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AirForces Monthly Magazine - The World’s number one military aviation magazine

Brought to you by Key Publishing Ltd, Europe’s Leading Aviation Publisher.

AirForces Monthly is the world’s leading modern military aviation magazine featuring the world’s air forces, their conflicts, weaponry and exercises. Published monthly, it provides the best military aviation news coverage from around the globe and is essential reading for anyone seeking a well-informed view. AirForces Monthly is entirely devoted to modern military aircraft and their air arms and, since 1988, has built up a formidable reputation worldwide by reporting from places not generally covered by other military magazines. Its world news is the best around, covering all aspects of military aviation, region by region.

AirForces Monthly represents an unrivalled combination of news, reporting and in-depth features aided by the best network of freelance reporters anywhere in the world. It is the finest dedicated military aviation magazine available.

Regular features include:

• Comprehensive coverage of the world’s air forces
• The hottest military aviation news - by continent
• Military conflicts, weaponry

In this Issue

Last year marked Peru’s centenary of military aviation and February AFM pays tribute to the Peruvian Air Force with an extensive Force Report, including photography from Katsuhiko Tokunaga. Expect Fulcrums, Frogfoots, Mirages and more…

You’ll also find other charismatic fast jets in this month’s reports, including a public farewell to the Japan Air-Self Defense Force’s final F-4 Phantom IIs at Hyakuri and the veteran adversary F-5s of VFC-111 ‘Sundowners’ at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida.

Air arms in profile include an update on the Ukrainian Navy’s single aviation unit, which has recently received new rotary and fixed-wing equipment, and from Royal Jordanian Air Force facilities, where AFM contributor Elio Viroli undertook an exclusive visit.

On the operational side, there’s coverage from trouble spots around the globe, with the first of a two-part feature from the Central African Republic by war correspondent and Africa specialist Al J Venter, a report on the US military withdrawal from Syria and an assessment of People’s Liberation Army air power in Hong Kong.

There’s also transport action in the shape of the C-130 Hercules – workhorse of the Argentine Air Force – and coverage of the Italian Air Force’s 31° Stormo, which fulfils a niche transport role, undertaking operations for national agencies and the Vatican.

AFM marks ten years of Rafale flight demonstrations with an air-to-air photo sortie, while European exercises are now back in full flow, including Ocean Sky at Gando air base on Gran Canaria and the Swiss Air Force’s deployment of F/A-18 Hornets to RAF Leeming in the UK.

Other regular features include Intel Report on the continued modernisation of the United Arab Emirates’ military, while Air Marshal (ret’d) Greg Bagwell CB CBE examines the current status of airborne nuclear deterrence and explains how it still offers several advantages over other strategic delivery systems.

Discover the best professional documents and content resources in AnyFlip Document Base.
Published by Read My eBook for FREE!, 2020-02-09 04:35:22

AirForces - Monthly (February 2020)

AirForces Monthly Magazine - The World’s number one military aviation magazine

Brought to you by Key Publishing Ltd, Europe’s Leading Aviation Publisher.

AirForces Monthly is the world’s leading modern military aviation magazine featuring the world’s air forces, their conflicts, weaponry and exercises. Published monthly, it provides the best military aviation news coverage from around the globe and is essential reading for anyone seeking a well-informed view. AirForces Monthly is entirely devoted to modern military aircraft and their air arms and, since 1988, has built up a formidable reputation worldwide by reporting from places not generally covered by other military magazines. Its world news is the best around, covering all aspects of military aviation, region by region.

AirForces Monthly represents an unrivalled combination of news, reporting and in-depth features aided by the best network of freelance reporters anywhere in the world. It is the finest dedicated military aviation magazine available.

Regular features include:

• Comprehensive coverage of the world’s air forces
• The hottest military aviation news - by continent
• Military conflicts, weaponry

In this Issue

Last year marked Peru’s centenary of military aviation and February AFM pays tribute to the Peruvian Air Force with an extensive Force Report, including photography from Katsuhiko Tokunaga. Expect Fulcrums, Frogfoots, Mirages and more…

You’ll also find other charismatic fast jets in this month’s reports, including a public farewell to the Japan Air-Self Defense Force’s final F-4 Phantom IIs at Hyakuri and the veteran adversary F-5s of VFC-111 ‘Sundowners’ at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida.

Air arms in profile include an update on the Ukrainian Navy’s single aviation unit, which has recently received new rotary and fixed-wing equipment, and from Royal Jordanian Air Force facilities, where AFM contributor Elio Viroli undertook an exclusive visit.

On the operational side, there’s coverage from trouble spots around the globe, with the first of a two-part feature from the Central African Republic by war correspondent and Africa specialist Al J Venter, a report on the US military withdrawal from Syria and an assessment of People’s Liberation Army air power in Hong Kong.

There’s also transport action in the shape of the C-130 Hercules – workhorse of the Argentine Air Force – and coverage of the Italian Air Force’s 31° Stormo, which fulfils a niche transport role, undertaking operations for national agencies and the Vatican.

AFM marks ten years of Rafale flight demonstrations with an air-to-air photo sortie, while European exercises are now back in full flow, including Ocean Sky at Gando air base on Gran Canaria and the Swiss Air Force’s deployment of F/A-18 Hornets to RAF Leeming in the UK.

Other regular features include Intel Report on the continued modernisation of the United Arab Emirates’ military, while Air Marshal (ret’d) Greg Bagwell CB CBE examines the current status of airborne nuclear deterrence and explains how it still offers several advantages over other strategic delivery systems.


Officially the world’s number one authority on military aviation
Peruvian Air Force
A century

over the Issue 383 February 2020 £4.99



the great


Airlift mission in Kobanî

Ocean Sky
Ocean Sky
Ocean Sky

Combat in the Canaries


Air Force
Air Force
Air For ce

Exclusive photos

06/01/2020 12:26:03
01 Cover AFM Feb2020.indd 1 06/01/2020 12:26:03
01 Cover AFM Feb2020.indd 1

Being the friend they deserve

When one of the RAF
family needs a friend,
they turn to the Royal Air
Forces Association. We will
be there on the doorstep,
in person, to help sort out
the problem and share the
load. We’re there every
step of the way.

RAF Association befriender
Iona Docherty and veteran
Morag MacFarlane enjoying a visit to the
Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, in Ayr.

Almost 70 years since leaving needed her the most,” recalled summer visit from Morag’s sister
the Hereford Regiment of Morag (87), “and she’s been and niece, who live in Australia.
the WRAF, Morag MacFarlane like a guardian angel to me
has been supported by the ever since.” “I was wondering who to turn
befriending service offered to to” said Morag. “I was told that

veterans by the RAF Association. “We hit it off instantly, and we even though I’d served for
see each other every week to less than two years, I was still
Following the recent death visit cafes, go shopping, or just entitled to receive support from
of her husband, and with her to meet for a cup of tea and a
sons no longer living locally, chat. We’re almost like sisters.” the Association.
the retired social worker from “I’d never have thought of
Prestwick could quite easily Since they met, Iona has helped approaching them, but I’m so
have found herself alone, were Morag look to the future by glad I did, as Iona has helped
it not for volunteer befriender taking her to the shops, and me so much since I met
Iona Docherty. on days out to local tourist
spots such as the Robert Burns her, and I’m looking forward
“After Bill passed away, Iona Birthplace Museum in Ayr. She’s to many more happy days
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RAF_Advertorial__Morag_and_Iona_FP.indd 1 25/11/2019 10:48:28


A Swedish Air Force JAS 39C Gripen returns to take
part in an Arctic Challenge exercise, over Norway,
after taking on fuel from a USAF KC-135R. With the
Gripen E/F, Saab hopes that years of successful

Nordic co-operation will put its o ering in good stead
for the HX bid. USAF/1st Lt Christopher Mesnard


counts down

to a new fighter

T his January, Finland’s defence the manufacturers of each candidate’s systems and aircraft can
against results
be evaluated fairly”. The individual candidates
ministry launches the so-called HX
Challenge, a test and evaluation event
Finland has made every
that will put contenders for the country’s achieved ‘in the field’ . have been given five working days to complete
demonstrations in Finland, starting with
fighter replacement programme through effort to gain as much the Typhoon between January 9 and 17.
their paces. Under the HX project, Helsinki is information as possible on With plans to choose a new multi-role
looking for a successor to the Ilmavoimat’s the fighters, before signing off fighter that will remain viable for at least 30
(Finnish Air Force’s) F/A-18C/D Hornet fleet, on a deal that now has a price years – taking its service life into the 2060s –
which it wants to phase out by 2030. cap of €10bn (US$11.15bn). The Finland needs to be certain that the chosen jet
Back in spring 2016, a request for information number of aircraft to be procured hasn’t meets the performance criteria. At the same
(RFI) was sent to France, Sweden, the United been decided, but Finnish defence officials time, efforts are being made to ensure HX is
Kingdom and United States, seeking data confirm that the budget constraints have conducted in a transparent way. Experiences
on the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, been a problem for all candidate aircraft. of controversial fighter competitions run in
Saab Gripen E/F, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super A more specific request for quotation (RFQ) Croatia, Denmark and Switzerland – to give
Hornet and Lockheed Martin F-35. All five was issued in the second half of last year, just three European examples – make it clear
fighters are still in contention today. before a second phase of negotiations that will that Finland needs to get it right first time.
The capabilities of these jets, their systems determine just what each procurement package
and sensors – including in demanding Nordic will include. This round of talks will end this
winter conditions – will now be judged year, after which manufacturers will submit their
during the evaluation which will take place definitive tender documents. The government
primarily at Tampere-Pirkkala air base. In will decide on the Hornet’s replacement in 2021. Thomas Newdick
particular, the defence ministry says it’s keen According to the defence ministry, HX Email at:
to compare performance claims made by Challenge will ensure “that the performance [email protected]
Editor: Thomas Newdick to take their own precautions before parting with any updated without prior notice and are freely available from Key
Editorial team: Jamie Hunter, Dave Allport, Alan Warnes, information or item of value, including, but not limited to, Publishing Ltd or downloadable from
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Associate Production Editor: David Taylor AirForces Monthly, ISSN 0955-7091 (USPS 6119), Key Publishing Ltd, PO Box 100, Stamford,
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Copies of AFM can be obtained each month by placing to AFM. Please note that all material sent to the Editor is Next Issue
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www.Key.Aero #383 February 2020 // 3

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Contents February 2020 #383

Regular features
Ocean Sky
Ben Gorski and Manuel Acosta Zapata join
Exercise Ocean Sky at Gando air base on
Gran Canaria, which is designed to test
the air defences of the Canary Islands.
modernisation drive
In the face of a perceived increasing Iranian
threat, the United Arab Emirates’ military
continues to modernise, as Alan Warnes
witnessed at this year’s Dubai Airshow.
Peruvian Air Force: A
century over the Andes
Last year marked Peru’s centenary of
military aviation, an historical milestone
celebrated with an air display performed
over the capital, Lima. Amaru Tincopa
reports on the Fuerza Aérea del Perú.
BRIEFING: Airborne
nuclear deterrence
– making a comeback?
A veteran of the Cold War nuclear quick
readiness alert mission, Air Power Association
President, Air Marshal (ret’d) Greg Bagwell
CB CBE examines the current status of
airborne nuclear deterrence and explains
how it still offers several advantages
over other strategic delivery systems.
80 Feedback
AFM’s letters page.
Swiss Hornets in the UK
Mick Britton was at RAF Leeming
as the Swiss Air Force undertook
a second major detachment to the
UK for advanced flying training.
88 Attrition
Dave Allport details the world’s
most recent military accidents.
98 Coming up
See what’s featuring in your AFM next month.

All the world’s military aviation news, by region
6-7 .................. Headlines
8 ..................... United Kingdom
13-15 .............. Continental Europe
16-18 .............. North America
19 .................... Africa
20 ................... Russia & CIS
21 .................... Middle East
22 ................... Latin America
23 ................... Australasia
26-27 ............. Asia Pacific

4 // February 2020 #383 www.Key.Aero

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3 Comment on Hong Kong streets to restore law
AFM’s opinion on the hot topics and order. Gordon Arthur examines the
in military aviation. forces of the Hong Kong Garrison.
28 Phantom farewell 64 Big ‘Pigs’ of the Pampas
at Hyakuri The C-130 Hercules is the workhorse of many
Benoît Denet reports from the Japan Air-Self air arms, not least with the Fuerza Aérea
Defense Force’s final F-4 Phantom II base Argentina. Here it has performed sterling
at Hyakuri as the service’s last examples service in some incredible and unexpected
of the ‘Rhino’ made a public farewell. roles, as Esteban G Brea discovers.
36 Ukrainian Naval 70 Africa’s forgotten
Aviation update war: Part one
Vladimir Trendafilovski provides an update In the first of a two-part feature, war
on the status of the Ukrainian Navy’s single correspondent and Africa specialist
aviation unit – the 10th Naval Aviation Al J Venter reports from Bangui in the
Brigade at Kul’bakino air base near Central African Republic where the
Mykolayiv – which has recently received conflict – now in its seventh year – is
new rotary and fixed-wing equipment. seeing increased use of air power.
40 Florida’s ‘bad guys’ 76 Ten years of excellence
Northrop’s veteran Tiger II still has a few Since the first flight of the Rafale A
more years ahead of it as an adversary, demonstrator in 1986, the Dassault
and it’s possible more used F-5s will arrive fighter has become a popular airshow
to form new units or replenish existing performer. With its great lines, plenty of
ones. George Karavantos reports from raw power and fine-tuned flight controls,
Naval Air Station Key West, where the it’s made for turning heads at public
resident VFC-111 ‘Sundowners’ flies some displays, as Anthony Pecchi explains.
of the US Navy’s in-demand F-5s. 82 Italy’s transport specialists
44 Postcard from Jordan The Italian Air Force’s 31° Stormo fulfils a
AFM contributor Elio Viroli provides niche transport role, undertaking operations
a photographic report from for national agencies and the Vatican, and,
an exclusive visit to Royal as Riccardo Niccoli discovers, it has also
Jordanian Air Force facilities. increasingly been tasked with the role
of emergency aeromedical missions.
60 Troubled times
in the Special 92 Syria: the great escape
Region When US special forces were ordered
to pull out of Syria in October 2019 the
With the Hong Kong Pentagon had to activate emergency
Police stretched to breaking point, plans to evacuate its troops.
there has long been speculation that Tim Ripley looks at the airlift
the Chinese communist regime may mission to extract American troops
set the People’s Liberation Army loose from this troubled country.

Cover: Rare and spectacular neatly
describes the cover shot this month,
depicting a Peruvian MiG-29SM-P of
Escuadrón Aéreo 612 during a mission in
Your Aviation Destination 2019. Katsuhiko Tokunaga/DACT Left: Despite
the headlines regarding a US military
See withdrawal from operations in Syria, air
power continues to help police ongoing
page 24 troubles in the area. The US Air Force is still
maintaining overwatch of the country, as
illustrated here by an F-15E Strike Eagle on
for full patrol. USAF/MSgt Russell Scalf

www.Key.Aero #383 February 2020 // 5

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NEWS Headlines

First flight of Eurofighter

in Kuwaiti configuration

LEONARDO HAS completed The aircraft is the first was signed between the Germany, this is the first
a maiden flight of what to combine the Captor-E Ministry of Defence of flight of the entire package
the aerospace company active electronically scanned the State of Kuwait and that will be delivered to
describes as “the most array (AESA) radar with Leonardo on April 5, 2016, Kuwait. The first KAF
advanced variant of the Phase Enhancement P3Eb through the company’s aircraft are expected to be
Eurofighter ever flown” software, as ordered by aircraft division acting delivered later
– the first Instrumented Kuwait. The jet includes as the Eurofighter prime this year.
Series Production Aircraft compatibility with MBDA’s contractor organisation.
(ISPA 6) equipped with the Storm Shadow and While other aircraft in
Kuwait Air Force (KAF) Brimstone missiles and other different Eurofighter partner
configuration. The Typhoon, air-to-surface weapons. companies are testing
Italian experimental serial The Kuwaiti standard also specific parts of the
CSX55169 (likely IT014), provides for integration P3Eb configuration,
is expected to be the final of the Lockheed Martin including
two-seat TF-2000A for the Sniper Advanced Targeting development of
Aeronautica Militare (Italian Pod (ATP), the DRS-Cubic the Captor-E
Air Force) from a total of 14 ACMI P5 combat training radar in the
ordered. The initial flight pod and an enhanced VHF UK and
took place at the Leonardo omnidirectional range
Aircraft Division’s Flight (VOR) navigation aid.
Test Centre at Turin-Caselle A contract for the
Airport on December 23. supply of 28 Typhoons

Italian Air Force TF-2000A CSX55169 on its maiden flight. Note,
the red panels on the lower side of the fuselage likely identify
the new sensors. Marco Rossi
C295 testing hose-and-drogue refuelling system

A NEW in-flight refuelling be easily transformed into
kit for the C295 transport a tanker, giving the ability
is currently being tested to transfer up to around
by the Ejército del Aire 13,230lb (6,000kg) of fuel to
(EdA, Spanish Air Force) other aircraft or helicopters.
in association with Airbus A variety of manoeuvres
Defence and Space. were undertaken to
The EdA confirmed in a test the stability of the
December 18 announcement refuelling basket and
that the trials were under three initial dry hook-ups
way. The removable kit (ie, without fuel transfer)
has been fitted to new have been completed.
production C295W c/n The crew for the flight
S-171 (still flying painted trials included five pilots:
in primer) and tested with two from the EdA’s test
EdA C295M T.21-13 ‘35-51’ establishment, the Centro
from Ala 35/353 Escuadrón Logístico de Armamento y
at Getafe air base. Experimentación (CLAEX, New production C295W c/n S-171 landing at Seville-San Pablo Airport, Spain, on December 3
The modular system, Armament and Experimental following a flight test with the new hose-and-drogue air-to-air refuelling system mounted at the
including a hose-and- Logistics Centre) at Torrejón top of the rear loading ramp. Antonio Muñiz Zaragüeta
drogue unit fitted to the rear de Ardoz, two from Ala two-and-a-half hours been very satisfactory, conclusions for improving
loading ramp, enables a 35 and one from Airbus of initial flight tests, the and Airbus engineers had and developing the new
standard transport C295 to Defence and Space. After EdA said that results had been able to draw various refuelling kit. Dave Allport

6 // February 2020 #383 www.Key.Aero

06/01/2020 12:38:14
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06-07 HeadlineNews AFM Feb2020.indd 6

Subscribe to for breaking news stories.
Email the news team at [email protected]

