Aerospace & Aviation

Ukrainian weapons upgrades delayed

Fighter jets and U.S. tanks promised to Ukraine won’t be ready for a spring counteroffensive against Russia, says General Mark Milley, Chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. While training on M1 Abrams tanks has just begun, training on allies’ F-16s is still being negotiated and Milley’s French counterpart says upgrading Ukraine’s capabilities is a mid-to-long-term goal [node:read-more:link]

Bombardier challenges Boeing prospect

The RCAF has a clear preference for the Boeing P-8A Poseidon as a replacement for its legacy Lockheed Martin CP-140 Aurora surveillance fleet but Montreal-based Bombardier Aviation was a “fair competition” for the as yet-unfunded program. “They claim they have the best aircraft, so I’m sure they're not afraid to go into competition,” says Jean-Christophe Gallagher, Bombardier's executive VP for aircraft sales and defence. [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]

More delays for new U.S. trainer

The Government Accountability has highlighted more issues with the U.S. Air Force’s planned procurement of new T-7A Red Hawk advanced jet trainers being developed by Boeing and Saab. It cites safety issues, scheduling and testing delays and the potential for further slippage in a program already a decade later than the USAF had expected. [node:read-more:link]

USAF dislikes monopoly procurement

In what it says is an attempt to avoid mistakes in programs such as the Lockheed Martin F-35, the U.S. Air Force plans to ensure it has access to all the follow-on data it needs from contractors as it works on its Next Generation Air Dominance platform. Otherwise, says Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, “what that basically does is create a perpetual monopoly […] so we’re not going to do that with NGAD.” [node:read-more:link]

Russian hypersonics under fire

Three Russian scientists involved in hypersonic weapons development face what the Kremlin calls “very serious accusations” of treason. They were detained several days after Russian hypersonic missiles were downed by Ukrainian air defences last week. [node:read-more:link]

Biden changes tack on F-16s

Having resisted for months the notion of supplying F-16 fighters to Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden today told allies that he would permit training on U.S. aircraft. He also said he is prepared to let other countries donate their Fighting Falcons to Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

No German jets for Ukraine

As Russia continued its missile barrage on Kyiv today, German Defence Minister German Boris Pistorius said his country will not provide Ukraine with the F-16 fighters it sees as critical to its defence. There are concerns that it could escalate the conflict. [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]

Britain securing Icelandic airspace

The Royal Air Force is patrolling the skies over Iceland this week to provide security for Council of Europe delegates attending a meeting in Reykjavik to discuss continental security and support for Ukraine. Russia quit the council in March 2022, pre-empting an expected expulsion over its invasion of Ukraine [node:read-more:link]

Fighter costs: sound familiar?

The CEO of Turkish Aerospace Industries expects the unit cost of the country’s homegrown TF-X Kaan (Ruler) fighter “could be a little bit higher” than the $US100 million he estimated a year ago. Temel Kotin offered no explanation for the change. The aircraft’s maiden flight is currently scheduled for 2026. [node:read-more:link]

Airbus helicopters sale cancelled

The United Arab Emirates has cancelled a nearly €800-million contract to buy 12 Airbus H225 Caracal multirole helicopters. “The company lacked the serious motivation to respond to our demands in order to meet the pressing requirements of the government,” a UAE official explained. “Failure to achieve in-country value goals was another factor.” [node:read-more:link]

Tankers still a drain on Boeing

Its U.S. Air Force KC-46A Pegasus tanker program saw Boeing Defense Space & Security resulted in a $245-million first-quarter 2023 charge, driving a $211-million overall loss for the division. Cumulative charges for the fixed-price contract are now more than $7 billion. [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]

USAF moving refueling assets

In a bid to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank, the U.S. Air Force plans to move oving its regional refueling mission to Poland from Germany. Nineteen U.S.-based tankers are slated to arrive over the next year and a half. [node:read-more:link]


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