April’s top news stories

8 May 2018 (Last Updated June 18th, 2018 11:01)

The Slovak Republic proposed to acquire 14 F-16 Block 70/72 V configuration aircraft from the US for an estimated cost of $2.91bn and the British Royal Air Force (RAF) formed the first front line F-35 squadron. Air Force-Technology.com wraps up key stories from April.

April’s top news stories
An A400M aircraft in flight. Credit: Indra.

Slovakia seeks $2.91bn sale of F-16 Block 70/72 V aircraft from US

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a possible foreign military sale (FMS) of F-16 Block 70/72 V configuration aircraft to Slovakia for an estimated cost of $2.91bn.

Under the potential deal, the Slovak Republic has proposed to acquire 14 F-16 Block 70/72 V configuration aircraft, up to 16 F-16 F110 General Electric or F100 Pratt and Whitney engines, 15 M61 A1 Vulcan 20mm guns, and 16 APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars.

As part of the FMS, the country also requested 14 modular mission computers, 14 Link-16 (MIDS-JTRS) secure communication systems, 16 LN260 EGI embedded global positioning system inertial navigation systems (EGI), 14 joint helmet-mounted cueing systems, as well as 14 improved programmable display generators (iPDGs) and other support services.

UK, US and France conduct precision strike in Syria

The British Royal Air Force (RAF), in conjunction with the US and French Allies, conducted a precision strike on a chemical weapon facility in Syria.

The Him Sinshar chemical weapons facility is located at a distance from any known concentrations of civilian habitation.

Located nearly 15 miles west of Homs, the military facility was a former missile base and is where the Syrian regime keeps chemical weapon precursors stockpiled in breach of the country’s obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

UK RAF forms first front line F-35 squadron

The British Royal Air Force (RAF) reformed its legendary Dambusters squadron to operate and fly the country’s latest F-35 Lightning II fighter jets.

The 617 Squadron has been formed and named after 75 years of the original formation of the Dambusters squadron.

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The 617 Squadron name was made famous by ‘The Dambusters’, who played such a vital role in the Second World War.

“So it is fitting that, by flying the world’s most advanced fighter jets, our new squadron will be ensuring that the legend of world-leading air power lives on.”

Qatar to procure advanced precision kill weapon systems for $300m

The Government of Qatar requested the sale of 5,000 advanced precision kill weapon systems (APKWS) II guidance sections from the US for an estimated cost of $300m.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the possible foreign military sale (FMS) as part of the development, which has been approved by the State Department.

Qatar proposed the purchase of 5,000 MK66-4 2.75in rocket motors, 5,000 high explosive warheads for airborne 2.75in rockets, inert MK66-4 2.75in rocket motors, and inert high explosive warheads for airborne 2.75in rockets.

German MoD offered Eurofighter Typhoon as Tornado successor

The German Ministry of Defence (MoD) received a proposal from Airbus and Eurofighter for its Tornado combat aircraft successor programme.

The team offered the Eurofighter Typhoon as a replacement for the German Air Force’s ageing Panavia Tornado combat aircraft, which was developed in the 1960s.

The Tornado is expected to be retired from operational service with the Bundeswehr, the unified armed forces of Germany, from 2025 onwards.

Republic of Korea Air Force’s first F-35A aircraft rolls out in US

The Republic of Korea Air Force’s (ROKAF) first F-35A Lightning II multi-role fighter aircraft debuted in the US.

Being the first of six F-35s to be delivered to South Korea this year, the aircraft has been manufactured by Lockheed Martin at its Fort Worth production facility in Texas.

F-35 programme executive officer vice-admiral Mat Winter said: “This is a major step forward for our F-35 Enterprise and our ROKAF partners as we deliver Korea’s first F-35, the first of six F-35 aircraft that will be delivered this year.”

UK to invest £80m for new air command and control system

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is set to invest up to £80m in a new air command and control system to help enhance the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) speed and accuracy in protecting the country’s airspace.

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson announced that the Project Guardian will enable the service to exercise command and control of UK and Nato fighter jets in order to quickly detect and respond to potential threats or suspect aircraft.

As part of the project, the existing computer systems at the RAF bases in the UK and Falkland Islands will be replaced with the new technology.

Indra to develop two A400M simulators for pilot training

Indra secured contracts for the development of two A400M military transport aircraft simulators for pilot training.

The simulators will train pilots from the German Air Force at Wunstorf Air Base and the French Air Force at the Orleans-Bricy airbase.

The advanced simulator training tool is designed to be able to recreate real-life missions for the 80t A400M military aircraft.