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Air International 2014-03
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News
Upgraded Mikoyan MiG-31 BM Foxhound ‘51’ (red), of the 7000th Aviation Base, landing at Khotilovo in late January. The MiG-31 BM upgrade adds an air-to-ground capability to the interceptor, as well as improving its performance in its primary role. The device above the rear cockpit provides forward visibility for the weapon systems’ operator while landing.
Airbus Helicopters AS365N3 Dauphin 2 OO-NHV (c/n 6510) over Den Helder Airport on February 6, 2014. It is one of two Dauphins used by Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen to provide SAR coverage over the North Sea for the Dutch oil and gas offshore industry.
F-16A MLU Fighting Falcon 15106 was one of the Portuguese Fighting Falcons that deployed to Albacete AB in Spain for TLP 2014-1.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force’s Black Knights made their first appearance at the show since 2008, celebrating the 45th anniversary of the air arm.
Lockheed Martin F-16C Block 50 Fighting Falcon 830 lands after its first flight at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, on January 14, 2014.
The first Lockheed TriStar, KC1 ZD952, has arrived at Cotswold Airport, Gloucestershire, the former RAF Kemble. It is depicted on February 8, 2014, five days after its final flight in RAF service.
Lockheed TriStar K1 ZD951 (c/n 1165, ex G-BFCD) has received a large representation of No.216 Squadron’s emblem and titles on its tail-mounted engine nacelle, recalling 30 years operating the tanker transport. The aircraft is seen departing its home base at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, on January 18, 2014 at the start of its flight to Nellis AFB, Nevada, shepherding four No.lX(B) Squadron Tornado GR4s to take part in a Red Flag exercise. No.216 Squadron reformed on the TriStar in November 1984.
Lockheed NP-3C BuNo 153442/'357' is the sole Orion flown by the US Navy equipped with a rotodome. It is assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 30 (VX-30) ‘Bloodhounds’, having replaced BuNo 153443, which was retired in October 2012. NP-3C ‘357’ was built as a P-3B in 1967, before being modified as an EP-3B for the Naval Research Laboratory and redesignated as an NP-3D in February 1995. The rotodome was added in 1999 as part of the Combat Information Centre programme for the E-2 Hawkeye, and the aircraft joined Scientific Development Squadron 1 (VXS-1) based at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland in December 2004. It was transferred to VX-30 in October 2013 and is seen on approach to NAS Pont Mugu, California, on February 3, 2014.
Sikorsky S-92A Helibus PH-EUI (c/n 92-0046) of CHC Netherlands became the first of its type registered on the Dutch civil register on December 19, 2013. The helicopter operated from Den Helder Airport from July 2, 2012, wearing the Danish registration OY-HKA until December 12, 2012, when it was reregistered to CHC Scotia as G-WNSF. It was seen taking off from Den Helder on February 6б 2014.
Loading on to an RAF C-17A Taranis UCAV ZZ173 at Warton on May 18, 2013.
Boeing C-17A Globemaster III KAF342 (b/n F-264/KAF-1, ex 13-0001) was delivered to the Kuwait Air Force on February 13, 2014. It is about to touch down at Long Beach, California, at the end of its second test sortie on February 5, having completed its maiden flight on January 31. It arrived at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, on February 18 on its delivery flight. Kuwait ordered two of the transports through Foreign Military Sales channels, with notification of the first on September 10, 2010 and the second on April 16, 2013. A total of 260 C-17As have been delivered to eight customers.
Armee de l’air (French Air Force) Airbus A340-211 F-RAJA (msn 075, ex OE-LAG) of Escadron de transport ET 03/060 'Esterel' at Bamako-Senou International Airport in Mali on January 27, 2014. The aircraft has helped maintain the air bridge between France and the African nation.
Bombardier CRJ-900ER EC-JZS (c/n 15111, ex C-FLMK) is the first of Spanish regional airliner Air Nostrum to appear in Grupo Iberia colours. The aircraft is seen on approach to Palma de Mallorca Airport on February 15, 2014.
Eurofighter Typhoon Instrumented Production Aircraft 7 (98+07, b/n GS029) completed its first flight carrying a pair of Taurus KEPD 350 stand-off precision weapons on January 15, 2014 from Manching in Germany. Eurofighter project pilot Chris Worning flew the aircraft as part of the integration tests for the MBDA Storm Shadow long-range air-to-surface missile - the KEPD 350 being aerodynamically similar to the other weapon. During the flight flutter tests, an air data large store interference assessment and aerodynamic data was gathered.
