Air International 2014-08
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News
A mock-up of the BrahMos anti-shipping missile mounted under an Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30MKI.
B-2 93-1088 ‘Spirit of Louisiana' is the last of 21 Spirit bombers built. The aircraft is shown inside one the customised B-2 hangars at RAF Fairford.
A KC-135R tanker and a B-2 Spirit above the Cornish coastline.
‘Spirit of Louisiana’ cuts a ghostly shape as it descends into Fairford during twilight hours.
The Boeing QF-16 programme completed a major milestone on June 25, 2014 when the Full Scale Aerial Target participated in its first unmanned live fire exercise at Holloman AFB, New Mexico. The aircraft, QF-16A Block 15 83-0110/‘QF-004’, completed a one-hour sortie, during which it came under live munitions fire. The aircraft was not hit and made a successful landing, guided by Lt Col Brian Swyt, commander of the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, Det. 1, flying in a McDonnell Douglas QF-4 Phantom. Full-scale production of the FSAT at the Boeing facility at Cecil Field in Florida is due to start later this year.
The first Iraq Air Force F-16IQ to fly from the Lockheed Martin plant at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth Texas was two-seat 1601 (c/n RB-01). The aircraft made its maiden flight on May 2, 2014.
A KC-135R tanker and a B-2 Spirit above the Cornish coastline.
The first of the RAF’s Boeing RC-135W Rivet Joint aircraft made its in-flight refuelling debut off the coast of England on June 26, 2014 when ZZ664 (c/n 18773, ex 64-14833) linked up with a 351st Air Refueling Squadron, 100th Air Refueling Wing Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker from RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk. Not operating any tankers equipped with the flying boom, the RAF will have to rely on foreign support for its RC-135W electronic-intelligence gatherers to conduct sorties lasting longer than its roughly 12-hour endurance. No.51 Squadron will eventually operate three RC-135Ws being produced from late production KC-135R airframes by L-3 Communications in Texas. The first arrived at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, on November 12, 2013.
By the end of 2014 there will be 14 tankers within the EATC’s 180 aircraft fleet, four of which are French Air Force veteran Transall C-160Rs.
The Netherlands Aerospace Laboratory found widespread corrosion and excessive wear problems on NHIndustries NH90 NFH N 227 (c/n 1227/NNLN007) of the Dutch Defence Helicopter Command’s 860 Squadron, after it entered a 600-hour inspection on August 28, 2013. It has been grounded since. The helicopter was pictured in June 2013, shortly after returning from the type’s first-ever operational ship-based deployment.
Luftwaffe Tornado IDS 46+05 of Holloman AFB, New Mexico-based Ausbildungsstaffel Tornado (Tornado Training Squadron) within the Fliegerisches Ausbildungszentrum der Luftwaffe (FlgAusbZLw, German Air Force Flying Training Centre) recently received special markings on its tail, depicting the unit’s badge and a stylised version of a road runner, New Mexico’s state bird. The squadron operates 14 Tornados, including six twin-stick aircraft, and is responsible for weapon system training of new Tornado crews - eight pilots and eight weapon system officers per year - as well as two advanced courses: the fighter weapons instructor course and Tornado instructor course.
Boeing C-17A Globemaster III KAF342 (b/n F-264/KAF-1, ex 13-0001) of 41 (Transport) Squadron of the Kuwait Air Force, departed Newcastle International Airport, Tyne and Wear, on June 21, 2014. The aircraft has made three visits to the airport to pick up high value cargo since delivery in February.
The opportunity to practise multiple dry connects and disconnects with B-52s provided good training for some of the boom operators assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing based at RAF Mildenhall.
The B-52 uses a drag chute with a 44ft diameter.
Maintenance personnel gather up a B-52H drag chute.
SA316B Alouette III A-301 of 300 Squadron, Dutch Defence Helicopter Command, with A-275 in the background, at its home base of Gilze-Rijen on June 21, 2014, with the ‘50 years’ markings. Of note are the additional markings on the underside of the fuselage and horizontal stabilizers.
