Japan’s Defense Ministry is preparing to select the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to replace its aging F-4EJ feet. The plan to about acquire 40 F-35s, estimated to cost about ¥9 billion (US$91 million) each, is likely to be included in new defense policy guidelines to be adopted this month.
AIN Defense Perspective
The U.S. Air Force has finally acknowledged the existence of a stealthy air vehicle operating over Afghanistan, after another photo of the so-called “Beast of Kandahar” was published on the French Web site Secret Defense. Designated the RQ-170 Sentinel, the tailless flying wing was designed by the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, and is providing reconnaissance and surveillance support to forward-deployed combat forces, the USAF said.
As partner governments head for another showdown with EADS over the climbing costs and lengthy delays associated with the Airbus Military A400M, there was good news for the program on December 11 when the first aircraft took to the air.
The Bombardier Dash 8 Q300 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) for the UAE passed its critical design review phase, keeping the program on schedule. The first of two aircraft being converted by Provincial Aerospace Ltd. (PAL) of Canada are to be qualified in the first half of 2011, with service entry slated for later in that year.
The debut of the Boeing AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopter at the Dubai Airshow this month was just the latest iteration in this aircraft’s long and complicated history. The design first flew in the 1960s as the Hughes Model 300. It was adopted by the U.S. Army as the OH-6A and further developed for civilian customers as the Models 500 and 530.
Although the supply of French Rafale combat jets to the UAE was not finalized at the Dubai Airshow, there were plenty of indications that negotiations are going well. In an unusual departure from custom, the former head of the UAE Air Force gave a detailed interview on the progress of the deal to The National, the main newspaper in Abu Dhabi.
Breaking with a tradition that has seen major military procurements signed and announced only in Abu Dhabi, the UAE government sealed deals for new training and AEW&C aircraft during the Dubai Airshow this month. Pilatus secured the new basic trainer, an order for 25 PC-21s worth $521 million, to also include several training simulators with all systems and services.
Recently installed chief of staff of the Indonesian air force vice marshal Imam Safaat outlined a modernization plan for the service’s pilot training while speaking at the ceremony in which he took over from Marshal Subandrio. The Indonesian air force has operated some 20 Hawk Mk 53s and eight OV-10 Broncos for approximately 30 years, and to upgrade the training program they need to be replaced.
After years of investigation, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said it would seek to prosecute BAE Systems “for offenses related to overseas corruption.” The alleged offenses have been widely reported to involve the sales of Gripen fighter aircraft to South Africa and their lease to the Czech Republic (BAE is a partner with Saab in the Gripen International company); a ground radar system to Tanzania; and two former Royal Navy frigates to
The first Euro Hawk UAV for the German Air Force (GAF) was unveiled last month at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, Calif. facility. It was apparent that the wing pods that house the SIGINT sensors, provided by EADS Defence and Security, have again grown in size, since AIN provided a description of this program at the Paris Air Show last June.