First flight of Eurofighter NATO Last F-35A Lightning II for
Hill’s fighter wings

moves to

in Kuwaiti configuration replace THE USAF’s 388th Fighter years, the wings have also F-16 downs target drone
Over the last three
Wing (FW) at Hill Air Force
Base, Utah, received its
deployed to the European
and Pacific theatres and
final F-35A on December
participated in several large-
17. The delivery brings the

combat exercises. At the
at the base to 78.
The first operational F-35As time of the delivery, airmen
NATO HAS awarded total number of aircraft scale USAF and international with laser-guided rocket
contracts for the Alliance arrived at Hill in September from the wings were
Future Surveillance and 2015. Since then, the active- engaged in a second F-35A THE USAF has conducted Above: A screen capture
Control (AFSC) capability duty 388th and Reserve combat deployment of what it described as an from the December 19 test,
that is intended to 419th FWs have flown more 2019, supporting operations “unprecedented test”, in showing an 85th TES F-16C
replace its E-3A Airborne than 17,500 sorties and more to the Middle East. which an F-16C operated launching an AGR-20A from
Warning and Control than 33,000 flying hours. Hill was chosen to be by the 85th Test and a seven-round underwing
System (AWACS). The six The wing’s three the home of the USAF’s Evaluation Squadron (TES) pod. USAF
contracts were announced squadrons, the 4th, 34th first deployable F-35A shot down a cruise missile 53rd Wing, said: “The test
by the NATO Support and 421st Fighter Squadrons units because of the Total target using a laser-guided will shape the future of
and Procurement Agency (FS), now each have 24 Force partnership of the rocket. The December how the air force executes
(NSPA) on December 5. primary assigned aircraft 388th and 419th FWs, its 19 test involved the jet [cruise missile defence].”
The agency described it as with six back-up jets. The proximity to the Utah Test destroying a subscale He added that the air-to-
“a significant step that will 419th FW’s 466th FS also and Training Range and drone using an AGR-20A air APKWS could “have
enable the development supports routine F-35 the Ogden Air Logistics Advanced Precision Kill implications for homeland
of high-level technical operations alongside the Complex, the base’s weather, Weapon System (APKWS) defence missions,
concepts for NATO’s active-duty squadrons. zoning and airspace. laser-guided rocket. In combined defence of the
future surveillance and the proof-of-concept Arabian Gulf and beyond”.
control capabilities”. test, the rockets were Originally developed
Following an international cued from the F-16’s AN/ as a low-cost, low-
bidding process, contracts AAQ-33 Sniper Advanced collateral-damage, air-to-
were awarded to the Targeting Pod (ATP). ground weapon for use
Boeing ABILITI Consortium, It remains unclear how in Afghanistan and Iraq,
General Atomics, Lockheed the Fighting Falcon’s pod the AGR-20A had not
Martin, Airbus Germany, was able to track a low- previously been adapted for
L3Harris Consortium level target moving as counter-air use. Compared
UK, and MDA under the fast as a cruise missile with the AIM-120 missile,
NATO Security Investment and how the rocket the AGR-20A is “a fraction
Programme (NSIP) was able to manoeuvre of the cost”, can be loaded
infrastructure programme. to shoot it down. faster and an aircraft can
The Boeing ABILITI The 388th FW’s final F-35A, 17-5276 ‘HL’ (AF-218), which arrived Col Ryan Messer, carry two-to-three times
Consortium includes at Hill on December 17. The jet wears the markings of the 421st commander of the parent the number of weapons.
Thales France, Leonardo FS ‘Black Widows’. USAF/Capt Kip Sumner
Italy, Indra Systems, and
Inmarsat, while the L3Harris
team includes Musketeer MH-139A Grey Wolf begins testing
Solutions, Videns, 3SDL,
Synergeticon, Hensoldt
Sensors, IBM UK, and AIR FORCE Global Strike that roam the northern tier rescue, airlift support, USAF’s only dedicated
Deloitte Belgium. Command (AFGSC) has of North America, which National Capital Region rotary test unit. Detachment
The AFSC concept stage established a detachment also encompasses the missions, as well as survival 7 provides pilots and special
was launched by the at Duke Field, Florida, command’s intercontinental school and test support. mission aviators for the
North Atlantic Council, the to support testing and ballistic missile (ICBM) After receiving its first test effort. The detachment
alliance’s highest decision- evaluation of its new bases. The MH-139A will helicopter, AFGSC’s will eventually field four
MH-139s and move to
provide security and support
Detachment 7 was
MH-139A helicopter –
making body, in 2017.
C295 testing hose-and-drogue refuelling system is planned to retire officially named Grey for the nation’s ICBM established at Duke Field Malmstrom Air Force
NATO’s AWACS fleet
Wolf during a ceremony
fields that span Wyoming,
Base, Montana, to perform
on December 20 to support
in 2035. The NSPA is at the base on December Montana, North Dakota, testing and evaluation of additional testing and
responsible for conducting 19. The Grey Wolf is the Colorado and Nebraska, the new helicopter. The evaluation. A second aircraft
studies and developing first major acquisition for replacing the UH-1N, which detachment will work in was due to arrive mid-
technical concepts that the AFGSC in its ten-year entered USAF service in conjunction with Air Force January, while the third and
will help inform future history. The name is derived 1970. Other missions will Materiel Command’s 413th fourth aircraft are scheduled
decisions by the alliance, from the wild wolves include civil search and Flight Test Squadron, the to arrive in February.
individual nations or
multinational groups to A first MH-139A for AFGSC’s
acquire new systems. Detachment 7 arrives at
The best value award of Duke Field on December 19.
the current contracts is USAF/Samuel King Jr
the first step in a series
of concept development
and assessment activities
that will take place in
the 2020-22 timeframe.
Concepts proposed
by the six contractors
will be assessed for
further development and
feasibility analysis in a
second competition to be
announced later this year.
www.Key.Aero #383 February 2020 // 7
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NEWS United Kingdom

Poseidon MRA1 flies

with all-RAF crew

P-8A POSEIDON MRA1 120 Squadron, which
ZP801 Pride of Moray re-formed on April 1, 2018,
has completed its first will be the first operational
training flight with an RAF Poseidon unit at
RAF crew. The mission RAF Lossiemouth, Moray,
took place from Naval aircrew training is being
Air Station Jacksonville, carried out by personnel
Florida, on December 4, from Lincolnshire-
the crew being made up based No 54 Squadron First overseas
of personnel from Nos 120 at RAF Waddington.
and 54 Squadrons. This first The latter is the exercise for
aircraft was handed over to Intelligence, Surveillance,
the RAF on October 30 at Target Acquisition and
Boeing’s facilities in Seattle, Reconnaissance (ISTAR) joint RAF/Qatari
Washington, and it flew to Operational Conversion
Jacksonville the following Unit, which has been given Typhoon squadron
day to begin training (see the responsibility for RAF
First Poseidon delivered to P-8A crew training. It does Three Typhoon FGR4s from No 12 Squadron rehearsing for their flypast over Qatar.
RAF, December 2019, p8). not have any of its own Crown Copyright
Training will continue at aircraft, but borrows them
Jacksonville in preparation as required. A second RAF TYPHOONS took No 12 Squadron was Excellency the Emir of
for the arrival of the operational RAF Poseidon part in Qatar National Day re-formed on July 24, 2018 Qatar. The celebrations
first aircraft on UK soil, unit, No 201 Squadron, celebrations recently, as and will shortly become surrounding this day have
currently scheduled for will be established in No 12 Squadron jets flew a joint RAF and QEAF been a sight to behold –
February. Although No 2021. Dave Allport alongside the Qatari Emiri unit that will integrate the Qatari national pride
Air Force (QEAF) in what personnel from both is evident at literally every
The first RAF Poseidon MRA1, ZP801, on the flight line at NAS was the first time that the nations. The squadron street corner. We have
Jacksonville, Florida, after returning from a training sortie on unit had flown in Qatar will prepare the QEAF for loved playing our small
December 16. RAF/CXX Squadron since being re-established. the standing up of its first part and are already
Four Typhoon FGR4s purely Qatari operated looking forward to next
from the unit flew over Typhoon squadron by 2022. year when 12 Squadron
the capital city Doha on Wg Cdr Chris Wright, will return to Qatar with
December 18, as part of officer commanding No 12 our own Qatari pilots
Exercise Epic Skies III. The Squadron, said: “We greatly and groundcrew.”
series of manoeuvres took enjoyed the privilege of The next phase of
place at Al Udeid Air Base participation in the Qatari joint training will take
and involved technical National Day Flypast over place in the UK at RAF
training and joint flying. Doha, witnessed by His Coningsby, Lincolnshire.

Carrier milestones HMS ‘Prince of Wales’ sails into her homeport of Portsmouth
for the first time with two Wildcat helicopters visible on deck.
for Royal Navy Crown Copyright

THE ROYAL Navy’s the Air Warfare Centre,
second Queen Elizabeth- was designed to provide
class aircraft carrier, HMS ‘end-to-end’ testing of
Prince of Wales (R09), was embarked F-35B fighters.
commissioned into the fleet The future flagship hosted
on December 10 during a British F-35Bs for the first
ceremony at HM Naval Base time at sea – followed by
Portsmouth. The warship US Marine Corps jets. The
had left Rosyth Dockyard UK Lightnings comprised
in Scotland on September three jets from No 17 Test
19 for initial sea trials and and Evaluation Squadron
arrived in Portsmouth on (TES) based at Edwards Air
November 16. HMS Prince Force Base in California,
of Wales is marginally larger as well as three that
and heavier than her sister crossed the Atlantic from
vessel, HMS Queen Elizabeth RAF Marham, Norfolk.
(R08), making her the largest Tests included mission from the ship, developing Cdre Steve Moorhouse, envelope of her aircraft in
warship ever built for the UK. briefs; preparation of the procedures ahead of a said: “Embarking UK F-35B warmer temperatures.
Meanwhile, HMS Queen jets – including arming detachment deploying Lightnings for the first time A single F-35B that
Elizabeth recently returned them using the ship’s alongside UK jets on the and integrating them within was left on board Queen
from a second deployment unique automated weapon carrier’s maiden operational the carrier strike group Elizabeth after a technical
conducting aviation trials handling system; launching; deployment next year. is a significant milestone failure was transported
with UK F-35B jets off the fighting the mission Supporting the strike group and we are well set for an back across the Atlantic,
east coast of the US. The (including weapons drops) throughout were Merlin equally demanding 2020 then repaired and launched
first-in-class carrier returned and returning to Queen helicopters from 820 Naval and our first operational from the deck on December
to Portsmouth on December Elizabeth. The training Air Squadron (NAS) and 845 deployment in 2021.” 16 while berthed in HM
4 and more details are reached its climax with four NAS, as well as a further HMS Queen Elizabeth Naval Base Portsmouth.
now available on the UK Lightnings launched Merlin from 814 NAS and also conducted warm- This was the first alongside
WESTLANT 19 deployment. from the deck within a Wildcat from 815 NAS. weather trials on her fixed-wing flight for the
The five-week operational seconds of each other. Commanding officer of propulsion systems and carrier and first launch of a
test phase, headed up by USMC F-35Bs flew to and HMS Queen Elizabeth, expanded the operating British F-35 in UK waters.

8 // February 2020 #383 www.Key.Aero

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08 UKNews AFM Feb2020.indd 8 06/01/2020 12:40:19



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Report Ocean Sky 2019

Combat in the


Acosta Zapata join G from the Spanish mainland the runway at the international KC-130H that supported the
Ben Gorski and Manuel eographically separated resources, with fighters sharing 15 at Zaragoza, plus an Ala 31
and located just off the
Exercise Ocean Sky, coast of Morocco, the Canary airport of Gran Canaria. fighters with aerial refuelling.
The principle aims of the exercise
The US Air Forces in Europe
held on October 19-30 at Islands present something of a are to increase interoperability pitched up with a dozen F-15C/Ds
Gando air base on Gran challenge to the Ejército del Aire between different types of aircraft, from the 493rd Fighter Squadron
Canaria, and designed to (EdA, Spanish Air Force) in terms as well as evaluate and improve ‘Grim Reapers’ at RAF Lakenheath,
test the air defences of the of air defence. Known as DACT the tactics, techniques and Suffolk, joined by three Türk Hava
Canary Islands. (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) procedures of nations allied to Kuvvetleri (THK, Turkish Air Force)
since 2004, the rechristened Spain. Exercise Ocean Sky 2019 F-16C/Ds from 151 Filo ‘Fighting
Exercise Ocean Sky at Gando air brought together 50 fighters from Wolves’ at Merzifon, along with a
base is an annual test of air combat the hosts, the US and Turkey. supporting C-130E and an A400M.
Gando is home to Ala 46,
Supporting participants equipped with F/A-18A+ fighters A NATO E-3A AWACS (Airborne
Warning and Control System)
The exercise worked closely with Gando’s There was also a robust cyber security that are dedicated to guarding oversaw command and control.
In order to spread the load,
the local airspace. For the
Grupo de Alerta y Control (GRUALERCON, element that included a secure computer purposes of the exercise, an Lanzarote military airfield at San
Alert and Control Group), which acted network supporting the entire exercise. influx of EdA assets included Bartolomé hosted some of the
as the tactical control centre for roughly In addition, 802 Escuadrón operated in Eurofighters from Ala 11 at Morón participants in the shape of a
half of the missions, mainly those in its usual search and rescue (SAR) capacity and Ala 14 at Albacete, EF-18Ms recently delivered A400M from Ala
which the E-3 was not involved. with its CN235MPA-100s and AS332/H215s. from Ala 12 at Torrejón and Ala 31, which also used its new in-flight

10 // February 2020 #383 www.Key.Aero

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1: A pair of Ejército del Aire Hornets approach the tanker over the Atlantic. Both F/A-18A+ jets are from Ala 46 based at Gando.
Like the EF-18Ms, these aircraft have received several structural and avionic/software upgrades, emerging with the F/A-18A+
designation, also referred to locally as F/A-18CX. 2: An E-3A AWACS taxies out for a dusk mission from Gando. The Sentry from
the NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force arrived in the Canaries on October 18 from Geilenkirchen, Germany. 3: F-15C
84-0010 ‘LN’, named ‘The King’, sports a single kill marking, representing an Iraqi Su-22 downed on March 22, 1991, while assigned
to the 53rd Tactical Fighter Squadron. The jet, now with Lakenheath’s 493rd Fighter Squadron, also wears the ‘D-Day heritage’
design inspired by the unit’s wartime P-47 Thunderbolts, part of the UK-based 48th Fighter Group. 4: A low pass over Gando by
F-16C Block 40 89-0025 (4R-43) of 151 Filo. The jet is based at Merzifon, home to the 5nci Ana Jet Üs Komutanlığı (5th Main Jet
Base Command). The squadron received Block 40 jets in 2017-18, which it operates alongside HARM-equipped Block 50s.
All photos Ben Gorski and Manuel Acosta Zapata
in the


refuelling capability, as well as
a Falcon 20 electronic warfare
aircraft from Grupo Mixto 47 at
Torrejón that provided tactical
jamming to challenge the fighters.
Mission scenarios
The participants made use of
the expansive Delta 79 operating
areas adjacent to the islands.
Lt Col Fernandez de Bobadilla
told AFM: “Air superiority is a
necessary condition for the
joint action of land, naval and
air forces to enjoy freedom of
movement, enabling them to
achieve their objectives.”
The exercise was carried out
in two phases. The first was
a theoretical series of ‘force
integration conferences’, to 4

www.Key.Aero #383 February 2020 // 11

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share information on particular
platform attributes and to establish
guidelines for flight safety and
combat tactics. This was followed
by the practical air combat missions
in which the participants launched,
mustered and then engaged in
some complex air battles that
saw up to 18-v-14 engagements.
Scenarios were expanded in
order to test the full remit of EdA
command and control structures
with combat search and rescue of a 1
simulated downed pilot, through to field of air defence. We have a
air cover for a humanitarian mission unique airspace, which allows us
or the evacuation of non-combatants to carry out missions of extreme
from an area in crisis. All the time, complexity and to recreate all
this was being conducted in the kinds of scenarios. In addition,
face of an impressive opposition the weather, which is usually a
force drawn from the participants. limiting factor for air operations,
Lt Gen Cesar Simón, the head here is normally not a problem.”
of the EdA’s Mando Aéreo de He also made specific mention
Combate (MACOM, Air Combat of the Delta 79 airspace, which
Command), commented: “It is is located 46 miles (74km) from
the most important exercise of Gando, and is one of the largest air
those carried out in Europe in the combat training areas in Europe –
2 stretching for 186 miles (300km)
by 230 miles (370km) – which
allows for unrestricted air combat
training without speed or height
limitations. Col Glenn LeMasters
from the US Embassy in Spain
added: “The Ocean Sky exercise
is a fantastic opportunity for NATO
allies to work and improve together
while gaining interoperability.”
During the 12 intense days of
Ocean Sky 2019, the participating
units completed 24 missions, which
included around 500 individual
sorties. The activity included
complex joint briefings and post-
mission debriefs that reportedly
3 lasted up to 12 hours. AFM
1: Another brace of Spanish Hornets, this time two-seat EF-18BMs from Ala 12, based at Torrejón. The individual aircraft are CE.15-11
‘12-74’ and CE.15-08 ‘12-71’, carrying inert IRIS-T missiles on the wingtips. Ala 12 has two squadrons: 121 Escuadrón (callsign ‘Poker’)
and 122 Escuadrón (callsign ‘Tennis’), both equipped with upgraded EF-18Ms. 2: Eurofighters from the Spanish Air Force’s Ala 11 at
Morón and Ala 14 at Albacete joined the fight. This is single-seat C.16-65/10054 ‘14-23’ from Ala 14, whose jets wear the famous Don
Quixote badge on both sides of the vertical fin. 3: Ala 12 EF-18AM Hornet C.15-56 ‘12-14’ plugs into the tanker. Aerial refuelling was
provided by examples of the A400M and KC-130H, both from the Ejército del Aire. 4: Another of the Lakenheath Eagles taking part
in Ocean Sky was F-15C 86-0178 ‘LN’. More than 275 US airmen and a dozen F-15Cs joined the manoeuvres, making it the largest
USAF engagement in Spain in 2019.


12 // February 2020 #383 www.Key.Aero

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Final Spanish Air Force Typhoon In Brief

First strike for
French Reaper
A French Air Force MQ-9
Reaper Block 1 remotely
piloted aircraft undertook
a first strike mission
on December 21, when
an example operating
from Niamey air base in
Niger dropped a GBU-
12 laser-guided bomb on
a terrorist target in Mali.
The attack came just two
days after the French
military announced it
had completed testing
of the armed version
of the Reaper.
US and Czech Republic
agree 12-helicopter deal
Seen at Getafe on December 5 during its second test flight is C.16-78/10235 ‘14-36’, the last Spanish Typhoon currently under Defence officials from the
US and Czech Republic
contract for the EdA. It will be handed over to Ala 14 soon, completing the initial Spanish order for 73 aircraft. Roberto Yáñez agreed a government-
THE LAST Typhoon for C.16-77/10234 ‘14-35’, arrived older second-hand Hornets video and voice recorder, to-government deal
the Ejército del Aire (EdA, at Albacete on delivery from still in service with 462 laser designator pods covering eight UH-1Y utility
Spanish Air Force) began Getafe on December 3. Escuadrón at Gando in the and maintenance data helicopters and four AH-1Z
flight testing at the Airbus Spain’s initial order for 87 Canary Islands. Until the panel. The retrofitted attack helicopters. Bell has
plant in Getafe, near Eurofighters was reduced to Spanish government makes jets also feature the yet to receive the Foreign
Madrid, on November 73 (15 two-seaters and 58 a decision, the Airbus plant new Operational Flight Military Sales contract to
27. Serial C.16-78/10235 single-seaters) in 2013, due at Getafe will continue Program 02 (OFP-02) build the aircraft, worth
‘14-36’ will be operated to budgetary constraints, to retrofit the 17 Tranche software developed around US$650m. The
by Ala 14 from Albacete but now that the EF-18 1 Typhoons in service by the EdA’s Centro manufacturer anticipates
(southeast of the Spanish Hornet fleet is approaching with the EdA. This work Logístico de Armamento y delivery of a first H-1 to
capital), bringing the unit’s the end of its operational involves integrating new Experimentación (CLAEX, the Czech Republic in
inventory to full strength – life, a second Eurofighter equipment from Tranche 2 Spain’s Armament and 2023 with final deliveries
the penultimate aircraft for order is expected, at least and 3, including a computer Experimental Logistics the following year.
the Ejército del Aire, serial to cover the withdrawal of symbol generator, digital Centre). Roberto Yáñez France receives
16th Atlas
The French Air Force took
Turkey deploys Bayraktar TB2 UAVs to Cyprus delivery of its 16th A400M
transport at Orléans-Bricy
air base on December
TURKEY HAS deployed a the eastern coastal city of last October in order clear how the UAV will 4. The airlifter is the
Bayraktar TB2 medium- Magusa (Famagusta), in the to accommodate both be used, Cyprus’ defence service’s first capable of
altitude, long-endurance Turkish Republic of Northern armed and unarmed UAV minister Savvas Angelides paradropping single loads
surveillance and Cyprus, on December 15. operations. It’s not yet clear stated that its arrival weighing up to 16 tonnes
reconnaissance UAV to Although capable of being whether the arrival of the was “an additional factor and of refuelling other
Northern Cyprus after armed, the UAV did not first TB2 is the precursor contributing to instability” aircraft. France’s 2019-25
preparation of a local air carry any weapons when to a larger deployment in the region and would military programme law
base for drone operations. it arrived and will continue or if the Türk Deniz Hava further thwart efforts to provides for the delivery
The Turkish Navy Bayraktar to operate unarmed, Komutanlığı (Turkish Navy reunite the divided island of 11 A400Ms, for a total
TB2S Silahlı İnsansız Hava according to Kudret Aviation Command) plans to nation. Only the previous of 25 aircraft in service
Aracı (SİHA, unmanned Özersay, foreign minister maintain just a single UAV week, Turkey’s foreign by the end of 2025.
combat aircraft system), for the self-declared on detachment at the base. minister, Mevlüt Çavu oğlu, Two more C295s
serial TCB-807 from 312 Turkish-Cypriot state. The detachment comes had said that Turkey “has for Czech Air Force
Filo, was flown from its Turkey’s armed forces at a time of high tensions the right” to stop any drilling The Czech Republic has
base at Dalaman on the had begun refurbishment over offshore oil and gas in the 44% of the waters ordered another two C295
Turkish mainland to land at work at Geçitkale exploration in the eastern of the Cypriot exclusive transports. The aircraft,
Geçitkale air base (known (formerly known as Ercan Mediterranean. Although economic zone that it claims equipped with winglets
as Lefkoniko in Greek), near International Airport) it is not immediately as its own. Dave Allport and ordered in transport
configuration, are due to
Turkish Navy/312 Filo Bayraktar TB2S TCB-807 landing at Geçitkale in Northern Cyprus on be delivered in the first
December 15. half of 2021. The deal will
bring the Czech Air Force’s
C295 fleet up to six aircraft.
C295s to replace Irish
Air Corps CN235s
The Irish Department of
Defence has ordered two
C295 aircraft in a maritime
surveillance configuration
to replace its current pair of
CN235s. The new aircraft
will be equipped with the
Airbus Fully Integrated
Tactical System (FITS)
and mission sensors as
well as Collins Aerospace
Pro Line Fusion avionics.

