January’s top stories: Indonesia, KAI to develop KF-X jets, India-France Rafale deal

Indonesia agrees to jointly develop Korea’s domestic fighter jets, France and India finalise the Rafale deal, and Iraq requests US to supply weapons worth $2bn for F-16 aircraft. Airforce-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from January 2016.


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Indonesia officially signs agreements with KAI to jointly develop KF-X fighter jets

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The Indonesian Defence Ministry signed an agreement with Korea Aerospace Industries (KIA) to jointly develop the Korean Fighter Experimental (KF-X) domestic fighter jets.

Under the terms of the agreement which is part of a bilateral defence treaty signed with the country, Indonesia will grant 20% of the cost in the development of the KF-X programme.

Additionally, the company signed a second work assignment contract with PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI), for the future division of labour.

France signs deal for sale of 36 Rafale fighters to India

France and India signed an intergovernmental agreement for the purchase of Rafale combat aircraft manufactured by France's Dassault Aviation.

Under the agreement, France will supply 36 Rafale fighter jets to India as part of the long-awaited medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contract, which is expected to be worth more than $20bn.

A statement by Dassault Aviation said: "Dassault Aviation is very pleased with this progress, and is actively supporting French authorities in their efforts to finalise a complete agreement within the next four weeks."

Iraq requests $2bn worth of weapons for F-16 from US

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The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a $1.95bn potential foreign military sale (FMS) of F-16 weapons and munitions to Iraq.

Iraq had previously requested 36 F-16 fighter jets and associated equipment and defence services.

The request includes 20 joint helmet mounting cueing systems, 24 AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles, 150 AGM-65D Maverick missiles, 14,120 500-pound general purpose bombs, 2,400 2,000-pound general purpose bombs, over 8,000 laser-guided bomb (LGB) tail kits and 8,500 FMU-152 fuses.

Indian Air Force base attacked by terrorists

Seven security force personnel were killed after a terrorist attack at the Indian Air Force (IAF) base in Pathankot, Punjab, on 2 January.

The attack at the military base follows Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit with Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in an effort to restore bilateral talks between the countries.

The three day-long struggle came to a halt after the nation's security personnel killed five of the suspected militants who executed the attacks.

Poland may stall plans to buy $3bn EC-725 Caracal helicopters from Airbus

The Polish Ministry of Defence (MoD) may stall plans to buy $3bn worth of helicopters from Airbus.

Polish Deputy Defence Minister Bartosz Kownacki was quoted by Reuters as saying: I can't say that the final assessment of the (industrial) offset negotiations will be negative, but considering how big the differences are, it is very likely that an agreement will not be reached.

"We are not allergic to the French, but to not utilising the capacity of the Polish (defence) industry.

"We'd have to get really as much as possible from the French side to make this contract profitable for us."

UK RAF Tornados launch Brimstone missiles against ISIS

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revealed that the Royal Air Force (RAF) used Brimstone missiles against ISIS for the first time on 10 January.

The missiles were used to destroy a terrorist supply truck near Raqqa and a crane near the Omar oil field in Syria.

A pair of RAF Tornado GR4s launched the missiles after ensuring minimal civilian damage in the region.

Turkey to establish military base in Somalia

The Turkish Government is reportedly planning to build a military base in Somalia, to train African soldiers against regional extremist groups.

The proposed base has been approved by the UN, and will be Turkey's second military base establishment abroad.

The base is expected to be built in the capital city of Mogadishu in the African Horn.

Ukraine to restructure and enhance efficiency of Air Forces

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko revealed plans to restructure the country's Air Forces, as part of the continuing reforms to bolster performance of the nation's armed forces.

Poroshenko said: "I declare this year the year of the Air Force.

"In this context, we will reorganise and increase the efficiency of the Air Forces, first of all, the air defence."

The government will reinstate the armament and air defence equipment and provide training on using the systems.

US DoD plans new strategy to acquire access to space

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The US Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics USD (AT&L) undersecretary Frank Kendall proposed a new strategy in order to meet the US Department of Defense's (DoD) priorities of short access to space.

According to Kendall, the proposed strategy will be an American solution that is not dependent on Russian-made RD-180 rockets, but it would not replace one Russian-made rocket with a US counterpart.

Kendall said: "The first thing I would like to emphasise is that the department does not buy rockets or engines.

"We do not buy launch systems or propulsion systems.

France to acquire Hercules transport aircraft from Lockheed Martin

The French Ministry of Defence reportedly revealed plans to buy C130 Hercules military transport aircraft worth $650m from Lockheed Martin.

Under the terms of the contract, the country will acquire four C-130 aircraft including two C-130J transports and two KC-130J fuel tankers, reported Agence France-Presse.

The deliveries under the contract will commence in 2017.