Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Top 10 Fastest Airplanes – Fighters


Top 10 Fastest Airplanes – Fighters | wordlessTech

These are the top 10 fastest airplanes – fighters 2019.  What is the fastest aircraft in the world?

These fighter develop ultra-fast (supersonic) speed:

1. MiG-25 to 3700 km/h (critical speed) – world record
2. MiG-31 to 3400 km/h
3. Su-57 – 3000 km/h (with the new engine)
4. Eurofighter Typhoon – 2 700 km/h
5. F-15 – 2 700 km/h
6. Su-35 – 2700 km/h
7. MiG-35 – 2600 km / h
8. MiG-29 – 2 500 km/h
9. F-14 – 2 500 km/h
10. Su-27 – 2 500 km/h

Mikoyan MiG-31: Details
Sukhoi Pak Fa T-50 (Su-57): Details
Eurofighter Typhoon: Details
F-15E / Advanced F-15 (2040c / X) Eagle: Details
Su-35S Flanker-E: Details
MiG-35/35D Fulcrum-F: Details

Lockheed's F-16 hard sell: Pros and cons of buying the American fighter

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed's F-16 hard sell: Pros and cons of buying the American fighter: Provided it doesn't result in the cancellation of the Tejas fighter, Lockheed's offer is a win-win for India.

When Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman shot down an F-16 Falcon over Pakistan occupied Kashmir on February 27, it was a case of sheer bad timing for Lockheed-Martin. Just a week earlier, at the Aero India Show in Bangalore, the US aerospace giant had launched a repackaged F-16 as a brand new F-21 specifically for the Indian market.

With the seventies era Falcon getting smoked by an even older Soviet aircraft with an atrocious crash rate, Lockheed received a ton of flak for peddling old technology to the Indian Air Force.

There's no getting around the fact that the aircraft Lockheed is pitching to India - in response to an IAF tender for 110 fighters - is not a new generation aircraft but only an upgraded F-16 that first flew in 1974. In aeronautical timeframe, that's ancient history.

In its bid to win the Indian order, Lockheed has gone for pushy salesmanship, which is never a good tactic. It is an especially unwise move in India where corruption in the defence sector is deep-rooted, with a string of big-ticket contracts tainted by kickbacks. In this backdrop, the rebadged F-16 seems like an amateurish attempt to impress the Indian market.

Not just old wine

Lockheed should have retained the Falcon's original badge with its latest iteration - the F-16 Block 70. For, the Falcon remains - 45 years after its first flight - a high-performance aircraft that becomes an even more potent weapon in the right hands.

In a mock combat exercise held in the US in 2016, an F-16 outgunned and outmanoeuvred the latest F-35, thoroughly humiliating the stealth fighter. More significantly, the Falcon was deliberately handicapped with a full load of missiles, bombs and fuel while the F-35 was flown clean - that is minus its missiles - for optimum performance and speed. And yet the F-16 won.

One must be careful not to read too much into the results of mock combat exercises because most of the data is classified and the media never really gets a full picture of what really happened. Whether Lockheed gamed the dogfight in order to impress the IAF may always remain a mystery.

However, the F-16 doesn't need a hard sell because it has a great kill record, albeit against poorly trained air forces in the Middle East. The Israeli Air Force, for instance, has used the aircraft to strike its adversaries near its borders and has also destroyed targets as far as Tunisia and Iraq.

Also, it's a myth that F-16 production lines are closing in the US. Defense Industry Daily reported that on April 23 Lockheed-Martin opened a new line in South Carolina with Block 70 production scheduled for later this year. Earlier, in March, Lockheed announced the establishment of the first F-16 maintenance facility for foreign-owned Falcons, in Norway.

One must not forget that as many as 3,000 operational F-16s are in service in 25 countries, and the company expects the new production line to build at least 400 more aircraft.

Also, with the ongoing troubles with the F-35 programme, the Falcon remains the backbone of the US Air Force, which operates 1,235 of these fighters.

