April's top stories: Boeing wins $2.2bn contract, Israel commissions David's Sling

Boeing secured a $2.2bn contract to modernise maritime patrol capabilities of P-8A Poseidon aircraft worldwide, Israel commissioned David's Sling missile defence system. Airforce-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from April 2017.


Boeing wins $2.2bn contract to modernise 17 P-8A Poseidon aircraft

Boeing secured a $2.2bn contract to modernise maritime patrol capabilities of P-8A Poseidon aircraft worldwide.

The contract covers modernisation of at least 17 P-8A Poseidon aircraft for the US, Australia, and the UK.

Boeing's military aircraft mobility, surveillance, and engagement division and P-8 programme manager Jamie Burgess said: “The P-8A is a textbook example of Boeing’s commercial derivative expertise.

“Every day our customers get to fly incredible aircraft that perform exceptionally well and are built by the best of Boeing.”

Israel commissions David's Sling missile defence system

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly announced the commissioning of the new long-range, anti-missile David's Sling Weapon System (DSWS), which is intended to safeguard the country from threats posed by hostile nations.

The US and Israel have jointly developed the system to intercept largecalibre rockets, short-range ballistic missiles and other developing threats.

Netanyahu was quoted by The Times of Israel as saying: “We are completely committed to the security of Israeli civilians.

“Within the framework of that commitment we are systematically working to strengthen Israel’s strike capabilities against its enemies and, in the same way, we are systematically working to strengthen our ability to defend ourselves against our enemies.”

Saab carries out first test flight of biofuel-powered Gripen aircraft

Saab conducted a series of test flights of its JAS 39 Gripen powered solely by biofuel made from rapeseed oil.

The company said the flights marked the first time a single-engine fighter had flown powered by 100% biofuel and was part of a wider initiative that aims to reduce the environmental impact of aviation.

Saab used a dual seat Gripen D for the first biofuel demonstration flight, which was conducted at its facility in Linköping, Sweden.

US missile strikes against Syria increase tensions with Russia

Tensions rose between Russia and America following the US missile strikes on an air base in Syria in response to the Syrian Government's chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun.

The strikes against Shayrat Airfield in Homs Governorate were ordered by US President Donald Trump.

Prior to launching the strikes, Trump said: “Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.

“It is in this vital national security interest of the US to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council.”

Norway begins testing drag parachute brake system for F-35 Lightning II

Norway continued testing its drag parachute brake screen to ensure safe landing of the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft in harsh weather.

Brake chute testing is being carried out in two phases using AF-2 test aircraft specially developed for this purpose.

Phase I of the testing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, involves evaluating how F-35 behaves in the air with a fitted drag chute and how the chute acts on dry and wet runways.

Rafale completes final guided firing of Meteor long-range air-to-air missile

The French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) completed the final guided firing of the Meteor long-range air-to-air missile from a Rafale omnirole combat aircraft.

The integration flight test involved firing of the Meteor missile at an air target and was supported by Dassault Aviation, MBDA and Thales.

During the test, the Meteor successfully engaged and destroyed a very long-range, high-speed air target named Mirach.

USAF test-fires Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile

The US Air Force (USAF) successfully test-fired an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) equipped with a single test re-entry vehicle.

The launch was conducted from the Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB), California, by a combined team of Air Force Global Strike Command airmen.

The team comprised 90th Missile Wing (MW) at FE Warren AFB, Wyoming, 341st MW at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, and 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt AFB, Nebraska.

Iraq requests $1.6bn sale of pilot training and logistical support from US

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a potential $1.6bn foreign military sale of pilot training, maintenance training and contractor logistical services support to Iraq.

Iraq sought to receive pilot and maintenance training and contractor logistical support for up to five years for trainer aircraft such as C-172, C-208, and T-6

The sale covers contractor aircraft modification, repair and spare parts, publications, aircraft ferry, and miscellaneous parts. It also includes training base operation support, base life support, security, construction, and other related elements of programme support.

Royal Air Force Typhoons to participate in Nato's enhanced air policing mission

The British Royal Air Force's (RAF) Typhoon detachment was deployed to the Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) airbase near Constanta, Romania, in order to take part in Nato's enhanced air policing mission.

To secure Nato's airspace over Romania, four Typhoon FGR4s will operate alongside 150 personnel from the RAF.

The latest four-month deployment forms a part of the alliance's assurance measures introduced in 2014 to respond to new security challenges from the east and the south.

Italian Air Force receives Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft from Leonardo

The Italian Air Force received a new Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft from Leonardo Aircraft Division.

The latest Eurofighter Typhoon is the 500th aircraft produced by the company so far.

Leonardo delivered the first and 100th Eurofighter to the British Royal Air Force in 2003 and 2006 respectively.