Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Canada to keep flying its F/A-18A Hornet fighters into the early 2030s

CF-18 Hornet


Thanks To Some Questionable Planning, Canada Will Fly the Same F-18 Jets for 50 Years


Ottawa will pick a successor to take over in 2032. Maybe. Spoiler: It’s almost certainly the F-35.

By Kyle Mizokami

Jan 31, 2018

Canada plans to keep flying its fleet of F/A-18A Hornet fighters into the early 2030s, by which time the oldest of these planes will be more than a half-century old by retirement, which would make them some of the oldest fighters in the industrialized world. Known as CF-18s in Canadian service, the jets were delivered in the early 1980s and are Ottawa’s only fighter jets.

According to the National Post, Canada will select a new fighter in 2022 to enter service in 2032. The current government in Ottawa is dead-set against buying the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, but because of their own decision to kick the can down the road, they may be forced to choose it. Although aircraft such as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-15 Eagle may still be production, by the early 2020s the only fighter truly “future proofed” will be the F-35.

Canada purchased 138 Hornets in the early 1980s to patrol the country’s vast airspace and fulfill NATO obligations. Although the planes never saw combat against the Soviet Union, they have participated in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, combat operations in the Balkans in the 1990s, the 2011 Libya intervention, and the war against the Islamic State. It’s safe to say that Canada got its money’s worth from the fighter jets.

In 1997, when the planes were only an average of 15 years old, Canada moved to become a multinational partner in the Joint Strike Fighter program. Although Ottawa had not officially selected the F-35 as the replacement for the CF-18, it wanted to get in on the ground floor so that it could acquire the jets more quickly if Canada decided to pull the trigger. Canada spent about $373 million to remain a partner without technically ordering a single plane.

In 2010, the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the planned purchase of 65 F-35s without an open competition. The lack of competition, the cost of the plane, and the F-35’s much-publicized problems irked many. When current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to power in 2015, he did so on a promise to cancel the order and purchase more cost-effective aircraft. The 18-year plan to buy the F-35 came to nothing.

Under the original plan as outlined by Defense Industry Daily, Canada’s first F-35s would have become operational this year. Now, the Trudeau government says the CF-18 will fly on without a replacement until 2032. According to the National Post, Canada has set aside $405 million to purchase 18 Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornets that are virtually identical to Canada’s. For its part, Australia declared these old jets to be surplus, replacing them with...the F-35.

If this sounds like a last-ditch plan, you should know that it is. Another plan to purchase a handful of F/A-18 Super Hornets fell through when the manufacturer, Boeing, accused Canada of subsidizing its competitor Bombardier in the civil aviation market. Boeing not only lost the trade dispute but also fell out of favor with the Canadian government, which killed the Super Hornet deal.

It's too bad. The Super Hornet was a good pick for Canada. Royal Canadian Air Force pilots and maintainers could smoothly transition from Hornet to Super Hornet, and much of the equipment, particularly bombs and missiles, could be recycled. It would also be interoperable with U.S. forces, which would almost certainly be a part of any campaign that involves Canadian fighters. Unfortunately, it’s just not happening.

All of this makes you wonder: If Canada needs new fighters now, why doesn’t it just buy the F-35 (or any other new fighter) now? It’s not like some new, magical fighter plane will appear between 2018 and 2022 to solve all of Canada’s problems.

It’s not all bad news, though: a new government in Ottawa could accelerate new fighter plans or make nice with Boeing. Furthermore, the longer Canada waits, the cheaper the F-35 gets, both in aircraft and maintenance costs.

Original post: popularmechanics.com

Related articles:


CF-18 Hornet: Details

Watch short clip Of the Russian Su-27 Buzzing A U.S. Navy EP-3 Over The Black Sea

File photo of Su-27 intercept – Image from the net


Here’s The Video Of the Russian Su-27 Flanker Buzzing A U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries Over The Black Sea


Jan 30 2018 - By David Cenciotti


For the first time in a few years, the U.S. Navy has released the video of the dangerous interaction between a Navy spyplane and a Russian fighter.

On Jan. 29, a U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft flying in international airspace over the Black Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27.