Lockheed's India strategy

The IAF global tender to buy 110 aircraft could easily dwarf the $8 billion Rafale order. Janes reported the order could be worth at least $15 billion, making it India's largest defence order ever. According to the terms of the bid, 17 fighters are to be delivered flight-ready, while the remaining 93 would be produced in India. The document also specifies 82 of the aircraft should be single-seat, with the rest being dual-seat jets for pilot training.

In this backdrop, Lockheed's announcement that it would shift the F-16's entire production chain to India and manufacture the jet fighter jointly with Tata Advanced Systems Limited looks like a game changer in the global aerospace industry.

If the deal gets the government's green light - and provided Lockheed is able to deliver the goods - it would be the first time in the modern armaments history that an entire aircraft ecosystem is transplanted in a different country.

The Block 70 that Lockheed has offered India is the latest version, with extended range. With upgrades, the F-16 will, in all probability, be flying in the second half of this century. Some predict that it could be the world's first 100-year-old fighter. With its airframe showing no signs of fatigue, it could fulfil that prediction. Clearly, this is an aircraft with a long shelf life.

Lockheed India Vice President Vivek Lall said at Aero India that the aircraft comes with "greater standoff capability, greater staying power with less fuel burn, and network data linking capabilities across all platforms". The aircraft also has an active electronically scanned array radar, which has detection ranges nearly double that of previous mechanically scanned array radars and the ability to track and attack more targets with higher precision.

It also has an advanced electronic warfare (EW) system that provides enhanced survivability against ground and air threats; and long-range infrared search and track (currently only available in the Sukhoi Su-30MKI), enabling pilots to see threats without being detected.

The IAF is making rapid strides towards becoming a fully networked force. Its new emerging network architecture includes the Operational Data Link, the Integrated Air Command and Control System and Air Force Net. These networks when merged create what is known as sensor fusion, providing a complete picture of the battlespace out to hundreds of kilometres. Unlike older jets like the MiG-21, the F-16 can tap into this network and round out its surveillance picture.

PAF factor

Since the Pakistan Air Force flies several squadrons of older F-16s, there is an unease in certain quarters about its induction in the IAF. These fears are misplaced. Both Indian and Pakistani pilots are aware of the strengths and weakness of each other's aircraft.

IAF pilots routinely fly with USAF pilots in their F-16s during mock combat exercises. (Similarly, the PAF may have obtained data on Sukhois from Indonesia, Malaysia and the fountainhead of all leaks, Ukraine.)

The only downside of having the Falcon on both sides of the border is that air defence forces will have a hard time, especially when fighter aircraft are on missions with their IFF (identify friend or foe) systems switched off.

Also, since the average dogfight lasts under 10 minutes, things can get real ugly in the heat of combat. Fratricide is often the result. To illustrate, it was an Indian air defence unit that brought down an Indian helicopter during the February 27 skirmish.

However, Pakistan which has a weaker air defence system will face the bigger problem. Don't forget that after the Balakot air strikes and the February 27 air battle over J&K, Pakistan's airspace was closed for more than two weeks. Despite the hardship faced by domestic travellers and the huge economic consequences, Pakistan kept its airspace closed.

The reason for the bizarre fly ban was that the entire Pakistani defence establishment was spooked by the Indian raid - the first in 48 years. The only way Pakistan could reliably identify enemy jets was if there was zero civilian movement in its airspace. So in a situation with over a hundred F-16s on the Indian side of the border, you can well imagine the PAF's plight.

And now the bad news

Manufacturing the F-16 in India carries with it the danger that the defence import lobby would use it as an excuse to kill off the Tejas. The indigenous fighter, which has been wowing aviation experts and enthusiasts at air shows worldwide, is on the cusp of becoming India's first major armaments export.

If India places an order for the planned 110 fighters, there is the danger of the axe falling on the Tejas. With a limited share of the defence budget, the IAF may not have the cash to splurge on two separate fighter programmes. As long as the air force brass are assured they'll get sufficient numbers of modern battle tested F-16s - or any other modern foreign fighter - they may not care what happens to the Tejas.

