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14 Jul 20. Boeing sees T-7 as combat replacement for Northrop F-5 and Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet. Boeing believes a light attack variant of its T-7 jet trainer could replace the world’s aging fleets of Northrop F-5 and Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet combat aircraft.
Boeing has long touted the “growth potential” of the T-7, noting that the jet trainer could be retrofitted with weapons, such as missiles or bombs, to serve as a light attack aircraft. The company has said that it believes there is a global market for 2,600 T-7s, as trainers, light-attack or aggressor aircraft.
The Chicago-based airframer declines to say what countries are likely buyers of the T-7. However, the firm notes in response to a question from FlightGlobal that light combat jets such as the Northrop F-5 and Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet would be good candidates to be replaced by the T-7. Both of those aircraft also serve trainer roles within various air forces.
There are 435 examples of the Northrop F-5 still in service worldwide, according to Cirium’s fleets analyzer. The light jet was first delivered in 1964 and ceased production in 1989, according to Northrop. Of the worldwide fleet still in operations, the jets have an average age of 41.4 years. The F-5 is operated by 17 different countries, including the air forces of Brazil, Kenya, Morocco, and Thailand.
There are 174 examples of the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet still in service worldwide, according to Cirium’s fleets analyzer. The French and German-made light jet first took flight in 1973, according to Dassault. Of the worldwide fleet still in operations, the jets have an average age of 38 years. The aircraft is operated by 11 countries, including Egypt, France and Morocco.
Boeing notes that many potential sales opportunities for the T-7, as a trainer or combat aircraft, are likely to come from the Asia Pacific region. “We do see some strong interest in that region,” says Thomas Breckenridge, vice-president of international sales in Boeing’s strike, surveillance and mobility business unit.
The manufacturer is on contract to build up to 351 examples for the US Air Force (USAF), with the first aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2023. The USAF variant of the trainer is called the T-7A Red Hawk. The jet is scheduled to meet initial operating capability by 2024 and full operational capability by 2034.
Testing of two prototypes of the T-7A is underway, with more than 200 flights on the aircraft completed to date. Boeing has started building its first engineering, manufacturing and development variant of the aircraft for the USAF, but declines to say when that aircraft will first fly. (Source: News Now/Flight Global)
13 Jul 20. Boeing progresses Red Hawk EMD testing. Boeing is progressing the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) element of its contract to deliver 351 new T-7A Red Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft to the US Air Force (USAF), reporting 80% completion of the first phase.
Speaking at the company’s first ‘virtual’ pre-Farnborough International Airshow event on 14 July, Vice-President of International Sales, Strike, Surveillance and Mobility Thomas Breckenridge said that the first of three EMD phases had completed more than 200 test flights of the two production-representative jets (PRJs) currently flying.
“Significant progress is being made, [and] we are on track for initial operating capability in 2024,” Breckenridge said, added that many of the USAF performance targets had been exceeded.
With EMD Phase 1 proceeding on track, Breckenridge noted that hot-weather trials, high angle-of-attack (AoA) with no nose boom, and a continuation of in-flight engine restart tests would be conducted during the next few weeks.
News of the good progression followed the successful completion of the USAF’s critical design reviews (CDRs) for the aircraft. This milestone, announced by the US Air Force Life-Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) on 9 June, was reached when the Aircraft CDR and overall System CDR were signed off as important steps on the path to production for the Red Hawk, solidifying the aircraft and subsystem designs.
The conclusion of the Aircraft CDR and System CDR followed the successful completion earlier in the year of the CDR for the ground-based elements of the jet trainer. The T-7A Ground Based Training Systems (GBTS) CDR paved the way for manufacturing on the ground-based elements of the USAF’s aircrew training system to commence. (Source: Jane’s)
13 Jul 20. Royal Marines conduct annual sniper training. The British Royal Navy’s snipers from 3 Commando Brigade have conducted annual snipers training at Dartmoor. The training involved sharing tactics, techniques, procedures, and the discussion of updates on kit, equipment, and weapons. Under the exercise, the snipers also completed advanced training using diverse available weapons to shoot different size targets at different distances. The training primarily focused on the use of a pistol, SA80, and .338.
Personnel with most crack shots are awarded the Hutton Trophy, named in honour of Royal Marines sniper Marine Jamie Hutton.
Royal Navy 42 Commando Sniper Troop commanding officer said: “The Brigade Sniper Concentration is essential in bringing together knowledge and understanding from across the scout sniper specialisation so that we can develop sniping in line with the rapid developments associated with Future Commando Force across the wider corps.
“As a force multiplier, the role of the sniper has never been more relevant, which is why it is so important that we raise our standards of marksmanship and skills through competition at the concentration.” Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Expert commandos have undergone a 13-week sniper course at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines.
Snipers from 42 Commando are currently on-board the Royal Navy ships.
The maritime snipers are trained to shoot from Wildcat helicopters.
Sharpshooters from allied nations were expected to join the annual event but were unable to due to coronavirus (Covid-19).
