22 December 2004 -
First EH101 Merlin delivered to Portugal
On 22 December 2004 AgustaWestland handed over the first of twelve
EH101 Merlin Helicopters to Mr. Paulo Portas, the Defence
of Portugal. The Portuguese Government decided to procure 12 EH101 Merlins
in December 2003. The EH101 was selected in favor of the
Sikorsky S-92 and the Eurocopter Cougar Mk2+. Six of the 12
Merlins will be configured for SAR, four for CSAR and two
for fishery protection duties. The EH101s will be
operated by the
Portuguese Air Force and replace the Puma helicopters
currently operated in these roles.
20 December 2004 -
Australia signs contract for A330 MRTT
The Australian Government signed a contract with EADS to supply
five Airbus A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft to the
Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The A330 MRTT was selected
in April 2004.
The aircraft are equipped with EADS Air Refuelling Boom System
and will replace the RAAF current Boeing 707 tanker fleet. The
First aircraft will be delivered in 2008 to the RAAF and is
scheduled to enter service in 2009.
20 December 2004 -
USAF F/A-22 Raptor fighter jet crashes
Monday a F/A-22 Raptor high-tech modern fighter jet crashed
outside Las Vegas near Nellis AFB. The pilot managed to eject and parachute to
safety before the crash. The pilot was taken to a nearby hospital.
The aircraft was assigned to the 422 Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis
The F/A-22 Raptor will be the next generation fighter of the
US Air Force and is loaded with advanced equipment and sensors.
The supersonic stealth aircraft is estimated to be worth about
USD 90 million.
15 December 2004 -
South African intends to order A400M
South Africa has signed a Declaration of Intent to become a partner
in the A400M programme. The A400M is a new tactical transport
under development for seven European NATO nations. It is planned
to make its maiden flight in 2008 with deliveries starting from 2009.
Although it is unknown how many aircraft South Africa will eventually
order, the participation is set to be worth at least 750 million euros.
South Africa will be the first export customer for the A400M.
The A400M will enable South Africa to upgrade its airlift capability
for both humanitarian and peace-keeping activities and assist the
country in strengthening its aeronautical industry.
15 December 2004 -
Czech Gripen ceremony:
Celebration of the first Czech Republic Gripen aircraft
At a ceremony today at Saab’s factory in Linköping the first Czech Republic Gripen aircraft was unveiled to the public for the first time. The ceremony was held to celebrate the completion of the production phase of Czech Republic Gripen aircraft.
The production program has been completed with the integration of Czech specific software and will continue with flight trials which will be conducted at Saab and at the test centre of FMV. The flight test program will continue until the aircraft is delivered to the Czech Republic.
“The completion of the Czech Republic Gripen aircraft production phase and the commencement of the test flight program is yet another important milestone in the Gripen program for the Czech Republic”, says Per Nilsson FMV’s Program Manager for the Czech Republic Program.
The first Czech Gripen aircraft made its maiden flight on 18 October 2004 and Czech pilots will start flying their Gripen’s at the beginning of 2005.
The first Gripen fighter will be delivered to the Czech Republic in April 2005 and deliveries will be completed in August 2005. In total, the Czech Republic will lease 14 Gripen fighter aircraft (12 single seat and 2 dual seat) for a period of 10 years, between 2005 and 2015.
The Czech Republic will be the first NATO country to operate the fourth generation Gripen fighter, and will be taking delivery of the latest C and D versions of the aircraft. These aircraft are the latest standard of the Gripen fighter, equipped with full color cockpit displays, a retractable air-to-air refueling probe and are fully NATO-interoperable.
11 December 2004 -
Mi-28N: The ‘Streetfighter’ Of The Future Awaits Its Debut
Given the current nature of anti-terrorist conflict around the world,
Mil Helicopter can’t wait to bring its Mi-28N to market. The first
production model of the attack helicopter is expected at the end of
2005. Two prototypes have been built so far but the first serial
production model (the master copy) will be followed by two further
aircraft then, finance permitting, full production shortly afterwards,
probably by 2007.