According to the U.S. Navy “This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the Su-27 closing to within five feet and crossing directly through the EP-3’s flight path, causing the EP-3 to fly through the Su-27’s jet wash. The duration of the intercept lasted two hours and 40 minutes.”

“The Russian military is within its right to operate within international airspace, but they must behave within international standards set to ensure safety and prevent incidents, including the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents on and Over the High Seas (INCSEA). Unsafe actions increase the risk of miscalculation and midair collisions.

The U.S. aircraft was operating in accordance with international law and did not provoke this Russian activity.”…….Read rest of article: HERE


To be fair if USA want to fly near Russian borders and spy on them don’t complain….. USA flew a spy plane gathering intelligence and expect the Russians to flyby and give a friendly wave?


EP-3E ARIES II


Primary Function: Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) reconnaissance aircraft.
Contractor: Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems Company.
Unit Cost: $36 million.
Propulsion: Four Allison T-56-A-14 turboprop engines (4,900 shaft horsepower each).
Length: 116 feet 7 inches (35.57 meters).
Height: 33 feet 7 inches (10.27 meters).
Wingspan: 99 feet 6 inches (30.36 meters).
Weight: Max gross take-off: 139,760 pounds (63,394.1 kg).
Airspeed: 411 knots (466 mph, 745 kph); cruise - 328 knots (403 mph, 644 kph).
Ceiling: 28,300 feet (8,625.84 meters).
Range: Maximum mission range - 2,380 nautical miles (2,738.9 miles); for three hours on station @1,500 feet - 1,346 nautical miles (1,548.97 miles).
Crew: 22+

usnavalaircraft.blogspot.com


Based on the 1950s-era L-188 Electra, the EP-3E ARIES II (Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System II) is the Navy's only land-based signals intelligence reconnaissance aircraft.

The 11 aircraft in the Navy's inventory are based on the Orion P-3 airframe and provide fleet and theater commanders worldwide with near real-time tactical SIGINT. With sensitive receivers and high-gain dish antennas, the EP-3E exploits a wide range of electronic emissions from deep within targeted territory.

usnavalaircraft.blogspot.com


During the 1990s twelve P-3Cs were converted to EP3-E ARIES II to replace older versions of the aircraft. The original ARIES I aircraft were converted in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The last EP-3E ARIES II aircraft was delivered in 1997. EP-3Es have been heavily engaged in reconnaissance in support of NATO forces in Bosnia, joint forces in Korea and in Operation Southern Watch, Northern Watch, and Allied Force.


Much of the EP-3's mission is secret and is conducted in high threat areas where long range standoff is required. Most recently, a Navy EP-3 crashed into a Chinese navy J-8 fighter and was forced down into Chinese territory. The crew was eventually released but the plane and its sensitive electronic surveillance systems were picked apart by the Chinese government before the plane was returned in pieces. Source: military.com

SAAB RECEIVES ORDER FOR GRIPEN DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATIONAL SUPPORT

Gripen


29 January 2018

Defence and security company Saab has received an order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, FMV, to provide operational and development support for Gripen during a period of three years, from 2018 to 2020. The total order value is SEK 1 350 million.

The order from FMV includes operating activities in rigs, simulators and test aircraft for the verification and validation of the Gripen C/D and Gripen E fighter aircraft systems, plus operational support for Gripen C/D.

The main part of the order concerns operations in Saab facilities in Sweden, in the towns of Linköping, Gothenburg, Järfälla and Arboga.

For further information, please contact:
Saab Press Centre,
Ann Wolgers, Press Officer
+46 (0)734 180 018,
presscentre@saabgroup.com

Original post: saabgroup.com

Gripen C/D: Details

Saab Gripen E/F: Details

Thailand and China finalising plans for joint maintenance facility



Jon Grevatt, Bangkok - Jane's Defence Weekly

30 January 2018

Thailand has reaffirmed plans to collaborate with China on establishing a military vehicle maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility in the Southeast Asian country.

