First batch of three F-16s lands in Pakistan

Sunday, June 27, 2010
By Shakil Shaikh

ISLAMABAD: With top security officials terming it a great breakthrough, the first batch of three latest version F-16 C/D Block-52 high-tech Fighting Falcons landed in Pakistan on Saturday.

“The induction of multi-role F-16 C/D Block-52 will give a great edge and a potent punch to Pakistan Air Force (PAF),” said a top official, who expressed his happiness over the arrival of Lockheed Martin’s F-16s at the PAF Base Shahbaz (Jacobabad).

These US Falcons reached Pakistan under “Peace Drive I” programme, continuing a long tradition of naming F-16 international sales programmes with the word Peace. The programme raises the total number of F-16s ordered by Pakistan to 54. The Pakistan Air Force received its first F-16, in the Block 15 F-16A/B configuration, in 1982. Pakistan has been operating Lockheed Martin aircraft since 1963, when it received C-130B airlifters.

Trained at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Pakistani pilots brought the fighting Falcons to Pakistan. These pilots were the first to train in the US since 1983, when the last class of Pakistani pilots trained at the Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

Air Marshal Mohammad Hasan, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (Operations) and Air Marshal Waseem-ud-Din, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (Administration), along with other senior PAF officials, received the aircraft at the base.

Pakistan attaches great significance to its air defence needs, as it had signed a contract with the US government in the year 2005-06 for the acquisition of 18 F-16 C/D Block 52 aircraft.

Under this arrangement, PAF would receive these state-of-the-art aircraft from the US in different batches. The delivery of all 18 aircraft would be completed by the end this year.

The F-16 C/D Block 52 aircraft is a high tech fighter aircraft equipped with sophisticated state-of-the-art avionics suite, latest weapons with night precision attack capability. These aircraft are much superior to the F-16A/Bs already in the inventory of the PAF. In June 2005, Pakistan requested the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of 36 F-16C/D block 50/52 aircraft. In June 2006, the Pentagon notified Congress of its intention to approve the sale and Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract for 12 F-16C and six F-16D block 52 aircraft in Dec 2006. The aircraft will be armed with AMRAAM and Sidewinder missiles and the Sniper targeting pod.

The new planes purchased by Pakistan, Block 52 versions of the multi-role fighter, are far more advanced than the older A-model versions and will allow pilots to conduct operations at night and greatly enhance their use of precision munitions.

Pakistan Recevied Its 3 F-16s Block52

Brazilian Engineers Already Working on the Gripen Fighter Project

While the Brazilian government decides to give another chance for the companies to improve their offers in the bid for the new fighter planes Brazil is buying, the technology transfer for this type of airplane has already begun with at least one of the competitors, Saab.
[Led] by Akaer, the companies Friuli, Winnstal, Minoica and Imbra Aerospace sent a team of 20 Brazilian engineers and technicians to Sweden to start working on the project of the new Swedish fighter, the Gripen NG, produced by Saab Aerosystems. Besides the Swedish group, the American Boeing and the French Dassault are competing to sell 36 fighters to the Brazilian Air Force.

Indian air force a third of China’s: air force chief

New Delhi: India's air force is just a third the size of rival China's and far short of the aircraft required to meet the security challenges it faces, the country's air force chief said Wednesday.
"Our present aircraft strength is inadequate. Aircraft strength is one third that of China," said Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik was quoted as saying by the CNN-IBN website Wednesday.
"The government of India is doing a lot to augment air force capability," he said in a speech in Gandhinagar, capital of India's western Gujarat state.

Lockheed Begins F-16 Trials for Indian Air Force

BANGALORE, India: US aerospace major Lockheed Martin on Monday began flying its three fighter F-16s here for trials of the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRC) that the Indian Air Force (IAF) wants to buy, to replace its ageing MiG-21 fleet.

"The field trials will be conducted in Bangalore, Jaisalmer and Leh till Sep 18 in different conditions. We had the training phase from Sep 3-5 in preparation for the trials," Lockheed's international communications manager John Giese said. The trials near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and Leh in Jammu and Kashmir next week will be to test the fighters in hot weather conditions and in high-altitude mountain ranges.