There is a precedent for this. In the 1960s, with German collaboration, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) India had developed the HF-24 Marut fighter. During the 1971 War, the IAF had enough confidence in the Marut to send it on bombing missions deep into the Pakistani airspace. For a fighter developed on a budget, it produced reasonably good results.

However, just as the Marut programme appeared to take off, the Soviets offered India the MiG-21 interceptor. Moscow also sweetened the deal through long-term, low-interest loans and also allowed licence production. With HAL factories around the country saddled with MiG production lines, the public sector aircraft maker was ordered to kill the Marut. It took another 50 years before HAL would make another indigenous fighter, the Tejas.

Why licence production is a dead end

India's state-owned defence industry has for decades been addicted to licence production, which in plain language means screwdriver technology. In a paper titled 'Transfer of Defence Technology - Exploring the Avenues for India', the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) explains why licence production or manufacture is a technological dead end.

"The licence manufacture mode, currently being referred to as transfer of technology in the Indian Defence Procurement Procedure, essentially delivers the capability to manufacture or produce defence systems through the acquiring of necessary knowhows. However, for significantly upgrading the system or designing, developing and manufacturing new variants independently of the foreign technology seller firms, the know-whys are needed. These know-whys are never provided for established reasons and huge costs, leaving the recipient country considerably dependent on the seller firm for its futuristic needs."

In the last five decades, India has licence produced a number of aircraft (MiG-21, MiG-27, Jaguar and the Sukhoi Su-30MKI), tanks (T-72 and T-90) and BMP armoured personnel carriers among others. And yet India's state-owned companies did not develop a single new home-grown version of these weapons platforms.

Licence production, which India pioneered with the MiG-21, does not involve the transfer of technology and neither does it lead to innovation. The weapons system is pretty much frozen and much of its most critical parts are imported. For instance, the engines of the Su-30MKI are imported fully built from Russia, and in fact, a HAL Sukhoi costs more than a made in Russia one.

Making the Falcon in India

The F-16 could change that by ushering in a new era of technological advancement in India. To illustrate, when India took the first steps towards economic liberalisation, it was the re-entry of Coca-Cola that made India kosher for foreign multinationals. The presence of Coke, the defining symbol of Western capitalism, assured investors that India was dumping Soviet-inspired socialism and ready to do business again.

Similarly, Prime Minister Narendra's Modi's Make in India initiative in defence will receive a turbocharge if the Falcon lands in India. First up, there will be an immediate impact on the Indian aerospace industry. The entire process of transplanting an aircraft ecosystem could potentially create thousands of technical jobs. According to Lockheed executives, "it's like bringing up a whole new industry".

How Turkey rode the Falcon

A highly successful example of how the transfer of technology transformed a nation's aerospace sector is the Lockheed-Turkish Air Industries (TAI) tie-up in the 1980s. According to the IDSA, this project resulted in the production of a total of 308 F-16 aircraft over a period of around 12 years.

In this landmark deal, the state-owned TAI had the major share with 49 per cent; Lockheed Martin had 42 per cent; General Electric (GE) had 7 per cent and the remaining was held by two other firms. A total investment of $137 million was made, with $70 million from Turkish partners and $67 million from the US partners, which was later supplemented by the latter with another $100 million. Lockheed Martin provided three experienced directors for five years and the general manager for 14 years.

"From the experience gained from building 80 per cent of the F-16 aircraft, TAI began branching out into other areas to include: parts of the transport aircraft CN-235 and A400M; modifications of Boeing 737s into an airborne early warning aircraft; and parts of helicopters Agusta Mangusta T-29 and Sikorsky T-70 Blackhawk. The TAI also developed a modification centre where they upgraded aircraft such as the C-130s, F-4s, T-38s and F-16s."

Lockheed claims the Turkish company is now developing indigenously designed unmanned aerial vehicles, basic trainer aircraft and even a fifth generation fighter aircraft.

