Military Aviation

Military aviation news - May 2006

Drawdown at Keflavik

F-15 Eagles wait to take off from Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, on Monday, May 22, 2006. Airmen and Sailors are reducing operations after more than 50 years of U.S. presence at the base. The F-15s and crews are from the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Fighter Wing at Hickam Air Force Base.

F-15 Eagle operations will continue a while longer at Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, while Airmen and Sailors reduce operations after more than 50 years of U.S. presence at the base. The F-15s and crews are from the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Fighter Wing at Hickam Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. John E. Lasky)

Posted: Fri, May 26, 2006 14:58 (CET)

Raptors find new nest in Alaska

After flying more than 3,200 miles over land, ocean, mountains and glaciers, six F-22 Raptors arrived at Elmendorf AFB May 23 from Langley Air Force Base, Va.

Posted: Fri, May 26, 2006 14:00 (CET)

Greek and Turkish fighter jets collide

A Greek F-16 and a Turkish F-16 have collided in mid-air over the southern Aegean Sea. The Turkish pilot has been rescued by a civilian ship, while the Greek pilot reportedly, has not survived the accident.

When the Turkish jet intruded the Greek airspace it got intercepted by a Greek F-16, which led to a mock dogfight resulting in a mid-air collision.

The two countries have a long-standing dispute over the Aegean. Turkey insists Greek airspace extends only 10km offshore, not 16km as Greece maintains. In the past, the two have come close to armed conflict over the dispute. Nato has previously warned the two member states that their frequent mock dogfights in the area are dangerous.

Updated: May 23rd, 20:25

Posted: Tue, May 23, 2006 14:40 (CET)

Israel and U.S. arguing over F-35 JSF

Israel has been a strong ally to the United States in the middle east as well as a top customer for U.S. fighter aircraft. While Israel currently fields F-15 Eagles and F-16 Vipers in defense of their nation, the future may not hold the promise of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters emblazoned with the Star of David.

Israel has a long history of using thier own technology to upgrade and specialize their aircraft for the IDF/AF. The F-15I and F-16I Sufa are prime examples of Israeli modifications to suit their uses.

According to published reports, the new sticking point in the deal for Israel to buy up to 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters is that the U.S. is including a "no modification" clause in the sale contracts. Anonymous sources in those reports site Israeli competition with U.S. firms for foreign contracts to maintain and upgrade systems on combat aircraft.

Check out for all the details.

Posted: Mon, May 22, 2006 22:04 (CET)

New extended range cruise missile takes first flight test

When the US Air Force successfully launched its newest cruise missile for the first time on May 18, it marked a significant step toward making the job of the pilots who deliver the weapon a lot less risky.

A B-1B Lancer released the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile -- Extended Range over the White Sands Missile Range in the New Mexico desert. The missile successfully cruised more than 400 nautical miles to its static target of cargo containers.

“The system is remarkable,” said Col. John Griggs, 308th Armament Systems Group commander, whose unit at Eglin works with the contractor to develop the system. “It was a low-risk, low-cost upgrade.

“We already know the JASSM is stealthy and lethal,” he said. “But with the new upgrade, it can travel more than 500 nautical miles (compared to the old system’s range of about 200 nautical miles).”

The stealthy cruise missile is an autonomous, conventional munition designed to defeat heavily defended, high-priority enemy targets deep behind enemy lines. Although it looks the same and provides all the capabilities of the baseline missile, it has a new engine and larger fuel load capability. This allows it to extend its range.

The B-1B is the missile’s threshold aircraft. But plans are in the works to integrate it onto other systems.

“Like the baseline version (B-1B), JASSM–ER will be capable of employment from the B-2, B-52, F-15 and F-16,” JASSM-ER test engineer Buff Tibbetts said.

Full story at

Posted: Sat, May 20, 2006 13:32 (CET)

Improved C-5s extending the fleet’s life by more than 25 years

At a roll-out ceremony May 17 at Lockheed Martin’s plant in Marietta, Ga., the Air Force accepted delivery of the first C-5M Galaxy, the first of 111 that will undergo modernization at the facility, extending the fleet’s life by more than 25 years. The enhanced airlifter will add to capability to move cargo and people.

A Lockheed Martin spokesman said the C-5M features the commercially proven CF6 General Electric engine. The engine delivers a 22 percent increase in thrust, a 30 percent shorter take-off roll and a 38 percent higher climb to initial altitude, allowing significantly more cargo to be carried over longer distances.

The C-5 avionics modernization program adds a modern cockpit with a digital, all-weather flight control system and autopilot, a new communications suite, flat-panel displays and enhanced navigation and safety equipment to ease crew workload and enhance situational awareness.

Air Force and congressional dignitaries along with local attendees are on hand to celebrate the completion of the first of 111 C-5 aircraft that will undergo modernization at Lockheed Martin's facility in Marietta, Ga. The rollout ceremony was held May 17, 2006. (Courtesy photo)

All the details at

Posted: Thu, May 18, 2006 13:41 (CET)

Taiwan considers acquisition of 60 US F-16 block 52s

Taiwan is considering to buy 60 F-16 fighter jets to upgrade its aging air force fleet and counter what it perceives as a growing military threat from China, the US-based weekly Defense News reported, citing a US defense source.

The acquisition of the advanced F-16C/D block 52s will be discussed during talks in Washington on May 25-29 between the two countries, the report said.

Check out for all the details.

Posted: Thu, May 18, 2006 13:15 (CET)

Norway continues JSF co-operation

The Norwegian government continues the Norwegian participation in the JFS project. The decision comes after an improved offer from Lockheed martin on industrial participation.

"I am pleased that we have been successful in improving the opportunities for Norwegian industry if we choose to go for the JSF" Minister of Defense Anne-Grete Strøm-Ericsen stated.

But the minister emphasizes that no decision has yet been made on which fighter plane Norway eventually will select.

The decision to continue the co-operation came after L-M offered an improved work share package for Norwegian Industry. How much Norway makes on the deal will be an important factor when the final selection for the next fighter plane is made. So far opportunities for the Norwegian industry in the order for NOK 20 billions have been identified.

The Minister of Defense further states: "This work was done in co-operation with the Ministry of Trade, and is a good example on active Norwegian industrial politics."

Norway had to pay a further NOK 114 million (+/- USD 18.5 million) to continue the participate in the JSF project. Norway has so far spent NOK 429 million (+/- USD 70 million) on the project.

Courtesy of Forsvarets mediesenter

Posted: Wed, May 10, 2006 20:26 (CET)

Dutch and Belgian F-16s to undergo MLU M5 upgrade

Both the Dutch and Belgian defence ministries have recently launched a program which will lead to the upgrade of many of its remaining F-16AM/BM aircraft to an M5 software standard in the 2009-10 timeframe.

Full story at

Posted: Tue, May 2, 2006 18:45 (CET)

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