Air International 2012-03
News
Sukhoi Su-25Ks 246 (c/n 25508110046) and 253 (c/n 25508110053) of 22 Shturmova Aviacionna Basa (ground attack air base), Bulgarian Air Force. The aircraft will remain in service for at least another year.
A military parade was held in Caracus, the capital of Venezuela, on February 4, 2012 that included a flypast by assets of the Aviation Militar National Bolivariana (Venezuelan National Military Aviation). Three Sukhoi Su-30MKV Flankers plus some helicopters took part in the parade to commemorate the 20th anniversary of a failed coup, led by the current president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, against Carlos Andres Perez Rodriguez's regime.
More than 100 A-10C Thunderbolt Ils like this one will be retired as a result of cuts imposed as part of the FY 2013 US defence budget.
Eurocopter EC155B1 F-WMXD is being used by the manufacturer as a testbed for 'Blue Edge' double-swept rotorblades. The helicopter has been operating from Marseille-Marignane is southern France.
Seen on February 3, 2012 undertaking a local sortie from the AgustaWestland facility at Yeovil, Somerset, was AW101 Mk 610 ZR331 (c/n 50231), believed to be the last of its type due for delivery to the Algerian Navy. It was expected to be have been handed over as AIR International went to press. It has been equipped with a forward-looking infra-red/electro-optical turret. From Algeria's initial order for six AW101 and four Super Lynx Mk 130s placed in late 2007, three AW101s have been confirmed as delivered, while two others are believed to have been handed over unannounced. Three of the four Super Lynx are also known to be in Algeria. The last Super Lynx for Algeria (c/n 468, with the test serial ZK184) has recently been noted flying from Yeovil. Aircrew type training commenced on the Super Lynx at Newquay Airport, Cornwall, in February 2010, while AW101 training was conducted at the same site between May 2010 and November 2011.
Noted on a test flight near Yeovil, Somerset, on January 27, 2012 was AgustaWestland AW101-643 ZR336 (c/n 50241). The helicopter is the first of two for the Turkmenistan Government, which will operate them as VIP transports for senior members of its administration. Finmeccanica (AgustaWestland's parent company) announced on November 4, 2011, that it had sold an unspecified number of AW101s and AW139s to Turkmenistan, but no further details have been released.
A never-before-seen formation comprising Gulf Air A330-200 A6C-KB and Royal Bahraini Air Force F-16Cs 202, 203, 205 and 206 of the 2nd Tactical Fighter Squadron based at Shaikh Isa AB.
The last three of five Bell 206B-3 JetRanger IIIs, purchased by the Argentine Army for the Army Aviation School, arrived at Campo de Mayo Military Aerodrome in early February 2012. The second-hand helicopters were bought via a Foreign Military Sales programme and overhauled prior to handover. They will replace the Hiller UH-12ETs used on the helicopter pilot joint course. The first pair (including AE-365, c/n 4550, ex N225FS, seen here) was delivered on December 7, 2011, and are already in service.
Tornado GR4 ZG775/'134' of the RAF Marham Wing, carrying No.14 Squadron markings, wears over 40 mission markings gained during Operation Ellamy over Libya. It was one of the 16 Tornados deployed to Gioia del Colle in Italy during the operation, alongside GR4s ZA406/'015‘, ZA452/'021', ZA459/'F', ZA553/'045', ZA559/'049‘, ZA587/'055', ZA613/‘075', ZD715/'083', ZD719/'085', ZD720/'086', ZD739/'087', ZD746/'094' and ZD850/‘111', plus GR4As ZA369/'003‘ and ZG705/'118'. The exact number of Tornados that participated in the campaign and received mission markings has not been revealed, as in addition to the aircraft that operated from Gioia del Colle long-range strikes were also flown by an unidentified number from RAF Marham, Norfolk.
Noted at Malta International Airport on January 28, 2012 was Ilyushin Il-76TD Candid 5A-DRS (c/n 1033414474, ex RA-76367) in Libyan Air Cargo colours. The aircraft has been repainted with the new Libyan flag on the tail, which is being added to the carrier's aircraft following the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime. Libyan Air Cargo's Candid fleet is operated on behalf on the Libyan Air Force and the transport's visit to Malta is believed to have been related to the return to Libya of the two Dassault Mirage F1s that were interned at the airport after their pilots defected in February 2011. How many Libyan Il-76s survived the recent conflict in unknown.
The second prototype Tu-204SM (64151, seen here) made its first flight on August 3, 2011. Although several airlines have expressed an interest in the type, no orders have yet been announced.
AgustaWestland AW109SP GrandNew JA01 KG (c/n 22256) is the first example of the variant delivered in Japan. It was delivered to Kagoshima International Aviation on December 26, 2011. It's seen here parked next to AW109E Power JA02KG (c/n 11090, ex G-WNAA).
