The U.S. Marine Corps has extended the retirement date of its AV-8B Harrier IIs in increments until 2030, and most of the fleet will remain active through 2027, according to Boeing, which supports the 1980s-generation strike aircraft.
Royal Air Force
After a year-long delay, the Airbus Military A330MRTT has gained its “release to service” as a tanker in the UK, allowing the Royal Air Force (RAF) to start operational refueling. The service had been obliged to extend the service life of its aging VC10 and TriStar tankers in the meantime. The recent deployment of RAF Eurofighter Typhoons to Malaysia relied on Italian Air Force Boeing KC-767s to refuel the aircraft en route.
Charter operator Fast Air, based in Winnipeg, Canada, did its first Halo 250 gross weight increase modification on a Beechcraft King Air 200 equipped for aeromedical transport. Fast Air also offers aircraft management, maintenance and consulting services. The Halo 250 mod adds 920 pounds of payload capacity by increasing the maximum takeoff weight to 13,420 pounds, up from 12,500.
The Halo 250 mod was developed by CenTex Aerospace of Waco, Texas, and FAA certification was granted last October after three years of effort.
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) introduced two BAE Systems 146 jet transports modified to accommodate troops and their equipment. BAE Systems Regional Aircraft designed the conversion–from a quick-change interior–under a $23 million urgent operational requirement (UOR) contract; subcontractor Hawker Beechcraft Services at Chester in the UK completed the project.
Reorganization of Great Britain’s police helicopter bases is well under way, in a campaign to provide “more efficient and accessible” air support to police forces in England and Wales. Although the number of bases is being cut, the improved efficiency of the system should eventually ensure that 98 percent of the population is within 20 minutes’ flight time of a base.
With delivery of the first A400M airlifters nearing, Airbus Military has concluded an initial support deal with the French air force and a long-term training contract with the UK Royal Air Force (RAF). Meanwhile, Airbus Military is equipping its international training center in Seville with A400M computer-based trainers and a full-motion simulator.
The FAA is urging pilots to spend training time focusing on an updated Advisory Circular 70-2A, which deals with what the agency says is “a significant increase in the unauthorized laser illumination of aircraft.” The AC provides guidance to both aircrews and air traffic controllers about formal reporting of laser illumination incidents. Pointing a laser at an aircraft in the U.S.
Last December Air Methods announced orders for 42 new Eurocopter and Bell helicopters, issued a special cash dividend and announced a three-for-one stock split. It also acquired the assets of Las Vegas air-tour operator Sundance Helicopters, including its fleet of 22 Eurocopter AS350s and EC130s.
This week’s IDEX defense exhibition in Abu Dhabi provided the first public view of the Saab 340AEW, purchased by the UAE Air Force and Air Defense as an interim airborne early-warning solution. One of two aircraft in service made a single flypast during a brief force demonstration. The air force’s latest acquisition, the Airbus A330 MRTT, also flew past, accompanied by four Mirage 2000-9 fighters, just days after being delivered. The remaining pair from the UAE’s order will be delivered later this year.
Following Indian defense minister A.K Antony’s revelation to AIN yesterday that the country’s defense budget will be cut for the next fiscal year beginning in April, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne has laid out the Indian Air Force priorities for procurement.