Military Aviation

Military aviation news - June 2006

US to sell 18 new F-16 jets to Pakistan

The US State Department confirmed Thursday that it had decided to sell Pakistan 18 new F-16s with an option for 18 more and an offer to upgrade 26 used F-16s of Pakistan's existing fleet.

Pakistan would also have the future option of buying 26 used F-16A/B aircraft from U.S. inventories.

The deal was revealed in a US government's notice sent to the Congress, which technically has 30 days to veto the deal. But Congress has never exercised that power on a major arms sale.

Full story at

Posted: Fri, Jun 30, 2006 20:11 (CET)

India's navy adopts BrahMos anti-ship cruise missile

NEW-DELHI, June 28 - India's navy has put into service the BrahMos Russian-Indian supersonic anti-ship cruise missile, the Indian prime minister said Wednesday.

Manmohan Singh said during a visit to BrahMos Aerospace, an Indian company that manufactures the missile, that other arms of the country's military would soon deploy the world-class cruise missile. The missile has been developed as a joint venture between India's Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia's Mashinostroyenia scientific center.

Brahmos Anti-ship cruise missile

BrahMos is designed to destroy surface targets flying at an altitude as low as 10 meters (30 feet) and at a speed of Mach 2.8, with a maximum range of 290 km (about 180 miles). Sea-based version of the missile will be initially deployed on Project 11356 Talvar-class (Kryvack) frigates built in Russia for the Indian navy. Land-based version of the missile, which was successfully tested on May 31, will enter service in two years.

The Hindu national newspaper said on June 3 that Indian Air Force Su-30MKI multi-role air superiority fighters would also be equipped with BrahMos missiles by the end of next year.

Source: RIA Novosti

Posted: Wed, Jun 28, 2006 19:58 (CET)

Russian Su-25 jet crashes near Ukraine border, pilot dead

MOSCOW, June 28 - The pilot [ Lieutenant Colonel Andrei Vakhovsky] of an Su-25 Frogfoot close support aircraft died when his plane crashed in southwest Russia near the border with Ukraine, Russian Air Force spokesman Alexander Drobyshevsky said Wednesday.

"At 9.55 a.m. Moscow time [5.55 a.m. GMT] flight leader Andrei Vakhovsky asked for permission to descend because he was feeling unwell and began descending," Drobyshevsky said. "At 4,200 meters he once again informed his wingman that he did not feel well and continued descending...The wingman repeatedly told him to eject, but the flight leader did not react."

Drobyshevsky added that the plane with Vakhovsky hit the ground at 10.18 a.m. Moscow time and recovery teams had arrived at the scene.

Survivability was one of the main design criteria when the aircraft was developed by the Sukhoi design bureau. The pilot is encased in an all welded titanium-enforced cockpit, while the widely separated engines are armored with stainless steel bays. The fuels tanks are also armored and filled with foam to prevent explosion.

Source: RIA Novosti

Posted: Wed, Jun 28, 2006 19:55 (CET)

Israel planning to purchase 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters

Recently, Israeli Air Force chief procurement officer Brigadier-General Ze'ev Snir announced that Israel intends to purchase 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at a cost of at least $5 Billion over several years.

With the end of Israel's contract to purchase 102 F-16I "Sufa" fighter jets coming to a close in the near future, Israel is looking to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to meet its needs in the coming years. Israel plans to purchase the F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter which is the same version which the United States Air Force plans to purchase. The other available versions of the F-35 are the Short Take Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) and a version designed to be operated from aircraft carriers equipped with steam catapults and arresting gear such as the U.S. Navy's supercarriers.

More details at

Posted: Wed, Jun 28, 2006 19:52 (CET)

Russian Air Force to receive seven new Mi-28Ns by late 2006

BARANOVICHI (Belarus), June 24 - Russia's Air Force will receive seven new Mi-28N Night Hunter military helicopters by the end of 2006, Air Force Commander Vladimir Mikhailov said Saturday.

In March 2006, a state commission led by Mikhailov approved the production of an experimental batch of helicopters.

Mikhailov said the Air Force would buy another 12 Mi-28Ns in 2007. He said he hoped the Air Force would have some 40 Mi-28Ns in 2010.

The commander said Night Hunter helicopters would fully replace Mi-24 Hind choppers in the armed forces by 2015.

The Night Hunter is primarily designed to locate and destroy enemy armored vehicles, personnel, small surface ships, and low-speed air targets and fortifications, and to lay mine fields day or night in adverse weather conditions.

Source: RIA Novosti

Posted: Sun, Jun 25, 2006 16:20 (CET)

Successful Meteor missile firings with Gripen completed

6/20/2006 - An important stage in the Meteor missile programme was reached today when the second Air Launched Demonstration (ALD) firing took place.

This successfully continued the first Meteor firing campaign with a Gripen fighter aircraft at the FMV Vidsel test range in northern Sweden.

Gripen fires Meteor
Gripen fires Meteor

Posted: Sat, Jun 24, 2006 16:10 (CET)

Danish F-16 sucessfully tests the enhanced Paveway II

The Royal Danish air force recently conducted a series of tests of the Raytheon Enhanced Paveway II precision guided weapon.

The Enhanced Paveway II with dual-mode guidance successfully completed three-of-three operation test and evaluation drops, with one using GPS guidance only and two using GPS-to-laser terminal guidance.

The tests by the Danish F-16 were conducted with an interim U.S. Air Force clearance. Full U.S. Air Force clearance for Enhanced Paveway II on the European Participating Air Force (EPAF) F-16 is scheduled for September 2006. EPAF F-16 aircraft are also flown by the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Portugal.