India defence drive attracts global suppliers

India's drive to protect itself after last year's Mumbai attacks is attracting interest from some of the world's biggest companies who see opportunities in the push for improved homeland security. The government, after shunning the private sector for decades, is embracing it as an ally in the quest for new security strategies and technologies following the Mumbai bloodbath last November that left 166 people dead.
"Indian companies right now don't have the capability, but they are acquiring it through overseas joint ventures as the opportunity is huge in the homeland security domain," says Amit Singh from the Confederation of Indian Industry.

Indian navy grounds Sea Harrier fighter fleet

MOSCOW: The Indian Navy has suspended flights of its fleet of carrier-based Sea Harrier fighter jets following a fatal crash of one of the aircraft off Goa last week, local media reported.
"The Sea Harriers have been grounded following the crash that left a fighter pilot dead," the Times of India newspaper quoted Navy officials as saying.
The 10 Sea Harrier jump jets will remain on an airfield in the Goa province until the probe into the crash is completed, the officials said.
The decision to ground the Sea Harriers leaves India's only aircraft carrier, the Viraat, practically without air power.

Russia to deliver Su-30MK2 fighters to Vietnam

ZHUKOVSKY: Russia will fulfill a contract on the delivery of eight Su-30MK2 fighters to Vietnam in 2010, state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said on Wednesday.
Russia and Vietnam signed a of $500 million agreement on the sale of eight Su-30MK2 fighters in January 2009.
"The contract was signed in January, and we will fulfill it in 2009-2010," Alexander Mikheyev, deputy general director of Rosoboronexport said at the MAKS-2009 air show near Moscow.
Mikheyev said Vietnam had already made several advanced payments under the contract and the deliveries would be made in two batches of four aircraft each.

Structural Fault in MIG-29 Fighter Planes

 Russia has pointed out structural faults in MiG-29 aircraft. There was a MiG-29 accident in Russia in December 2008. RAC-MiG has intimated that corrosion on the fin root ribs has been identified as the cause of crack development.
There is no plan to decommission MiG-29 aircraft.
The repair scheme and preventive measures are in place and IAF has not encountered major problems concerning the issue. IAF has not entered into a new deal for procurement of MiG-29 aircraft.
This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Prabhat Jha & Balavant Alias Bal Apte in Rajya Sabha today.

India says satisfied with Su-30 fighter, despite crash

NEW DELHI: India is satisfied with the performance of Russian Su-30MKI fighters, despite a crash in April, and plans to double the number in service with the air force by 2015, the defense minister said on Wednesday.
The Indian Air Force originally ordered 50 SU-30MKI aircraft from Russia in 1996-98 and an additional 40 planes in 2007. Hindustani Aeronautics (HAL) was also contracted to build 140 aircraft in India between 2003 and 2017 under a licensed production agreement.

Israel drops Indian jets venture under US pressure: report

Jerusalem: Israel has dropped out of a multi-billion dollar joint venture with a Swedish firm to develop new fighter jets for India because of US pressure, a newspaper reported on Monday.
Israel Aerospace Industries was planning to develop a new model of the Swedish-made Gripen fighter jet with its manufacturer, Saab, to compete in a tender to sell the planes to India's armed forces, the Jerusalem Post said.
But the state-owned firm backed out on the orders of the Israeli defence ministry "after the Pentagon expressed concern that American technology, used byIsrael, would be integrated into the Gripen," the newspaper said.
It said Washington had likely pressured its close ally because two major US aircraft manufacturers -- Boeing and Lockheed Martin -- are also participating in the tender for more than 120 aircraft estimated at 12 billion dollars (8.5 billion euros) .
"This is not the first time that the defence ministry forced a local company out of a deal due to concerns that competition with American companies would cause friction with the United States," it said.
In 2008, the defence ministry ordered Israel Military Industries not to submit a bid for a 500 million-dollar deal for the manufacture of a new tank for Turkey because it would have been in competition with US firms, it said.
Israel replaced France in 2007 as India's second-largest arms supplier after Russia and could grab the number one slot through a vast array of defence agreements already signed with New Delhi.
In May, India took delivery of its first Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) plane as part of a deal with Israel worth more than one billion dollars.

First Pakistan made JF-17 to fly by end this year

ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman on Saturday said that first Pakistan made JF-17 - Thunder - aircraft would fly in the country’s airspace by end of this year.He made this announcement while addressing the Graduation Ceremony of No 38 Combat Commanders’ Course which was held at Pakistan Air Force Base, Mushaf (Sargodha).
In his address to the graduating Combat Commanders, he said, The JF-17 Thunder program is on track. “We will start production of this aircraft from 30th of this month and Inshallah 1st Made inPakistan JF-17 aircraft will fly in Pakistan's airspace by end of this year.”

