Thursday, 31 January 2019

Malaysia issues RFI for KAI’s FA-50 light fighter


Jon Grevatt - Jane's Defence Weekly

28 January 2019

Malaysia has issued a preliminary request for information (RFI) to Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) in support of a potential acquisition of the company's FA-50 light attack aircraft, it has been confirmed to Jane's .

A spokesperson for KAI said on 28 January that the RFI was received earlier this month and that an additional RFI is expected once Malaysia refines its air combat requirements. A spokesperson from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) could not be reached for comment.

Under the country's proposed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) procurement programme Malaysia is thought to be seeking to acquire an initial 12 aircraft with an option for another 24 units in future years.

A KAI spokesperson said, "KAI received the request for information from Malaysia on 5 January, and we expect a more detailed RFI to be issued in the near future."

Jane's first revealed that the RMAF was interested in procuring the FA-50 fighter, which is based on KAI's T-50 advanced jet trainer (AJT) platform, in 2017.

Citing an air force official, Jane's reported that the procurement would meet a requirement to acquire a single-engined, supersonic platform to augment the RMAF's fleets of single-seat BAE Systems Hawk and twin-engined Boeing F/A-18D Hornet and Sukhoi Su-30 'Flanker' fighters.

"The Royal Malaysian Air Force is looking at its capabilities for the next 15 years or so, and how best we can suit our requirements," the official said. "As part of our future capability plans we are looking at a new [LCA] that will have some air-to-air and a full air-to-ground capability."

The decision to move ahead with the LCA programme has also been motivated by Malaysia's unsuccessful attempts at procuring a larger platform under its Multirole Combat Aircraft (MRCA) programme.


KAI T-50 and FA-50: Details

India signs contract for two new Project 1135.6 frigates with Goa Shipyard

Ridzwan Rahmat, Singapore - Jane's Navy International

30 January 2019
Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) has received the contract to license-build two follow-on Talwar (Project 1135.6)-class frigates for the Indian Navy in-country, India’s Ministry of Defence announced on 30 January.

The frigate, which derives its design from Russia’s Admiral Grigorovich (Project 11356M) class, will be constructed under an inter-governmental agreement signed between Moscow and New Delhi in October 2016.

Under the agreement, which will see the delivery of four new Project 1135.6 frigates to the Indian Navy by 2026, Russia’s Yantar Shipyard will build two vessels in Kaliningrad, while GSL will construct the remaining ships in Goa with technical assistance from Moscow.


India sign deal worth $1 Billion for two Russian frigates

The Pentagon's Latest Assessment Of The F-35 Is In, And It Ain't Pretty

F-35A - george g

Jared Keller January 30, 2019 at 02:08 PM

The egregiously expensive and notoriously unreliable F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are even more of a disappointment than you previously thought, according to a new Department of Defense assessment obtained by Bloomberg News.

The 2018 report from the Pentagon's operational testing and evaluation arm, set for public release this week and obtained early by Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio, indicates that ongoing reliability issues have drastically shortened the service life far below expectations, so far that there's "no improving trend in" available aircraft for training and combat missions — a dangerous combination for a perpetually buggy aircraft.

Here are some of the specifics, per Bloomberg's report:

  • The service life of the F-35B variants adopted by the Marine Corps "may be as low as 2,100 [hours]," an eye-popping shortfall compared too the expected service life of 8,000 hours.
  • "Interim reliability and field maintenance metrics to meeting planned 80% goal not being met," which means fewer aircraft available to actually train on and, therefore, increased barriers to improving readiness among aviators.
  • Cybersecurity testing indicated that several vulnerabilities revealed in previous years "still have not been remedied," an alarming tend in an age of cyberattacks.
  • Testing on the Air Force weapons systems used in air-to-ground attack indicates "unacceptable" accuracy, a detail which might explain why someone opted to leak a video of an F-35A hitting 5 precision targets at once earlier in January.

News of the OT&E report's contents came just a day after Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan stated the that F-35 "had a lot of opportunity for more performance" in an apparent jab at the aircraft's shortcomings.

