May's top stories: Egypt MiG-29 aircraft, A400M crash

Russia had signed a contract worth $2bn with Egypt to supply 46 MiG-29 air superiority fighters, the Israeli Air Force launched four strikes on training camp targets in the Gaza Strip, in response to a cross-border rocket attack near the port city of Ashdod, while Northrop Grumman completed the critical design review of a key weapons management software upgrade for the US Air Force's B-2 stealth bomber. Airforce-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from May.


MiG-29

Russia agrees to deliver 46 MiG-29 aircraft to Egypt

Russia reportedly agreed on a contract worth approximately $2bn with Egypt to supply 46 MiG-29 air superiority fighters.

Russia's business daily, Vedomosti, cited an aviation industry source, stating that both the countries are expected to sign the deal in the near future.

The new Russian MiG-29 fighter bomber aircraft would replace Egypt's aging fleet of MiG-21s and Chinese J-7s.

Israeli forces launch air strikes on targets in Gaza Strip

The Israeli Air Force launched four strikes on training camp targets in the Gaza Strip, in response to a cross-border rocket attack near the port city of Ashdod.

Witnesses were cited by media sources as saying that the training camps belonged to the Islamic Jihad in Rafah, Khan Yunis and Gaza City.

IAF spokesperson lieutenant colonel Peter Lerner was quoted by Reuters as saying: "These strikes are a direct response to Hamas and the aggression against Israeli civilians originating from the Gaza Strip.

Northrop completes CDR of B-2 bomber's weapons management upgrade

B-2

Northrop Grumman has successfully completed the critical design review (CDR) of a key weapons management software upgrade for the US Air Force's (USAF) B-2 stealth bomber.

The USAF's CDR approval was carried out as part of the service's Flexible Strike Phase I programme. It authorises the company to start developing and integrating the new software and hardware required for the upgrade.

US Air Force B-2 system programme manager colonel Robert Strasser said: "The Flexible Strike software upgrade lays the foundation for future system enhancements, including the ability to carry multiple weapon types.

"This 'mixed loads' capability will ensure maximum strategic nuclear and conventional strike capability."

India's HAL signs MoU with BAE Systems UK for Hawk Mk132 upgrade

Hawk 132

India's Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BAE Systems UK for Hawk Mk132 upgrade and development of combat Hawk for Indian and export markets.

The agreement also covers maintenance solutions for supporting Jaguar and Hawk fleet.

HAL chairman and managing director T Suvarna Raju said: "It is important that both the teams finalise the scope of Hawk Mk132 upgrades and other work packages under the MoU agreement at the earliest."

RAAF's E-7A Wedgetail fleet achieves final operational capability

E-7A

The Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) E-7A Wedgetail aircraft achieved final operational capability, enabling the service to have the most advanced air battle space management capability.

The six Wedgetail aircraft are now fully operational and able to support ongoing operations after they completed the entire capability from physical aircraft to logistics, management, sustainment, facilities and training.

According to Australian Air Force deputy chief air vice-marshal Gavin Davies, AO, CSC, this development will help the country to control and survey vast areas of operation.

Airbus carries out new test flight of A400M aircraft after crash

Airbus conducted the first test flight of a new A400M aircraft, just days after a military transport plane crashed during testing near Seville, southern Spain.

The latest test flight took off from the company's Toulouse base in France, in an attempt to reinstate Airbus' confidence in the A400M planes, AFP reported.

Airbus Military Aircraft division head Fernando Alonso was onboard the flight during its first testing.

USAF's X-37B successfully launched aboard Atlas V

X-37B

The US Air Force (USAF) Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) successfully launched the AFSPC-5 mission with support of a United Launch Alliance at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The mission was launched on the Atlas V 501 evolved expendable launch vehicle (EELV).

AFSPC-5 carried the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle or OTV-4, a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the USAF in support of national security.

Germany, France and Italy to conduct definition study of European MALE drone

Germany, France and Italy have signed a declaration of intent (DoI) to carry out a definition study worth up to €1bn into the European developed medium altitude / long endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial system.

This new development is part of a proposed European drone programme planned in 2013 to minimise dependence on the US and Israeli Military technology.

With this new step, the first European drone is expected to be operating by 2025.

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes used cluster munitions in Yemen

cluster

The Saudi-led Arab coalition used US-supplied, banned cluster munitions to conduct airstrikes against Shiite Houthi rebel forces in Yemen, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has revealed.

Presenting photographs, video and other evidence that have emerged since mid-April, the watchdog claimed cluster munitions were used in recent weeks in coalition airstrikes in Yemen's northern Saada governorate, which is the traditional Houthi stronghold bordering Saudi Arabia.

After analysing a video uploaded on 17 April by the pro-Houthi September 21 YouTube channel showing numerous objects with parachutes slowly descending from the sky, HRW alleged the weapons appeared to land on a cultivated plateau in al-Shaaf in Saqeen, in the western part of Saada governorate.

Northrop introduces new SABR-GS AESA radar for USAF's B-1B bomber

Northrop Grumman has unveiled its new scalable agile beam radar-global strike (SABR-GS), designed to bring the precision and reliability of active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to the US Air Force's (USAF) B-1B fleet.

Introduced at the 30th anniversary B-1 Reunion held at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, US, the SABR-GS has been developed as an affordable, low-risk radar retrofit solution to serve as a full performance, multi-function AESA radar for the B-1.

Built using open architecture standards, Northrop's SABR-GS is a derivative of the AN/APG-83 SABR and can integrate data from other onboard sensors, enabling continued innovation and affordability for the life of the system.