First Flight for South African Gripen C

The first single-seat Gripen C destined for the South African Air Force flew for the first time on Thursday 11th June.
The aircraft, number 39.2101, was flown by Saab test pilot Richard Ljungberg. It took off from Saab's facility at Linköping in Sweden at 13.00 and touched down safely back at Linköping at 14.03 in the afternoon.
The aircraft will undergo a short flight test programme ahead of delivery to South Africa in October.
South Africa has ordered 17 Gripen C and 9 dual-seat Gripen D fighters under a comprehensive military transformation and modernisation programme.

Medvedev makes sales pitch for Russian warplane

 MOSCOW: Russia would like to expand sales of such warplanes as the Su-34 throughout the world, President Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with Chinese TV released on Monday.
Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback, an advanced two-seat fighter-bomber and attack aircraft, was flown by Medvedev in March.
The president told China Central TV his flight was supposed to "deliver several messages."
He said he wanted to "learn firsthand about the potential of Russian equipment," and was able to see for himself that "this equipment is really great."
He added that as commander in chief, he wanted to share firsthand experience with "people serving in the Armed Forces," including the "strain and other challenges."
Medvedev said Russia was "interested in expanding the geographic base" for the export of these aircraft "to include our neighbors, as well as other countries."
The Su-34 is armed with a 30mm GSh-301 gun and 180 rounds of ammunition and can fire up to 1,500 rounds a minute.
The aircraft can carry an array of missiles, including air-to-air, air-to-surface, anti-ship and heat-seeking missiles, and guided and unguided bombs.
Full-scale production began in January 2008, and 24 Su-34 aircraft are expected to be in service by 2010. In January 2008, the Russian Air Force said it would procure 70 aircraft by 2015.
Experts say the new bomber has the potential to become the top plane in its class for years to come.

First Saudi Typhoon Aircraft Rolled Out

The Roll Out Ceremony for the first two Typhoon aircraft constructed for the Royal Saudi Air Force was held at BAE Systems' Warton site yesterday.
The ceremony, which was attended by the Saudi Assistant Minister of Defence and Aviation, His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, representing the Saudi Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence and Aviation, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, and the Minister for the Armed Forces, Mr Bill Rammell, representing the Secretary of State for Defence, included a fly past by one of the RSAF Typhoons.
This represents another significant stage in the progress of the Salam Project, which covers the supply of 72 Typhoon aircraft tothe Royal Saudi Air Force in accordance with the Understanding Document signed by both Governments.

Dassault’s Rafale Back in Indian Fighter Race

he Times of India reported on May 22 that the Dassault Rafale is back in the race for an Indian government contract to build 126 new medium multirole combat aircraft for the country's Air Force. The paper said that the Rafale had been booted out of the competition to supply the jets by the Indian Defence Ministry after Dassault failed to respond properly in its technical bid toward the GSQRs (general staff qualitative requirements) drawn up by the IAF. The paper then quoted an unnamed Defense Ministry official stating that Dassault had since supplied missing information and that the Rafale would now participate in IAF field trials of the competitors.
There will be two sets of field trials, according to The Times. The first set is scheduled for July and August and the second in the winter of 2009-2010. The aircraft will be flown in the mountainous region of Leh, the hot Rajasthan desert, and the humid region around Bangalore.
After field trials the field of six fighters- the Rafale, the Lockheed Martin F-16, the Boeing F/A-18, Saab's Gripen, the RAC MiG MiG-35, and the Eurofighter Typhoon - will be winnowed down to a short list of three aircraft. Commercial bids by the three remaining candidates will then be opened and evaluated. The IAF would like the aircraft to be delivered by 2012-2013, but the evaluation and bidding process is expected to take a minimum of two years. Under the circumstances, a contract cannot be expected before 2011.
UAE Considering Rafale Jet Fighters
ABU DHABI, UAEs --- According to UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan, discussions between the UAE and France about the possible Emirati purchase of the new generation French Rafale jet fighter are moving ahead. Officials from the UAE made hints in 2008 that the tiny Gulf state was considering the acquisition of Rafale fighters as a solution for the replacement of its 60 French-built Mirage combat aircraft. Such a deal is believed to be valued between EUR6-8 billion ($8-11 billion).
France, along with the U.S., is one of the UAE's key arms suppliers. One snag in the potential sale of the Rafale to the UAE for the French is that any deal is likely to be precluded by the demand that France either take back theMirage 2000-9 jets or find a suitable buyer on the global market. France, still seeking an export market for its Dassault Aviation aircraft, might settle for buying back the surplus Mirages in order to achieve the sale.

