Bae Systems Future Combat Air System (Tempest)

Bae Systems Future Combat Air System (Tempest) matt.jouppi@av Wed, 04/13/2022 - 15:31

The UK Future Combat Air System (FCAS) is a multi-national effort to replace the Eurofighter Typhoon around 2035. Rather than a single platform, FCAS will consist of a family of systems (FoS) architecture consisting of the Tempest manned fighter teamed with an unmanned aerial system (UAS). Tempest is expected to be low observable (LO), feature advanced power and thermal management capabilities (PTMS) and networked multi-spectral sensors. The UAS complement is being developed under project Mosquito. As of the time of this writing, UK and Italy remain the core Team Tempest partners but Sweden and Japan are in the process of determining their involvement.

Program History

Pre-History: Eurofighter, Rafale & Familiar Patterns (1978-1985)

The genesis of two distinct consortiums amongst European nations in the 1980s into the 1990s shares many similarities to the continent s current fighter projects in terms of the influence of distinct national priorities, comparative industry specialties as well as diplomatic and military friction between allies.

Both the Eurofighter and Rafale programs originate from a 1978 study between the UK, Germany and France on a common future fighter aircraft. Germany and the UK maintained similar requirements as F-4 Phantom operators, requiring a fighter optimized for air superiority and interception. The French desired a multi-role aircraft with an emphasis on air-to-surface first, to replace its Mirage-2000s and Jaguar fleets. The joint program was shelved in 1981 and Panavia consortium partners involved in the Tornado program (BAE, Aeritalia, Messerschmitt-Boelkow-Blohm) launched the European Fighter Aircraft (EPA) program and associated Experimental Aircraft Program (EAP) demonstrator in October 1982. The French announced their own Avion de Combat experimental (ACX) demonstrator that December which would build upon earlier French investments in the Snecma M88 (now Safran) engine, airframe and avionics technologies. By the end of 1983, the chiefs of staff of the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and France were again discussing a common EPA configuration, but irreconcilable differences emerged between the UK and France for design leadership between 1983-1985.

The foundational element defining French defense industrial policy in the Fifth Republic has been to maintain a self-sufficient industrial base in all aspects including aircraft design such as airframe, avionics, engine technologies. The French increasingly viewed cooperation with so many partners as detrimental to not only preserving but also expanding its industrial capabilities. In particular, Germany and the UK favored developing the Rolls-Royce & MTU RB199 rather than the M88 which would effectively end France s military turbofan industrial base. The UK and France each sought to entice German cooperation in 1984 with the German Foreign Minister supporting partnership with France and both the Defense Minister and Chief of Staff of the Luftwaffe strongly favoring a partnership with the UK. Ultimately, Bavaria s Christian Social Union (CSU) party applied significant pressure to partner with the UK in order to preserve MTU s engine expertise. Furthermore, Germany had already committed to codevelop a next generation attack helicopter with France eventually becoming the Airbus Tiger. With German support for the UK, Italy soon followed. Spain briefly maintained cooperation with France on ACX, but by the end of 1985 France was left without any international partners. The four remaining nations would proceed to develop the Eurofighter Typhoon and France would develop the Rafale on its own.

UK Experience in LO Programs 1986-2005

The UK has explored low observables since at least the 1980s when the RAF considered acquiring the F-117 between 1986-1987. RAF pilots were briefed into the program and participated in flight tests in Nevada. The RAF briefly evaluated the F-117 for a second time in the early 1990s. Lockheed proposed a highly modified F-117B featuring a nose mounted radar, enlarged weapon bay and new larger wings. BAE was offered component work and the aircraft would have used EJ200 turbofans developed for the Typhoon. The UK also had involvement with the F-35 percussor programs in the 1980s which dealt with LO including ASTOVL.

After Desert Storm, the UK explored acquiring a LO Tornado replacement as part of the Future Offensive Aircraft (FOAS) program which established UK LO industry expertise. Between 1994-1999, BAE matured its Replica technology demonstrator which concluded in a series of radar pole tests. The Replica planform included a forward chine, lambda wings and V-tails sharing some details to the current Tempest concept. The model was assembled at BAE Warton from large carbon fiber composite skins manufactured by BAE Systems Samlesbury. FOAS was canceled 2005 as the UK shifted to consider UAVs instead.

UCAV Focus & UK-French Cooperation 2005-2017

In 2005, the UK released its Defence Technology Strategy (DTS) and Defence Industry Strategy (DIS) reports which established future industrial base priorities. The DTS eschewed the development of a new follow-on fighter stating:

The anticipated multi-decade operation of the Joint Strike Fighter and Typhoon has removed the requirement for the UK to design and build a future generation of manned fast jet aircraft for the foreseeable future The DIS identifies the UAV as an emerging system in aerospace. Although there are powerful drivers for the employment of unmanned systems (see subsection on UAVs), the development and employment of advanced combat capable UAVs clearly provides significant technical challenges. It also provides an opportunity for technological innovation to challenge the traditional economics of development, manufacture and employment of air systems.

At the time, the Typhoon had recently entered RAF service (2003) and production was expected to continue well into the next decade while development of the F-35 was ongoing. Instead, the DIS argued the UK needed to cultivate national design expertise with respect to unmanned systems and low observables. By launching an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) technology demonstrator, the MoD would also be able to better assess the role of unmanned systems its future force structure. The UK subsequently launched the Strategic Unmanned Air Vehicle (Experimental) (SUAVE) program and associated Taranis Technology Demonstrator. In December 2006, and BAE Systems was awarded 124 million develop Taranis with support from QinetiQ, Rolls-Royce and Smiths Aerospace. Fabrication of Taranis began in 2007 and flight testing began in 2013. Around this time, France s Dassault was working on its own nEUROn UCAV demonstrator which first flew in 2012.

Generally recognized as the two foremost European aerospace authorities, the UK and France had hoped to at least partially cooperate on their next generation combat aircraft prior to Brexit in 2016. In November 2010, the countries signed the Lancaster House treaties which promoted defense cooperation on a range of issues including aircraft carriers, communication systems and UAVs. In 2014, both nations jointly awarded 120/ 150 million to BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Finmeccanica as well as Dassault, Thales and Safran as part of the Future Combat Air System Demonstration Program Preparation Phase (FCAS DPPP). In February 2016, Prime Minister Cameron announced both nations would invest 1.54 billion ($2 billion) to fund a next generation UCAV prototype with flight testing by 2025 and initial operational capability by 2030. However, with the referendum on Brexit in June 2016 and PM Cameron s subsequent departure in July, further Anglo-French cooperation stalled and France began to more seriously explore defense cooperation with Germany.

Upon taking office in May 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron sought to establish greater strategic autonomy for Europe vis- -vis the U.S. With Brexit and the decline of transatlantic relations, France was left in a unique position within the EU as its sole nuclear power, as a key aerospace industry leader and as a major security provider. President Macron perceived a Franco-German alignment as a core pillar of Europe s future autonomy. In July 2017, France and Germany agreed to jointly develop a next generation fighter and FCAS DPPP had stalled by 2018 and was effectively canceled by 2019.

Manned Fighter Focus, Search for Partners, Combat Air Strategy 2015-2018

By the time of FCAS DPPP was facing political headwinds, the landscape of the UK s industrial base and fiscal environment had completely changed relative to the 2005 DIS/DTS. BAE System s Warton production line would soon conclude the RAF s order for 160 Typhoons in 2019. The Eurofighter consortium had limited export success for the type beyond Europe and the Gulf. Similarly, production of BAE s Hawk advanced jet trainer would soon end after 40 years. UK industry still maintained a 15% stake in the F-35 program, but lower fiscal outlays and rising program costs cast doubt on the procurement goal of 138 aircraft. The MoD s budget fell from 2.5% to 2% of GDP from 2010-2015 and did not increase significantly until the 2017/2018 period. Crucially, with the end of Taranis and FCAS DPPP, UK industry had limited opportunities for further research and development work. These pressures from domestic industry to cultivate human capital and support the local economy created the foundational imperative for a new manned fighter program.

