Germany looks to purchase Airbus H-145M helicopters for military use
March 19th, 2023
Germany’s Defence Ministry is reportedly seeking to replace its existing Tiger combat helicopter fleet by purchasing 82 Airbus H-145M civilian helicopters. According to a recent report by Business Insider, the ministry plans to convert some of these helicopters into combat aircraft and arm them with anti-tank missiles. The proposed $3 billion deal would see 24 of the H-145M helicopters armed with anti-tank missiles.
Slovakia to donate 13 MiG-29s to Ukrain
March 19th, 2023
Slovakia is set to donate 13 Soviet-era MiG-29 warplanes to Ukraine, becoming the second NATO member to announce such a shipment in the last 24 hours, following Poland’s similar move.Slovakia’s Prime Minister Eduard Heger announced the decision at a news conference on Friday, noting that his government was “on the right side of history.” Meanwhile, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda did not specify the total number of MiGs it plans to send, but confirmed that four jets will arrive in Ukraine in the coming days.
USAF wants to retire 310 aircraft (including 42 A-10s and 32 F-22s)
March 15th, 2023
The US Air Force (USAF) wants to retire 310 aircraft in its $185.1 billion fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget proposal. The proposed FY24 budget calls for buying 72 fighters — 48 Lockheed Martin-made F-35As and 24 Boeing F-15EX Eagle IIs — and spending more on the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider stealth bomber, the Boeing E-7A battle management and command-and-control aircraft, the Northrop Grumman-made next-generation nuclear missile known as the Sentinel, Defense News says. In FY24, officials are asking Congress permission to bid adieu to fleets like the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARs) and KC-10 and accelerate retirements of the A-10 Warthog (the proposed retirement of 42 A-10s in 2024 would follow this year’s retirement of 21 Warthogs, and would leave the service with 218 of the attack aircraft). After Congress blocked a similar request in FY23, the Air Force will try again to retire 32 older block 20 F-22s the service emphasizes are not combat-coded. Spending money to sustain the F-22 fleet — which costs about $2.3 billion every year, according to a June 2022 report from the Government Accountability Office — would be better used to further efforts like developing its NGAD successor, officials argue. Congress last year blocked the Air Force’s first attempt at retiring 33 of those F-22s
Airbus A400M project in turmoil as Madrid signals cancellation
March 14th, 2023
Madrid’s unresolved orders for the Airbus A400M airlifter, the biggest defense project in Europe, are in turmoil and may have a significant impact on aviation investment in one of Airbus’s co-founding nations. Sources in the defense sector have disclosed that Spain is becoming increasingly hesitant about delivering the remaining 13 planes from their initial order of 27, indicating that the Spanish Air Force may not require them. This implies that only 14 A400M cargo planes will be in service with the Spanish Air Force. Designed to boost the strategic autonomy of seven European NATO nations, the A400M project has been hit by cost overruns and delays. As a result, any decision over the future of the A400M is expected to trigger intense negotiations over alternative defense orders and Airbus’s ongoing investment in Spain.
Belgium to buy 15 helicopters to replace 10 A109's and 4 NH90 helicopters
March 14th, 2023
In a move to bolster Belgium’s military capabilities, the Council of Ministers has given the green light to the acquisition of 20 light helicopters, 15 of which will be utilized by the army while the remaining five will be allocated for the police force. The purchase will be facilitated through NATO’s Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). The military has not yet specified a particular model or manufacturer, but it is said that they are leaning towards the H145M, a twin-engine aircraft manufactured by Airbus Helicopters.
Boeing to cease production of Super Hornet in 2025 unless India buys it
February 24th, 2023
Production of the F/A-18 in St. Louis will come to an end in late 2025, Boeing has announced. “We are planning for our future, and building fighter aircraft is in our DNA,” Steve Nordlund, Boeing Air Dominance vice president, said in a statement. “As we invest in and develop the next era of capability, we are applying the same innovation and expertise that made the F/A-18 a workhorse for the U.S. Navy and air forces around the world for nearly 40 years.”
However, the line could remain open till 2027 if the Indian Navy selects the Super Hornet for its aircraft carriers.