"I am biased toward giving the taxpayer their money's worth," Shanahan said on Tuesday. "And the F-35, unequivocally, I can say, has a lot of opportunity for more performance."

Lockheed Martin's CEO pushed back on the criticism during a call with investors, stating that, "If they chose to have an order on F-15 … it won't be at the expense of F-35 quantities," per the Washington Post: "I'm hearing that directly from the leadership in the Pentagon … not just our suspicion, but I've been told that directly. So I'm not concerned about that."

The F-35 program is expected to cost most than $1.5 trillion over the course of its 55-year lifespan, although the cost of each aircraft is expected to fall to $80 million by 2020.


Lockheed: F-35A Cost To Drop Below $80 Million Per Fighter In 2023
The F-35 was once trounced by F-16s in dogfights, but it just proved it can out-turn older jets
Lockheed Martin awarded $69 million contract to upgrade operational F-35 digital systems
Trump's new Pentagon chief reportedly hates the F-35 - here's what the US could have made instead

Lockheed Martin wins $712 million U.S. defense contract: Pentagon

F-35 Lightning II: Details  

Saab Offers Gripen to Finland



30 January 2019

Supported by Sweden, Saab has today submitted its proposal for the Finnish HX fighter procurement to the Finnish defence procurement agency, the Logistics Command of the Finnish Defence Forces. The proposal comprises 64 Gripen aircraft, both single-seat Gripen E and dual-seat Gripen F, and is the formal response to the customer’s Request for Quotation (RFQ) issued in April 2018.

Saab’s offered solution features the latest available technology for a continuously changing and very challenging operational environment.

“The outstanding capabilities of Gripen are an excellent match for the Finnish needs and requirements. With Gripen, Finland can renew its fighter fleet without compromising on the number of fighters owing to a truly competitive life-cycle cost. Our offer constitutes a substantial contribution to the operational capability of the Finnish Defence Forces”, says Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and head of Saab business area Aeronautics.

As part of the proposal, Saab offers a substantial weapon and sensor package as well as the necessary equipment and associated services needed for operating the system, including an industrial co-operation programme with the aim to build extensive national capabilities in Finland for Security of Supply. It also includes transfer of maintenance, repair and overhaul capabilities to local industry, production of aircraft and an establishment of a Gripen sustainment and development centre in Finland.

According to the customer’s planning, a procurement decision is anticipated in 2021.

The Gripen E programme is progressing according to plan, with production on-going and customer deliveries starting this year.

Five nations are currently operating Gripen; Sweden, South Africa, Czech Republic, Hungary and Thailand. Sweden and Brazil have ordered Gripen E and Brazil has also ordered Gripen F. Additionally, the UK Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) uses Gripen for test pilot training.


New team seeks local firms for Finland’s fighter replacement contract
Finland invites bids to supply 64 fighter jets

Gripen E/F: Details

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Ninth Multipurpose Frigate “Spartaco Schergat” Launched

Spartaco Schergat -

Fincantieri: The Ninth Multipurpose Frigate Launched

Posted by Michelle Howard

The launching ceremony of the “Spartaco Schergat” frigate, the ninth of a series of 10 FREMM vessels – Multi Mission European Frigates, took place at the integrated shipyard of Riva Trigoso (Genoa). 

The 10 FREMM vessels have been commissioned to Fincantieri by the Italian Navy within the framework of an Italo-French cooperation program under the coordination of OCCAR (Organization Conjointe de Cooperation sur l’Armement, the international organization for cooperation on arms).
Godmother of the ceremony was Mrs. Anna Rosa Aonzo Grillo, daughter of the Golden Medal for Military Value, Giuseppe Aonzo.

The President of Fincantieri, Giampiero Massolo, and the CEO, Giuseppe Bono, played host to Giovanni Toti, Governor of the Liguria Region, and to the Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy, Admiral Valter Girardelli, in addition to a number of civil and religious authorities.