www.Key.Aero #383 February 2020 // 13

06/01/2020 14:19:47
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NEWS Continental Europe

Bosnia and Herzegovina Aero Vodochody

to receive four Huey IIs

Second L-39NG
trainer takes to the air

CZECH COMPANY Aero Centre). Once the wing
Vodochody has completed arrives, fatigue testing
a maiden flight of the should start early this
second L-39NG advanced year. The static prototype
jet trainer – the first of began evaluation last June
the pre-series aircraft. and this work should be
L-39NG c/n 7004 (serial completed in mid-2020.
0476) took to the air at The two flying aircraft
An Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina UH-1H takes o from Sarajevo-Rajlovac Heliport, a the company’s Prague – 7001 (serial 0475) and

facility on December 9,
7004 – are dedicated
possible future home base for the new UH-1H-II Huey II helicopters. Antonio Prlenda with Aero pilots Vladimír to flight tests, some of
THE MINISTRY of Defence government through the in zero-hour condition. Továrek and Vytautas which are also performed
of Bosnia and Herzegovina Foreign Military Sales The OSBiH’s current Požela at the controls; using the technology
signed a letter of offer and (FMS) and Foreign Military aviation assets form two it flew for 32 minutes. demonstrator – aircraft
acceptance with the US Funds (FMF) programmes. helicopter squadrons As the initial pre-series 2626, which is a former
government on December The TPA will include the of the Brigada zračnih aircraft, 7004 is the first L-39C trainer equipped
13 for the procurement delivery of four UH-1H- snaga i protuzračne built according to the with the new FJ44-4M
of four Bell Huey II utility II Huey II helicopters, pilot obrane (brZSiPZO, Air aircraft final specification. engine and avionics
helicopters for the Oružane and maintainer training at Force and Air Defence Aero has completed four from the L-39NG.
snage Bosne i Hercegovine the Bell Training Academy Brigade) and include L-39NGs – two dedicated After certification of the
(OSBiH, Armed Forces of in Fort Worth, Texas, and Mi-8T, Mi-8MTV, Gazelle to flight tests, one to static basic trainer configuration
Bosnia and Herzegovina). delivery of tools, ground and UH-1H helicopters, trials and one for fatigue planned for the third
The Total Package support equipment and initial all of which suffer from evaluation. The fatigue quarter of the year, 7001
Approach (TPA) deal is spare parts to cover four limited serviceability. The airframe was completed will then continue work
worth US$38.5m, of which helicopters operating 300 procurement of the four in December and its to certify the light attack
Bosnia and Herzegovina hours each per year for two Huey IIs is the largest fuselage was transported aircraft, which should
is providing US$4.36m. years. Scheduled for delivery investment project since to the VZLÚ (Czech be completed in the
The remaining funds in the next three years, the the OSBiH was established Aerospace Research second half of 2021.
are coming from the US helicopters will be provided in 2005. Antonio Prlenda
Swiss Air Force
Bulgarian Navy AS365N3 delivered Hermes 900 arrives

NEWLY ACQUIRED Aviation Base) at Varna- Vertoleti (Independent
Voennomorski sili na Tchaika on November 20, but Naval Helicopter armasuisse via Dave Allport
Republika Balgariya with the serial and roundel Squadron) at Varna,
(VMS, Bulgarian Navy) taped over and wearing joining two survivors of
AS365N3+ Dauphin II temporary ferry registration three AS565MB Panthers
serial 905, which was YR-AHX. The ten-year-old operated by the unit. It
formally handed over helicopter was acquired will replace AS565MB
on December 6. It had second-hand as an attrition serial 902, that crashed
arrived fully painted in its replacement, reportedly from in the Black Sea on
Bulgarian colours at the a private Norwegian owner. June 9, 2017, following
Otdelna Morska Aviacianna It will be operated by the a collision with the
Basa (Independent Naval Otdelna Morska Eskadrila Bulgarian frigate Drazki.

THE FIRST of six Elbit Switzerland on November
Systems Hermes 900 26 and delivery of the
medium-altitude, long- final drone is due in 2021.
endurance reconnaissance Due to a delay in Israeli
UAVs ordered for the Swiss certification, the Swiss
Air Force under the ADS examples are not expected
15 programme, during its to begin operations for
presentation to the media around another six months,
in a hangar at Emmen according to armasuisse
air base on December 9. officials. The Hermes 900
Although hidden by the replaces the RUAG/IAI
Bulgarian Navy wing in this view, the UAV Ranger ADS 95, which was
via Dave Allport carries serial number retired from Swiss service
D-11. It was delivered to at the end of November.

14 // February 2020 #383 www.Key.Aero

06/01/2020 14:19:50
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13-15 EuropeNews AFM Feb2020.indd 14

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Email the news team at [email protected]

IOC for Italian Caesars going grey In Brief
Rafale the temporary British L-159T1 overhauled
Final Czech Air Force
F3-R military serial ZR362. One Aero Vodochody has
of 15 examples ordered
delivered the last of
THE ARMÉE de l’Air for the AM, the aircraft five overhauled two-
(French Air Force) and will be operated by the 15° seat L-159T1 advanced
Marine Nationale (French Stormo based at Cervia. trainers to the Czech Air
Navy) have both announced While the Caesars were Force, which now has a
initial operating capability originally delivered in a fleet of eight two-seat
(IOC) for the latest Rafale distinctive black scheme, L-159s: five L-159T1+ and
F3-R operational standard. Ian Harding this latest aircraft is three L-159T2 aircraft.
The Marine Nationale painted grey overall. The L-159s undergo a regular
declared IOC for the F3-R CAPTURED DEPARTING Aeronautica Militare (AM, change was reportedly maintenance check
standard on its Rafale the Leonardo Helicopters Italian Air Force) HH-101A made to reduce heat (PP2000) after 2,000
Ms on November 29. The manufacturing facility Caesar (AgustaWestland absorption encountered flight hours or eight years
announcement followed at Yeovil in Somerset AW101 Mk611), coded ‘15- with the previous black- after the last scheduled
several months of training on December 11 was 13’. The helicopter wears painted aircraft. maintenance. The first of
for aircrews and technical five L-159T1 to undergo

personnel from Flottille PP2000 work was
11F, the first of three navy MQ-9 Guardian demo flights in Greece redelivered in 2017, two
fighter squadrons to adopt more were completed
the new standard. The F3-R GENERAL ATOMICS and handed over in 2018,
standard allows the navy Aeronautical Systems and the last two were
to upgrade its Rafale M Inc (GA-ASI) began overhauled in 2019.
and acquire more modern demonstration flights of its Upgrade for Greek
capabilities leading up to MQ-9 Guardian remotely Mirage 2000s
integration of the Meteor piloted aircraft (RPA) in The Greek defence
beyond-visual-range air- Greece on December 10. ministry has announced
to-air missile (BVRAAM) The trials allowed potential maintenance contracts
and Talios laser designator European customers to with Dassault Aviation,
pod. The F3-R standard assess the drone’s maritime GA-ASI’s MQ-9 N308HK outside a hangar at Larissa air Safran Military Engines
also includes an automatic surveillance and detect-and- base. GA-ASI and Thales to upgrade
ground collision avoidance avoid capabilities. The flights the Hellenic Air Force’s
system (AGCAS) and were hosted by the Hellenic Guardian could provide (TCAS II) and automatic Mirage 2000-5 fleet.
various improvements to Air Force (HAF) and staged maritime patrol and dependent surveillance- These contracts extend
the RBE2 radar, Spectra out of Larissa air base. exclusive economic zone broadcast (ADS-B). The over seven years and
electronic warfare system, Although the flights (EEZ) monitoring, border MQ-9 also demonstrated include upgrade and
Reco NG pod and inertial were performed for surveillance, support for a Raytheon SeaVue multi- sustainment of electronics
navigation system. The representatives of different search and rescue efforts, mode maritime surface- and engines at a cost
F3-R standard Rafale European counties, and overwatch of forest search radar with inverse of around €260m.
M will also be equipped GA-ASI confirmed that fire response efforts. synthetic aperture radar S-70i enters Polish
with a new-generation the “HAF looks forward The company-owned (ISAR) mode, an automatic Army service
in-flight refuelling pod. to seeing the results of MQ-9 involved in the trials, identification system (AIS) Four S-70i Black Hawks
The air force was next this demonstration”. An N308HK, is equipped with receiver, and high-definition/ produced by PZL Mielec
to declare the milestone, unnamed HAF official an air-to-air radar integrated full-motion video sensor were officially handed
on December 6. The noted that, in addition to with a traffic alert and equipped with optical over to the Polish Armed
announcement followed defence capabilities, the collision avoidance system and infrared cameras. Forces on December
a period of training for 20. The helicopters will
aircrews and technical H145M SAR handed over to German Army be used by the army in
staff from the Air Force support of Polish special
Command and the Strategic AFTER ALMOST 50 Equipment, Information also responsible for forces. The contract for
Air Force Command, after years of German search Technology and logistics support, repair the four machines was
the F3-R standard was and rescue (SAR) units In-Service Support) by and maintenance of signed in January last year.
officially accepted last operating the UH-1D, the Airbus Helicopters at its the helicopters. Romania adds
July. Declaration of IOC for Bundeswehr (German Donauwörth, Germany, Among other features, the five more F-16s
the Armée de l’Air will be Armed Forces) has taken facility – ahead of schedule helicopters are equipped The Romanian
followed by integration of delivery of its successor, – on December 10. with high-performance government has passed
the Meteor BVRAAM and the H145M SAR. The first The H145M SAR aircraft cameras, searchlights, a draft law outlining
Talios pod by the end of of seven examples on will be stationed at emergency beacon locator procurement of another
the first half of 2020. Until order was delivered to the Niederstetten, Holzdorf systems, a full suite of five F-16s from Portuguese
then, the F3-R standard Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, and Nörvenich. The last medical equipment, stocks. The jets will
will be available for the air Informationstechnik und example is scheduled to be rescue winches and load have the same M.5.2R
force’s enduring missions of Nutzung der Bundeswehr delivered in early 2021, once hooks that can be used software configuration
nuclear deterrence, foreign (BAAINBw, the Federal training has been completed. for fire-extinguishing as Romania’s existing
operations and protection Office of Bundeswehr Airbus Helicopters is tanks, for example. 12 F-16s. Eventually,
of French airspace, known all 17 fighters will be
as Posture Permanente upgraded to a new
de Sûreté (Permanent standard called M.6.X.
Security Posture). Polish pilots
graduate on M-346
Right: H145M SAR 77+07 (c/n The Polish Air Force has
20274, D-HADL) at Manching, completed a first training
Bavaria, for a pre-delivery course on its M-346
training sortie last November. Bielik jets. The initial four
The first example will be pilot cadets underwent
delivered to the Niederstetten an eight-month training
main operational base in 2020, syllabus on the advanced
followed by detachments jet trainer at the Air Force
established at Nörvenich and Academy in Dęblin.
Holzdorf. Dietmar Fenners

www.Key.Aero #383 February 2020 // 15

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NEWS North America

Congress delays transfer RCAF’s

of aggressor F-35As first


Force (RCAF) officials
have formally accepted
its first Fixed-Wing
Search and Rescue
(FWSAR) CC-295.
The transfer of the
aircraft, 295501 (c/n
183), took place during a
ceremony in the factory at
Seville-San Pablo Airport,
Spain, on December 18.
Following this delivery,
the RCAF will initiate
Above: F-35A 15-5195 ‘HL’ assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing’s 4th Fighter Squadron on the flight line during Red Flag 19-1, Nelllis more testing, training
Air Force Base, Nevada, in February last year. This was the wing’s second Red Flag with the Lightning II. USAF/R Nial Bradshaw and initial operational
LANGUAGE INCORPORATED force prior to United States have sufficient capacity and 64th Aggressor Squadron test and evaluation
into the draft US National adversaries fielding a fifth- availability of range space; are (AGRS) with F-16Cs as part (IOT&E) operations in
Defense Authorization Act generation operational capable of hosting advanced- of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Spain. The aircraft is
(NDAA) for Fiscal Year capability.” It added that “the threat training exercises; Force Base, Nevada, and the scheduled to be ferried
2020 will delay previously air force’s plan to use low- and meet or require minimal 18th AGRS with F-16C/Ds home to Canadian Forces
announced plans to transfer rate initial production F-35As addition to the environmental as part of the 354th Fighter Base Comox, British
low-rate initial production as aggressor aircraft reflects requirements associated with Wing at Eielson AFB, Alaska. Colombia, by mid-2020.
F-35As to the aggressor a recognition of the need to the basing action.” Finally, it However, last May 9, the As previously reported,
role. The details were first field a modernised aggressor added that the report should USAF announced that it was the aircraft had made
made public in the NDAA fleet.” However, it noted that also include “an analysis of to reactivate the 65th AGRS its maiden flight from
conference report published “the Secretary of the Air Force the potential cost and benefits at Nellis AFB and transfer Seville last July 4 (see
on December 9. The draft may not transfer any low- of expanding aggressor nine non-combat-capable Maiden flight for Canada’s
NDAA was approved by the rate initial production F-35 squadrons currently operating F-35As to the unit from Eglin CC-295, August, p18). At
House of Representatives aircraft for use as aggressor 18 primary assigned aircraft AFB, Florida, to improve that time, it was still only
two days later, followed by aircraft until the Chief of Staff (PAA) to a level of 24 PAA training for fifth-generation painted in primer and
the Senate on December of the Air Force submits to each [and] an analysis of the fighter pilots (see USAF to used test registration
17 and then signed into the congressional defence cost and timelines associated reactivate the 65th AGRS with EC-005. Since then it
law by President Donald committees a comprehensive with modernising the current F-35As, July 2019, p7). As part has been fully painted in
Trump on December 20. plan and report on the air force aggressor squadrons of the plan, two more F-35As the RCAF’s bright yellow
The bill acknowledges strategy for modernising its to include upgrading aircraft at Edwards AFB, California, SAR colour scheme.
that “it is critical that the air organic aggressor fleet.” radar, infrared search-and- would also be moved to Canada is procuring 16
force has the capability to The bill states that the track systems, radar warning Nellis for the 24th Tactical Air CC-295s to take over SAR
train against an advanced required report must include receiver, tactical data Support Squadron to provide duties currently being
air adversary in order to “potential locations for link, threat-representative additional close air support undertaken by six RCAF
be prepared for conflicts F-35A aggressor aircraft, jamming pods, and other training. The 65th AGRS had CC-115 Buffalos and 12
against a modern enemy including an analysis of upgrades necessary to previously undertaken the CC-130H aircraft. Initial
force, and that in order to installations that have the size provide a realistic advanced same role with F-15s, but was operational capability is
have this capability, the air and availability of airspace adversary threat.” deactivated on September scheduled for 2020 with
force must have access necessary to meet flying Currently, the USAF has 26, 2014, as a cost-saving full capability following
to an advanced adversary operations requirements; two aggressor units, the measure. Dave Allport in 2022. Dave Allport
Wisconsin ANG F-16s return from Bagram

US AIR Force/Wisconsin The unit had departed Scott Jobe, the 455th AEW
Air National Guard F-16s Truax Field to begin the commander, saying: “The
have completed an almost deployment last July 25. While 176th EFS is the finest F-16
four-month deployment to at Bagram, the unit operated unit I have encountered.” In
Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, as the 176th Expeditionary addition, Brig Gen Michael
in support of Operations Fighter Squadron under E Martin, the deputy
Freedom’s Sentinel and the control of the 455th Air commanding general for
Resolute Support. The Expeditionary Wing (AEW). NATO Special Operations
aircraft, along with more Col Erik Peterson, 115th FW Component Command and
than 200 airmen assigned to commander, reported that the Special Operations Joint Task
the 115th Fighter Wing/176th unit had executed 100% of Force-Afghanistan, sent the
Fighter Squadron ‘Badger its air tasking order missions USAF Chief of Staff, Gen
Air Militia’ and active-duty during the deployment David L Goldfein, a letter that
associate unit the 495th and the maintenance team concluded with praise that the
Fighter Group/378th Fighter performed their role flawlessly 176th EFS had been directly
Squadron, were welcomed to maximise sortie generation. responsible for changing the
Above: USAF/Wisconsin ANG/115th FW/176th FS ‘Badger Air home during a ceremony at The unit received numerous tide of the war in the Train
Militia’ F-16C 87-0298 ‘WI’ arrives back at Truax Field, Madison- Truax Field, Madison-Dane accolades for their exceptional Advise Assist Command –
Dane County Regional Airport, Wisconsin, after its deployment to County Regional Airport, performance, with a personal North (TAAC – North) region
Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. USAF/115th FW/Tech Sgt Andrea F Rhode Wisconsin, on November 9. note from Brig Gen R of Afghanistan. Dave Allport

16 // February 2020 #383 www.Key.Aero

06/01/2020 14:22:25
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2nd Marine Air Wing New look for Texas

ANG ‘Viper’

withdraws final AH-1W USAF F-16C Block 30 86-0262 on December 17. The Iowa Air
‘SA’ from the 149th Fighter National Guard Paint Facility
AS THE US Marine Corps performed its last flight with the ceremony, HMLA- Wing/182nd Fighter Squadron in Sioux City had recently
transitions to the new UH-1Y the AH-1W on November 269 put up a formation ‘Lonestar Gunfighters’, finished painting the fighter
and AH-1Z, older helicopters 26. The sundown ceremony comprising two of its final Texas Air National Guard and it was ready to return to
continue to be retired. At also marked the Super AH-1Ws (165331 ‘HF-76’ and (ANG), wears a new, darker, its home unit. According to
Marine Corps Air Station Cobra’s last flight with the 162547 ‘HF-72’) flanking single-colour paint scheme. the air force, the new colour
New River, North Carolina, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. UH-1Y 169240 ‘HF-81’ and The Fighting Falcon was will replace the older two-tone
Marine Light Attack The ‘Gun Runners’ are AH-1Z 168398 ‘HF-50’, photographed on the Iowa grey as the standard paint
Helicopter Squadron 269 now solely equipped with which represented its new ANG ramp in Sioux City, Iowa, scheme for all USAF F-16s.
(HMLA-269) ‘Gun Runners’ the UH-1Y and AH-1Z. For equipment. Dave Allport

US ANG/Senior Master
Sgt Vincent De Groot
‘Bone’ life extension begins

THE USAF has begun The repairs are being
repairs to its B-1B fleet, Air carried out by the SPO and
Force Materiel Command the 76th Aircraft Maintenance
announced on December Group (AMXG), which have
10. By that date, structural established a dedicated
repair and maintenance work repair line at Tinker Air Force
on the first aircraft – begun Base, Oklahoma, to address
in October – was nearing B-1 structural issues.
completion. The programme Phase one of the structures
follows a detailed study repair line will include repair
of airframe fatigue and is of seven urgent tasks on ten
intended to keep the Lancer of the Lancers with highest
operational until 2045. flying-hour requirements
Bill Barnes, director of compared with the rest of
the B-1 Systems Program the fleet, as well as known
Office (SPO), explained: “It’s structural issues. The repairs
been flown past its certified will be completed in a 30-day
service life and, as such, flow under a fly-in, fly-out
it’s developed numerous programme, with 5,000 hours
structural issues and we’ve of repair invested into each
Two of the final USMC AH-1Ws with the 2nd Marine Air Wing, been working on repairs airframe. Phase two, planned
165331 ‘HF-76’ and 162547 ‘HF-72’, perform a final formation for over the last four or five to begin in April, will involve
flight flanking UH-1Y 169240 ‘HF-81’ and AH-1Z 168398 ‘HF-50’ years. We have those repairs a steady stream of B-1Bs
during a sundown ceremony for the AH-1W at Marine Corps developed [and] we know coming through each year for
Air Station New River, North Carolina. All four are assigned to what aircraft tail numbers repair with 14,000 hours of
HMLA-269 ‘Gun Runners’. USMC/2nd MAW/Pfc Steven Walls those repairs apply to.” work planned per airframe.
TC-135W visits Mildenhall

ONE OF Offutt Air Force the callsign ‘Angus 55’. It’s RC-135V/W configuration
Base’s TC-135Ws, serial expected the TC-135W was – including the ‘Hog’ nose
62-4127 ‘OF’, on finals into in the UK for a temporary and ELINT cheek fairings
RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, on crew training deployment. – but are not equipped
the morning of December The three TC-135W training with any of the Rivet
15. The aircraft arrived from aircraft of the 55th Wing Joint mission systems.
the Nebraska base with aerodynamically match the

