July's top stories: Iraqi F-16 jets, India scraps MMRCA deal

The Iraqi Air Force took delivery of the first batch of four US F-16 warplanes, and India scrapped a multi-billion dollar tender for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA), while Dassault handed over the first three Rafales to Egypt. Airforce-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from July.


F-16

Iraq receives first batch of F-16 warplanes from US

Iraq took delivery of the first batch of four US F-16 warplanes at Balad Air Base in Salahuddin province.

The delivery of the aircraft was delayed over security issues at Balad, which is located 70km north of Baghdad.

Iraqi News cited a brief statement from the Iraq Defence Ministry that read as: "The number of the F-16 fighter aircrafts, which arrived to Iraq amounted to four aircraft.

India scraps multi-billion dollar tender for 126 combat aircraft

The Government of India withdrew a multi-billion dollar tender for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA), according to Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

The decision to scrap the $20bn tender came after the government decided to buy 36 Rafale multi-role combat aircraft from France's Dassault Aviation.

Parrikar's letter to the country's upper house read: "The request for proposal (RFP) issued earlier for the procurement of 126 MMRCA has been withdrawn.

Boeing presents Australia's first EA-18G Growler aircraft

Boeing unveiled the first EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft built for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), offering advanced airborne electronic attack (AEA) capability to the country.

Growler

Australia will receive 12 Growler aircraft under the US Government's foreign military sales programme at a cost of around $1.5bn.

US Navy tactical aircraft programmes program executive officer rear admiral Donald Gaddis said: "Growlers are the cutting edge of electronic warfare.

"As the US Navy and RAAF continue to train and operate together we welcome Australia's strategic step to advance the capabilities of our joint partners for years of future success."

Egypt receives first three Rafales from Dassault

Dassault Aviation handed over the first three Rafales to the Arab Republic of Egypt at its flight test centre in Istres, France.

Earlier this year, the company received a contract from the Egyptian Air Force (EAF) to deliver 24 Rafales, including 16 two-seater and eight single-seater fighter jets.

This comes as the EAF seeks to upgrade its fleet with an advanced multirole fighter capable of meeting the country's operational requirements.

Seventh WGS satellite launched by USAF's 45th Space Wing

WGS-7

The US Air Force's (USAF) 45th Space Wing successfully launched the seventh Boeing-built Wideband Global Satcom (WGS-7) satellite from Space Launch Complex 37B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, US.

Launched aboard the United Launch Alliance-built Delta IV rocket, the WGS-7 sent its first successful signals soon after, and is expected to provide the US and allied militaries with 17% more secure communications bandwidth than its predecessors due to a payload upgrade.

Built on the Boeing 702HP platform, WGS satellites are designed to support missions such as to and from tactical communications between ground forces and the relaying of data and imagery from airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms.

 

Airbus completes flight-testing aerodynamic upgrades to Eurofighter Typhoon

TYphoon

Airbus Defence and Space successfully completed flight-testing of aerodynamic modification kit (AMK) developed for the Eurofighter Typhoon swing-role fighter.

Developed as part of a wider Eurofighter Enhanced Manoeuvrability (EFEM) programme, the AMK package of aerodynamic upgrades is expected to further enhance the aircraft's agility and weapons-carrying ability.

Upgrades include primarily the addition of fuselage strakes and root extensions to increase the maximum lift created by the wing by 25%.

Indonesian military transport plane crashes, killing 144 people

Approximately 144 people were feared dead after an Indonesian C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft crashed in a residential area near the city of Medan on the northern island of Sumatra.

The C-130 Hercules reportedly met with the accident shortly after leaving an air force base in Medan.

The Lockheed Martin-built aircraft entered into service half a century ago. It hit two houses and a hotel in the area after the failure.

UK receives third A400M Atlas military transport aircraft

Atlas

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) received the third A400M Atlas aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space, adding capability to the country's future air mobility requirements.

In November 2010, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) awarded a £2.8bn contract to Airbus for the delivery of 22 A400M military transport aircraft.

UK MoD Defence Materiel chief Sir Bernard Gray said: "Having now undertaken and completed thorough checks on the UK's A400M aircraft, I am satisfied that we have fulfilled and allowed for the safe delivery of this third aircraft.

Indian Air Force formally inducts Akash Air Defence missile system

Akash

The Indian Air Force (IAF) formally inducted the indigenously developed Akash Air Defence missile system into operational service during an official ceremony at the Air Force Station Gwalior.

During the ceremony, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar formally handed over the notional key of the Akash system to Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha.

Akash is a supersonic mobile multi-directional, multi-target point / area air defence system. It is capable of engaging in multiple air targets using sophisticated multi-function phased array radars.

South Korea to purchase four Airbus A330 MRTT for $1.3bn

The Republic of Korea agreed to purchase four Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft for $1.3bn, strengthening the country's Air Force capabilities.

South Korea selected the A-330 as its future air-to-air refuelling and transport aircraft and the tankers are expected to be delivered from 2018 to 2019.

Airbus said: "The decision means that the A330 MRTT has won every tanker competition (outside of US) since it entered the market and has now been selected by nine nations plus the European Defence Agency.