Showing posts from June, 2018

F-15SA Bristles With A Dozen AIM-120 Missiles During Canyon Run

Currently, the most advanced F-15 Eagles on the planet belong to the Royal Saudi Air Force which has a decades-long history with the type. In its latest iteration, known as the F-15SA, the mighty Strike Eagle has been vastly upgraded. One of the type's most prominent new features is the activation of the Eagle's long-dormant outer-wing stores stations number one and nine. This was made possible with the help of the F-15SA's new fly-by-wire flight control system.

With this upgrade, the Eagle can fly with a wide array of new weapons configurations, including being able to turn into an air-to-air 'missile truck' of sorts. This unique loadout was captured in amazing fashion by aviation photographer Christopher McGreevy as a pair of F-15SA's blasted through Star Wars Canyon on June 12, 2018.

McGreevy's photos are stunning and show a pair of F-15SA's used for testing out of Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, rocketing through the crevasse, one totally clean an…

Tiltrotor Craft That May Replace Black Hawk Prepares for Test Flight

Next week, a team from Textron Inc. and Bell Helicopter will demonstrate the maneuverability of its experimental V-280 Valor helicopter, a platform that may one day replace the U.S. military's UH-60 Black Hawk fleet. The June 18 demonstration comes six months after the V-280's first test flight as a technology demonstrator in the Army's Future Vertical Lift program. "It's not just a flight test, it's actually a demonstration of what we have been able to achieve so far," retired Army Maj. Gen. Jeff Schloesser, executive vice president for strategic pursuits at Bell, told

"What you will see is the aircraft go through a variety of maneuvers. ... One of the things we want to demonstrate is just how able you are to quickly reposition the aircraft in flight," he said. "When you are on the objective area, you are not flying fast, but what you do have to do is do tail maneuvers, turn maneuvers, roll and pitch maneuvers in a very accel…

France Steps Up Efforts to Counter Beijing's Activities in S China Sea

At present, the majority of the Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOP) in the region are conducted by the US, despite strong protests against them from China. Beijing, however, continues to deploy more military equipment to the islands, claiming the country’s moves are purely defensive in nature.

French assault ship Dixmude and a frigate sailed near the disputed Spratly Islands and other nearby islets as a part of a FONOP in the South China Sea, AFP reported. A researcher from the Hudson Institute think-tank, who was on board during the operation, said that several Chinese warships "tailed" Dixmude until it left the area. "Our patrol involved passing close to these islets to obtain intelligence with all the sensors it is possible to use in international waters," the Dixmude's commanding officer, Jean Porcher said in a video interview.

Although it is the US that conducts most of the FONOPs in the South China Sea, France and the UK also actively participate in …

UK jets to conduct air policing mission in Iceland and Estonia

UK Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter jets will be deployed to Iceland and Estonia to carry out Nato Air Policing next year, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced. Four RAF Typhoon jets will return to Estonia, where they last carried out air policing in 2016. The fighter aircraft will also patrol the airspace of Iceland for the first time next year, enabling the UK to work in close collaboration with allies to deter aerial threats to Euro Atlantic security.

The missions will provide the RAF with opportunities to test and evaluate its skills in operating in a wide range of environments. As part of the air policing missions, Nato fighter jets will be prepared to address issues and carry out operations around the clock throughout the year. Currently, four of the RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft have been deployed to Mihail Kogălniceanu Airbase in Romania to ensure security in the South and the Black Sea region.

In addition, Williamson confirmed that the country will deploy 40 add…

Chinese missile launchers reappear on disputed South China Sea island

A series of Chinese missile systems have reappeared on a disputed island in the South China Sea, days after satellite imagery appeared to show they had been removed. The initial discovery of their disappearance was made by ImageSat International (ISI) in early June, who provided images showing bare sand where previously there had been a large number of missile launchers. But in new intelligence analysis released Monday, the organization said the weapons had reappeared on Woody Island on the Paracel island chain. In their initial analysis of the surface-to-air missile systems' removal, ISI said it was possible they had simply been redeployed to another island, or moved as part of a drill.

When the original images were released, experts were extremely skeptical that the launchers had been permanently removed, suggesting instead they may have been sent for maintenance. "Due to the corrosive effects of salt and humidity in the islands, HQ-9 missile systems must be removed and sen…

China ‘removes missile systems’ from disputed South China Sea island – but sends warning to US

Beijing seems to have removed missile systems from a disputed island in the South China Sea, although US defence officials and experts said the disappearance was likely to be only a temporary arrangement, amid rising tensions between the two countries. Satellite imagery and new analysis from Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International (ISI), dated June 3, suggested the Chinese surface-to-air missile systems on Woody Island, in the Paracel Islands, may have been removed or relocated. Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said it would not be the first time that Beijing had removed its HQ-9 missiles. The last removal took place in July 2016, just two days before the Permanent Court of ­Arbitration in The Hague rejected Beijing’s claims over the South China Sea.

But he said removals had also be made for maintenance purpose. “Because of the humid weather, plus a recent typhoon in the region, it is likely that those systems needed to be temporarily removed for repair or to have some of th…

Turkey to take delivery of first F-35 on June 21

Turkish authorities have received an official invitation to receive the country's first next-generation F-35 Lightning II jet on June 21, according to the Turkish daily, Hürriyet.

"Lockheed Martin would be happy to see you by our side during ‘The Republic of Turkey F-35 Delivery Ceremony' at Fort Worth on June 21," said the official invitation letter from Lockheed Martin, the main manufacturer of the aircraft.

The handover of the first warplane will take place after the reception on June 21, the invitation letter added. Turkey's first F-35A will enter service in November 2019 after the completion of a pilot training program. The other jets will start coming at regular intervals, the report said.

Meanwhile, a U.S. Senate committee recently passed a defense policy bill which included measures to prevent Turkey from purchasing the F-35 jets. It was reported that the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) from Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen an…