The first aerial refueling ever of a tilt-rotor aircraft is soon to take place after the in September published dry-run over the skies of northern Texas. Star of the show will be, of course, the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey transport aircraft.
For those who are new to this type of aviation: a tilt-rotor aircraft flies like a fixed-wing aircraft but can land like a helicopter by turning its propeller engines from vertical to horizontal mode while still in the air. For take-off the procedure is reversed.
Adding the in-flight refueling capability to the V-22 would be of great joy of the US Navy and US Marines, who regularly use their standard aircraft for so-called buddy refueling. Having the Osprey doing the work will make its usage in combat or other operations more versatile.
The V-22 that demonstrated the capability of safely deploying the refueling drogue, by simulating the operations with a F/A-18C and F/A-18D behind it. Safety first, so next time the test guys might actually hook the basket up to the retractable refueling probe of the Hornets.
A spokesperson of the Bell Boeing project writes at September 5, 2013: ,,Future Bell Boeing tests will put aircraft in a fuel-receiving position directly behind the V-22, connect receiver aircraft with the refueling drogue and, ultimately, refuel a variety of aircraft in flight. The V-22 is a combat-proven tilt-rotor that can fly horizontally at high speeds and high altitudes like an airplane, and take off and land vertically like a helicopter.”
FedEx Express received its first Boeing 767-300 Freighter on Wednesday, introducing an airplane that is – according to the manufacturer – 30 percent more fuel efficient and 20 percent less costly than similar aircraft it replaces, the McDonnell Douglas MD-10.
FedEx already has a large Boeing fleet of 70 B757s and a number of 777s, supplemented with MD-10s and MD-11s.
The 767 Freighter is based on the popular 767-300ER (extended range) passenger airplane. Able to carry approximately 58 tons (52.7 tonnes) of cargo with intercontinental range, the 767 Freighter is used on long-haul, regional or so-called feeder markets.
The airplane joins other Boeing freighters in the FedEx fleet such as the MD-10, MD-11, 757 and the 777.
The Netherlands is threatening the United States because of American nuclear bombs at Volkel Airbase, reports the Dutch public TV program Brandpunt Reporter Wednesday August 28th, 2013.
The collision between the two allies is not about the presence of the nukes, but rather about the financial impact in case something goes wrong. In short: the Netherlands wants the US to pay for an accident with one or more of the American nuclear bombs, say sources to TV investigative reporters. The Netherlands are said to threaten to cancel flights of US military aircraft through Dutch airspace if the Americans don’t compromise.
It is a public secret that Dutch Volkel Airbase is home to anything from 4 to 22 nuclear bombs, stored there since at least the 1960s. Officially their existence has never been confirmed, but US personnel is assigned to the Dutch base and mainly guard a separate section. Moreover, former Dutch prime minister Mr. Ruud Lubbers did talk about them in a recent National Geographic documentary.
From the 1970s to well into the 1990s Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 fighter jets at Volkel trained for nuclear bombardment of targets in Eastern Europe. Since the Cold War between the American-led NATO and the Russia-led Warsaw Pact ended in the mids of the 1990s, the nuclear bombs remain in case they will ever be deemed needed by NATO allies or the US itself.
According to one of the sources the TV program spoke to the nuclear weapons are routinely rotated, meaning transport of nuclear weapons through the air by USAF C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifters from the 62nd Airlift Wing. The Netherlands seem to be most afraid that one of the transport flights ends up in disaster.
Brazil will retire its Mirage 2000s by the end of year, several Brazilian media announced this week. The twelve Mirages, compromising single- and two-seaters were bought from France for a sum of 80 million USD. The aircraft are nearing the end of their service-life.
The Brazilian Deltas started service in Brazil only in 2005, and were originally meant to be in service until 2011. Two years were added to that, but now the end is nearby. The aircraft will be temporarily replaced by up to twelve F-5M fighters, modernized by Embraer. Some time in the future the Brazilian government will decide upon a definitive replacement aircraft. Candidates are the Boeing Super Hornet, Saab Gripen NG and the Dassault Rafale.