Guizhou JL-9G 83003 of the 3rd Training Regiment based at Xingcheng-1.
Boeing Chinook HC6 ZK551 (c/n M7702, ex N702UK) seen departing RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, on January 27, 2014. The new helicopter was at the base to conduct loading trials and was one of three Chinook HC6s delivered to the RAF on December 19, 2013. A total of 14 are on order, the first of which flew on March 15, 2013.
The USAF acknowledges it has lost one battle - a clash with Congress over the Block 30 Global Hawk intelligence-gathering aircraft.
Boeing has begun to hand over 787-8 Dreamliners to non-airline operators. Three of the 13 787 BBJs on order have so far been delivered, while a further three are due this year. The first (A6-PFC, c/n 35303) completed its maiden flight on November 25, 2013, and was delivered to the International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) for the Abu Dhabi Amiri Flight. It departed Paine Field/Snohomish County Airport, Washington, for Abu Dhabi on January 3, 2014. The ILFC also received N28MS (c/n 35309, ex N1006K) one week after completing its maiden flight on December 23. On January 31 it began its lease to Jet Aviation Flight Services of Teterboro, New Jersey, arriving at Grant County International Airport, Washington, for cabin outfitting. The third aircraft, HZ-MF7 (c/n 40053) for the Saudi Ministry of Finance and Economy, was delivered on February 5, the same day it departed Paine Field for San Antonio International Airport, Texas, where it will have its interior furnishings installed.
Sukhoi Su-27UB RF-92431/‘10’ (red) landing at Khotilovo in Tver Oblast. It is understood to be the sole Flanker-B with a grey scheme serving with the Voyenno-Vozdushniye Sily (Russian Air Force). The aircraft was noted in early 2013 at Pushkin, St Petersburg, with the 20th Aviatsionnyy Remont Zavod (Aviation Repair Plant).
Luftwaffe Transall C160D 50+61 (c/n D83) of Lufttransportgeschwader 63 (Air Transport Group 63) was one of two noted at Bamako-Senou International Airport in Mali on January 27, 2014. The transports are supporting the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali and are equipped with the Erweitertem Selbstschutz (ESS - extended self-protection) systems under the wings and on the forward fuselage.
Two Airbus Military CN235M VIGMAs form the backdrop for this group of Spanish Air Force personnel during the recent hand-over of the deployment at Djibouti.
Saab 2000 HB-IZP (c/n 031, ex N168GC) of Darwin Airline touches down at Rome-Fiumicino Airport, Italy, on January 23, 2014 at the end of a service from Geneva, Switzerland. The flight marked the start of operations by Etihad Regional, the aircraft being unveiled in its new brand colours the previous week. All ten Saab 2000s operated by Darwin will be repainted in the new livery by June. Etihad Regional is a partnership between Etihad Airways of the United Arab Emirates and Darwin Airline of Lugano, Switzerland.
By the end of January 2014 at least four British Aerospace Hawk T1/T1As of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team The Red Arrows had received blue tails. The aircraft’s fins are being painted at RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire, as part of a scheme to mark the team’s 50th anniversary during 2014. The exact nature of the full colours that will be applied has not been revealed, although it is understood that additional markings will be added just before the team begins its display season. The Hawks that have been noted so far with blue tails are XX227, XX245 (seen here), XX264 and XX311.
The Army National Guard is retiring the C-23 Sherpa. Eight aircraft are slated for civilian use by the state of Alaska to operate from short rural runways for search and rescue and medium-lift missions.
Israel Aerospace Industries unveiled the Super Heron HF unmanned air vehicle at Singapore.
Alenia C-27J Spartan 1401/TT-PAG is the first of two for the Force Aerienne Tchadienne (Chad Air Force). The tactical transport is seen during a test flight at Turin-Caselle in Italy on January 16, 2014, with its Italian military test registration, CSX62292. The aircraft wears the same scheme that was applied to Spartans delivered to the Royal Moroccan Air Force. Chad ordered two C-27Js in 2013 and was expected to receive the first by the end of that year. The original timetable was delayed briefly, as delivery is now anticipated in the first quarter of 2014.
