Airstrikes against Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria this week featured the combat debut of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighter, and of the Royal Saudi Air Force F-15S Strike Eagle. The air forces of Bahrain, France, Jordan, Qatar and the UAE also participated, and the Royal Australian Air Force is en route to the fight with F-18s and a Wedgetail AEW aircraft.
The Russian defense ministry has ordered seven more Su-30SM two-seat fighters worth 13 billion roubles, boosting the total to be acquired to 72. Of these, the Russian air force is getting 60 and naval aviation 12. An initial contract for 30 was placed in 2012. Some have reportedly been deployed to Crimea.
The U.S. Congress moved closer to voting on “stopgap” funding legislation that includes a controversial provision to temporarily extend the charter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance exports of American-made products, including airplanes and helicopters.
Ralph Acs, who led the Learjet 85 program in his role as vice president and general manager of Bombardier Learjet, left the company last week as part of the Canadian airframer’s current corporate restructuring plan. A company spokeswoman confirmed that responsibility for its Wichita site as well as for the Learjet 70/75 programs had transferred in March to David Murray, who was previously the company’s vice president of operations for the Global 5000/6000 programs in Montreal.
There are now four Gulfstream G650 jets owned by Russian billionaires, but one of these is currently grounded as a result of U.S. economic sanctions against Russia. The aircraft in question is owned by oil and gas entrepreneur Gennady Timchenko, who was blacklisted earlier this year by U.S. government sanctions due to his close associations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The U.S. Army awarded Boeing a $234 million foreign military sales contract to supply 24 AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopters to Saudi Arabia, affirming a long pending order. The Department of Defense announced the contract award on August 29; the estimated contract completion date is Dec. 31, 2016.
Last week’s FAA notice to airmen (Notam) restricting U.S. operators from flying in the Damascus Flight Information Region, which includes all of Syria, is further evidence the agency is watching airspace over the world’s hotspots more closely since the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in June.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a new Notice To Airmen (Notam) on Tuesday prohibiting U.S. operators from flying in the Damascus Flight Information Region (FIR), which covers all of Syria.
An Antonov An-140 operated by Iranian carrier Taban Air crashed on Sunday almost immediately following takeoff from Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport, killing 40 of the 48 people on board. The airplane, built in Iran under license by HESA and branded the Iran-140, took off at 9:45 a.m.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) on August 7 said it was pleased to see the transfer of the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program (FFDO) by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to the assistant administrator for Training and Workforce Engagement. The FFDO allows qualified airmen to carry sidearms into the cockpit. ALPA president Lee Moak said, “TSA’s decision to bring the program under TWE is positive action to ensure that FFDOs receive the strongest possible training.”