After the launching, fitting activities will continue in the Integrated naval shipyard of Muggiano (La Spezia), with delivery scheduled in 2020. The “Spartaco Schergat” vessel, like the other units, will feature a high degree of flexibility, capable of operating in all tactical situations. 144 meters long with a beam of 19.7 meters, the ship will have a displacement at full load of approximately 6,700 tonnes. The vessel will have a maximum speed of over 27 knots and will provide accommodation for a 200-person crew.

The FREMM program, representing the European and Italian defense state of the art, stems from the renewal need of the Italian Navy line “Lupo” (already removed) and “Maestrale” (some of them already decommissioned, the remaining close to the attainment of operational limit) class frigates, both built by Fincantieri in the 1970s.

The vessels “Carlo Bergamini” and “Virginio Fasan” have been delivered in 2013, the “Carlo Margottini” in 2014, the “Carabiniere” in 2015, the “Alpino” in 2016, the “Luigi Rizzo” in 2017, and the “Federico Martinengo” in 2018. The Italian program has been fully implemented with the option exercised in April 2015, regarding the construction of the ninth and tenth vessel, whose delivery is scheduled after 2020. Orizzonte Sistemi Navali (51% Fincantieri, 49% Leonardo) acts as prime contractor for Italy in the initiative, while Armaris (Naval Group + Thales) is prime contractor for France.

This cooperation has applied the positive experience gained in the previous Italo-French program “Orizzonte” that has led to the construction for the Italian Navy of the two frigates ”Andrea Doria” and “Caio Duilio”.


ITS Antonio Marceglia Completes Sea Trials

Bergamini class (FREMM) frigate: Details

Il-76 L flying Laboratory with PD-14 engine

Boeing’s F-15X won’t disrupt F-35 program

F-15C - spencerhughes2255

Lockheed CEO: Boeing’s F-15X won’t disrupt F-35 program

By: Valerie Insinna

WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin has been given assurances by top Pentagon leaders that the F-35 program will not be negatively impacted by a potential U.S. Air Force buy of Boeing’s F-15X, Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson said Tuesday.

“If they choose to have an order of the F-15, it won’t be at the expense of F-35 quantities,” she told investors during an earnings call.

“I'm hearing that directly from leadership in the Pentagon, and I think that's an important point for me to make. It's not just our suspicion, but I've been told that directly.”

The U.S. Air Force is expected to roll out a plan to begin buying new F-15s in its upcoming fiscal 2020 budget release. In December, Bloomberg reported the service intends to purchase 12 new F-15X aircraft in 2020 for $1.2 billion.

On Friday, Gen. Dave Goldfein, the Air Force’s chief of staff, confirmed to Defense News that the service will procure new F-15s if the budget grows enough to allow it, but that the F-35 program of record would remain the same with no slowdown to the buy rate.

“I’m not backing an inch off of the F-35” Goldfein said. “The F-35 buy that we’re on continues to remain on track. And I’m not interested in taking a nickel out of it when it comes to buying anything else in the fighter portfolio.”

Goldfein added that the Air Force wants to increase fighter procurement to 72 aircraft a year.

The Air Force has about 230 F-15 "C" and "D" models currently in service, and the F-15X will replace the portion of the fleet owned by the Air National Guard, according to Bloomberg. The new F-15 model will have new radar and electronic warfare equipment, the ability to carry more weapons, and include other improvements originally designed for Saudi Arabia’s and Qatar’s F-15s.

If the service maintained a rate of one F-15X a month, it would be free to boost its F-35 production rate to 60 aircraft a year — a number that Air Force officials had cited as key for production ramp up. However, the FY19 budget forecast showed that the service would likely be unable to procure the F-35 in those quantities before FY23.

“If we had the money, those would be 72 F-35s. But we’ve gotta look at this from a cost/business case.” Goldfein said. “An F-15 will never be an F-35. Never. But I need capacity.”