The live shoots used the L129A1 Sharpshooter, SA80, L115A3 .338, and Glock 17. Currently, the Royal Marines are undertaking a bold modernisation project called the Future Commando Force programme. (Source: naval-technology.com)
13 Jul 20. Leonardo delivers new AW169 trainer helicopter to Italian Army. Leonardo has delivered an AW169 basic training twin-engine helicopter to the Italian Army at the 2nd Army Aviation Regiment ‘Sirio’ in Lamezia Terme, Italy. The new generation aircraft is the first of two units destined for the army. Delivery of the second aircraft is expected to take place in the coming months.
Designated as UH-169B, the new trainer will allow the crews of the Italian Army to prepare and familiarise with the basics as they move to the multirole light utility helicopter (LUH) platform.
The new LUH programme is based on the AW169 dual-use baseline. It will replace the A109, AB206, AB205, AB212 and AB412.
Leonardo Helicopters managing director Gian Piero Cutillo said: “It gives us great pleasure to celebrate with the Italian Army the delivery of its first AW169 in basic training configuration as an essential enabler ahead of the implementation of the new, broader LUH programme.
“The LUH will definitely represent the start of a new era in terms of capabilities, technical support, mission flexibility and interoperability in the lightweight segment.”
Specifically developed for the Italian Army, the AW169 LUH will provide logistical, operational and technical, certification and training commonalities.
For interoperability with other Nato countries, the programme is based on an advanced multirole configuration providing mission equipment including skids landing gear and command, control and communication system.
Along with the helicopters, the company will supply logistical support and a maintenance technician training package.
Cutillo added: “The new programme takes advantage of many decades of a successful partnership and continued exchange of information, intended to fully understand the changing operational needs and how to address them through the possibilities offered by new technologies.
“We’re committed to supporting the Italian Army to maximise the benefits of these new helicopters.” (Source: army-technology.com)
11 Jul 20. As Defender 2020 drill winds down, US Army plans for 2021 edition. As the last portions of the altered Defender 2020 exercise kick into gear, the U.S. Army is beginning to plan its 2021 edition, a top general said Thursday. Speaking at a Defense News virtual panel on trans-Atlantic alliances Brig. Gen. Sean Bernabe, deputy commander of U.S. Army Europe, expressed confidence that Defender 2021 will be able to happen despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve been continuing to look forward now that we’ve gained some confidence that we can train large-scale, collective [military exercises] in this environment,” Bernabe said. “We’ve been looking further and further forward. As we speak, we’re planning exercise Defender Europe 2021, to take place in the late spring, early summer of 2021, focused in the Black Sea and Balkans.”
Planning “is underway, again informed by our experiences between March and June. Having validated that we can do it, we’re confident that we’ll figure it out in partnership with our allies,” he added. “I feel confident that we will [be able to] maintain readiness and interoperability across Europe, despite COVID, regardless of how long it may be a part of our operating environment.”
Bernabe predicted the 2021 exercise will likely be smaller than 2020′s planned version, which should be no surprise.
Defender 2020 was billed as the third-largest military exercise in Europe since the end of the Cold War, a major test of the United States’ ability to move stateside forces to locations across Europe, including Poland, the Baltics, some Nordic nations and Germany. A total of 20,000 soldiers were expected to participate.
However, the COVID-19 outbreak forced the Army to hit pause on the exercise in March just as it was starting. Several smaller, related drills were canceled outright, and U.S. forces were sent back home. A smaller associated exercise picked up again in June.
Bernabe’s comments came just hours before the Army announced that a combined arms battalion would deploy to Europe between July 14 and Aug. 22 as part of the “final phase” of the modified Defender 2020 exercise.
The deployment will involve 550 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas, with the 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters in Poznan, Poland, serving as mission command.
Approximately 55 Abrams tanks and Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles will take part. The tanks will be equipped with the Trophy active protection system so the Army can “assess and experience the dynamics of moving and installing the system in a field environment.”
At the end of June, the European Union put citizens of the United States on a list of countries barred from traveling to EU member states due to the continued spread of COVID-19. However, military movements are exempt from that rule, and Bernabe believes the Army has a good plan in place for the intake of forces into Europe.
“To be good neighbors, we are using some very, I’d say, aggressive approaches to make sure that we are screening and testing for COVID as personnel arrive,” he said. “Make sure that we’re putting in the mandatory 14 days’ [quarantine], making sure that we continue screening, we wear masks, we practice physical distancing to make sure that we’re not bringing infection into Europe while we focus on maintaining the military readiness.
“So thankfully we’ve worked with our host nations to continue to flow personnel into and out of Europe.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
10 Jul 20. USAF Joins US Navy TCTS Inc. II Program to Field Next-Gen Air Combat Training Solution from Collins Aerospace.
- Leverages Navy investments to bring significant leap in training capabilities to the Air Force sooner
- Provides a digital foundation for secure cross-service air combat training and joint Live, Virtual, and Constructive-enabled capabilities
The U.S. Air Force has joined the U.S. Navy’s Tactical Combat Training System Increment II (TCTS Inc. II) program, making it a collaborative effort to field a next-generation air combat training solution. Developed and built by Collins Aerospace Systems, TCTS Inc. II is a scalable and flexible Multiple Independent Levels of Security (MILS)-based open architecture system that enables highly-secure air combat training between US and international aircraft, including advanced 5th generation platforms. Collins Aerospace is a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp. (NYSE: RTX).
