Friday, 31 March 2017

US Navy has awarded $2.2 billion to Boeing for 11 P-8A

Boeing Wins $2.2 Billion to Produce Anti-Sub Warfare Aircraft

08:13 31.03.2017

The US Navy has awarded $2.2 billion for production of P-8A anti-submarine and spy planes, the Department of Defense announced in a press release.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US defense giant Boeing has received a $2.2 billion award to manufacture 11 P-8A anti-submarine and surveillance aircraft for the US Navy and other partners, according to the release.

"The Boeing Co., Seattle, Washington, is being awarded a $2,196,638,752 modification to a previously awarded contract for the manufacture and delivery of 17  P-8A aircraft for the Navy (11), foreign military sales (2), and cooperative agreement partners (4)," the release explained on Thursday.

The P-8A Poseidon is designed for long-range anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It is based on Boeing's 737-800.

Work will be performed in the US States of Washington, Maryland, New York, Illinois, California and Utah. The contract is expected to be fulfilled in December 2020.

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Poseidon-8A: Details

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Russians are within "hand-grenade range" of American troops in Syria

Russians reportedly in ‘hand-grenade range’ of friendly US troops in Syria

March 28, 2017 | 8:05pm

The Russians have come within “hand-grenade range” of American troops in Syria — sparking fears of friendly fire and increased tensions, a report says.

“Escalation is bound to happen,” explained Andreas Krieg, a professor at the Defense Studies Department at King’s College London.

Speaking to NBC News, he warned that due to their close proximity, the two nations — which are now working together in the region with Kurdish YPG fighters to combat ISIS — could wind up inadvertently firing upon one another.

“These surrogates are doing their own operations and then the sponsors are doing air cover and artillery cover,” Krieg said.

US commanders first revealed how the forces were bordering one another while speaking to reporters earlier this month, according to NBC.

“[Russian and American soldiers] have converged literally within hand-grenade range of one another,” said Army Lt. Gen. Steven Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.

While an estimated 1,000 American troops were believed to be stationed in Syria last month, that number may in fact be larger now that President Trump has sent several hundred more there in recent weeks, NBC reports.

“Fighting ISIS and fighting the jihadis is absolutely the first priority of the [Donald] Trump administration,” Krieg said. “This is why [Defense Secretary James] Mattis is going so hardcore after ISIS. And almost everything goes as long as they are fighting jihadis at the same time.”

Russia is believed to have 1,600 to 4,500 soldiers in Syria, NBC reports.

Before teaming up with the Kurdish fighters, the US and Russians were each on opposite sides of the Syrian civil war — with the Americans backing the rebels and the Kremlin supporting President Bashar al-Assad.

According to US Central Command, their military commanders are now in contact with each other and working together to avoid accidental casualties.

The Kremlin ultimately wants “an alliance between Russia and the United States in fighting terrorism, and to be recognized as an equal partner with the United States,” Igor Sutyagin, a senior research fellow at London’s Royal United Services Institute, told NBC.

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Monday, 27 March 2017

Trump reportedly handed German Chancellor Angela Merkel an invoice for more than $374 billion to cover military defense costs

Trump reportedly gave Merkel a fake $374 billion invoice for NATO defense

March 26

In a bizarre stunt, President Trump reportedly handed German Chancellor Angela Merkel an invoice for more than $374 billion to cover military defense costs when they met in Washington last week. U.K. newspaper the Sunday Times reports the bill was meant to illustrate the amount, in Trump’s own estimation, that Germany has failed to spend on defense under a NATO agreement.

Trump, who has long complained about allies supposedly relying on U.S. military strength, was apparently upset that Germany, like most NATO countries, isn’t spending the amount it pledged to spend on defense. But suggesting that Germany “owes money” to NATO is misleading. Trump was reportedly referring to a pledge made by NATO states to spend 2 percent of their GDP on their own defense budgets. This money wouldn’t be paid to NATO but spent on Germany’s own defense. Only five of the 28 member states currently meet the 2 percent goal.

According to the Sunday Times, Trump’s fake invoice dated all the way back to 2002, when, according to Trump, Merkel’s predecessor Gerhard Schröder said he’d spend more on defense. Trump’s aides reportedly calculated how much German defense spending fell below 2 percent over the past 12 years, then tacked on interest.

Why it’s not normal:
It’s hard to know where to begin here. Sitting presidents don’t usually employ weird stunts that don’t make sense in order to intimidate leaders of countries the U.S. likes into spending more on defense. A German minister quoted in the Sunday Times called the bill “outrageous.”