Although the order book for Mil’s old war-horse, the Mi-24/35, is
still healthy over the next couple of years - a mix of new aircraft
with upgrades for existing customers - Mil Helicopter general designer
Alexi Samusenko believes that the integral strenght of the new Mi-28N
is what export customers will be looking for. “Following our military’s
experiences in Afghanistan, and the lessons now being learned by others
in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have ensured that ballistic tollerance is
a major feature of this aircraft,” he said. “Crew protection is
important; the pilots sit in a protected area; the glass areas will
stop 12.7 mm rounds while the rest of the airframe protects against hits
up to 20mm, including the rotor blades.”
The aircraft has been further strengthened by the inclusion of energy
absorbing landing gear and crashworthy seats, which will come as a
standard fit. Full DAS suites will also be available.
Samusenko believes that Mil Helicopter’s future order book will
comprise 70-75% military helicopters.
19 November 2004 -
New CN-235 orders to save Indonesian aircraft company?
Although troubled with financial and labor problems, PT
Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) aircraft company seems to have
no problem finding buyers for the CN-235 tactical transport
and maritime patrol aircraft.
PTDI paid a penalty in January for a three month delay in the delivery of
a military passenger plane to Pakistan. The state-owned company has been having financial
problems and disputes with its workers. In the past the company had
difficulty selling its aircraft and government support was neccessary
to keep the company alive. When the government withdrew its financial
support in the late 1990s, the company was forced to lay off thousands of workers
in 2003 as part of a major restructuring program.
The firm is currently building five CN-235 aircraft for the Indonesian Navy
and three more for the Air Force, due to be delivered early next year and in mid-2006
respectively. PTDI is meanwhile working on two CN-235 for Pakistan and
two for Malaysia, meeting the delivery date for these aircraft is essential
for obtaining future orders.
Because, if PTDI can manage to meet delivery deadlines, it can expect several foreign orders.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bangladesh and Malaysia have expressed interest
in buying three CN-235 aircraft per country, each aircraft worth 15 million US dollars.
Also Libya expressed interest in obtaining the type
last week. Malaysia is also expressing interest in simulators which could be produced
by the company in the near future.
27 October 2004 -
Last of the F-104 Starfighters
On Wednesday 27 October 2004, one of the last operational
F-104 Starfighters from the Aeronautica Militaire Italiano (AMI - Italian Air Force)
visited Kleine Brogel AB, Belgium. The visit will be the last
to an air base outside Italy.
The few remaining F-104 will be retired from operational
service this month, the AMI being the last military operator of the aircraft.
Just one aircraft will remain in service with the AMI until next year, namely
with the test unit RSV of the AMI and there still remains one two-seat version in the United States.
The reason for the visit was an unofficial F-104 ceremony to commemorate
the history of the F-104 and the air base. Soon, one of the former Belgian
Air Force F-104s (long replaced by the F-16) will be positioned on a pole, centered
on a local round-about near the Kleine Brogel AB.
Although two F-104s were scheduled to come to Kleine Brogel, one aircraft
had to return to base because of an emergency. The F-104 that did visit
Belgium was 'MM6930' F-104 ASA-M from Grazzanise AB wearing a colorful red
paint job to celebrate the introduction of the new motorcycle '999' by Ducati and
on the tail the emblem of Italian World War One ace Francesco Baracca.
The F-104 was developed in the 1950s, first flow in 1954. Although the
USAF was disappointed with its range, one wing saw action in the Vietnam
war before being retired from service in 1975. The F-104 had more success
abroad in the form of the F-104G, which entered service in many NATO countries
and Japan. Later also Jordan, Pakistan and Taiwan became 104 operators.
Most operators replaced it with the F-16, but Italy selected the Eurofighter
Typhoon (the last F-104 was just delivered in 1979). But because of the delays
of the Eurofighter program, the AMI was forced to upgrade the aircraft twice
and lease 24 Tornado ADV in the 1990s followed by 34 F-16s in 2003.