Seen on approach to Melbourne-Tullamarine International Airport, Victoria in Australia, on January 26, 2012, Boeing 777-319ER ZK-OKQ (c/n 40689) of Air New Zealand wears a special scheme to celebrate the rugby World Cup championship victory of the New Zealand team, the All Blacks. It was rolled out of the paint shop at Paine Field Airport, Everett, Washington, and first flew on December 30, 2011. The airliner was ferried to Auckland Airport in New Zealand between January 10 and 12. Air New Zealand is a long-term sponsor of the All Blacks. It will operate six aircraft in the scheme by the middle of 2012, including two Airbus A320s and three Beech 1900Ds.
An unusual visitor to Stansted Airport in Essex recently was Armee de l'Air du Cameroun (Cameroon Air Force) Lockheed C-130H Hercules TJ-XCF (c/n 4747) of the Escadrille de Transporte (Transport Squadron) based at Yaounde. The transport is seen leaving the airport on January 25, 2012. It was delivered as TJX-AC in August 1977, but was damaged by fire while on the ground at Marseilles, France, in December 1989. The aircraft was rebuilt by Sogerma at Bordeaux and redelivered to Cameroon in March 2005 with the new registration.
During January 2012, Lockheed Martin KC-130J Hercules MM62184/'46-49' (c/n 5513) of 50° Gruppo, 463 Brigata Aerea, based at Pisa-San Giusto, conducted air-to-air refuelling training with Eurofighter Typhoons. Three single-seat EF2000s (including MM7287/’4-3‘ of IX Gruppo CIO) and a two-seater - all from 4° Stormo, based at Grosseto AB - took part in the recent sortie. The Italian Air Force conducts regular training sorties to keep its pilots current in the technique.
The first upgraded Beriev A-50U Mainstay airborne early warning and control system entered service with the Russian Air Force on January 17, 2012. It was delivered to the air arm on October 31, 2011 and completed a series of state acceptance tests at Ivanovo before officially entering service.
Airbus conducted initial test flights of the new two metre high sharklet wingtips fitted to A320-200 F-WWBA (msn 001) in November 2011.
The 5,000th aircraft from the A320 family, OD-MRL (msn 5000), was delivered to Lebanon's national carrier, Middle East Airlines, on January 20, 2012.
Airbus A320-232 CS-TFY (msn 1868, ex N548JB) has been operated by Master Jet since February 2009. The former JetBlue Airways airliner was repainted in the 'Nile Spirit' colour scheme at Toulouse in France during November and December 2008 before being reconfigured with a 26-seat VIP interior at Woensdrecht Airport in the Netherlands. The aircraft is seen here at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport on January 27, 2012.
Airbus A320-214 B-LPB (msn 4970, ex F-WWID) is the first of 30 of the type to be delivered to Hong Kong Airlines. The carrier ordered the airliners in September 2007. All of the aircraft will be powered by CFM International CFM56s and configured for 152 passengers, and will operate on services from Hong Kong to destinations in mainland China, north and southeast Asia.
Under the FY 2013 US defence budget, 18 RQ-4B Global Hawk remotely-piloted aircraft will be retired.
The Dassault nEUROn unmanned combat air vehicle was unveiled at Istres on January 24, 2012 in front of industry representatives.
The first Aer Arann ATR 42-300 painted in Aer Lingus Regional Colours (EI-CBK, c/n 199, ex F-WWEM, named St Fintan/Fionntain) is seen departing Dublin for the Isle of Man on January 21, 2012 on its initial revenue earning service in the new colours.
Gulfstream G550 XA-ALC (c/n 5116, ex EC-JYR) was an unusual visitor to East Midlands Airport, Leicestershire. The executive aircraft arrived from Humberside Airport, Lincolnshire, on January 13, 2012. It is operated by an unidentified Mexican corporate entity.
The prototype Citation Ten (N750CT, c/n E750-716001) lifts off from Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita, Kansas, during its maiden flight on January 17, 2012.
Armee de I'Air (French Air Force) Dassault Falcon 2000LX 231/F-RAFC (c/n 231) was used by the French delegation to travel to the 42nd World Economic Forum held at Davos, Switzerland, between January 25 and 29, 2012. It is seen here at Zurich Airport. The aircraft was delivered to Villacoublay on November 7, 2011 and entered service with Escadron de Transport, d'Entrainement et de Calibration 65 (ETEC 65, transport, training and calibration squadron). It is the first of two (the second, to become F-RAFD, has yet to be delivered) ordered to replace Falcon 50s, which will be transferred to the French Navy.
