CH-147F Chinook for Canada

The Royal Canadian Air Force has taken delivery of the first of 15 new CH-147F Chinooks.

Canada is the first operator of the new Chinook variant that will be delivered to the global marketplace.

The aircraft comes with a number of upgrades including a modernised airframe with a long-range fuel tanks, upgraded electrical system, integrated Common Avionics Architecture System cockpit, and Digital Automatic Flight Control System. It also has improved survivability features including a Directional Infrared Countermeasures system.

The first CH-147F was accepted by the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, and will be followed by six additional aircraft over the remainder of 2013. The Canadian government awarded Boeing a contract for 15 Medium-to-Heavy-Lift Helicopters (MHLH) and in-service support in June 2009; all deliveries are scheduled to be completed by June 2014.

Boeing will provide in-service support to the MHLH fleet for the next 20 years under a Performance-Based Logistics contract. The company has already awarded six contracts to Canadian suppliers for services under the program.

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Navy Receives First Lightning

The U.S. Navy’s Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101 received its first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant from Lockheed Martin at the squadron’s home at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

The F-35C will enhance the strike capabilities of carrier air wings and joint task forces and will complement the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet which is currently the Navy’s premier strike fighter.

By 2025, the Navy’s aircraft carrier-based air wings will consist of a mix of F-35C, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) air vehicles, MH-60R/S helicopters and Carrier Onboard Delivery logistics aircraft.

VFA 101, based at Eglin Air Force Base, will serve as the F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron, training both aircrew and maintenance personnel to fly and repair the F-35C.

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Thailand to Purchase UH-72A Lakotas

The Royal Thai Army is in the process of purchasing 6 UH-72A Lakota Helicopters including associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated value of US$ 77 million

The deal will include spare and repair parts, support equipment, communication equipment, publications and technical documentation, Aviation Mission Planning Station, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $77 million.

The proposed sale will contribute to Thailand’s goal to upgrade and modernise its fleet with a light utility helicopter capable of meeting requirements for rotary wing transportation.

The US$77 million purchase price is nearly 7.5 Million more than the US paid for the helicopters.

Sigma 95 navigation systems ordered for Indian combat aircraft

Indian aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics has ordered 107 Sigma 95 navigation systems kits from Sagem for the Indian Air Force’s combat aircraft.

The Sigma 95 is an hybrid inertial navigation system combining laser gyros and GPS satellite navigation. It ensures high-precision navigation and broad operational flexibility for both combat and special-mission aircraft.

Two-thirds of the systems in this order will be manufacturered in India by HAL.

Air France Industries Begins Major Upgrade of French AWACS Fleet

The $354M upgrade will increase Airborne Warning and Control System’s mission capability and reduce life-cycle costs.

Boeing subcontractor, Air France Industries (AFI), has begun upgrading the electrical, mechanical and structural systems and mission hardware of the first of four French E-3F AWACS.

The $354M Mid Life Upgrade (MLU) – the largest ever for French AWACS – will provide the fleet a fuller picture of the battle space and more actionable information while reducing aircrew workload.

Work on the first E-3F AWACS aircraft at AFI’s facility near Paris is scheduled to be completed in 2014 with the rest of the fleet completed by 2016.

The MLU upgrade, based on the U.S. AWACS Block 40/45 system, dramatically increases mission execution capability, reliability and effectiveness; and reduces life-cycle costs.

Marine Corps to Take Over EA-6B Training

The Marine Corps is converting one of its four EA-6B Prowler Marine tactical electronic warfare (VMAQ) squadrons into an EA-6B replacement training squadron as it prepares to assume Prowler training from the Navy.

VMAQ-1, based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., will be redesignated Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Training Squadron One (VMAQT-1) on June 14, according to Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Richard Ulsh.

Prowler training currently is conducted for the Navy and Marine Corps by Navy Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. VAQ-129 also conducts training for EA-18G Growler crews and is scheduled to phase out EA-6B training by 2014 as it transfers training of Marine crews to VMAQT-1. The Navy will retire its last EA-6B squadron in 2015.