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Trump Allegedly Handed Merkel A $370 Billion Bill For NATO

2:54 PM 03/26/2017

President Donald Trump allegedly handed a bill totaling more than $370 billion to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for money Germany “owes” the NATO alliance in defense spending.
The Sunday Times reports Trump handed the invoice to Merkel during their first face-to-face meeting March 17 in Washington, D.C. The exact figure wasn’t revealed but it was supposedly estimated from Germany’s total defense spending since 2002 — the year then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder pledged to increase military contributions after years of pacifism.
A German minister called the move “outrageous” and said Merkel “ignored the provocation.”
“The concept behind putting out such demands is to intimidate the other side, but the chancellor took it calmly and will not respond to such provocations,” the unnamed minister told The Sunday Times.

Trump called out Germany over its lack of military spending  in a series of tweets following the meeting with Merkel.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen quickly rejected the claim, saying, “There is no account where debts are registered with NATO.”

While NATO doesn’t keep a debt account for each member state, and the alliance’s 2 percent of GDP pledge wasn’t agreed upon until 2014, it loses out on more than $20 billion in German military spending each year. (RELATED: If Germany Did Actually Owe NATO, The Amount Would Be Staggering [Graph])

The total gross domestic product in Germany since the start of 2009 is approximately $28.5 trillion, according to NATO figures. During these eight years, Germany spent about $359.8 billion on its military. The average defense expenditure per year is around 1.27 percent of total GDP.

If Germany met NATO’s 2 percent target each year, it would have racked up $569.5 billion since 2009, leaving a $209.7 billion gap in funding. The invoice Trump allegedly handed over to Merkel covers seven additional years.

Defense Expenditure in million U.S. dollars (2010 prices and exchange rates)

Germany is far from alone. Out of the alliance’s 28 members, just five meet the spending goal.



This Retro F-20 Tigershark Video Is Everything An '80s Promo Ad Should Be

 on March 26, 2017

The Northrop F-20 Tigershark is arguably one of the most elegant fighter jets never built. Developed during the waning years of the Cold War, the sleek machine came equipped with the General Electric F404 turbofan engine that gave the F-20 an unbelievable acceleration and initial climb rate, positioning the fighting to “operate on short runways [and] outfight the Soviet Union’s best,” as Defense Media Network put it in 2014.

And hell, did Northrop know how to make your mouth water for a fine piece of military machinery. Just watch this classic yet enthralling early 19080s promo video for the F-20, first flagged by our friends at The Drive.

Narrated by the legendary Air Force Gen. Chuck Yeager himself, the 13-minute sales video paints a fairly alluring portrait of the nimble and deadly fighter in action.

“The first line of defense is tactical air power,” muses Yeager in a voiceover fit for a classic Arnold Schwarzenegger trailer. “The need is for quick response, high performance, and the ability to fly again, and again, and again with only the aircraft, the men, and the supplies at hand … Only now, with the new technology of the 80s, is it possible to have a fighter with both high performance and reliability.”

Sadly, the Tigershark was doomed into non-existence not by technological failure (we see you, F-35), but political consideration. From DMN:

With the election of Ronald Reagan as president, the FX program gradually fell out of favor as the administration relaxed export restrictions. Then the 1982 signing of the U.S.-PRC Joint Communiqué on arms sales blocked sale of the F-20 to Taiwan. Worse for the F-20’s chance in other markets, the Air Force had an iron in the fire with regard to foreign military sales (FMS), as every F-16 sold to a foreign country meant the overall production cost of the Air Force’s own F-16s would go down.

Eventually, the U.S. Navy opted to go with the F-16N Flying Falcon rather than the Tigershark, slamming the door in Northrop’s face. Only three F-20 Tigersharks were ever built.

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F-20 Tigershark: Details

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Iraq receives new batch of US F-16 fighter jets

by Loaa Adel Mar 25, 2017, 8:02 pm

Baghdad ( Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced on Saturday, that four F-16 fighter jets have arrived in Balad air base, based on the agreement made between Baghdad and Washington in 2011, to buy 36 fighter jets.

The ministry released a statement saying, “Four F-16 fighter jets arrived, today, in Balad air base,” pointing out that, “Iraqi received the first batch of these jets in July 2015.”

“The newly received jets will increase the number of fighter jets in Iraq to 20 aircraft,” the statement added.

Noteworthy, Iraqi Air Force is currently relying on a limited number of old Russian jets “Sukhoi” and helicopters.