Canada commits to 88 F-35As
January 10th, 2023
Canada has decided to buy 88 F-35As under its Future Fighter Capability Project, which was launched in 2017, the Minister of National Defence has announced.The acquisition of F-35s will cost approximately $19 billion and replace the current CF-18 fleet by 2032. Delivery of aircraft will occur in tranches, starting with an initial tranche of 16. The delivery of these aircraft is expected to begin in 2026, with the first four aircraft arriving that year. Then six more are expected to arrive in 2027, and the following six in 2028.
Arrival first Dutch AH-64E Gardians for Dutch Air Force
January 6th, 2023
The Royal Netherlands Air Force took delivery of two new AH-64E attack helicopters on Dec. 13, 2022 at Robert Gray Army Air Field, Texas. The new Apaches are the first two that will be operated by the unit at Fort Hood. The Dutch have had a long history with the Apache, operating D-model versions since 1998. The AH-64Es delivered are remanufactured AH-64Ds. The U.S. Department of State approved the remanufacture of the 28 Apaches from Holland in February 2018. It was estimated to have cost the Netherlands $1.191 billion back then. The first remanufactured Apache from the Netherlands was rolled out by Boeing in October 2022.These new Apaches will be used to train aircrew and maintenance personnel in the coming years. Lt. Col. Wilko de Waard, commander of the 302nd Squadron of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, says the AH-64E is better at integrating with newer fixed-wing and unmanned aircraft systems.
Polish Air Force move all MiG-29's to Malbork
The Polish Air Force transferred all the MiG29's operated by the 1st Tactical Fighter Squadron from Minsk Mazowiecki Air Base to Malbork Air Base where they joined the MiG29's already operated by the 41st Tactical Fighter Squadron. Minsk Mazowiecki will become the homebase for the recently ordered 48 FA-50 light attack aircraft of which the first 12 aircraft are expected to be delivered before the end of 2023. From the 44 delivered MiG-29's the Polish Air Force still operate 29 in four different versions.
Romania buys 32 Norwegian F-16s
November 5th, 2022
Norway will sell 32 of its F-16 fighters to NATO partner Romania. The contract was signed on Nov. 4. “The agreement signed by the NDMA will help strengthen the air power of one of our allies, at the same time as it will generate revenues for both Norwegian industry and the Norwegian state,” said Norwegian Minister of Defence, Bjørn Arild Gram. All jets will be modified to the M6.5.2 Romanian configuration prior to delivery starting next year. (source Alert5.com)
USAF confirms withdrawal of F-15's from Japan
October 30th, 2022
A U.S. Air Force spokesperson has confirmed that the 44th and 67th fighter squadrons will be withdrawn from Kadena, Japan starting from next month. The entire process will take two years to complete. Spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said fourth- and fifth-generation fighters will be rotated to Kadena Air Base, Japan in future. (source Alert5.com)
Bulgaria to buy a second batch of eight new F-16's
October 28th, 2022
Bulgaria’s government has decided to buy a follow-on batch of eight F-16 fighters from Lockheed Martin. The order will split equally between the C and D models. It would be the second batch acquired by Bulgaria, which contracted to buy eight multi-role F-16 Block 70 aircraft in July 2019 for $1.3 billion. Plans initially called for the first planes to arrive in Bulgaria in 2023 and the last ones in 2024, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed delivery until 2025.
Spain will send EF-2000's and EF-18's to Bulgaria and Romania
October 24th, 2022
Spain has announced plans to send six Eurofighters to Bulgaria and eight Hornets to Romania starting from next month. Spain said it would send 14 fighter jets to Bulgaria and Romania to bolster NATO's eastern flank as the defence alliance strengthens its deterrence capacity following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Spain will send six Eurofighter jets and 130 soldiers to Bulgaria between mid-November and early December to train local forces, the Spanish defence ministry said in a statement. It added that a further deployment will see eight F18M fighter jets and 130 air force personnel sent to Romania between December and March 2023 as part of NATO’s “reaction and deterrence” strategy.
U.S. donating 6 AH-1Zs and 2 UH-1Ys to Czech Republic
August 20th, 2022
The Czech Republic will receive six second-hand AH-1Z and two UH-1Y helicopters from the United States. It had placed an order for four AH-1Z and eight UH-1Y helicopters and those aircraft are due to be delivered starting next year.It was previously reported that Czech wants to buy additional helicopters from Bell after Russia attacked Ukraine. The country had also donated its Mi-24 attack helicopters to Ukraine, creating an operational gap.
