For the first time in recent history a Super Puma helicopter of the Spanish Air Force operated from Spanish Navy ships.
During the exercise Marítima Tornado P-44, named after the corvette P-44 Tornado which served as landing platform, in the third week of July, 2013, the Aérospatiale (Eurocopter) AS332B Super Puma of 802 Escuadrón practiced procedures with the Armada with an eye on possible future operations.
The joint ops take more than just deck landings. Helicopter and ship crews need to stay in contact about the wind limits, training on the handling of JP-5 fuel and to have the helicopter firmly on the deck of the moving ship.
802 Esc normally operates from Gando at Gran Canaria, the third largest and second most populated island of the the Canary Islands situated in the Atlantic Ocean 150 km (93 miles) from the North-African coast. Apart from the Super Puma the squadron also flies three Fokker F27-200MAR maritime patrol aircraft & search-and-rescue aircraft. Gando is also home to the 462 Esc with its EF-18A (C.15) fighter jets.
The US Air Force 347th Rescue Group at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, received its first new dedicated fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft. The HC-130J Combat King II made the small ferry flight from Lockheed Martins plant in Marietta on July 19th, 2013.
The CSAR variant of the C-130J variant replaces existing HC-130P/N aircraft. It specializes in tactical profiles and avoids detection to support recovery operations in austere environments. This HC-130J is one of six Super Hercules on contract designated for assignment at Moody AFB.
Belgian F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcons will take on the Baltic Air Policing duties of NATO from September to December 2013, reports the press service of the Belgian Air Component.
From Šiauliai Airbase in Lithuania four F-16 fighter aircraft supported by 50 personnel will provide air cover and air interception for NATO’s most eastern North European aerospace. It will be the third time for the Belgian Vipers, after earlier participation in 2004 and 2006.
Every Belgian fighter pilot will clock about 15 tot 20 flight hours per month, totaling 320 flight hours for the entire mission. NATO’s detachment of fighter jets in Lithuania regularly intercepts or shadows Russian military aircraft over the Baltic Sea. The former Soviet Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are since 2004 part of NATO. Since they lack proper air defence assets themselves, other NATO members jump in on the joint task to protect the airspace of its member nations. The same defence agreement also counts for the NATO countries of Luxemburg, Iceland and Slovenia who all lack fighter aircraft.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will add an additional six Embraer 190 passenger jets to its Cityhopper short-haul fleet, announced the Dutch airline on July 24th, 2013.
The new aircraft will be leased from BOC Aviation which purchased the aircraft from the Brazilian manufacturer. The six Embraer 190s will replace seven Fokker 70s between November 2013 and April 2014.
KLM Cityhopper is a full daughter company of KLM, which is since 2004 part of Air France-KLM. The soon to be 28 Embraer 190 and 19 Fokker 70 Cityhopper aircraft make about 100,000 flights per year, operating from Amsterdam Schiphol airport to serve 49 European destinations. Compared to the Fokker 70 the Embraer 190 uses less fuel, has less CO2 exhaust, offers passengers more space and flies faster. The Embraer 190 accommodates up to a 100 passengers, against 80 aboard the Fokker 70. Eventuallly KLM will retire all Fokkers.