The 400th production Citation Mustang on the assembly line at Independence, Kansas. The aircraft was rolled out, minus its engines, on January 21, 2012.
Dassault Falcon 7X VP-BZE (c/n 14, ex F-WWUK) of Stork Ltd/Flying Lion is seen at Roatan International Airport on the island of Roatan in Honduras in early January 2012. Deliveries of large business jets are expected to grow.
The last operational British Aerospace BAe 111 in the UK, ZH763 (c/n 263), is due to be replaced by an Avro RJ in 2012. ZH763 is operated by QinetiQ from Boscombe Down, Wiltshire.
T-38C Talon 68-8150/'TY' of the 82nd ATRS, 43rd FW, is part of the T-38 Adversary Air Program. The aircraft has silhouettes of F-22 Raptors in the silver band on its tail.
PZL-Swidnik W-3WA Sokol 0915 (c/n 360915) was assigned to the 36 Specialny Pulk Lotnictwa Transportowego (36th Special Air Transport Regiment) based at Warszaw Okecie Airport. The unit disbanded on January 3, 2012 and the helicopters were transferred to 1 Bazy Lotnictwa Transportowego (1st Air Transport Base).
TAM Airlines operates a daily service between Sao Paulo and London-Heathrow. Airbus A330-223 PT-MVU is seen on take-off from Heathrow on January 15, 2012.
Airbus A330-343E 9M-XXF (msn 1126) is seen on approach to Melbourne-Tullamarine International Airport, Victoria in Australia, on January 15, 2012. The airliner carries a special scheme and 'Now Everyone Can Fly to Malaysia' titles. The Petronas Towers are depicted on the tail. The aircraft was painted in the new colours in late December 2011.
The first Eurocopter AS532AL Cougar for the Albanian Air Force (FA-630) has been noted flying from the manufacturer's facility at Marignane in France. It first flew late last year and is one of five of the type ordered in December 2009 under a €78.6 million contract. All are scheduled to be delivered by early 2013.
Royal Saudi Air Force F-15S 9202 of 92 Squadron based at King Abdullah Aziz AB in Dhahran departs Nellis AFB carrying a 2,000lb GBU-24/B laser-guided bomb.
Republic of Korea Air Force F-15Ks on the end of runway ramp at Nellis AFB after a Red Flag night sortie.
Two-seat Robinson R22s and four-seat R44s outside the factory at Zamperini Field in Torrance, California.
The first of three Airbus Military C212-400 aircraft 8981 ordered by the Vietnam Marine Police in June 2008 was awaiting delivery in early February 2012. It is seen at Nykoping Airport, Sweden on February 2 wearing Swedish test registration SE-MGX. Nykoping is home to Saab's Special Flight Operations Support and Services division which is integrating the aircraft's MSS 6000 maritime surveillance system. Fully integrated, the MSS 6000 system comprises Swedish Space Corp/Saab Ericsson side-looking airborne radar, automatic identification system, Canon still and video cameras, Linescanner infra-red/ultra-violet Argon AA 3503 sensors, L3 Wescam MX-15 multi-sensor turret and high-speed satellite data link and HF radio communications.
The first Mikoyan MiG-29M2 for the Syrian Air Force is undergoing evaluation at Zhukovsky.
Hermes 900 (Elbit Number 002) is seen with at least four payloads including Elbit's electro-optical sensors: COMPASS (compact multi-purpose advanced stabilized system, front) and AMPS (advanced multi-sensor payload system, rear). The Israel Air and Space Force ordered the Hermes 900 in 2010, and it is presumed that 002 is testing the IASF configuration, though it is not yet known if the IASF Hermes 900 package includes the Chariot of Fire payload.
Demand for the Ecureuil family of helicopters increased by 66% in 2011 when Eurocopter received firm orders for 238 aircraft.
An Apache AH1 deploys flares against a simulated surface-to-air missile over the Spadeadam range during Exercise Lightning Force 2012.
Electronic Attack Squadron 141 'Shadowhawks', an EA-18G squadron based at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington will move to NAF Atsugi, Japan and join Carrier Air Wing 5. In April 2011, VAQ-141 was the first EA-18G squadron to deploy at sea, embarking as part of CVWS aboard the USS George H.W. Bush.
Wildcat AH 1 ZZ398 was the first production example of the helicopter to fly, making its maiden flight on April 20, 2011.
Mil Mi-17 helicopter crews of the Afghan Air Force are seen conducting a pre-flight briefing at Fayzabad in Badakhshan province, Afghanistan, on January 24, 2012. The Afghan crews, alongside members of the US Air Force's 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron, were preparing to fly their Mil Mi-17 helicopters to extract people injured by an avalanche near the village of Shewa.