As part of the 2015 SDR, the UK quietly began its Future Air Combat System Technology Initiative (FCAS TI) an effort to mature a group of capabilities to replace Typhoon and inform 2025 decision on further development. One of the earlier visible signs of the UK s pivot towards a manned fighter came in in March 2017 with the formation of a joint Japan-UK fighter working group. By February 2018, UK Defence Minister Gavin Williamson announced the MoD would produce a new Combat Air Strategy which was unveiled that July. Williamson formally announced the Tempest project to develop a new manned fighter at the Farnborough air show stating, early decisions on how to acquire the capability will be confirmed by the end of 2020, before final investment decisions are made by 2025. At the time, the MoD planned to spend at least 2 billion ($2.65 billion) through 2025 to support technology maturation and risk reduction activities prior to full-scale development. Under the schedule, Tempest would achieve initial operational capability (IOC) by 2035. At the time of the announcement Team Tempest included BAE Systems, MBDA, Leonardo UK and Rolls-Royce (RR).

Search for International Partners 2018-2021

For the UK, international collaboration was imperative. Each generation of combat aircraft has proven to be more expensive and technically demanding than the last. The UK financed 33% of the Eurofighter s development costs at $11.8 billion in inflation adjusted dollars. International participation would further reduce procurement costs through economies of scale. After the Farnborough announcement, the UK government launched diplomatic outreach efforts to Italy, Sweden and Japan.

For decades, Italy has viewed the UK as its primary European defense industrial cooperation partner. The two nations forged a comprehensive relationship during the Tornado program which was solidified further by the Typhoon project. Like the UK, Italy s Typhoon final assembly line would soon close in the early 2020s absent additional export orders. After the July 2018 Farnborough airshow, the UK and Italy launched a joint fighter feasibility study examining common requirements. That September, Italian Defense Undersecretary Angelo Tofalo remarked that Italy should join Tempest immediately in order to be at the forefront of cooperation with the UK. Italy formally joined the UK FCAS program on September 11, 2019 when Secretary General of Defense Lt. Gen. Nicol Falsaperna, signed a statement of intent. Multiple Italian government and industry officials have since voiced a preference to merge Tempest with SCAF but this possibility remains unlikely.

Saab has a distinguished history in producing jet fighters since the 1940s and Sweden s government has ensured its industrial base persists with each new generation of indigenous combat aircraft. Sweden has often partnered with the UK on subcomponent work. BAE Systems had a role in marketing the Gripen in the early years of the program and UK components represented 30-35% of the total value of each Saab JAS 39 Gripen produced. UK-Swedish FCAS discussions began in 2018 and culminated in a July 2019 memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore future fighter technologies. In July 2020, Saab announced it would establish a FCAS center of excellence worth 50 million ($63 million) in Sweden. Unlike Italy, Sweden has not committed to the Tempest manned fighter. Sweden is instead interested in collaborating on the broader set of technologies within the FCAS SoS. In February 2021, Saab s CEO Michael Johansson said that that Sweden s participation in FCAS would bring additional capabilities to GlobalEye and Gripen E.

Japan launched its F-2 fighter replacement program in 2016 and quickly sought out opportunities to collaborate with the UK. Both countries foresaw the need to lower costs and leverage unique expertise between countries. A vocal contingent within the Japanese MoD and Parliament believed partnering with the UK would bring greater opportunity for local industry and secure more robust intellectual property (IP) rights.This group believed that any partnership with the U.S. would be marred by black boxes; components that could not be fully explained to Japan over security or IP concerns. In contrast, Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) officials appeared to be more supportive of an American partnership.

In response, the U.S. government showed a renewed willingness to address intellectual property issues and Japan subsequently established U.S. fighter working group in September 2019. The Japanese MoD s appraisal of Tempest also soured throughout the latter half of 2019 as it became clear that the UK would seek to retain leadership of any joint fighter program at the cost of Japanese industry. By March of 2020, the Japanese government decided future cooperation with the UK would be limited to a subsystem level the most significant being joint engine components and technologies. Refer to the engine and avionics section of this profile as well as the separate Mitsubishi F-X program profile on AWIN for additional details.

In December 2020, the UK, Italy, and Sweden signed an MoU to codify their FCAS relationship.

2021 Integrated Review & Defence Command Paper

In March 2021, the UK released its Integrated Review and associated Defence Command Paper (DCP). The document affirmed the 2018 combat air strategy, stating the UK would invest over 2 billion in FCAS through 2024:

Our investment in the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) programme represents a paradigm shift in the UK s combat air industrial sector to achieve the pace, affordability and operational capability we need to meet our requirements. This approach will deliver capabilities twice as fast, at a lower cost, designed and delivered in a fully digital enterprise. Exploiting model-based design, systems engineering and embedding the latest agile design principles to deliver faster. FCAS has already created over 1,800 new STEM jobs in over 300 companies nationwide, sustaining and supporting over 18,000 existing highly skilled jobs in the sector, as well as tens of thousands more in the wider supply chains across the UK.

Left explicitly unstated was how the UK would fund FCAS. The IR was accompanied by a multiyear funding agreement to give the MOD an additional 16.5 billion ($22 billion) or approximately 4 billion ($5.3 billion) additional per year. Yet the DCP announced a number of high-profile RAF fleet retirements including the Typhoon Tranche 1, C-130J transport, Hawk T1 trainer and Sentry ISTAR fleets. Most significantly, the DCP cut F-35B procurement from 138 to 70-80 airframes. It appears that the RAF is paying for FCAS by cutting these legacy fleets and trimming F-35 procurement.

For further developments and analysis on budgeting, production and schedule refer to the Production & Delivery history section of the profile.



Bae Systems Future Air Combat System (Tempest)

Bae Systems Future Air Combat System (Tempest) matt.jouppi@av Wed, 04/13/2022 - 15:31

The UK Future Combat Air System (FCAS) is a multi-national effort to replace the Eurofighter Typhoon around 2035. Rather than a single platform, FCAS will consist of a family of systems (FoS) architecture consisting of the Tempest manned fighter teamed with an unmanned aerial system (UAS). Tempest is expected to be low observable (LO), feature advanced power and thermal management capabilities (PTMS) and networked multi-spectral sensors. The UAS complement is being developed under project Mosquito. As of the time of this writing, UK and Italy remain the core Team Tempest partners but Sweden and Japan are in the process of determining their involvement.


Xian Y-20

Xian Y-20 user+1@localho Thu, 03/24/2022 - 21:17

The Xian Y-20 Kunpeng is a four-engine transport aircraft designed to bolster the People s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) s strategic airlift capability. While China matures its own WS-20 engine for the project, early production Y-20s are powered by Russian UEC Saturn D-30KP-2 turbofan engines supplying 26,455 lbf. (117.7 kN) of thrust each at takeoff. The Y-20 is similar in configuration and role to the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III.



KAI KF-21 (KF-X)

KAI KF-21 (KF-X) shambo.pfaff@i Tue, 02/22/2022 - 21:12

The Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) KF-21 Boramae (Northern Goshawk) is a multi-role 4.5 generation fighter. The aircraft is powered by two General Electric (GE) F414-400K turbofan engines. The KF-21 was formerly designated as KF-X until April 2021. The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) plans to order at least 120 aircraft through 2032 at a projected program cost of more than $15 billion. Indonesia joined the program in 2010 and had planned to order 50 aircraft. The country's long-term participation in the program has since become remote as a result of budgetary pressures and more urgent operational requirements.



Lockheed Martin F-16

Lockheed Martin F-16 user+1@localho Thu, 02/10/2022 - 21:17

The F-16 "Fighting Falcon" (known as "Viper" to its operators) is a single-engine multirole fighter. It was initially designed and produced by General Dynamics up until 1993 when the company sold the Fort Worth production line to Lockheed Martin. More than 4,500 F-16s have been produced and more than 2,800 aircraft remain in operation with 25 nations, making the type among the most prolific fighter families in the post-World War II period. Starting with the F-16 Block 30 and 32 in 1987, operators have had a choice of two powerplant options: the Pratt & Whitney (P&W) F100 and the General Electric (GE) F110 turbofan families. Lockheed Martin continues to offer new enhancements and upgrades for the type which is expected to remain in service past 2040.


Airbus A330 MRTT

Airbus A330 MRTT user+1@localho Wed, 02/02/2022 - 21:17

The Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker-Transport (MRTT) is a European air-refueling tanker derived from the widebody civil airliner bearing the same name. It reached initial operational capability (IOC) in 2011. MRTT is typically powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 772B high-bypass turbofan engines supplying 71,100 lbf. (316 kN) of thrust each, and its centerline boom refueling system is capable of offloading 3,600 kg (7,937 lb.), or 1,200 US gal (4,542 L) of fuel to a receiving aircraft per minute.