The Marine Corps currently is scheduled to operate the EA-6B until 2019. The three remaining Marine Corps VMAQ squadrons will continue to operate the EA-6B in the expeditionary electronic attack role until they are deactivated.

US Army Signs Contract for Chinook Helicopters

The Army and Boeing have signed a $4 billion multi-year contract for 177 CH-47F Chinook helicopters, with options that could increase its total order to 215 aircraft.

This order would eventually bring the Army’s CH-47F total procurement close to its target of 464 aircraft, including 24 to replace peacetime attrition aircraft. The Army’s current inventory stands at 241 F-models.

There are 15 Army active duty and National Guard units operating the CH-47F, and a 16th is currently being equipped. CH-47F units have logged more than 86,000 combat hours in Afghanistan, maintaining an operational readiness rate of over 80 percent while conducting air assault, transport, and medical evacuation and support missions.

Final Section of Giant Aircraft Carrier Rolls Out onto the Clyde

The BAE Systems built Aft Island of the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier was loaded onto a sea-going barge ahead of its journey from the company’s Scotstoun site to Rosyth.

The Aft Island, also known as Upper Block 14, is the final section of the first of class HMS Queen Elizabeth to be delivered to Rosyth. The island operates as an airport control tower and is the centre of the flight operations on the ship. Housing 110 compartments, it is over 30 metres tall and contains more than 44,000 metres of cable.

A transportation team will spend the coming days ensuring the 750 tonnes structure is fully secured to the barge ahead of her departure for Rosyth on 16 June. On arrival the Aft Island will be lifted from the barge onto the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth by the giant Goliath Crane. Once the island has been erected onto the flight deck the ship will stand taller than Niagara Falls at 56 metres.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first aircraft carrier to use an innovative design of two islands. The Forward Island has already been erected onto the flight deck of the ship in Rosyth and houses the main bridge. Both islands are designed with the ability to incorporate the other’s role in an emergency, increasing the survivability of the ship.

The aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between BAE Systems, Thales UK, Babcock and the UK Ministry of Defence.

The Queen Elizabeth Class will be the centre piece of Britain’s military capability. Each 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier will provide the armed forces with a four acre military operating base which can be deployed worldwide. The vessels will be versatile enough to be used for operations ranging from supporting war efforts to providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

Free Entry to NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days

The 13th annual NATO Days event to be held at Ostrava Leos Janacek Airport in the Czech Republic over 21-22 September 2013, features free entry to visitors.

This event will also feature the 4th Czech Air Force Days event, and will commemorate 20 years of independence of the Czech Republic and its security forces and agencies.

NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days will serve as one of the major events organized in the Czech Republic through 2013 and will be the largest public celebration of the 20th anniversary of independence.

NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days is much more than a traditional airshow – it is a demonstration of the widest range of security provision – with not only air force, army, police etc but also firefighters, rescue services and paramedics, customs service, prison service and many more – from the Czech Republic and from abroad. In 2012, the event featured participants from 19 countries and was attended by more than 200,000 visitors over two days. Attractions for the 2013 event will include the Turkish Airforce Aerobatic Team – the Turkish Stars, and the Spanish helicopter aerobatic team – Pátrulla ASPA, together with many other displays both flying and static.

Everyone is welcome to attend and enjoy this free event. For further information please visitwww.natodays.cz or contact Jagello 2000 organisation on +420 597 479208 email jagello@jagello.org .

Second A400M Takes Off

The second production Airbus Military A400M new generation airlifter has made its maiden flight.

The aircaft known as MSN8 made its first flight from Seville, Spain, the location of the A400M final assembly line on 7 June.

It is scheduled for delivery to the French Air Force in the third quarter of the year. MSN7, which flew for the first time at the beginning of March this year, will be delivered to the French Air Force in the coming weeks.