Justin Ward

www.Key.Aero #383 February 2020 // 17

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NEWS North America

First modified MV-22B Osprey for In Brief

improved fleet readiness tensions escalate

Middle East
Additional US forces arrived
in the Middle East after an
attack on the US Embassy
in Iraq by Iranian-backed
militias on December 31.
Around 750 soldiers were
deployed by USAF C-17As,
while MV-22s and AH-64s
flew ‘show of force’ flights
in the area. On the morning
of January 3, a US drone
strike in Baghdad killed
Qassem Suleimani, leader
of the Iranian Revolutionary
Guard’s Quds Force.
New aircraft for
Army National Guard
As part of US Army
modernisation plans, the
Army National Guard is set
to receive 100 aircraft in
Above: An MV-22B arrives at Boeing’s Philadelphia site as the first aircraft to undergo the CC-RAM programme. Boeing Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 and
BOEING AND Bell and Modernization was originally delivered is expected in early 2020. 300 in FY 2021-2024. The
Textron have delivered (CC-RAM) programme to the fleet in 2005 and, In November 2019, additional aircraft for the
a first modified MV-22B, involves Bell Boeing after modernisation at the US Navy awarded National Guard include: 64
165948, to the US Marine upgrading existing Block Boeing’s Philadelphia Bell Boeing a US$146m UH-60Ms for FY 2020 and
Corps as part of efforts B aircraft to the current facility beginning in 2018, contract to upgrade nine 172 for FY 2021-2024, 23
to improve readiness and Block C configuration, it was recently returned to additional MV-22s under UH-60V aircraft for FY 2020
reliability of the tiltrotor reducing the number of Marine Corps Air Station the CC-RAM programme, and 132 for FY 2021-2024
fleet. The Common configurations in service. New River, North Carolina. with work expected to be and 39 remanufactured
Configuration – Readiness The first CC-RAM aircraft The next CC-RAM delivery completed in March 2022. AH-64 Block IIIA
aircraft in FY 2024.
Lockheed USS John F Kennedy christened replacement programme
USAF launches E-4B
Martin The US Air Force has
begun an acquisition
delivered programme to replace its
four E-4B aircraft with the
134 F-35s new Survivable Airborne
Operations Center (SAOC)
weapon system. The new
in 2019 platform is required to be a
derivative of a commercial
MANUFACTURER aircraft and will allow the US
LOCKHEED Martin President and Joint Chiefs
exceeded its annual to respond to a nuclear
commitment to F-35 attack even if a pre-emptive
deliveries, handing over first strike has destroyed
134 Lightning IIs last year, the military’s underground
an increase of 47% over command centres.
2018 and representing Additional C-32A
nearly a 200% production joins USAF fleet
increase from 2016. The The USAF has added
joint government and another C-32A to its fleet.
industry delivery goal for The aircraft, serial 90018,
2019 was 131 aircraft. has been noted recently at
This year, the firm plans several different locations
to deliver 141 F-35s and throughout the US. The
will continue to increase latest C-32 joins the 1st Airlift
production volume Squadron, part of the 89th
in order to hit peak Above: Pre-Commissioning Unit ‘John F Kennedy’ (CVN 79) in the dry dock area ahead of Airlift Wing, which already
production in 2023. its christening at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding. US Navy/Mass operates seven examples.
The 134th aircraft was a Communication Specialist 3rd Class Adam Ferrero USAF looks at
short take-off and vertical THE US Navy’s latest Gerald May 2019. Last October the The latest USS John contractor refuelling
landing (STOVL) F-35B for R Ford-class aircraft carrier, dry dock was flooded, and F Kennedy was built Air Mobility Command is
the US Marine Corps. In USS John F Kennedy (CVN the crew began to arrive. by Huntington Ingalls examining use of privately
2019, deliveries included 79) was christened on CVN 79 is the second Industries’ Newport News owned tankers for certain
81 F-35s for the US, 30 December 7 in a ceremony aircraft carrier to carry the Shipbuilding division. missions. An industry day
for international partner at Newport News, Virginia. name of President John The Gerald R Ford class to discuss the possibility
nations and 23 for Foreign The warship is the second F Kennedy. The former incorporates advanced of contracting out boom-
Military Sales customers. aircraft carrier in its class USS John F Kennedy (CV technology, including new type refuelling took place on
The Pentagon has and will replace the USS 67) was a sub-variant of propulsion system, electric December 17 and involved
also awarded Lockheed Nimitz (CVN 68) when that the Kitty Hawk class and plant, Electromagnetic 14 companies. AMC says
a US$1.93bn contract ship is decommissioned. the last conventionally Aircraft Launch System contractor tankers could be
for “recurring logistics The ship’s keel was laid in powered carrier built for (EMALS), Advanced used for training, test work,
services” for already August 2015 and placement the US Navy. It was in Arresting Gear (AAG), Foreign Military Sales and
delivered F-35s. of the 588-tonne island commission from September machinery control, radars and fighter r efuelling missions.
superstructure took place in 1968 to August 2007. integrated warfare systems.

18 // February 2020 #383 www.Key.Aero

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NEWS Africa Subscribe to for breaking news stories.

Email the news team at [email protected]


training on

air and ground crew are
Burkina being trained in the US
on the C-145A Combat
Faso orders C295 Burkina Faso is the latest customer for the Airbus C295 – seen Coyote (M28 Skytruck)
in readiness for delivery
in its current C295W production configuration with winglets.
of three surplus USAF
Mali, Ivory Coast and now
A USAF press release
THE DEFENCE ministry of C295 is adapted to perform Airbus Three King Airs are the examples to the KAF.
Burkina Faso has moved to in the harsh sub-Saharan Burkina Faso, the C295 is only other fixed-wing on October 18 revealed
reinforce the country’s military Africa operating environment. becoming the 21st century’s transports currently in the that the 492nd Special
transport capabilities by Together with its affordable standard tactical airlifter FABF inventory. The first of a Operations Wing at
signing a contract for a single maintenance and operational in Africa, with 36 aircraft pair of 1980-built Beech 200 Hurlburt Field, Florida, has
Airbus C295. Airbus Defence costs, the C295 is the perfect operating in the region.” King Airs arrived in August been instructing Kenyan
and Space announced the match for the climatic The transport fleet of the 1991, acquired second- pilots and loadmasters
firm order on December 11. conditions of Burkina Faso”. Force Aérienne de Burkina hand from the UK civilian on the C-145A since
The twin turboprop is being Bernhard Brenner, head Faso (FABF) was last market. By early 2009, one mid-September.
acquired as part of the West of marketing and sales expanded in September 2007 had been cannibalised to Kenya had requested six
African country’s 2018-2022 for Airbus Defence and with the arrival of a second- provide spares for the other. surplus USAF C-145As
Military Acquisition Law. Space, added: “We are hand PT Dirgantara Indonesia The US civilian market as Excess Defense
In a statement, the very proud to see that with (PTDI) CN235-220, upgraded provided another two of the Articles (EDA), but only
manufacturer noted that “the Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, to CN235M standard. type in 2006 and in 2011. three were approved
for offer under the EDA
programme on August
Kenyan Spartans Czech Republic 15, 2016. A Letter of Offer
and Acceptance for the
aircraft was implemented
prepare for delivery overhauls two Burkina on May 27, 2017. Their
original acquisition value
Faso Mi-17 Hips was given as US$30m,
but their current value
THE CZECH company aircraft’s life cycle from 35 to is listed as US$9m. The
LOM Praha is currently 39 years, so they now have aircraft are currently being
overhauling two Force eight years of flying left.” prepared for delivery by
Aérienne de Burkina Faso Work on both of the September 15, 2020.
(FABF) Mi-17s, serials 9001 Mi-17s is expected to be US Air Force Special
and 9202. The two Kazan- completed in late spring, Operations Command
built helicopters arrived when they will fly several (AFSOC) acquired
at LOM Praha’s Prague- functional check flights 18 C-145As but, due
Marco Rossi Kbely facility after being before being airfreighted to changing mission
airfreighted by Il-76 to back to Ouagadougou. requirements, AFSOC
THE THIRD and final C-27J an undisclosed number of Pardubice Airport from Base LOM Praha has completed retired two-thirds of the
airlifter for the Kenya Air AW139 helicopters. (Three Aérienne 511 Ouagadougou the heavy repair of four fleet from May 2015.
Force (KAF) takes off from AW139s have been noted on March 15. LOM Praha badly damaged Mi-17V-5s, These were then offered
Turin-Caselle Airport on pre-delivery in Italy, with project manager, Alexandr belonging to the Afghan to friendly countries under
December 12 for a test tail numbers suggesting Demin told AFM: “We have Air Force over the past two the EDA programme,
flight. This aircraft, wearing at least six have been stripped them of all their years, with the last aircraft with two each approved
KAF serial 226, but still ordered for Kenya). [sub-systems], which are returned in August 2019. The for Costa Rica, Estonia
carrying the experimental Kenya’s Spartans will being overhauled here work saw many significant and Nepal during 2016,
Italian serial CSX62316, replace four DHC-5D along with the fuselages, repairs and a lot of dialogue in addition to the Kenyan
wears full KAF colours Buffalos based at Moi Air while all the dynamic parts with Russian Helicopters. A examples. Since then,
including roundels and the Base, Mombasa. The KAF’s including the TV3-117MT Ghana Air Force Mi-17V-5 an order for two new
national flag on the tail. first four Buffalos were engines are being worked was overhauled and production Skytrucks for
Currently, all three Kenyan delivered in April and May on at our Malešice facility subsequently airfreighted Nepal appears to have
C-27Js (serials 222, 224 1977, followed by two more in Prague.” He continued: back to Accra last replaced the planned
and 226) are performing in August and December “The work here extends the February. Alan Warnes EDA acquisition (see
test and training flights 1978, respectively. The final In Brief, May 2019,
at Leonardo’s main batch of four Buffalos was p27). The first Estonian
facility at Turin-Caselle, delivered in October and example was delivered
but delivery is reportedly December 1986. Confirmed in March 2019 (see
imminent. The three Kenyan DHC-5D attrition losses Estonia receives C-145,
C-27Js are the first to have occurred April 16, May 2019, p14) and the
be equipped with a new 1992 and May 1, 1999, second in June, but the
avionics suite that allows respectively. A third status of the Costa Rican
full compliance with new reported attrition loss may aircraft is unconfirmed.
civil aviation regulations only have been damage Dave Allport
and military requirements. to an aircraft that was
Spartan ‘226’ is the last subsequently repaired. Left: Two FABF Mi-17s arrived
of three examples acquired Kenya is the fourth at LOM Praha, Kbely for
between November 2017 African customer for overhaul last March and are
and February 2018 at a cost the C-27J after Chad, expected to be returned to
of US$200m, together with Morocco and Zambia. Burkina Faso in late spring
2020. Alan Warnes

www.Key.Aero #383 February 2020 // 19

06/01/2020 14:24:53
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NEWS Russia & CIS

In Brief Armenian Flankers Heavy transport

Frazor reportedly model under test
back in Syria delivered
The Russian Aerospace
Forces have reportedly RUSSIA’S CENTRAL including changing the
deployed Su-57 stealth Aerohydrodynamic Institute shape of the nose and tail,
fighters to Syria for a (TsAGI) has revealed an fuselage, wingtips and
second time, following image of an aerodynamic undercarriage fairings.
initial combat trials in model showing the Testing in a T-106 variable-
February 2018. The configuration of a proposed density wind tunnel will
Russian military’s chief of new heavy-lift transport begin shortly, studying the
the general staff Valery aircraft, dubbed the aerodynamic characteristics
Gerasimov announced ‘Elephant’ and planned as in cruising mode. Testing will
the deployment in mid- Armenian Air Force Su-30SM an An-124 replacement. continue throughout 2020.
December 2019. ‘30 Red’ carries out a check flight The photograph was issued The Elephant is designed to
Mi-26T2V begins from Irkut. Andrey Neyman with a TsAGI press release carry heavy loads at ranges
joint state tests in November and shows a up to 4,350 miles (7,000km)
Russian Helicopters and the THE FIRST four Su-30SM all four were delivered to configuration not unlike the and at an airspeed of 528mph
Russian defence ministry fighters ordered for the Armenia the same month. An-124. Although the model (850km/h). Maximum
have launched joint state Hayastani Rrazmaodayin Last February 13, the lacks a tail section, TsAGI payload is intended to be
tests of the Mi-26T2V Uzher (Armenian Air Armenian defence minister, says it will have a single 180 tonnes, compared with
heavy-lift military helicopter. Force) have been handed David Tonoyan, stated that vertical tail with deflectable 120 tonnes for the An-124.
In 2018, Rostvertol over to the customer. four Su-30SMs were on two-section rudder. It will require a 9,843ft
produced a prototype Two of the jets – ‘30 order and that a further The model is reconfigurable (3,000m) runway. Powerplant
of the modernised Halo, Red’ and ‘31 Red’ – were order was expected soon, to enable testing in various is planned to be four PD-35
equipped with NPK90- seen undergoing pre- reportedly for another different configurations, turbofans. Dave Allport
2V integrated avionics, delivery flight testing at eight aircraft. The Flankers
and, following preliminary the Irkut Corporation’s are said to be assigned to The TsAGI aerodynamic model of the proposed ‘Elephant’
tests at the manufacturing factory airfield in Irkutsk in a newly established fighter heavy-lift transport aircraft. TsAGI
facility, trials will continue Siberia in December and unit based at Erebuni.
throughout the year.
Ministry takes delivery
of armed rotorcraft More on Russia’s

Last year, more than 20 Northern Fleet reshuffle
attack helicopters were
delivered to the Russian
defence ministry, Russian An-12 ‘14 Red’ is part of the
Helicopters has announced. 403rd Guards Independent
The statement adds their Composite Aviation
arrival “fully completes the Regiment based
state defence contract” at Severomorsk-1.
for the year. The rotorcraft Piotr Butowski the Northern Fleet’s aviation Il-18s, three An-26s and one
included examples of the has increased. The new An-12 and Tu-134 each), as
Ka-52, Mi-35M, Mi-28N and regiments are incomplete and well as between five and
Mi-28UB. In addition, the retain the same equipment seven Kamov helicopters
first of up to 98 modernised as the previous 7050th and two Mi-8 helicopters.
Mi-28NM helicopters Aviation Base. In the past This is insufficient to equip
were handed over. decade, only two Il-38Ns and two air regiments.
UAV units start several Ka-27Ms have been There are also non-airworthy
training in Armenia modernised at Severomorsk-1, types on the airfield – six
The Russian Ministry of and a single Ka-29 repaired. Il-38s, four An-26s, one
Defence has announced FURTHER DETAILS have 403rd Guards Independent According to the An-12 and one Be-12. At the
that a newly formed emerged of the reorganisation Composite Aviation Regiment latest satellite images, other end of the airfield lie
unmanned aerial vehicle of Russia’s Northern Fleet (403 OSAP) and 830th Severomorsk-1 abandoned helicopter hulls:
unit has begun training air arms (see Northern Fleet Independent Shipborne accommodates only six around 25 Kamovs (reduced
at Russia’s military base aviation regiments return, ASW Helicopter Regiment Il-38 ASW aircraft (including from 35 several years ago)
at Erebuni in Armenia. January, p20). The formation (830 OKPLVP) – does not two Il-38Ns) and seven and five (reduced from around
Servicemen have of two new units – the mean that the strength of transport aircraft (two ten) Mi-8s. Piotr Butowski
begun tests of Orlan-
10 and Navodchik-2 Kazakhstan orders four more Su-30SMs
drones at the country’s
Kamkhud high-mountain A FURTHER four Su-30SMs year. A further contract in
training ground. have been ordered by the May 2018 involved an order
Kazakhstan plans Kazakhstan Air Defence for eight more. The latest
local assembly of Hips Force (KADF). The deal brings total orders to
Russian Helicopters is to contract was signed during 30 aircraft out of a currently
deliver 17 Mi-8AMTSh/ a bilateral conference planned total procurement
Mi-171E military helicopters held on November 6-7 of 36, although this may be
to Kazakhstan in ‘semi- between the Ministry of increased. As of December
knockdown’ kit form, Industry and Infrastructural 2018, when four more
following an agreement Development of the arrived (see More Su-30SMs
signed with the Kazakhstan Republic of Kazakhstan’s arrive in Kazakhstan,
Engineering and Aircraft RSE Kazspecsexport February 2019, p20), total
Repair Plant No 405. Under and Russia’s Irkut Two of the KADF’s first eight Su-30SMs, currently assigned to deliveries had reached 12,
a deal reportedly worth Corporation. Talks were the 604th Air Base at Taldykorgan. Rich Cooper with eight due to follow
US$460m, the first batch also held regarding further in 2019, although there
of eight helicopters will be co-operation between the The KADF took delivery 2016. In September 2017, an had been no confirmation
delivered this year, with two companies, including of an initial four Su-30SMs additional 12 were ordered, that any of these have
the remainder by 2026. future arms supplies to the in April 2015, followed by for delivery over a three-year been delivered as of
Kazakh armed forces. two more in December period at a rate of four per December. Dave Allport

20 // February 2020 #383 www.Key.Aero

06/01/2020 14:27:16
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Latest Saudi Eagle deliveries US approves
provision of

THE MOST recent delivery are being upgraded to the transited Lakenheath in factory to Nellis Air Force three C-130Hs
of Royal Saudi Air Force same improved standard. March 2018, followed by a Base, Nevada, where they and 15 F-16s
(RSAF) F-15SA fighters F-15SA deliveries got further four in May that year participated in Exercise
staged through RAF under way when the first and five in July. Four more Red Flag 19-2 before to Jordan
Lakenheath, Suffolk, where four aircraft – two new- new-build aircraft passed delivery to Saudi Arabia
they arrived on the evening build aircraft and two F-15S through the Suffolk base in March. Six more arrived JORDAN IS to acquire
of December 2. This conversions – were delivered in late September 2018. A at Lakenheath in late July 15 surplus US F-16s for
batch of five Advanced via Lakenheath in December further four travelled the 2019 and four arrived at the parts reclamation, along
Eagles comprised serials 2016. Three more new-build same way in December base last September 23. with three excess C-130H
12-1044, 12-1062, 12-1080, jets followed in February that year, followed by The latest deliveries Hercules transports.
12-1081 and 12-1082, part 2017. Five were delivered in four more in March 2019. leave just ten new-build According to a report on
of an order for 84 new- March the same year, and Other deliveries last year F-15SAs awaiting transfer November 26 in Al-Monitor,
build F-15SA jets. In six more each in August, comprised six aircraft that to complete the order. a US State Department
addition, 68 of the RSAF’s September and December. were delivered straight from official confirmed that the
surviving F-15S aircraft Four more Advanced Eagles Boeing’s St Louis, Missouri, sale had been approved.
RSAF F-15SA 12-1044 on The F-16s will be used
as a spares source for
finals to RAF Lakenheath on the Royal Jordanian Air
December 2. Peter R Foster
Force’s (RJAF’s) existing
F-16A/B fleet, while the
Hercules will supplement
the existing RJAF C-130Hs.
A US House of
Representatives Committee
on Foreign Affairs Survey of
Activities report published
last October 18 confirmed
notification had taken place
on September 5 of the
proposed grant transfer
of 15 excess F-16 parts
First Iranian Navy THE IRANIAN Navy is a new locally developed version of reclamation aircraft to
the government of Jordan
operator of the Shahed-129
the US Northrop F-5A and a
Shahed-129 unveiled armed unmanned aerial copy of the US RQ-170 UAV. under the Excess Defense
Articles (EDA) programme.
vehicle. On December 7, the
The Shahed-129 has been
first example for the Iranian in service with Iran’s Islamic A similar report published
Navy, serial number 027, Revolutionary Guards Corps on April 18 last year had
was officially unveiled at since 2012. However, it is first revealed that plans
Konark, a coastal air base in only now that the Iranian for the EDA transfer of
southeastern Iran, by Iranian Navy has introduced the the three C-130Hs had
Navy commander Rear type, six of which have been reported on March
Admiral Hossein Khanzadi. been ordered. The navy 28, 2019. Dave Allport
The navy has named its new variant is a new version,
UAV the ‘Simorgh’, after a precise details of which
winged beast from Iranian are unconfirmed, although
mythology, although the it apparently has a new In Brief
The first Iranian Navy Shahed-129, serial 027, takes o for a same name has previously engine intake and cowling,

demonstration flight during its unveiling at Konark air base. been used for two entirely suggesting a modified Fourth batch of Qatari
different Iranian types: a powerplant. Dave Allport Rafales delivered
The latest batch of Qatar
UH-60M Armed Black Hawk at Dubai Airshow Emiri Air Force Rafales
departed Bordeaux/
Mérignac on delivery
AMONG THE many armed Minigun was attached to to Tamim Air Base on
Joint Aviation Command each cabin door. A JAC pilot December 3. The aircraft
(JAC) helicopters on display told AFM: “The LGR’s range involved were two-seat
at the Dubai Airshow in is between 6-7km [4-5 miles] Rafale DQ serial QA205
November 2019 was a and it’s used for ‘soft’ targets and single-seat Rafale
UH-60M Armed Black such as vehicles and boats. EQ serials QA212, QA213,
Hawk (ABH). It’s one of 50 The AGM-114R Hellfires, QA214 and QA226.
acquired from Sikorsky and with a range of up to 8km [5 Production of Bahraini
upgraded with the ABH kit miles], are primarily focused F-16 Block 70s begins
by AMMROC (Advanced on armoured vehicles.” Lockheed Martin has
Military Maintenance Repair A nose-mounted FLIR begun construction of the
and Overhaul Center) in the BRITE Star II electro-optical/ first of 16 F-16 Block 70s
United Arab Emirates (UAE). infrared sensor turret with for the Royal Bahraini Air
The helicopter was laser designator allows both Force at its Greenville,
presented with its full pilots to accurately target South Carolina, facility.
weapons capability, with all the onboard weapons, via Serial 2645, a recently weaponised UH-60M Armed Black Hawk The milestone was
four stub-wing hardpoints helmet-mounted displays. operated by the UAE’s Joint Aviation Command, in the static announced during a visit
occupied. Armament The United Arab Emirates display at last November’s Dubai Airshow. Alan Warnes to the production line by
comprised Raytheon Talon Air Force and Air Defence development programme been delivered to the JAC by Bahrain ambassador to
laser-guided rockets (LGRs), Joint Aviation Command in the US, including two January last year. Although the US Shaikh Abdullah
Hydra 70 unguided rockets, announced its most recent years of live-firing trials. the armed UH-60M is bin Rashed bin Abdullah
a 12.7mm calibre GAU-19/A contract for 24 armed Conducted by Sikorsky test known to Sikorsky as the Al Khalifa on December
heavy machine gun and UH-60Ms in February 2011. pilots, type certification was ABH, the JAC refers to it 17. First deliveries
AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. Three ABHs were involved received in February 2018 as ‘Direct Action Provider’ are due next year.
A 7.62mm calibre M134 in a six-year test and and the first examples had (DAP). Alan Warnes
www.Key.Aero #383 February 2020 // 21