TAI TF-X user+1@localho Thu, 01/20/2022 - 21:17

TF-X is a prospective fifth-generation fighter under development for the Turkish air force. The program is led by state-owned Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) with the cooperation of BAE Systems. In Turkish, the program is known as the Milli Muharip U ak (MMU) the National Combat Aircraft. Turkish sources also infrequently refer to the program as F-X, but this document will exclusively use TF-X to avoid confusion with other F-X programs such as F/A-XX, KF-X and Japan s F-X.



Boeing KC-46

Boeing KC-46 user+1@localho Tue, 01/11/2022 - 22:17

The Boeing KC-46A Pegasus is a U.S. air-refueling tanker based on the commercial Boeing 767 airliner. The aircraft will replace the KC-10 and partially replace the KC-135 in U.S. service. A total of 179 aircraft are on order for a total program cost of at least $44 billion with $34.9 billion in procurement and $6 billion in research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) funds. As of the time of this writing, the KC-46 has two foreign military sales (FMS) customers: Japan and Israel. As of the time of this writing, 52 KC-46As have been delivered to the U.S. Air Force and a single example has been delivered to Japan.


Chengdu J-20

Chengdu J-20 user+1@localho Mon, 01/10/2022 - 21:17

The J-20 is a fifth-generation, twin-engine fighter designed by Chengdu. Early production aircraft are powered by Russian supplied AL-31FN Series 3 engines. Subsequent production configuration J-20As are powered by the AL-31 or derivatives of the WS-10 depending upon the production batch. Future aircraft may be powered by the WS-15. Much of the existing Western literature describes the aircraft as a low observable (LO) interceptor, but domestic sources universally describe the aircraft as China s premier air superiority fighter. As of early 2022, approximately 60-70 J-20s are likely in operation with the PLAAF or are undergoing testing with Chengdu.


Airbus Tiger (EC665)

Airbus Tiger (EC665) user+1@localho Mon, 12/20/2021 - 21:17

The Tiger (formerly EC665) is an attack helicopter built by Airbus and is powered by a pair of Turbomeca Rolls-Royce MTR390 engines. Each nation uses the Tiger in slightly different roles such as force protection and armed reconnaissance, which has led to multiple divergent aircraft configurations across France, Germany, Spain and Australia. As of the time of this writing, 161 Tigers are in operational service of the more than 180 helicopters delivered.



Lockheed Martin F-35 (JSF)

Lockheed Martin F-35 (JSF) user+1@localho Mon, 12/20/2021 - 21:17

The F-35 Lightning II / Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is a U.S. fifth-generation, single engine, multirole fighter developed in partnership with eight nations and produced by Lockheed Martin. It is designed in three variants and is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan engine. Each variant features a different derivative of the F135 engine. As of December 2021, more than 730 F-35s have been delivered to the U.S., international JSF partners and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Production is expected to continue into the 2040s.



Airbus A400M

Airbus A400M user+1@localho Wed, 12/08/2021 - 21:17

The Airbus A400M Atlas is a medium lift military cargo aircraft powered by four Europrop International (EPI) TP400-D6 engines. Airbus markets the A400M as a multi-role tanker-transport capable of carrying more than the Lockheed Martin C-130J yet still being able to operate from austere runways as a tactical transport. The aircraft can transport loads up to 37 tons or 81,571 lbs. The Atlas also be quickly reconfigured to act as an aerial refueling aircraft with the addition of two hose and drogue under-wing refueling pods as well as a centerline hose and drum unit. As of November 2021, a total of 103 aircraft were in service across Europe and Asia.

Program History

In 1979, the Air Force leadership of Germany, the UK and France began to discuss the need for a new perspective airlifter to replace the C-130 Hercules and Transall T-160. The Future International Military Airlifter (FIMA) group was created in 1982 for this purpose and comprised A rospatiale, British Aerospace, Lockheed and Messerschmitt-B lkow-Blohm (MBB). In 1987, Alenia Aermacchi and CASA joined the program. However, political disagreements and divergent requirements caused Lockheed to leave the group in 1989. FIMA was subsequently renamed as the Future Large Aircraft Group (Euroflag) in 1991 and was based in Rome. Seven nations signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a feasibility study regarding the future large aircraft (FLA) in 1993: Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Belgium and Spain. Studies for the FLA slowly progressed throughout the 1990s as European nations intermittently reassessed their participation in the program. Design requirements focused on creating an aircraft to bridge the gap between tactical transports like the Lockheed C-130 and strategic airlifters like the Boeing C-17.

In September 1994, the participating nations agreed to transfer industrial responsibility from Euroflag to Airbus (first Airbus SAS later Airbus Military). In July 1997, the UK announced its intent to join the program which was followed by the FLA RFP in September. Airbus made its final RFP submission in January 1999. On May 16, 2000, the UK became the first nation to authorize the procurement of the A400M with an initial commitment for 25 aircraft. In December 2001, OCCAR signed the A400M development and procurement contract pending the parliamentary approval of each individual government. A total of seven European nations would proceed with the procurement of the A400M as both Portugal and Italy withdrew from the program.

In May 2003, the development and production contract came into force with 180 A400Ms on order with the following national commitments:

  • UK: 25
  • France: 50
  • Germany: 60
  • Spain: 27
  • Turkey: 10
  • Belgium: 8 (including one aircraft for Luxembourg)

The fixed price development contract was valued at 20 billion at the time or approximately $29 billion in inflation adjusted dollars. Both Malaysia and South Africa joined the program in 2005. However, South Africa opted to leave the program in 2009 due to rising costs but Denel remained a part of the A400M supply chain up until 2019. EPI began assembly of the first engine in 2007 which underwent flight testing on a modified C-130 test bed in 2008. A total of five prototypes were built to support the development program, the first of which took flight on Dec. 11, 2009, from Airbus Seville Spain facility.

Engine Development & Configuration

Among the first major hurdles to the program was the decision to develop an indigenous turboprop. The FLA studies group examined four main propulsion configurations including two turbofans, four turbofans, four turboprops and four propfans (contra-rotating propellers or CRPs). The study found turboprops and propfans offered lower weight, better tactical/austere airstrip performance and lower landing distance as well as take-off distance at the cost of lower MTOW performance and cruising speed (100.9 tons for four turbofans vs. 92.7 tons for four turboprops). Ultimately, turboprops were chosen over propfans due to noise and technological availability concerns. Initially, Airbus evaluated the Turboprop International SNECMA M138 which was based on an M88 core, Pratty & Whitney (P&W) Canada modification of the PW150 and Rolls Royce Deutschland s BR700-TP.

The M138 won in December 2000 and became the TP400, but in February 2002, Airbus reopened the engine competition after deciding the engine did not meet its weight and performance specification. EPI adapted the TP400 to a three-shaft configuration from a two-shaft design with input from Rolls Royce. The new engine was designated as the TP400-D6. P&W reentered the competition with its PW180 12,000 SHP turboprop which Airbus reportedly found to be 20% cheaper than EPI s bid. Airbus ultimately selected EPI in May 2003 and U.S. media at the time alleged P&W lost as a result of French political pressure.

Features and Variants

Airbus A400M relative performance compared to other transports in the light (MTOW from 25,000 to 100,000 lbs.), medium (MTOW 100,000 to 400,000 lbs.) and heavy class (MTOW >400,000 lbs.). All cost figures have been inflated in local currency prior to conversion to U.S. dollars when appropriate.

Credit: Aviation Week


Composite materials constitute more than 30% of the A400M s airframe and facilitate weight reductions which improve fuel economy and range. The largest single carbon fiber sheets incorporated into the aircraft are the wingskins, which measure 62 ft. long. Aluminum is also extensively used throughout the airframe to further reduce weight. The A400M Atlas features a payload capacity approximately twice that of the Super Hercules at 81,571 lb. and a maximum takeoff weight of more than 300,000 lb. The cargo bay has an area of 340 m^3 which can accommodate a maximum of 116 troops in a transport configuration enabling the Atlas to accommodate nearly all military vehicles other than main battle tanks. The cargo hold can also accommodate a total of nine standard 463 cargo pallets as well as 54 troops relative to the maximum of eight pallets in the C-130J-30.