Greece to send LoR for 38 F-16V upgrades soon
August 15th, 2022
The Hellenic Air Force will soon send a letter of request (LOR) to the United States for the upgrade of 38 F-16C/D Block 50 fighters to the V variant.
These fighters will be upgraded at Nea Anchialos Air Base while two Greek F-16s have completed their upgrade to the F-16V standard and will soon be used to train pilots. Older F-16 Block 30s that are in Greek inventory will not undergo the upgrade process. (source Alert5.com)
Greece signs LoR for up to 40 F-35sA's
July 1st, 2022
Greece has signed the Letter of Request to buy the F-35A Lightning II local media reports. The letter was sent by the Greek defense ministry to Washington on June the 29th. Athens hopes to buy 20 aircraft with options for another 20. (source Alert5.com)
Spain order additional 20 Eurofighters
June 23rd, 2022
Spain as ordered 20 more Eurofighters/Typhoons to bring its fleet of EF-2000´s up to 90 aircraft. The order is for 16 single seaters and 4 twin seat fighters which will replace some of the older EF-18 Hornets. Also 48 extra engines are bought and first delivery should take place in 2026. At present 680 Eurofighters had been sold to nine nations around the globe. (source Alert5.com)
Danish F-16's will soldier on three years longer
June 21st, 2022
Due to the hightened security threat from Russia the Royal Danish Air Force will keep its fleet of F-16AM/BM's operational three years longer than originally planned. Denmark ordered 27 F-35A's to replace the old Vipers of which is the first is due to arrive next year. All 27 should be delivered in 2026 after which the F-16 will be retired in 2027. Denmark still operates about 40 Fighting Falcons, all from Skrydstrup.
Dutch select Embraer C-390M as C-130 replacement
June 16th, 2022
On June the 16th the State Secretary for Defence of the Netherlands, Christophe van der Maat, announced that the replacement for the four Royal Netherlands Air Force C-130H's has been found in the Embraer C-390M Millennium. Although it looked liked the newest C-130, the J-version, had the best papers the higher payload, greater range and avaliable flighthours gave the C-390 the final win. It is expected that the first delivery of the five Millenniums to the Eindhoven based 336 Squadron will take place in 2026.
Sweden to replace their 6 C-130H's with Italian C-130J's
June 15th, 2022
Sweden is planning to replace it's C-130H fleet of six with second hand, former Italian Air Force C-130J's. Updating the currect Hercules fleet was an option but not choosen due to the fact this will take several years leaving the Swedish Air Force with a reduced transportfleet during that period. Instead six second hand C-130J's will be bought from the Italian Air Force and the replacement should take place around 2025.
65th Aggressor Squadron reactivates at Nellis with aggressor force of F-35s
June 9th, 2022
The 65th Aggressor Squadron reactivated on June the 9th 2022 with a directed mission to know, teach and replicate fifth-generation air adversaries at Nellis Air Force Base. The 65th AGRS was previously active at Nellis from 2005 to 2014. During that time, the unit replicated tactics and techniques of potential adversaries with a fleet of F-15 Eagles. When they inactivated, the 64th AGRS continued the aggressor mission with F-16 Fighting Falcons. “This significant milestone marks our ability to bring fifth-generation capabilities to the high-end fight, and will allow us to enhance our premier tactics and training with joint, allied and coalition forces,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Drowley, 57th Wing commander. “Using the F-35 as an aggressor allows pilots to train against low-observable threats similar to what adversaries are developing,” said Col. Scott Mills, 57th Operations Group commander. (source 57th Wing PA)
RNLAF will receive 6 extra F-35A's and 4 MQ-9's
June 1st, 2022
On June the 1st 2022 the Dutch presented their Defence Note 2022. In there it was written that the budget will increase with 40%. For the Royal Netherlands Air Force the Defence Note shows that 6 extra F-35A's will be bought (increasing the number up till 52 in total), 4 extra MQ-9A Reapers will be added to the fleet (increasing the numbers up till 8) and will be able to carry weapons, the AS532 Cougar heliciopter will be replaced by new Medium Utility Helicopers and the four C-130H(-30's) will be replaced by 5 new transport aircraft.
