Air Force

Iran-Saudi maritime plan questioned

Iran’s assertion that will establish a naval alliance with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations “defies reason,” says a U.S. Navy officer with the 34-nation Combined Maritime Forces fleet, which includes rotations of Canadian warships and aircraft. “The number one cause of regional instability claims it wants […] to protect the very waters it threatens,” says Commander Tim Hawkins, pointing out that Iran has attacked or seize 15 internationally-flagged merchant ships in the past two years. [node:read-more:link]

RCAF in Arctic exercise

Supported by 20 RCAF personnel, a Canadian CC-150 Polaris multi-role tanker, supported by 20 RCAF personnle, is one of 150 aircraft from 14 NATO and partner countries involved this week in Arctic Challenge 2023, an exercise in northern Finland two hours’ drive from the Russian border. Underscoring NATO’s commitment to defend its newest member, the exercise with 6,500 Finnish troops also involves nearly 1,000 Norwegian, British, Swedish and U.S. personnel. [node:read-more:link]

No PM suite on new Airbus

The RCAF plans to integrate two Airbus A-330s purchased from Kuwait into Trenton-based 4356 Transport Squadron this summer as replacements for its aging A-310s flown as CC-150 Polaris. The immediate plan is to maintain the civilian layout for passenger and cargo operations without a private cabin for prime ministerial transport but at least one will be reconfigured within the next two years. [node:read-more:link]

RCAF transports delayed

The RCAF says delivery of two Airbus A-330 transports, purchased for US$102 million from Kuwait Airways, has been delayed. They were expected last winter but one recently was still operating from Kuwait. The delay is likely due to supply chain issues such as repainting the aircraft, which will be done in France. [node:read-more:link]

IMP to upgrade SAR helicopters

Halifax-based IMP Aerospace and Defence is to upgrade 13 RCAF CH-149 Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopters as part of a $1.2-billion upgrade of the Anglo-Italian aircraft which entered service in 2021. Leonardo UK, the main contractor, is to build three new Cormorants, increasing the fleet to 16. [node:read-more:link]

Sudan evacuation suspended

The federal government announced today that “the deteriorating security situation” in Sudan has forced it to suspend evacuation flights for now. Approximately 400 Canadian citizens and permanent residents had been rescued so far but Defence Minister Anita Anand said that about 230 are still seeking assistance through Global Affairs Canada. [node:read-more:link]

Some Canadians out of Sudan

Fifty-eight Canadians and one German were evacuated from Sudan today on a German aircraft and an RCAF CC-117 Globemaster III was on standby in the region to help evacuate more as a military conflict continued to escalate. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly had said earlier in the day that there were talks with “like-minded countries” to help others. [node:read-more:link]

F-35s strut their stuff for NATO

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been an ideal proving ground for NATO as Lockheed Martin F-35 from two U.S. Air Force fighter groups were deployed to Germany for a couple of month last year. “We weren’t crossing the border; we’re not shooting anything or dropping anything,” said one wing commander. “But the jet is always sensing, gathering information and it was doing that very, very well.” [node:read-more:link]

Jeremy Hansen pathway to the stars

NASA announced the selection of Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Jeremy Hansen to fly to the Moon on the Artemis II mission. This will be the first crewed flight test of the Orion spacecraft launching on the SLS rocket. Hansen will be the first Canadian to ever venture to the Moon. [node:read-more:link]

RCAF shopping for Poseidons

Public Services & Procurement Canada confirmed today that the U.S. State Department has been asked to approve the potential purchase of up to 16 Boeing P8-A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft for the RCAF. “The final decision will be based on the capability offered, availability, pricing and benefits to Canadian industry,” PSPC said. In service with Australia, Britain and India as well as the U.S. Navy, it is a militarized version of the 737-800 civilian passenger jet. [node:read-more:link]

Defence spending confirmed

Canada plans to invest $7.3 billion to upgrade fighter bases and northern landing strips to accommodate its ordered Lockheed Martin F-35s, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office announced March 24. Also confirmed during President Joe Biden’s visi to Ottawa, the government also said that the first new Over the Horizon Radar base will be in northern Ontario, part of a 20-year upgrade of continental air defences. [node:read-more:link]

F-35 next-gen engine decided

The U.S. Air force has opted to stick with Pratt & Whitney when it eventually repowers its Lockheed Martin F-35s. General Electric had hoped to be considered but Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall says developing a new engine would have been too costly. [node:read-more:link]

Who will win the Dragon Belt?

Royal Canadian Air Force crews and personnel from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron and 19 Wing Comox will participate in the multinational anti-submarine Exercise Sea Dragon at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam from March 15 to March 30. Participating nations will be competing to wrest the coveted ‘Dragon Belt’ from 2-time consecutive winner – the RCAF. [node:read-more:link]

Eyre defends U.S. balloon intercept

General Wayne Eyre, the Chief of Defence Staff, would have preferred that an RCAF CF-188 Hornet had downed a suspicious balloon over the Yukon last month but freezing rain delayed deployment from Cold Lake, Alberta. He said May 7 that the U.S. F-22 Raptor which shot down the balloon while under NORAD command was acting on an order that “whoever had the best shot” should take it. [node:read-more:link]


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