The Atlas can land on an unprepared airstrip, with a California Bearing Ratio (CBR) of 6, with a length of just 3,000 ft. while holding a 60,000 lbs. (27.2 ton) payload. For benchmarking purposes, most strategic transports like the C-5 typically require more than 5,000 ft. to land with higher loads and must be operated from paved runways with a higher CBR.


The A400M s four Europrop International TP400-D6 engines produce more than 11,000 shaft horsepower (SHP) each, which enables the Atlas to achieve a cruising speed and altitude of Mach 0.72 (475 mph) and 37,000 ft. respectively. This compares to the 4,700 SHP on the Rolls Royce AE 2100 powering the C-130J. The TP400-D6 features eight propeller blades with a diameter of 17.5 ft. and each engine weighs 4,189 lbs. (1,900 kg) dry. Workshare amongst EPI consortium members includes: 32.2% Safran, 25% for Rolls Royce, 22.2% MTU and 20.6% for ITP.

The A400M uses a unique contra-rotating propeller (CRP) arrangement. While CRPs have been used for decades to cancel out torque and produce additional power on aircraft such as the Tu-95 Bear, typically CRPs have been mounted over a single piston as a self-contained unit. The A400M was the first aircraft to implement the CRP effect across a pair of engines on each wing, which Airbus calls Down Between Engines (DBE), through the gearbox as opposed to a stack of CRPs over a single piston unit. This increases airflow over the center of the wing, improving fuel efficiency and lift. DBE reduced the effects of prop-wash and torque which enabled designers to reduce the tail area thereby lowering drag.

Refueling System

The A400M has a baseline capacity for 111,995 lbs. (50,800 kg) of fuel, which can be supplemented further with Cargo Hold Tanks (CHT). Note, the 50,800 kg figure is the total fuel capacity of the aircraft not the fuel-offload total i.e., a portion of the fuel must be reserved for the A400M itself. The two hose and drogue underwing refueling pods can provide up to 400 gallons per minute (1,200 kg or 2,645 lbs.) while the centerline unit can sustain 600 gallons per minute. Compared to boom mounted aerial refueling systems, drogue and hose systems offer greater compatibility with the majority of aircraft types (including non-Western platforms) at the cost of a lower fuel transfer rate. In comparison, the A330 MRTT s boom can transfer 1,200 gallons of fuel per minute.

A basic video system is embedded in the rear the aircraft to assist with aerial refueling, but operators can elect to install a more comprehensive aerial refueling kit with three video cameras as well as an associated computer system. Additionally, the aircraft features a nose mounted refueling probe. As part of the tactical series of upgrades, the A400M has been upgraded to be able to refuel helicopters.

Upgrade Programs

Retrofit Programs

Both to address teething problems discovered in operation and to more quickly field the planned series of tactical transport upgrades, A400Ms have been produced in six production batches through 2022 of varying capability and readiness standards. Between 2017-2019, A400M participating nations and Airbus launched the Global Re-baselining Review (GRB) to stabilize the program and implement a pathway to correct concurrency issues through a two-stage retrofit program. The first stage was announced in 2016 and was concluded in December 2020, covering the UK, France and Germany. The second-stage announced was in July 2019 covers the remaining nations through 2023.

Among the most pressing issues which hampered the A400M s initial entry to service include the aircraft s power gearbox (PGB) and aluminum alloy fuselage sections. An assortment of teething problems was also identified with the helicopter aerial refueling system and tactical series of proposed upgrades. As of the time of this writing, Airbus believes it has made significant progress in addressing these issues.

In January 2015, a cracked input pinion plug, a component supplied by Avio Aero as part of the PGB, caused the engine of a UK A400M to shut down in flight. As a result, a series of regular checks were mandated that affected flight operations. EPI fielded an interim solution in 2016 (entered into production with Batch 4 aircraft in 2017) to reduce the frequency of these checks to once every 600 hours. In 2017, Airbus and EPI developed the Pack 2 enhancement which reduced vibration as well as reinforcing the longevity and reliability of the PGP. The EASA certified Mod Pack 2 in March 2018 and all new build engines since January 2019 have received the upgrade and existing aircraft had been retrofitted.



T-7A user+1@localho Tue, 09/21/2021 - 21:17

The T-7A Red Hawk is an advanced jet trainer (AJT) built by Boeing in partnership with Saab. The aircraft is powered by a single General Electric F404 turbofan engine. The T-7A will replace the T-38 Talon in U.S. Air Force service with an initial program of record for 351 aircraft. Boeing believes the T-7A s combination of extensive embedded simulation capabilities and low fly-away as well as sustainment cost will make the type an attractive platform for international AJT and light combat aircraft (LCA) operators.

Program History

The USAF originally acquired its T-38 Talon fleet between 1961 and 1972. The type received numerous structural, engine and subsystem overhauls to keep the aircraft serviceable. However, the T-38 has become increasingly unable to replicate the growing avionics complexity and performance of modern fighters. In 2009, the USAF found the T-38 could not meet 12 out of 18 essential tasks to conduct pilot training such as sensor fusion, advanced air-to-air tactics, etc. In December 2013, Boeing and Saab signed a Joint Development Agreement to explore a future advanced jet trainer for the USAF.

By March 2015, the USAF published an initial request for information (RFI) for its T-X requirement. The service issued a draft RFP in July 2016 and the final RFP on Dec. 30, 2016. Key aircraft capabilities included sustaining a threshold of 6.5g, and an objective of 7.5g, at Mach 0.9 and 15,000 ft. over 140 deg. of a 180-deg. maneuver while carrying an 80% fuel load. The service projected the cost of 351 aircraft and 40 simulators at more than $16 billion.

Originally, five teams participated the in competition, but many firms left or reorganized their bids prior to source selection: Lockheed Martin-KAI with the T-50A, Boeing-Saab with the T-X, Raytheon-Leonardo with the T-100, Northrop Grumman-BAE with the Hawk (later a clean sheet design) and Textron Airland with the Scorpion. In January 2017, Raytheon announced it had withdrawn from T-X. Leonardo opted to continue and partnered with its U.S. based subsidiary DRS. Raytheon s departure was followed by Northrop Grumman and Textron Airland in February and March 2017 respectively. Many firms reportedly left as they perceived the competition would favor the lowest-cost, technically compliant bid. On September 27, 2018, the Air Force selected Boeing to build its next generation AJT. In September 2019, the Air Force designated the Boeing T-X as the T-7A Red Hawk in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen.


The Boeing T-7A design draws heavily on the high angle of attack (AoA) performance of Boeing s F/A-18 fighter, with a similar shoulder-mounted trapezoidal wing with leading-edge root extensions, twin fins and all-moving stabilators although the tails are attached to F-15-style booms. The T-7A even has small vortex control fences at the inboard wing leading edges similar to those on the legacy Hornet. The T-7A s F404 engine produces nearly three times the thrust of the T-38 s twin J85 turbojets at more than 17,500 lbf. The T-7 s dimensions closely match the T-50 with a length of 46.93 ft., wingspan of 30.6 ft. and height of 13.55 ft.

The T-7A is equipped with a centerline hardpoint underneath the fuselage and Boeing has said two additional pylons per wing can be equipped as needed. Similarly, Boeing has built provisions for an aerial refueling receptacle which can be added subject to customer requirements. The following companies are involved with the T-7 program:

  • Saab aft fuselage section
  • Elbit Systems of America cockpit displays, embedded training capability, data link
  • General Electric F404 turbofan engine
  • L3Harris Technologies mission systems, including navigation system
  • Collins Aerospace ACES 5 ejection seat, landing gear, NAV-4500 navigation receivers
  • Triumph Group Inc hydraulic pumps, electric generators and auxiliary fuel pumps


TAI TF-X user+1@localho Tue, 09/21/2021 - 21:17

TF-X is a prospective fifth-generation fighter under development for the Turkish air force. The program is led by state-owned Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) with the cooperation of BAE Systems. In Turkish, the program is known as the Milli Muharip U ak (MMU) the National Combat Aircraft. Turkish sources also infrequently refer to the program as F-X, but this document will exclusively use TF-X to avoid confusion with other F-X programs such as F/A-XX, KF-X and Japan s F-X.


