Air International 2014-01
UAE Navy AS565SB Panther, serial number 197, armed with four dummy radar- guided AS-15TT anti-shipping missiles formed part of the static display at this year’s Dubai Air Show. This is the first AS565 to be returned to the service following overhaul and modification by Abu Dhabi based AMMROC (Advanced Military Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Centre) and Eurocopter.
AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin Mk 512 M-512 fast and low during the recent deployment to NAF El Centro, California.
One notable aspect of CRUZEX 2013 was participation by teams from the US and Venezuela both flying F-16 Fighting Falcons.
Two FAB F-2000Cs air-refuel with a KC-130H tanker during a Cruzex mission.
Cruzex 2013 was the last exercise for the Brazilian F-2000s, which are due to be retired at the end of the year.
Emirates' latest A380 A6-EEO with the UAE's Al Fursan aerobatic team at the Dubai Air Show.
Test pilot for BAE Systems, Nat Makepeace, completed the maiden flight of the first Tranche 3 Eurofighter Typhoon from Warton, Lancashire, on December 2, 2013. The aircraft (ZK355, b/n BS116) was assembled to accommodate the new systems to be introduced on the version - including a new active electronically-scanned array radar and conformal fuel tanks - although most have not been installed in the airframe. The RAF will receive 40 Tranche 3A aircraft, while a further 72 will be built for Germany, Italy and Spain. Meanwhile, on December 4 the Luftwaffe received the 400th Typhoon (31+06, bln GS082) during a ceremony at EADS Cassidian's Military Air Systems Centre in Manching, Germany.
Among the various United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence (UAEAF&AD) aircraft on display at the Dubai Air Show was Pilatus PC-21 947 (c/n 141). An order for 25 aircraft for the UAEAF&AD was announced on November 17, 2009. The first example flew at Stans, Switzerland, on November 22, 2010. Deliveries commenced in the first quarter of 2011 and the last nine arrived in the UAE 12 months later. The aircraft are assigned to the Khalifa bin Zayed Air College, at Al Ain and flown by 4 Squadron.
A Fuerza Aerea Uruguaya OA-37B Dragonfly on short finals to land at Base Aerea de Natal.
Three Fuerza Aerea Colombiana OA-37Bs taxi from their parking spots underneath sun shelters for a Cruzex sortie from Natal.
Flight training by crews based at RAF Benson, Oxfordshire, on the Puma Mk 2 began in late November 2013, including operations from the Stanford Training Area in Norfolk. Personnel from both Nos. 33 and 230 Squadrons have begun the process of converting to the upgraded tactical transport helicopter, which has new avionics and more powerful engines than the Puma HC1. Seven of the 24 Pumas due to be modernised have been redelivered to the RAF and all are due to be returned to service by 2015.
Venezuelan Military Aviation’s Y-8F-200 2509 assigned to Escuadron 61 based at El Libertador AB provided airlift support for its F-16 team.
Airbus A320-214(WL) EC-LZD (msn 5642, ex CS-TRM) leased from Orbest of Portugal was used by Spanish charter start­up Evelop Airlines to begin operations. The airliner was delivered on November 23, 2013, and was seen on approach to San Pablo Airport in Seville three days later. It is based at Tenerife Sur. Evelop will use Orbest's air operator certificate (AOC) until at least April 2014, when it plans to transfer the airliner to its own AOC.
Conducting its maiden flight at Toulouse-Blagnac in France on November 27, 2013 was Airbus A320-214(WL) F-WWIV (msn 5891). The airliner is due to be delivered to AirBlue of Pakistan as AP-EDG, its first equipped with Sharklet wingtip devices.
The Fuerza Aerea Uruguaya sent three IA-58 Pucaras to Cruzex 2013.
A busy flight line at Natal during Cruzex 2013.
The fifth Airbus A330-302 delivered to Iberia is the first of the airline’s fleet to appear in its new colour scheme. The airliner (EC-LYF, msn 1437, ex F-WWKA) named Juan Carlos I was delivered on November 14, 2013 and was noted at Madrid-Barajas Airport in Spain on November 30.
