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Turkey deploys T129 attack helicopters to Azerbaijan


The Turkish Armed Forces have deployed T129 attack helicopters to Azerbaijan, according to the Ministry Of Defence Of Azerbaijan.

According to a recent service news release, a group of servicemen and the aircraft of the Turkish Armed Forces participating in the Azerbaijani-Turkish Live-Fire Joint Large-Scale Tactical and Flight-Tactical Exercises arrived in Nakhchivan.

During the solemn welcoming ceremony for the servicemen participating in the exercises, which took place at the military airfield of the Combined Arms Army, the national anthems of the Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan were performed.

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Military, attack and combat helicopters of the Turkish Armed Forces arrived on a military transport aircraft, are brought to a state of readiness for Live-Fire Flight-Tactical Exercises at the military airfield of the Combined Arms Army.

According to Army-technology.com, the T129 multirole attack helicopter is being developed jointly by AgustaWestland and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLF) under the attack and tactical reconnaissance helicopter (ATAK) programme. The helicopter is based on the AW129 and its predecessor the A129 Mangusta.

Nevertheless, Turkey deployed troops to Azerbaijan after an Armenian attack took place on Azerbaijan’s border on July 12.

The recent rise in tensions was triggered when the Armenian army attempted to attack Azerbaijani positions with artillery fire in the direction of the northwestern Tovuz border district, withdrawing after suffering losses following retaliation from the Azerbaijani military.

Twelve Azerbaijani soldiers, including a major general and a colonel, were killed and four others were injured in the recent border clashes.

Azerbaijan has blamed Armenia for the “provocative” actions, with Turkey throwing its weight behind Baku and warning Yerevan that it would not hesitate to stand against any kind of attack on its eastern neighbor.

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Boeing shows how F-15QA fighter is painted in Qatar livery


A short video from the U.S. aerospace giant Boeing demonstrates how the F-15QA fighter jet is painted in its custom livery.

“The most advanced F-15 fighter jet ever built, this aircraft – and the paint scheme – were specifically designed for Qatar Emiri Air Force,” the company said on Twitter.

Posted on the Boeing Twitter page, the timelapse video shows the painting process of F-15QA fighter special Qatar Emiri Air Force livery.

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The F-15QA brings to its operators next-generation technologies such as fly-by-wire flight controls, digital cockpit; modernized sensors, radar, and electronic warfare capabilities; and the world’s fastest mission computer. Increases in reliability, sustainability and maintainability allow defense operators to affordably remain ahead of current and evolving threats.

The advanced F-15QA built using advanced manufacturing processes which make the jet more efficient to manufacture. In the field, the F-15 costs half the cost per flight hour of similar fighter aircraft and delivers far more payload at far greater ranges.

Through investments in the F-15QA platform and partnership with the U.S. Air Force, Boeing is now preparing to build a domestic variant of the advanced fighter, the F-15EX, commonly known as Strike Eagle on Steroids. F-15EX became a program of record for the Air Force when the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020 was signed on Dec. 30, 2019. In January, the Air Force issued public notifications of its intent to award sole-source a contract to Boeing for eight jets. Future plans call for as many as 144 aircraft.

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Spanish A400M Atlas suffers bird strike while landing – Defence Blog


Spanish Air Force A400M Atlas military transport aircraft suffered a bird strike while landing in Zaragoza.

The bird-aircraft collision happened when an A400M was performing a landing to Zaragoza Air Base, according to the Breaking Aviation News.

The aircraft successfully landed and performed a roll-out as the captain informed Air Base tower that they had struck a bird shortly before touching down.

There were no injuries in the incident even though the aircraft suffered substantial damage to its under-fuselage near one of the aft wheel well, per defpost.com.

The first A400M was delivered to Spain in November 2016. The first 14 aircraft are expected to be delivered by 2022 and the rest 13 will be delivered from 2025.

The Airbus’ website said the A400M Atlas is the most advanced, proven and certified airlifter available, combining 21st century state-of-the-art technologies to fulfil the current and upcoming armed forces’ needs. The A400M combines the capability to carry strategic loads with the ability to deliver even into tactical locations with small and unprepared airstrips and can act as a frontline-tanker. One aircraft that can do the work of three – the A400M.





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Russia deploys chemical defense troops to Italy – Defence Blog


Russia reportedly is deploying its Troops of Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defence or RChB Defense to Italy.

Russia has loaded nine Il-76 cargo planes that flew to Italy, with eight mobile medical teams, medical equipment and aerosol disinfection trucks. Moscow also sent about 100 military specialists in virology and epidemics, one special military laboratory and 20 mobile disinfection vehicles.

Mobile complexes with equipment for diagnosis and disinfection were delivered to the Italian Air Force Practitioner de Mare airbase, located 30 kilometers south-west of Rome, Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.

In photos released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, the doors of military trucks bore signs with heart-shaped Russian and Italian flags that read: “From Russia with love” in Russian, Italian and English.

Putin spoke to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Saturday, the Kremlin said, saying the Russian leader had offered his support and help in the form of mobile disinfection vehicles and specialists to help the worst hit Italian regions.