Airbus A330-343 F-WWKH (msn 1483) is the first of its kind for Skymark Airlines of Japan. The airliner is seen undertaking a test flight from Toulouse-Blagnac in southern France on January 21, 2014, having completed its first sortie on December 16, 2013. It will become JA330A upon delivery. Skymark is a low-cost carrier that flies Japanese domestic routes. It announced in July 2012 that it would lease from Intrepid Aviation seven A330-300s equipped for 271 passengers in a single-class premium configuration.
Eight Boeing F-15S Eagles supported by a pair of Airbus Military A330-203 Multi-Role Tanker Transports arrived at Moron AB in Spain on February 10, 2014. The Eagles comprised four each from 6 and 55 Squadrons, with 605 belonging to the former. They were all on their way to the United States and are understood to be the first batch due to be upgraded as F-15SAs. Saudi Arabia will upgrade its 68 F-15Ss as F-15SAs, while a further 84 new-build aircraft will be acquired.
Airbus A350 F-WZGG (msn 3) is towed into the static area past part of the large number of Republic of Singapore Air Force aircraft on display. The A350 arrived at Singapore from cold weather trials in Canada - the show was only the second public outing for the airliner.
Taranis ZZ250 airborne over the Woomera test range in South Australia.
Top: Top down view of Taranis airborne over the Woomera test range with its distinctive red earth.
Bottom: Air-to-air shot of Taranis ZZ250 showing the design form of the fuselage, wings and nozzle.
Top: Taranis with the landing gear doors open.
Bottom: Taranis with the landing gear in retraction.
Британский «беспилотник» «Таранис»
A clear side-view shot of the Taranis UCAV technical demonstrator at Warton.
Loading on to an RAF C-17A ZZ173 at Warton on May 18, 2013.
AgustaWestland has delivered two AW139 medium twin-engined helicopters to the Royal Thai Army. The first arrived as airfreight at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on December 19, 2013, and was followed by the second in January. AW139 31525 (c/n 31525), wearing its test registration I-EASI, is seen prior to delivery. The other aircraft is 31520 (c/n 31520). The order for the aircraft was revealed on October 9, 2012.
Cessna 208B Grand Caravan XT-ESK (c/n 208B-2251), based at Ouagadougou Airport in Burkina Faso, is used as a shuttle between the capital and the Essakane gold mine in the north-east of the country for the Iamgold Corporation. It was noted at the airport on January 27, 2014.
Sailors guide an EA-18G Growler assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 130 (VAQ-130) Zappers’ onto the catapult during flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) under way in the Gulf of Oman.
Boeing P-8A Poseidon BuNo 167953/‘953’ is one of three of the type with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20 (VX-20) based at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. It is the sole example to wear the unit’s markings on its tail and is seen on approach to NAS Pont Mugu, California, on February 3, 2014. All three P-8As currently assigned to VX-20 (the others being BuNo.167951 and 167954) will remain used for test duties rather than being delivered to operational units.
An aviation electronics technician, assigned to Patrol Squadron 16 (VP-16) ‘War Eagles’, prepares to launch a P-8A Poseidon aircraft at NAS Jacksonville, Florida.
Shenyang J-15 103 is understood to be operating from Huangdicun, where a regiment is currently being equipped with the carrier-borne fighter.
An F/A-18E Super Hornet in final assembly at Boeing's facility at Lambert Field in St Louis, Missouri, where production will end in late 2016 unless further orders materialise.
Lockheed Martin AC-130J Ghostrider 09-5710 about to taxi out for its first flight after being equipped with its mission systems at Eglin AFB, Florida.
The first engineering, manufacturing and development KC-46A tanker (c/n EMD-1) in final body join at Boeing’s Everett plant near Seattle.
Pre-production AgustaWestland AW 189 l-PTFF (c/n 49005); the helicopter received its EASA type certificate on February 7, 2014.
Taking to the air for the first time on February 12, 2014 was the second Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout (BuNo 168456/‘VX’) vertical take-off and landing tactical unmanned air vehicle. The test flight was conducted at Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu, California. The first MQ-8C completed its initial flight in October 2013 and had flown 41 times accumulating 66 hours by the time the second had flown. Shipboard trials of the type will start later this year.