06/01/2020 14:27:19
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20-21 CISMidEastNews AFM Feb2020.indd 21

NEWS Latin America

In Brief Second Cayman Police H145 delivered

Retired Argentine
Air Force F28 returns A SECOND H145 has joined
The Argentine Air Force’s the Royal Cayman Island
Fokker F28-1000C TC-52 Police Service (RCIPS)
(c/n 1074) took to the fleet at Owen Roberts
air again on December International Airport, George
23, after being restored Town, Grand Cayman. The
to airworthiness by helicopter, VP-CPS (c/n
the Fábrica Argentina 20241, ex N563AH), arrived
de Aviones (FAdeA) on the island on December
and personnel from 6 to join the RCIPS Air
Grupo Técnico 1. The Operations Unit’s first
Fellowship had last flown example, VP-CAO, which
on August 31, 2018. was delivered last March (see The Royal Cayman Island Police Service H145s, VP-CAO and newly delivered VP-CPS (left),
Support for Cayman Island Police H145 outside the main RCIPS base at Owen Roberts International Airport, George Town, Grand
Argentine P-3Cs delivered, May 2019, p22). Cayman. RCIPS
US State Department The new arrival replaces
officials have approved an EC135T1, which was also will increase Cayman’s or when the aircraft is being
a possible US$78m registered VP-CPS, but was capability to carry out maintained in the US. Taiwan
Foreign Military Sale to involved in a heavy landing on search and rescue, law Both aircraft will be
Argentina of equipment, February 26, 2019, following enforcement and border fitted with state-of-the- donates
support and services for engine failure on take-off protection operations. art surveillance systems,
the country’s purchase of (see Attrition, May 2019, Both aircraft will support weather and SAR radar and more
four P-3Cs. Included are p89). It had been intended disaster relief efforts and will winching capability, with UH-1Hs to
the four T56 turboprops to repair the airframe, but also be available to assist work on these modifications
on each airframe (plus an damage was such that this other overseas territories due to commence in early Paraguay
additional four engines), was abandoned and it was during times of crises. The 2020. All operational crews
together with radar and transported to Arrow Aviation delivery will also mean that will be undertaking the
infrared/electro-optical in Broussard, Louisiana, to the Cayman Islands will no required training for the new TAIWAN GIFTED another
equipment. Argentina be stripped for spares. longer be without air cover equipment over the next three AIDC/Bell UH-1Hs
has acquired four P-3Cs Arrival of the new helicopter during these deployments six months. Dave Allport to Paraguay on November
as Excess Defense 28. The ‘Hueys’ are now
Articles aircraft to Brazilian Air Force KC-390 milestones being fully overhauled
replace its older P-3As. and brought back to zero-
Colombian Army flight-hours status in
to add helicopter of the testing campaign Tainan and will be delivered
training facilities included: sequential aerial to the South American
The Colombian Army has delivery by extraction with country early this year.
outlined plans to develop up to four platforms in one The donation includes two
an advanced helicopter pass; airdrop by extraction years of free maintenance.
training facility and a using two 28ft (8.5m) Last August 8 the Fuerza
high-altitude landing and extraction parachutes with Aérea Paraguaya (FAP,
operations centre. The aim autopilot engaged; and Paraguayan Air Force)
is to have an international continuously computed received two more UH-1Hs
and regional rotary drop point (CCDP) system from Taiwan – the 12th and
aviation training centre up successfully tested for both 13th examples donated
and running at Tolemaida gravity and extraction airdrop. by the Republic of China
by 2025. The high- Brazilian Air Force personnel stand in front of the air arm’s In other KC-390 news, the Army since 1996.
altitude training facility second KC-390, FAB 2854, which was delivered on December FAB received its second All of the FAP’s Iroquois
would be established 13. FAB via Dave Allport Millennium, FAB 2854, which have been donated by the
at Sogamoso, Boyacá. was delivered on December Republic of China, with
Peruvian Police THE EMBRAER KC-390 (FAB, Brazilian Air Force) 13 from Embraer’s facility at previous deliveries taking
An-178 delivery in 2021 airlifter successfully and the Brazilian Army Gavião Peixoto to Base Aérea place in October 1996,
Antonov is making concluded an airdrop – were performed at the Anápolis, where it joined join March 2001, March 2006
progress on the single testing campaign recently. US Army’s Yuma Proving Ala 2’s 1º Grupo de Transporte and April 2007, respectively.
An-178 ordered for The trials involved gravity Ground facilities, in Arizona. de Tropa (1° GTT, 1st Troop Attrition losses have
Peru’s Ministry of airdrop and extraction drop Major achievements of the Transport Group) ‘Grupo occurred on April 1, 1998
Interior. According to the of heavy loads using the campaign included the Kilo’. Deliveries of the 28 FAB and October 3, 2010, with
company, production of container delivery system airdrop of a single maximum KC-390s on order for the FAB three injuries resulting
the wing outer sections (CDS) and low-velocity platform of 19 tonnes as started last September (see from the latter incident.
is complete, and the tail airdrop (LVAD), respectively. well as the sequential aerial Embraer delivers initial KC-390 The most recent loss of a
unit is 98% finished. More The tests – conducted by delivery of two platforms to Brazil, October 2019, p22), Paraguayan ‘Huey’ was last
than 70% of components Embraer in co-operation with weighing 24 tonnes in total. with the handover of serial November 21 while a likely
for the fuselage have the Força Aérea Brasileira Additional achievements FAB 2853 (c/n 39000004). write-off also occurred
been fabricated and on March 15, 2016.
the airframe should be
completed this year,
with delivery to the
customer in 2021.
Right: Throughout the 2019
airdrop campaign, the KC-390
delivered several containers
by gravity with up to 24 of One of the latest batch of
them dropped in one pass, former Republic of China
as well as multiple Type V Army UH-1Hs donated by
platforms using extraction Taiwan to Paraguay seen at
parachutes, with a total its handover ceremony in
combined payload of 330 Tainan. Paraguayan MoD
tonnes. Embraer

22 // February 2020 #383 www.Key.Aero

06/01/2020 14:29:12
22-23 LatinAusNews AFM Feb2020.indd 22
22-23 LatinAusNews AFM Feb2020.indd 22 06/01/2020 14:29:12

NEWS Australasia Subscribe to for breaking news stories.

Email the news team at [email protected]

Second Cayman Police H145 delivered RAAF receives 12th P-8A

Poseidon The 12th and most recent P-8A arrives at RAAF Base
Edinburgh. CPL Brenton Kwaterski/Commonwealth of Australia,
Department of Defence
THE LATEST P-8A on operational support to of an additional three
order for the Royal Australia, including a recent Poseidons is planned, as
Australian Air Force mission to the Middle announced in the Defence
F-35A serial A35-008 (AU-8, 15-5216) touches down at RAAF (RAAF) arrived at RAAF East Region on Operation White Paper on February
Base Williamtown on arrival in Australia. CPL Melina Young/ Base Edinburgh, South Manitou as part of the 26, 2016, but no contract
Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence Australia, on December International Maritime has yet been awarded.
Between them, the P-8A
Next seven F-35As 12, completing the fleet Security Construct.” and the MQ-4C Triton
for the resident No 11
The first P-8A for the
Squadron. Following
unmanned aircraft system
RAAF arrived in Canberra
arrive in Australia the arrival of the 12th on November 16, 2016. The (UAS) will replace the
service’s AP-3C Orion
Poseidon – A47-012 (c/n
penultimate aircraft from
SEVEN MORE F-35As mean that No 2 Operational 64168, line number 7603) the current order, A47-011 fleet. The AP-3C is in the
process of a graduated
– the country’s Minister for (c/n 64167, line number
arrived at RAAF Base Conversion Unit can begin a Defence Linda Reynolds 7427), was delivered to drawdown, with the
Williamtown, New South first Operational Conversion said: “The P-8A is already RAAF Base Edinburgh final aircraft planned for
Wales, on December 11, Course (OPCON) on providing significant last October 4. Purchase withdrawal in 2023.
bringing the locally stationed the type, scheduled for
Royal Australian Air Force late 2020/early 2021.
(RAAF) fleet to 13 aircraft. The Australian government
The aircraft departed Luke recently approved the
Air Force Base, Arizona, and purchase of the next 24
travelled to their new home aircraft – meaning all 72
with tanker support via Joint Australian F-35As in the
Base Pearl Harbor–Hickam, current programme of record
Hawaii, and Anderson are secure. The defence
AFB, Guam. As well as the ministry will receive 45
13 Joint Strike Fighters Lightning IIs under the
assigned to No 3 Squadron international Block Buy
at Williamtown, another five Contract, valued at a total
Australian aircraft are based of US$34bn. Ultimately,
at Luke for international pilot Australia has a stated
training. The additional jets requirement for 100 aircraft.

No 2 OCU conducts final No 2 FTS PC-9/A serial A23-044 takes part in a formation flight as part of the graduation of
257 Advanced Pilots Course. POIS James Whittle/Commonwealth of Australia

‘classic’ Hornet flight
THE ROYAL Australian 18A/Bs are planned to be
Air Force’s (RAAF’s) No 2 withdrawn from service
Operational Conversion in December 2021.
Unit (OCU) conducted its The farewell flight involved
final F/A-18A/B flight at ten F/A-18A/Bs departing
RAAF Base Williamtown, Williamtown and then
New South Wales, on forming up in a ‘Number
December 11. The mission 2’ formation before flying
was a milestone in the north over Tomaree to the
service’s phased drawdown Sugarloaf Point coastal areas,
of No 2 OCU ‘classic’ Hornet and south to Redhead Beach.
operations, which ceased The aircraft conducted
the same month. In future, a low-level coastal run
the unit will conduct fast- north, before breaking into
jet aircrew training on the pairs for low-level initial RAAF bids farewell to PC-9/A
F-35A. The last RAAF F/A- and pitch-out to land.
THE ROYAL Australian Air role, PC-9/As were flown delivered, January, p28).
Force (RAAF) hosted a primarily by the Central A number of PC-9/
retirement ceremony for Flying School at RAAF As are being maintained
its PC-9/A at RAAF Base Base East Sale, Victoria, in airworthy condition
Pearce, Western Australia, and by No 2 Flying Training until the new training
on December 12. After School (FTS) at Pearce. programme is validated.
more than 30 years of According to Deputy Air So far, 16 of the surviving
operations, a final training Commander Australia, airworthy airframes have
course utilising the type Air Cdre Guy Wilson, been transferred to Avalon
– 257 Advanced Pilots the Pilatus turboprop in Victoria where they will
Course – graduated at successfully supported 103 be auctioned off in March.
Pearce on December 6. pilot training courses and Others have already been
The first two Swiss-built graduated more than 1,400 assigned as museum, gate
PC-9/As arrived in Australia pilots from the RAAF and guard and static training
in 1987 and pilot training Royal Australian Navy. aircraft, including eight
began two years later; The PC-9/A retirement already at RAAF Base
F/A-18A serials A21-012 and A21-035 from No 2 OCU conduct the remaining 67 aircraft follows receipt of the Wagga, New South Wales,
a formation flight, in the shape of a number 2, in the airspace were built under licence RAAF’s 49th and final where they will replace
around RAAF Base Williamtown. CPL Craig Barrett/Commonwealth by Hawker de Havilland PC-21 training aircraft (see MB-326s as ground
of Australia, Department of Defence in Sydney. In the training Last three RAAF PC-21s instructional airframes.

www.Key.Aero #383 February 2020 // 23

06/01/2020 14:29:16
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NEWS Asia Pacifi c

to establish

in Guam
of Defence has announced
an agreement to set up a
fighter training detachment
at Andersen Air Force
Base (AAFB) in Guam in
the western Pacific Ocean.
The memorandum of
understanding (MoU) was
Antonov via Dave Allport signed during a meeting
between Singapore’s
Minister for Defence
Four more Indian Apaches delivered Dr Ng Eng Hen and US
ONE OF the latest batch of A contract for 22 facility in Mesa, Arizona. No 125 Helicopter Squadron Secretary of Defense
Mark Esper on December
Indian Air Force AH-64E(I) Apache Block IIIs was Four were then airlifted by (HS) ‘Gladiators’ at Pathankot 7. Under the plan, the
Apache attack helicopters placed in September Antonov Airlines An-124s AFS, part of the Western Air Republic of Singapore
being loaded onto an 2015, with deliveries to Hindon AFS near New Command, last September 3. Air Force (RSAF) will
An-124-100 of Antonov originally due from 2018. Delhi in July, where they The IAF plans to operate, at deploy F-15SG and F-16
Airlines at Phoenix Mesa The first two Apaches were assembled, and test least initially, two squadrons fighters and supporting
Gateway Airport, Arizona, in on order for the air arm flown, before ferrying to of AH-64Es, with the western assets such as the
November, for airfreighting were handed over to Air their eventual home base front covered by No 125 Gulfstream 550 airborne
to Hindon Air Force Station Marshal A S Butola, the the following month. The HS at Pathankot, and the early warning aircraft
(AFS), India. These latest most senior Indian Air next batch of four arrived east taken care of by a new to AAFB for training.
deliveries bring the total Force (IAF) helicopter pilot, in India last August and the unit – No 137 Helicopter The Singapore Armed
number of AH-64E(I) aircraft at a ceremony last May IAF formally inducted the Squadron – that will be Forces have conducted
in the country to 12. 10 at Boeing’s production AH-64E(I) into service with raised at Jorhat AFS this year. military training in the
India receives attrition replacement C-130J-30 US island territory since
the early 1990s and
RSAF fighters have made
AN ATTRITION replacement continuing to RAF Brize KC-3803, which was lost in a it struck a pole and other periodic deployments
C-130J-30 has been delivered Norton, Oxfordshire, where crash in Rajasthan on March obstructions with one wing there since 2017. Guam
to the Indian Air Force it arrived on December 14. 28, 2014, killing all five crew and a propeller at night at will be the fourth
(IAF). The Super Hercules, After stopping over for two members. The IAF purchased the high-altitude Thoise Air RSAF detachment on
KC-3813 (c/n 383-5887, nights, it departed Brize on 12 C-130J-30s in two Base in Jammu and Kashmir US territory after the
callsign ‘IFC5719’) routed December 16, heading initially batches of six aircraft each. (see Attrition, April 2017). It Peace Carvin II F-16C/D
from Dobbins Air Reserve to Athens International Despite the acquisition of a was flown back to Hindon Air detachment at Luke Air
Base, Marietta, Georgia, Airport, Greece, before replacement for the aircraft Force Station two weeks later, Force Base in Arizona,
to Gander International continuing its journey. that was lost, a second although it is unclear whether Peace Carvin V F-15SG
Airport, Newfoundland and The aircraft replaces No example was damaged on it had been fully repaired detachment at Mountain
Labrador, Canada, before 77 Squadron C-130J-30 December 13, 2016, when at that time. Dave Allport Home AFB, Idaho, and the
Peace Vanguard AH-64
detachment at Silverbell
South Korea’s F-35A declares IOC Army Heliport, Arizona.
According to a statement
A CEREMONY on December Fighter Squadron is the initial under test at Fort Worth. additional jets. Under the from the Singapore
Ministry of Defence, “the
17 marked the declaration of operator of the ROKAF’s Seoul plans to deploy 40 F-X III programme, the vast training airspace
initial operating capability F-35A fleet, with eight aircraft Lightning IIs by the end ROKAF is scheduled to in Guam will allow the
(IOC) for the Republic of assigned as of December. The of 2021. Last October, the receive another 20 F-35s at RSAF to conduct realistic
Korea Air Force’s (ROKAF’s) other five jets are attached to government announced it a cost of US$3.3bn. These training, to hone their
F-35A. The Lightning IIs are the 944th Operations Group’s would begin the second aircraft are expected to be capabilities and readiness”.
now ready for limited combat Detachment 2 at Luke or are phase of its plan to acquire delivered from 2021 to 2025.
deployment. ROKAF chief of
staff General Won In-choul
presided over the event,
which took place at the 17th
Fighter Wing’s base in the
central city of Cheongju.
By December 2018, six
F-35As were undertaking
crew training at Luke Air
Force Base, Arizona. By the
end of 2019, 13 aircraft had
been handed over to South
Korea, the first two examples
arriving at Cheongju Air Base ROKAF F-35A serial 18-003
last March 29; two more were (AW-03, FMS 15-5223) of the
delivered to the base directly 151st Fighter Squadron at
from the factory at Fort Worth, Cheongju AB on October 25
Texas, last July 15. The 151st last year. Dietmar Fenners

26 // February 2020 #383 www.Key.Aero

06/01/2020 14:31:02
26-27 AsiaNews AFM Feb2020.indd 26
26-27 AsiaNews AFM Feb2020.indd 26 06/01/2020 14:31:02

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Email the news team at [email protected]

