June’s top news stories

7 July 2019 (Last Updated July 9th, 2019 10:59)

The US DoD outlined plans to make Turkey’s F-35 programme exit as smooth and orderly as possible, and Spain signed a framework agreement with France and Germany to join them in their initiative to build the sixth-generation Future Combat Air System. Airforce-Technology.com wraps up key headlines from June 2019.

June’s top news stories
A US F-35A Lightning II aircraft over the north-west coast of Florida, US. Credit: USAF / Master Sgt John R Nimmo Sr / RELEASED.

US plots Turkey’s F-35 exit over Russian S-400 row

The US Department of Defence (DoD) outlined plans to make Turkey’s F-35 programme exit as smooth and orderly as possible should the Eurasian nation buy Russia’s S-400 air defence system.

Plans were unveiled during a DoD press briefing on Turkey’s participation in the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter programme.

Speaking to journalists, US Defense Acquisition and Sustainment Under Secretary Ellen Lord reiterated the government’s stance that it will not sell the F-35 to Turkey if it takes delivery of the Russian S-400 air defence system.


Spain joins Franco-German future fighter jet development programme

Spain signed a framework agreement with the governments of France and Germany to join them in their initiative to build the sixth-generation Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

The agreement was signed by the defence ministers of the three European nations in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron at the Paris Air Show.

France and Germany announced in 2017 that they would jointly build the new FCAS. The governments signed the ‘High Level Common Operational Requirements Document’ last year.


Airbus and OCCAR sign contract amendment for A400M programme

Airbus reached an agreement with OCCAR to revise the A400M military transport aircraft development and production programme contract.

OCCAR manages the multinational programme for the acquisition of the Airbus A400M aircraft on behalf of Germany, France, the UK, Spain, Turkey, Belgium and Luxembourg.

The programme was launched in May 2003 to meet the combined needs of the seven European nations for an independent airlift capacity. Malaysia joined the programme in 2005.


SpaceX launches first Falcon Heavy mission for US DoD

SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, US, to deliver an experimental mission for the US Department of Defense (DoD).

Falcon Heavy is SpaceX’s most powerful launch vehicle featuring 27 engines.

This is the Falcon Heavy’s third flight so far and the second this year. It is also the first night launch for the vehicle.


German Eurofighter aircraft crash after mid-air collision

Two Eurofighter jets belonging to the German Air Force crashed in the Müritz area in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern following a mid-air collision.

The incident occurred when three Eurofighters from the Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 73 (TLG73) ‘Steinhoff’ were taking part in an air combat mission. TLG73 ‘Steinhoff’ is a fighter wing of the German Air Force.

In an official Twitter post, the airforce’s Team Luftwaffe stated that two of the three jets were involved in the collision and the pilots managed to eject from the jets using parachutes. However, only one of them survived the crash. The other pilot was declared dead by the airforce.


Raytheon launches AIM-9X Sidewinder missile from NASAMS launcher

Raytheon and the Royal Norwegian Air Force performed the debut launch of an AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II short-range missile from a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) launcher.

The launch took place during a demonstration test last month at the Andoya Test Center in Norway. During the flight test, the Sidewinder missile engaged and destroyed a target.

The missile is expected to add a new layer for ground-based defence. Raytheon added enhancements to the Sidewinder, including a redesigned fuse and a digital ignition safety device for improved ground handling and in-flight safety.


ELTA and Embraer to launch P600 airborne early warning system

ELTA Systems signed a cooperation agreement with Brazilian firm Embraer Defense & Security to introduce the P600 Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft.

The next-generation aircraft is based on Embraer’s Praetor 600 super mid-size business jet.

The agreement was signed at the Paris Air Show and requires the Brazilian company to provide air platform, ground support, communications systems and aircraft integration.


USAF performs first flight test of ARRW hypersonic weapon

The US Air Force (USAF) has performed the maiden flight test of its air-launched rapid response weapon (ARRW) hypersonic weapon on a B-52 Stratofortress aircraft.

Conducted out of Edwards Air Force Base in California, US, the test saw the B-52 carry a sensor-only version of the AGM-183A ARRW externally.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control bagged a contract last year to design the ARRW hypersonic weapon, which is expected to travel at Mach 5 or higher to overcome enemy defences.


Leonardo wins order to supply additional M-345 trainers to Italy

Leonardo obtained a €300m contract to supply 13 M-345 high-efficiency trainer (HET) aircraft to the Italian Air Force.

The contract was awarded by the Italian Ministry of Defence’s armaments and airworthiness department. It will bring the number of M-345 trainers ordered by Italian Air Force to 18.

Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo said: “In line with our industrial plan, we are devoting significant effort to the development of our training business, both in terms of platforms, ground capabilities and services.

“Thanks to our fruitful partnership with the Italian Ministry of Defence and the progressive introduction of the M-345, Italy will see the establishment of an advanced international training academy for military pilots.”


New Zealand military picks C-130 Super Hercules for transport needs

The New Zealand Ministry of Defence selected the Lockheed Martin-built C-130J-30 Super Hercules as the preferred option for its military transport replacement programme.

The C-130J-30 aircraft will replace five ageing New Zealand military C-130H Hercules transport aircraft.

The government will now seek detailed costing information for the C-130J-30 Super Hercules through the US foreign military sale process.