The proposed facility would be positioned to support the Royal Thai Army’s (RTA’s) expanding fleets of Chinese platforms, including VT-4 main battle tanks (MBTs) and 8x8 VN-1 armoured personnel carriers, both produced by China North Industries Corporation (Norinco).

Speaking following public trials of the VT-4 MBT, which were held on 26 January at the RTA’s Adisorn Military Camp in Saraburi, RTA chief General Chalermchai Sitthisart said in comments reported by local media that the governments of China and Thailand were finalising plans for the MRO centre.

Gen Chalermchai said the new facility would support collaboration on repairing and maintaining the VT-4s and other military vehicles in both Thailand and potentially the wider region. The MRO centre would also enable localised production as well as repair and maintenance of related components and subsystems.

Gen Chalermchai added that VT-4 MBT procurement, costed at about USD200 million, was attractive for the RTA because the Chinese systems were less expensive than Western equivalents and that the programme is supported through technology transfers.

The RTA’s VT-4 programme – the first export of the type – features the acquisition of two batches of 28 units and 10 agreed through government-to-government accords in 2016 and 2017. Deliveries of the tanks commenced in August 2017.

In the next few years the RTA is expected to order additional VT-4 batches as it seeks to meet a long-standing requirement for up to 150 MBTs, which will replace the service's ageing and depleted inventory of US-produced M41 light tanks that have been operational since the early 1960s.

Original post: janes.com

MBT-3000/VT-4 MBT: Details

Hürkus-B trainer for Turkey makes maiden flight

The Hürkus-B is one of three variants of the aircraft that should be ready for fielding later this year. (TAI)


Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

30 January 2018

The Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) Hürkus-B turboprop trainer aircraft made its maiden flight on 30 January.

The twin-seat aircraft, which is already earmarked to enter service with the Turkish Air Force, performed the milestone out of TAI’s production facility near Ankara. As noted by TAI, the Hürkus-B will perform about 90 hours of flight trials before being inducted into the air force.

The Hürkus-B features all of the attributes normally associated with this class of trainer aircraft – tandem seating, a modern ‘glass’ cockpit (that in this instance includes the BAE Systems LiteHUD) zero-zero ejection seats, pressurised cockpits, and anti- g and oxygen systems.

Turkey is planning to produce three versions of the aircraft: the civil Hürkus-A; the military-trainer Hürkus-B and the armed Hürkus-C. All three variants are expected to be ready later in 2018.

For the Turkish Air Force, the Hürkus-B will replace the incumbent SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 in the primary trainer role. Currently, 15 aircraft are under contract with TAI although up to 40 more may follow to support the multinational training centre at Izmir. The Turkish Air Force expected to field the Hürkus-B in conjunction with its Northrop T-38 Talon jet trainer platform.

Original post: janes.com

Related articles:


TAI Hurkus Basic Trainer: Details

Air Force One Needs New Refrigerators. They Cost $24 Million

Air Force One 747-200


BY MARCUS WEISGERBER

GLOBAL BUSINESS EDITOR

JANUARY 24, 2018

The improvement is just the latest example of the bespoke requirements for the presidential jets.

Air Force One needs new refrigerators, an upgrade that will cost taxpayers nearly $24 million.

Their high cost is the latest example of just how expensive it is to build the heavily modified 747 jumbo jets that fly the president of the United States. Experts say the reason isn’t price gouging by Boeing, which makes the jets and handles the presidential modifications, but instead the result of bespoke equipment requirements put in place by the White House Military Office and the Air Force.

“It’s not a contractor issue, it is a requirements issue,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at the Teal Group consulting firm. “It’s not getting people rich.”

The new refrigerators aren’t your kitchen Frigidaires, or even a typical jetliner’s cabin-feeding coolboxes. The requirement for Air Force One is the ability to feed passengers and crew for weeks without resupplying. That means storing about 3,000 meals in massive refrigerators and freezers below the passenger cabin. Five “chillers” cool a total of 26 climate-controlled compartments, according to the Air Force.

In December, the Air Force awarded Boeing a $23.7 million contract to replace two of the chillers, which cool eight compartments. Boeing declined to comment on the deal, referring all questions to the Air Force.

The refrigerators on the plane date to 1990, when the Air Force received the customized 747 from Boeing.

