Category Archives: Aviation Headlines

First navy NH90 for Belgium

First flight of the Belgian Air Component NH90 NFH maritime helicopter on August 5, 2013. (Image © NHI)
First flight of the Belgian Air Component NH90 NFH maritime helicopter on August 5, 2013. (Image © NHI)

The first Belgian maritime NH Industries NH90 performed its first 45 minutes of flight at the Eurocopter facility Donauwörth in Germany on August 5, 2013.

,,The crew successfully tested the basic systems of this new generation aircraft”, writes a press spokesperson of NH Industries. ,,During the next weeks, this first Belgian NH90 NFH will perform several other test flights in order to check the aircraft behaviour and its mission system with industry and customer crews.”

The Belgian armed forces ordered eight NH90s, four TTHs for tactical transport operations and four NFHs for naval operations. The first Belgian army version of the NH90 flew already on September 19th, 2012. The Belgian NH90 navy variant is delivered in its full operational capability standard, already known as the Step B. This aircraft is very close to the Dutch NH90 NFH Step B currently operationally deployed with the Royal Netherlands Navy.

The NH90 NFH is a helicopter of 11 ton class primarily configured to perform naval operations such as search-and-rescue at sea, anti-piracy missions and transport. The chopper features a full glass cockpit with multifunction displays, fly-by-wire controls with 4-axis automatic flight control system. The dedicated mission system includes an electro optic sensor, tactical control and tactical communication system, a multimode radar and an on-board monitoring and diagnostic system. Two Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca RTM322 engines provide power.

NH Industries is a consortium of AgustaWestland (32%), Eurocopter (62.5%), and Stork Fokker (5.5%). So far 153 NH90s have been delivered with firm orders of 529 aircraft for 14 nations: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Oman, Australia, New-Zealand, Spain and Belgium.

Source: NH Industries

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First modernised Polish MiG-29 back on duty

A Polish Air Force MiG-29A Fulcrum taking off from Berlin-Schönefeld during an airshow in 2008. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Polish Air Force MiG-29A Fulcrum taking off from Berlin-Schönefeld during an airshow in 2008. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

The first of 16 modernised Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter aircraft is back on duty with the Polish Air Force. The single-seater with number 89 landed at Minsk Mazowiecki Airbase at the end of July. A second modernised Fulcrum will soon follow, according to a press release by the Polish Air Force (Siły Powietrzne).

Wojskowe Zaklady Lotnicze No. 2 and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) together upgrade the Fulcrums, 13 single-seaters (MiG-29A) and 3 two-seaters (MiG-29UB). The modernisation mainly concerns the pilot’s office, since the aircraft themselves have already been refurbished to last another 4,000 flight hours each. The biggest eye-catcher is a new multi-function display, clearly visible on the image published at the Polish Air Force website.

Source: Siły Powietrzne

Check out the Polish Air Force Orbat at

Turkish Navy’s first of eight ATR72-600

The first Alenia Aermachi ATR72-600 TMUA for the Turkish Navy (Image © Alenia Aermacchi)
The first Alenia Aermachi ATR-72-600 TMUA for the Turkish Navy (Image © Alenia Aermacchi)

The Turkish Navy received its first Alenia Aermacchi ATR-72-600 TMUA (Turkish Maritime Utility Aircraft) on July 24th, 2013, as part of an order of eight aircraft: two TMUAs and six TMPA’s (Turkish Maritime Patrol Aircraft).

Compared to the ATR72-600 basic platform the ATR-72 TMUA features new radios, an IFF (Identification Friend or Foe system) and a cabin area equipped with tactical tables and communications equipment for the crew. The aircraft can be easily reconfigured for the cargo-role. The first Turkish Navy (Türk Deniz Kuvvetleri) flying instructors just completed the training on the new aircraft at Alenia Aermacchi’s Training Centre in Caselle.

The second ATR-72-600 TMUA will be delivered within the first half of August. The following six ATR-72-600 TMPAs are being converted by TAI, Turkish Aerospace Industry in Ankara. Apart to some additional special mission equipment, TAI will integrate the Thales AMASCOS mission system, datalink Link 16, AIS (Automatic Identification System) and a weapons system. The first TMPA will be delivered to the Turkish Navy in February 2017 and deliveries will be completed by 2018.

Source: Alenia Aermacchi

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Last month for Baltique Mirage F1s

Armée de l'Air (French Air Force) Mirage F1 (tailnr 655) during an earlier exercise (Image © Marcel Burger)
Armée de l’Air (French Air Force) Mirage F1 (tailnr 655) during an earlier exercise (Image © Marcel Burger)

Four French Air Force Mirage F1-CRs started their last month of patrolling the Baltic Sea. They have been operating from Šiauliai Airbase in Lithuania since April 30th, 2013, as part of NATO’s commitment to protect the airspace of its most northeastern member states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

It are not always fancy Russian Bears or Blackjacks that ‘need’ an intercept, as is shown by a mission report of July 22nd released by the Armée de l’Air .

,,At 20:15 the sirens go off at Šiauliai airbase. Two Mirage F1-CRs take off for a mission to identify a ,,bogey” over the Baltic Sea. During this mission a light aircraft registered in Italy was intercepted, identified and escorted. It first was seen performing what could be interpreted as evasive maneuvers and it failed radio contact with air traffic control. Upon establishing radio contact with the Mirage F1-CR patrol, the French fighters escorted the intercepted airplane to its landing at Ventspils, Latvia.”

About 80 personnel support the French Mirage F1 operations over La mer Baltique. The Belgian Air Component takes over the job in September.

Source: Armée de l’Air

Check out the French Air Force Orbat at

More Poseidon adventure

Rotate! A Boeing P-8 takes to the sky in Renton, WA. (Image © Boeing)
Rotate! A Boeing P-8 takes to the sky in Renton, WA. (Image © Boeing)

The US Navy awarded Boeing a $1.98 billion contract for 13 additional P-8A Poseidon aircraft, continuing the modernization of U.S. maritime patrol capabilities that will ultimately involve more than 100 P-8As. Boeing announced the deal on August 1, 2013.

The US Navy has now ordered 37 of the 117 P-8As it is expected to buy. To date, 10 have been delivered. Based on the Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 commercial airplane, the P-8 provides anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. The P-8 is replacing the Navy’s P-3 aircraft.

Boeing assembles P-8As in the same facility where it builds all its 737s. The Poseidon team uses a first-in-industry in-line process that takes advantage of the efficiencies in the Next-Generation 737 production system. After initial assembly, the  P-8A aircraft enter a separate mission system installation and checkout facility for final modifications and testing.

Initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) was completed in March; the US Navy announced July 1 that the P-8A program had passed IOT&E and the P-8A was ready for fleet introduction.

Source: Boeing