UK MoD to invest £90m in RAF aircrew training facility

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to invest more than £90m to continue pilot training operations at the Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility for another eight years.

The MoD’s procurement organisation, Defence, Equipment and Support, has extended a contract with CAE Aircrew Training Services to continue delivering training for Chinook, Puma and Merlin aircrew at the facility.

Future British Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy helicopter pilots will be trained to fly in emergency situations such as during icing and rotor blade damage, gun or missile fire and electronic warfare, total electrics failure and fuel management scenarios.

US approves $2.404bn sale of F-16 Fighting Falcon upgrade to Greece

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of an estimated $2.404bn possible foreign military sale of the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft upgrade to Greece.

Under the sale, Greece seeks to upgrade its existing F-16 fleet to an F-16 Block V configuration to strengthen the Hellenic Air Force’s ability to support Nato and remain interoperable with the US and the Nato alliance.

The sale covers the delivery of up to 125 APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars, including two spares and 123 modular mission computers (MMCs).

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Leidos wins $728m contract for AAF’s aircraft maintenance

Leidos secured a $728m contract from the US Army to provide maintenance support for helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft fleets of the Afghanistan Air Force (AAF) and Special Mission Wing (SMW).

Under the Afghanistan Contractor Logistics Support contract, Leidos will also provide all flight operations, logistics and mentoring for the AAF and SMW to operate and maintain aircraft.

Leidos Defence and Intelligence president Tim Reardon said: “This award reflects our commitment to the customer’s mission.

“We look forward to continuing to provide superior flight operations, maintenance, logistics, and mentoring expertise.”

BAE Systems to axe 1,915 jobs in UK

BAE Systems is planning to cut close to 1,915 jobs across air, maritime, land and applied intelligence business areas in the UK.

The decision to reduce the workforce comes due to a decline in orders for Typhoon fighter aircraft, according to media sources.

A total of 750 jobs will be cut at the company’s facilities in Warton and Samlesbury.

Eurofighter partner companies to support innovation centres in Belgium

If Typhoon is selected to replace Belgium’s existing F-16 fleet, Eurofighter partner companies committed to support the development of National Innovation Centres in Belgium.

The companies include BAE Systems, Airbus Defence and Space, Leonardo, and MBDA’s missile systems business.

All four companies signed endorsements to support the establishment of two centres, one in Flanders and one in Wallonia, Belgium.

Trump signs executive order to recall retired pilots for active duty

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will allow the country’s airforce to voluntarily recall retired pilots to re-join the service.

The executive order permits up to 1,000 retired pilots to serve as active duty personnel for up to three years, according to US Department of Defense (DoD) spokesman commander Gary Ross.

It provides the DoD Secretary with additional authority to manage personnel requirements.

Kongsberg wins $126.5m contract to supply NASAMS to Lithuania

Kongsberg secured a €109m ($126.5m) contract to supply the Norwegian advanced surface-to-air missile system (NASAMS) to the Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania.

In October last year, Lithuania signed an agreement with the Norwegian Ministry of Defence for the procurement of components for the NASAMS air defence system.

Under the contract, Kongsberg will provide new additional equipment, a training and integrated logistics support package, as well as refurbishment and integration of government-supplied components for a complete NASAMS system.

Dassault to invest €100m for production of Rafale components in India

Under a joint venture (JV) with Reliance, Dassault Aviation is to invest more than €100m for the production of Rafale fighter jet components in India.

The new Dassault Reliance Aerospace manufacturing facility will be located in Mihan, Nagpur, in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

The facility will produce several components of 36 Rafale fighters that are being purchased from France under a €7.87bn contract signed between the Indian and French governments in September last year.

USAF SPP highlights social media’s role in suicide prevention

US Air Force (USAF) Suicide Prevention Programmes (SPP) chief lieutenant colonel Alicia Matteson highlighted social media’s role in suicide prevention.

According to Matteson, strong interpersonal connections play a critical role in suicide prevention and social media can connect leaders to the airmen under their command.

The USAF officers can measure the emotional health of their airmen and provide additional assistance if required, by keeping a track of their subordinates’ emotions.

ADFA, RAAF and UNSW Canberra enter new space research partnership

The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and the University of New South Wales Canberra (UNSW Canberra) announced a new three-year space research partnership.

Through the A$9.96m ($7.78m) organisation, the partners will work on the research and development (R&D) of Australian space technologies, while they will also investigate and demonstrate ways to enhance defence space capability.

During the space R&D programme, three miniature satellites will be launched to facilitate the demonstration of communications and remote-sensing payloads, as well as test spaceflight modelling techniques.