The fifth Indo-French air exercise Garuda V was held at Air Force Station Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India. Four Dassault Rafale C/Bs from the Armee de fair's (French Air Force) Escadron de Chasse 3/30 ‘Lorraine’ were deployed to Jodhpur, supported by a single Boeing C-135FR Stratotanker from Groupe de Ravitaillement en Vol 2/91 ‘Bretagne’. Indian aircraft included Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21bisUPG Bisons, Mikoyan MiG-27UPGs and Sukhoi Su-30MKIs, as well as Ilyushin Il-78MKI tankers and an A-50Ehl airborne early warning and control aircraft. The object of the Garuda exercises is to enhance interoperability and co-operation between the two air forces. Crews fly combat training missions covering a range of realistic scenarios. The 12-day exercise concluded on June 13, 2014.
Armee de l’air (French Air Force) Dassault Rafale C 330/‘113-GU’ of Escadron de Chasse 1/7 ‘Provence’ was painted for the NATO Tiger Meet at Schleswig-Jagel in Germany between June 16 and 27, 2014. Eighteen units from 11 countries (plus a NATO Boeing E-3A Sentry) took part in the meet, which involved just under 60 aircraft, 16 of them receiving special markings.
On June 24, 2014 Embraer 195STD G-NSEY (c/n 19000671, ex PT-EGE) was delivered to Aurigny Air Services, becoming the largest aircraft operated by the airline. Configured for 122 seats in a single-class layout, it was ordered in August 2013. The regional jet entered service on the Guernsey to London Gatwick route, which it flies four times a day.
Typhoon 30+09 of Jagdgeschwader 74 based at Neuburg won the 'Painted Tail' award during the NATO Tiger Meet at Schleswig-Jagel in Germany between June 16 and 26, 2014. The award is presented for the aircraft judged to have the best scheme. The wing took over the Tiger Association membership of Jagdbombergeschwader 32 after that wing disbanded at Lechfield in March 2013.
Unpainted Typhoon FGR4 ZK328 (bin BS089) on the Aircraft Servicing Platform at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, on June 12, 2014 while receiving attention at the Typhoon Maintenance Facility. It had its paint removed as part of the process, showing the different materials used in its construction. First flown on October 4, 2011, ZK328 arrived at RAF Coningsby on December 15 that year.
Mil Mi-171 Sh Hip ‘16' yellow is a recent delivery to the Kazakh Border Service from the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant. The helicopter is one of a pair ordered in 2012 to undertake day and night-time patrols. It will also transport special forces to detain people crossing the border illegally.
Initial examples of Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback fighter-bombers delivered in 2014 were flown to Morozovsk AB, Rostov Oblast, from the Novosibirsk aircraft plant in Siberia on June 10. Morozovsk AB is assigned to the 6872nd Air Base. Ninety-two Su-34s were ordered on March 1, 2012, adding to 32 already delivered under the terms of a contract signed in December 2008. The recent deliveries are the first under the 2014 State Defence Order.
Eurocopter X3 F-ZXXX leading a Dassault Alpha Jet E of the Patrouille de France. The hybrid helicopter reused the fuselage from the AS365N4 development airframe.
Airbus A320-271N(WL) F-WNEO was rolled out on July 1, 2014 after painting in corporate colours. It is the first of eight A320neo family airliners that will participate in the flight test and certification campaign.
Airbus A321-231(WL) A6-AEC (right) and A320-232(WL) A6-EIX are respectively the 100th and 101st airliners delivered to Etihad Airways, both arriving in June 2014.
The fifth Indo-French air exercise Garuda V was held at Air Force Station Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India. Four Dassault Rafale C/Bs from the Armee de fair's (French Air Force) Escadron de Chasse 3/30 ‘Lorraine’ were deployed to Jodhpur, supported by a single Boeing C-135FR Stratotanker from Groupe de Ravitaillement en Vol 2/91 ‘Bretagne’. Indian aircraft included Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21bisUPG Bisons, Mikoyan MiG-27UPGs and Sukhoi Su-30MKIs, as well as Ilyushin Il-78MKI tankers and an A-50Ehl airborne early warning and control aircraft. The object of the Garuda exercises is to enhance interoperability and co-operation between the two air forces. Crews fly combat training missions covering a range of realistic scenarios. The 12-day exercise concluded on June 13, 2014.
Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner EI-LNF (c/n 35313) on approach to runway 01R at Stockholm-Arlanda in Sweden on June 26, 2014. It was delivered to Norwegian at Oslo Airport on May 29 on lease from the International Lease Finance Corporation.
Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner ZK-NZE (c/n 34334) at Paine Field, Washington on July 9, 2014, two days before its delivery flight to Auckland.
By the end of 2014 there will be 14 tankers within the EATC’s 180 aircraft fleet, four of which are French Air Force veteran Transall C-160Rs.
The fuselage of General Atomics Aeronautical System Inc MQ-9 Reaper ZZ209 is lifted out of its travelling container at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan on April 3, 2014. The airframe is one of five more recently deployed to Afghanistan.
Departing runway 06R at Palma de Mallorca on June 16, 2014, Aero Nova ATR 42-320 EC-IDG (msn 003, ex F-WQNE) is based at Burgos-Villafria in northern Spain for the summer season for charter flights to Mediterranean destinations including Alicante, Malaga and the Balearic Islands. It has special titles (‘Burgos origen y destino’ - Burgos origin and destination) on its forward fuselage for the duration. The turboprop is the oldest active ATR, having first flown on April 30, 1985.
Alenia C-27J Spartan l-RAID on approach to Turin-Caselle, Italy, on June 30, 2014. The transport is the third produced for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and will become A34-003 upon delivery. The RAAF has ten C-27Js on order. The first flew on December 18, 2013, and was due to be handed over around the time AIR International went to press. The type will enter service with 35 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond, New South Wales.
The first Airbus Helicopters EC225 for the Spanish SASEMAR (Sociedad Estatal de Salvamento Maritimo) arrived at the manufacturer's facility at Albacete on June 11, 2014 after a 3.5 hours flight from the company's site at Marignane, France. The contract for the helicopter (EC-004, c/n 2892) was signed on September 5, 2011. It is part of SASEMAR's plan to gradually replace Sikorsky S-61Ns operating in the northeast of the country and from the Canary Islands on all-weather rescue and surveillance missions. It will be repainted in the white and red colours of SASEMAR prior to delivery.
Airbus A350-941 (F-WWYB, msn 005) completed its maiden flight on June 20, 2014. The airliner has been completed to the definitive configuration in which the type will be certified, and is equipped with a passenger cabin. During certification it will undertake route proving and ETOPS validation. At the time of this, the fifth, A350's first flight, more than 2,000 flight test hours had been accumulated by the test fleet and the type is set to achieve certification in the third quarter of this year. Qatar Airways will take delivery of the first A350 to enter service in the fourth quarter.
The prototype Mitsubishi Regional Jet at the company’s facility at Nagoya following mating of the wings to the fuselage, and prior to the addition of the engines.
Embraer Executive Jets delivered its 500th Phenom series jet on June 4, 2014, five-and-a-half years after the first entered service. The aircraft, a Phenom 300 (PR-SAD, c/n 50500220), went to Prime Fraction Club, a Brazilian fractional ownership company which operates three other Phenoms in addition to helicopters, boats and sports cars. Phenoms are now flying with 400 operators in 37 countries, and have logged total flight time in excess of 370,000 hours.
HondaJet N420EX, the first production example of the light business jet, flying for the first time on June 27, 2014.
An Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) signals the pilot of an F/A-18F Super Hornet to stop as it approaches a catapult aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Could the US Navy’s $1.94 billion contract, awarded on June 30, 2014, be the last production lot of the Super Hornet?
Dutch Defence Helicopter Command AH-64D Apache Q-02 at its home base Robert Gray Army Airfield, Texas, on June 4, 2014, a few days after it was re­delivered to 302 Squadron following its upgrade to Block II standard.
