Tag Archives: BBJ

Poland orders three Boeing Business Jets

The Polish Ministry of Defense and Boeing on Friday 31 March signed a contract for the delivery of three Boeing Business Jets, otherwise known as 737-800. The aircraft are to be used by the Polish Air Force for VIP transport. The contract is worth 523 million USD.

The first aircraft will be a used example and is scheduled for delivery in November 2017. It will be delivered in standard passenger configuration and upgraded later to BBJ standard at a later stage. The other aircraft will be completely new and be delivered in BBJ2 configuration. The first of these should arrive in Poland in 2020.

Poland formerly operated Tupolev Tu-154s for VIP-duties. One of these aircraft crashed near Smolensk on 10 April 2010, killing all 96 occupants, including Polish president Lech Kaczyński.

Poland since already ordered two G550 business jets, the first of which is about to be delivered.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest & contributor Paweł Bondaryk

Swiss VIP charter orders Boeing Business Jets

Comlux, a Swiss-based VIP charter airline, ordered two Boeing BBJ Max 8s on 8 December 2014. It marks the first order for the American-made large Business Jet.

“The two BBJ MAX 8s are a great addition to the Comlux fleet because they give our customers the flexibility to fly farther and more comfortably thanks to the lower cabin altitude,” said Richard Gaona, President and CEO, Comlux, The Aviation Group. “The long-range capability of the BBJ MAX 8 is critical to all of our customers, but especially our Middle East customers who often use Comlux aircraft for long-haul flights.”

The two BBJ MAX 8s will be outfitted with custom interiors at Comlux America, a certified BBJ completion center.

Source: Boeing

The Boeing BBJ MAX 8 (Image © Boeing)
The Boeing BBJ MAX 8 (Image © Boeing)

Dutch ex-navy base airhead nuclear summit

A pair of RNLAF AH-64D Apaches lifting of NAS Valkenburg during the NSS2014 (Image © Ministerie van Defensie / the Netherlands MoD)
A pair of RNLAF AH-64D Apaches lifting off from NAS Valkenburg during the NSS2014 (Image © Ministerie van Defensie / the Netherlands MoD)

LATEST UPDATE 25 MARCH 2014 20:20 UTC | The armed forces of the Netherlands have turned a former navy air station into an airhead for the huge international Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in the area of The Hague from 23 to 26 March 2014. The US Army and US Marines landed nearby.

Five AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, 4 AS532U2 Cougar tactical transport choppers and 2 CH-47D Chinook medium-lift helicopters of the Royal Netherlands Air Force have as of 21 March 2014 been temporarily forwarded to ex-NAS Valkenburg near the Dutch governmental city, together with 500 personnel. Their number will increase to 19 helicopter of the armed forces and the national police, with at least three of the police’s Eurocopter EC135s on location. On Saterday a sixth RNLAF AH-64D arrived on Valkenburg, followed on Sunday by two National Police AW139s.

RNLAF F-16AM J-001 at Volkel Airbase (Image © Dennis Spronk)
RNLAF F-16AM J-001 at Volkel Airbase (Image © Dennis Spronk)

RNLAF F-16 Fighting Falcons will provide air coverage during the summit, with a pair of Vipers airborne at any time. They will enforce a declared no-fly zone above The Hague and hotels in Noordwijk near Amsterdam and intercept any threats. Extra F-16s will be put on alpha scramble alert on both Leeuwarden and Volkel airbases. Surface to air missiles have been put on five different locations in the crowded west of the country. See here a few photos of the RNLAF F-16s that flew CAP missions.

Tanker & AWACS
Eindhoven Airbase deploys 2 RNLAF KDC-10 tanker aircraft to refuel F-16s in the air, while NATOs AWACS fleet at German Geilenkirchen – near the Dutch border – has put 2 E-3 Sentry aircraft on alert. The Royal Netherlands Navy deployes air defence frigate Zr. Ms. De Zeven Provinciën off the coast, with corvettes Zr. Ms. Holland and Friesland in support with each of the corvettes having a NH-90 helicopter on board. The Coast Guard (Kustwacht) also deployed several vessels and is likely to put their Do-228s airborne as well.

During the NSS – with the actual summit days only on 24 and 25 March – a total number of 13,000 police and 8,000 Dutch military personnel will try to guarantee safety: 4,000 from the army, air force and navy plus 4,000 from the military police. The air situation picture during and from these days will not be shared via online media.