UAE still in talks to buy Rafale planes from France

Abu Dhabi: The United Arab Emirates and France are continuing negotiations on the Gulf Arab state's potential purchase of French Rafale fighter planes, the UAE's foreign minister said on Monday.
"It will take a bit more time" to complete the talks, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan told AFP ahead of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to the Gulf state for talks on bilateral military ties.
A deal would be a major boost for the plane's maker Dassault Aviation, which has yet to sell any Rafales for export.
A Dassault spokesman told AFP on Saturday that "a deal is unlikely in the next few days."
The UAE said in June 2008 that it was "seriously" considering replacing its fleet of 60 Mirage 2000 combat planes with Rafale.
Asked about progress in the talks, Sheikh Abdullah said on the sidelines of the conference that the private sector "would also be involved", in reference to Dassault.
Kouchner said he is "not in charge of the matter", while Sarkozy's Elysee office recently said that "there was progress".
Dassault previously held talks with Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, on a possible deal, but the world's top oil exporter eventually opted to buy Eurofighter jets from Britain.
Dassault is also expected to re-enter a race to win a 12-billion-dollar fighter plane deal in India after it was disqualified for failure to meet technical requirements.
France is a leading military supplier to the UAE, which bought more than 400 Leclerc tanks from French firm GIAT in 1994.
Sarkozy was due to arrive in the capital later on Monday to inaugurate a French military base, the first in the region, as part of a 1995 defence pact that binds the two countries.

PLA Navy Modernization: Preparing for “Informatized” War at Sea

By: Andrew S. Erickson
In recent years, senior Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders and high-ranking military officers have repeatedly emphasized the importance of naval modernization. Most prominently, CCP General Secretary, President and Central Military Commission (CMC) Chairman Hu Jintao in a December 2006 speech to People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) officers underscored the need “to build a powerful People’s navy that can adapt to its historical mission during a new century and a new period” (International Herald Tribune, December 26, 2006). Similarly, PLAN Commander Wu Shengli and Political Commissar Hu Yanlin promoted the importance of naval modernization in an article that appeared in the authoritative CCP journal Seeking Truth [1]. This growing sense of urgency about naval modernization appears to be a function of increasing concern about maritime security issues, particularly Taiwan, the protection of maritime resources and energy security. These missions drive the PLAN’s requirements, not only for new platforms, but also for command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities.

Russia freezes warplane contract with Syria

MOSCOW: Russia has put on a hold a contract to deliver MiG-31E Foxhound interceptor-fighters to Syria, a Russian business daily reported on Wednesday, citing defense-industry sources.
According to Kommersant, the $400-500 million contract for the delivery of eight MiG-31E aircraft was signed in 2007. Since production of MiG-31E's had stopped in 1994, Syria was to receive retrofitted aircraft fromRussia's Air Force reserves.
There has been no official comment on the decision to freeze the contract, but an industry source quoted by the daily said the contract was terminated due to Damascus's financial problems.
In the winter of 2005, Russia forgave 70% of Syria's debt, which at the time stood at $13.4 billion. After that Damascus still owed Moscow $3.6 billion.
Later in the year, Russia resumed military cooperation with Syria, delivering, in particular, Strelets surface-to-air missile systems.
Earlier this month, some Russian and foreign media reported Belarus was planning to sell S-300 surface-to-air missiles and Iskander tactical missile systems to Iran, and said that Tehran had arranged to transfer some of the systems to Syria. However, the Belarusian president denied the country had any plans to sell weapons to Syria or Iran.

RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 3 in Final Stages

The Prime Minister has today confirmed that the UK will move ahead with its international partners with the final stages of procuring a third batch of Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft for the Royal Air Force.
The NATO Eurofighter Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) will continue negotiations with industry with a view to getting the best possible deal for the Partner Nations (UK, Germany, Italy and Spain). Negotiations will address both procurement and support costs.
The Prime Minister said:

US buys Su-27 fighters from Ukraine for ‘aggressor’ training

MOSCOW: The United States has bought two Su-27 Flanker fighter aircraft to help train U.S. air force pilots to cope with the growing number of 4th-generation Russian aircraft sold around the world, a U.S. online magazine said.
The two aircraft have been bought from a private Ukrainian company by the Reno-based Tac Air, which provides training and test support for the military.
The fighter jets will also be used to test the effectiveness of new U.S. radars and electronic warfare equipment, the Strategy Page reported.

Thailand Air Force Scraps Plan to Buy More Gripen Fighters

Budget cuts have compelled the air force to shelve its planned purchase of six more Swedish-made Gripen fighters, the Bangkok Post reports. As the government decided on Wednesday to slash the defence budget for the next fiscal year from 171 billion to 151 billion baht, the air force had to ditch its plan to order six more Gripen fighter jets worth 15 billion baht, commander Itthaporn Subhawong said.
The air force has already bought six Gripen jets worth 19 billion baht with the planes due for delivery next year. The air force needs the other six Gripen jets to complete a fleet of 12 that will replace its ageing F-5 fighters scheduled to be decommissioned in 2011.

F-35B Exceeds STOVL Thrust Requirement

FORT WORTH, Texas: The F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant has demonstrated during testing that it produces excess vertical thrust - more than required to carry out its missions. The tests, conducted on a specially instrumented "hover pit," also validated the performance of aircraft software, controls, thermal management, STOVL-system hardware and other systems.
"The performance level measured was absolutely exceptional," said J.D. McFarlan, Lockheed Martin F-35 Air Vehicle lead. "We demonstrated 41,100 pounds of vertical thrust against our requirement of 40,550 pounds. This means we will deliver excellent margin for the vertical landing and short takeoff performance we've committed to our STOVL customers," he said. Those customers include the U.S. Marine Corps, the United Kingdom's Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, and the Italian Navy and Air Force.

First JSF Fighter Jet Will Cost EUR 110 Million

The first test Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) jet will cost almost just under EUR 110m which is within budget, says junior defence minister Jack de Vries in a letter to parliament on Monday, reports the Trouw.
The letter comes two days before MPs are to decide whether or not to approve the purchase of two JSF aircraft.
Selecting a replacement for the defence department’s current fleet of fighter jets is a long-running and controversial issue within the government.
Until now the actual price of the JSF has been unclear, reports the Trouw. Clarity on price is a prerequisite for two of the three coalition parties, Labour and the orthodox ChritenUnie, to vote in favour of the acquisition, the paper says.

The JSF is made by US manufacturer Lockheed Martin. Saab is a contender for the contract.
MPs will decide on Wednesday whether to buy the first of the two test JSFs which will be used for a series of extensive trials. The second will not be ordered until next year, says the Trouw.

Israeli Negotiations for F-35 Bogging Down Over Costs, Technology Concerns

NEWTOWN, Conn: Negotiations between the Israeli Defense Ministry and Lockheed Martin for the purchase of advanced, new-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter stealth aircraft continue to bog down over the final hurdles of unit cost and integration of Israeli-specific avionics and armaments.
While the Israeli defense establishment complains of soaring F-35 unit costs - a completely rational concern considering the potential defense budget cuts looming on the horizon - the real issue seems to be the installation of Israeli-made systems onto the aircraft.