New Chinese Navy carrier Shandong commissioned In Brief

Bangladesh Army
receives DA40s
Four Diamond DA40s
have been delivered to
Bangladesh Army Aviation.
Two of these have been
identified so far, as S3-BRD,
named Dhaleswari, and
S3-BRG Gomati – both
are named after local
rivers. The aircraft are
thought to be stationed at
Bangabandhu, but were
noted recently at Dhaka.
Japan reconsidering
F-35 production plan
The Japan Ministry of
Defense has indicated that
it may overturn a previous
decision to discontinue
local assembly of the F-35A.
Last year, the ministry
decided to cease the local
Lightning II production
effort by Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries (MHI) in favour
ROKAF Above: The ‘Shandong’ harbourside at Sanya, with J-15s on deck. Feng Kaixuan of concentrating on
carrier of indigenous
THE PEOPLE’S Liberation
operational aircraft carrier,
localised maintenance,
introduces Army Navy (PLAN) construction. Initial sea trials the Type 001 Liaoning (CV- repair and overhaul.
began in April 2018 and a
commissioned into service
16), the retrofitted former
Malaysia eyes
Global Hawk its second aircraft carrier, total of nine at-sea phases Soviet Navy Varyag, which Russian fighters
was commissioned in 2012.
were completed before
Shandong (CV-17), in a
Moscow is offering Malaysia
A FIRST RQ-4B Block 30 ceremony at Sanya naval commissioning, the latest in Both vessels are equipped a ‘fighter exchange’ deal
base on the southern island
November, during which the
with a short take-off but
Global Hawk remotely as the Royal Malaysian Air
piloted aircraft (RPA) for of Hainan, on December Shandong passed through arrested recovery (STOBAR) Force seeks to introduce
the Taiwan Strait and entered
17. Launched in April 2017,
launch system, with air
the Republic of Korea Air new combat aircraft. The
Force (ROKAF) arrived at the 65,000-ton Type 002 the South China Sea. The wings based around up to proposal would see older
warship is China’s first
warship joins the PLAN’s sole 24 Shenyang J-15 fighters.
Sacheon Air Base in South Russian-made equipment
Gyeongsang province swapped for new fighters,
on the southern tip of Sixth Singaporean A330 reportedly MiG-35s or
the Korean peninsula on Su-35s. Malaysia currently
December 23. It is the has only four Su-30MKMs
first of a total of four of MRTT handed over active and another 14
the RPAs ordered by stored and it has ten MiG-
Seoul under a Foreign 29N/NUBs on charge but
Military Sales (FMS) deal. no longer serviceable.
According to local reports, INAS 314 ‘Raptors’
the remaining three Global commissioned
Hawks will arrive in South Indian Naval Air Squadron
Korea in the first half (INAS) 314 ‘Raptors’
of this year. Operating – the service’s sixth
unit is the 296th Tactical Dornier 228 unit – was
Reconnaissance Squadron, established at Naval Air
part of the 39th Tactical Enclave Porbandar in
Reconnaissance Group Gujarat on November
that also includes Falcon 29. The squadron will
2000 signals intelligence be tasked with, among
(SIGINT) aircraft at others, enhancing maritime
Seongnam AB and BAe 125 security and surveillance
intelligence, surveillance in the North Arabian Sea.
and reconnaissance (ISR) The squadron is the first to
platforms at Sacheon. receive four of the 12 newly
US Congress was notified procured Dornier 228s
of the possible FMS to ordered from Hindustan
South Korea of four RQ-4B Above: RSAF A330 MRTT serial 765 lands at Getafe on December 5 after a three-hour refuelling Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
Block 30s in December training sortie. The last example of the tanker-transport for Singapore now wears full air force in December 2016.
2012. The total value of the markings. Roberto Yáñez Philippines evaluating
proposed deal amounted F-16V and Gripen
to a reported US$1.2bn. THE SIXTH and final together with its sister ship that six aircraft were on order. As it seeks to fulfil a
serial 764, the fifth for the
Republic of Singapore
The first aircraft was
In November 2013, South new multi-role fighter
Korea’s Defence Acquisition Air Force (RSAF) Airbus RSAF, which has also been delivered in August 2018, requirement, the Philippine
A330 Multi-Role Tanker
handed over but remains
followed by the second in
Programme Administration Air Force is evaluating
confirmed that plans “to Transport (MRTT), serial at Getafe for training. December that year and the Saab Gripen and the
765, has been handed over
the third and fourth in June
The Singapore Ministry
adopt Global Hawks in Lockheed Martin F-16V. In
2017” had been formalised, to the service and as of of Defence announced in 2019. The fifth MRTT was at 2018, the air arm confirmed
March 2014 that the A330
Getafe for tanker conversion
early December was being
and a corresponding that it had budgeted
order was placed with used for crew training MRTT had been selected as of April 2019 and the final US$1.1bn to procure a
example made its first post-
to replace the RSAF’s four
flights from the Airbus
Northrop Grumman multirole combat aircraft
in December 2014. plant at Getafe in Madrid. KC-135Rs, and Airbus conversion flight from the over the following five years.
Spanish airfield last July.
confirmed the same month
The aircraft was operating
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NEWS Special


farewell at Hyakuri

As Japan prepares he base at Hyakuri with the Teisatsu Kokutai programme, the simulated and arrived by air in Japan on
to bid farewell to T is home to the last (Reconnaissance Air Group) air-to-ground gunnery was July 25, 1971; the remainder
two F-4 Phantom II
its last Phantoms, squadrons within the Japan and its famous 501 Hikotai, particularly impressive. were completed under
The JASDF selected the
licence by Mitsubishi Heavy
flying ‘recce Rhinos’
enthusiasts had a Air Self-Defense Force Around 70,000 people McDonnell Douglas F-4 Industries. F-4EJ 17-8440,
final chance to see (JASDF). Under 7 Kokudan flocked to the base over the Phantom II in 1968. Based completed by Mitsubishi on
(7 Air Wing), 301 Hikotai (301
weekend of November 30/
on the F-4E, a total of 140
May 21, 1981, was the last of
the type in action Squadron) flies the F-4EJ December 1, for a last chance F-4EJs were delivered. Only the 5,195 Phantoms built. The
at an air festival at Kai and the Kawasaki T-4, to see the Phantom on public the first two aircraft were F-4EJs eventually equipped
Hyakuri Air Base sharing the base’s facilities display. Within the flying built in St Louis, Missouri a total of six squadrons.
In 1982, the JASDF
at the end of last announced a programme
year. Benoît Denet to modernise its F-4EJ to
F-4EJ Kai standard. This
was at Hyakuri, 50 included an additional 2,000
miles (80km) north hours of flight time for the
airframe, installation of a
of Tokyo, home to new AN/APG-66J radar
Japan’s final F-4s. derived from that used in
the F-16A and an AN/ASN-
Right: One of the last RF-4EJs 141 inertial navigation system
leads a pair of RF-4Es and (INS) similar to that found
three F-4EJ Kais during the in the F-15J. The aircraft
airshow. Below: An RF-4EJ had its bombing computer
(note the standard F-4E nose) improved and other new
leads out a pair of RF-4Es at systems installed included
Hyakuri in November. hands on throttle and stick
All images Benoît Denet (HOTAS) controls, head-

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Subscribe to for breaking news stories.
Email the news team at [email protected]

Above: RF-4E serial 47-6901 wears the 501 Hikotai farewell markings with a strip of film and the unit’s operational dates. Below left: The sad sight of an F-4EJ Kai
being scrapped at Hyakuri. Below right: 301 Hikotai will be Japan’s final Phantom II squadron. The unit’s specially marked F-4EJ Kai is seen here surrounded by
adoring enthusiasts at the Hyakuri event.

up display (HUD), AN/APX- it’s expected to give up its only external pods. This
76A identification friend last Phantoms this year. To equipment consists of a
or foe (IFF), AN/ALE-40 mark the occasion of its final KS-146B long-range oblique
countermeasures dispenser air festival, F-4EJ 37-8315 photography (LOROP)
and J/APR-6 radar warning was painted in a spectacular camera pod and a TAC pod
receiver (RWR). After this yellow and black scheme. with KS-135A and KS-95B
upgrade, the F-4EJ Kai was cameras, plus a D-5000UR
also able to carry ASM-1 anti- 501 Hikotai infrared recognition device.
ship missiles and AAM-3 air- The other Phantom unit Another option is the Tactical
to-air missiles and offered at the base is the Teisatsu Electronic Reconnaissance
more precision in the ground- Kokutai’s 501 Hikotai, which (TACER) pod with a data link
attack role compared with is planned to decommission designed by Thomson-CSF.
the F-4EJ. A total of 96 in March. The first of an As well as the unit’s cartoon
F-4EJs were brought up initial 14 unarmed RF-4Es Woody Woodpecker emblem,
to the Kai standard and for the unit arrived in 1974, some RF-4E and RF-4EJ
entered service from 1989. two years after Japan’s jets have received special
301 Hikotai budget included provisions markings displaying its
for the type to succeed
years of operations – 1961
It was at Hyakuri in 1972 the RF-86F Sabre. All the to 2020 – applied over a
that 301 Hikotai received original reconnaissance jets strip of film, as illustrated in
its first two F-4EJs – still were delivered directly by the accompanying photo.
as a ‘provisional’ squadron. McDonnell Douglas and were While the Phantom force
A year later the squadron later upgraded too, including winds down, 302 Hikotai
became fully operational replacement of the AN/ jets are already being
and adopted the primary APQ-99 with the AN/APQ- scrapped and examples
role of aircrew conversion. 172 terrain-following radar could be seen in a car
The unit left Hyakuri in 1985 and modified RWRs, plus a breaker’s yard close to the
for Nyutabaru AB before new INS, though they did base. This unit ceased flying
returning to its birthplace not receive the ‘Kai’ name. the jet at the end of 2018.
on October 31, 2016. Its The new-build RF-4Es were In the near future,
jets carry the emblem of joined by 15 existing F-4EJs Hyakuri AB will welcome 3
a frog found on Mount that were converted to Hikotai, which will transfer
Tsukuba, close to Hyakuri. RF-4EJ standard. The RF-4EJ its Mitsubishi F-2A/B
Plans call for 301 Hikotai to doesn’t carry any internal fighters from its current
transition to the F-35A and reconnaissance equipment, base at Misawa AB. AFM

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modernisation drive
m od e r n i s a t io n d r i v e

In the face of a perceived
increasing Iranian threat,
the United Arab Emirates’
military continues to
modernise, as Alan
Warnes witnessed at this
year’s Dubai Airshow.

F or a week in mid-November, was among the
Dubai was the focus of the
military aerospace industry.
statement from UAE spokesmen
On the eve of the airshow, the Dubai winners at Dubai, with a surprise
International Air Chiefs Conference on November 20 for acquisition of
on November 16 provided two additional GlobalEye airborne
an insight into the important early warning and control (AEW&C)
themes for local commanders. aircraft valued at US$1.018bn. They
Al Maktoum International Airport add to the three already ordered
then hosted the biennial Dubai in two separate contracts revealed
Airshow from November 17-21. in November 2015 and February
Many of the deals signed were 2016 and worth a combined
part of wider efforts to modernise US$1.5bn. Appropriately, the
the local aerospace industry GlobalEye made its public debut
and bolster the capabilities of at the aerospace show in Dubai.
the UAE’s military. Iran is still More surprising was the
considered a major threat to the November 21 disclosure of the
UAE, which is part of the Saudi- US$620m deal for the UAE to
led coalition in Yemen. The UAE acquire 24 Calidus B-250 turboprop
also supports Field Marshal trainer/light attack aircraft. A
Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National UAE Air Force and Air Defence
Above: The UAE’s announcement, that it will acquire two additional GlobalEyes, Army (LNA) against the Turkish- (UAEAF&AD) spokesperson told
seemed to catch even Saab executives by surprise. All photos Alan Warnes unless backed Government of National reporters: “It’s a UAE platform for
stated Top: A UAEAF&AD Mirage 2000-9 in the flying display. Waqas Shah
Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli. the UAE.” The delivery schedule is

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unknown and
no one from the Abu Dhabi-
based company was willing to talk.
There is speculation that ongoing Airshow
development will focus on a larger was
and better-optimised aircraft, which officially
some sources identify as the B-350. opened, for the first time, by
Airbus Defence and Space also a formation of local military aircraft. UAE,
had reasons to be cheerful, with Nine Joint Aviation Command each day for
the declaration by the UAEAF&AD (JAC) helicopters, comprising three an afternoon display
on November 20 that it was set to AH-64Ds, three UH-60Ls and three was making its Dubai Airshow
acquire three more A330 Multi-Role CH-47Fs, were followed by an debut. No one was willing to discuss M260 launchers for unguided and
Tanker Transports (MRTTs), and Emirates A380 and the MB-339NATs possible F-35 sales to the UAE, guided rockets, with Raytheon
contract negotiations were about of the Al Fursan aerobatic team. although the lack of a Typhoon on Talon laser-guided rockets (LGRs)
to start. The announcement would, Then came a C-17A and four F-16Es, show suggests that BAE Systems being the local weapon of choice.
however, have come as a major plus an A330 MRTT (stripped of may have again given up hope of The Bell 407MRH and UH-60M
blow to Boeing, which was hoping UAEAF&AD titles and roundels) selling the fighter to the UAE. were also equipped with electro-
to clinch a deal for KC-46 tankers. with four Mirage 2000-9s. The static included four armed optical/infrared (EO/IR) turrets
The static display included a JAC helicopters – a UH-60L, – FLIR Star SAFIRE 260 on the
Exhibits major US Department of Defence UH-60M Armed Battle Hawk Bell 407MRH and FLIR BRITE
Taking a lead from the Saudi contingent, ranging from an F-22A to (ABH), Bell 407MRH and an Star II on the UH-60M, as well
International Airshow at Al a KC-46A. The 388th Fighter Wing AH-64D Apache. The first three as AGM-114 Hellfires and 0.5in
Thumamah in March, the Dubai F-35A that flew in from Al Dhafra, all fielded a common inventory of calibre GAU-19/A heavy machine

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Right: The Joint Aviation Command has fitted M134 Miniguns to several of its Twin
Otters. This aircraft also carries a FLIR Star SAFIRE 380-HD turret below the nose.
Below: Aquila Aerospace brought its new Challenger 650 to Dubai. The aircraft is
now set to be converted to a maritime surveillance aircraft for the UAEAF&AD.

guns. All these types have seen the F-16E/Fs, but would not Challenger 650 in the static display, to last between 12-18 months”.
action in the Yemen war against disclose details, as well as another which is set to be converted to Tensions with Iran, maintaining
the Iran-backed Houthi rebels. contract for F-16 simulator a maritime surveillance aircraft a presence in Yemen and
A grey JAC DHC-6-300 Twin systems. Back in 2017 the UAE by Bombardier’s Specialized protecting its own airspace
Otter parked behind the UH-60L announced a US$1.6bn deal for Aircraft division. A press release means the UAEAF&AD faces
was equipped with an M134 spares and support, as well as at the International Defence significant operational challenges.
Minigun and a Star SAFIRE 380- improvements to the aircraft’s Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) Modernisation is at the top of its
HD turret. The JAC operates avionics, including targeting in Abu Dhabi in February said agenda, and that has led to the
12 Twin Otters, including nine systems. Upgrades in the cockpit the aircraft will “update and local aerospace industry being
Mk400s acquired from Viking will include the BAE Systems expand the Emirates’ maritime completely overhauled. The plan
Air. The importance of aircraft Digital Light Engine (DLE) head- and airborne surveillance and is not just to work with the local
able to independently track and up display (HUD) and Digital Flight search and rescue capabilities”. armed forces but to earn revenues
target, with onboard weapons, Control Computer (DFCC), both According to Aquila vice to offset the government’s huge
is clearly very important to the on show at the company’s stand. president Samuel Danilowitsch, investment and allow the country
UAE, which refers to them as EDGE-owned Aquila Aerospace “modification of the aircraft [at to become more self-reliant. That
‘Direction Action Providers’ . exhibited a civilian-registered Al Bateen Airport] is expected is why EDGE has been formed.
Meanwhile, the new UAEAF&AD
Airbus C295 was fitted with an
L3 Wescam MX-15 EO/IR turret.
Two more UAEAF&AD exhibits
to catch the eye were a Mirage
2000-9DAD and F-16F both armed
with four Al Tariq precision-
guided munitions (PGMs).
On the second day of the
show, the UAE revealed a deal
to upgrade some of its Mirage
2000-9s at a cost of US$490m.
Days before the event opened
it was reported in France that
the Mirage work could include
the new Thales Talios targeting
pod, which is highly resistant
to jamming, a tactic frequently
used by the Houthis in Yemen.
The UAEAF&AD also awarded Above: Together with EARTH, CATIC is marketing the A-Hawk quadcopter to the
Lockheed Martin a US$20.5m deal UAE military. A full flight demo will take place in Abu Dhabi in February. Right: The
Saab GlobalEye Swing-Role Surveillance System was making its public debut at
during the show to modernise the Dubai Airshow. This is the third example.

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Iran – UAE’s

biggest threat?

Iran is still seen by many as the biggest future.” The system will undoubtedly call
threat to Middle East peace. That was upon the GlobalEye when the first example
the message from leading UAEAF&AD is delivered in April. The converted Global
officers and the USAF Chief of Air Staff, 6000 jet will eventually work alongside
Gen David Goldfein, at the ninth Dubai the two mysterious Project Dolphin Global
Above: Saudi’s Intra Defence has acquired rights to build and sell the Turkish International Air Chiefs Conference (DIAC) 6000s radically upgraded with QinetiQ’s
Vestel Karayel ISR UCAV to 90 countries including in the Middle East and North on November 16, 2019. While militant AS-5 electronic surveillance system by
Africa. The UCAV has had its wingspan increased from 10m to 13m to increase its
endurance and is likely to operate in Yemen. Left: A USAF F-35A was put through groups such as so-called Islamic State the UK’s Marshall Aerospace and Defence

its paces at the Dubai Airshow, but a UAE order seems a long way o . Waqas Shah and al-Qaeda remain a menace, Iran is Group. One has already been delivered
Below: Calidus received a major boost when the UAEAF&AD revealed it was set to considered a much bigger problem. and the other is set to follow soon.
acquire 24 of its B-250 trainer/light attack aircraft, seen here in mock-up form.
Maj Gen (ret.) Khaled Al Bu Ainnan Gen Goldfein told his audience that
Al Mazrouel, former commander of the reaction time from an Iranian missile
UAEAF&AD, told the DIAC audience: attack to the northernmost point in the
“When the Iranians attacked Saudi Arabian Gulf is less than ten minutes and
Arabia, they showed how deadly a mix stressed: “No one country has everything
of drones and cruise missiles can be. it needs to prevent this. But together we
These cruise missiles can travel over have exactly what we need for collective
1,000km and with a 5-9kg warhead are defence. If an attack is under way, the
a serious threat. To combat them we best shot for the UAE may not be from the
need to change the entire structure of UAE, it may be from Qatar. If that threat
our command and control – to shift to is a drone at low level, it could enter
IP-based systems and artificial intelligence. your neighbour’s airspace, so a common
That’s the reason we have formed our operational picture is a must if you are
own Ministry of Artificial Intelligence.” to intercept in single-digit minutes.”
Meanwhile, Gen Goldfein was outspoken The USAF chief seemed to be calling for
in his criticism of Tehran: “The region is Qatar and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation
EDGE systems producers (including once again threatened by a country that Council countries to resolve their
With the UAE trying to establish AMMROC and Global Aerospace does not respect the sovereign borders differences, militarily at least, and work
a more sustainable future by Logistics), plus electronic of its neighbours. Iran is the number one together for the common good. He went
diversifying from its reliance warfare/intelligence, cyber sponsor of state-on-state terrorism in on to discuss ‘multi-domain ops’ and how,
on oil and gas, the government defence and mission support. the region.” He then issued a warning: a few months ago, the US military brought
has now turned its focus to the Faisal Al Bannai, who has been “I am confident that if we go to war

defence industry. On November 5, appointed chief executive, said against a peer nation this year, we have “I am confident that if we
in a showcase ceremony in Abu at the event that there will be a what it takes to fight them and to win.” go to war against a peer
Dhabi, EDGE – which describes “priority on national security”, while To quell possible Iranian attacks, the nation this year, we have
itself as an “advanced technology wanting to work with international UAEAF&AD commander, Major General

conglomerate” – was unveiled. partners and engage in the export Staff Pilot Ibrahim Naser Al Alawai, and what it takes to fight
It brings together over 25 of the market. Again, the subject of Iran deputy commander, Major General Staff them and to win.”
country’s leading defence players, cropped up. Bannai spoke about Pilot Rashid Mohammed Al Shamsi, agreed
including missiles and weapons the attacks on Aramco oil facilities that artificial intelligence (AI) would play a together a network of space, ISR, naval and
manufacturers (Al Tariq and in Saudi Arabia last September major role. The commander said: “We need command-and-control assets that were
Halcon Systems), platforms and and commented: “These simple next-generation technologies for today’s not previously connected. He described the
wars and [to] integrate these new methods result as “meshed networks, with common
into our current platforms, operations and digital architecture [and] equal access
procedures as well as our allies’ platforms, to both data and artificial intelligence.”
to ensure future coalitions work.” When Goldfein explained how an enemy
His deputy, Al Shamsi, gave more insight vessel was put into the scenario, one could
on their thinking: “Artificial intelligence begin to piece together what UAEAF&AD
is set to play a major role in how the UAE commanders might attempt to do with
counters enemy threats. ISR [intelligence, their new airborne AI concept. Goldfein
surveillance and reconnaissance] no said: “First, the space asset [in the UAE
longer plays a support role, it is a critical it would be a Falcon Eye satellite] would
part of the battlefield.” He also offered a locate the enemy vessel using its sensors,
word of caution: “We have to solve the but unable to complete the identification or
gap of using second-generation networks generate target-quality co-ordinates, cue
like Link 16 alongside the more modern the location to the ISR asset [GlobalEye] to
fourth-generation platforms. We need to get close enough to get full and accurate ID
support all the fighters with knowledge and target-quality locations. These [would
that can be ‘pushed and pulled’ to any then be] passed through a command-and-
air operators and platforms. On-demand control asset [Project Dolphin] that had
information should be available for all.” a database loaded with various effects
As part of the new Ministry of Artificial – kinetic and non-kinetic – based on the
Intelligence, Al Shamsi revealed that a new commander’s intents. A naval destroyer
AI programme will be launched “in the near [would be] selected to execute the strike.”

