Brought to you by ADIT – The Bulletin is a roundup of military aviation news from around the world over the last week.
On Apr. 25, the Government Accountability (GAO) published a report titled “DOD Needs to Share F-35 Operational Lessons Across the Military Services ” in which it states that many problems plaguing the first overseas deployment of the F-35, to Japan in Jan. 2017, are logistical in nature and are related to the aircraft’s distance from maintenance and parts manufacturing facilities in the USA.
The Air Force is considering the possibility of extending the life service of several of its 46 F-16s. According to Jane’s, this service life extension program (SLEP) would concern avionics and weapons, and “would free the aircraft from end user controls and limitations set by the United States under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system”. The works could be supervised by Elbit.
The Russian-Indian project for an advanced jet fighter (Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft – FGFA), that has cost at least $8.63bn (through the PAK-FA program mainly supported by Russia) in development up until now and of which 7 prototypes are currently being flight-tested, has been shelved. The PAK-FA apparently does not meet India’s stealth requirements for a 5th generation aircraft.
State-run Antonov Airlines said it could supply NATO with more cargo planes following Russian aircraft provider Volga-Dnepr having suspended its contract with the organization to provide Soviet-designed An-124s to NATO armies.
Belarus supplied Serbia with 4 MiG-29 fighter jets as part of defense industry assistance, to be repaired and upgraded under the same model as the 6 others that Serbia received from Russia.
As part of a bid to replace Germany’s fleet of Panavia Tornados and support efforts to sell additional aircraft to other European countries, Eurofighter will upgrade the engines and systems on its Typhoon combat aircraft. Thrust on the Typhoon’s Eurojet EJ200 engine is to be increased by “about 15%” from their actual 13 500lb power, said CEO Volker Paltzo.
During ILA 2018, Boeing pitched its EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft to the Luftwaffe as part of a wider drive to replace Germany’s Panavia Tornados with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. According to Boeing director for global sales for strike, surveillance, and mobility, Bryan Crutchfield, the EA-18G is the only platform able to replace the Electronic Combat Reconnaissance (ECR)-variant Tornados which will be retired in around 15 years.
GERMANY/FRANCE: During ILA 2018, Airbus and Dassault Aviation officially launched the development of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). Both companies expect the plane will be ready in the mid-2030s. FCAS will integrate a new combat aircraft, a Next-Generation Weapon System (NGWS), the European medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) and future cruise missiles.
On Apr. 25, Japanese government sources said the country is proposing its Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) P-1 submarine hunter for a French-German project to develop a marine surveillance aircraft. Officials reportedly asked KHI to discuss possible partnerships with Dassault Aviation and Thales. Boeing is also likely to offer its P-8A Poseidon.
On Apr. 24, Chief of the Air Staff (CEMAA) Gen. André Lanata gave an update to the Parliament’s Upper House on the rise of MALE UAVs within the force under his command. According to him, the ROEM payload (ELINT) that will increase the Reaper’s capabilities must be ordered in 2019 for delivery in 2020. Regarding armament, France is awaiting a proposal from the US that should arrive in the summer 2018, and the drones could be fitted at the earliest in 2019, perhaps in 2020.
On Apr. 23, workers at Italy’s F-35 final assembly line of Cameri announced a 1-day strike on to protest the widespread use of employment agency contractors at the site. Some 600 staff are working on agency contracts, while only 270 are employed directly by Leonardo, which runs the state-owned site.
SPAIN: Following an inter-ministerial meeting about the A400M in Berlin, it was decided that the aircraft’s central office would be installed in Spain.
Written by ADIT – The Bulletin and republished with permission.