French Rafale Fighter Jet Out Of Race for Biggest IAF Deal

The French Rafale fighter has been knocked out of the race for the 'mother of all defence deals', the Rs 42,000 crore (approx. 9 billion euros—Ed) project to acquire 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) for IAF, leaving five jets in the fray now. Defence ministry (MoD) sources on Thursday said Rafale had “fallen short” on “several counts” listed in the GSQRs (general staff qualitative requirements) drawn up by IAF. "It did not pass muster in the technical evaluation of the bids submitted by the six contenders," said a source.
The move is sure to rile France, which like other countries in the contention for what will be the largest global defence contract had mounted a high-voltage campaign for the $10.4 billion MMRCA contract. "We have no confirmation from the Indian MoD... We are extremely surprised since there was no technical lacuna in our bid," said a French official.
Incidentally, India and France are also yet to settle their bitter differences for the upgrade of the 51 Mirage-2000s in IAF's combat fleet despite being locked in negotiations for over two years now. Sources said French fighter manufacturer Dassault Aviation wants well over Rs 12,000 crore for the project, but India is not prepared to pay a penny over Rs 10,000 crore.
As for the MMRCA battle, India will now invite only American F/A-18 Super Hornet (Boeing) and F-16 Falcon (Lockheed Martin), Russian MiG-35 (United Aircraft Corporation), Swedish Gripen (Saab) and Eurofighter Typhoon (consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies) to take part in the field trials which are likely to begin from July-August.
"IAF HQ is drawing up the modalities for the field trials to begin in around three months," said the source. There will be at least two sets of trials conducted in summer and winter, with the five jets being flown in the snow-capped peaks of Leh, the scorching Rajasthan deserts (probably Jaisalmer) and the humid conditions of south India (probably Bangalore).

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s Functionality In Hot Weather

The Daily Star on Sunday claims that Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) are unable to fly properly in hot weather because designers of the F-35 Lightning II JSF want it to be 'stealthy' so it won't show up on enemy radar.
The knowledge gained from Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) programme on the three JSF purchased by the MOD will be fundamental for us to fully understand the aircraft in areas such as operational and technical capability. We will make a decision about the further purchaseof the JSF when the evaluation of the IOT&E has been completed.
Two of the JSF IOT&E aircraft will be delivered in 2011 and one in 2012.
Due to past experience we were aware of the potential issues associated with thermal management on a fifth-generation stealth platform. Therefore, in 2000 prior to the contract award, a realistic but demanding requirement for the aircraft to operate in hot conditions, and within a range of realistic operational scenarios, was set.

Russia, Brazil To Cooperate On 5th Generation Fighter Program

MOSCOW: Russia continues to look for partners to help implement its fifth-generation fighter program, also known as PAK FA - Prospective (promising) Aircraft System of the Frontline Aviation.
Apart from India, which has agreed to cooperate with Russia's Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC), now working on the fifth-generation fighter program,Brazil could also join in. Alexander Fomin, Deputy Director of Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said Moscow and Brasilia were negotiating technology exchanges and the possibility of assembling PAK FA fighters in Brazil under a Russian license.
The new warplane is to replace the Russian Air Force's fourth-generation fighters in the next decade.
The Soviet Union launched fifth-generation fighter programs in the 1980s. By the mid-1990s, the Mikoyan Design Bureau developed the Project 1.44/1.42 warplane, also known as the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG MFI. MiG is now using this designation for an advanced MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter. Despite the non-production status of the 1.44/1.42 program, NATO assigned the reporting name Flatpack to it.

How Many F-22s Does the Air Force Need?

While we're excited by Defense Secretary Gates's decision to halt production of the F-22 at 187 planes, there is a lot of disbelief and confusion surrounding this decision. The confusion started as soon as the decision was announced, when Tony Capaccio at Bloomberg News asked Gates about it:
Q: The F-22 decision is going to get scrutinized, now that your budget has emerged from the shadows, so to speak. Can you give a sense of whether this was a close call or a no-brainer? And once--and why--why couldn't you have bought more? Why wouldn't--why wouldn't it fill the role that the Joint Strike Fighter will be filling, that you outlined?

Brazil may produce Russian fighter jets under license

MOSCOW: Russia may allow Brazil to produce its fifth-generation fighters under a license in the future, a senior Russian government official said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
"We are discussing with the well-known Brazilian company Embraer the transfer of technology and the construction of facilities for the future licensed production of the aircraft, including the fifth-generation fighter," said Alexander Fomin, deputy director of the Federal Service on Military-Technical Cooperation.
Russia's advanced multirole fighter is being developed by the Sukhoi aircraft maker, part of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), along with India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), under a preliminary intergovernmental agreement signed in October 2007.
The first prototype is scheduled to make its maiden flight before the end of 2009.
Last November, Russia and Brazil signed a series of agreements on military technology cooperation which emphasize the protection of intellectual property rights and technology secrets.
The agreements will facilitate the transfer of technology and the licensed production of the Russian aircraft in Brazil if Moscow decides to sign a contract with the South American country.
Meanwhile, Russia's Su-35 jet fighter is participating in an ongoing tender for the delivery of over 100 fighters to the Brazilian Air Force.
"We are actively participating in the Brazilian tender, which has been reopened. It involves over 100 fighter planes. Russia has made a bid in the tender with its Su-35 multirole fighter. The tender has stiff requirements, involving not only the sale, but also thetransfer of technology. It is a key condition of the deal and Russia is ready to satisfy it," Fomin said.
Brazil wants a multirole fighter to protect its national airspace as well as to keep track of smugglers in the Amazon basin and guard the country's offshore oil rigs. However, it also wants the multi-billion dollar contract to reenergize the domestic defense industry through home-grown production and as much technology transfer as can be afforded.