The F-104 was renowned for its speed and acceleration. In the hands of capable
pilots, the F-104 was able to use this to its advantage when fighting modern
F-4, F-16 and Tornado fighters. These properties also made the F-104 the preferred
aircraft for the quick action alert role, where the aircraft would scramble to
intercept unknown contacts. During NATO operations over Kosovo, AMI F-104 were
on stand-by for a last line of defense.
26 October 2004 -
Third DC-10 delivered to the RNLAF
Monday October 25 saw the arrival of the third DC-10
acquired by the Royal Netherlands Air Force at Eindhoven AB.
The RNLAF already operates two DC-10 variants which have been
converted to KDC-10 tankers. The third DC-10 will be used solely
for the transport role. Because of the increasing deployment of
Dutch troops far from the European theatre, there is a demand
for additional strategic transport capacity. Also it will free
up the two KDC-10 from their ever-increasingly secondary transport
The aircraft delivered is one built in 1978 and last flown
by United Airlines. Following overhaul, cockpit upgrades and
installation ofa palletized seating system, the third DC-10 will become
operational in 2007.
Earlier the Netherlands Ministry of Defense also announced plans to replace
the 4 Fokker 60 light/medium utility transport aircraft with
2 bigger C-130 Hercules to increase range and capacity of the transport fleet.
18 October 2004 -
Maiden Flight of first Czech Gripen
Monday October 18 saw the take-off of the first Gripen fighter
ordered for export. The aircraft, which will be delivered to
the Czech Republic, was marked with Czech colors.
The Czech Air Force will be the first NATO country to operate
Gripen, one of the world's most modern, fourth generation
fighter aircraft. The fighters will be delivered by FMV to
the Czech Republic from April 2005.
Gripen was up for 1 hour and 25 minutes and was flown by Mats
Thorbiörnson, one of Saab's test pilots. Following today's
maiden flight there will be a period of further air and ground
tests to verify that the systems are working in line with the
The fighter that made the historical flight is the first of 14
aircraft that the Swedish state (FMV) is leasing to the Czech
The contract also includes training. Since August, the first
Czech pilots have been re-training for the Gripen systems at the
F7 Swedish Air Force base in Såtenäs, western central Sweden.
Approximately 40 engineers are also being trained in Gripen
systems at the Armed Forces Halmstad Schools (FMHS) on the
16 October 2004 -
The end for Dutch Fleet Air Arm is near
Reformed defence plans will effectively mean the end of the
Marine Luchtvaartdienst (MLD - Fleet Air Arm) of the
Royal Netherlands Navy. The Navy's future NH90 helicopters
will be operated by a Defence Helicopter Command to be established
at Gilze Rijen AB. The MLD's P-3C Orion fleet will be sold soon.
As a result of defence cuts, it was announced earlier this year
that the P-3C Orion fleet would
cease operations on January 1, 2005. Effectively closing Naval Air
Station Valkenburg. Last summer, a contract was signed
with Germany for
eight P-3C Capability Upgrade Programme (CUP) Orions. In September
an agreement was signed with Portugal
for the sale of the remaining five P-3C Orions, three of which are
the unmodified examples which remained in storage in Portugal. The sale
still has to be approved by the Portuguese government.
The P-3C Orion, which was operated in the maritime patrol and anti
submarine warfare roles, is considered to be obsolete in the post
cold war Royal Netherlands Navy. Although other nations have given
the Orion more patrol,
and reconnaissance roles and capability outside the maritime area
of operations, it was
decided to retire the fleet to cut costs and free up funding for
other defence programmes.
The P-3s previously based in the Dutch
Antilles have returned home and will be replaced by two RNLAF Fokker 60UTA
as an interim solution, until a privately owned company is found to take
over the observation and reconnaissance task for the local coast guard.
The Fokker 60s will be fitted with new radar, additional fuel tanks and observation
windows for the task. Meanwhile, the RNLAF will try to sell off the other two Fokker
60s, replacing them with a single ex-RAF C-130 Hercules in 2006.
from the Antilles, the remaining two will also be replaced by a Hercules, bringing
the total C-130 fleet to four.
The Navy's 21 Lynx helicopters will be replaced by new NH90 helicopters.
