The French Air Force rotated their Mirage 2000D deployment in support of Opération Serval, the French anti-rebel military deployment in Mali.
Three Mirage 2000D of the fighter detachment (DETCHASSE) at Bamako, Mali flew home to the 133 Air Base Nancy-Ochey. Three Mirage 2000Ds from Nancy landed on June 22nd at Bamako, supported by a C-135 tanker from 125 Airbase Istres.
Since the beginning of the Operation Serval the Mirage 2000D DETCHASSE at Bamako conducted 435 missions, totaling nearly 2,200 flight hours.
About 3,200 French troops are currently on Malian soil with a mission to permanently weaken islamists rebels.
Sources: EMA / Ministère de la Défense de la France
Sikorsky received a $435 million to build four production-representative CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters for the US Marine Corps. Designated as System Demonstration Test Articles (SDTA), the four aircraft will enable the Marines to conduct operational evaluation of the new helicopter system in support of Initial Operational Capability in 2019.
The contract schedule requires that Sikorsky deliver the first SDTA aircraft in 39 months, and the fourth by the end of March 2017, when the Marines will begin operational evaluation. Sikorsky will perform final assembly of the SDTA aircraft at the company’s Florida Assembly and Flight Operations facility in West Palm Beach.
To date, Sikorsky has delivered two of the seven SDD CH-53K aircraft – the Ground Test Vehicle and the Static Test Article – into the test program, and is finalizing assembly of the four flight test aircraft and the Fatigue Test Article. First flight of a CH-53K prototype aircraft is expected in late 2014.
Once the SDTA aircraft enter operational evaluation in 2017, the Marine Corps will verify the CH-53K helicopter’s capability to carry 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles under “high hot” ambient conditions, nearly tripling the external load carrying capacity of the current CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter.
Technology enablers for increased lift include three 7,500-shaft-horsepower GE38-1B engines; a split torque transmission design that more efficiently distributes engine power to the main rotors; fourth-generation composite rotor blades for enhanced lift; and a composite airframe structure for reduced weight.
Per the current program of record, the Navy intends to order an additional 196 CH-53K aircraft as part of a separate production contract to stand up eight operational squadrons and one training squadron to support the Marine Corps’ operational requirements. Eventual production quantities would be determined year-by-year over the life of the program based on funding allocations set by Congress and the U.S. Department of Defense acquisition priorities.
A Danish C-130J Hercules performed a couple of landings on the beach of Vejers in Denmark mid-June 2013 as part of the AGOEX joint exercise between ground and air forces, reports the Flyvevåbnet Flyvertaktisk Kommando (Air Tactical Command of the Royal Danish Air Force).
During the two landings the tactical transport moved 160 ground troops onto the beach airhead, which had been prepared for the landings in advance by other ground forces. The so-called Z-team marked the prefered landing spot for the C-130 pilots and kept radio contact with the flightdeck about wind and sight.
According to the Flyvertaktisk Kommando the Danish west coast offers a good environment for training this particular discipline.
June 2013 will be noticed in the world’s aviation records as the goodbye to the legendary McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighter from West-European skies as the German Air Force said farewell to the type after 40 years of operations. But not before Fighter Wing 71 (Jagdgeschwader 71) threw a little party at its homebase Wittmundhafen in the north of the country. Special paint jobs had turned the last of the Luftwaffe F-4s in tasty eye-candy, as witnessed by tens of thousands of enthousiasts, including AIRheads editors.
In 2011 Cambrai hosted the 50th NATO Tigermeet. Because of this anniversary and the fact that this French airbase was due to close the Tigermeet provided a last opportunity to visit Cambrai while still at operational status.