“Although serviced on a regular basis, reliability has decreased with failures increasing, especially in hot/humid environments,” Air Force spokesman Ann Stefanek said in an email. “The units are unable to effectively support mission requirements for food storage.”

Aboulafia said the refrigerators, and many other items on the aircraft, are so expensive because they are they are unique to Air Force One and not used on commercial or business jets. Many of the contractors that work on the presidential jet also must maintain high-level security clearances.

Even though the new new refrigerators use “available industry technology,” they must be customized to carry 70 cubic feet of refrigerated storage, Stefanek said when asked why the refrigerators cost so much. “The engineering required to design, manufacture, conduct environmental testing and obtain Federal Aviation Administration certification are included in the cost.”

The work is expected to be finished in October 2019.

President Trump has been critical of the cost of two new Air Force One planes, at one point threatening to cancel the order if the price was not lowered.

Original post: defenseone.com

Air Force One: Details

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Old Soviet warhorse fills the gap as H-20 is delayed

A PLA H-6K bomber flys above the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan's Yushan Mountain is seen in the background. Photo: PLA


The PLAAF will use a modernized version of the 1960s-era Tupolev Tu-16 as it tests Taiwan's coastal defenses

By ASIA TIMES STAFF JANUARY 29, 2018 6:27 PM (UTC+8)


China’s air force will have to continue relying on an aircraft that first saw service in the late 1960s as a copycat of a redundant Soviet design as it waits for the much-anticipated H-20 heavy strategic bomber.

As a stop-gap measure, Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corp in central Shaanxi province is expediting production of the H-6K, a modernized version of the H-6 series that China modeled on the old Tupolev Tu-16 bomber.

The H6-K uses the same Soviet airframe but incorporates more recent Chinese technologies in its wings, air inlet and weapons bay. It also has a stealth coating, which wasn’t available to the original Soviet designers.

It might be a hybrid, but the bomber has a vital role to play for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force: it must be able to destroy airbases on Taiwan’s eastern, or Pacific Ocean coastline.

There are rumors the PLA plans to extend the H-6K’s operations zone as far as the US territory of Guam. By that time it will have acquired new avionics and fly-by-wire systems, as well as an air refueling probe and drogue to enable longer flights.

Other reports suggest that the PLA Navy may establish an H-6K squadron that is capable of carrying YJ-12 and other air-launched anti-ship missiles to boost its firepower.

Analysts say the PLAAF will need bombers that are more versatile and reliable to support China’s declared objective of militarily encircling Taiwan and enforcing its claims to atolls in the South China Sea.

So far the H-6K has been in active service with squadrons at three PLAAF regiments, all reportedly stationed in central provinces, that have been tasked with sending missions to test Taiwan’s air defenses. These are likely to become commonplace as China steps up its rhetoric against the island.

It is believed the H-6Ks, which carry an air-launched variant of the CJ-10 land-attack missile with a range of up to 1,500 kilometers, could pose a significant threat not only to Taiwan but also Japan and Guam if their stealth technology allows them to elude radar detection. The H-6K regiments can simultaneously fire 360 missiles if all bombers are used.

Original post: atimes.com


H-20 Strategic Stealth Bomber

chinese-military-aviation.blogspot.com


According to popularmechanics.com the head of the Chinese Air Force has confirmed rumors that the country is working on a new long-range bomber. The plane would replace China's fleet of bombers based on antiquated Cold War designs. It probably will have a large payload, long range, and a stealthy radar profile—but likely won't carry nuclear weapons.

There are virtually no details available about the new bomber, but we can make some informed guesses. China's bombers are given the prefix "H"—for bomber—so let's think about what a new "H-X" bomber might look like.

First of all, the aircraft is not likely to be nuclear-capable. China has a nuclear "No First Use" policy, meaning it won't be the first side in a conflict to use nukes. As a result, it has a nuclear arsenal tied to the idea that the country would survive a first strike without enough nukes left to deal a punishing blow to the enemy. Bombers are vulnerable to surprise attack. Unless China were to keep an expensive force of nuclear bombers in the air 24/7, then making them nuclear-capable wouldn't be worth it.