The first of the RAF’s Boeing RC-135W Rivet Joint aircraft made its in-flight refuelling debut off the coast of England on June 26, 2014 when ZZ664 (c/n 18773, ex 64-14833) linked up with a 351st Air Refueling Squadron, 100th Air Refueling Wing Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker from RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk. Not operating any tankers equipped with the flying boom, the RAF will have to rely on foreign support for its RC-135W electronic-intelligence gatherers to conduct sorties lasting longer than its roughly 12-hour endurance. No.51 Squadron will eventually operate three RC-135Ws being produced from late production KC-135R airframes by L-3 Communications in Texas. The first arrived at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, on November 12, 2013.
Eurocopter X3 F-ZXXX leading a Dassault Alpha Jet E of the Patrouille de France. The hybrid helicopter reused the fuselage from the AS365N4 development airframe.
The Mitsubishi ATD-X Shinshin 51-001 during its official roll out.
Two US Navy F/A-18C Hornets transitioned Moron AB in Spain on July 3, 2014 as TABOR 21 and 22. Neither aircraft (BuNos 164223/'311' and 164217/‘305’) carried squadron markings but are understood to be assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 113 (VFA-113) ‘Stingers’ based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California. The squadron is understood to be deploying to support operations in US Central Command’s theatre of operations.
Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout BuNo 168213 completed its first flight equipped with a Telephonies Corporation AN/ZPY-4(v)1 (RDR1700B+) multi-mode maritime surveillance radar mounted in a nose radome on June 16, 2014 at the Webster Field Annex at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. The AN/ZPY-4(v)1 can operate in synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indicator modes and will complement the turret-mounted FLIR Systems Brite Star II electro-optical/infrared system under the forward fuselage. An initial deployment with the Fire Scout carrying the new sensor is due next year.
Aviastar at Ulyanovsk in the Volga Federal District rolled out Ilyushin IL-76MD-90A (11-476) c/n 0103 on June 17, 2014, transferring it from the final assembly line for painting at the co-located Spektr-Avia facility. The transport is the first of 39 for the Voyenno-Vozdushniye Sily (Russian Air Force), ordered in October 2012, 13 of which are in various stages of production. Delivery of the initial example is due before the end of the year.
Airbus A321-231 YI-AQU (msn 1878, ex TC-ATO) of Iraqi carrier Zagrosjet seen on approach to Amsterdam-Schiphol during the airline’s second flight to the Netherlands, on July 3, 2014. The Dutch capital was one of two European destinations added to Zagrosjet's expanding network at the end of June, the other being Munich in Germany. A year on from launching operations, the carrier now serves nine destinations via 29 return flights per week from its home base at Erbil in Kurdistan, northern Iraq. It currently operates three aircraft, the other two being A320s.
Airbus A321-231(WL) A6-AEC (right) and A320-232(WL) A6-EIX are respectively the 100th and 101st airliners delivered to Etihad Airways, both arriving in June 2014.
Sukhoi Su-27UBK 30202 of the 19th Air Division landing on the Zhengzhou to Minquan highway during tests conducted by the PLAAF on May 25, 2014.
Boeing delivered the 1,500th Boeing 747 on June 28, 2014, the first widebody commercial airliner to reach the production milestone. THe aircraft (7470830 D-ABYP, c/n 37839) is the 14th 747-8 Intercontinental handed over to Lufthansa since the first in April 2012 and it has a further five on order. The Boeing 777 is expected to be the next widebody to reach 1,500 deliveries, in around three years' time, based on currently monthly production rates for the airliner.
Bell 412 N411DE (c/n 36030) of the US Department of Energy made a rare public appearance at the 2014 American Heroes Airshow at Hansen Dam Recreation Center, near Los Angeles, California, on June 21. The specially equipped helicopter has two large pods outside the cabin housing radiation detection equipment. It detects ambient radiation and the data is used to establish background levels for an area. The sensors can also distinguish different radiation types and possible sources. The helicopter is used on joint projects conducted by the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and the National Nuclear Security Administration.