The development of the US Navy CMV-22B Osprey carrier onboard delivery plane has started. The joint Bell/Boeing project received its first 151 million dollars for redesigning the aircraft.
Forty-four CMV-22B vertical landing aircraft are set to start streaming into USN service between 2020 and 2024, replacing the traditional fixed-wing Grumman C-2 Greyhound. MV-22s are already very much in use with the US Marines, where they fly everything from cargo to soldiers between navy ships to land-based locations or into the battlefield.
Special Navy Osprey
Bell/Boeing deliver the aircraft at 86.8 million a piece. The extra 151 million dollars that have been allocated now will be used for incorporating an external fuel tank, adapted SATCOMs, a modified shipboard landing system and other stuff not incorporated on the Marine Ospreys.
Arming of the CMV-22Bs is not planned, but could be done in a later stage.
The final Antarctic flight of the season for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Boeing 757 is being planned for the beginning of April, concluding this year’s mission in an operation that has been ongoing for more than 50 years.
A week ago the 2nd last flight of the 757 brought back the last of 22 personnel of the Royal New Zealand Defence Force from McMurdo Station and Scott Base on Antarctica to the Harewood Terminal on Christchurch International Airport on New Zealand’s South Island. Between October and February up to 220 men and women from all branches of the military served on the cold, icy continent that many nations claim parts of.
The RNZAF not only supports its own scientists and troops, but also those of the United States. Moving their equipment, construction materials and other supplies required the involvement of 60 Army soldiers and logistic specialists, a RNZDF statement reads.
Although the RNZAF Boeing 757 is the primer star of the show, if needed the service also dispatches search and rescue units. Payment for the services of the RNZAF – simply called Operation Antarctic – by organisations involved on the South Pole continent gives the New Zealand economy a yearly boost of 162 million dollar. The operation started in 1965.
The Hercules fleet of Saudi Arabia is getting bigger and bigger. Upon the 48 aircraft “the Kingdom” is already operating, just two new ones arrived.
The latest deliveries are two KC-130Js, making Saudi Arabia the 16th country operating the type for its in-flight refuelling needs. No other country in the world more C-130s than Saudi Arabia, apart from the aircraft’s homeland United States of course.
Saudi Hercules fleet
In total the Royal Saudi Air Force will receive 5 KC-130Js, while it has 20 regular C-130J-30s on order as well. They will be added to the 30 C-130E/H tactical airlifters, 7 KC-130H tankers, 6 L-100-30 airlifters and 5 VC-130H VIP aircraft.
We already served you a nice dish of images of the big NATO & partners exercise Cold Response earlier, but the military photographers and the Norwegian military audiovisual unit have given us some more nice stuff! Press play and see more of the aircraft and helicopters that supported the 15,000 troops strong exercise in Northern and Central Norway, with even the Norwegian crown prince Haakon deployed, earning his tactical special operations parajump certification with the Norwegian Special Operations Command.
From 21 February to 4 March, Portugal was the stage of Real Thaw, the annual exercise that provides special training to NATO units most likely to participate in military operations within international cooperative frame works. And if Portugal was the stage, Beja airbase was the dressing room. Fighter aircraft, transporters and helos all played their part.
Other than delivering jet noise over large parts of Portugal, the main goal of Real Thaw 2016 was to provide tough tactical training with participation of air, land and sea forces and focusing on the execution phase. Participating forces were confronted with an operating environment as realistic as possible and typical of current operations, according to the Portuguese Air Force, organizer of Real Thaw.
The Portuguese sent all their assets to join Real Thaw, including F-16s, Alfa Jets, C-130 Hercules plus P-3 and C295 maritime patrol aircraft. Forces from other countries were invited to participate in Real Thaw 2016 in order to create a joint-operational environment.
Participation also came from the US (F-15, MV-22 and C-130), Norway (F-16), the Netherlands (C-130), Belgium (C-130), Denmark (AS550 support helicopters), Spain (C-212 light transport aircraft) and the UK. Also, a NATO E-3A Awacs was involved.
Day and night
Missions took place at both day and night times environments and included the use of para jumpers, forward air controllers and other ground forces. The coordination of Real Thaw 2016 was run from Beja Air Base in central Portugal. In order to give support to air and ground missions that took place further north in the areas of Guarda and Pinhel, a tactical air base was temporarily set up near the town of Seia.
Real Thaw 2016 was the eighth exercise in a series conducted by the Portuguese Air Force since 2009.