Rivals from Europe

Lockheed's offer to move the F-16 production line to India does not guarantee the American company will walk away with the deal. It faces five rivals in the race - Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet, Dassault Aviation's Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab's Gripen and the MiG-35 from Russia's United Aircraft Corporation.

The Gripen is a dogged rival that has tasted success in South Africa, Czech Republic and Hungary. Saab has offered to move the Gripen plant from Sweden to India. It has offered the IAF an aircraft that is cheap as chips but is no laggard either when it comes to performance technology.

As well as highly developed net-centric warfare capabilities, the Gripen has good short takeoff performance. Plus, Saab has designed it to have low maintenance requirements, which could interest the IAF, whose Achilles heel is maintenance.

American influence

What tilts the balance in the F-16's favour is geopolitics. An order this big is rarely about just price or performance - it is also about quid pro quo. Sweden is a geopolitical lightweight and there is very little it can offer in terms of swinging the balance of power in India's favour.

However, with the US, India is in a position to extract its pound of flesh. As well as aerospace, New Delhi could nail down guarantees on the transfer of technology in other critical areas while also getting the US to align its diplomacy in line with India. India can ensure US support in isolating Pakistan, squeezing its economy and dismantling the terror state.

The F-16 order has the potential to bind India and the US in a long-term strategic alliance. It will also isolate the anti-India hawks in the State Department (the US foreign ministry) and the Pentagon where doddering pro-Pakistan generals - the detritus of the Cold War - continue to treat India with suspicion.

The deal will also ease the flow of technology and investment into India's defence private sector. India being the technologically and economically weaker partner will derive greater gains from association with the likes of Lockheed.


The 110 aircraft order is a crucial requirement of the service, which currently has a reduced strength of 31 fighter squadrons, whereas it requires 42 squadrons to tackle the collusive threat of Pakistan and China. With hundreds of antiquated MiGs due for retirement and HAL producing just around a dozen Tejas jets annually, the IAF doesn't have the luxury of numbers or time.

Provided it doesn't result in the cancellation of the Tejas fighter, Lockheed's offer is a win-win for India. The IAF should speed up negotiations and user trials so a deal can be inked quickly. For, the danger is that India's ponderous defence procurement machinery could drag the tender into the abyss - just like it did with the MMRCA.

(The author is a New Zealand-based defence and foreign affairs analyst)

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Spanish MoD inked F-110 frigate contract with Navantia

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F100 Alvaro de Bazan Class Frigate: Details

Monday, 29 April 2019

SATCOM to be rolled out to additional RAAF C-130Js


SATCOM to be rolled out to additional RAAF C-130Js - Australian Aviation

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will install a high-speed satellite communications system on an additional five C-130J-30 Hercules transports.

Defence announced on Monday the Honeywell Ka-Band satellite communications (SATCOM) system would be rolled out to the five C-130J, following a successful trial.

The first Hercules aircraft was fitted with SATCOM in 2017. The system uses the Inmarsat Global Xpress Network to provide broadband internet connectivity for high-definition video and is able to support complex mission planning whilst in flight.

The new system is in addition to the L-Band SATCOM voice and data system fitted to all 12 C-130Js.

“Our Hercules crews and passengers are often first on the scene in times of crisis, and require timely information at their destination,” Commander of the RAAF’s Air Mobility Group (AMG) AIRCDRE Bill Kourelakos said in a statement.

“Already, we’ve demonstrated the utility of this system on one Hercules, streaming video from missions in the Pacific and allowing basic Command and Control functions to be carried out from the aircraft.”

Installation of the Honeywell JetWave Ka-Band SATCOM antennas and associated systems will be completed during scheduled maintenance periods by Airbus Australia Pacific at RAAF Richmond, and all five aircraft are expected to be completed by 2022.

The RAAF conducted a six-month trial of the SATCOM system on the C-130J between June and December 2017. At the time, Defence said the trial was conducted with the support of industry partners Airbus Australia Pacific, Inmarsat, Honeywell, L-3 Communications and the department’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG).