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In service


F-16 Fighting Falcon: Details

Russia offering more flexible modernizing package for MiG-29N for Royal Malaysian Air Force

Russia to fine-tune MiG-29N fighter jets for Malaysia

March 22, 8:48

LANGKAWI (Malaysia), March 22. /TASS/. Russia has prepared another, more flexible variant of modernizing MiG-29N fighter jets currently in service with the Royal Malaysian Air Force, the director for international cooperation and regional policy at Russia's defense industry conglomerate Rostec said Wednesday.

"We arrived at this exhibition with a good modernization package, more flexible than before. This modernization will add more functions to the Malaysian MiG-29N, including an ability to engage ground targets," Viktor Kladov, who heads the joint delegation of Rostec and state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, told reporters at the Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) in Malaysia.

Russia’s previous modernization plan was rejected by Malaysia due to high costs. Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG, the aircraft's manufacturer, prepared and sent another variant of the upgrade to the Malaysian side.

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Malaysian MiG-29N

MiG-29SD Fulcrum-A (type 9.12?)

Export upgrade of the basic MiG-29 (9.12), with most of the SE improvements, plus provisions for the “Dozaprahvka” - inflight refuelling. The prototype (air force serial number 36034 “357”) began refuelling trials in November 1995. Designated MiG-29N for Malaysia.


Malaysian local designation of its new-build version of the MiG-29SD. 16 single-seat MiG-29Ns (from production batches 52 and 53) and two two-seat MiG-29NUBs delivered in 1995 for Nos. 17 and 19 Squadrons RMAF. Normal T-O weight 15,000 kg (33,068 lb). Maximum T-O weight 20,000 kg (44,090 lb), maximum weapon load 2,000 kg (4,409 lb). N019ZM radar. All being upgraded at 800 hours servicing to "full MiG-29N standard", with a 3,000 kg (6,614 lb) weapon load. Raytheon IFF. Cockpit placards in English, voice warning system, instruments and displays calibrated in feet, knots, feet/minute and nautical miles, in-flight refuelling system using retractable extending probe on the port side of the front fuselage, AN/ARN-139 Tacan, GPS and ILS. First upgraded aircraft (M43-12) flew on 13 April 1998. Armament includes R-27R1 and R-73E1 AAMs, GSh-301 gun. The upgrade adds RVV-AE (R-77 AA-12 “Adder”) capability, allied to the Phazotron N019ME radar with twin target BVR potential. Performance same as the MiG-29S except for the service ceiling of 18,000 m (59,050 ft). The RD-33 engines have been modified to extend their service life. Source

Friday, 24 March 2017

Thailand ranks fourth in Asia-Pacific for availability in chartered private jets for the ultra-rich

Private Jets a Tough Find in Asia-Pacific



March 23--Thailand ranks fourth in Asia-Pacific when it comes to local options in chartered private jets for the ultra-rich, says a Hong Kong-based chartering firm.

There are 18 executive jets available locally for the 26 billionaires in Thailand, hence a ratio of 0.7:1, good for fourth on the nine-country list, according to new research by L'Voyage.
The study found that while China, Hong Kong and South Korea are among the 15 countries that have the most billionaires globally, they offer the fewest number of chartered jets per billionaire in Asia.

Sluggish development of an aircraft-sharing culture, a shortage of talent, and challenging and diverse business aviation regulations have contributed to the current situation, said L'Voyage chairman Diana Chou.

Overall, northern Asia's charter jet industry lags behind its Southeast Asian counterparts in Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

Subsequently, the well-heeled in Japan, Hong Kong, China and South Korea are often hard-pressed to book private jets during peak holiday seasons in Asia.

Key findings from the research:

Greater China's 609 billionaires have just 70 chartered private jets to choose from, compared with the 552 billionaires in the US who can choose from more than 2,600 private aircraft. That comes to 4.7 chartered jets per billionaire in the US, compared with 0.1 in Greater China.

Hong Kong's 72 billionaires have to jostle for 13 private charter aircraft and face the challenges of landing slots and parking. Fortunately, they can opt to take off from Shenzhen's Bao'an airport when the city's only private jet terminal is overbooked.

Australian billionaires are the luckiest, with two charter jets available for every ultra-rich person. Australia's chartered jet sector has grown as a result of demand from users in the mining and tourism industries.

Singapore ranks second in terms of convenience, with one charter jet available for every billionaire. Singapore's government has been investing in the infrastructure needed to support the industry and is currently the region's most active aircraft leasing hub.
L'Voyage said the situation in Greater China is set to improve, thanks to government support.

Greater China has the fastest-growing number of billionaires in the world -- up 41 from 595 in 2016 -- and its charter jet industry is catching up as well.

In March, China's Civil Aviation Administration abolished the need for government approval of the purchase and registration of new or pre-owned private jets.