In 2000 the contract was signed for 20 Naval Frigate Helicopter (NFH) version
of the NH90. However because of the reduction of the Navy's frigate fleet,
the requirement for NFHs has decreased to 12. The remaining eight on order
will be delivered as Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) for maritime transport
duties. The NH90 fleet will be under the control of the DHC based at Gilze Rijen AB.
This means the closure of NAS De Kooy and the end of the MLD.
The DHC will also be in command of the RNLAF helicopter fleet, excluding the
four remaining Alouette IIIs. Reportedly it will retire in 2007 with the closure of
Soesterberg AB, although a recent overhaul will enable it to soldier on for another 12 years.
Source: webmaster, based on various news sources
04 October 2004 - RNLAF KDC-10 turns grey
Last weekend, the first grey painted RNLAF KDC-10 tanker aircraft replaced
the 'old' white KDC-10 at Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan. The detachment of six F-16s
and one KDC-10 take part in the International Security Force (ISAF) to provide
security during the elections in Afghanistan. The 'white' KDC-10 flew 12 missions
providing 262000 litres of kerosine to coalition aircraft.
Last week the other KDC-10 of the RNLAF returned from maintenance, painted in a new
overall grey scheme. The fuselage spots a lighter grey than the top of the aircraft. Reason for the change has been the increased rate
of deployment to operational areas with a higher security risk, like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 'white' KDC-10 is now returning home and will also enter maintenance, after
which it will also receive the new colors. The third DC-10 to be acquired in the near
future will also be painted in a similar fashion.
01 October 2004 -
Hungarian Gripen on its way
At a ceremony at Saab?s aircraft factory in Linköping today,
the start of the final assembly phase of the first Hungarian
Gripen aircraft took place. In the presence of the Hungarian
ambassador to Sweden, Dr Szoke and General Hollosi from the
Hungarian Ministry of Defence the ribbon, that marks the
start of the final assembly phase, was cut.
“The ceremony marks an important milestone in the Gripen for
Hungary program. It means that the production of Hungarian
Gripen aircraft is on schedule" says Mats Hansson,
Program Director for the Gripen for Hungary project at FMV.
The final assembly phase is the final production phase before
rollout. This is the phase where all parts are fitted to the
aircraft fuselage, including the engine, radar, the wings,
fin and the ejection seat. The final assembly phase takes
about 4 months. This is the first Hungarian Gripen aircraft
of the 14 (fourteen) ordered by Hungary that has reached
the final assembly phase. After the final assembly the aircraft
are painted and the testing, on the ground and in the air,
take place before they are delivered to Hungary between March
2006 and December 2007.
21 September 2004 - Maiden Flight of first Italian Army NH90
Agusta, an AgustaWestland company, is pleased to announce that the first NH90
destined for the Italian Army took off for a successful maiden flight on
September 15th at Agusta’s Vergiate plant. The flight was conducted by two
test pilot and two flight engineers over 30 minutes, during which a speed of
120 knots was reached and the flight envelope of the basic aircraft was tested.
Besides the 60 NH90 ordered by the Italian Army and the 56 ordered by the
Italian Navy, Agusta will assemble at Vergiate plant also the 20 helicopters
ordered by the Netherlands Navy and the 14 ordered by Norwegian Armed Forces.
The NH90 has been designed from the outset as a multi-role weapons system.
The tactical transport (TTH) and naval (NFH) variants of the helicopter
share a common basic helicopter in a modular design. Dedicated, specialized
mission equipment packages allow for maximum flexibility in operations.
Special emphasis has been given to features such as safety, reliability,
availability, maintainability, testability, and supportability. To date,
eleven countries have ordered a total of 357 units, with options for a
further 86 helicopters.
17 September 2004 -
Venezuelan Air Force Mirage 50 crashed
Today, a Mirage 50 fighter jet of the Fuerza Aérea Venezolana (FAV) crashed.
The Mirage 50 serialled FAV6732 was on final approach when there was a flameout of the
engine. The pilot ejected safely before the aircraft crashed into
the approach lights in front of the runway.