Program History

Turkey s Role in the F-35 Program

On Dec. 12, 2006, Turkey selected the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II as its New Generation Fighter Jet. It signed a letter of intent with Lockheed Martin to become a partner on the U.S.-led Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program on Feb. 6, 2007, planning to acquire as many as 116 F-35As by 2031 (it later reduced this target to 100). These would replace its aging McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom IIs, F-4E 2020s and F-16C/D Block 30s and Block 40s. Newer F-16C/D Block 50s would remain in service into the 2030s.


Turkish industry played a significant role in the program. The country was designated a Level-III partner, representing the lowest tier of partner nations directly involved in the F-35 s system development and demonstration (SDD) phase. In terms of manufacturing workshare, Turkish involvement was more substantive. TAI delivered center fuselages to F-35 final assembly and checkout (FACO) facilities in Cameri, Italy and Fort Worth, Texas. It also produced composite skins, weapon bay doors and fiber placement composite air inlet ducts for the program. Other Turkish F-35 suppliers include Alp Aviation, which manufactured structural components, landing gear components and engine parts (including titanium integrated blade rotors); Ayesas, which made the missile remote interface units and the panoramic cockpit display; Fokker Elmo, which made 40% of the electrical wiring and interconnection system for the F-35 and the F135; Havelsan, which worked on the training system; and Kale Group, which worked with TAI on aerostructures, with Heroux Devtek for landing gear lock up assemblies and with Pratt & Whitney on F135 components.


Turkey also envisaged the inclusion of indigenous weapons on its F-35As from the start. This was to include:

  • The Precision Guidance Kit (HGK)
  • The G KDO AN (Peregrine) beyond visual range (BVR) AAM
  • The BOZDO AN (Merlin) short-range air-to-air missile (AAM)
  • The SOM family of air-launched cruise missiles.


When Turkey planned to acquire the Russian S-400 surface to air missile system, the U.S. raised concerns about the impact this would have on the F-35. Under the Fiscal 2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act as signed into law in February 2019, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) was prohibited from using funds to transfer F-35As to Turkey if the S-400 acquisition continued. Turkey consistently expressed its intent to move ahead with the S-400 acquisition anyway. On April 1, 2019, the U.S. suspended F-35A deliveries to Turkey. Deliveries of the S-400 began in July 2019.


Shortly thereafter, on July 17, 2019, Turkey was officially ejected from the JSF program. Its removal presented immediate and serious transitional issues for the program, which would need to substitute Turkish components used in the fighter. By this time four Turkish F-35As had already been produced. Though Turkey owned the planes, the U.S. has prevented them from leaving the country. At the time the U.S. Department of Defense estimated that 900 Turkish parts would have to be substituted and that the expulsion would result in losses totaling $9 billion to Turkish industry over the life of the program. Notably this total includes 188 parts produced for a Kale Group joint venture with Pratt &Whitney for the P&W F135 turbofan engine aboard the F-35.


Following Turkey s ejection from the JSF program, Russia s Rostec publicly offered the Su-35 as a replacement. On Oct. 15, 2019, President Erdogan indicated that Turkey had also received an offer for the Su-57. The Director of Russia s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Dimitry Shugayev later indicated that the Su-57 was not on offer and was reserved for Russia s air force.


The TF-X program was initiated on Dec. 15, 2010 to provide an indigenous replacement for Turkey s fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16s, which are expected to begin leaving service in the 2030s. It also began with a view towards the development of Turkey s aerospace industry, which has extensive experience manufacturing unmanned aerial vehicles and upgrading or remanufacturing combat aircraft, but which has never designed a fighter.


On Aug. 23, 2011, a contract was signed between TAI and the Savunma Sanayii M ste arl (SSM) Undersecretariat for Defense Industries to initiate concept design for the new fighter. The concept studies were completed by Sep. 29, 2013. Three planforms were apparently evaluated and were first displayed publicly at the 2013 International Defense Industry Fair in Istanbul. Of the three, two were single engine concepts, one with a conventional arrangement (FX-5) and the other with a large V-tail and close-coupled control canards (FX-6). In this design the V-tail surfaces contribute to pitch, roll and yaw; combined with the canards they yield a highly agile fighter. A 2018 estimate indicated that the FX-5 and FX-6 designs would feature an MTOW between 50,000 lb. (22,680 kg) and 60,000 lb. (27,215 kg). This would make either configuration lighter than the F-35A by over 10,000 lb. (4,535 kg).


The third and final design (FX-1) is a twin-engine layout with a planform resembling that of the F-22 and a conventional tail. It appears to be most optimally designed for supercruise capability and to maximize range. This design would have an MTOW between 60,000 lb. (27,215 kg) and 70,000 lb. (31,750 kg), significantly lighter than the F-22. All three feature caret inlets and standard low-observable features such as chined noses, edge alignment and sawtooth interfaces between the fuselage, access panels and the radome.


General Atomics MQ-9

General Atomics MQ-9 "Reaper" user+1@localho Mon, 09/13/2021 - 21:17

The General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Reaper is a Group 5 UAV originally designed for ISR-Strike missions. The type has since been employed in expanded mission sets such as maritime surveillance, ground moving target indication (GMTI), signals intelligence (SIGINT), anti-submarine warfare, etc. The Reaper is powered by a single Honeywell TPE-331-10 turboprop engine with either a three or four-bladed propeller depending upon the configuration. As of the time of this writing, more than 360 MQ-9s are in operational service worldwide. The USAF currently expects to replace the platform starting in the early 2030s.

Program History

The genesis of the Reaper program can be traced back to the Amber tactical UAV developed by Israeli immigrant Abraham Karem under Leading Systems Inc. The program sought an over the horizon targeting system for Navy anti-ship cruise missiles. Amber was ultimately terminated amidst the reorganization of several UAV programs in the late 1980s. Karem continued to develop Amber into the Gnat 750, and the design was eventually acquired by GA-ASI. The Gnat 750 and first flew in 1989 and by the early 1990s, the Department of Defense (DoD) outlined three capability tiers as the basis of its UAV future acquisition strategy. Two of the three tiers had Amber derivatives in mind.

The CIA funded the Gnat 750 and sponsored its deployment to Bosnia in 1994 following an international sale of the type to Turkey, which used the UAV to surveil Kurdish militants. The Gnat 750 was capable of carrying an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) payload to an altitude of 20,000 ft. for 40 hours. Tier II in the new DoD framework was expected to yield a derivative of the Gnat 750 with an expanded mission payload of 500 lb. for various sensors which could fly to at least 25,000 ft. GA-ASI developed the RQ-1 Predator for this requirement which won source selection in 1994. By 1997 the Air Force sought to acquire 52 RQ-1 Predators (13 systems of four UAVs each) at a cost of $118 million ($196.4 million in 2021 dollars). The service ran the acquisition program through its 645th Aeronautical Systems Group or Big Safari office, a unit dedicated to rapidly inducting specialized airframes to the Air Force inventory.

Predators were deployed in 1999 to support operations in Kosovo and proposals to arm the RQ-1 were being considered by 2000. The armed Predator (redesignated as the MQ-1 in 2002) was quickly pressed into service following 9/11 but as a result of its rapid introduction limited consideration was given to its reliability, maintainability and survivability. Realizing the limitations of the Predator, GA-ASI began an internal research and development (IRAD) effort to produce a more capable follow-on aircraft dubbed Predator B in 1998. The aircraft (B-001) first flew on Feb. 2, 2001, under an objective for 24 hrs. of endurance and the ability to sustain an operating altitude of 45,000 ft. The 900-shaft horsepower (SHP) turboprop TPE-331-10 represented a significant increase in power over the Predator s 115 SHP piston engine. GA-ASI also explored a Williams International FJ44-2A turbojet powered derivative (B-002) which would have had an endurance of 18 hrs. and ceiling of 60,000 ft. This concept later evolved into the Predator C which first flew in 2007.

GA-ASI s IRAD funding in this early period was further supplemented by NASA which was the first government customer to express interest in the Predator B in 2000. NASA contributed $10 million to develop the Altair earth sciences derivative which was supplemented by an additional $8 million of GA-ASI s own funding (combined $28 million in 2021 dollars). Gen. Jumper of Air Combat Command (ACC) immediately saw the platform s potential as a Predator replacement. The MQ-1 was inherently limited by its lower altitude and limited payload in many ways being better optimized suited for Army ISR requirements. By late 2001, the Air Force requested the development of the Predator B as a Quick Reaction Capability (QRC) using Defense Emergency Response Fund (DERF) allocations. The 2002 budget included $17 million ($25.4 million in 2021 dollars) for the first three MQ-9s which were followed by another six in 2003.