Getting the C-130J is number one priority for USN Reserve
June 8th, 2022
Vice Adm. John B. Mustin, chief of U.S. Navy Reserve, told the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Defense subcommittee that the Reserve’s number one equipment priority is to buy the C-130J to replace the aging C-130T. The Reserve now operates 19 C-130Ts and 11 KC-130Ts in five fleet logistics support squadrons and the average age is about 30 years. (source Alert5.com)
Germany to buy 60 H-47F Chinook transport helicopters
June 1st, 2022
By the end of April 2022 the German government decided to buy sixty Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters. The new transport helicopters will replace the aging CH-53G Sea Stallions of which the Germans operate around 80. First Chinook deliveries should take place around 2025 and the final CH-53 should retire in 2030.
Finland to bed down F-35s with Lapland Air Command
May 31st, 2022
Finland will initially bed down its F-35As at Rovaniemi airport in 2026, the country declared on May 26. It is Finland’s northernmost air base and lies within the Arctic Circle. The country ordered 64 F-35As and will be operational with the aircraft by 2030. The F-35A's will replace the F-18 Hornets currently operated by the country. (source Alert5.com)
Romania to resume MiG-21 flights
May 26th, 2022
Romania’s Ministry of Defense announced on May 24 that the country’s MiG-21 flight has resumed flying a day earlier.However, this will be a temporary measure as the fighters will be retired from service in one year’s time on May 15, 2023. The Romanian Ministry of Defence decided in April 2022 to suspend all flight operations of its MiG-21 fighters after a series of fatal accidents. (source Alert5.com)
Czech Republic has transferred Mi-24 attack helicopters to Ukraine
May 25th, 2022
The Czech Republic has transferred its attack helicopters to Ukraine, this was disclosed by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin during a press briefing. Austin did not identify the type of helicopter or the quantity. The Czech Air Force operates the Mi-24 attack helicopter which Ukraine possesses as well. The Czech Republic will replace their Hind helicopters with the Bell Helicopter AH-1Z Viper of which four have been ordered. On 23 February 2022, Bell Textron Inc., Fort Woth (TX), started the production of the AH-1Z Viper for the Czech Air Force. (source Alert5.com)
French Rafales collided in mid-air, both jets landed safely
May 23rd, 2022
Two French Air Force Rafale fighters had a mid-air collision during an airshow demonstration on May 22. Both jets landed safely and one piece of the debris landed in the town of Gensac-la-Pallue. Photos online showed that the jet damaged was a Rafale in black livery that recently participated in NATO Tigers Meet. The aircraft from EC 3/30 had won an award for the best painted aircraft. EC 3/30 had also won the Silver Tiger award at the exercise in Greece. (source Alert5.com)
Final Dutch F-16 B-Course training at NAS Key West
May 16th, 2022
The Royal Netherlands Air Force recently carried out its final F-16 B-Course training at NAS Key West. The two week-training event covers over-water and dissimilar aircraft training for student pilots. Dutch pilots spent most of their time over the Atlantic Ocean and the training is crucial in preparing the students for their return home to the Netherlands. (source Alrt5.com)
USMC to have second aggressor squadron by 2024
May 6th, 2022
The U.S. Marine Corps will have a second aggressor squadron by 2024 when VMFT-402 is declared safe for flight in 2024 at MCAS Beaufort.
VMFT-402 will initially have three F-5N+ fighters before growing to a fleet comprising of eight F-5N+ and two F-5F+ aircraft. These jets will be ex-Swiss Air Force aircraft.
According to the 2022 Marine Corps Aviation Plan, the service has a 15,000 sorties requirement for adversary training this year, but the existing VMFT-401 aggressor squadron can only generate 3,300 sorties per year. (source Alert5.com
510th EFS replaces 480th EFS for NATO’s Enhanced Air Policing mission in Romania
May 1st, 2022
The 510th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron has deployed six F-16s from Aviano Air Base, Italy to Romania to relief the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany for the support of NATO’s Enhanced Air Policing mission in the Black Sea region on April the 29th 2022. The 480th EFS completed its 3-month rotational deployment in support of NATO’s Enhanced Air Policing mission in the Black Sea region. The F-16 aircraft as well as personnel and support equipment from the 480th EFS arrived at Fetesti AB in February to enhance NATO’s collective defense posture and support the enduring Air Policing mission, aided by Allies from Romania, Italy, and the United Kingdom. (source Alert5.com and USAFE PA)