August's top stories: nEUROn UCAV tests, Turkey ISIL campaign

nEUROn, the European full-scale technological demonstrator for an unmanned combat aerial vehicle completed a series of operational tests in Italy, the US and Turkey finalised technical details for the latter's participation in the air campaign against ISIL in Syria, while Brazil and Sweden signed financing agreement for the acquisition of Gripen NG fighters. Airforce-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from August 2015.


neuron UCAV

nEUROn UCAV completes operational tests in Italy

nEUROn, the European full-scale technological demonstrator for an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) successfully completed a series of important operational tests at the Italian Air Force's Decimomannu Air Base, in Sardinia, Italy.

The UCAV is developed by an industrial team led by Dassault Aviation with the collaboration of Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi, Saab, Airbus Defence and Space, RUAG and HAI.

The aerial vehicle completed 12 highly sensitive sorties to verify its combat capability, its low-radar-cross section and low-infrared signature.

US and Turkey finalise technical details for air campaign against ISIL

The US and Turkey finalised technical details for the latter's participation in the air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook has revealed.

Turkey recently agreed to join the coalition that supports combined joint task force-operation, Inherent Resolve.

According to Cook, the latest development of full integration into the coalition's air tasking order tracks, coordinates and de-conflicts all coalition air operations.

Brazil and Sweden sign financial agreement for Gripen NG acquisition

Gripen

Brazil and Sweden signed the financing agreement for the acquisition of Gripen NG fighters for the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), allowing Saab to start the production of aircraft.

Both the countries had agreed on interest rates in a financial deal to support the aircraft acquisition programme.

Defence Minister Jaques Wagner said: "The signing of the Gripen NG agreement is of fundamental importance as it marks the end of the negotiating phase and begins the phase when the commercial contract comes into force.

USAF to deploy F-22 fighter jets to Europe

The US Air Force is reportedly set to deploy F-22 fighter jets to Europe in a bid to support and train with other Nato forces involved in Operation Atlantic Resolve.

The details about the number of planes, date or location of the deployment remain undisclosed.

However, Air Force secretary Deborah James said that the new development is in conjunction with defence secretary Ash Carter's call to take a strong and balanced approach to Russia, Reuters reported.

Boeing KC-46 aircraft's first flight to be delayed by a month

Pegasus

The first flight of KC-46 Pegasus aerial refuelling aircraft is expected to be delayed after the use of incorrect chemicals in the plane's fuel system, the Boeing company has said.

The KC-46 programme has already been delayed due to wiring and supplier issues.

Boeing spokesman Chick Ramey was quoted by Reuters as saying: "This issue will extend the projected first flight date by roughly a month beyond the previous plan to fly (the plane) in late August, early September.

"(A) fuel substitute supplied by a vendor had been labelled compliant for a particular military use, when in fact it was not."

Northrop demonstrates new RQ-4 Global Hawk capabilities

Northrop Grumman successfully completed a series of high-altitude, long-endurance RQ-4 Global Hawk demonstrations, featuring its mission management and control systems capabilities.

During the demonstration, the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) responded to external requests to alter its route of flight and sensor functionality, the company stated.

In addition, it confirmed that that Global Hawk will be able to integrate advanced mission management capability without changes to the air vehicle software.

Jordanian Air Force orders nine Pilatus PC-9 M training aircraft

PC-9

The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) signed a contract with Pilatus Aircraft to deliver nine Pilatus PC-9 M training aircraft, in a bid to modernise its pilot training facilities.

The latest order also covers the supply of a simulator, training equipment and a comprehensive logistics support package.

Pilatus Board of Directors chairman Oscar J. Schwenk said: "We are very pleased to welcome the Royal Jordanian Air Force as a new member of the Pilatus family.

Rockwell delivers first Gen III F-35 helmet mounted display system

Gen III helmet

Rockwell Collins delivered the first Gen III F-35 helmet mounted display system (HMDS) to Lockheed Martin.

The system is designed to provide warfighters with unprecedented levels of situational awareness and also allows them to 'look through' the airframe.

Lockheed Martin Washington Operations F-35 Program director Steve Callaghan said: "We're pleased to be able to demonstrate the advanced capabilities of the F-35 Lightning II at Rockwell Collins today to Sen. Ernst and members of the Cedar Rapids community.

USAF's AEHF system achieves initial operational capability

The US Air Force's (USAF) advanced extremely high-frequency (AEHF) system reached initial operational capability (IOC), USAF Space Command commander general John Hyten has declared.

The AEHF system is a series of four military communication satellites planned to replace the existing Milstar system.

It is designed to provide extremely high-frequency (EHF) range uplink / crosslink capabilities and super high-frequency (SHF) range communications.

RAF's Tornado squadron to extend ISIL campaign in Iraq

Tornado

The UK Royal Air Force's (RAF) Tornado aircraft squadron is set to extend the country's campaign against ISIL in Iraq for an additional year until March 2017.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said that 12 Bomber Squadron will continue to provide the Iraqi ground forces with essential precision firepower, intelligence and surveillance required to combat ISIL.

Fallon said: "Our aircraft have flown thousands of missions and RAF Tornados have carried out hundreds of strikes, helping Iraqi forces push back ISIL from the Kurdish region and out of key towns such as Tikrit and Bayji.