The rollout of high-speed communications is one of a number of enhancements to the C-130J fleet that have been announced or are under consideration in recent times.

In February, it was reported the RAAF was also considering the integration of Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-28 Litening AT targeting and EO/IR pod with its fleet of 12 Lockheed-Martin C-130J Hercules airlifters.

This would enhance the C-130J’s ability to provide ISR overwatch for forces on the ground, to ensure a designated landing or extraction zone is clear of threats, to geolocate targets of interest or precision airdrop locations, or to even provide fires support to off-board shooters. For peacetime missions, a high-performance EO/IR pod could provide accurate imagery and data to support the HADR or search and rescue roles.

And in November 2018, it was announced that two C-130Js would be fitted with new external tanks, which have four tonnes of fuel capacity each.

The aircraft were deployed to Guam for the joint Operation Christmas Drop exercise conducted with US forces where food, clothing and toys are delivered to outlying communities in the Marshall Islands as part of a trial.

The additional capacity increased the amount of fuel the aircraft could offload without compromising its own reserves.


Honeywell Aviation
Published on Mar 17, 2016

JETWAVE™ Satellite Communications System

Honeywell’s JetWave satellite communications system allows users to connect to the Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX), which brings KA-band satellite coverage across the Globe. The Inmarsat Global Express network offers the most extensive global coverage for military airborne operators, including over water, over non-traditional flight paths, and in remote areas, providing the warfighter with a constant command and control link.

For the unique environment of the military operator, JetWave and the Inmarsat Global Xpress network can enable a wide variety of mission-critical applications, such as real-time weather, video conferencing, large file transfer, encryption capabilities, in-flight briefings, ISR video and secure communications.

And the system is scalable and configurable for the wide variety of military platforms, with antenna options available for large and small airframes. Regardless of the airframe or its mission, JetWave can provide assured, high-speed, high-bandwidth, and secure connectivity to warfighters when and where they need it.

Key Features

  • JetWave operators on the Inmarsat Ka-band constellation, providing global coverage and spot beams can be directed to provide capacity for high-traffic areas.
  • True broadband class connectivity with data rates of up to 50 Mbps
  • Two antenna configurations – fuselage mount antenna (FMA) and tail mount antenna (TMA) – for various aircraft types

C-130J Hercules: Details

Key facts about Russia’s special-purpose nuclear-powered submarine Belgorod


TASS: Military & Defense - Key facts about Russia’s special-purpose nuclear-powered submarine Belgorod: The submarine's exact operational characteristics have been classified

MOSCOW, April 23. /TASS/. The Sevmash Shipyard in Severodvinsk in the northern Arkhangelsk Region is set to float out the special-purpose nuclear-powered submarine Belgorod on April 23. TASS has put together material on this ship.

The Belgorod is a nuclear-powered special-purpose and research submarine. Its exact operational characteristics have been classified. Russia’s Defense Ministry did not officially comment on media reports on this submarine.

Project’s history and specifics

The shipbuilders are building the submarine based on an incompletely constructed Project 949A ‘Antey’ nuclear-powered underwater cruiser. The submarine was laid out at the Sevmash Shipyard on July 24, 1992 but its construction was suspended in 1997. In the 2000s, attempts were made to restart work on completing the sub’s construction under the improved Project 949AM but a lack of financing frustrated this effort. In the early 2010s, a decision was made to rebuild the Belgorod under the new Project 09852 developed by the Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering (St. Petersburg). The renewed keel-laying ceremony for the sub under construction No. 91664 was held on December 20, 2012 with the participation of Admiral Viktor Chirkov (the Russian Navy commander-in-chief in 2012-2016).

Initially, Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) and Sevmash stated in their press releases that the Belgorod was a research submarine intended to carry out diverse explorations in distant areas of the World Ocean, take part in search and rescue operations, provide for installing underwater parts of equipment and conduct their inspections, test new types of research apparatus and monitor underwater transport routes.

