Big decisions are made in New Delhi these days. Apart from a giant deal with Russian Helicopters, the Defence Acquisition Council said “yes” on Wednesday 13 May to the Airbus-TATA offer to replace the Hawker Siddeley 748 aircraft with the Airbus C295 medium airlifter.
A total of 56 Avro aircraft – licence-produced in the sixties by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) – are to be replaced. Sixteen of the aircraft will be bought directly from the former CASA – now Airbus – plant in Spain, while TATA Advanced Systems and the Indian Production Agency (IPA) will locally produce the other 40 twin-propeller aircraft under license.
The Kazakh Air Force received its two of its four ordered Sukhoi Su-30SM (“Flanker”) multirole fighters on 17 April 2015, manufacturer Irkut announced. They two-seat jets of the 4++ generation arrived at Taldykorgan Airbase, or the 604th Air Base, after they were handed over to Kazakhstan at the Irkut aviation plant last month.
The Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazahkstan (Qazaqstannıñ Qarwlı küşteri) are known to operate up to 26 older Sukhoi Su-27 “Flankers” from Taldykorgan. Ten of those are or have been upgraded to the new Su-27BM2 (single-seat) and Su-27UBM2 (two-seat) standard. Moreover, a dozen Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-27 “Flogger” fighter-bombers fly from Taldykorgan.
Compared to earlier Flankers the Su-30SM (spelled Су-30CM in Cyrillic) has engines with enhanced thrust-vectoring, meaning the entire nozzle section of the engines can move in different direction to give the aircraft superb maneouverability. It also has a newer radar, a new wide-angle HUD, new communications and other systems. Moreover, it can fly a wider range of weapons. The first Su-30SM made its flight on 21 September 2012.
The Kazakh Air Force will show off its new Su-30SM jets during an official World War II memorial anniversary fly-past on 7 May 2015 in Astana.
The Ministry of Defence of Kazakhstan has confirmed an order for two additional EADS/Airbus C295 tactical transport aircraft including spares and ground equipment.
The pair is part of an initial agreement from 2012 calling for the delivery of 8 C295s. Two of those have been delivered in 2013, the recently confirmed third will follow in 2014 and number four will join the Kazakh military transport fleet in 2015. The final four have not been confirmed yet.
Meanwhile EADS/Airbus is trying to expand the portfolio of the C925 and improve its performances further. At the Spanish production plant near Madrid trails have begun with a firefighting version of the C295. Moreover, Airbus will introduce the C295W in 2014, featuring as winglets and higher engine power ratings, giving increased performance in all flight phases and lower fuel burn.