August's top stories: USAF awards $1.8bn LRSO weapon design work, Nigeria requests A-29 Super Tucano aircraft

USAF awarded $1.8bn worth contracts for LRSO weapon design work, Nigeria requested the $593m sale of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft and weapons from US. Airforce-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from August 2017.


The US Air Force (USAF) awarded two separate contracts, totalling $1.8bn, to Lockheed Martin and Raytheon to develop design concepts and technologies for the service’s new long-range standoff (LRSO) weapon.

Each Technical Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) contract will run for a 54-month period and enable the USAF to replace the ageing AGM-86B air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) with modernised weapon capabilities for the nuclear bomber fleet.

The LRSO weapon system, which is an important part of the nuclear triad, will ensure the bomber force continues to hold high-value targets at risk in an evolving threat environment, including targets deep within an area-denied environment.


Nigeria requests $593m sale of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft and weapons from US

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible $593m foreign military sale of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft and weapons to the Government of Nigeria.

Under the sale, Nigeria has requested 12 A-29 Super Tucano, including associated training, spare parts, aviation and ground support equipment. It has also put in a request for hangar, facilities and infrastructure required to support the programme.

The proposed sale, which has been approved by the US State Department, is part of the US commitment to help Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin countries in the fight against ISIS.


India's HAL flies first AESA radar-upgraded Jaguar fighter aircraft

India-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) reportedly announced the successful flight of the first Jaguar fighter aircraft to be upgraded with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

Using the AESA radar system, the aircraft will be capable of tracking multiple targets and communicating in multiple frequencies via high bandwidth.

HAL's Mission and Combat System Research and Design Centre carried out the upgrade to the Indian Air Force's (IAF) fighter plane, The Hindu reported.


Oman Air Force receives first Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft

The Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) received the first two Hawk advanced jet trainers from BAE Systems during a ceremony at Masirah Air Base in Oman.

A total of eight Hawk aircraft and 12 Eurofighter Typhoons were ordered by Oman in December 2012.

The RAFO received its first Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft from BAE Systems in June.


USAF flies B-1B bombers in response to North Korean missile launch

The US Air Force (USAF) flew two B-1B bombers in response to North Korea’s escalatory launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles on 3 July and 28 July.

Under the command of US Pacific Air Forces, the B-1Bs took off from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to conduct a sequenced bilateral mission.

The 10-hour mission witnessed participation from Japan Air Self Defense Force’s two Koku Jieitai F-2 fighter jets and the Republic of Korea Air Force’s four F-15 fighter jets.


Israeli Air Force conducts aerial refuelling tests on F-35I Adir

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) began a series of aerial refuelling tests on Adir (F-35I) from Tel-Nof Air Force Base (AFB) in Israel, a significant step towards achieving initial operational capability (IOC).

Adir is Israel's variant of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and is equipped with the advanced capability to defeat emerging threats.

In collaboration with the ‘Desert Giants’ Squadron from Nevatim AFB, the aerial refuelling tests are being carried out by IAF Flight Test Squadron as part of the stealth fighter’s integration programme.


British RAF tests weapons and software upgrades on Eurofighter Typhoon

The British Royal Air Force (RAF) began testing a new set of advanced weapons, software and avionics enhancements for the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft.

The trials involving MBDA’s Meteor ‘beyond visual range’ air-to-air and Storm Shadow deep attack air-to-surface missile software systems are being conducted as part of Project Centurion, a programme that ensures the transition of capability from the Tornado GR4 to the Typhoon.

Meteor has been designed to provide ‘beyond visual range’ air-to-air capability to Typhoon in dense electronic warfare environments. This active radar-guided missile will provide a multi-shot capability against long-range, moving targets, such as fast jets, small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and cruise missiles.


IBM develops 'brain-like' supercomputer for US Air Force Research Lab

Technology company IBM started developing a new supercomputer powered by 64 TrueNorth chips for use by the US Air Force Research Lab, as part of a collaboration announced in June.

The new ‘brain-like’ supercomputer will be used for analytics involving pattern and object recognition, as well as ‘sensory processing’.

The TrueNorth neurosynaptic system has been designed to imitate human neurons and can convert audio, video and other forms of data received by sensors into symbols, which the computer can then process.


Royal Australian Air Force to withdraw Heron RPA from service

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) announced plans to withdraw its Heron remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) from service by the end of this year.

The RAAF is set to receive an armed medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system as a replacement for Heron after 2020 through Project AIR 7003.

Heron carried out its last mission from RAAF Base Tindal during Exercise Diamond Storm on 23 June, the RAAF stated.


AAR begins work on $909m landing gear support contract for USAF

Upon receiving a Notice to Proceed, AAR started works on a $909m landing gear support contract for the US Air Force (USAF).

The contract was awarded by the USAF in March to support its Landing Gear Performance-Based Logistics One programme for a period of 15 years.

As part of the contract, the company will provide supply chain management, including purchasing, remanufacturing, distribution and inventory control to support all airforce depot and field-level, foreign military sales, and contractor requisitions received for all C-130, KC-135, and E-3 landing gear parts.