Tag Archives: AWACS

First Japanese E-2D “radar plane” in production

The first of four Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) has entered production at the new production plant in St. Augustine, Florida, the company has confirmed.

Bringing together what was previously spread out over several buildings, the 121,390 square metres (370,000 square foot) assembly hall can currently produce eight aircraft a year, to be increased to a maximum of 12 Hawkeyes in 365 days if needed.

13 E-2Cs in service

The Delta Hawkeyes are equipped with APY-9 Radars, and will join 13 JASDF E-2Cs already flying with 1st Hiko Keikai Kanshitai (squadron) out of Misawa Airbase, although Tokyo is considering locating the new E-2Ds at a different location.

US Navy Advanced Hawkeye

Apart from the Japanese military, the US Navy ordered 51 E-2Ds, with 22 of them delivered so far. The first operational cruise of the Delta occurred last year, with VAW-125 “Tigertails” squadron on board the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). The Japanese Advanced Hawkeyes will be land-based only, with the first planned to arrive in 2018.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye (Image © NAVAIR / Northrop Grumman)

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)

Rafale, Raptor & Typhoon join forces in the US

In December, French Dassault Rafales and British Eurofighter Typhoons meet US Air Force Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptors during exercise Trilaterale Initiative (TEI) at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. The three fighter jet types will operate alongside eachother for the first time during this exercise, which lasts until 18 December.

The French contingent arrived at Langley this week after an Atlantic crossing that orginated at Saint Dizier airbase in France. They brought six Rafales, two CF-135 Stratotankers and 150 personnel.

Royal Air Force

The RAF will bring Typhoons and 175 personnel, although the recent sending of UK Typhoons to battle so-called Islamic State may have an impact on this. The US Air Force provides 500 personnel and the state-of-the-art F-22, that saw its combat debut over Syria last year and its first deployment to Europe this year.

US Air Force F-15 Eagles and T-38 Talons will serve as adversaries during Trilaterale Initiative, while E-3 AWACS and KC-135 tanker aircraft provide support. First orientation flights for the exercise started on Friday 4 December.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A French Rafale pilot flies the French flag. (Image © Armée de l’Air)

A US Air Force F-22 Raptor. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A US Air Force F-22 Raptor. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon takes off at Nellis (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon. (Image © LAC Michael Green / 28SQN AFID-CBR / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

Baltics: training ‘on the job’

The Baltic states provided the stage again for NATO exercise BRTE on Tuesday 29 September. It’s training on the job for Hungarian Saab Gripen and German Eurofighter Typhoon crews, who are on in the Baltics foremost for Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) duties. Finnish F-18 Hornet and Swedish Saab Gripen pilots also played are part in BRTE.

The abbreviation stands for Baltic Region Training Events, a series of military flying exercises conducted over the Baltics and Baltic Sea. The exercise is meant to keep QRA-crews on their toes. The Hungarians protect the Baltics from intruders from Šiauliai airbase in Lithuania, while the German do so from Ämari airbase in Estonia.

Today’s exercise focussed on Siauliai, with a Lithuanian C-27J Spartan simulating a loss of communications (COMLOSS) in Estonian airspace. German Eurofighter Typhoons launched to intercept and identify the transport aircraft and then hand it over to the Hungarian Saab Gripen jets, which escorted it back to Šiauliai. Also involved were a NATO Boeing E-3 AWACS and a US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): A Eurofighter escorts a Spartan. (Image © LAF Air Base)

(Image © LAF Air Base)
(Image © LAF Air Base)
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(Image © LAF Air Base)
(Image © LAF Air Base)
(Image © LAF Air Base)
(Image © LAF Air Base)
(Image © LAF Air Base)
(Image © LAF Air Base)
(Image © LAF Air Base)
(Image © LAF Air Base)
(Image © LAF Air Base)

 

Final flight for retired NATO AWACS

The first NATO Boeing E-3 AWACS to be retired set off for its final flight on Tuesday 23 June. The aircraft took off from Geilenkirchen airbase, its home for over 30 years, and headed for Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. Once there, the aircraft will be placed in storage with the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, better known as AMARG.

The final flight involved a final air-to-air refuelling off the coast of the US state of New England. At AMARG, re-usable parts worth roughly 35 million EUR are removed from the aircraft. The E-3 will then remain in storage for three years, after which it is likely to be scrapped. See the final landing at Davis Monthan here.

The aircraft selected to retire (tail number LX-N90449) was scheduled for a 15 million EUR Depot Level Maintenance (DLM) inspection mid-July 2015. Instead, the decision was made to retire the AWACS.

Career
During its operational NATO career the airframe gathered well over 22,000 flight hours, operating out of 21 different countries. It flew its very final operational mission on 13 May 2015.

The E-3 is one of the few NATO AWACS aircraft not to receive a cockpit upgrade by Boeing. The upgrade involves a part glass cockpit, but is limited to 14 aircraft. With the departure of LX-N90449, a total of 16 AWACS aircraft are left at Geilenkirchen.

More on NATO’s E-3A Component is in this in-depth report on Airheadsfly.com.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The retired E-3A seen during its final take off. (Image © NATO E-3A Component)