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March 30, 2022 | International, Aerospace

Scaf: Paris et Madrid "préoccupés" par les retards du futur avion de combat européen

Paris et Madrid s'inquiètent du retard du programme SCAF causé par les tensions entre Dassault et Airbus. L'avion du futur doit remplacer les Rafale français et les Eurofighter allemands et espagnols dès 2040.

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  • Will the F-35 beat out ‘the usual suspects’ in Singapore’s search for F-16 replacement?

    July 3, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Will the F-35 beat out ‘the usual suspects’ in Singapore’s search for F-16 replacement?

    By: Mike Yeo MELBOURNE, Australia ― Singapore will decide in the next few months on a new fighter to replace its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16 multirole fighters, with the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter from the same manufacturer seen as the prime candidate. In an interview with media ahead of the southeast Asian island nation's Armed Forces Day, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said that despite ongoing upgrades, the F-16s face obsolescence beyond 2030. He added the country will make a definitive decision on its replacement in the next few months based on interoperability with Singapore's current systems and platforms as well as the price. Ng refused to be drawn into further details as to which fighter platforms Singapore is looking at, only saying that the BAE Systems Typhoon, the F-35, Russia's Sukhois, and Chinese-made stealth fighters are “the usual suspects that you have to look at” when air forces are choosing a new combat platform. However, Singapore has been evaluating the F-35 since 2013 and Ng had previously suggested that the type was suited to be the replacement for Singapore's F-16s. Earlier reports suggested Singapore is keen on acquiring the F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing variant, with the B-model's STOVL capability seen as useful for Singapore, whose main island has an area of a mere 277 square miles and whose air bases are seen as vulnerable to a first strike. Nevertheless, former head of the F-35 program Christopher Bogdan, said Singapore requested information on all three variants of the F-35, and the possibility of Singapore opting for the conventional takeoff and landing F-35A variant cannot be ruled out. Singapore is a security cooperative participant of the F-35 program and is believed to have an eventual requirement of between 40 and 60 new fighters to replace its F-16s. The Republic of Singapore Air Force, or RSAF, currently operates a fleet of 60 F-16C/D Block 52 and Advanced Block 52 aircraft delivered between 1998 and 2005. Twelve aircraft are currently assigned to a joint continuation training unit between the U.S. and Singapore air forces at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, while the remaining are split between three Singapore-based squadrons. Singapore's F-16s are currently being upgraded by Lockheed Martin with the upgrade program, which started in 2016 and is expected to be completed in 2022, including the addition of Northrop Grumman's AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array radar, an improved identification, friend or foe system, as well as Link 16 data links. During the interview, Ng also outlined some of the other upcoming procurement programs Singapore is looking at. These include new multirole combat vessels to replace six corvettes and new joint multimission ships to replace four amphibious ships in Singapore's Navy, while the Army will replace its towed 155mm howitzers with a new self-propelled high-mobility artillery system in the 2020s.

  • The Air Force is looking for new, cheap planes to take the place of advanced fighters — and the 2nd phase of its experiment just started

    May 16, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    The Air Force is looking for new, cheap planes to take the place of advanced fighters — and the 2nd phase of its experiment just started

    Christopher Woody The Air Force has started the second phase of its Light Attack Experiment. The program is looking for cheap aircraft that can be acquired quickly to fill roles currently filled by advanced aircraft. Critics have said such aircraft would expose US pilots to more risks, however. The US Air Force started the second phase of its Light Attack Experiment on Monday, putting the A-29 Super Tucano and AT-6B Wolverine aircraft through more testing at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. Air Force officials have touted light-attack aircraft as a cheap option to address low-end threats, like ISIS or other militant groups, and free up advanced platforms, like the F-22 and F-35, to take on more complex operations. Air Force chief of staff Gen. David Goldfein has described the light-attack aircraft as part of a networked battlefield, connecting and sharing information with partner forces in the air and on the ground. "We're looking at light attack through the lens of allies and partners," Goldfein told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "A big part of the Light Attack Experiment is a common architecture and an intelligence-sharing network, so that those who would join us would be part of the campaign against violent extremism." Phase 2 of the experiment The latest phase of the Light Attack Experiment will be a three-month, live-fly experiment intended to gather more information about each aircraft's capabilities, networking ability, and potential interoperability with partner forces, the Air Force said in a release. The first phase of the experiment took place at Holloman in August with four aircraft. In February, the Air Force announced that it had narrowed the field to the two current aircraft. The second phase at Holloman comes in lieu of a combat demonstration, which Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in February the service would forgo. "This second phase of experimentation is about informing the rapid procurement process as we move closer to investing in light attack," Lt. Gen. Arnie Bunch, the military deputy at the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, said in the release. Fighter, attack, and special-operations pilots will take part in this phase of the experiment, working with test pilots and flight engineers from the Air Force, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve. They will carry out day and night missions doing air interdiction, close air support, armed overwatch, and combat search and rescue. Addressing the Air Force's pilot shortage Adding light-attack aircraft to the fleet would mean more airframes on which pilots could train in order to maintain their qualifications and prepare to transition to more advanced aircraft — helping address a pilot shortage caused in part by bottlenecks in the training pipeline. "If we can get light attack aircraft operating in permissive combat environments, we can alleviate the demand on our 4th and 5th generation aircraft, so they can be training for the high-end fight they were made for," Bunch said in the release. The Air Force has not committed to pursuing a contract for a light-attack aircraft after the experiment, however. Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, deputy chief of staff for requirements, told Flight Global that the Air Force hasn't made a final decision, though he said service has reserved more than $2 billion over the next six years should it go forward with production. Critics have said operating such aircraft, even in permissive environments, will expose pilots to more risk. "The last time the US did this in Vietnam, oh boy, it really wasn't pleasant," Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis for aerospace-consulting firm Teal Group, told Air Force Times in February. "They took a lot of casualties, for predictable reasons. It's low, it's slow and vulnerable, and the air defense environment has become a lot more sophisticated." The A-29 Super Tucano is already in service with the Afghan air force, and Wilson said in 2017 that none of those aircraft had been shot down in 18 months of operations.

  • Textron Aviation Special Missions introduces Citation Longitude Maritime Patrol Aircraft - Skies Mag

    July 20, 2022 | International, Aerospace

    Textron Aviation Special Missions introduces Citation Longitude Maritime Patrol Aircraft - Skies Mag

    The Maritime Patrol Aircraft variant of Textron's Cessna Citation Longitude is outfitted with a variety of equipment that makes it suited for surveillance missions over land and water, as well as SAR, border patrol, and fishery monitoring missions.

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