U.S. and Indian Air Force (USAF/IAF) units are back at the Kalaikunda Air Station (KAS) in India for the third series of Cope India exercises between the two services. Both sides have benefitted from the exchange which pits the IAF–outfitted mostly with Russian and French-made fighters–against frontline U.S.-made aircraft.
F-16 Fighting Falcon
Flying the Korean Aerospace International (KAI)/Lockheed Martin T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic jet trainer here at Dubai is Lt. Col. Choong Hwan Lee of the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF). Lee is an experienced fighter pilot with more than 2,000 hours in LM’s signature product, the F-16 Fighting Falcon. He has a long line of experience in the Northrop F-5 and KAI’s previous trainer design, the KT-1.
The Dubai airshow is a benign environment. As you cruise the air-conditioned halls, or sip your drink while watching airplanes cavort in the sunny skies, it’s easy to forget that war is going on. In the air. Just 800 miles from here. That is roughly the distance from Dubai to Baghdad in one direction, and to Kandahar in another.
Almost four years ago the Indian parliament’s defense standing committee leveled a number of major criticisms at the nation’s defense procurement process.
The endless string of overseas military engagements and long-running missions–from Desert Storm to Southern Watch to Kosovo to the most recent Operations Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom–have inflicted wear and tear on the U.S. inventory of fighter aircraft.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is showing its top-of-the-line F-16D Block 52+ fighter for the first time at Asian Aerospace, in the static park. This two-seat aircraft is optimized for long-range and low-level strike missions, and with its various lumps and bumps, must be the ugliest F-16 version of all time. In fact, the aircraft is externally identical to the F-16I Sufa (Storm) version now operated by the Israeli Air Force.
Japan’s Air Self Defence Force (JASDF), which is accustomed to having the most modern variants of U.S. fighter aircraft designs, now appears to be interested in acquiring for its F-X next-generation fighter one of the most expensive ever built: the Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor.
With 319 Beechcraft-built T-6 trainers delivered to date and almost 500,000 flight hours to their credit, Raytheon has concluded that the time is ripe to launch the AT-6 joint airborne weapons system derivative. Promoted as a platform for the net-centric battlefield, the AT-6 has been readied for its new mission by the addition of sensors, datalink, cockpit protection and various weapons configurations.
Pratt & Whitney WSK PZL-Rzészow has inaugurated a new facility at Rzészow, Poland to assemble and test F100-PW-229 engines powering the country’s 48 F-16 fighters. The first engine was completed at the facility just before the Farnborough show.
- Page 8