Tag Archives: Israeli Air Force

Beechcraft UK order essential to keep T-6 line running

Textron owned Beechcraft is putting its hope on a fat order from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence for its T-6 turboprop trainer aircraft, a company spokesman acknowledged. Beechcraft is about to finish the production of the 700-aircraft deal for the US military.

One of four T-6D Texan IIs delivered to the US Army in June 2015 (Image © Beechcraft)
RELATED POST: US Army fields Beechcraft T-6 Texans
Since 2000 the Beechcraft T-6A Texan II has been replacing the Cessna T-37B Tweet within the US Air Force, with 449 T-6s delivered. The remainder of the 700-aircraft US deal goes to the US Navy (T-6B) and US Marine Corps, plus four specially adapted aircraft ordered by the US Army.

The Beechcraft trainer has had success abroad as well, with versions flying with the NATO Flying Training in Canada (24 CT-156 Harvard II), the Hellenic Air Force (25 T-6A + 20 armed T-6A NTA), the Israeli Air Force (25 T-6A), the Iraqi Air Force (15 T-6A + 24 T-6C ordered), the Mexican Air Force (12 T-6C+), the Mexican Navy (2 T-6+), the Royal Moroccan Air Force (24 T-6C), the Royal New Zealand Air Force (11 T-6C).

Hopes
Now hopes are high for the United Kingdom, which sees the T-6 as the replacement for the Short Tucano in training both the Royal Air Force as well as Royal Navy future combat jet pilots; with an order in the range of 80 to 120 aircraft awaiting. As for new export customers: it won’t be easy for Beechcraft. The Pilatus PC-9 and PC-21 and the armed Embraer A-29 Super Tucano are very tough competitors, already having scooped up orders like for the Afghan Air Force that years earlier might have gone more naturally to Beechcraft.

Upgrades
There may be some other light on the horizon though. Upgrades of the basic A-model within the US Air Force, US Navy and Hellenic Air Force to C-standard are expected. The current C-model has a digital class cockpit with HUD, multi-function displays, HOTAS to access functions with buttons on the flight control stick and wing hard points, nice featured to incorporate on the A-model.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The T-6C Texan advanced trainer (Image © Beechcraft)

El Al wants Dreamliners, 767s possibly to Air Force

El Al wants to buy up to 28 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, of which 15 will be purchased first and the remainder 13 will be options, Boeing announced on 5 August 2015.

The flag carrier of Israel currently flies a all-Boeing fleet of 37 aircraft, consisting of eighteen Boeing 737s (2x -700, 11x -800, 5x -900), seven Boeing 747-400s, six Boeing 767-300s and six 777-200s.

The Dreamliners are likely to replace most of the fleet, apart from the 737s, with the Boeing 767 being freed up to a possible conversion to in-flight refuelling aircraft by the Israeli Air Force. The military has expressed renewed interest in this tanker solution offered by Israel Aerospace Industries now that Boeing is delayed with its KC-46A tanker program for the US Air Force.

Seven Boeing KC-707 “Saknai” currently provide the Israeli Air Force with tanker capability needed for f. ex. air strikes on long distances. They are getting old and need replacement.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): Roll out of the first 787-900 Dreamliner in August 2013. (Image © Boeing)

Test flight with the new Boeing 767-300ER MMTT tanker/cargo aircraft converted by IAI (Image © Israel Aerospace Industries)
Test flight with the new Boeing 767-300ER MMTT tanker/cargo aircraft converted by IAI. The type has been sold to Brazil and Colombia and is now an option for the Israeli Air Force (Image © Israel Aerospace Industries)

Jordan flies dozen Israeli Cobras “as border patrol”

Jordan flies about a dozen ex-Israeli Air Force Bell AH-1E/F Cobras in the “border patrol”, counter-insurgency role and in operations against so-called Islamic State forces, according to a fresh report by Reuters.

The international press agency quotes sources with insight in the deal, in which Israel apparently has transferred 16 of its decommissioned Bell attack helicopters to its Arab neighbour. Some are used for spare parts, but it is believed that 10 to 12 actually do fly. The Royal Jordanian Air Force already received 32 ex-US Army AH-1Fs, delivered in the late 1990s and beginning of the 2000s. About 20 to 25 of those are believed to still be operational, flying out of Zarqa Airbase, although some sources say only 12 are in flyable condition.

The location of the ex-Israeli Cobras is unknown, but may very well be a forward operating base aligned to the Cobra units based at Zarqa. Israeli Air & Space Force’s 160 Squadron flew the Cobras until it was disbanded in 2013 for budgetary and safety reasons. Jerusalem tried to sell the attack choppers to Nigeria first, but that deal was blocked by the United States as we reported earlier.

2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: An Israeli Air Force AH-1 during live fire demonstration on 28 June 2011 at the IAF Academy (Image (CC) Oren Rozen)

Israel puts surplus F-16s on the market

‘Well used’ is a term that would definitely apply to former Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-16A and B models. Nevertheless, Tel Aviv has offered the type to Croatia as a replacement for its even more vintage MiG-21s. At the same time, Colombia is said to be interested in former Israeli F-16s to take the place of its troubled Kfir fighter aircraft – yes, also from Israel.

Israel received its first F-16A Netz (Hawk in Hebrew) in July 1980, the irony being that it concerned aircraft that were first destined for Iran. The Netz saw extensive use  with the (IAF) and made headlines by bombing the Osirak nuclear plant in Iraq on 7 June 1981.

Over the last decades, F-16C/D Barak (Lightning) and F-16I Sufa (Storm) took over frontline duties, with the Netz being used to train pilots. Recently, the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 has been taking over the training role.

Surplus F-16s are now being offered to Croatia in ACE configuration. This Israel-made update involves a new fire control radar, a helmet-mounted display capability and new cockpit displays. The bid sees competition from Sweden (Saab Gripen C/D) and the US (used F-16C/D).

Colombia
Meanwhile, Colombia is not happy at all with its small fleet of Israeli made Kfir fighter aircraft since one of the type crashed on 31 December last year. Rumours about a possible Mirage 2000 deal with France proved unfounded, and now the Colombians seem to have turned to Israel once again, inquiring about the F-16 Netz.

According to sources, the ACE modification also added about 1,000 flight hours of service life to the old F-16s, which without a doubt are among the most hard-used F-16s anywhere.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): Two Israeli F-16A Netz jets come in for landing. (Image © IAF)

 

First Israeli pilots get their wings on M-346

The first batch of Israeli Air Force (IAF) student pilots earned their wings on the new Alenia Aermacchi M-346 jet trainer this week, media in Jerusalem report. The pilots graduated at Hatzerim airbase, home of the dozen or so – out of 30 on order – M-346 aircraft already in service in Israel.

The M-346 Lavi (lion in Hebrew) replaces the F-16A and A-4 Skyhawk in the Israeli training program. With the M-346 “we can train students in a realistic way. This is something we could not do with the Skyhawk or the F-16A,” said an instructor pilot, stating also that the Italian made aircraft is capable of simulating the most advanced F-16 and even touches the F-35 Lightning II also ordered by Israel.

The students have yet three more phases to complete before they are operational pilots. The M-346 will stay with them all the way. In the third phase, the aircraft takes the students through all kinds of real life, operational scenarios. These scenarios are downloaded into the aircraft’s systems before every flight.

The M-346 shows itself as much more than a training aircraft. The Italian Air Force is also working to integrate the aircraft into the Eurofighter Typhoon training program. The Royal Netherlands Air Force is looking at the M-346 as an operational training platform next to its 37 F-35A Lightning IIs on order.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: An M-346 Lavi. (Image © Alenia Aermacchi)