Because of the urgent operational need for persistent, high altitude ISR and strike with the advent of the Global War on Terror, the Air Force took a number of steps to accelerate the program. The first handful of aircraft were acquired without a competition to rapidly field a basic capability. A total of 19 MQ-9As were procured prior to the completion of its system design and demonstration (SDD) phase which began in Fiscal 2004. Additionally, Air Combat Commander Gen. Ronald E. Keys, issued a Predator B early fielding decision in 2006. The program was subsequently structured into two capability standards: Block 1 to provide an initial operational capability and the more advanced Block 5 to follow beginning in Fiscal 2013 (see variants section for additional details). In 2006, the Air Force officially designated the Predator B as the MQ-9 Reaper. The 42nd Attack Squadron became the first operational MQ-9A unit in 2007 and the MQ-9 s combat debut followed a month later in Afghanistan. The MQ-9 transitioned out of the Predator program to its own Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP) in 2008 (see production & delivery history for additional details).


The MQ-9 Reaper is a Group 5 UAV with double the altitude capability, double the speed and ten times the payload of the preceding MQ-1 Predator. The MQ-9A Block 5 ER has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 11,700 lb., wingspan of 66 ft., payload capacity of 850 lb. internally (3,750 lb. externally), endurance of 40 hr. and service ceiling of 50,000 ft. As the MQ-9 has evolved, each succeeding subvariant has expanded the type s endurance, mission packages, reliability and performance.


The MQ-9 s airframe is optimized for high-altitude endurance with large high-aspect ratio wings and extensive use of composite materials to reduce weight. The baseline MQ-9 has an empty weight of 4,900 lbs. and fuel capacity of 4,000 lbs. The Reaper has approximately the same external dimensions as the A-10; the MQ-1, by contrast, is about the size of the Cessna 172. Following teething problems with the Predator, GA-ASI worked to improve the reliability of its successor airframe. Control actuators for the MQ-9A were designed with a mean time between failure threshold of 2,000 hr. compared to the MQ-1 s 150 hr. Additionally, the MQ-9A uses a triplex (double redundant) flight control system. The MQ-9 s flight control surfaces consist of a pair of rudders, four ailerons and four elevators.


The configuration of the MQ-9s avionics suite varies with each configuration. Aircraft operated by international customers often differ from their U.S. counterparts. For example, the SkyGuardian configuration aircraft offered to Canada carry the export derivative of the Lynx radar or L3 MX-20 EO/IR instead of the Raytheon MTS. GA-ASI has also suggested a number of payloads under development (see upgrades section for additional details).


Mitsubishi F-X

Mitsubishi F-X user+1@localho Thu, 08/12/2021 - 21:17

The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Next Fighter ( ), abbreviated as F-X in English, is a prospective fighter which will be developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin (LM). The program was originally referred to as the Future Fighter ( ). The aircraft is expected to feature a large, very low observable airframe optimized for endurance and beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air engagements. It will feature a suite of wide field of regard sensors, advanced power and thermal management capabilities and manned-unmanned teaming. The first F-X is planned to enter operational service in 2035. Approximately 90 fighters will be procured for the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) at a total program cost of at least 5 trillion ($45 billion).

Program History

The F-X s history can loosely be categorized into three eras: the development of the preceding F-2, early conceptual studies and technology demonstration efforts and contemporary efforts to launch the F-X program.

FS-X (F-2) Program (1982-2011)

Even before production of the F-2 ended in 2011, Japan had begun efforts to develop a successor. Perceived deficiencies in the F-2 program shaped the F-X s ambitions and requirements, with the MoD essentially seeking to avoid a repeat of the F-2. In 1982, the Japanese Government began the Fighter Support Experimental (FS-X) program to replace the indigenously designed Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) F-1 fighter. The U.S. lobbied Japan to develop the FS-X from an existing U.S. design in 1985. This U.S. effort sough to promote greater U.S.-Japan interoperability and mitigate the possibility of an independent Japanese national security policy. A key piece of the U.S. leverage was its engine technology which Japan would have required even under an indigenous development program.

Japan eventually acceded to U.S. demands and selected the F-16C Block 40/42 as the basis of further FS-X development in October 1987. The program was quickly hampered by American reticence to transfer key technologies and disagreement over the scope of Japanese industry participation. Lockheed Martin was awarded $75 million ($123 million in 2020 dollars) to support the development of the F-2 in October 1996. The company would be responsible for 40% of the program s workshare by value including the avionics support equipment, the data entry electronic units and the stores management system.

In the end, the F-2 program produced a fighter featuring novel technologies such as the first fighter mounted active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, but at an unacceptable cost and with no roadmap to keep the type technologically relevant. The F-2 had a flyway cost of $122.6 million in adjusted 2020 dollars and only 98 airframes (including four test articles) were produced between 1996 and 2011.

Japanese sources maintain that the F-2 s intellectual property agreements with the U.S. severely constrained its ability to upgrade the type. In many respects, current configuration F-2s remain less capable than contemporary F-16 Block 70s such as in stores compatibility, avionics, data links, and self-protection equipment. Some Japanese sources have derided the FS-X limited opportunities for Japanese industry and have expressed frustration against the U.S.' technology and export policies. These grievances later influenced Japan s decision to reject LM s F-22/F-35 hybrid proposal.

Genesis of F-X (2005-2018)

According to Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Takayoshi Yamazaki, the genesis of F-X did not begin with a statement of need or requirements process from the MoD or JASDF. Rather, the program began from a 2007 industry assessment which concluded Japanese companies were withdrawing from the aerospace market. A similar study published in 2009 by the MoD ( ) stated the number of aerospace engineers was expected to decline by 70% after F-2 production ended in 2011. To ameliorate further attrition of the industrial base, the MoD s Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) and MHI began work on the Advanced Technology Demonstrator X (ATD-X) Shinshin (Spirt of the Heart) in 2007. At the time, the MoD remarked, A quick start [of the program] is essential to sustain the domestic military technological base and to obtain bargaining power. The comment followed an unsuccessful campaign to import the Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor.

The resulting ATD-X design has an empty weight of 29,000 lb. and features caret inlets, canted vertical stabilizers and planform alignment to reduce its radar cross-section (RCS). The design is powered by a pair of IHI XF5-1 turbofans producing 11,000 lbf. of thrust and which are fitted with thrust vectoring nozzles. The ATD-X airframe underwent static fatigue life testing in 2013 and was rolled out a year later. It first flew in April 2016 following a year-long delay prompted by unspecified issues with the aircraft s low observable (LO) features. As of November 2017, the ATD-X had flown 34 of the planned 50 test fights and was scheduled to be withdrawn from service in March 2018.

According to program manager Hirofumi Doi, the ATD-X program gave F-2 engineers the opportunity to pass skills to the next generation of Japanese aerospace engineers . The Society of Japanese Engineers found that just 20% of the 270 engineers across the main Japanese primes involved in the F-2 program remained in the workforce as of November 2017. Another critical element of the program was the development of associated test infrastructure which would later be needed in a full scale developmental program such as RCS measurement and ranging equipment. A total of $664 million was spent on the advanced technology demonstrator between 2009 and 2017.

Trade Studies & Concept of Operations

While Japanese industry gained experience in basic LO design and shaping under ATD-X, the MoD began the i3 program which was first disclosed in 2010. The i3 sought to develop technologies not covered under the ATD-X program such as slim engines capable of supercruise, electroconductive canopy materials, metamaterials for controlling radio waves passing through the radome, data integration for counter-stealth applications and cooperative sensor and weapons employment.

TRDI examined scenarios in which Japan would have to combat a larger adversary in a close or distance geographical context. Results from these studies indicated the need for high survivability via LO, deep magazine capability for air-to-air missiles (AAMs) and cooperative engagement capability. Speed was shown to not greatly improve mission performance. More important to aircraft survivability is the range of angles at which the aircraft can paint targets with its radar and guide missiles toward them. TRDI found that increasing a fighter s radar sweep from about 140 deg. (that is, 70 deg. either side of the centerline) to about 220 deg. gave the pilot more time in which to fire missiles and reduced the enemy s opportunity by around 40%. If the range of available guidance command directions is increased from about 200 deg. to 360 deg., the time available for the pilot to fire is almost doubled and the enemy s is almost halved.

