Air International 2013-04
The last sortie by an Afghan Air Force Alenia C-27A (G222) Spartan was due to take place on March 21, 2013, just three years after the tactical transport entered service. The aircraft have been plagued by serious serviceability issues which has resulted in the US Air Force (which supplied the transports to the Afghans) terminating the programme. At least 11 of the aircraft are seen stored at Kabul International airport in mid-March, along with a derelict Antonov An-32 (far right). The first two of four former US Air Force C-130Hs, due to replace the Spartans, are expected to be delivered by the end of 2013, with the remainder by end of 2014.
Noted awaiting maintenance with Safair at Johannesburg-O R Tambo International Airport, South Africa, was Douglas DC-8-62H(F) freighter 9Q-CJL (c/n 45909, ex N802BN) of Trans Air Cargo Services (TACS) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The company currently operates three DC-8 freighters from Kinshasa-Ndjili International Airport. The 45-year old aircraft was originally delivered to Alitalia in October 1967. Named Road Runner, it carries an image of the cartoon character on its nose and was pictured on February 25, 2013.
AgustaWestland Merlin Mk 512 M-516 refuels at the forward refuelling point close to Netheravon airfield on March 1, 2013, prior to undertaking another mission during Exercise Pashtun Jaguar 1/13.
During the recent Red Flag 13-3 exercise at Nellis AFB, Nevada, a single Lockheed Martin F-16C Block 25 Fighting Falcon (83-1159/'WA') of the 64th Aggressor Squadron carried the new Lockheed Martin IRST (infrared search and tracking) Sensor System. IRST passively detects and tracks airborne threats, providing high resolution at long ranges and greater discrimination of individual targets flying in close formation. The unit can be mounted in the nose section of the centreline fuel tank on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, but is seen here attached to the intake pylon of the F-16C. Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the US Air Force are also developing an IRST pod for the F-15C Eagle and other platforms.
F-16AM FA-106 is the latest of a long line of Belgian Fighting Falcons from 31 Squadron to wear special tiger markings.
F-16C 85-1547/'ED' finished in the Have Glass/Radar Absorbing Material colour scheme is assigned to the 445th Flight Test Squadron based at Edwards AFB, California, where it is seen on February 26, 2013.
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet A21-29 of No.77 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, is the unit commanders' aircraft and was painted to celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2012. The fighter is seen on its way to the Australian Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition at Avalon Airport, Victoria, on February 27, 2013, with A21-48, which features tail markings for the air force's 90th anniversary in 2011.
Two Sikorsky Hkp 16 (UH-60M) Black Hawks of Sweden's Defence Helicopter Wing were airfreighted to Afghanistan aboard a Boeing C-17A Globemaster III on March 12, 2013 (including 161231/'06', seen here). They will take over from two Eurocopter Hkp 10D (AS332) Super Pumas, which have been flying medevac missions from Mazar-e-Sharif since April 1, 2011. The Hkp 16s were acquired in December 2010 primarily for this mission after it became clear that NHIndustries Hkp 14s (NH90s) would not be ready for deployment. The first Black Hawks were delivered to Sweden in January 2012.
Noted at NBVC Point Mugu, California on February 25, 2013 were the four E-2C Hawkeyes assigned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 116 (VAW-116) ‘Sun Kings' wearing the new 'NA' tail markings for Carrier Air Wing 17.
E-2D Advanced Hawkeye BuNo 167110 is assigned to the test fleet at NAS Patuxent River.
Three Tejas LCAs participated in Aero India 2013, held at Yelahanka outside Bangalore. KH2005 (PV-3) was displayed on the ground, while KH2012 (LSP-2, seen here) was the principle flying display aircraft and KH2014 (LSP-4) was held in reserve.
Airbus A380-841 9M-MNF (msn 114, ex F-WWSG) wears titles to highlight it was the 100th example of the airliner delivered. It is seen at the manufacturer's facility at Toulouse in southern France during pre-delivery trials. The aircraft was handed over to Malaysia Airlines on March 14, 2013, the last of six the carrier ordered. It received its first in July 2012.