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drones costing less than $10,000
knocked out half the production
at one of the world’s largest oil
facilities. These are the threats
we face.” He added: “EDGE
will be a new kind of defence Above: An unmarked UAEAF&AD A330 MRTT performs a fly-by with four
company, bringing advanced Mirages during the opening ceremony. Another surprise announcement at the
technologies to the market with show was the UAE’s purchase of three more A330 MRTTs; contract negotiations
greater speed and efficiency. are expected to start soon. Below: This twin-seat UAEAF&AD F-16F in the static
It will disrupt an antiquated display was fitted with four Al Tariq PGMs, a weapon the UAE has developed
with South Africa’s Denel Dynamics. A Mirage 2000-9DAD was similarly armed.
military industry generally stifled
by red tape and is set to bring
products to market faster and
at more cost-effective prices.”
Under EDGE, Barij Dynamics
(previously Tawazun Dynamics)
has been rebranded as Al Tariq
– the name of the weapon it’s
developing with South Africa’s
Kentron (see South Africa’s air-
launched advances, November,
p62-66). The new controlling
company appears to have ushered
in an era of openness – until this
year, no one would talk candidly
about the Al Tariq PGM. Theunis Botha continued. “We are currently firm announced four contracts at UAE is currently operating CATIC’s
Botha, general manager at Al Tariq, producing Block 1 systems, but we DAS. Two, totalling US$1bn, were Wing Loong II unmanned combat
spoke about the three variants are in the process of upgrading to provide maintenance support aerial vehicles (UCAVs) on behalf
of the weapon at the show: “Al them to the Block 2 which will for the JAC and Presidential of the LNA in Libya’s civil war.
Tariq is the longest-ranged PGM go into production in 2020. This Command, another was to carry CATIC is gaining a stronger
in its class in the world today and includes a navigation upgrade out similar work for the Kenyan foothold in the UAE and is jointly
outperforms anything else out and range extension of Al Tariq defence ministry, and the fourth marketing its A-Hawk quadcopter
there by 25%. It is the weapon of beyond the current 120km by was a contract with the China with another EDGE company,
choice of the UAEAF&AD’s F-16 adding turbine propulsion to the National Aero-Technology Import Emirates Advanced Research and
Block 60 and Mirage 2000-9s.” system, as well as increasing the & Export Corporation (CATIC) Technology Holding (EARTH). The
While the Al Tariq is based on number of seekers available.” for a bonded warehouse. GAL’s A-Hawk can be equipped with
the 250lb (113kg) Mk81 and 500lb At IDEX in February the author CEO, Khalid Al Breiki, explained a machine gun and up to four
(227kg) Mk82 bombs, it represents asked why Halcon Systems – that the Kenyan deal would cover rockets for anti-terrorist roles. It
a family of weapons with different another missile manufacturer – maintenance of all Kenya Air will be able to operate from the
seekers and warheads for an array had been launched (see Industry Force (KAF) aircraft. Undoubtedly, rear of a truck and development
of tactical applications. Its GPS/ looks to the East, April, p30) working directly with the KAF will be finalised next year. CATIC
GLONASS navigation is coupled when Barij Dynamics already will provide the UAE with the has recently reduced the length
to an imaging infrared or semi- existed in the UAE. Now we know. opportunity to market its own of the UAV from 11ft 2in (3.4m) to
active laser seeker and automatic Under EDGE, Halcon’s smaller products to the east African air 8ft 6in (2.6m) to meet the UAE’s
targeting/recognition software. PGMs, such as the Thunder P4 force. A source at CATIC told AFM requirement. There have been firing
“To date 6,000 Al Tariq PGMs and Desert Sting 35, are set to the bonded warehouse will be demonstrations in China already,
have been sold, mainly to the complement Al Tariq’s PGMs. operational in early 2020 to store but not yet locally. A full flight
UAE, but the company is in Another company coming under spare parts for platforms and demo is planned for the Unmanned
discussion with a number of the EDGE umbrella is Global systems in the region, ensuring Systems Exhibition and Conference
friendly air forces in the region,” Aerospace Logistics (GAL). The they can be delivered faster. The in Abu Dhabi during February.
The same source also disclosed
that the Hongdu L-15 will be flown
to the UAE in February for a flight
evaluation by the UAEAF&AD,
where it’s expected to be in
competition with the Leonardo
M-346 to fulfil an advanced jet
trainer/fighter attack aircraft.
The M-346 was selected back in
2009 but the UAEAF&AD, unable
to push through the technology
transfer, backed out of the deal.
Another EDGE company,
AMMROC (Advanced Military
Maintenance and Repair and
Overhaul Center) is setting up
a huge maintenance, repair
and overhaul facility at Al Ain
There were two armed UH-60 Black Hawks in the static display. UH-60L serial which, after long delays, should
2635 is fitted with two M134 Miniguns and two M260 rocket pods. It is also
equipped with an inlet barrier filter to protect the engines’ compressor blades. be open early this year. AFM

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10 mabr at Kul’bakino

Mi-8MSB-V ‘43 Yellow’ during a regular training flight at Kul’bakino in mid-
September last year, a month after delivery. Note the two weapons racks, with
three pylons each (for gun pods, rocket pods and bombs) – as found on the Mi-8MT.
Also notable are the armour plates around the cockpit (additional armour is fitted
to the floor and cockpit seats), as well as the characteristic new ASh-01V exhaust
gas di usion system for the engine exhausts – seen here in its stowed position to

reduce drag (it can be deployed rapidly by the pilots when necessary). The KT-01AV
jammer is immediately behind the main rotor and a pair of KUV 26-50-02 cha /flare

dispensers is fitted below the tail boom. All photos Sergey Smolentsev unless stated
Ukrainian Naval


an update on the status of the U 10 mors’ka aviatsiyna brihada (10 addition to multiple avionics updates (including
Vladimir Trendafilovski provides kraine’s sole naval aviation unit, the at Zaporizhzhya in southeastern Ukraine. In
mabr, 10th Naval Aviation Brigade)
Ukrainian Navy’s single aviation unit at Kul’bakino air base near Mykolayiv (see Garmin satnav equipment) aimed at bringing
them fully up to date, the helicopters have
– the 10th Naval Aviation Brigade at Crimea’s Unsung Heroes, September 2015, been upgraded with two new TV3-117VMA-
Kul’bakino air base near Mykolayiv p76), has received new equipment in the SBM1V (series 4E) engines, each with a take-
– which has recently received new form of two Mi-8MSB-V helicopters. off power of 1,500hp (1,119kW). Their weapons
rotary and fixed-wing equipment. Originally completed as Mi-8T models, the two load and equipment inventory are identical to
Hips were modernised at the Motor Sich plant that of the newer Mi-8MT series, and battlefield
survivability has been improved with the fitting
of additional armour plating, a KT-01AV infrared
surface-to-air missile (SAM) jammer, an ASh-
01V exhaust gas diffusion system and a pair
of KUV 26-50-02 chaff/flare dispensers.
The first of the two, Mi-8MSB-V c/n 9744307,
coded ‘43 Yellow’, was delivered in early August,
a week ahead of the 15th anniversary of the
unit’s establishment. It was originally coded
‘44 Red’ with the Ukrainian Army Aviation
unit at Chornobayivka air base near Kherson.
The second identical helicopter, coded ‘44
Yellow’, was delivered in October but its
original identity has not yet been established.
It is worth noting that 10 mabr has
had Mi-8s on strength officially since its
creation back in 2004, but these are its first
The unit’s SAR Be-12PS ‘05 Yellow’ (c/n 2602603) sits in a protected hardstand in mid-September – shortly
before it was sent to the local NARP aircraft repair facility to undergo repair and maintenance. The Be-12s are operational examples, the others having
considered active and are regularly maintained – both by the unit and at NARP – although none of them has been in storage when inherited by the unit.
flown since September 2014. However, the latter’s crews have been quick

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As part of the unit’s regular
activities at the end of last
October, Mi-8MSB-V ‘43 Yellow’
deploys marine paratroopers
in level flight at low altitude –
approximately 500ft above the
ground – using special parachutes.

Ukrainian Naval The Ukrainian Navy’s 10 mabr has received an unusual Ka-27PL ‘20 Yellow’ (c/n
Another An-2
Another An-2
for the navy

5235003517202) during
gift in the form of an An-2R transport (c/n 1G221-38,
a regular training flight
Aviation service after it undergoes overhaul and enters active at Kul’bakino in mid-
registration UR-40308) from a Ukrainian civilian. The
big biplane was handed over on October 31, 2019 and
September, 2019. It’s
currently the unit’s only
will become the second An-2 in Ukrainian military
operational Ka-27 – two
others are undergoing
service. The other example, An-2T ‘07 Yellow’, is also a
maintenance at the Konotop
naval aircraft, and is also currently undergoing overhaul
repair facility, while the
remainder are stored at the
at Vinnitsya (where the newly acquired machine will
go after funds are allocated for it later this year).
to transition to the new machines, as the unit’s home base.
Mi-14 operated by 10 mabr is essentially
an amphibious naval variant of the Mi-8.
The unit’s Mi-8 training programme is
intensive, with multiple flights being made
each day, tasks ranging from basic to
complex, including the deployment of marines
while hovering only a few feet above the
ground, deploying marine paratroopers in level
flight at extremely low-level altitudes using
special parachutes, and practising emergency
landings following simulated engine failure.
Furthermore, the unit has five additional
stored Mi-8s in its inventory, some of which
may also be returned to airworthy status
and brought up to Mi-8MSB-V standard in
the near future. The introduction of Mi-8s
would significantly reduce the workload of
the unit’s Ka-27s and Mi-14s – with Mi-8s
taking over most of 10 mabr’s shore-based
transportation assignments, their resources
may be better allocated to specific maritime
tasks such as anti-submarine warfare
(ASW) and search-and-rescue (SAR). As seen in this photo taken at the
Helix maintenance end of last October, the single Ka-
226 ‘41 Yellow’ (c/n 03-02) is now
Some of the unit’s helicopters were notably fully operational and takes active
absent during last year’s Sea Breeze exercise part in the unit’s regular activities,
conserving the precious resources of
(see Black Sea war games, December 2019, its larger Ka-27s and Mi-14s.

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10 mabr at Kul’bakino

Above: One of the unit’s new Mi-8MSB-Vs, ‘43
Yellow’, parked on the 10 mabr apron at Kul’bakino
in mid-September last year after a series of training
flights. So far, the serials have not been painted on
the fuselages of the unit’s two new Mi-8s, but are
carried on a piece of paper (just as ‘43’ in this case)
in one of the cargo cabin windows on each side –
standard practice on many Ukrainian military Mi-8s.
Left: In addition to the local aircraft from 10 mabr
and 299 brihada taktichnoyi aviatsiyi (brTA, tactical
aviation brigade), at the end of October last year a
detachment of at least five Su-27s of the 831 brTA at
Myrhorod air base was operating from Kul’bakino,
taking part in the annual air-to-air live-firing exercise
over Ukraine’s new Yagorlyk training range, located
on the Black Sea shore. Three of these are seen in
this photo – Su-27P1Ms ‘39 Blue’ and ‘59 Blue’ and Su-
27UB1M ‘71 Blue’. Below left: Before the arrival of the
new Mi-8MSB-V helicopters, the unit’s Ka-27s and Mi-
14s were tasked with various transport duties. Mi-14PL
‘37 Yellow’ (c/n 78461) is seen landing after delivering
underslung cargo (a vehicle or artillery piece) during
a transport mission as part of the Shtorm-2018
(Storm-2018) exercise in August 2018. This helicopter
returned from an overhaul and modernisation at the
Konotop repair facility in late November. Ukraine MoD
Press-Service via author
p36), including its two shipborne Ka-27s, ASW end of 2019, after being fitted with new Western helicopter aircrew in combination with Polish
Ka-27PL ‘20 Yellow’ and SAR Ka-27PS ‘29 avionics, including a Honeywell/BendixKing PNL-3 Bielik night-vision goggles (NVGs),
Yellow’, which, while operational and present RDR 2100 digital weather radar system and a suggesting that the cockpit of ‘37 Yellow’
during the exercise, did not participate, owing Garmin GTN 750H navigational suite for each is also likely to be NVG-compatible.
to the fact that the Ka-27 fleet was due for pilot. The latter features a multifunction display
maintenance and their flight resources had to be and is linked to additional associated sub- Last of the flying-boats
conserved. However, their role was completed systems, antennas, sensors and indicators, Finally, as per a contract signed last July 15, the
instead by the unit’s single Ka-226 (see Ukrainian combining GPS and VHF omnidirectional unit’s two Be-12s – ASW Be-12PL ‘02 Yellow’
Navy Ka-226 in Exercise Sea Breeze, September range/instrument landing system (VOR/ and SAR Be-12PS ‘05 Yellow’ – are currently at
2019, p21) and the three active Mi-14s. The ILS) navigation, radio communications and the local NARP aircraft repair facility for further
Ka-27PL ‘22 Yellow’ and Ka-27PS ‘29 Yellow’ weather radar mode. Pilots will be equipped repair and maintenance. The work at NARP
are currently undergoing a major maintenance with Polish THL-5NV helmets, already was expected to have been completed by the
and life-extension programme at the KARZ used by Ukrainian Army Aviation Mi-24PU1 end of 2019. These obsolescent amphibians
‘Aviakon’ repair facility in Konotop and are had been scheduled to be replaced by two
expected to return later this year, leaving only An-148-300MP maritime patrol aircraft by
Ka-27PL ‘20 Yellow’ currently operational. the end of 2019, but this hasn’t happened
The unit’s fourth Mi-14, ASW Mi-14PL ‘37 – the role of maritime patrol/SAR aircraft is
Yellow’, was also absent during Sea Breeze, therefore being undertaken by the unit’s pair
undergoing overhaul and modernisation at of An-26 transports, ‘09 Yellow’ and ‘10 Yellow’
KARZ ‘Aviakon’. It returned to 10 mabr at the (see Black Sea Defenders, June 2018, p43). AFM
Right: The unit’s single active SAR Ka-27PS ‘29 Yellow’
(c/n 5235012382608) took part in a large 10 mabr
exercise at the beginning of August last year. It is seen
here at the former Ochakiv air base on August 1, after
relocating there along with all other airworthy 10 mabr
aircraft. Here the aircraft and crews operated from
an auxiliary airfield in full ‘wartime’ conditions. The
helicopter is currently undergoing a major maintenance
and life-extension programme at the Konotop repair
facility. Ukraine MoD Press-Service via author

38 // February 2020 #383 www.Key.Aero

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36-38 UkraineNavy AFM Feb2020.indd 38

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VFC-111 ‘Sundowners’

‘bad guys’

Northrop’s veteran Tiger II still has a few more years ahead
of it as an adversary, and it’s possible more used F-5s will
arrive to form new units or replenish existing ones. George
Karavantos reports from Naval Air Station Key West, where
the resident VFC-111 ‘Sundowners’ flies some of the US
Navy’s in-demand F-5s.

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‘bad guys’
Main image: Marked as the VFC-111 commander’s jet,
F-5N 761591 (c/n L1066/1159) ‘AF-111’ was former Swiss
Air Force J-3066. Key West is ideally suited for the
training environment. From take-o , aircraft transiting

northwest are in the local military operations area
within five minutes. This vast complex comprises
more than 20,000 square nautical miles of airspace
reserved for the US Navy. José Ramos
Below: F-5N 761531 (c/n L1006, ex J-3006) ‘AF-104’
waits for departure with cockpit canopy cranked
open. Upon arriving at VFC-111, a pilot will spend their
first year becoming proficient as an adversary.
All photos George Karavantos unless stated

K ey West stands at the southernmost celebrated unit – Fighter Composite Squadron
Today, NAS Key West is home to another
point of the US continent. The country’s
closest point to Cuba is home to 111 (VFC-111) ‘Sundowners’, an active-reserve
the famous Mile Marker 0 – the end and the squadron operating the F-5N and F-5F.
beginning of the US Route 1 highway – and a
historic naval air station. The airfield of Naval ‘Sundowners’
Air Station Key West is located on Boca Chica Back in the 1980s, Cold War tensions meant
Key, the last island before Key West itself, and the US Navy’s inventory included multiple
is approximately 160 miles (257km) south of adversary squadrons. On the west coast, they
Miami. Originally named Boca Chica Field, were based at NAS Miramar and NAS Lemoore
NAS Key West’s history dates back to 1823 in California and later at NAS Fallon, Nevada.
when it was first established as a naval base. On the east coast, they could be found at NAS
The facility was expanded during World War Oceana, Virginia, and NAS Key West, Florida,
One and in 1917 became a submarine plus Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona.
base; a first US naval flight at Key After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the US
West was recorded the same year. After Navy decommissioned most of these units.
the war, the base was decommissioned From 1996, the only adversary squadron was
but reopened again just prior to the US VFC-13 ‘Saints’ in Fallon, which maintained a
entry to World War Two. After that conflict, temporary detachment in Key West. However,
NAS Key West was retained as a training this detachment became permanent in 2005,
facility but became a focus of world attention allowing reactivation of VFC-111 the following
during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. year. Officially, and in contrast with the USAF, the
Due to its superb flying weather, many US Navy does not recognise a direct lineage with
squadrons have been detached or permanently disestablished squadrons. However, unofficially,
located there, among them some of the most the naval aviation community strives to retain
historic and famous. Air Test and Evaluation traditions and history whenever a squadron
Squadron 1 (VX-1) was established at NAS Key designation and name is resurrected in a new
West and for three decades conducted airborne unit. As such, the unit adopted the identity of
anti-submarine warfare systems evaluations the former VF-111 ‘Sundowners’ based at NAS
out of Boca Chica. In the 1970s, Tactical Miramar, which had been decommissioned on
Electronic Warfare Squadron 33 (VAQ-33) March 31, 1995. The ‘Sundowners’ nickname
relocated to Key West with a mix of aircraft and in turn dates back to VF-11’s operations in
remained there until decommissioned in 1993. the Pacific theatre during World War Two.
Reconnaissance Attack Wing 1 stationed as Since its establishment, VFC-111 has flown
many as ten Vigilante squadrons at Key West. a handful of colourful F-5N Tiger IIs. The unit
Among several other permanent detachments operates as part of the US Navy Reserve’s fleet
were those of Fighter Squadron 171 (VF-171) adversary programme, providing dissimilar air
with F-4s from the 1970s through to the 1980s, combat training (DACT) to fleet strike fighter
and VF-101 with F-4s and F-14s from the 1960s and US Marine Corps fighter attack squadrons,
until 2005. VF-45 was also based at NAS as well as USAF, Air Force Reserve and Air
Key West to provide air combat adversary National Guard fighter squadrons. Every day,
services with A-4, F-5E/F and F-16N aircraft. streams of colourful adversaries go head-

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VFC-111 ‘Sundowners’

to-head with fleet pilots as they sharpen
their skills in dogfights and aerial combat.
As an Active-Reserve Integration (ARI) unit,
VFC-111 is composed of both regular navy
and US Navy Reserve personnel. It is made
up of experienced active-duty officers, full-
time support reservists, and selected reserves.
Its main advantage is its proximity to the
Gulf of Mexico, offering a vast airspace over
the sea without any other air traffic nearby,
while its favourable weather conditions
provide sunshine almost all year round.
VFC-111’s location at NAS Key West, home of
the navy’s Strike Fighter Advanced Readiness
Program (SFARP), also eliminates costly
adversary detachments and provides a
significant portion of adversary support to all
F/A-18 fleet replacement squadrons (FRS) in
the navy and USMC. Among its ‘customers’
are Strike Fighter Squadron 106 (VFA-106) at
NAS Oceana, VFA-122 at NAS Lemoore, Marine Blue/grey-painted F-5N 761570 (c/n L1045, ex J-3045) ‘AF-107’ departs with afterburners blazing. While the
Tiger II does have an unlimited alpha capability, its small wings and lack of significant thrust put it at a
Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 (VMFAT- disadvantage against the aircraft it routinely fights. The expertise of the ‘Sundowners’ pilots makes up for this.
101) at MCAS Miramar, and more recently
Electronic Attack Squadron 129 (VAQ-129) at at the prestigious Naval Fighter Weapons School expanding, especially among the USMC, where
NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, equipped (NFWS), better known as TOPGUN, based at a dozen aircraft were no longer sufficient to
with EA-18Gs. With the navy and marines Miramar. Forty-five years later, the Phantoms cover training needs. The US Navy had to look
establishing F-35 FRS units, such as VFA-125 and Tomcats of the participant squadrons have for new fighters to replace these older ones.
at NAS Lemoore and VMFAT-501 at MCAS given way to Super Hornets, but the Tiger II is Ultimately, the solution came from Switzerland.
Beaufort, South Carolina, VFC-111 will be kept still around to play the role of the ‘bad guy’ . On March 7, 2003, the Pentagon and the Swiss
busy providing training support to them as well. Initially, ten F-5Es and three two-seat F-5Fs government signed a contract for the sale of 44
were delivered to TOPGUN from the USAF – as F-5Es at a time when the Swiss Air Force was
Tiger II well as VF-43 ‘Challengers’ and VF-126 ‘Bandits’ reducing its fleet size due to budget constraints.
The F-5A/B Freedom Fighter was developed by – and these assumed the role of the enemy in air These former Swiss aircraft, with only 2,500 flight
the then Northrop in the early 1960s as a low- combat training. The aircraft was a good replica hours on each airframe, were delivered between
cost, lightweight, multi-role supersonic fighter. It for the MiG-21, because of its small size and 2004 and 2008. They were sent to Northrop
proved to be very popular on the export market, similar performance to the Soviet-designed fighter. Grumman Technical Services at the Naval Depot
winning sales from 36 nations. More than 2,200 When the USAF retired its fleet of F-5E/Fs in in Saint Augustine, Florida, for modifications
were built by Northrop and under co-production 1990, some were reassigned to the US Navy’s ahead of their new assignment with the US Navy.
and licensing agreements with Canada, South adversary squadrons. But these aircraft were The project comprised nearly 600
Korea, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan. now fairly old, some of them reaching the end modifications, the most important of which
In December 1970, a new version was of their service lives. In 2003, 36 examples were were installation of a new oxygen-generating
developed to offer more manoeuvrability, in use, each averaging 7,000 flying hours and system, inertial navigation system, cockpit
featuring increased wing area thanks to larger still considered very economical to operate. display with multifunction touch screen,
leading-edge root extensions (LERXs). Avionics After looking at proposals to equip them with embedded GPS, fibre-optic gyro, AN/ALR-
were upgraded with the Emerson Electric AN/ a fourth-generation pulse-Doppler radar to 87 radar warning receivers, AN/ALE-40 chaff
APQ-153 series radar. The aircraft received improve their performance, or even exchange and flare system, automatic flaps and anti-
more powerful J85 engines and additional fuel them with some of the older F/A-18A/Bs, it was skid braking system. These aircraft were
capacity. The maiden flight of this improved finally decided to keep them in renamed F-5N and are recognisable by their
F-5E Tiger II took place on August 11, 1972. service at the same standard. different LERX and flattened nose, the latter
The F-5E was first delivered to the US Navy in But demands for adversary feature leading to their ‘Platypus’ nickname.
1975 to serve as an adversary aircraft for trainees training were constantly The remaining US Navy F-5Fs were