TRDI (likely with support from MHI) produced concepts in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 which were successively designated 23DMU, 24DMU, 25DMU and 26DMU. (Note that the number in each designation corresponds to the regnal year of then Emperor Akihito. DMU stands for digital mock-up.)

The series of designs shows a progressively stronger emphasis on LO design illustrated by the flattening of the aircraft, moving the engines outboard and changing from straight intakes with radar blockers to S-shaped ducts. Earlier emphasis on maneuverability and speed gave way to focus on endurance, loiter time and weapons load. A detailed explanation of each concept design follows.

  • 23DMU This concept shared the planform of the ATD-X. Its overall design prioritized maneuverability and incorporated carriage of four BVR air-to-air missiles (AAMs) as well as a pair of within-visual-range (WVR) weapons. TRDI found the 23DMU s deep fuselage contained significant radar-reflecting side area.
  • 24DMU The next design was a refinement of the 23DMU intended to reduce side reflecting area by flattening the aircraft. The engines were moved outboard and fed with straighter ducts, relying on blockers to reduce the RCS. The BVR AAMs were carried in tandem pairs. A V-tail combines both rudder and elevator functions as on the Northrop YF-23. Simulations with the new design found a pilot flying a 24DMU instead of a 23DMU would be able to fire about 10% more missiles and the enemy about a third fewer. The time available for taking shots was shorter for both, but the enemy s firing interval suffered more.
  • 25DMU This design has a greater emphasis on LO when compared to the preceding concepts. In place of the straight, blocked inlets, 25DMU has S-ducted intakes with inboard engines to create a broad space for side-by-side stowage of six BVR AAMs under the ducts, which twist upwards and inwards. The four tail surfaces reappeared but the fins remained highly canted and were kept shorter than those of the 23DMU. Wingspan and aspect ratio increased by almost 20% compared to the 24DMU. These wing changes were expected to increase range through an improved lift to drag ratio and greater fuel volume. TRDI confirmed range increased with the 25DMU, though it gave no figures. Speed and acceleration likely suffered, especially since 25DMU appears at least 10% larger than its predecessors. All of TRDI s published designs show a modest 40-deg leading-edge sweep of the main plane, suggesting none were designed to supercruise, but rather for range and loiter time.
  • 26DMU The final design preserves the concept of long-endurance and moderate flight performance. 26DMU represents the final attempt by the ministry s engineers to evaluate the trade-offs in the performance and acquisition of the new fighter. Implying the formation of more stable program requirements or key performance parameters.


Yakovlev Yak-130

Yakovlev Yak-130 user+1@localho Tue, 06/29/2021 - 21:17

A Yak-130 in flight.

Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)

The Yakovlev Yak 130 is a Russian advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft. It is powered by two Ivchenko-Progress AI-222-25 turbofan engines supplying 5,500 lbf. (2,500 kgf) of thrust each.

Program History

In the early 1990s the Russian air force sought to procure a new advanced jet trainer to replace the Czech Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros. At the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, approximately 1,000 L-39s were in Soviet Air Force service. After the Czech Republic ceased delivering new L-39s and spares, and with the Soviet fleet over a decade into its service life, a replacement would be necessary by the mid-2000s.

L-39 replacement initiatives began even before this need became apparent, however. In June 1990 the Soviet State Military Industrial Commission issued a resolution ordering the development of a new trainer. The requirement was finalized in October of that year. It described a two-engine aircraft with a 170km/h (91.8 kt) landing speed, a 1,350 nmi (2,500 km) ferry range, a 0.6-0.7 thrust-to-weight ratio and an austere runway capability. Deliveries were to commence by 1994.

Preliminary design studies were submitted by Mikoyan-Gurevich, Sukhoi, Yakovlev and Myasishchev, with Mikoyan and Yakovlev selected by the new Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) in January 1992 to proceed with prototype development. The dissolution of the Soviet Union substantially delayed the timetable for the program. While Mikoyan moved ahead with its MiG Advanced Trainer (MiG-AT), Yakovlev started on its Yak-UTS. The MiG-AT first flew in March 1996 and had a low straight wing with engines mounted on either side of the fuselage at the wing root and a mid-mounted, lightly swept tailplane. It was intended to be inexpensive to operate and to offer improved fuel efficiency compared to the L-39.

The Yakovlev proposal was less conventional, incorporating a high delta wing with a conventional tail and composite materials. In 1992, unable to secure enough funding from the Russian government, Yakovlev signed an agreement with Aermacchi to cooperate on designing a trainer. The project was dubbed Yak/AEM-130. Aermacchi had been working for some time on an AT-X jet trainer to market to European air forces, and from 1988 to 1991 had worked with Dornier on studies for such an aircraft. This had resulted in the AT-X12 and then the AT-2000 Mako, a tailed-delta design. Aermacchi s early design work comported well with concepts for the Yak-130, whose configuration was approved by the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) in 1993. The Yak-130D demonstrator first flew in April 1996. Note that Mikoyan also secured foreign cooperation on its proposal, incorporating Turbomeca Larzac 04 engines and Thomson avionics into the MiG-AT design.

In 1994 the first Yak-130 demonstrator was completed and dubbed the Yak-130D. It was airlifted to the Le Bourget airshow in June 1995, where it was put on static display. The demonstrator carried RD-35 engines manufactured by Klimov under a 1994 license agreement with Povazske Strojarne, the Slovak company with the rights to the DV-2 engine the RD-35 was derived from. The Yak-130D first flew in April 1996, a month after the first flight of the MiG-AT. Many of the test flights it conducted in the following years were carried out at Aermacchi facilities in Italy.

The divergent requirements of the Russian and European trainer markets ultimately resulted in the dissolution of the Aermacchi-Yakovlev partnership at the end of 1999. Competing industrial imperatives made the partnership untenable; Russia sought to minimize the presence of foreign components in the design, while Aermacchi could not hope to produce or market an aircraft made predominantly in Russia. When the cooperation agreement ended, the parties agreed that both would have the right to produce their own derivatives of the basic Yak/AEM-130 design, and Yakovlev secured a $77 million ($118 million in 2019 USD) payment from Aermacchi in exchange for providing full documentation of the design. This funding was critical for the continuation of the program. Aermacchi quickly unveiled an aircraft it dubbed the M-346 Master, which is aerodynamically very similar to the Yak-130 and shares its design lineage because of the development partnership.

In April 2002, the Yak-130 was declared the winner of the MoD s trainer competition. The same year the Yak-130D s flight test regime concluded, and the prototype was mothballed in 2004. In April 2004, the first production-standard Yak-130 flew. Flight trials for the production aircraft then took place over the next five years, first at Yakovlev and then with the Russian air force, with three aircraft eventually involved. A contract was signed between Yakovlev and the Russian MoD in May 2005 to procure 12 low-rate initial production (LRIP) aircraft. On July 26, 2006, the third prototype aircraft crashed with no loss of life, and the program was delayed as changes were made to the flight control software. In November 2007 the Yak-130 received a preliminary certificate from the military, and production of the 12 LRIP aircraft began.

Flight tests were completed in December 2009, four years after the 2005 conclusion of static airframe tests. The first few serial production aircraft were manufactured at the Sokol aircraft manufacturing facility in Nizhny Novgorod, but the Irkutsk Aviation Plant became the sole assembler of the Yak-130 after entering the program in 2006. In February 2010 the Yak-130 entered Russian air force service.


Overall Design

The Yak-130 s overall aerodynamic and structural configuration changed somewhat from that of the Yak-130D. It remained a tailed delta aircraft with a stabilator and a swept vertical tail, but its fuselage was shortened by 16 in (41 cm), its wing area was reduced and its midsection was shrunk. This permitted significant weight reductions, increasing the thrust-to-weight ratio while retaining the principal features of the original design. The airframe also is built predominantly of light alloys, with carbon fiber composites extensively used for the control surfaces. To accommodate a radar, the nosecone also was enlarged.

The wing is swept 31-deg. and fitted with leading-edge flaps. On the trailing edge, the wing is fitted with ailerons and fowler flaps. Both the wing and the horizontal stabilizer feature a dogtooth to induce vortices over the wing. This redirects spanwise airflow at high angles of attack, providing lift augmentation.