Full story at

Posted: Mon, Jun 19, 2006 20:59 (CET)

Russia to fly 5th-generation plane in 2007

MOSCOW, June 15 - Russia will launch its first fifth-generation aircraft in 2007, the commander of the country's air force said Thursday.

"Several experimental models will take to the skies as early as 2007, but for now they will be equipped with intermediary engines," Vladimir Mikhailov told journalists. "In the future they will get fifth-generation engines, development of which is ongoing."

He said fifth-generation engines would be created by 2010, but that: "If everything goes well, we will be able to complete work earlier."

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said June 14 that Russia's first fifth-generation plane could make its maiden flight in 2009.

Mikhailov said in March that the new plane would be virtually invisible to air-defense systems.

He said the air force's financing would be increased in 2007, but did not name the exact figure.

Source: RIA Novosti

Posted: Fri, Jun 16, 2006 14:43 (CET)

Russian Air Force to take delivery of upgraded Tu-160 bomber in July

MOSCOW, June 15 - A modernized Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber will go into operational service with the Russian Air Force in early July, the force's commander in chief said Thursday.

"In early July, a modernized Tu-160 [bomber] will roll out of [the factory in] Voronezh. A new Tu-160 upgrade is in the works," Vladimir Mikhailov said.

He said the Air Force would wait to adopt new models.

"There is no rush," he said, adding that the force had already received a new Mi-28N helicopter and its first Su-34SM fighter, equipped with a new engine.

Mikhailov also said four Yak-130 training aircraft with AI-222-25 engines, which are to be used in fifth-generation aircraft, were undergoing flight tests.

Source: RIA Novosti

Posted: Fri, Jun 16, 2006 14:42 (CET)

Venezuela to buy 24 Sukhoi Su-30s in deal to replace Lockheed Martin F-16s with Russian jets

Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez says the South American country will buy 24 Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets this year to replace its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16s.
Chávez said Wednesday that the Su-30 jets would replace the 21 F-16A/Bs, which he says Venezuela has had trouble maintaining because the USA refuses to sell his government upgrades. The country has stored at least 17 of its inventory due to lack of components.

Full story at

Posted: Fri, Jun 16, 2006 14:39 (CET)

F-22 scores direct hit in high altitude, supersonic JDAM test

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor air dominance fighter, flying at a speed of Mach 1.5 and an altitude of 50,000 feet, released a GPS-aided Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) from a range of 24 nautical miles, destroying a small ground target in the F-22's fastest and highest JDAM delivery yet.

Posted: Wed, Jun 14, 2006 03:19 (CET)

Eurocopter Tiger gets Hellfire II missiles

Lockheed Martin has announced the successful completion of a four-year program to integrate its precision-strike Hellfire II missile system, including the M299 “smart launcher”, with its first international helicopter launch platform, Eurocopter’s Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter (ARH) for Australia.

Hellfire scored seven target hits in seven shots in a test series that spanned more than six months, and demonstrated its capability in multiple flight/launch scenarios against different targets.  Based on those successes, an eighth planned flight test was canceled by the customer.

Eurocopter armed with Hellfires
Formidable weapon: Eurocopter Tiger with Hellfire missiles

“We met all of our objectives to qualify Hellfire on the Tiger,” said Andy Marshall, international program manager for Air-to-Ground Missile Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL.  “The missile’s 100-percent performance engaging, launching and impacting targets gives the Tiger a capability it has not had before and that no other weapon system can give it.”

“These tests represent the capstone event of a four-year integration program by Lockheed Martin and Australian Aerospace to qualify Hellfire for firing from Eurocopter’s ARH Tiger by the Australian Army, and it could not have been more successful,” continued Marshall.  “The results clearly demonstrate that the Tiger and Hellfire together make a formidable weapon system, providing the Australian Army capabilities previously not available.”

The Hellfire II Modular Missile System family provides multi-mission, multi-target capability with precision-strike lethality and fire-and-forget survivability.  It is the primary air-to-ground precision weapon for the U.S. military as well as the armed forces of 16 other nations.

Lockheed Martin press release

Posted: Wed, Jun 14, 2006 02:57 (CET)

First Mi-28N helicopter passes factory tests

ROSTOV-ON-DON, South Russia, May 30 - The first mass produced Mi-28N Night Hunter military helicopter was given to Russia's Defense Ministry after successfully completing factory tests, the chopper's manufacturer said Tuesday.

"The serial helicopter will join two other experimental Mi-28N helicopters being tested by the Defense Ministry, and will have to confirm its performance, and undergo avionics tests, including testing of armaments systems," the Rostov Helicopter Plant, or Rostvertol, said.

In March 2006, a state commission led by Russian Air Force commander Vladimir Mikhailov approved production of an experimental batch of helicopters. Mikhailov also said the Defense Ministry planned to buy 50 Mi-28Ns by 2010. (RIA Novosti Photo)

The company said the Mi-28N had successfully passed factory flight and armament tests and that it met design specifications.

More details at RIA Novosti

Posted: Sat, Jun 3, 2006 14:00 (CET)

BAE systems delivers initial F-35 JSF Electronic Warfare System

BAE Systems has delivered the first electronic warfare system for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth, Texas.

The EW suite, provided by BAE Systems in Nashua, N.H., and delivered April 28, will serve as one of the key sensor systems for F-35 pilots, enhancing their situational awareness and self-protection through next generation threat identification, monitoring, analysis and countermeasures.

More details at

Posted: Thu, Jun 1, 2006 14:20 (CET)

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