As reports suggest, the nuclear-powered submarine will be the carrier of rescue deep-water and autonomous underwater drones. The Russian daily Izvestia reported on April 21, 2017 citing the Navy’s command that the Rubin engineers had re-designed the sub’s central part. As the daily’s material suggests, instead of the missile compartment, the engineers have designed a new and longer hold for special equipment and airlock chambers for divers and the crews of deep-water submersibles. Izvestia observer Dmitry Litovkin specified at the time that the sub’s re-designing would increase its length from the initial 154 m to 184 m (11 m more than the Soviet largest Project 941 ‘Akula’ sub). Thus, the Belgorod will become the Russian Navy’s largest submarine by its length.

Carrier of Poseidon underwater drones

On November 1, 2015, Russian central TV channels delivered reports from a government meeting in Sochi on the development of the country’s defense industry, showing the presentation of "the Status-6 ocean-going multi-purpose system" designated to "strike an enemy’s important coastal economic facilities." The presentation pointed to the Belgorod and Khabarovsk submarines that were being built as the carriers of this system. No official comments followed.

On March 1, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had created a deep-water nuclear-propulsion underwater drone. On March 22, the autonomous underwater drone was named Poseidon, following the results of open voting on the website of Russia’s Defense Ministry. Poseidon underwater drones have an intercontinental-range capability and can be armed with conventional or nuclear munitions.

In November 2018, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported that the Belgorod sub’s crew had been formed.

On February 20, 2019, Russian President Putin announced in his State-of-the-Nation Address to the Federal Assembly that the first submarine, the carrier of the Poseidon underwater drone, would be floated out in the spring of 2019.

Presumably, the Poseidon has been developed as a result of R&D work under the Status-6 program. A source in the defense industry told TASS on April 12, 2019 that the Belgorod would be floated out in Severodvinsk on April 23. The source specified that the sub would be the first carrier of Poseidon drones. Another source in the defense industry told TASS that the new submarine would be able to carry six strategic underwater drones.

The completion of the submarine’s construction afloat, the tests of its nuclear reactor and its dockside trials are expected to be implemented during 2019. A TASS source said the Belgorod would undertake shipbuilders’ sea and state trials in 2020, after which it would be delivered to the Navy by the end of that year.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Turkey and United States may have a way out of S-400 and F-35 dispute


Turkey and United States may have a way out of S-400 and F-35 dispute | Ahval

As the delivery of components of the Russian S-400 air and missile defence system to Turkey approaches, the two NATO allies, Turkey and the United States, have locked themselves into hardline positions.  Yet, both the U.S. President Donald Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have reversed themselves or pivoted to a new position in the past, so there remains a chance that a full rupture can be avoided. Of the two, Erdoğan has more ability to change course given his greater domestic political authority – will he exercise that ability to the benefit of Turkey?

The recent testimony of Trump’s nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, revealed that the White House position on a response to Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian air defence system aligns with the hardline views of the U.S. Senate.  Previously there was speculation, based on Trump’s statements about Erdoğan, that the White House and the Congress were not reading from the same script.  That is no longer the case. Satterfield’s testimony would have been cleared by the White House and it clearly shows the Trump team is prepared to suspend or terminate Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program and even apply sanctions under CAATSA .  

Quoting Vice President Mike Pence’s comments on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of NATO, Satterfield noted that “Turkey must choose” between remaining a critical partner of NATO or making reckless decisions to undermine the alliance.  Yet, he hinted at a way out of the dilemma, if Turkey will take it: the United Sates “would continue to press Turkey to procure NATO interoperable military equipment.”  Thus, Erdoğan could turn away from the Russian system without adopting the U.S. Patriot or other U.S. systems, explaining that change in course of action as he chooses, and avoid the economically and politically disastrous rupture with Washington and NATO. 

During the municipal election campaign, bashing the United States served Erdoğan well.  The proposed acquisition of the Russian system reminded his supporters that he was a strong leader, fully independent of the United States. With the exception of the high-profile narrow losses in Istanbul and Ankara, the AKP did well in the municipal elections – Erdoğan no longer needs to publicly confront the United States to strengthen his appeal.  