Hewson’s statement indicates that support for the F-35 continues to be strong both within the Air Force and among Pentagon leaders. However, earlier on Tuesday, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters he wants to see “more performance” from the F-35, although he did not specify particular areas of improvement.

“I am biased towards giving the taxpayer their moneys’ worth. And the F-35, unequivocally, I can say has a lot of opportunity for more performance,” said Shanahan, a former Boeing executive.

When investors asked Hewson to respond to Shanahan’s critique, the Lockheed CEO said the company remains on the same page with the Pentagon on the need to reduce the cost per plane.

“We’re on a path to drive it to an $80 million [unit cost] for the F-35A by full-rate production,” which is projected to begin in Lot 15 with deliveries starting in 2023, Hewson said.

“So as long as we stay on our procurement rate plan — which by all accounts we’re going to continue to ramp up at the rate that we envisioned — then we’re going to continue to drive the price down."

Aaron Mehta in Washington contributed to this story.


Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Lockheed Martin awarded Army airborne electronic warfare contract

MQ-1C Gray Eagle - GA-ASI

Lockheed Martin scores critical Army airborne electronic warfare contract

By: Mark Pomerleau  

The Army has awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to work on the service’s first of its kind airborne electronic warfare pod that will be used to provide brigade commanders a new jamming capability that the Army says will provide the commander a competitive advantage by denying and degrading enemy capabilities.

Through a rapid prototyping contract vehicle, Lockheed Martin was awarded two sequential 18-month phased efforts for the Multi-Function Electronic Warfare (MFEW) Air Large program, a spokesman, Brandon Pollachek, from Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (IEW&S) told C4ISRNET in response to written questions. The terms of the contract have not been disclosed.

MFEW Air Large is a pod that will be mounted aboard an MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft and will provide brigade commanders two new capabilities. The first is the ability an organic electronic attack, or jamming, and the second is electronic support capabilities, which is essentially the sensing of the electromagnetic spectrum environment. Officials and members of the defense industry have also noted MFEW Air Large includes requirements to conduct cyberattacks.

For years, the Army has been intensifying a years’ long campaign to introduce both cyber and EW capability at the tactical edge. The former has not previously existed. They also want to restore EW capability at all echelons and levels of the battlefield all the way up to the strategic level in response to similar sophisticated capabilities exhibited by Russia. Given the expected ubiquity of electronic warfare in future battlefields, these new capabilities are viewed as critical.

Pollachek said the MFEW Air Large design is based on a Lockheed Martin development called Silent Crow, which was successfully demonstrated and provides a number of electronic warfare capabilities that meet the MFEW requirements.

According to Pollachek, in the first phase of the contract Lockheed will deliver one prototype system and demonstrate airborne electronic attack and electronic support capabilities aboard a surrogate aircraft.

After completion of the first phase, Lockheed Martin will deliver four systems to be integrated aboard Gray Eagles. Phase 2 is planned for the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.

Based on the success of Lockheed’s Silent Crow, Pollachek said the Army is evaluating options to accelerate the program and potentially bring the capabilities to the Army faster, as early as fourth quarter fiscal year 2019.

The original MFEW program was slated to be phased over several years, first with aerial capabilities, then by adding ground vehicle capabilities and dismounted soldier capabilities. Recently, however, the Army decided to get rid of MFEW ground element in favor of a new integrated capability with the military intelligence tribe.

The Army developers working on MFEW ground realized that their intelligence brethren were developing almost an identical capability, so the two bodies decided to join forces.

The new air capability, the Terrestrial Layer System, is a SIGINT/EW system projected to be fielded on vehicles to provide brigade commanders a means to deliver the electronic attack effects.


Multi-Function Electronic Warfare (MFEW) Air Large

Source: Julie Tyler

Egypt may acquire additional 12 Rafale fighter aircraft

Egypt moving closer to additional Rafale order

France is hoping to sell another 12 Dassault Rafale fighter jets to Egypt during French President Emmanuel Macron’s upcoming visit to the North African country.

