November’s top stories: Strikes on Syria, Russia’s Sukhoi deal with China

Russian plane downed on Syria-Turkey border, Lockheed closes $9bn Sikorsky acquisition, and Indonesia to invest $1.5bn in South Korea’s fighter project. Airforce-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from November 2015.


China to buy Sukhoi SU-35 fighters from Russia

France begins its biggest attack on Syria after Paris carnage

France intensified its air strikes on the IS strongholds in Syria in retaliation to the deadly terror attacks in Paris that killed more than 130 people.

The country, which has been a part of the US-led coalition, has been attacking Syrian targets for months. But the biggest attacks, targeting IS hub Raqqa, began on Sunday. A munitions depot and a training camp were targeted among others.

The defence ministry was quoted by Reuters as saying: "The raid, including ten fighter jets, was launched simultaneously from the UAE and Jordan."

China to buy Sukhoi SU-35 fighters from Russia

Su-35

China will buy 24 Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia for around $2bn, in one of the largest military deals signed by the two companies.

The agreement builds on the deal that was signed by the two countries in 2012 allowing for China to buy fighter jets from Russia.

Russia state-owned technology company director general Rostec Sergey Chemezov was quoted by the Russian daily Kommersant: "The protracted talks on Su-35 deliveries to China have ended.

Russian plane downed on Syria-Turkey border

Turkey shot down a Russian warplane that is said to have strayed into its airspace bordering Syria.

Turkish officials claimed that F-16s brought down the plane, after warning the pilots about the violation ten times within five minutes, on Tuesday.

A Turkish military statement read: "Our two F-16 planes on air patrol duty intervened in the plane in question on 24 November, 9:24am, according to the rules of engagement."

Indonesia to invest $1.5bn in South Korea's fighter project

Indonesia agreed to invest KRW1.7tn ($1.47bn) in South Korea's Korean Fighter Experimental (KF-X) programme.

The KF-X is a KRW8.6tn ($7.5bn) project being developed by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI), under a contract with the government. It is the second fighter development programme for the country after the FA-50.

KAI signed a contract with the Indonesian Government and state-run defence company Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI).

Lockheed to close $9bn Sikorsky acquisition this week

Lockheed Martin is set to close a $9bn acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft from United Technologies after the company received final regulatory approval from China.

According to Lockheed, the company anticipates closing the acquisition on 6 November.

The completion of the regulatory review by the China's Ministry of Commerce marks the end of a comprehensive regulatory review process in eight jurisdictions.

Northrop halts LRS-Bomber work after complaints from Boeing and Lockheed

The US Air Force (USAF) ordered Northrop Grumman to stop work on the Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) after rivals, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, raised objections on the issuing of contract.

The matter is with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is likely to announce its ruling by 16 February 2016.

Expected to be inducted into the USAF in the 2020s, the LRS-B is a heavy-payload stealth aircraft capable of carrying thermonuclear weapons.

Cameron recommends airstrikes on IS to avoid terror attacks at home

The UK should join the coalition forces in airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria, in order to deal with the threat posed by the terror outfit at home, Prime Minister David Cameron said.

Main threats against the UK are being planned in ISIL headquarters Raqqa, and it is there that the problem needs to be addressed, Cameron commented, while responding to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee's (FAC) report on the extension of UK military operations to Syria.

The country has been undertaking airstrikes on the outfit's strongholds in Iraq but has not yet ventured into Syria.

German armed forces to use TanDEM-X satellite data for surveillance

German

Germany signed an agreement with Airbus Defense and Space to utilise global elevation data collected by the TanDEM-X satellite, for military purposes.

The country's unified armed forces Bundeswehr will use the 3D data for surveillance, reconnaissance and mission planning.

TanDEM-X (TerraSAR-X add-on for Digital Elevation Measurement) is an Earth observation satellite that can generate images similar to stereoscopic pictures.

ULA launches US Air Force's GPS IIF-11 satellite

United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched the Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF-11 satellite for the US Air Force (USAF) from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 401 configuration vehicle, the GPS IIF-11 is aimed to provide greater accuracy, increased signals and enhanced performance for users.

ULA Atlas and Delta programmes vice-president Jim Sponnick said: "GPS is omnipresent in our everyday lives and the system provides a critical service to all of those serving in our military around the world."

US flight-tests nuclear bomb B61-12

B16

The US completed the development flight tests of the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb, with the third and final test being undertaken by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the United States Air Force (USAF) at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada.

The tests would pave the way for production engineering in 2016.

An F-15E Strike Eagle multirole strike fighter from Nellis Air Force Base released the non-nuclear B61-12 bomb, which was manufactured by the National Security Enterprise Plants.