Italy recorded a jump in deaths from coronavirus of almost 800 on Saturday, taking the toll in the world’s hardest-hit country to almost 5,000.

 

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U.S. Air Force complete U-2 SYERS-2C upgrades, enhancing the Dragon Lady’s imaging capability – Defence Blog


The U.S. Air Force, Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies (NYSE: UTX), and Lockheed Martin Skunk Works®(NYSE: LMT) recently completed flight testing and deployment of the latest variant of the Collins Aerospace Senior Year Electro-Optical Reconnaissance System (SYERS) sensor, SYERS-2C, on the U-2. With this milestone, the entire U-2 fleet has been upgraded to the premier electro-optical/infrared sensor capability which provides increased optical performance and highly accurate long-range tracking for superior threat detection in a wider range of weather conditions.

“SYERS-2C represents an evolutionary step forward for the Air Force, capitalizing on a high performing, mature system to insert substantial new capabilities into the battlespace of the future,” saidKevin Raftery, vice president and general manager, ISR and Space Solutions for Collins Aerospace. “The U-2 has been the cornerstone of the Air Force’s ISR inventory and with upgrades like SYERS-2C, the system can continue to provide increasingly valuable multi-intelligence information to the warfighter for years to come.”

The 10-band, high spatial resolution SYERS-2C sensor provides unmatched ability to find, track and assess moving and stationary targets. Developed with open mission systems standards to enable command, control and data exchange with 5th generation platforms, the sensor has become a critical asset to theater commanders bringing unique advantages to joint operations across the battlespace.

“The SYERS-2C sensor is the premier intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imaging sensor and its integration into the U-2 Dragon Lady further enhances the aircraft’s ability to provide unparalleled strategic intelligence to our warfighters,” saidIrene Helley, U-2 program director, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. “This milestone continues our commitment to increase the flexibility of the aircraft using open mission systems to support the multi-domain battlespace.”

Flying 24/7 around the world at record-high operational rates, the U-2 Dragon Lady provides unparalleled intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to meet the needs of combatant commanders every day. More than an ISR aircraft, the U-2’s unique ability to rapidly reconfigure, collect, analyze and share data with disparate systems across the battlespace is transforming warfighting operations to ensure mission success far into the future.

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Ankara threatens to close down U.S. Air Force base in Turkey – Defence Blog


A senior Turkish official said that Ankara threatening to close down the U.S. Air Force Incirlik Air Base.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a statement that Ankara may insist that the U.S. leave Incirlik air base if Washington goes ahead with the sanctions it has threatened in response to Turkey’s purchase of S-400 air defense systems.

“We will assess the worst-case scenario and make a decision. If the US imposes sanctions against Turkey, then the issue of the Incirlik and Kurecik bases may be on the agenda,” Cavusoglu said.

Deliveries of the latest Russian-made S-400 air defense systems, which caused a significant rift in relations between Turkey and the United States, began in July. According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the S-400 will be fully operational in April 2020.

The vast Incirlik Air Base, located in southern Turkey close to Syria, has been a longstanding symbol of U.S.-Turkish cooperation. At the height of the Cold War, it underscored America’s commitment to its NATO partner against the Soviet Union.

Incirlik Air Base has a U.S. Air Force complement of about five thousand airmen, with several hundred airmen from the Royal Air Force and Turkish Air Force also present. The primary unit stationed at Incirlik Air Base is the 39th Air Base Wing (39 ABW) of the U.S. Air Force. Incirlik Air Base has one 3,048 m (10,000 ft)-long runway, located among about 57 hardened aircraft shelters.

It is worthwhile noting that estimated B61 nuclear gravity bombs stored at İncirlik airbase, which is about 100 miles from the Syrian border and which the US air force shares with its Turkish counterpart.

Of the five nuclear weapons storage locations in Europe, Incirlik Air Base in Turkey stores one-third of the weapons in Europe, although there are unconfirmed rumors that the weapons may have been withdrawn.

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Vermont Air National Guard receives next three F-35 Lightning II aircraft – Defence Blog


The Vermont Air National Guard, the air force militia of the State of Vermont, has received the next three F-35 Lightning II aircraft, which landed at the Vermont Air National Guard just after 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec., 5, 2019.

These aircraft are part of the 20 total aircraft assigned to the Vermont Air National Guard, with the full complement arriving by summer 2020.

The aircraft departed Thursday morning from Fort Worth, Texas, and were flown by Vermont Air National Guard pilots assigned to the 134th Fighter Squadron.

“Today’s arrival is part of our scheduled plan to receive all the aircraft through 2020,” said Col. Adam Rice, vice commander, 158th Fighter Wing, Vermont Air National Guard. “I’m very proud that our team is ready and our pilots were able to fly these Vermont aircraft home.”

The Vermont Air National Guard is the first Air National Guard to receive the F-35 Lightning II.

The first F-35s assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing arrived at the Vermont Air National Guard Base on September 19th.