Airbus Military C295M EC-004 (msn S-109) departed San Pablo Airport, Seville in Spain, on December 3, 2013 for the Arab Republic of Egypt Air Force as 1187/SU-BSF. Egypt ordered 12 C295Ms in three batches, the latest placed in January 2013 covering six aircraft. Deliveries were suspended by Spain on August 28 because of the high level of violence in Egypt, although periodic reviews of the situation were undertaken. Two further C295Ms in Egyptian colours have recently been noted conducting test flights at San Pablo: msn S-103 on November 25 and S-110 the next day. By then msn S-103 had regained Egyptian camouflage and roundels, having been seen in an all-white scheme with United Nations titles in late September, when it was understood to be destined for Ghana.
The first Israeli Blue Flag exercise was held at Ovda air base between November 24 and 28, 2013. Upgraded F-15D Baz 450 of 133 Squadron, equipped with a satellite communication antenna aft of the cockpit, is pictured departing Ovda for a sortie during Blue Flag on November 26. In addition to the host nation's combat aircraft Greece (F-16 Block 52s of 340 Mira, based at Souda), Italy (Tornados of 155° Gruppo, 50° Stormo from Piacenza, and Istrana-based AMXs of 51° Stormo) and the US Air Force (F-15Es of the 492nd Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Wing from RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk) also sent fighters to the exercise. The overseas visitors spent the week before Blue Flag started familiarising themselves with procedures and operations in Israeli airspace. Air-to-air and air-to-surface missions were conducted as part of the training, during which the multinational Blue Force operated against a Red Force lead by Israel’s aggressor unit, 115 Squadron.
CRUZEX 2013 was the first in the series to feature the newly-modernised A-1M AMX, introduced into Brazilian Air Force service in September.
The US Air Force has taken delivery of the final McDonnell Douglas QF-4 Phantom II converted as a Full-Scale Aerial Target. QF-4 68-0599 was delivered to the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron, 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, at Tyndall AFB, Florida, on November 19, 2013, flown by the BAE Systems’ director of flight operations, Jeff Percy. RF-4C 68-0599 spent more than 20 years in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, before departing on April 17, 2013 for conversion at BAE Systems' facility at Mojave Air and Space Port, California. It is due to be expended as a target for a fighter. Approximately 60 of the 314 QF-4s delivered to the US Air Force remain in service at Tyndall AFB and Holloman AFB, New Mexico.
A surprise exhibit in the static park at the Dubai Air Show was a United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence (UAEAF&AD) Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, serial 2257, seen for the first time armed with AGM-114M/K Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. The aircraft is operated by the UAEAF&AD’s Joint Aviation Command and based at Falaj Hazza Camp in Al Ain, along with the unit’s AT-802U border patrol aircraft. Sierra Nevada Corporation upgraded the UAEAF&AD Caravans by integrating the FLIR Systems BRITE Star 380HD EO/ IR sensor and the AGM-114 Hellfire.
Sukhoi T-50-5 ‘055’ blue arriving at Zhukovsky on November 20, 2013, after arriving from Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
The FAB provided 14 F-5EMs for Cruzex 2013.
An FAB F-5EM returns to parking at Natal after an afternoon mission.
Assembly of Eurocopter EC175s under way on the production line at Marignane in France.
Bombardier B415 UD14-04/‘43-34’ (c/n 2090), still wearing its test registration C-GWEQ, arrived at Torrejon AB on November 29, 2013. The water-bomber is seen four days later at the air base where it has joined three others serving with Grupo 43. The aircraft order, placed by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, was announced on October 17, 2013.
Abu Dhabi-based Adcom Systems displayed a mock-up of its twin turbofan-powered Global Yabhon unmanned air vehicle at the Dubai Air Show. The air vehicle has two sets of wings each spanning over 85ft (26m) and no less than 18 hard points. The mock-up was surrounded by a variety of weapons including cruise missiles and torpedoes. Adcom's Professor Eng George Wolf, confirmed that a prototype is expected to fly within four months and that the first delivery to an unspecified launch customer would take place within ten months.
