May's top stories: USAF test-fires Minuteman III, New Zealand requests P-8A Poseidon aircraft

The USAF conducted a further test-fire of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), US DSCA notified Congress of a potential $1.46bn foreign military sale of P-8A aircraft to New Zealand. Airforce-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from May 2017.


USAF conducts second test-firing of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile

The US Air Force (USAF) conducted a further test-fire of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) equipped with a single test re-entry vehicle.

On 3 May, the latest test launch was conducted from the Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB), California, US, following a similar test-firing carried out on 26 April.

The test launches validate the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, while the data collected will be used by the US Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and US Strategic Command for continuing force development evaluation.


New Zealand requests $1.46bn sale of P-8A Poseidon aircraft from US

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a potential $1.46bn foreign military sale of P-8A aircraft to New Zealand.

New Zealand seeks to receive up to four P-8A patrol aircraft and associated support.

Each aircraft will include commercial engines, tactical open mission software, electro-optical and infrared MX-20HD, AN/AAQ-2(V)1 acoustic system, AN/APY-10 radar, and ALQ-240 electronic support measures.


SpaceX launches spy satellite for US military

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully launched a spy satellite in support of the US military from a Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida, US.

The launch was originally planned to take place on Sunday but had to be delayed by 24 hours due to an issue detected in a sensor on the rocket, according to media sources.

The faulty sensor was situated in the Temperature Ox Tank Outlet (TOTO) on the first stage of the Falcon 9, NasaSpaceFlight.com reported.


Thales connects simulators for Tornado GR4 at RAF bases

Thales completed connecting full mission simulators for Tornado GR4 attack aircraft at the British Royal Air Force (RAF) bases in Lossiemouth, Scotland, UK, and in Marham, Norfolk, UK.

By connecting the simulators at both stations, Thales has enabled joint training across the bases.

The two full-flight simulators were supplied by Thales under a private financial initiative (PFI) agreement.


New USAF report reveals increase in reports of sexual assault

A report from the US Air Force (USAF) revealed that it received 1,355 reports of sexual assault in 2016, which is slightly more than the 1,312 reported in the 12 months previous to this. 

The review claims that 0.21% of airmen reported an assault in 2016, compared to 0.20% in 2015, and 0.21% in 2014.

A flat trend for annual reports over the last three years was discovered.


Leonardo to co-develop British RAF'S expendable active decoys

Leonardo is partnering with the British Royal Air Force's (RAF) Rapid Capability Office (RCO) to develop third-generation missile-jamming decoys for use on the RAF fighter aircraft.

The RCO has been recently established to quickly bring new technologies and capabilities to the warfighter, Leonardo stated.

Leonardo is the first company to sign up as a partner for the RCO’s maiden joint project and will develop new fighter jet countermeasures known as ‘expendable active decoys’ (EADs).


Philippine Air Force launches airstrike against Abu Sayyaf terrorists

Using its FA-50 Fighting Eagle fighter jets, the Philippine Air Force carried out an airstrike against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sumisip, Basilan province.

The air force's newly acquired aircraft attacked a camp of the jihadist terror group, killing 20 terrorists, according to Philippine News Agency.

Philippine Army 4th Special Forces Battalion commander lieutenant colonel Andrew Bacala junior was quoted by the news agency as saying that the fighter jets “delivered a deadly payload, inflicting heavy casualties to the ASGs.”


Israeli Air Force plans to replace Sea Scan maritime patrol aircraft with Heron 1

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) started plans to replace its existing Sea Scan maritime patrol aircraft with Heron 1 (Shoval) unmanned air vehicle (UAV) systems.

The IAF has placed an order with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for a maritime version of the Heron 1 UAV systems.

Equipped with a naval radar and electro-optical payload, the Heron 1 UAV systems will be capable of performing maritime patrol and intelligence gathering missions.


India's Tejas aircraft conducts test-firing of Derby air-to-air BVR missile

India's light combat aircraft (LCA), Tejas, successfully test-fired a Derby air-to-air beyond visual range (BVR) missile from a test range at Chandipur.

The trial was conducted to evaluate Derby integration with aircraft systems onboard Tejas, including the aircraft avionics, fire-control radar, launchers and missile weapon delivery system, and to verify its performance.

During the test, the Derby air-to-air BVR missile was fired in radar-guided mode towards a manoeuvrable aerial target.


BAE unveils Eurofighter Typhoon and Hawk aircraft for Oman

BAE Systems unveiled new Eurofighter Typhoon and Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft for the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO).

In December 2012, the Sultanate of Oman placed an order for 12 Eurofighter Typhoon and eight Hawk aircraft.

Deliveries of the first aircraft are expected to begin later this year, BAE stated.