Likewise for publicly demanding the United States to leave Syria and abandon its battlefield allies, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the predominantly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (PKK), which Turkey sees as a security threat. Erdoğan no longer needs to raise the issue for electoral reasons, especially as raising it now months after Trump’s promise of complete withdrawal has been moderated would remind everyone that there is nothing much Erdoğan can do about the delay in U.S. forces leaving.  

In many areas, the consequences for Turkey and NATO will be grave if Erdoğan goes through with the S-400 deal.  In addition to suspension from the F-35 programme, which would have devastating impact on the Turkish defence industry, the United States would have to cease the delivery of other defence articles and new sales/transfer programs .  

Furthermore, the prospect of sanctions against Turkish senior political leaders under CAATSA appears increasingly likely – the only question being how senior or how close to Erdoğan.  That the Trump administration was last year willing to use Global Magnitsky Act sanctions against ministers in a NATO ally’s government to secure the release of one U.S. citizen indicates its willingness to use CAATSA sanctions to blunt Russian influence in Turkey and safeguard the advanced technology of the F-35 and other U.S. military technology from Russia. Recent actions also indicate that the White House will not resist, as it has in the past, Congressional efforts to “punish” Turkey for getting closer to Russia, specifically the acquisition of the S-400s.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s April 22 announcement that waivers from sanctions for countries buying Iranian oil would not be extended reveals that the hardline opposition to Iran drives White House foreign policy, and it is getting harder.  One suspects that Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin previewed this announcement when they met Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak in the Oval Office last week.

If Turkey were to violate U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil at the same time it acquired Russian S-400s, any goodwill towards Turkey still alive in the White House and the Senate would be killed.  Of course, if Turkey backed away from the S-400 deal, say for a non-U.S. system from another NATO partner(s), an exemption for Turkey might be doable, or at the very least a deep discount on crude from non-Iranian suppliers could be arranged.  

Investors remain nervous about the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Turkey – the damage to investor confidence and to the exchange rate due to the imposition of sanctions over the Brunson affair has not been completely overcome.  Investor confidence would decline precipitously if the U.S. imposed CAATSA sanctions, and the eventual recovery would be measured in years, not months, if Turkey goes ahead with the S-400 deal. 

On the other hand, if Turkey changed course and adopted a NATO interoperable system, even a non-U.S. one, international investors’ confidence would increase and the economic benefits to Turkey, and the prospects of Erdoğan and his closest political partners, would improve.    

Can Erdoğan or Trump change course?  It is hard to see how Trump could.  Many in Congress have lost patience with Erdoğan personally and Turkey in general regarding human rights failures, incarceration of journalists, anti-Western rhetoric, and, most importantly, close relations with the autocratic and increasingly confrontational Putin regime.  Suspicion of Trump for his attitude towards Putin, even after his vindication on collusion allegations by the Muller report, lingers, so the White House is unlikely to defend Turkey’s choice of a Russian system.  

Pressure from the U.S. Congress to punish Turkey will be strong.  Many in Congress recognise millions of Turks oppose Erdoğan’s tilt away from the West and do not wish to hold an entire nation responsible for one man’s decisions. Yet others join with some D.C.-based pundits in calls for the expulsion of Turkey from NATO – and their number will increase if Turkey acquires the S-400, a direct affront to NATO solidarity.  Those who recognise the geo-strategic importance and value to the alliance of Turkey, including senior Trump officials, will have a difficult time making their case for Turkey in NATO with members of Congress if Erdoğan acquires S-400s.  

Can Erdoğan change course?  If he wishes to, and let us assume that he does want to keep Turkey in NATO, there is a way out.  