By making it a collaborative effort, the Air Force leverages investments already made by the Navy to deliver a significant leap in training capabilities sooner and at less cost. The Air Force will call this the P6 Combat Training System (P6CTS), which will significantly improve training realism in simulated, highly-contested combat environments and allow pilots to ‘train as they fight’.
“This capability can’t be overstated. The TCTS Inc. II and P6CTS programs will enable joint tactics, techniques and procedures in a secure environment against a peer adversary threat, unlike anything the services have been able to do in the past. We’re excited about the potential,” said Heather Robertson, vice president and general manager, Integrated Solutions for Collins Aerospace.
P6CTS fills gaps from currently fielded air combat training equipment such as encrypted time, space, position information (TSPI), multi-level security, and mesh networking waveform enabling services to move faster toward next-gen capabilities that will increase mission readiness. This collaboration lays the digital foundation for bringing secure, cross-service air combat and joint Live, Virtual, and Constructive training to the U.S. and its allies in 2022.
With an open systems architecture that is conformant with the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™) standard, TCTS Inc. II ensures interoperability between platforms, reducing test time and ultimately increasing rapid, affordable deployment of the solution.
Collins Aerospace recently announced the completion of the first pre-production TCTS Inc. II training pod, a key component of the solution that provides connectivity to and from the aircraft for data and weapons activity during training exercises. This pre-production maturity will enable early Air Force fielding of P6CTS to all 55 training ranges. (Source: ASD Network)
09 Jul 20. USAFE units participate in Spangdahlem AB large force exercise. Spangdahlem Air Base (AB) in Germany has hosted a large force exercise, which saw the participation of multiple wings from across US Air Forces (USAF) in Europe and Air Forces Africa (USAFE).
Focused on aircrew integration across multiple platforms, the exercise was aimed at enhancing the readiness of the units. It was also conducted to ensure the readiness of the Nato alliance’s collective defence.
F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron, F-16s assigned to the 510th FS at Aviano AB in Italy and F-15 Eagles assigned to the 494th FS at Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath in the UK were the participating aircraft and units.
Other units included C-130 Hercules assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein AB in Germany and KC-135 Stratotankers assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall in the UK.
Large force exercises use different airspaces ensuring flexibility of the aircrew. The logistics were provided by the 52nd Fighter Wing.
During the operation, multiple platforms are paired to improve interoperability and maximise capabilities of participating aircraft.
USAFE 480th FS pilot Captain Christian Pisanelli said: “As a pilot in USAFE’s sole suppression of enemy air defences squadron, I particularly value the unique capabilities and advantages each aircraft brings to the fight.
“Developing a game plan to synergise those capabilities and executing a game plan together is always a remarkable experience.”
Furthermore, the exercise trains pilots and the ground force. It strengthens the combat readiness and increases the tactical proficiency of the airmen.
USAFE 480th FS commander Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Kennedy said: “The goal is to provide realistic combat training that can face advanced adversary forces. Exercises provide operationally realistic and highly dynamic scenarios.
“Across the major command, our maintenance squadrons spend countless hours making sure our aircraft are ready to perform the mission.
“Also, our mission support agencies make sure the airfield is ready for use, the jets are fuelled, and our emergency responders are prepared for any contingency.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
Meggitt introduces the next generation of immersive training — the FATS® 180MIL.
Delivering 180° high definition projection and 5.1 surround sound, the FATS 180MIL increases training realism, heightening awareness and proper use of force responses. Three borderless screens fit into almost any space with at least a 10’ tall ceiling, providing a 150” X 84” (16:9 aspect ratio) borderless projection surface. It also includes:
- Military Validation – The same high-fidelity ballistic engine validated by the US Army, USMC and other military customers.
o Provides accurate ballistic characteristics in flight.
o Supports and enforces the proper fundamentals of marksmanship.
- Immersive Training – Supports both 3D Marksmanship and Judgmental training.
- Courseware – Delivered with full array of training courseware.
- Hit Detection System – Three digital cameras interface directly with Off-CPU real-time (OCR) processor used by FATS® 100 system for easy upgrade path.
- Projectors – Ultra short throw projectors provide freedom of movement, displaying stunning visuals in 180°environment.
- Low-Light Subsystem (optional) – Practice in simulated low-light conditions with hand-held and weapon-mounted flashlights.
- Rack – Uses same transportable rack as the FATS 100 system.
- Realistic Sounds – Self-powered audio system plays scenarios in 5.1 surround sound. Using directional sound effects board, the instructor can incorporate unsettling sounds from any direction, including barking dog, crying baby, gunshots and more to elevate situational awareness.
- Supports up to 60 simulated weapons, including FATS weapons and ammunition types. Up to 4 simulated weapons can be assigned to a single user.
With the FATS 180MIL, users feel they’re in the action, facing decision-making pressures while maintaining situational awareness.