China also plans to build more than 500 airports by 2020 and boost the operating environment for general aviation.

By next month, Hong Kong will begin legislating a new tax regime designed to appeal to commercial aircraft leasing companies.

"Such measures should also help expedite business aircraft leasing and spare demand for locally registered aircraft for charter," Ms Chou said.

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Flying High: Thailand's Top 5 Private Jets

Planning a holiday in Thailand, and around the region, is a breeze, thanks to top-of-the-line air services available in the Kingdom.

The Land of Smiles is one of those rare destinations where it’s easy to combine business and pleasure. Thailand’s growing economy brings many foreigners here for the first time on commerce and trade. Soon enough, they are hooked on the country’s sunshine and charm – either coming back for a straightforward holiday, or turning a business trip into a family getaway or couple’s vacation on the side.

By Barbara Woolsey

In response to such rising demand, Thailand lays claim to some of Southeast Asia’s best air service providers. When it comes to delivering five-star connections around the region, Thailand is a hub of splendour and elegance. For chartering a private jet, to and from exotic destinations, the options are endless.

What makes indulgent travel in this country really stand out is the traditional way of life that’s been built over time. Thais are known for their generosity and service-mindedness, and as a result the service standard here reflect both in generous doses. We’ve put together a list of five air service providers in Thailand that are the cream of the crop. But trust us when we say, it wasn’t easy to choose.


MJETS is Thailand’s leading specialist in private aviation, providing luxury flights by charter around the region. Based out of Bangkok, the company was founded in 2007 and remains the country’s first and only fixed based operator (FBO) with a private jet terminal at Don Mueang Airport. MJETS operates an impressive fleet of Gulfstream and Cessna aircrafts boasting bespoke cabin configurations and in-flight amenities, and of course, fast-track immigration and customs clearance go without saying.


For more than 20 years, Siam Land Flying has been at the head of the pack when it comes to executive air travel across the region. Whether chartering for business or pleasure, the company’s Hawker and King Air airplanes provide top comfort as well as cutting-edge design, performance and technology to its ultra-premium clientele. Siam Land also offers emergency medical services, handling evacuations with a team of doctors on 24 hours standby, ready to fly anywhere.


This Bangkok based independent aviation company facilitates private jet charters across Asia-Pacific primarily for customers from the U.S., Europe and China. Founded in 2004, OrientSKYs works with a network of trusted operators based in strategic locations like Bangkok, Shanghai and Tokyo, in order to match clients to the most perfect charter. OrientSKYs is also able to provide Asian customers with charter in Europe and Americas through its full-time U.S. and European offices. Through a partnership with Global Jet Sales, the company helps to broker private jets sales. Their inventory is highly exclusive, featuring only the most top-quality aircraft and coveted off-market products.

Stratos Jet Charters

There is no destination too far for Stratos Jet Charters. They source private aircrafts and provide global access to private jets, on both an international and domestic basis. By matching clients with charters, they are free of the strenuous responsibilities that come with owning and maintaining aircraft – leaving the company able to focus entirely on the execution of its guests’ travel itineraries. They coordinate everything from Point A to B, whether it’s chauffeured ground transfer to in-flight catering, and even hotel booking.

Advance Aviation

Advance Aviation is Thailand’s largest VIP helicopter charter service. Also offering private jet charters, the company’s fleet consists of a Gulfstream G-200 aircraft and five top-notch EC-135 and EC-130 helicopters in flashy red and white. Since Advance Aviation’s founding in 2010, the company has expanded to three strategic locations around the country: Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. They can fly anywhere around the

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Irkut Corporation offers Su-30SME fighter jet to ASEAN market

LIMA 2017: Irkut Corporation offers Su-30SME fighter jet to ASEAN market

Published: Thursday, 23 March 2017 17:30

Russia offered a new modification of the latest supermaneuverable Su-30SM fighter jet designated as Su-30SME to potential foreign customers of aircraft technologies, President of Irkut Corporation Oleg Demchenko told TASS at the 14th International naval and aerospace show in Malaysia (LIMA 2017).

A scale model of Irkut Corporation's Su-30SME fighter jet at LIMA 2017

"Su-30SME is an export version of Su-30SM. The aircraft are supplied to the defense ministries of Russia and Kazakhstan as an ally in the Collective Security Treaty Organization," he said.

Su-30SME is a development of the Su-MK fighter which is popular on the global market. "Su-30SME is an upgraded modern platform based on Russian equipment. As the basic Russian Su-30SM version develops the capabilities of the export Su-30SME will also expand," Demchenko said.