“Each aircraft arrival is another step towards finalizing the fielding process at the Vermont Air National Guard,” said Brig. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont Adjutant General. “Our Airmen have performed remarkably to get to this point and I am, as always, impressed with their dedication towards their mission.”

On 19 October, the 158th Fighter Wing (158 FW), a unit of the Vermont Air National Guard, hosted a welcome ceremony to celebrate the arrival of the first F-35 Lightning II aircraft to the wing, South Burlington Air National Guard Base, Vt., Oct. 19, 2019.

As the first fighter wing to receive the F-35 Lighting II, Guard officials say Vermont is paving the way for stronger partnerships between the Air Force and the Air National Guard, ultimately better protecting the United States from adversaries.

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Russian Su-30 fighter jets criticized by Belarus, they want F-16 – Defence Blog


Russia has started implementing a contract on the delivery of a batch of its newest Su-30SM multirole fighter jets to Belarus, but some analysts raised concerns about costs over the entire life cycle of the aircraft, from fabrication to maintenance.

The publication Lenta.ru reported Friday that a wide range of renowned experts has expressed their concerns regarding Belarus selected Russian-made combat aircraft to replace ageing Soviet-era MiG-29 fleet.

Andrey Porotnikov, BelarusSecurityBlog’s project leader, said that operating and support costs of Russian aircraft are more expensive than U.S.-made F-16 fighter aircraft.

Usually, the combat aircraft life-cycle cost for an estimated life of 35 years is 2-2.5 times its purchase price, as a result of which the total cost of maintenance of each Belarus’s Su-30SM will cost $100-125 million.

“And now, to sum up, the price of aircraft [about $ 50 million], the maintain of airworthiness and modernization. We get the amount from 185 to 210 million dollars for each (!) aircraft in the next 35 years. And the squadron [12 aircraft], respectively, from 2.22 billion to 2.52 billion dollars. The amount is not small, ”- Andrey Porotnikov stated.

Another disadvantage of the fighter manufactured in Russia is its AL-31FP engines, which six units “eat” during the Su-30SM life cycle (two of them are already installed and paid for at the time of purchase). This circumstance in the publication is explained by the fact that “Soviet (Russian) aircraft engines are traditionally inferior to Western ones not only in fuel efficiency but also in between-repairs and operating life cycles.”

“The Polish Air Force simultaneously operates the Soviet twin-engine fighter MiG-29 and the American single-engine F-16. It is assumed that the American fighter will fly off all 35 years with the same engine that was originally installed on it. Unfortunately, this does not work out with the MiG-29: eight engines will have to be replaced in the same period, ” explained analyst.

Photo by Airman 1st Class Duncan Bevan

According to TASS, the Su-30SM is a generation 4++ serial-produced and upgraded two-seat super-maneuverable fighter jet. The Su-30SM is furnished with two AL-31FP thrust-vectoring reheated double-flow turbofan engines. The fighter has an operating range of 1,500 km and flight endurance of 3.5 hours without refueling.

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U.S. Air Force retired integral component of long-range strategic bombing capabilities – Defence Blog


The U.S. Air Force retired an integral component of the United States’ long-range strategic bombing capabilities – the final Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile (CALCM) package.

The CALCM missile package is retired at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 20, 2019.

Initially beginning design in 1974, the CALCM missile has been employed in combat operations to include Desert Storm, Desert Strike, Desert Fox, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Decades later, the final missile package was disassembled to become demilitarized.

“It’s incredible to see the tail end of a weapons system come full circle,” Tech. Sgt. Carlos Solorza, 2nd Munitions Squadron weapons system bay chief said during the final upload of the CALCM weapon system. “I don’t think I’ll ever be apart of another weapon retirement and the fact that I’m here right now is pretty special.”

The CALCM missile is a small, winged missile powered by a turbofan jet engine, able to fly complicated routes through terrain with the guidance of a GPS aided inertial navigation system.

“I’ve loaded this weapon system well over 300 times,” said retired Chief Master Sgt. Paul LaFlame, former weapons superintendent at Barksdale. “This has been the primary weapon system on the B-52 for decades now.”

Although missile design began in the mid-1970s, CALCM wasn’t employed in combat until January of 1991, during Operation Secret Squirrel, a mission in which seven B-52G Stratofortresses took off from Barksdale toward Iraqi targets, launching 35 CALCM missiles.

Opening the first strikes of Operation Desert Storm, the then-new CALCM missiles devastated Saddam Hussein’s forces and marked the first time GPS has been used to guide a missile to a target.

Former members of the mission, retired Cols. Trey Morriss and Warren Ward alongside LaFlame were in attendance for the final download of the last CALCM missiles.

“It’s awesome to see these young Airmen, it makes me feel young,” said Ward. “It’s always great to interact with young troops, they’re phenomenal. It’s great to see the Air Force still moving along seamlessly, with great people who still get the job done,” LaFlame added.

The CALCM weapon system is to be replaced over time as more advanced Long-Range, Stand-Off (LRSO) weapons enter the active stockpile.

Photo by Airman Jacob Wrightsman

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