets, a decision which opened Finland's security policy door to the West. At that time, disappointment was particularly great in Sweden as Finland did not choose the Swedish-made Gripen, despite increased talk about cooperation.

"It was disappointing. We had talked a lot about Sweden about joint procurement of defense equipment. And it was like a blow to these beautiful words," the then-Defense Minister Elisabeth Rehn recalled.

This time, expectations are once again running high among the Swedish defense group Saab.

There are some politicians and even parties that have flagged in favor of buying Swedish because of the Swedish-Finnish cooperation. Many in Sweden are equally hopeful," Salonius-Pasternak stressed, emphasizing that Finland and Sweden currently are the only Nordic nations to remain outside of NATO.

According to him, the main argument in favor of the European fighter jets is supporting Europe's military independence.

"And then there are those who indirectly consider US interest in this, as we did in the early 90s. In my personal discussions, it has been made clear that if Finland were to switch countries, it would certainly affect the US-Finnish relationship," Salonius-Pasternak stressed.

The tender will start in several months' time, Yle reported.

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Related articles:
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Finland denies F/A-18 purchases after Trump comments
Finland 100% offset obligation to the country’s F/A-18 replacement could increase the cost by USD1 billion.
Defence contractors PR lobbying campaigns to win fighter jet deal in Finland
Finland wants info on fighters to replace its aging F/A-18Cs
Finland might purchase Gripen to replace F-18
Finland’s former prime minister has given his backing to the Saab Gripen as the jet of choice
Saab pitches Gripen for Finland – Video

Gripen E/F: Details
F-18E/F: Details
F-35: Details
Eurofighter Typhoon: Details
Rafale: Details

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Gripen E delivery schedule on target for first production examples in third quarter of next year

Gripen E delivery schedule on target, says Saab boss


Saab remains on track to deliver the first series production examples of its Gripen E in the third quarter of next year, and is also hopeful of concluding delayed sales of new-build C/D-model examples during 2018.

"We will stick according to the plan and deliver the first two aircraft to the Brazilian air force and Swedish air force next year," says Saab chief executive Håkan Buskhe. "Things are going according to plan," he said while discussing the company's financial results for 2017 on 16 February.

"Test and evaluation of the first [prototype] aircraft is going extremely well. We are getting better-standard data than we had anticipated," Buskhe says. A second prototype will join its fleet by the end of this year.

"It's always challenging to have this type of programme, but if it's not challenging then it probably will not be a good product at the end," he notes, while describing development work as progressing "fairly well".

Noting that Saab is eyeing potential opportunities to sell the Gripen E to additional nations, including Canada, Finland and Switzerland, he says: "Our performance in delivery will also prove that we have a ready product."

Buskhe says Saab had hoped to conclude new sales of its Gripen C/D by the end of last year, but that factors including political processes in potential customer nations prevented this from happening. "The number of possible deals hasn't changed," he stresses. "We have some intensive discussions with some countries, and there are great possibilities during this year."

With the US Air Force having delayed a decision in its T-X trainer competition from last year until around mid-2018, Buskhe says Saab also spent "much more than anticipated" on the activity last year. Working in partnership with bid leader Boeing, it is pursuing a deal for 350 aircraft to replace the USAF's Northrop T-38s.

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