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too costly to maintain, had very little operational VFC-111 uses contract services for the maintenance
life left and needed to be retired. The service of its aircraft. For many years, Sikorsky Maintenance
replaced them using recently purchased Swiss and Services handled this work but, in July 2015,
PAE Applied Technologies was awarded a US$68.4m
F-5E airframes. The three ‘new’ F-5Fs, nicknamed contract to take over responsibility from July 2016.
‘Franken-Tigers’, were built using parts from
former US Navy two-seat F-5Fs and from single-
seat, former Swiss Air Force F-5Es. The two-seat
cockpit and tail portion of navy F-5Fs 75-0756
(from VFC-111), 75-0753 (VFC-13) and 84-0456
(VMFT-401) were ‘bolted on’ to the newer centre
sections of former Swiss F-5Es 81-0834/J-
3075, 76-1586/J-3061 and 76-1580/J-3055.
The first ‘Franken-Tiger’ made its maiden
flight on November 25, 2008 and was delivered
to VMFT-401 on December 9, 2008. The second
arrived with VFC-111 on December 19, 2008,
and the third went to VFC-13 in January 2010.
The F-5N programme was completed on
April 29, 2009, when the 44th aircraft left
Northrop’s facilities in Florida. Thirty of these
airframes were equally distributed between
the US Navy’s VFC-13 and VFC-111 and
another 11 went to VMFT-401 at Yuma. End of the line?
Last October, the USAF awarded four
Operations today Recently the US Navy announced it is companies five-year Adversary Air (AdAir)
Most VFC-111 missions today are flown in the planning to remove the F-5Ns from service contracts worth US$6.4bn. One of these private
Key West Complex located in the Gulf of Mexico between 2028 and 2030 when the aircraft contractors, Tactical Air Support Inc (TacAir),
and the Straits of Florida, off the coast of Cuba. will have reached their 8,000 flight hours based in Reno, Nevada, acquired a fleet of 21
All the aircraft can be over the vast range within limit. At the same time the service aims to ex-Jordanian F-5E/Fs in 2017 and immediately
minutes of taking off. The entire area is covered focus on upgrading its threat-level simulation, began developing an upgrade for the aircraft
by the Tactical Aircrew Training Combat System to a standard beyond the MiG-21. at its facilities in St Augustine, Florida. In
(TACTS) and is almost entirely devoted to DACT. Northrop’s small and agile fighters are late 2018 the company was awarded a five-
TACTS provides real-time tracking of jets considered ideal for the enemy threat simulation year, US$107m US Navy contract to provide
engaged in air combat and it has a replay role – they are simple to maintain, without adversary services, in addition to training to
function to help assess each aerial duel, with complex systems, and have low operating help air and ship crews counter electronic
aircraft position data and the outcome of each costs. Their value is so important that the US threats. NAVAIR is now planning to apply a
missile shot. NAS Key West was the first navy Department of Defense’s US$718bn Fiscal similar upgrade, based on the TacAir project,
installation to receive the P5 Combat Training Year 2020 budget included US$39.7m to to the fleet of navy and marine corps examples,
System/Tactical Combat Training System (CTS/ acquire a further 22 F-5E/Fs from Switzerland, including a new cockpit and modern avionics.
TCTS) in 2006. Developed by Cubic Defence to supplement and in some cases replace Other adversary contractors help plug
Applications, this allows interoperability the 43 aircraft currently in service. training gaps as they emerge. Draken
with the USAF and other allies using the P5 In the meantime, in order to reduce the International has acquired South African
system and has proved to be a valuable asset pressure on the existing fleet distributed Cheetahs and Spanish Mirage F1s,
for VFC-111. The CTS/TCTS pod is mounted among the three squadrons, Naval Air while the Airborne Tactical Advantage
on the missile launch rail on the left wingtip Systems Command (NAVAIR) – the US Navy Company (ATAC) bought 63 former French
of each F-5. The GPS-based store provides organisation responsible for integrating aircraft Mirage F1s that are being assembled
precise, continuous tracking of each aircraft systems – continues to seek other Tiger IIs and tested in Fort Worth, Texas.
involved in the mission and collects a diverse around the world. As they are today, the navy’s Until a long-term replacement for the
cache of in-flight data, including real-time F-5s can only realistically simulate a MiG-21 F-5 arrives, these credible and affordable
kill notification for the aircrew and real-time threat level, a limitation that will be overcome adversaries will continue to dogfight o ver
weapon scoring for long-range weapon shots. under a new incentive to modernise these jets. the sunny skies of the Florida Keys. AFM
Left: Best of enemies: F-5N 761591 ‘AF-111’ and an F/A-18F prepare to launch for a DACT mission. Primary
customers for the ‘Sundowners’ are the US Navy’s three Hornet/Growler FRS units: VFA-106 ‘Gladiators’ at NAS
Oceana, VFA-122 ‘Flying Eagles’ at NAS Lemoore and VAQ-129 ‘Vikings’ at NAS Whidbey Island. Below: ATAC
Hunters – also former Swiss Air Force jets – join three ‘Sundowners’ Tiger IIs for a DACT mission out of Key West.
As part of their training, large Red Air adversary forces are thrown at fleet pilots during air wing workups.

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NEWS Special


from Jordan

A FM contributors Elio and reconnaissance and AT-802) were off- is under the command of be visited was the King
(ISR) units are involved in
Viroli and Stenio
KA2; today, it’s home to the
limits. Not far from here is
Hussein Air College at
Bacciocchi provide a
Zarqa, which now belongs
heavy-lift helicopter fleet.
training assets of the RJAF
the aprons of 15 and 25
photographic report from an sensitive operations, and the former army air base of recently acquired Mi-26T2 Mafraq, where the new
exclusive visit to facilities of Squadrons (Cessna 208B entirely to the RJAF and The final location to were displayed in full.
the Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya
al-Malakiya al-Urduniya
(Royal Jordanian Air Force,
RJAF) last September.
Unusual among Middle
Eastern air arms, the
RJAF has long provided
occasional opportunities for
enthusiasts to document its
varied fleet, helped by the
close relationship between
the service and the rulers
of the Hashemite Kingdom
– first, King Hussein and
now King Abdullah II
bin Al-Hussein, who is
today closely involved
with the armed forces.
Our correspondents
visited four air bases around
Amman and witnessed
the daily activity of the
resident air wings. First on
the itinerary was Amman-
Marka, a long-established Above: Seen at Amman-Marka, M28-05 Skytruck serial 355 wears a grey colour scheme and is apparently non-operational. A first
airfield not far from the M28 departed from PZL’s Mielec factory in December 2014, on delivery to the RJAF. The second departed Poland for the Middle
centre of the capital city. East in December the following year. Serial 355 was flown to the US for ISR conversion in August 2016 and returned to Jordan
during August 2017. Top: The 3 Squadron apron at Amman-Marka provided an opportunity to see the M28-05 fleet at close quarters,
The second air base including serial 356. This aircraft was sent to the US for ISR conversion in June 2018 and returned to Jordan last April and, at the
visited was King Abdullah time of AFM’s visit, was flying numerous training missions with di erent crews. Right: The cockpit of an upgraded Royal Jordanian

II AB (KA2), home of the Air Force AH-1F, one of a number of recently delivered modernised machines noted at King Abdullah II AB. Compared with the old
important Prince Hashim Bin HueyCobras, these are equipped with a new glass cockpit, improved forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor and revised weapons
Abdullah II Royal Aviation including the AGM-114R Hellfire air-to-ground missile. From 2018, a dozen AH-1F/S began a process of upgrade by Northrop
Brigade. The resident Grumman and Science and Engineering Services (SES) at Huntsville, Alabama. Seventeen AH-1s were o ered for sale in September

intelligence, surveillance 2018, which would ultimately just leave the 12 modernised aircraft in service. All photos Elio Viroli
44 // February 2020 #383 www.Key.Aero
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Above: The Jordanian Royal Flight introduced two AW139 air ambulances to service from August 2010, followed by a third in VIP
configuration delivered in September 2012. The second example is JY-RSC (c/n 41218), wearing the callsign ‘EMS-2’. This helicopter
was on standby at Amman-Marka as part of the service’s 24-hour helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS). Below: Immaculate
UH-60M ‘01’ is another Jordanian Royal Flight aircraft at Amman-Marka. Despite its VIP transport role, the helicopter wears a military
camouflage scheme. The Royal Flight received a trio of UH-60Ms: two examples in VIP configuration were delivered 2013 and a
contract for a third was placed June 2015. The Black Hawks provide intra-country transportation for the Royal Family, Jordanian
o icials, visiting heads of state and other dignitaries.

Left: The workhorses of Amman-Marka’s 7 Squadron, the
ageing AS332M1s, were very active as of September. The
squadron has flown the Super Puma – including serial 740 (c/n
2184) – since 1987. Today, nine examples from an original total
of 11 are understood to remain in service. Since some critical
components – such as the mission computer – are becoming
obsolete, the RJAF has put its Super Pumas up for sale. Below:
The attack helicopters of 10 and 12 Squadrons were very active
at the time of AFM’s visit to King Abdullah II AB. AH-1F serial
1205 (c/n 22617, FMS 82-24093) carries M260 pods for 70mm
(2.75in) calibre rockets inboard and twin TOW launchers
(missiles removed) outboard on the stub wings, plus the three-
barrel 20mm cannon. This is one of the unit’s non-modernised
AH-1Fs. Jordan received 24 new-build aircraft in 1995, followed
by nine ex-US Army examples from September 2000 and up
to 16 ex-Israeli AH-1E/Fs in 2015. Eight were sold to Pakistan
around 2011. Another eight were o ered for sale in December

2016 and six were reportedly transferred to Kenya in 2017. Two
more were delivered to the Philippines last November.

www.Key.Aero #383 February 2020 // 45

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NEWS Special

Above: Armed with a seven-shot rocket pod on the right-hand hardpoint, MD 530F serial 2806 (c/n 0708FF, ex N174SD) is still active with 28 Squadron of the Prince
Hashim Bin Abdullah II Royal Aviation Brigade at KA2. Six of these ‘Little Birds’ were purchased via the US civilian sector in 2006 and are reportedly tasked with
support of special forces units. All have been o ered for sale. Below right: Although the RJAF’s entire UH-60L fleet was put up for sale in January last year, serial SO-

3007 (FMS 05-27033) remains active with 30 Squadron of the Prince Hashim Bin Abdullah II Royal Aviation Brigade at KA2. Eight of the L-model Black Hawks were
originally ordered to support special forces tasks and entered service from September 2006. The last examples had been delivered by the end of November 2007.

Above: A student and instructor on board G 120TP serial 455 prepare to depart for a training sortie.
These aircraft are flown by 4 Squadron of the King Hussein Air College at Zafraq. At least 12 of the
Grobs had been delivered by April 2017 to replace the Slingsby T-67Ms, with a total of 16 received
eventually. One of these was lost on December 10, 2017, before the final two aircraft were donated
by Germany the following month. Below: Serial 1174 is one of 12 PC-21s that serve with 11 Squadron
at Zafraq. Jordan ordered eight PC-21s plus four options in April 2016. Two options were taken up
in December that year and the final two in May 2017. The first eight of the Pilatus turboprops were
delivered from August 2017 to December 2017, while the final pair arrived last April. The PC-21 has
replaced the C-101CC Aviojet and Hawk Mk63 in the advanced and tactical training roles.

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Left top: No 8 Squadron of the
Prince Hashim Bin Abdullah
II Royal Aviation Brigade at
King Abdullah II AB includes
examples of the UH-60M
(serial 862 seen here), as well
as the older UH-60A (ex US
Army) and UH-60L (o ered for

sale in January 2019). A total
of 12 UH-60Ms were ordered
for the RJAF; deliveries
commenced in March 2017 and
were completed in January
2018. Left below: Wearing
both the serial 2601 and the
code ‘06819’, this Mi-26T2
from 26 Squadron wears
flamboyant falcon artwork
on the forward fuselage. Two
of these enormous rotorcraft
were noted at their new
home of Zarqa. On April 17,
2016, Russian Helicopters
was awarded a contract to
supply two Mi-26T2s (plus two
options) to the RJAF via the
King Abdullah II Design and
Development Bureau (KADDB).
The first ‘Halo’ arrived at
Amman-Marka on January
17, 2018, and the second was
delivered in December that
year. The last two Mi-26s (to
make a total of four) were
delivered during December
last year. Jordan became
the second foreign military
customer of the Mi-26T2, after
Algeria. A full capabilities
study is now under way to
define the future roles of the
‘Halo’ with the RJAF, which
will include heavy-lift tactical
transport and firefighting. AFM

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Report Peruvian Air Force

A century

over the

Last year marked Peru’s centenary of military aviation,
an historical milestone celebrated with an air display
performed over the capital, Lima. Amaru Tincopa
reports on the Fuerza Aérea del Perú.

CRUZEX Flight 2018
For the second time in its history, the FAP
participated in the multinational exercise
CRUZEX Flight 2018, the largest of its kind in
South America, in November 2018 at Natal
air base in Brazil. The first time the Peruvians
had taken part in this exercise did not go
well: in 2006, the FAP deployed three A-37Bs
from Escuadrón Aéreo 712, supported by an
L-100-20 Hercules. Unfortunately, on August
20, at Porto Velho, Rondônia, one of the
A-37Bs crashed during take-off, killing Cdr
Michel Quiroz Plekfe and Maj Aldo Consiglieri
Muñoz. The FAP cancelled its participation in
the exercise in the wake of the accident and
ordered the return of the remaining aircraft.
In 2018, the FAP sent four A-37Bs
of Escuadrón Aéreo 712, four Mirage
2000P/DPs of Escuadrón Aéreo 412
and a Hercules, C-27J and Boeing
737-200 as support aircraft.

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T he Fuerza Aérea del Aviation School, as well as the
Perú (FAP, Peruvian Air
construction of additional facilities
Force) enters its second
centenary facing the challenges for the Seaplane School at Ancón
and the launching of the first
imposed by fielding a force capable long-distance training flights
of dealing with modern air combat to the interior of the country.
requirements while also trying to
achieve an efficient allocation of Consolidation
the limited resources available. The remarkable development of
Peruvian military aviation was aviation across the world during
born on January 28, 1919, with the late 1920s, as well as growing
the creation of the Servicio acceptance of its use for military
de Aviación Militar (Military purposes by the High Command
Aviation Service), a branch of of Peru’s armed forces, led to
the Ejército del Perú (Peruvian the creation, on May 20, 1929, of
Army), at Maranga, followed in the Cuerpo de Aviación del Perú
1920 by the establishment of (CAP, Peruvian Aviation Corps)
the Cuerpo de Aviación Naval in a merger of the Naval Aviation
(Naval Aviation Corps), part of Corps and the Military Aviation
the Marina de Guerra del Perú Service. The new single entity was
(Peruvian Navy), at Ancón. formed to maximise the use of
As in many other countries at the available aviation resources,
the time, aviation was contained simplify logistics and provide
within the structure of the army a unified command structure.
and navy, neither force seeing The process was finalised on
any merit in the establishment July 3, 1932, when the CAP was
of an independent air arm. officially mandated as Peru’s third
It was with these two parallel, independent armed institution.
albeit strongly integrated, forces The CAP experienced its baptism
that Peruvian military flying of fire on February 12, 1933, when
continued its development into 2nd Lt Secada, flying a Vought
the early 1920s, which resulted Corsair biplane, engaged in combat
in the progressive consolidation with a trio of Colombian Curtiss
of aviation as a primary weapon Model 35A Hawk II fighters. The
for the country’s defence, as well Corsair pilot was trying to cover the
as a means for its technological retreat of a flight of Peruvian attack
development. From 1923 Peru aircraft over Peru’s Tarapacá region
began a modest but significant during the Putumayo Conflict, the
Above: Single-seat Mirage 2000P serial 062 (c/n 126) pulls into the expansion of its military aviation undeclared border war between
top of a loop for the camera. Delivered from 1986 and not significantly capability, with the opening of Colombia and Peru over the
upgraded, the dozen Mirage 2000s (including a pair of two-seat
2000DP models) remain in service at La Joya with Escuadrón Aéreo 412, Las Palmas air base in Lima as disputed territories located between
under Grupo Aéreo No 4. All photos Katsuhiko Tokunaga/DACT unless stated the new home of the Military the Putumayo and Caquetá rivers.

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Report Peruvian Air Force

It was a conflict which, for the Workshops) were established
most part, was fought in the skies at Las Palmas to provide repair
above the Amazon rainforest. The and maintenance services for
CAP, equipped with a small force of the growing number of aircraft
biplanes, including ten Vought O2U- in Peruvian military service.
1E Corsair and six Douglas O-38 In early 1935, as an extension of
observation/attack aircraft and the CAP reorganisation process,
three Curtiss 35A Hawk II fighters, military air bases and airfields
faced a numerically superior were opened at strategic locations
Colombian air arm reinforced across the country, at that time
with experienced crews, including divided into five air regions,
German World War One veterans. each provided with a main
Su-25 serial 070 (c/n 10058) over the Pacific. In early 2017, Rosoboronexport
signed a contract for the overhaul of the ‘Frogfoot’ fleet. To date, five single- Nevertheless, the CAP crews fought military air base and a number
seaters and five two-seaters have undergone the work, which involves a limited bravely during the nine months of support airfields, allowing
upgrade. The remaining aircraft are now in storage. of this almost-forgotten conflict. the flexible detachment of air
With a ceasefire with Colombia units stationed in the region.
agreed in May 1933, the CAP The first airfield to be opened
underwent an extensive expansion was Arequipa, located in the city
and reorganisation programme of the same name, around 620
the following summer, including miles (1,000km) south of Lima, on
improving and restructuring April 26, 1935. This was followed
the Escuela de Aviación Militar by Pucallpa airfield on September
(EAM, Military Aviation School). 28 the same year; the Escuela
Experience gained during the de Vuelo de Altura (High-Altitude
conflict with Colombia led to several Flight School) at Huancayo on
changes in aircrew training, the April 19, 1936; the ‘Mayor Guillermo
most important being the division Protzel del Castillo’ air base at Vítor,
of training for cadet and officer Arequipa province, on June 18, 1936,
students. While the former covered and, finally, the ‘Teniente Coronel
the training of civilians admitted to Pedro Ruiz Gallo’ air base at
the EAM via the regular process, Chiclayo on September 21 that year.
the latter was intended to improve On October 13, 1936, a secret
the flight training skills of officers set of regulations under the name
from the Army’s Military Aviation Estrategia y Logística del Cuerpo
Service and Naval Aviation Corps. Aeronáutico del Perú (CAP
The same year, by means of Strategy and Logistics) was
Supreme Decree No 5, dated June issued and approved via
13, 1933, the Talleres Centrales Supreme Decree.
1 de Aviación (Aviation Central This set

1: A pilot hard at work in the decidedly antiquated cockpit of a Peruvian Air Force OA/A-37B. Last July, the FAP began looking at options for overhauling eight A-37Bs,
with a view to extending their service life by up to three years. 2: MiG-29SM-P serial 038 with a full load of dummy air-to-air missiles. Sixteen single-seat MiG-29s
were acquired secondhand from Belarus in 1996 and the air force set out plans to upgrade 13 survivors to MiG-29SM-P standard. The first batch of six modernised jets
was handed over to the FAP in July 2012. 3: Float-equipped DHC-6-400 serial 305 (c/n 879) leads a three-ship formation of Twin Otters. A total of 16 DHC-6 Series 300
aircraft were received from May 1971, and three are thought to remain in service with Escuadrón Aéreo 421, where they have been supplemented by a dozen Series 400
aircraft produced by Viking Air under an order announced by the company in June 2011. These aircraft are configured with both standard landing gear and floats for
missions in remote areas of the country. 4: A C-27J tactical airlifter of Escuadrón de Transporte 844 over the Andes. Peru’s plan to acquire two Spartans was announced
in November 2013 and a follow-on order for another pair was confirmed in January 2015. The first example was accepted at Santiago de Surco in March 2015, while the
second was handed over in June that year and the third arrived in December. The fourth and final example began its delivery flight in December 2017.

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