Macron is due to visit Egypt between 27 and 29 January. France’s La Tribune reports that the French delegation will include industry leaders and may see the signature of an order for an additional 12 aircraft.

The planned Egyptian acquisition of 12 Rafale fighter aircraft has been in the making since November 2017. It was billed to be a follow-up sale to a February 2015 agreement for an Egyptian acquisition of 24 Rafale fighter jets.


New Egyptian Air Force Rafale jet DM109 during Flight testing
Washington block American component for Scalp cruise missile to Egypt

Rafale Multirole Fighter: Details

Russian Navy plans to receive Prince Vladimir and Kazan submarines this year

Borey Class -

Translated by google

Navy plans to receive Prince Vladimir and Kazan submarines this year

S.-PETERSBURG, Jan 24 - RIA Novosti. Strategic missile submarine cruiser "Prince Vladimir" and nuclear submarine "Kazan" are planned to be admitted to the Russian Navy in 2019, commander Vladimir Navy told reporters on Thursday.

"We are going to hold events in February related to the laying of ships, launching and entering into service. Most importantly, this year we are planning to take into service the strategic missile cruiser Prince Vladimir the Kazan submarine, diesel submarines, the frigate of the new generation Admiral Kasatonov, and several other ships of the far sea zone, ”he said as part of the 310th anniversary of the Central Naval Museum.

According to Korolev, in accordance with the state program of armament, the construction of large surface ships, the construction of small rocket ships, patrol ships, which are necessary for the Russian Navy, and the construction of support vessels are continuing.


Borei related articles:
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation: Kazan and Prince Vladimir nuclear submarines are completing tests

Yasen related article:

Monday, 28 January 2019

Airbus and Thailand’s CATC signed a MoU on projects to develop and implement MRO and pilot training courses

Thai Airways

Airbus and Thailand’s CATC to work on pilot, maintenance training

From left to right: Jean-Francois Laval (EVP, Asia, Airbus), Bruno Bousquet (VP, Customer Services, Asia Pacific), Arkhom Termpittayapaisith (Minister of Transport) and R. Admiral Piya Atmungkun (President of CATC)

Bangkok, 28 January 2019 – Airbus and Thailand’s Civil Aviation Training Center (CATC) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together on projects to develop and implement maintenance training and pilot training courses in the country. 

Under the agreement, Airbus and the CATC will identify ways in which they can deepen their cooperation in the training of aviation professionals in the country. Airbus has begun working with the CATC on basic maintenance training courses, and this could be expanded to include additional maintenance courses as well as ab initio flight training courses for pilots. 

The goal is to support the development of the country’s aviation industry by helping to ensure that there is a steady supply of pilots, engineers and mechanics for Thailand’s airlines and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centres. Airbus is forecasting a demand for 220,000 new pilots and more than 260,000 new technicians in the Asia-Pacific region over the next 20 years (Global Services Forecast 2018). 

“We are pleased to sign this MoU with the CATC, which is Thailand’s leading aviation training institute. Thailand is an important partner for Airbus, as well as one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the region. This allows us to work together to provide the highest levels of training needed to meet the increasing need for qualified aviation professionals in the country,” said Jean-Francois Laval, Executive Vice President, Asia, Airbus. 

Rear Admiral Piya Atmungkun, President, Civil Aviation Training Center, said: “We are pleased to sign this MOU and deepen our strong relationship with Airbus in the areas of maintenance training and ab initio pilot training. The combination of Airbus’ world-class expertise and the CATC’s understanding of the requirements of Thailand’s aviation industry means that this has the potential to become a highly successful and long-standing partnership.” 

Today’s MOU is part of a long-standing partnership between the European manufacturer and Thailand. Thai Airways International (THAI) is one of the European manufacturer’s earliest customers with a relationship dating back to 1977. Today, THAI and its subsidiaries operate Airbus narrowbody and widebody aircraft including the A320 Family, the A330, the A350 and the A380. Bangkok Airways and Thai AirAsia are also important operators of the Airbus A320 Family of aircraft on their extensive regional network out of Thailand. 

