Category Archives: Attack

Boeing and Paramount give AHRLAC teeth

Boeing and the Paramount Group, a South Africa-based global defense and aerospace business, announced this week, they will cooperate to develop an advanced mission system for  the Advanced, High Performance, Reconnaissance, Light Aircraft (called AHRLAC).

The AHRLAC, which first flew in the summer of 2014, is a high-wing, two-seat aircraft. It is designed to incorporate advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities and weapons systems.

Light strike

Boeing will develop an integrated mission system for the aircraft enabling ISR and light strike missions for the AHRLAC safety & security, and military variants. It will be named Mwari.

Jeffrey Johnson, vice president, Business Development, Boeing Military Aircraft, said;  “Through AHRLAC, we’ll not only bring a flexible, persistent and affordable aircraft to the international market, but we’ll also be developing world-class technology in Africa.”

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Dennis Spronk
Featured image: Computer generated impression of the AHRLAC (Image © Paramount Group)

First Afghan Super Tucanos arrive in Kabul

The first four Embraer A-29B Super Tucano light attack aircaft for the Afghan Air Force arrived in Kabul this weekend, Afghan defense officials have said. The delivery follows last month’s graduation of the first class of Afghan pilots for the type.

The aircraft concerned were manufactured in the US by Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Embraer as part of a contract awarded in Feburary 2013. The first aircraft subsequently rolled of the production line in September 2014.

A training program then started at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. More on that and the Super Tucano’s importance for the Afghan Air Force is here at Airheadsfly.com.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): The crew of this Afghan Air Force A-29 Super Tucano is ready to go! (Image © Senior Airman Ryan Callaghan / US Air Force)

US Air Force gets behind the A-10

The US Air Force has given up its campaign for retirement of the feared and famous A-10 Thunderbolt, according to various reports. The Pentagon is indefinitely freezing all plans to retire the aircraft, a wish that saw strong opposition from US congress and a number of senators in particular.

The tank killing A-10 is currently actively involved in the fight against Daesh forces in Iraq and Syria. Over the past decades, it delivered its valuable contribution and deadly payload to virtually all military conflicts the US was involved in. Orginally designed to kill Soviet tanks on potential Cold War battle grounds in Europe, the type was already up for retirement after the Cold War ended, but its successful deployment in the 1991 Gulf War gave new life to the aircraft.

A major upgrade gave the A-10 new capabilities, along with a new set of wings. The US Air Force had eyes for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II as a replacement for the A-10, but the fifth generation fighter aircraft has yet to reach its full potential.

Only last year, the US sent two squadrons of A-10s to Europe as a show of force to Russia; the same opponent it’s designers had in mind when they shaped the aircraft in the seventies.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

India: “Only half the combat fleet operational”

On paper the Indian Air Force has roughly 700 fighter and strike jets, but in reality slightly only about half are operational raising concern about how effective the military of the 2nd largest population in the world is being protected.

The average aircraft availability measured over the entire year is about 50 to 55 percent, Defence officials have admitted towards the parliamentary committee on defence matters. About 20 percent of those jets are simply grounded because of the lack of spare parts, but Indian Air Force sources say that concerns mostly the older Soviet-era jets like the approx. 120 MiG-21 Bisons, 80 MiG-27 Bahadurs and 130 to 135 SEPECAT Shamshers (Jaguars).

An Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30 (Image © Marcel Burger)
An Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30 (Image © Marcel Burger)

Indian MiG-29, Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi Su-30MKI

What the status is on the 60 to 65 MiG-29 Baaz’s and the 56 Mirage 2000 Vajras and the almost 230 Sukhoi Su-30MKI is not fully known – but the Airheadsfly.com article on the IAF MiG-29 is still one of the best read pieces on our web. In 2014 the Sukhoi Su-30MKI fleet had huge problems and despite the issue has been addressed somewhat the India’s Auditor General still called the matter “unresolved” in August 2015.

Ilyushing/Beriev A-50 AWACS

The government watchdog authority also slashed the reputation of the Air Force’s three Ilyushin/Beriev A-50 AWACS aircraft. Lack of trained aircrew, lack of bases to operate from, lack of funds and resources for the aircraft maintenance have seriously hampered the effectiveness of the airborne radar and intelligence gathering platforms.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): An Indian Air Force MiG-21 (Image © Indian Air Force)

US Theater Security Packages by the numbers

An informative infographic released on Wednesday 6 January by US Air Force in Europe (USAFE) gives more details about the three Theater Security Packages that deployed from the US to Europe in 2015. Most impressive number: 26 nations saw ‘support’ from those packages.

The Pentagon announced the first Theater Security Package (TSP) to Europe early last year as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The move of sending fighter aircraft to Europe was a clear reponse to Russia’s attitude over the Baltics and Ukraine in particular.

Thunderbolts

The first TSP consisted of twelve A-10C Thunderbolts from Davis Monthan Air Force Base and arrive at Spangdahlem airbase in Germany on 13 February. See Airheadsfly.com’s report on their arrival here. The attack aircraft and their crews visited numerous European countries during their six month stay.

Spangdahlem-based F-16Cs chase this Davis Monthan A-10 down to the runway. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Spangdahlem-based F-16Cs chase this Davis Monthan A-10 down to the runway. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Eagles

April saw twelve US Air National Guard F-15 Eagles arrive in Europe for participation in various exercises. Airheadsfly.com’s interview with their commanding officer is here. In September, the third TSP crossed the Atlantic, again consisting of A-10C Thunderbolts.

The deployment of four F-22 Raptors to Germany in August formally never was a full TSP. The sending of those aircraft perhaps gave a stronger message than the three TSPs combined, however.

In 2016, more TSPs are scheduled according to US officials. A batch of F-15s is expected to participate in various military exercises.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: One of the US Eagles in Europe in 2015 (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Two engines, more noise. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Two engines, more noise. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Four F-22s about to overfly Spangdahlem for a historic deployment. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Four F-22s about to overfly Spangdahlem for a historic deployment. (Image © Elmer van Hest)