McDonnell Douglas MD-87 N572SH (c/n 49780, ex LV-BZH) of Ansett Worldwide is the first of the type destined for Aserca Airlines Venezuela. It has been stored at Opa Locka Executive Airport in Florida, since March 8, 2013. A second MD-87 (N599SH, c/n 49727, ex LV-BSC) is also due to be used by the airline - which began operations in 1991 and currently has 11 MD-82/83s and four DC-9-31/32s, some six of which are stored. It serves domestic destinations in Venezuela and international routes to Dominica and Aruba.
FAB AH-2 Sabres (Mi-35 Hinds), participated in Cruzex for the first time during this edition of the exercise.
Boeing 737-3U3 CP-2815 (c/n 28738, ex ZK-SJC) undergoing maintenance at Opa Locka Executive Airport in Florida on December 4, 2013. The airliner is due to be delivered to Boliviana de Aviacion. Owned by GECAS, it was previously flown by Air New Zealand before being stored from June 3, 2013, at Christchurch International Airport. Boliviana de Aviacion currently has nine 737-300s and a single -500 in service, plus a Boeing 767-200ER.
Central African Republic carrier Karinou Airlines plans to add a Boeing 737-300 to join its sole 737-2H4(A) (TL-AEG, c/n 23109, ex OD-AMB). The new aircraft (737-36N N11AQ, c/n 28650, ex PR-WJU) was parked at Miami International Airport in Florida in early December 2013. It will become TL-ASM upon delivery.
On December 2, 2013 WestJet and Walt Disney World unveiled ‘The Magic Plane’, Boeing 737-8CT(WL) C-GWSZ/‘812' (c/n 37092, ex N1787B) features Disney's Mickey Mouse, as depicted in the film Fantasia, on the tail and various fireworks along the fuselage on a dark blue background. ‘The Magic Plane' made its inaugural flight on December 3 from Calgary, Alberta, to Orlando, Florida, and is seen two days later arriving at Toronto Lester B Pearson International, Ontario. The scheme was applied to the airliner over 24 days by 26 people and will be kept for five years.
AgustaWestland's projected Fire Scout-class Tactical Maritime Unmanned Air System concept.
United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence (UAEAF&AD) Air Tractor AT-802U border patrol aircraft, serial 2202, made the type’s public debut at this year’s Dubai Air Show. The aircraft, one of 24 delivered to the UAEAF&AD over the last three years, is used in the counter-insurgency role by the Joint Aviation Command’s Group 18 based at Falaj Hazza Camp in Al Ain. Originally conceived as a crop-spraying aircraft, this military variant has a reinforced wing spar to enable carriage of weapons on six under wing hard points. Weapons options include AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, GBU-12 laser-guided bombs, 500 lb (227 kg) Mk82 bombs, DAGR laser-guided rockets, M260 seven-round rocket launchers and GAU-19/A three-barrel 12.7mm gun pods. A centre line station is normally used for the carriage of sensors. This example is fitted with an EO/IR imager and laser designator turret - probably a BRITE Star II by FLIR Systems.
One of three Fuerza Aerea Ecuatoriana A-29B Super Tucanos taxies to the runway at Natal. All three FAE A-29Bs deployed to Natal were painted in this digital style camouflage.
The second Beechcraft 350ER Super King Air purchased by the Argentine Prefectura Naval Argentina (Argentine Coast Guard) was delivered after being equipped as a maritime patrol aircraft by Aerodata at Braunschweig in Germany. The aircraft (D-CPNA c/n FL-795, ex N8113Z) visited Natal Airport in Brazil on November 18, 2013 during its ferry flight from Europe to Argentina. It will become PA-26 upon entering service and operate alongside a CASA C212-300PM. The first Beech 350ER (PA-25, c/n FL-792, ex N8042R) was delivered in July 2012, configured for the utility transport role.