Boeing 777-323ER N717AN (c/n 31543) of American made its inaugural flight between Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and London/Heathrow on March 4, 2013. The airliner was delivered on December 11, 2012, the first of the variant for the carrier on lease from Guggenheim Aviation Partners. It is painted in the new scheme being adopted by the fleet following the merger of American Airlines and US Airways.
The initial Boeing 777 produced under the increased production rate of 8,3 a month (from seven previously) was handed over to Korean Air on February 25, 2013. Boeing 777-FB5 HL8226 (c/n 37640) is seen departing King County International Airport/Boeing Field, Washington, on delivery. The freighter had been stored at the airport for two weeks prior to departing, as ramp space at Paine Field, where it was built, is fully occupied by Boeing 787 Dreamliners awaiting hand over. It completed its first flight on January 17. By the end of January Boeing had delivered 1,072 777s of the 1,431 ordered by 66 customers.
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 UM Mongul-B 322 of the Cuban Defensa Anti-Aerea y Fuerza Aerea Revolucionaria (Cuban Anti-Aircraft Defence and Revolutionary Air Force) seen recently at Las Tunas. A handful of the two-seaters are believed to remain operational to provide instruction for pilots converting to the MiG-23 and MiG-29 at San Antonio de los Banos and Holguin.
Embraer ERJ-175SU C-FEKJ flew the first service with Sky Regional Airlines following transfer from Air Canada on March 14, 2013.
Two visitors to London Heathrow on March 12, 2013 were Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-154M RA-85155 (c/n 10A1000), seen arriving after a flight from Moscow-Chkalovsky Airport, and Tu-204-300 RA-64057 (c/n 1450742864047) of Rossiya, which arrived from Moscow-Vnukovo International Airport. Both aircraft were supporting the UK visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to hold talks with their British counterparts William Hague and Philip Hammond on March 13. The Tu-154M is a relatively new airframe, having been handed over to the Russian Air Force on April 29, 2010.
Eurofighter Typhoon 31+00 (b/n GS0077) has the distinction of being the 100th example of the fighter delivered to the Luftwaffe. To highlight its status, the aircraft briefly wore '100' titles on the fin. It is seen here at Norvenich AB on March 4, 2013, having been allocated to Jagdbombergeschwader 31 (Fighter-bomber Wing 31) 'Boelcke'. It arrived at the base on February 28 after being officially handed over to the Luftwaffe by Cassidian at Manching earlier that day.
Mil Mi-17 Hip-H 115 of the Cuban Defensa Anti-Aerea y Fuerza Aerea Revolucionaria (Cuban Anti-Aircraft Defence and Revolutionary Air Force) was recently noted operating from Baracoa armed with air-to-ground rockets. The type entered service in 1983 and 24 were delivered, less that half of which are understood to remain operational. They are operated by helicopter squadrons based at San Antonio de los Banos and Holguin.
Beriev A-50U '47' red/RF-92957 is the first upgraded Mainstay-B. It is seen taking off from Ivanovo-Severny, where the fleet is based.
Airbus Military A400M EC-007/0007 making its maiden flight on March 6, 2013.
The second prototype Embraer Legacy 500 makes its maiden flight from Sao Jose dos Campos in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on February 15, 2013.
Airbus A330-243 DQ-FJT (msn 1394, wearing test registration F-VZWKD) was delivered to Fiji Airways on March 16, 2013. The aircraft is seen making its maiden flight at Toulouse, France, on February 19, painted in the carrier's new livery.
NASA Dryden's facility at Edwards AFB is now flying a two-seat F-15D Eagle aircraft for research support as a chase plane and for pilot proficiency. NASA F-15D N897NA is seen at Edwards AFB, California on February 26, 2013.
Aerion has commenced the second phase of its tests of the natural laminar flow wing section destined for its Supersonic Business Jet The test article is mounted under NASA's F-15B Eagle N836NA.
