2013: The year's biggest Air Force stories

South Korea has selected Lockheed's F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft, while USAF has evaluated new fuel saving flying technique. Airforce-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from 2013.


south korea

Indonesian Air Force receives two Su-30MK2 fighters

indonesian air force

The Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU) received the first two Sukhoi Su-30MK2 multirole fighter aircraft, under contract from Russia at the Sultan Hasanuddin Air Force Base, in Makassar, Indonesia.

The aircraft, part of a delivery contract covering the supply of a total six fighters, were handed over in a disassembled condition and without engines, as reported by The Jakarta Post.

A $470m contract was awarded by Indonesia's Ministry of Defence (MoD) to the Russian state arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, in December 2011.

Iran begins mass producing Ya Zahra missile system

The Iranian Defence Ministry established a new assembly line to commence mass production of its domestically manufactured Ya Zahra air defence system.

Officially inaugurating the production line, Iranian defence minister brigadier general Ahmad Vahidi was quoted by Press TV as saying that Ya Zahra is a mobile missile system that can be deployed in any location and connected to the country's integrated air defence network.

"The air defense weapon is capable of identifying, intercepting and destroying aerial targets, including different types of aircraft, choppers and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)," Vahidi added.

Bangladesh mulls Yak-130 trainers purchase from Russia

Yak-130

Bangladesh revealed plans to acquire 24 Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced jet trainer aircraft as part of a $1bn credit granted by Russia, Rosoboronexport deputy chief Viktor Komardin has revealed.

Komardin was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying during the ongoing Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA-2013) exhibition in Malaysia that the Yak-130 jets procurement is a significant subject of negotiations between the two countries, even though information regarding other weaponry is a state-secret.

Negotiations are expected to commence in late 2013, Komardin added.

Rockwell Collins selected for Oman C-130 avionics system upgrade

rockwell collins

Rockwell Collins was awarded a contract for the avionics modernisation programme in support of the Royal Air Force of Oman's (RAFO) C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft.

Under the contract, the company will deliver and install its Flight2 avionics system onboard three C-130 aircraft to provide unrestricted access to global airspace and address communication, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM)airspace requirements.

Rockwell Collins Airborne Solutions vice president and general manager Troy Brunk said: ''Royal Air Force of Oman pilots will experience greater situational awareness and communications capabilities with the highly advanced avionics onboard these aircraft."

UK RAF conducts first air-to-air refuelling flight of Voyager tanker

UK RAF

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) conducted its first air-to-air refuelling (AAR) training flight with the A330 Voyager future strategic tanker aircraft (FSTA) at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, UK.

Carried out in support of Panavia GR4 Tornado fighters, the test flight follows the approval of release to service for tanker operations granted by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to AirTanker Services on 16 May, as reported by Flightglobal.

Aircrews from the RAF's 10 Squadron have also completed simulator-based training at the same location to conduct the actual AAR sortie.

Turkey changes rules of engagement after F-4 downed by Syria

turkey syria

Turkey pledged to change its military rules of engagement after a Turkish F-4 Phantom jet was shot down by Syrian forces after straying into Syrian airspace.

The jet strayed into Syrian airspace on 22 June 2012, and Syria's decision to engage has prompted an angry reaction from Turkey's Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack. Every military element approaching Turkey from the Syrian border and representing a security risk and danger will be assessed as a military threat and will be treated as a military target," said Erdogan.

Czech Air Force's C-295 aircraft cleared for combat operations

czech air force

The Czech Air Force's (CZAF) four troubled C-295M military transport aircraft gained approval to conduct combat operations after successful completion of a testing and evaluation programme, the country's Defence Minister Vlastimil Picek revealed.

Picek was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying that the aircraft's anti-missile protection (DAS) system achieved excellent results during the testing, which concluded last week.

"At present, the Czech Army has four full-fledged transport planes usable for a full spectrum of operations in the Czech Republic and abroad," Picek said.

USAF evaluates new fuel saving flying technique

USAF fuel saving

The US Air Force (USAF) Air Mobility Command (AMC) conducted the surfing aircraft vortices for energy ($AVE) programme flight tests using two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to validate its ability to reduce annual fuel costs.

Carried out from Edwards Air Force Base in California, to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and back, the tests involved one C-17 trailing directly behind another to recapture energy that would otherwise be lost, which eventually lowers its fuel consumption.

Representing follow-on tests from the October 2012 test flights at Edwards AFB, the latest trials, featuring an actual operational mission, including night time flying sorties, assure the air force fuel savings of up to $10m a year.

Philippine Air Force's UHI Huey acquisition fails for third time

UHI Huey fail

The Philippine Air Force's (PAF) UH-1 Huey helicopter acquisition project stalled for the third time due to the Department of National Defense's (DND) inability to secure a qualified supplier for the aircraft.

The DND's Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) had declared the bidding for the helicopters a failure, citing that the lone bidder, the Rice Aircraft Services and Eagle Copters joint venture, failed to satisfy eligibility requirements, Manila Bulletin reports.

Carried out in December 2012, and February this year, the first and second rounds of public bidding were also called a failure by the committee due to similar reasons.

Brazilian Air Force receives first upgraded A-1 fighter from Embraer

A-1 fighter

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has taken delivery of the first upgraded A-1 fighter aircraft from Embraer Defense & Security during a ceremony at the company's facility in Gaviao Peixoto, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Around 43 subsonic A-1 fighters are being modernised by the company as part of a contract awarded by FAB in January 2011.

Covering structural overhaul, repair and substitution of the aircraft's other outdated equipment, the contract complements a previous deal signed in 2003 for modernisation of its electronic systems.

Saudi Arabia seeks munitions and support services from US

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of two potential foreign military sales (FMS) of various munitions and associated equipment as well as support services to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

According to the first estimated $6.8bn sale, Saudi Arabia has requested the supply of 650 AGM-84H standoff land attack missiles-expanded response, 973 AGM-154c joint stand off weapons (JSOW), 400 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles, 1,000 GBU-39/B small diameter bombs (SDB), 40 CATM-84H captive air training missiles and 20 ATM-84H SLAM-ER telemetry missiles.

The package also includes four dummy air training missiles, 60 AWW-13 data link pods, ten JSOW CATMs, 40 Harpoon CATMs, 20 ATM-84L harpoon exercise missiles, 36 SDB captive flight and load build trainers, containers, mission planning, integration support and testing and munitions storage security and training.

South Korea selects F-35A aircraft for F-X fighter contract

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) has selected Lockheed Martin's F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft for the national air force's multi-billion dollar F-X Fighter programme.

Following a lengthy-bid process, the JSF decided to procure 40 F-35As, a conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variant of the stealth aircraft against the originally planned 60 jets, for four years starting from 2018, Yonhap News Agency reports.

The remaining 20 aircraft are expected to be acquired at a later date depending on operational requirement and security situations, for deployment between 2023 and 2024.


Related content


Military spending 2011 – regional infographic, top ten military spenders and more

Key headlines from 2012 include continued problems with the F-22 programme and North Korea's successful rocket launch. Airforce-technology.com wraps up the top stories of the year.

 


The world's 10 best bomber aircraft

Bomber aircraft have historically been used for strategic and stealth missions but have also become optimised over time to perform multiple attack missions.