Airpower: B-1Bs deliver firepower

ASIA: Coalition airpower integrated with coalition ground forces in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan during operations April 3, according to Combined Air and Space Operations Center officials here.
In Afghanistan, an Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber destroyed an anti-Afghan forces staging area and several enemy positions in the area around Now Zad using guided bomb unit -31s and -38s. Enemy forces had targeted coalition units using heavy machine guns and automatic weapons prior to the bomber's arrival.
Coalition ground forces called in several Navy F/A-18C Hornets and F/A-18E Super Hornets to hit enemy targets in the vicinity of Kajaki Dam, including an enemy mortar position, observation posts, communication tunnels and a spotter position in a walled compound. A variety of GBU-series precision weaponry was used to carry out the strike, which took place in response to anti-Afghan mortar fire.

An F/A-18C and a coalition fighter aircraft used a GBU-12 and GBU-38, as well as a strafing pass to strike anti-Afghan forces spotted gathering in a staging area near Musa Qala.  Enemy forces were engaged in readying rockets for launch against coalition units. The coalition aircraft struck a large group of enemy combatants, while the Hornet hit a series of pillboxes and bunkers in the area. The Hornet also attacked enemy targets in Now Zad following reports of enemy fire there.
Near Qarah Bagh, an Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II flew a show of force to suppress enemy mortar fire against a coalition outpost. The aircraft passed over the enemy mortar position, expending flares, prompting enemy forces to end their indirect fire attack.
A pair of A-10s performed a show of force to deter enemy aggression in the Sheykhabad region in response to enemy gunfire against a coalition convoy. The maneuver succeeded in ending the firefight so the convoy could continue on its mission.
A coalition aircraft and an A-10 executed shows of force near Lashkar Gah and Nangalam to prevent enemy activity in those locations. The aircraft supported coalition ground forces carrying out security and reconstruction efforts.
Joint terminal attack controllers assigned to coalition units verified the success of these missions.
In total, 74 close-air-support missions were flown in support of ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols.
Nineteen Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Afghanistan. In addition, two Navy aircraft provided tactical surveillance and reconnaissance.
In Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 28 close-air-support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions integrated and synchronized with coalition ground forces, protected key infrastructure, provided overwatch for reconstruction activities and helped to deter and disrupt hostile activities.
Twenty-five Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions as part of operations in Iraq. In addition, three Air Force and coalition aircraft provided tactical surveillance and reconnaissance.
Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intra-theater heavy airlift, helping to sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa.
Approximately 125 airlift sorties were flown, 500 tons of cargo were delivered and about 3,250 passengers were transported. Airlift included approximately 75,600 tons of aerial resupply cargo airdropped over Afghanistan.
Coalition C-130 crews flew as part of operations in Afghanistan or Iraq.
On April 2, Air Force aerial refueling crews flew 44 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.5 million pounds of fuel to 265 receiving aircraft.

Sweden Makes Gripen Jet Fighter Offer to Greece

Sweden has positioned itself as a contender for the Greek jet fighter program by offering up its Gripen as an alternative to the French Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, and the Boeing F-18E Super Hornet.
Greece is pursuing a two-round procurement strategy in its pursuit of a new state-of-the-art combat aircraft. The first round is to conclude this year and calls for an initial procurement of 40 aircraft with an option for a further 20. Deliveries would then take place in 2010 and 2011.

Boeing Unveils New International F-15 Configuration, the F-15SE

ST. LOUIS: The Boeing Company today in St. Louis unveiled the F-15 Silent Eagle (F-15SE), a new F-15 configuration designed to meet the future needs of international customers.
"The F-15 Silent Eagle is designed to meet our international customers' anticipated need for cost-effective stealth technologies, as well as for large and diverse weapons payloads," said Mark Bass, F-15 Program vice president for Boeing. "The innovativeSilent Eagle is a balanced, affordable approach designed to meet future survivability needs."