The quartet AS532U2 Cougar transport helicopters deployed for NSS2014 being refueled at ex-NAS Valkenburg (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)
The quartet AS532U2 Cougar transport helicopters deployed for NSS2014 being refueled at ex-NAS Valkenburg
(Image © Ministerie van Defensie)
A pair of CH-47 Chinooks the RNLAF deployed to ex-NAS Valkenburg during NSS2014 (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)
A pair of CH-47 Chinooks the RNLAF deployed to ex-NAS Valkenburg during NSS2014
(Image © Ministerie van Defensie)
Crew loads an RNLAF AH-64D Apache deployed for NSS2014 security missions (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)
Ground crew loads a RNLAF AH-64D Apache deployed for NSS2014 security missions
(Image © Ministerie van Defensie)
A RNLAF Cougar on the platform with a National Police EC135 hovering above during the NSS2014 (Image © Ministerie van Defensie / the Netherlands MoD)
A RNLAF Cougar on the platform with a National Police EC135 hovering above during the NSS2014 (Image © Ministerie van Defensie / the Netherlands MoD)

Rotterdam-The Hague Airport
Rotterdam Airport has seen several arrivals the last couple of days, including six US Army UH-60 Black Hawks arriving on 18 March. Two Presidential VH-60s and other stuff arrived by three USAF C-17A Globemasters on 15 (1 aircraft) and 19 (2 aircraft) March 2014. Check some images here. Another four C-17s landed on Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport.

Amsterdam-Schiphol
The 58 world leaders and their entourage of 5,000 members will arrive in aircraft at Amsterdam-Schiphol IAP, where the so-called Polderbaan (Runway 18R – 36L) will be used for parking. Schiphol has already closed it down since 10 March and will execute scheduled maintenance after the nuclear summit. A relatively vast area around the runway will be a special secured area during the event.

From the following countries VIPs (and their aircraft) are expected: Argentine, Armenia (A319CJ), Australia, Azerbaijan (B767-300ER), Belgium, Brazil (VC-99B), Canada (CC-150), Chile, China (B747), the Czech Republic, Denmark (CL-604), Egypt, Finland, France (Falcon 7X), Gabon (B777), Georgia (G450), Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy (Falcon 900EX), Japan (2x B747-400), Jordan, Kazakhstan (A330-200), Lithuania (C-27J), Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria (B737BBJ), Norway, Pakistan (G450), Poland (ERJ175-200LR), the Philippines, Republic of Korea (B747-400), Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland (Falcon 900EX), Thailand, Turkey (B737-800), Ukraine (IL-62), the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States of America (VC-25A “Air Force One”, Gulfstream C-37B (G500), C-32 and more) and Vietnam (B777-200ER). Images of the arriving government aircraft can be found here.

Chinese president Xi Jinping arrives at Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport on board the Air Chine Boeing 747 for the official state visit ahead of the NSS2014 (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)
Chinese president Xi Jinping arrives at Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport on board the Air Chine Boeing 747 for the official state visit ahead of the NSS2014 (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)

One of the aircraft spotted early on at Schiphol was a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-150. Also the Chinese start early with an official state visit of the Chinese president on 22 and 23 March to the Netherlands ahead of the NSS2014. As it is custom during these state visits the Air China Boeing 747 was accompanied from the Dutch border by a pair of RNLAF F-16s. See images of these scrambled aircraft here.

Source: Ministerie van Defensie (the Netherlands MoD) / Nederlandse Politie (the Netherlands National Police), with additional reporting by AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger

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A NH-90 over sea (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)
A NH-90 over sea (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)

A RNLAF NH-90 - one of two deployed during NSS14 - lands on one of three Royal Netherlands Navy vessels on station off the coast of the Netherlands. Released on 22 March 2014 (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)
A RNLAF NH-90 – one of two deployed during NSS2014 – lands on one of three Royal Netherlands Navy vessels on station off the coast of the Netherlands. Released on 22 March 2014 (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)

South Africa keeps Gripen flying, despite budget issues

A SAAB JAS 39C Gripen of the South African Air Force (Image © Marcel Burger)
A SAAB JAS 39C Gripen of the South African Air Force (Image © Marcel Burger)

The South African Air Force will keep its SAAB JAS 39 Gripen fighter jet in the air despite hundreds of millions of dollars of budget shortages, sources within the South African military confirmed on September 6, 2013.

Both the Gripen, the Hawk training jet and several support aircraft are threatened with long-time storage already for months now in order to save money. But according to a new plan all 26 JAS 39C/D will stay active in turns by simply rotate them through maintenance and flying status. On the long run this would be more cost efficient and keep the country’s only proper airborne air defence assets available, say SAAF senior officials. This will mean 2 Squadron at Makhado Air Base, which flies the Gripen, will stay at strength. But it will also mean up to half of the Gripen fleet can be in ‘maintenance’ at certain times.

The faith of the 24 Hawk Mk 120 lead-in advanced trainer or other aircraft is still highly uncertain. The single Boeing 737 BBJ presidential aircraft is likely to be kept airworthy, as well as some of the army support helicopters like the Rooivalk attack chopper. The latter is destined to be deployed for UN or South African National Defence Force missions on the African continent.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger

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