The Mirage 50 belongs to 33 Squadron which is part of Grupo Aéreo
de Caza 11 Diablos
. The aircraft are operated alongside the
F-16s at El LIbertador AB. The Mirage 50DV and 50EV are upgraded
Mirage IIIE and V aircraft which were purchased in the 1970s.
09 September 2004 - RAF Mildenhall buzzing with activity
The 9th of September is the start of a busy period for RAF Mildenhall,
one of the British airbases used by USAF Europe. Busy, because it will
be expecting an increase of air traffic by 30 percent for the coming
two weeks. The base can expect up to 12 additional wide-body aircraft,
such as C-5s, C-17s and civilian 747s, a lot of cargo and also additional
This because the runway at Ramstein AB, located in Germany, will be closed
for renovation starting 12 September. Some of Ramstein's flightline activity
will be shifted to Mildenhall. Trucks will pick up the cargo and transport it
to mainland Europe.
08 September 2004 -
US Navy awards contract for eight MH-60R
Lockheed Martin has received a $14.8 million advance acquisition
contract from the U.S. Navy to begin systems integration of eight
new MH-60R multimission helicopters
The eight MH-60R
aircraft constitute the third stage of low rate
initial production (LRIP III) for the Navy's new multimission
helicopter. As the MH-60R
systems integrator, Lockheed Martin
Systems Integration - Owego will equip each aircraft with a
cockpit and mission systems that enable each helicopter to
conduct anti-surface and undersea warfare.
In March 2006, Lockheed Martin will deliver the first of
four LRIP II production aircraft. Four phase two Engineering
and Manufacturing Development (EMD II) test aircraft and
five LRIP I aircraft have been delivered to date. As many
as 254 aircraft orders are expected through 2015, with
production quantities increasing to 30 aircraft per year.
Lockheed Martin is the systems integrator for the MH-60R
and provides the cockpit, which is common to all MH-60S
helicopters. Sikorsky designs and manufactures
aircraft and is responsible for the
mechanical and electrical modifications on the airframe.
01 September 2004 - Boeing Delivers 200th Super Hornet
Boeing delivered the 200th F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
to the U.S. Navy on Aug. 30, 2004 .
The airplane, a two-seat "F" model Super Hornet
, was delivered to Air test
and Evaluation Squadron VX-9 at Naval Air Systems Command China Lake, Calif.
The aircraft was delivered three months ahead of schedule, maintaining the Super
tradition of delivering aircraft well before the contract delivery date.
have been delivered on or below cost, and on or ahead of schedule,
since the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
entered operational service in November 1999.
The Super Hornet
has played a key role in both Operation Enduring Freedom and
Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In December 2003 Boeing and the U.S. Navy signed a second multiyear procurement
contract for 210 aircraft. The contract, valued at $8.6 billion, spans fiscal
years 2005 through 2009 and saves taxpayers approximately $1 billion over a
typical single-year procurement. The current multiyear contract covers aircraft through fiscal year 2004.
30 August 2004 -
AH-64D crashed in Afghanistan
On 29 August 2004, at 1530h local time a Dutch AH-64D Apache attack helicopter
crashed in Afghanistan. The accident happened 20km north of
Kabul on a regular patrol together with another Apache.
One of the two crew members was
lightly injured, the other sustained no injuries when the
helicopter was put to the ground in a controlled crash.
A Combat Search and Resue (CSAR) unit was scrambled from
the U.S. base of Bagram, which picked up the crew and flew
them to Bagram's field hospital. The crew have now returned
to its unit.
The cause of the crash is unknown, but enemy fire can be ruled out.
An investigation is underway.
The crashed Apache is damaged beyong repair and will be written off.
The aircraft is guarded by ground forces until it can be recovered.
The other Apache also landed
at Bagram and returned to Kabul international airport.
The AH-64D is part of the 1(NL) HeloDet, which has been based at
Kabul internation airport with six
Apaches and 135 servicemen
since March 2004 as part of international stabilisation force ISAF.