The fourth prototype Gulfstream G650 (N650GD, c/n 6004) was noted visiting Boeing Field/King County International Airport, Washington, on January 27, 2012, arriving from Savannah, Georgia, where the aircraft is built and the test fleet based, using the radio callsign Gulf Test 58. Flight test of the Gulfstream G650 continues, with the aim of first customer deliveries starting in the second quarter of 2012.
A MQ-8B Fire Scout on the USS Simpson during the first solo deployment of the UAV without an embarked manned helicopter.
The Dassault Rafale has emerged victorious from India's long-running search for a new combat aircraft.
A crew chief with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 (VMGR-352), performs a preflight inspection on a Harvest Hawk-equipped KC-130J at Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan.
An aviation ordnance chief with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252), conducts post-flight Hellfire missile inspections on a Harvest Hawk variant of a KC-130J Hercules at Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan.
The 2,400th C-130 Hercules, MC-130J Combat Shadow II 08-6201, at Marietta, Georgia, prior to being delivered to Air Force Special Operations Command.
The Harvest Hawk-equipped KC-130J carries four AGM-114 Hellfire missiles on the outer weapon station.
The Harvest Hawk system includes a version of the target sight sensor used on the AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter as well as a complement often AGM-175 Griffin and four AGM-114 Hellfire missiles (as shown).
A fire control officer at the Harvest Hawk control station onboard a KC-130J during a mission over Afghanistan.
Boeing E-767 84-3504/'504' (c/n 28017, ex N767JD) of the Japan Air Self Defence Force is seen at Boeing Field/King County International Airport, Washington. The aircraft was moved from the military ramp to Boeing's hangar on January 8, 2012. The aircraft arrived at the airport in late 2011, following the redelivery of 74-3503 to the Hiko Keikai Ka (Air Warning and Control Squadron) following upgrade. The modernisation of the four E-767s was announced in May 2006 and involves installation of Radar System Improvement Program Group A and B kits, plus navigation upgrades. Boeing was awarded a contract to install the new equipment in April 2011.
One of the many VIP aircraft at Zurich Airport in Switzerland during January 2012's 42nd World Economic Forum was Ukrainian Government Airbus A319-115 Corporate Jet UR-ABA (msn 3260, ex OE-IAC).
Boeing 737-4H6 N829AR (c/n 26460, ex 9Q-MQC), seen at Toulouse Airport in France on January 23, 2012 during its delivery flight, is the first of the variant destined for Shaheen Air of Pakistan. It previously served with Malaysia Airlines before being sold to the AAR Corporation and stored at Indianapolis International Airport, Indiana, from October 2011. Shaheen Air is based at Jinnah International Airport and operates a fleet of Boeing 737-200s on passenger, cargo and charter services.
Boeing 747-8K8 (BBJ) N5022E/A7-HHE (RC002, c/n 37544) is destined for delivery to the Qatar Amiri Flight. The aircraft is seen prior to take-off on a test flight from runway 16 at Paine Field in Everett, Washington on February 10, 2012.
The final service by a Boeing 747-400 in Aerolineas Argentinas service took place on January 31, 2011.
Boeing 737-8JP LN-NOY (c/n 39419) was delivered to AWAS Aviation Services on January 10, 2012. AWAS will lease the aircraft to Norwegian Air Shuttle. The airliner is the first produced after the build rate for the 737 Next Generation was raised to 35 a month. On the same day, the 35th example assembled under the new schedule was rolled off the production line at Renton, Washington. Renton has also been selected as the site for 737 MAX production. Boeing will increase the number of 737s built each month to 38 in the second quarter of 2013 and 42 in the first half of 2014.
At the time of the collapse of Malev, two of its aircraft were outside Hungary, one in Ireland and the other at Tel Aviv, Israel. Boeing 737-7Q8 HA-LOI (c/n 29350) was at Dublin Airport on February 3, 2012 and was towed to a remote area and surrounded by vehicles to stop it being flown away, as the airline was said to owe money to the Dublin Airport Authority and local handling agent Servisair.
Noted visiting Newcastle Airport on February 3, 2012 was Boeing 737-7DP Boeing Business Jet HZ-101 (c/n 32805, ex HZ-102). The aircraft is assigned to the Royal Flight/No.1 Squadron at Riyadh-King Khalid Air Base, which operates the aircraft on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and Aviation.
Lockheed U-2S 80-1070 and 80-1090 (seen here) transited RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, on January 26, 2012 on their way to Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates from Beale AFB, California. At Al Dhafra the aircraft are operated by the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, assigned to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing.
Last year current ATR operator AZUL Linhas Aereas of Brazil placed firm orders for 10 ATR 72-600s plus options for a further ten examples.
The Shadow Knight compound aircraft is being proposed for the US Navy's MRMUAS programme.