H-X will almost certainly be aimed at countering American forces in the Western Pacific. China has pursued a strategy of "anti-access, area denial" to keep American aircraft carriers and other major assets from loitering off the coast of Asia. The new bomber will carry air-to-ground missiles, particularly anti-ship cruise missiles to attack aircraft carriers and their escorts. China will use them in conjunction with its "carrier killer" ballistic missiles and attack submarines to create a triple threat that would overwhelm a carrier battle group's defenses.

The new bomber will carry cruise missiles instead of conventional bombs, in part because H-X will be expensive to develop and purchase, and flying it directly over a (heavily defended) target would be risky. Unlike the H-6, which carries cruise missiles on its wings, the bomber would carry long-range cruise missiles on internal rotary launchers to preserve its stealth profile. The plane will likely carry at least eight cruise missiles such as the DH-10 in order to overwhelm enemy defenses—and justify the bomber's development cost.

As far as range, if the H-X is not a nuclear-capable bomber then it doesn't need the ability to reach the United States. But it does need to reach out across the Western Pacific. Anti-ship ballistic missiles such as the Dong Feng ("East Wind")-26 have a range of about 3,000 miles, so we can assume that's about the baseline for the bomber's range. This will also allow it to carry out strikes against Japan, the East China Sea, American bases on Guam, and even Australia. Source: popularmechanics.com

It was reported in November 2015 that the aircraft could feature twin dorsal S-shaped engine intakes with saw tooth lips similar to those of B-2. 

jamestown.org


Consequently the engines are sunk into the main wing structure to further reduce the RCS. It was reported in December 2015 that a 3D digital prototype was built. It was reported in February 2017 that the QC platform of the digital prototype was built. 

jamestown.org


The first prototype could fly as early as 2019. The latest rumor (August 2017) claimed that the first prototype (or a flying wing technology demonstrator?) rolled down the assembly line at XAC on June 8, 2017 but this has not been confirmed. Source: chinese-military-aviation.blogspot.com

H-20 deconstruction diagram


Source: takungpaocom

Range

jamestown.org

H-6K/N/M/HK bomber: Details

Why the PLA’s J-20 jet-fighter has been so hard to spot

J-20


It was expected China would produce up to three of the stealth planes every month, but only a handful so far exist

By ASIA TIMES STAFF JANUARY 29, 2018 5:21 PM (UTC+8)


China’s advanced multirole J-20 jets have been hard to find since they entered into service with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force almost one year ago, and it isn’t just because they are super stealth fighters.

Embarassingly, the country’s leading aerospace plant is struggling to meet orders for the plane that was trumpeted as China’s answer to the US F-22 and the Russian T-50 PAK FA, with only a handful having so far been produced due to undisclosed manufacturing glitches.

Hong Kong-based Kanwa Defence Review, citing sources within the PLAAF, as well as recent satellite imagery, said it was likely to be some time before any more fighters exited the Chengdu Aerospace Corp factory in western Sichuan province, even as orders piled up.

All the PLAAF can do in the meantime is maintain and service the existing J-20 inside two hangars at the Dingxin airbase in the northwestern province of Gansu, the publication noted.


The J-20 was hailed by China as a technological marvel when it was first unveiled officially in 2016, able to transform the PLA from “a predominantly territorial air force to one capable of conducting both offensive and defensive operations”. It was expected that up to three of the highly-manoeavrable fighters would be produced each month.....Read rest of article: HERE

Related articles:


Chengdu J-20: Details

Thailand praises capabilities of new tanks imported from China



(Global Times)    08:06, January 30, 2018


A Thai army's newly purchased Chinese-manufactured VT4 main battle tank deploys during a simulated warfare exercise at the Royal Thai Army Cavalry Center in Saraburi Province, Thailand, on Friday. Photo: IC

The Royal Thai Army conducted tests of the China-built VT4 main battle tank, also known as the MBT3000, on Friday at the Royal Thai Army Cavalry Centre at Adisorn military camp in Saraburi. Reporters were there to witness the tests take place.