27 August 2004 - Two Romanian MiG-21s collide
On Thursday 26th of August two Romanian MiG-21 fighter collided over the town of Cristesti
of the country. Both pilots ejected safely but sustained some minor injuries. One of the
MiGs crashed nearby a house giving the owner injuries to his legs. The other aircraft
crashed on a garage and caught fire.
The two aircraft were on a training mission when they collided. The MiG-21 fleet
have been upgraded in recent years to LanceR standard.
Official investigation is underway to the cause of the accident and experts have visited
the crash site.
25 August 2004 - Six
Harrier GR.7s to deploy to Afghanistan
The Ministry of Defence announced on 25 August that a
detachment of six RAF Harrier GR7 aircraft would be
deployed to Kandahar in Afghanistan for an initial
period of nine months to provide reconnaissance and
close air support to coalition forces and the
International Security Assistance Force.
An advance party, including Royal Engineers from 53
Field Squadron, will depart for Kandahar on 26 August
to prepare the airfield for the Harriers' arrival.
The aircraft will be drawn from 3 Squadron, based at
RAF Cottesmore, and should be fully operational by
the end of September in time to provide security
support for the Afghan presidential elections in October.
The initial deployment is expected to total some
315 personnel from the RAF and Royal Engineers,
but will reduce to a steady state of about 230.
This will be the first deployment of RAF combat
aircraft to Afghanistan during the current operation,
although British support aircraft played an invaluable
role during operations against Al Qaida and the Taleban.
22 August 2004 - FAV Shorts 360 goes missing, 25 killed
One of the Shorts 360-300 turboprop-powered passenger transport
aircraft of the Fuerza de Venezuela (FAV) has been
reported missing at 16:40 local time (20:40 UTC).
The aircraft, serialled FAV-1652, was en route from
the island la Orchila to the base Sucre in Maracay.
Last contact established was at 16:15 local time (20:15 UTC).
The aircraft was carrying 22 passenger and a three man crew.
Two FAV Cougar helicopters were scrambled for the Search and
Rescue (SAR) operation and located the wreckage at 14 nautical
miles south east of El Libertador air base. The
aircraft presumably crashed into the mountain leaving no survivors.
The weather over the mountains in the area has been very bad
with heavy rains today. In
February earlier this year a Bonanza with a crew of three
went missing in about the same area under similar
weather conditions. The Bonanza wreckage was never recovered.
20 August 2004 - Six
F-16s will deploy to Manas AB
Dutch government decided to send a detachment of six F-16 fighters
from Volkel AB and one KDC-10 tanker to Kyrgyzstan. Once again
Dutch fighters will operate from Manas AB for missions over
Afghanistan. The requirement for the extra support for ISAF troops
is needed because of the approaching elections in Afghanistan.
The deployment will last for eight weeks and can be prolonged
for several weeks in the case of a second round of elections.
The detachment of between 170 and 210 personnel will arrive
in mid September. The F-16s
will be used for 'show of force'
and close air support for allied troops under ISAF command.
Also the deployment of the six AH-64D Apaches around Kabul will be prolonged until 31 March 2005.
17 August 2004 - RMAF S-61A Nuri crashed, 3 killed
Three Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) personnel were killed when a Nuri helicopter crash-landed
15km from Ba’Kelalan, near the Sarawak border with Kalimantan, on Sunday.
The Nuri with 10 people on board lost contact with ground control at about 2.36pm on Sunday
while en route from Miri to Ba’Kelalan. It was found yesterday at a forested area about
1,500m above sea level.
An RMAF statement which was released here said the helicopter from the 7th Squadron
based in Kuching was ferrying supplies to army personnel stationed at the
Malaysia-Indonesia border near Ba’Kelalan.
It took off from Miri at 1.56pm and was reported missing after making its last
radio contact with the control tower at 2.36pm while flying over Long Seridan.
A search and rescue operation involving five aircraft, including a C-130 Hercules
and a Beechcraft, found the missing aircraft and the people on board at 10.34am.
The statement said a board of inquiry would be set up to investigate the course
of the crash.
12 August 2004 - Netherlands buys PAC-3 missile equipment
Lockheed Martin has received a $33.9 million foreign military sales contract for
Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile-related support equipment for The
. A follow-on contract for PAC-3 Missiles is anticipated by the end of the year.
