02 Jun 16. ILA 2016: Airbus Helicopters discussing CH-53-replacement role for Germany. Airbus Helicopters is talking to both Boeing and Sikorsky about possible future workshare in the Schweren Transporthubschrauber (STH) replacement programme for the German Air Force’s ageing CH-53G heavy-lift platforms, the company’s CEO said at the ILA Airshow in Berlin. Guillaume Faury told reporters on 1 June that representatives from Airbus Helicopters have been in discussions with both US companies with a view to future involvement in either a Boeing CH-47F Chinook or Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion buy by the Bundeswehr. “We are still waiting on the specifications from the German government, and then we will see [what workshare options might be available to us]. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
31 May 16. Israel steps up interest in KC-46 tanker. Israel’s air force has been briefed on the status of the US Air Force’s in-development Boeing KC-46A tanker, and has an immediate request for at least two examples. A recently-announced delay to the USAF programme is one reason behind the Israeli air force pushing for a decision, a source in the country indicates. “An early decision will expedite the delivery,” the source adds. Boeing and the USAF have said the first KC-46A Pegasus will be delivered in August 2017, having slipped from a previous goal of March. All 18 of the aircraft covered by initial orders should be handed over by the end of January 2018, they add. The Israeli source, who says delay could affect delivery dates of Israeli aircraft, notes: “We see a lot of action around the urgent operational requirement and it is for good reasons.”
Israel hopes to acquire the KC-46A to replace its converted Boeing 707 “Re’em” tankers, and has indicated a desire to include the type as one of its highest operational priorities within a 10-year military grant now being negotiated with the authorities in Washington DC.
Meanwhile, the Israeli air force’s flight-test centre has for the first time conducted an in-flight refuelling trial of the service’s new Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 “Samson” tactical transport behind a 707 tanker.
“The C-130J/30 is longer than our older C-130 and we had to check our capability to air-refuel a longer aircraft,” says the centre’s chief flight-test engineer, identified only as Lt Col Ori. “We checked the best procedure for such a manoeuvre and the effect of the special systems that had been installed on our Samsons,” he adds. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Flightglobal)
01 Jun 16. US allocates $1bn in funds to procure first icebreaker in 25 years. US Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran has revealed that $1bn is recommended in navy shipbuilding funds to procure the first US Coast Guard-operated icebreaker in 25 years. The funding for the Polar Icebreaker Recapitalization Project is included in the US FY2017 Defense Appropriations Bill.
Cochran said: “Our FY2017 defence funding bill makes a critical investment in the long-delayed expansion of the US icebreaker fleet.
“We must take assertive action to provide the vessels needed to protect American national security and economic interests in the Arctic region.
“The US needs the capability to have year-round access to Polar regions.”
The funding bill is expected to allow early construction to start as proposed by US President Barack Obama last year to move the planned icebreaker construction from 2022 to 2020.
Additionally, the bill advocates actions to promote long-range cost savings.
The polar icebreakers serve a range of missions for the US Coast Guard, which includes bolstering the US defence’s operational readiness in the Arctic and Antarctic regions; paving the way to enforce treaties and laws to protect industry and the environment and provide logistical support to facilitate scientific research, commerce, national security activities, and maritime safety.
Currently, the US operates one heavy vessel and one medium ship, one of which has been in