The Russian Knights aerobatic group is for the first time flying supermaneuverable Su-30SM fighter jets at Lima 2017 show to demonstrate technical characteristics and piloting capabilities of the new aircraft.

The Su-30SM fighter jet has been manufactured for the Russian Air Force since 2012.

Four Su-30SM batch-produced fighters (Russian Air Force modification) were supplied for Kazakh Air Force in 2015.

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Su-30SM: Details

Tokyo protests South Korean plan to conduct military drills near disputed islets

MAR 24, 2017


Japan has lodged a protest with South Korea over its reported plan to conduct a military drill around a pair of Seoul-controlled, Tokyo-claimed islets in the Sea of Japan, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday.

The drill, which will start Monday, “is unacceptable in light of our country’s stance regarding the sovereignty of Takeshima,” Kishida told reporters, referring to the islets known as Dokdo in South Korea. “It is regrettable.”

Kenji Kanasugi, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, lodged the protest Wednesday with a senior diplomat at the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo, a Japanese government source said.

The South Korean military conducts training exercises near the rocky outcroppings a few times a year. In December, about 10 South Korean Marines landed on one of the two islets, prompting Japan to lodge a strong protest.

The drill comes as the relationship between Japan and South Korea remains strained by the long-standing “comfort women” issue. The term is Japan’s euphemism for the females forced to work in Japanese military brothels before and during the war.

Japan has said the erection of statues symbolizing the women in front of Japanese diplomatic facilities in South Korea, including one in December, goes against the spirit of a 2015 bilateral agreement to “finally and irreversibly” resolve the protracted dispute over the issue.

The re-emergence of a statue that was reportedly taken down when it first appeared outside the Japanese Consulate in Busan in December prompted Tokyo to recall its ambassador. Opponents in South Korea have meanwhile criticized the accord for not fulfilling their key demand that the Japanese government admit legal responsibility for compensation.

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Islets known as Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima by Japan

Philippines to receive first two TC-90 trainer aircraft from Japan

Japan to deliver first two TC-90 trainer aircraft to the Philippines

Gabriel Dominguez, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

23 March 2017

Japan will transfer the first two of five Beechcraft TC-90 King Air advanced trainer aircraft to the Philippines on 27 March, with the remaining three aircraft set to be delivered by the end of 2017, the Tokyo-based Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Agency said in a statement on 21 March.

The Philippine Navy (PN) is leasing the TC-90s from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) to boost its maritime security capabilities.

Besides the delivery of the aircraft, the deal, which was signed during the administration of former Philippine president Benigno Aquino III, includes pilot training and aircraft maintenance support.

Jane's reported in March 2016 that the TC-90s will not be weaponised and are expected to feature only basic surveillance systems, but represent one of Japan's first programmes to transfer military aircraft since the country lifted its defence export ban in 2014.

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Japan commissions "Kaga" the second Izumo-class helicopter carrier

Japan commissions second helicopter carrier

Japan commissions a new Izumo-class helicopter carrier for its Maritime Self-Defense Force.

By Richard Tomkins   |   March 23, 2017 at 1:30 PM

March 23 (UPI) -- Japan has commissioned a second helicopter carrier into service for its Maritime Self-Defense Force.

The Kaga, an Izumo-class ship, is about 813.6 feet long, displaces 27,000 tons when fully loaded and has a maximum speed of 30 knots.

The carrier features five helipads and can carry more than 14 helicopters. It can also land and launch Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

Japan's Asahi Shimbun reported that the Kaga was commissioned in Yokohama on Wednesday and will be based in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture.

With the commissioning of the Kaga, Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force has four helicopter-carrying ships, two of which are 647-foot-long destroyers.

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China on high alert for Japan's military move

Source: Xinhua | 2017-03-23 19:04:27 | Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, March 23 (Xinhua) -- China said on Thursday it is on high alert for Japan's true intentions as the Japanese helicopter-carrier destroyer Kaga went into service on Wednesday.

According to Japanese media reports, the 19,500-tonne Kaga will be used for surveillance.

"The situation in the South China Sea is stable through the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries. China and its neighbors will never allow Japan to make trouble," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.

In recent years, Japan has played up the so-called "China threat," as an excuse for expanding its military, Hua said.

For historical reasons, the international community and especially Japan's neighbors keep a close eye on Japan's military moves, she told a routine press briefing.

"We have every reason to remain on high alert," she added.

The original Kaga was sunk by U.S. military during World War II. Japan should learn the lessons of history, Hua said.

"We hope the Kaga's reappearance is not resurgence of Japanese militarism," she said. Source

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