First, the electoral season is over, he no longer needs anti-Western, nationalist rhetoric to secure votes.  Second, the economy would benefit from cancelling the S-400 deal, both from the money not spent and from the renewed confidence of foreign investors.  Third, he could declare that improved relations with Russia have ended the threat from Syria so the system is no longer necessary, leaving aside the question of whether the system was ever necessary. Finally, he could suspend the deal and direct the Minister of Defence Hulusi Akar to review the deal, eventually leading to a determination that a NATO inter-operable system or no system at this time was a better choice for Turkey’s defence needs.  In essence, this last option was used several years ago to scuttle the planned acquisition of a Chinese air and missile defence system.  

Going ahead with acquisition will seriously harm the Turkish economy and national security.  Erdoğan has changed course in the past; he could do so again to put the interests of his nation ahead of his personal desire to tilt Turkey away from the West.

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Upgraded F-5 Flies with Garmin G3000

U.S. Marine Corps

Upgraded F-5 Flies with Garmin G3000 | Defense News: Aviation International News: Tactical Air Support is modifying its recently acquired ex-Jordanian adversary F-5E/Fs with new equipment, including a Garmin G3000 flight deck.

A Northrop F-5E Tiger II has recently made its first flight after being upgraded with the Garmin G3000 integrated flight deck, complete with dual Garmin touchscreen controllers (GTCs), Garmin International revealed. The aircraft is one of the fleet operated by Tactical Air Support, which undertook the modernization work. The G3000 has been employed in the Textron Scorpion and Diamond DART-550, but the F-5 is the first supersonic fighter application.

“The maiden flight of the G3000-equipped F-5 is a significant achievement as it is a testament to the rapid implementation time and flexibility afforded by a Garmin integrated flight deck,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing. “In just under six months, Tactical Air was able to complete the engineering design, installation, and achieve first flight.”

Ken Hamm, Tactical Air’s chief test pilot, reported, “The first flight of the F-5 was flawless and achieved the main objective of verifying the Pilot Vehicle Interface (PVI) of aircraft systems, displays, controls, and the new Caution/Advisory System (CAS). The PVI and CAS, when combined with the G3000, results in a more capable fighter aircraft.” He added, “As a career test pilot with over 7,000 flight hours, I have flown aircraft from the simplest to the space shuttle. Without a doubt, I can say the F-5 cockpit is one of the most capable and flexible of all.”

The aircraft is expected to begin flying adversary training missions for the U.S. Navy in the second quarter of 2019, and the remainder of the Tactical Air fleet is due to be similarly upgraded. The use of the Garmin commercial-off-the-shelf solution reduces development time and lifecycle/operational costs, while providing the F-5 with capabilities similar to those of current fighter aircraft and enabling future upgrades to be undertaken easily.

Garmin’s G3000 integrated flight deck features a high-resolution flight display that is seamlessly interfaced with the existing mission computer. It enables advanced mapping, radar, and tactical communications capabilities. The pilot interface comprises bezel keys, the GTCs, and an L3 ForceX mission system. The infrared-based touchscreens are adapted for use with gloves, and the cockpit is compatible with the use of night vision goggles.

Garmin's Synthetic Vision Technology blends an out-the-window view of the surrounding area on the primary flight display, mainly for nighttime use or when operating over mountainous terrain. Global CNS/ATM (communication, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management) capability is provided, as is ADS-B In traffic and weather. A terrain awareness and warning system is incorporated.

Based at Reno-Stead airfield, Tactical Air Support bought 21 former Royal Jordanian Air Force F-5E/Fs in 2017, which it has upgraded with Nemesis radar and Argus radar warning receivers from Duotech, and a Mason HOTAS (hands on throttle and stick) system. Dubbed F-5AT (Advanced Tiger), the upgraded F-5 completed its FAA airworthiness certification program following Phase I modification in late April 2018, flying from Jacksonville in Florida. In December the company secured a five-year contract to provide adversary training to the U.S. Navy, primarily in support of the Naval Fighter Weapons School (“Topgun”) at NAS Fallon, Nevada. Tactical Air also operates the Canadair-built CF-5D, EMB-312 Tucano, and Siai-Marchetti SF.260.


Shephard Media
Published on Jul 19, 2018
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