Airbus and Thailand deepened their relationship in June 2018, when the company and THAI signed an agreement to work on an MRO joint venture at the U-Tapao International Airport. This facility would be one of the most modern and extensive in the Asia-Pacific region. When fully operational, it would offer heavy maintenance and line services for all widebody aircraft types, specialised repair shops including for composite structures, as well as a maintenance training centre offering extensive courses for technical personnel from Thailand and overseas. 

The joint venture would be located at the heart of the country’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), which is part of the Thai government’s Thailand 4.0 policy that is designed to develop world-class innovative technology-based manufacturing and services. 


Civil Aviation Training Center (CATC): Website

TurbineAero has acquired the APU piece part repair product line (RPL) from Thailand-based Triumph Aviation Services Asia, Ltd
Thai aerospace MRO is ready to take off

Revima plans landing-gear overhaul facility in Thailand

Thai Technical hopes to win 20% of regional MRO work
U-Tapao to have second runway by 2021
Airports of Thailand overtakes AENA as world’s most valuable airport company
Sikorsky Adds Thai Aviation Services as Support Center
Boeing pick Thailand-based Triumph Aviation Services Asia for Aftermarket Service Support in Asia-Pacific region
Airbus and TAI to support Royal Thai Armed Forces and police helicopters
Airbus, Thai Airways to set up aircraft maintenance hub in Thailand
Airbus and Thai Airways discuss MRO joint venture
Boeing mulls EEC investment
Military airbase set for commercial take-off in Thailand
Thai Aerospace Services is first-ever HondaJet dealer in Southeast Asia
Saab looking at Thailand to set up MRO hub
Thailand plans US$5.7b upgrade of civil-military airport to take on Singapore: Report
Government of Thailand Implements New Aviation Development Plan
Thailand ranks fourth in Asia-Pacific for availability in chartered private jets for the ultra-rich

NATO chief: Top combat aircraft can defeat Russian air defenses

Marc's Best Airshow Videos by Marc Talloen

by Tom Rogan

Joining an editorial board meeting with the Washington Examiner on Sunday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg explained that the most advanced allied fighter-bomber aircraft can degrade Russia's ability to use anti-access/area denial systems, or A2/AD, to threaten NATO territory.

It's a highly relevant concern. Russian strategy in a possible invasion of NATO territory is focused on using advanced air defense systems such as the S-400 to create strongholds against NATO reinforcement. But when I asked Stoltenberg how confident he is that NATO can contest Russian doctrine here, he was optimistic. Stoltenberg noted that while there is no "imminent threat" of a Russian invasion of NATO territory, Russian investment in advanced military capabilities joins its more aggressive rhetoric and increased exercises. But, the former Norwegian prime minister said, "the [NATO] fifth-generation fighter jets are extremely capable to be able to deal with A2/AD. So it's not like A2/AD is a kind of 100 percent blockage, it just requires more effort and more advanced systems. And we are investing in those."

By fifth-generation fighter jets, Stoltenberg is referring to the F-22 air superiority and F-35 fighter-bomber platforms. With stealth capabilities that make them hard to track and kill, and built with sensors to complement other military platforms, these jets are a major problem for Russian war-planners. Indeed, alongside electronic warfare aircraft designed to confuse A2/AD systems, the fifth-generation platforms deter Russia by threatening NATO's rapid air superiority in the event of any invasion. That's largely because the Russian air force is not nearly as capable as that of NATO.

Without air superiority, Russian ground forces would be unable to advance without being isolated and destroyed.

But deterrence is not just about capability, it's also about readiness. In recently practicing an operation against S-400-style threats, the U.S., British, and French air forces are giving added meaning to Stoltenberg's words.

There's a broader point here: Where Russia makes moves to assert greater confidence in one area of warfighting, NATO must counter that challenge in turn. On this issue, and others, the alliance is doing so.


I think he forgot to check the list of what air craft the S-400 can shoot down

S-400 Triumph (SA-21 Growler): Details