F-35 fleet at Eglin reaches 20

The 20th Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II has been delivered to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

September 28: The 20th Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II was delivered to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida yesterday to support F-35 pilot and maintainer training taking place on the Emerald Coast.

BF-15, piloted by US Marine Corps Major Mike Rountree, left Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base at 1039hrs CDT en route for a 90-minute ferry flight to Eglin. The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) jet is the 14th F-35 to ferry there this year. BF-15 is now assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s Marine Fighter/Attack Training Squadron 501 with the host 33rd Fighter Wing.

First Puma HC2 handed to UK MoD

Eurocopter has handed over its first Puma HC2 helicopter.

September 13: The upgrade programme of the RAF Puma helicopter took a further step forward yesterday when Eurocopter handed over its first Puma HC2.

This upgrade enhances the aircraft’s performance, mission capability and safety. The first modified aircraft will fly from QinetiQ’s Boscombe Down facility where it will support trials.

Eurocopter’s first internal qualification of the Puma HC2 was achieved on July 6, concluding the first phase of the planned developments, with further enhancements to its mission capabilities planned over the coming months. To date, Eurocopter has completed the initial upgrade process on three Puma helicopters, all of which are now involved in flight testing.

The Puma HC2 will be akey element of the UK’s medium battlefield support helicopter capability and will be deployed for tactical troop and load movement by day and night. The upgrade will extend the operational lifetime and significantly upgrade the capabilities of 24 helicopters.

“This delivery milestone marks another important accomplishment in a programme that is vital for the UK’s combat capabilities, and it results equally from Eurocopter’s commitment to its success and our close cooperation with the Ministry of Defence,” said Markus Steinke, the Managing Director of Eurocopter UK. “Once upgraded, Puma Mk2s will be serving the Royal Air Force until 2025, offering exceptional performance and capability.”

Enhancements for the Puma Mk2 include major performance and safety improvements with the use of new Makila 1A1 turboshaft engines; the integration of a full glass cockpit incorporating modern avionics and a flight management system; the implementation of a digital automatic flight control system; as well as the incorporation of a secure communications suite, new defensive aids and ballistic protection for crew and passengers. Additionally, the helicopter’s greater onboard fuel capacity and lower fuel consumption will increase the Puma’s operating range. It will be able to carry twice the payload over three times the range than its predecessor.

Bundeswehr takes centre stage at ILA 2012

The German military is out in force for Berlin’s biennial airshow.

Under the heading of ‘Treff Bundeswehr’ (meet the Bundeswehr [German military]) and, as the largest exhibitor at ILA 2012, the Bundeswehr is putting on a display of its capabilities and will use the airshow to promote its image and attract new recruits. Included in the static displays are six fighters, three transporter and tanker aircraft, seven helicopters, an air defence ground-based weapons system, four Unmanned Aircraft Systems and a military hospital container. Visitors will also get a chance to talk to Bundeswehr aircraft crews.

As part of its joint demonstrations, on September 13, 15 and 16, four Tornados, two Eurofighters, two Phantom F-4Fs, a CH-53G, a C-160D Transall and an Airbus A310 MRTT tanker will take to the skies for around 20 minutes in a demonstration of their combined capabilities.

Among the foreign countries present at the show, Poland (the partner country of ILA) will demonstrate a Polish Air Force MIG-29, its own aerobatics display team, Biało-Czerwone Iskry (White and Red Sparks), and its own version of the Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopter. Other static displays will feature an MP-02 Czajka, EM-11 Orka, AT-3, PZL M 28 and C 295 Casa. Exhibitors representing the USA, France, UK, Italy and NATO will also be taking part, bringing aircraft such as an UH-72 Lakota, F-16C Fighting Falcon, Mirage 2000N and E-3A AWACS. Finland provide an aerial display of the F/A-18C Hornet at the weekend.