This is the first international sale of PAC-3 Missile-related equipment.
The contract, awarded by the U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command in Huntsville, AL,
calls for Lockheed Martin to produce PAC-3 Missile Segment ground equipment, including
Enhanced Launcher Electronics Systems (ELES) and Fire Solution Computers, for The Netherlands.
This equipment will enable The Netherlands' existing Patriot ground equipment
accept the new PAC-3 Missiles.
The PAC-3 Missile is a highly agile hit-to-kill
interceptor. PAC-3 Missiles significantly increase the Patriot
system's firepower, since 16 PAC-3s load-out on a Patriot launcher, compared with four
of the older Patriot PAC-2 missiles.
The rest of the Missile Segment is made up of the PAC-3 Missile canisters
(in four packs), a Fire Solution Computer and an Enhanced Launcher Electronics System.
These elements have been integrated into the Patriot system, a high to medium altitude,
long-range air defense missile system providing air defense of ground combat forces and
The PAC-3 Missile has also been selected as the primary interceptor for the multi-national
Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). Managed by the NATO MEADS Management Agency (NAMEADSMA),
MEADS is a model transatlantic development program focused on the next generation of air and missile defense.
08 August 2004 - Japan to stop procurement of F-2 fighter
Japanese Defence Agency plans to discontinue procurement of the F-2 fighter
within a few years, an agency source said Saturday.
The plan, which is part of the review of the Air Self-Defense Forces'
fighter units, will be incorporated into the new five-year Defense
Buildup Program that is to be drawn up by the end of this year.
The agency has concluded that the F-2 is the least cost-effective of
all available options, making it necessary for the agency to procure an
The F-2 was jointly developed by Japan and the United States, with
Tokyo originally planning to deploy 130 of the aircraft. In a rare move
for Japan, procurement will now cease well short of that number.
The move comes after the Defense Agency decided to scrap its division
of fighters into two categories--interceptors tasked with combating
enemy aircraft, and fighter-bombers designed to attack land and sea
targets. Instead, the agency plans to have future fighter aircraft
assume various roles, including reconnaissance.
Under the new defense plans, to be drawn up under the new National
Defense Program Outline, the agency also intends to shift from the
current three-model fighter system (F-15
, and F-2) to a
As the result of study made on the basis of these plans, the agency
- The F-2 had become too expensive after development delays caused its
unit price to rise from the originally projected 8 billion yen to about
12 billion yen, or about the same as the larger, more capable F-15.
- While the F-15
is being upgraded, there is little room to upgrade
the F-2 with new equipment because of its smaller size.
- The F-2 can carry only a limited number of weapons.
Based on these conclusions, the agency has decided to discontinue
procurement of the F-2, but to make a rapid start on selecting an
aircraft to succeed the F-4 fighter
, which will reach the end of its
service life in the near future, the source said.
In 1995, the Security Council of Japan decided to buy 130 F-2
fighters--a decision approved by the government.
So far, however, only 76 of the aircraft are either deployed or under
construction. Next fiscal year, new contracts to purchase an additional
10 to 20 units will be made, marking the end of the procurement.
The plan to introduce the F-2 was incorporated in the Defense Buildup
Program of 1985, with the aircraft intended to succeed the domestically
manufactured F-1 fighter
In selecting the model, Tokyo indicated it wanted a domestically
developed aircraft, despite pressure from Washington to buy U.S.-made
fighters to help cut Japan's trade surplus with the United States.
In 1987, the Tokyo made a partial concession to Washington, agreeing to
base the F-2 on the U.S.-made F-16 fighter
15 July 2004 - Tu-22M bomber crash
On the 8th of July the Tupolev Tu-22M3
in Novgorod Region,
North Russia, while landing after a training flight. The crew of four died in the crash
having failed to eject for unknown reason.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov declared on 13 July that the crash of
bomber was the result of “a technical malfunction” --
not an error of the flight crew.
bombers remain grounded pending the result of the investigation
of the flight recorders, which should find the cause of the technical malfunction.
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