Airbus A319-119 D-ASTB (msn 4691, ex D-AVYO) of Gambia Bird at Lungi International Airport in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in late January 2014. The airliner was previously operated by Germania before being transferred to Gambia Bird in December 2012 and is one of two in service with the Gambian carrier. Gambia Bird was formed in 2012 with its main hub at Banjul-Yundum International Airport.
One of up to three Airbus A319-115s that have entered service with the PLAAF.
Boeing 737-36N 5N-YSM of Azman Air at Palma de Mallorca on January 12, 2014 during a refuelling stop on its delivery flight from Bournemouth Airport, Dorset, to Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Nigeria.
An Insitu RQ-21A Blackjack moments after launch at a test range at Boardman, Oregon.
Boeing recently painted 747-8U7F N770BA (c/n 37564) to mark the Seattle Seahawks America football team making the Super Bowl, the National Football League championship game played annually between the winners of the National and the American Football Conferences. It has the team’s logo and large ‘12’ on the tail, with the name of the club on the port fuselage and ‘Spirit of 12s’, ‘Go Hawks!’ and ‘#Louder’ on the starboard forward. The ‘12’ signifies the crowd at the games, often known as the ‘12th man’, watching 11-player teams on the pitch. Boeing is a sponsor of the Seattle Seahawks. The freighter was originally destined for Atlas Air before the carrier reduced its order for 12 747-8Fs by three aircraft in September 2011. It is currently being used by the manufacturer as a trials platform.
Romanian airline Tarom celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, having been founded on September 18, 1954. To mark the milestone it has painted Boeing 737-78J(WL) YR-BGG, named Craiova (c/n 28422, ex N1786B), with ‘Happy 60 Years’ on its tail. The airliner had previously worn the retro scheme, as used by the Lisunov Li-2s and Ilyushin Il-14s with which Tarom began operations, to mark the 55th anniversary of the airline in 2009. It is pictured at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport in Hungary on January 13, 2014.
Boeing 737-924ER(WL) N75432 (c/n 32835, ex N1779B) is the logo jet for United Airlines’ Eco-Skies programme to reduce its environmental impact. The airliner is seen on approach to Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey on January 29, 2014. A 737-824(WL) (N76516, c/n 37096) was previously used as the Eco-Skies logoship, but was repainted in Star Alliance colours in October 2013.
Bye Aerospace of Denver, Colorado, is developing the Silent Guardian high-altitude long-endurance unmanned air vehicle. It is powered by a Williams International turbofan enabling it to reach its operating altitude quickly, before switching to electric motors to remain on station for extended periods. The UAV uses stored electric power, thin-film solar photovoltaic and other technologies to increase endurance and facilitate quiet operations. Silent Guardian is aimed at fulfilling persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance roles for commercial, defence and security applications. Detailed design work began in November 2013.
The first Sikorsky CH-53K Ground Test Vehicle has been powered up and spun its rotor head as part of trials to confirm the helicopter can operate safely under its own power. Known as ‘bare head light off’ tests, the phase of the programme began at the manufacturer’s West Palm Beach facility in Florida in December 2013, initially using auxiliary power. The next phase will add the main and tail rotor blades leading to a pre-flight acceptance test, before the first flight late this year. Four CH-53Ks will be involved in the flight-test programme. The CH-53K is due to replace the CH-53E Sea Stallion with the US Marine Corps’ heavy helicopter squadrons.
F-35C CF-08 is the first carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter to be assigned to the Joint Operational Test Team based at Edwards Air Force Base.
Two Dassault Rafale Ms carried out cross-landings onboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) on January 13, 2014. The aircraft (19 and 37) flew over from the Charles de Gaulle (R91), part of French Task Force 473, while both warships were operating in the Arabian Gulf. Rafale 19 is seen about to be launched from the US carrier.
At 1315hrs on February 3, 2014 Lockheed MC-130P Combat Shadow 66-0215 (c/n 382-4165) lifted off from RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, heading for the United States as ZEKE 41. The aircraft was the last of the type assigned to the 67th Special Operations Squadron (SOS), 352nd Special Operations Group, at the British airfield. The 67th SOS has operated the HC-130P since it was formed on June 1, 1988, the aircraft type being redesignated to MC-130P within Air Force Special Operations Command units in 1996. MC-130Ps have been replaced by MC-130J Commando I Is within the squadron.