RC-135U 64-14849 of the 55th Wing based at Offutt AFB, Nebraska seen landing at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, on February 27, 2013. The 55th Wing operates the only two RC-135Us in the US Air Force inventory, the second being 64-14847, with the Combat Sent programme name. The primary mission objective for Combat Sent is to collect 'fine-grain' electronic intelligence (ELINT) data, the so-called scientific and technical ELINT. In comparison to RC-135V and RC-135W Rivet Joint aircraft, RC-135Us do not have the 'thimble' nose but are fitted with fairings in the chin, wingtip, tailcone and fin-top which house the Precision Power Measurement System sensors, with 360° coverage. RC-135U 64-14849 now sports a series of large black antennas positioned along the bottom of the fuselage and an antenna farm just aft of the wing roots. This new antenna configuration, similar to that fitted to the RC-135V/W Rivet Joint fleet, provides greater signals capability on bandwidths and in wideband modulation used by modern emitters. This capability, coupled with upgraded sensors, enables Combat Sent to both receive and record such transmissions.
On March 7, 2013 the first prototype Bombardier CSeries CS100 (FTV-1, c/n 50001) was unveiled at the Mirabel production facility in Quebec.
The Boeing Phantom Eye high-altitude long-endurance unmanned air system completed its second flight on February 25, 2013 from Edwards AFB, California. The aircraft climbed to 8,000ft (2,438m) and reached a speed of 62kts (115km/h) in a 66-minute flight, twice the height and three times the length of its first flight. Boeing reported that no problems were encountered with handling or during landing - a rough landing at the end of its initial flight resulted in the company changing the undercarriage.
ENAER T-35B Pillan FACh 737 is the first of six new examples for the Chilean Air Force.
Boeing 737-4B3 N980ST (c/n 24750, ex CN-RPA) conducted a return flight from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, on March 14, 2013. Pemco World Air Services has modified the aircraft to a mixed freight and passenger configuration for the National Nuclear Security Administration. Three were sought to replace a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-33RC (N45NA, c/n 47410, ex BuNo 162753) to support the administration in its role of responding to incidents involving nuclear material, although only two are understood to have been delivered.
Details of the AgustaWestland Project Zero tiltrotor demonstrator were unveiled by the company in March, 2013.
The Piaggio P.1HH HammerHead is an unmanned development of the turboprop business aircraft.
Undertaking Flight TG961 between Stockholm-Arlanda Airport in Sweden and Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand on March 9, 2013 was Thai Airways International's retro-scheme Boeing 747-4D7 HS-TGP (c/n 26610), named Thepprasit. It is seen lining up on runway 01L at Stockholm. The airliner has been painted in the airline's old colours since March 2010.
Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II 10-5009/'0T' taxies at Nellis AFB, Nevada, after arriving on March 6, 2013, one of the two assigned to the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES) delivered that day. They are the first of 12 to be delivered to the unit for operational testing, which will be conducted under the control of the 53rd Test and Evaluation Group at Nellis and at Edwards AFB, California. The last of six aircraft for the 31st TES at Edwards are due to be delivered in the summer.
AN02, the second Lockheed Martin F-35A Lighting II for the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Royal Netherlands Air Force) was rolled out of the assembly facility at Fort Worth, Texas, on March 2, 2013. It is due to complete ground tests before making its first flight this summer. Like AN01 before it, the aircraft will be used for training and operational tests from Eglin AFB, Florida.
India's Embraer EMB-145I airborne early warning and control aircraft made its public debut at Aero India 2013 at Yelahanka Air Base, near Bangalore, in February. The second aircraft to fly, but first to be delivered, (KW3555, c/n 14501130, ex PT-ZNB) was displayed at the event. It arrived at the Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO) headquarters at Bangalore on August 22, 2012. Work to install the aircraft's Indian-produced mission systems is coordinated by the DRDO and its Centre for Airborne Systems. It involves the installation of two active electronically scanned early warning radars (primary and secondary, one built into the other), command and control, communications- and electronic-intelligence, satellite communications and countermeasures systems. Flight-testing of the mission systems will begin shortly. The outstanding pair of EMB-145Is is due to arrive in India this year.
Passing through Palma de Mallorca on March 2, 2013 was ATR 72-212A EC-JAH (msn 712, ex F-WWEL) on its delivery flight to the Pakistan Navy. The aircraft is in a mixed passenger and freight configuration acquired, via a tender issued on October 31, 2012, by Pakistan Naval Aviation for pilot training and utility tasks. Naysa operated the aircraft previously in Binter Canarias colours. It departed Palma de Mallorca 50 minutes later for Turkey's Antalya Airport on its journey to Karachi in Pakistan.