Royal Air Force

July 13, 2014 - 10:05am
The view inside one of the two CAE full mission simulators. These are not designed to provide full-motion, but the pilot seat does “nudge” and “roll” and therefore can be “quite sick-making,” according to Ascent.

Advanced Jet Training at RAF Valley was the first “training service package” to be signed by Ascent–the contractor that is taking over the UK Military Flying Training System–with the UK’s Ministry of Defence. Another to train the Royal Navy’s rear aircrew (“observers”) followed. It was implemented in 2011-12 at RAF Barkston Heath on the MoD’s pre-existing contract-provided Grob 115E elementary trainers, and at RNAS Culdrose, where four King Air 350ER twin turboprops acquired by Ascent are based.

July 13, 2014 - 10:00am

Fast-jet pilot training in the UK has been thoroughly modernized, thanks to the introduction of new simulators, courseware and the BAE Systems Hawk T.2 trainer. Ascent, the contractor that is taking over the UK Military Flying Training System (MFTS), says the new set-up is “affordable, and demonstrably good value for money.” Still, there are grumblings from those opposed to the commercial provision of British military flying training, on either philosophical or practical grounds.

July 11, 2014 - 8:00am
Flare dispenser trials culminated in this spectacular full flare jettison test of the Airbus A400M.

Airbus Defence and Space Military Aircraft is scheduled to deliver the first of 22 A400M airlifters to the Royal Air Force in September. The delivery of aircraft MSN15 not only will mark the start of operations by a third country, but also represents the introduction of new capabilities as an important step along the type’s development roadmap. To get those capabilities into service has necessitated an intensive flight-trial campaign in the first part of this year.

July 11, 2014 - 7:00am
The RAF’s Voyager fleet has been cleared for protected air transport operations with the defensive aids suite, allowing the aircraft to operate into theater. Voyager operations to Afghanistan began just before Christmas 2013.

Airbus Defence and Space Military Aircraft (Outdoor Exhibit 13) has announced that it will begin deliveries of an improved version of the A330 multi-role tanker transport in late 2017. The initial A330 MRTT Enhanced aircraft will be the first of six that were ordered by Singapore earlier this year. Subsequent production aircraft will all be of the new version.

July 11, 2014 - 6:30am
To mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings this year, the RAF painted on a Eurofighter Typhoon the invasion stripes that were used to distinguish allied aircraft in 1944.

Multi-role functionality has been a long time coming for the Eurofighter Typhoon. But the four-nation industrial consortium building the combat jet says the Phase 1 Enhancements (P1E) package that is now entering service represents a “paradigm shift” in capability.

The commander of the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon force, Air Cmdr. Gary Waterfall, said the new package allows the RAF to drop 500-pound Paveway IV “smart” bombs “at the moment of our choosing, on targets of our choosing, with a multitude of fuse settings, impact angles and arrivals.”

July 7, 2014 - 12:15am

Russian Helicopters has taken over the management of five aircraft repair plants formerly owned by Russia’s ministry of defense. The plants are located in Khabarovsk, Svetly (Kaliningrad Region), Engels (Saratov Region), St. Petersburg and Chita. They will “significantly strengthen” after-sales service for Russian commercial and military helicopters, according to the manufacturer. Managers from the plants met with Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev on May 21.

May 29, 2014 - 3:10pm
A400M airlifter

Airbus has suggested civilian operation of the A400M airlifter for disaster relief flights. At a media briefing during the ILA Berlin airshow last week, Norbert Kolvenbach, vice president for public affairs Germany, noted that the aircraft is already certified by EASA. He floated the idea of a “supranational” operator, such as the United Nations. “The A400M could be interesting,” said Birgitte Stalder-Olsen, head of logistics for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), at the same briefing.

May 1, 2014 - 1:07pm
BAE Systems Tornado

BAE Systems has been awarded a contract extension that will see it continue to support the RAF’s Tornado GR.Mk 4 fleet until the type’s planned retirement in 2019. BAE has been supporting the aircraft through the ATTAC (availability transformation: Tornado aircraft contract) program since 2006, but the initial 10-year period was due to expire in 2016. The new extension adds three years and approximately £125 million ($210 million) to the deal.

March 28, 2014 - 11:30am
Boeing 737 AEW&C

Qatar has announced a raft of orders for new equipment worth around $23 billion, covering vehicles, vessels and aircraft, plus associated systems and weaponry. The announcements were made on March 27, which was the last day of the Dimdex show in Qatar’s capital Doha.

March 26, 2014 - 11:06am

The UK Royal Air Force retired its four remaining Lockheed TriStar tanker/transports on schedule this week, as the replacement fleet of Airbus A330-MRTTs grows. Seven of these aircraft, known as the Voyager in RAF service and provided under contract by AirTanker, have now been delivered. Two more are slated to to be handed over by the end of June.

 
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