Taiwan Renews Push for F-16 Fighter Jets

Taiwan has renewed a drive to buy advanced U.S.-built F-16 fighter aircraft, confronting President Barack Obama with a delicate decision.
Detailing its arms shopping list for the first time since Obama took office, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) said Taiwan's current fighter force was inadequate to a potential threat from China. The largest part of Taiwan's air force, the F-5 fighter, has been in service for more than 34 years, said TECRO's spokesman.

F/A-18 Hornet

All-weather fighter and attack aircraft. The single-seat F/A-18 Hornet is the nation's first strike-fighter. It was designed for traditional strike applications such as interdiction and close air support without compromising its fighter capabilities. With its excellent fighter and self-defense capabilities, the F/A-18 at the same time increases strike mission survivability and supplements the F-14 Tomcat in fleet air defense.
F/A-18 Hornets are currently operating in 37 tactical squadrons from air stations world-wide, and from 10 aircraft carriers. The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron proudly flies them. The Hornet comprises the aviation strike force for seven foreign customers including Canada, Australia, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain and Switzerland.

F-22 Raptor

The F-22A Raptor is the Air Force's newest fighter aircraft. Its combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities. The F-22A Raptor performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions allowing full realization of operational concepts vital to the 21st century Air Force. The F-22A Raptor , a critical component of the Global Strike Task Force, is designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances and defeat threats attempting to deny access to our nation's Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The F-22A Raptor cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft.

F-16 Fighting Falcon

 The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. It provides a relatively low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations.

In an air combat role, the F-16's maneuverability and combat radius (distance it can fly to enter air combat, stay, fight and return) exceed that of all potential threat fighter aircraft. It can locate targets in all weather conditions and detect low flying aircraft in radar ground clutter. In an air-to-surface role, the F-16 can fly more than 500 miles (860 kilometers), deliver its weapons with superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy aircraft, and return to its starting point. An all-weather capability allows it to accurately deliver ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions

Eurofighter-2000 Typhoon

The Eurofighter Typhoon (EF-2000) is a result of joint efforts on the part of UK, Germany, Italy and Spain to develop a 5th Generation fighter capable of engaging all contemporary threats like the Flanker and Fulcrum series of fighters. The aircraft was designed with Air Dominance as its primary mission, and ground attack being the secondary. To achieve better combat performance than the enemy fighters, the Eurofighter Typhoon had to be endowed with features like unstable design, carefree handling, advanced sensor suite and defensive counter-measures, ultra long-range missiles and a top-end cockpit.


To achieve high instantaneous and sustained performance, the configuration chosen was Delta wings with canards. This unstable design is controlled by an advanced quadruplex Active Control Technology (ACT) fully digital system. The canards are placed closer to the nose, unlike the ones in Rafale and Gripen. This allows an increase in AoA, with a little compromise in sideways view from the canopy. The sturdy structure of the Typhoon allows it to operate from rough airfields. AVIONICS SUITE
Attack and Identification System (AIS)

Singapore to join F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme

Singapore is shining bright at the mega aerospace event. While it was already favourite for defence tycoons like Dassault, Boeing and Eurofighter, due to its fighter replacement programme, it advanced a significant step in relations with United States by participating more actively in U.S.-led Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme.
Singapore is expected to increase its involvement in the United States-led F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme which includes the US, Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey, to develop a new multi-role fighter with stealth capabilities. According to industry sources, Singapore should, in a month or so, join the multinational programme as a security cooperation participant.
In return for an undisclosed financial contribution, it will gain access to more frequent and detailed updates on the programme's progress than is available to countries not involved with the programme.

KJ2000 - AWACS

JF-17 Thunder Fighter Aircraft

The first flight of FC-1/JF-17 Thunder took place in August 2003. Five prototypes are ready by now which are undergoing testing. Pakistan will receive 10 of JF-17 Thunder aircrafts after June, 2006 for training purpose. The serial production will start in January, 2007 in Chengdu Aircraft Company.
FC-1 / JF-17 Thunder is a single seat, single engine, All-whether, day-night Air Superiority fighter with limited ground attack capabilities.

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