The capabilities of the VT4, built by China for export, were on full display during the press open day, and won high praise from the Thai army.

The commander at the Royal Thai Army Cavalry Centre told the press that the tank VT4 integrates the advantages of world-class advanced main battle tanks with a high level of informatization, maneuverability and firepower.

The Royal Thai Army displayed the tank in early January after China delivered it in October, 2017 and held the press open day at the end of January. Some media commented that the test had grabbed the world's attention.

Thailand has purchased 28 VT4 tanks and its cabinet has approved the repurchase of 10 additional tanks from China, with the number of orders likely to continue growing. The tanks are produced by China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO).

Of the 28 VT4 tanks, 26 were commissioned by the 3rd Cavalry Division in Khon Kaen Province, while the other two were delivered respectively to the Royal Thai Army Cavalry Centre at Adisorn Military camp in Saraburi and the Army Armory Hall.

Ready for battle

During the press open day, the VT4 showed its strong maneuverability by making a 30% gradient climb, navigating through water and coming up from a ditch. The army told reporters that the capability of the 1200-horsepower engine could not be fully tested as it is new.

The tank also carried out shooting tests of both ground and aerial targets. With a 125mm smoothbore gun, the VT4 was able to shoot armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot (APFSDS), high explosive anti-tank cartridges and artillery missiles. The longest range of the artillery missiles was 5 kilometers.

The VT4 is equipped with a stabilized fire control including cooled thermal imager sights for commander and gunner. It is also fitted with roof-mounted panoramic sights and a digitalized gun control system, capable of detecting, following and shooting targets in the day or night.

The Royal Thai Army told reporters that "the VT4, equipped with stable main armaments and a strong power system and control system, is much easier to handle and comparable with US-made tanks."

The battalion commander of the 6th Royal Thai Army Cavalry also praised the advanced capability of the tank and said soldiers have become familiar with it, adding that the more they use it the more they like it.

Equipped with a China-made 1200-horsepower diesel-fuelled engine and a hydromechanical drive system, the VT4 can run at a maximum speed of 70 km/h and a maximum cross-country speed of 50 km/h.

When Thailand imported the 28 VT4 tanks from China in 2017, media compared it with the T-84 Oplot-M from Ukraine, but the outstanding capabilities of the VT4 prompted Thailand to purchase the Chinese-made tank. Once they are all commissioned, Thailand will possess one of the strongest armored forces in Southeast Asia.

Staff from NORINCO told the Global Times that China displayed a new GL5 Active Protection System (APS) designed for main battle tanks during a show in August 2017, and customers can have the system fitted on the VT4 if they require.

After-sales service

According to media reports, Thailand plans to eventually purchase a total of 49 tanks in three batches. The Thai cabinet approved the purchase of 10 VT4 tanks for the second batch in April 2017, replacing the old US-made M-41s. The Thai army has been using the M-41 since World War Two.

Thai Army chief General Chalermchai Sitthisart said China and Thailand will build a repair and maintenance center together to ensure the production and maintenance of its accessories. Many commentators believe this is an important reason why Thailand purchased China-made tanks, and that the center will serve the whole of Southeast Asia.

Although weapons from the West are more modern, they tend to be more expensive. Taking price into consideration, Sitthisart said the China-made tanks are cheap and good for investment, establishing long-term relations with China and developing the Thai weapons industry.

The Thai government's purchase of the China-made tanks has been given extensive coverage by the Thai press, including Matichon, Tnews and Bangkok Post, and it has received support as well as opposition from the public.

Some netizens voiced their suspicions on Bangkok Post, saying the tanks could be used by the army for a military coup. But supporters said the "China-made tanks are only a third of the price of American or German made tanks. China will share maintenance and production technology but the West won't."

Original post: people.cn


Actually RTA have already bought a total of 49 (1 full battalion) VT-4 as the 1st order was 28 and the second order was for 10 (reported on Apr 4, 2017)
 and the 3rd order was for 11 which was bundled with the VN-1 order (reported on May 9,2017)

Related articles:


MBT-3000/VT-4 MBT: Details

ZBL-09/VN-1 IFV: Details