Because of the Yak-130 s small size and its limited capabilities compared to two-seat derivatives of fighters like the MiG-29UB or Su-27UB, the Yak-130 is a less costly solution for transitioning pilots to combat aircraft. In a similar vein, many other air forces have adopted aircraft such as the Leonardo M-346 or KAI T-50 to fill the niche previously occupied by two-seater variants of their frontline fighter aircraft. To enhance its training capability, the Yak-130 includes an integrated virtual training system that permits live engagements against virtual targets. The system also includes a recording system for after-action reports and analysis.

The two-person crew is seated in a tandem cockpit, with the student pilot in the front. The front and rear seats have 16-deg. and 6-deg. look-down visibility, respectively. For emergency egress, the aircraft is fitted with two K-36L-3,5Ya zero-zero ejection seats. The seats are designed to eject through the canopy, which is fitted with an explosive cord. The seats are rated for ejections at up to 567 kt (1,050 km/h) and at altitudes up to 4,265 ft (1,300 m). Life support is provided by an on-board oxygen-generating system (OBOGS) and an air-conditioning system aft of the cockpit. Because of the OBOGS, the aircraft is not dependent on airfield infrastructure to restore its oxygen supply between flights.

A self-test system is built into the aircraft for ease of maintenance, and it also assists in conducting pre-flight checks to reduce the minimum time required to put the aircraft in the air. Irkut states that a given Yak-130 airframe can remain in operation for up to 30 years, and it offers an integrated logistics support package for its customers. The Yak-130 has a tricycle landing gear with low-pressure tires for high flotation over unpaved runways.

Maneuverability and Flight Controls

Though the Yak-130D had analog flight controls, the Yak-130 features KSU-130 quadruple-redundant fly-by-wire flight controls. These controls feature adjustable flight envelope restrictions allowing the Yak-130 to simulate aircraft with disparate maneuvering characteristics and to operate in a restricted envelope for earlier phases of pilot training. Leading-edge root extensions and leading-edge flaps allow flight at up to a 40-deg. angle of attack. For safety, the aircraft is equipped with an automated spin recovery system and flight envelope protections.


The Yak-130 is powered by two Ivchenko-Progress AI-222-25 engines producing 5,500 lbf. (2,500 kgf) of thrust each. The engines were produced jointly by Ukraine s Motor Sich and Russia s MMPP Salyut until 2015, when Salyut declared it was now fully capable of independently building the engine. Air intakes are covered by doors during taxiing, takeoff and landing to reduce the risk of foreign object debris (FOD) ingestion from unimproved runways. When operating in this mode, auxiliary intake doors open in the top of the wing root, thereby getting oxygen to the engine with a dramatically lessened risk of FOD ingestion. This is similar to the intake door system designed for the MiG-29.

A TA14-130 auxiliary power unit (APU) supplied by Aerosila is used to start engines and generate AC power. The APU can be activated in-air to restart the engines if necessary, and it exhausts to the starboard side of the aircraft.

Fuel is stored in three internal fuel tanks one in the fuselage aft of the cockpit and one in each wing. Altogether this represents 3,747 lb. (1,700 kg) of fuel capacity, though in normal operation the Yak-130 typically carries around half of this maximum. Two PTB-450 drop tanks can be carried underwing, each with a capacity of 992 lb. (450 kg) of fuel.


The Yak-130 features a K-130.01 full glass digital avionics suite. The suite is built around two BTsVM90-604 computers and a three-channel multiplex databus. Data from the system is displayed primarily on three MFTsi-0333M 6x8-in., full-color multifunctional displays for each pilot station. The forward station also includes an ILS-2-02 head-up display (HUD) with a PUI-130 up-front control panel (UFCP). This UFCP also is included in the rear station despite the lack of the HUD.

For navigation, the Yak-130 carries an RPKB/Sagem LINS-100RS-02 inertial navigation system with an A737 global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver. The LINS-100RS-02 is designed around a ring laser gyroscope to provide enhanced accuracy over traditional inertial navigation systems (INS). It also carries a VNIIRA RSBN-85 tactical air navigation (TACAN) system, an ARK-40 automatic direction finder and an A-053-06 radio altimeter. For combat purposes, the aircraft carries the SUO-130 weapons management system and the Izdeliye 4280 identification friend or foe (IFF) system.

The Yak-130 can carry a podded variant of the Platan IRST. The Platan also is carried on the Su-34, but in that configuration is integrated directly into the Su-34 s fuselage.

Defensive Countermeasures

For self-protection, the Yak-130 can carry two electronic countermeasures (ECM) pods. It also can carry wingtip-mounted UV-26M 26mm flare dispensers, each of which can carry 32 flares.


The Yak-130 has six underwing weapons pylons, two wingtip missile/pod rails and one underbelly pylon for a gun pod. It can carry a maximum of 6,614 lb. (3,000 kg) of payload. Possible weapons stores for the Yak-130 include:

  • Four R-73E short-range infrared homing air-to-air missiles (AAMs) capable of attacking targets up to 16.2 nmi (30 km) away maneuvering under load factors up to 12 G.
  • Four Kh-25M air-to-ground missiles with canard controls and a modular seeker system. The KH-25M can be fitted with semi-active laser, television, infrared imaging, active radar, GNSS/INS and antiradiation seekers.
  • S-5 family 57 mm rockets, S-8 family 80 mm rockets, S-13 family 122mm rockets and S-25 family 266mm rockets in UB-32, B-8M1, B-13L or PU-O-25 pods, respectively.
  • 551 lb. (250 kg) or 1,102 lb. (500 kg) FAB-250/500 series bombs.
  • PTB-450 drop tanks on the innermost pylons.
  • An SNPU-130 gun pod carrying a GSh-23L 23mm twin-barrel autocannon with 110 rounds of ammunition carried aboard the centerline hardpoint. The pod also can be replaced with a laser-based simulator for training

The aircraft also supports a helmet-mounted cueing system (HMCS) for carriage of the R-73E.



The Yak-130D was the demonstrator built for the early flight-test phase of the Yak-130 program. Besides the previously mentioned differences in aerodynamic configuration from the demonstrator to the production aircraft, the Yak-130D has analog instrumentation with one small MFD in lieu of the glass cockpit used on the final Yak-130 design. It also lacks wingtip missile rails and the OBOGS.


Yak-130 is the designation for the base variant of the aircraft. At the izdeliye level, there are three subvariants of the Yak-130: the Yak-130.01, manufactured at the Sokol facility in Nizhny Novgorod; the Yak-130.11, manufactured at Irkutsk; and the Yak-130.12, the export variant of the aircraft.

Yak-131, Yak-133 and Yak-135 Proposals

The Yak-131, Yak-133 and Yak-135 were a series of modification proposals developed throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s to develop mission-specific Yak-130 variants. Of these variants, the Yak-131 was to incorporate a radar and expanded weapons options, the Yak-133 was to be a single-seat ground-attack aircraft and the Yak-135 was to be a supersonic single-seat light fighter. Derivatives of the Yak-133 design also were considered, namely the Yak-133IB fighter-bomber, the Yak-133R reconnaissance aircraft and the Yak-133P escort jammer. None of these designs ever progressed to concrete prototyping or production work. Yakovlev has instead taken an incremental approach to expanding the capabilities of the Yak-130 platform.

Proryv UAV Family

Yakovlev also considered developing a family of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) out of the Yak-130 airframe. These were to have a maximum takeoff weight of around 22,046 lb. (10,000 kg) and would have included the Proryv-U strike aircraft capable of flying at 594 kt (1,100 km/h) with a 6,614 lb. (3,000 kg) weapons load, the Proryv-R reconnaissance variant and the Proryv-RLD early warning variant. The Proryv-R and Proryv-RLD were to feature high-aspect-ratio, unswept wings.


This designation is applied to a developmental aircraft integrating upgraded avionics, a strengthened undercarriage, plumbing for a removable in-flight refueling (IFR) probe and the LD-130 laser rangefinder described in the Upgrades section. The IFR probe is designed to meet the MIL-A-87166 standard. MIL-A-87166 is a deprecated standard for aerial refueling systems that was maintained by the U.S. Air Force prior to its cancellation in 1996.

Lightweight Strike Aircraft (LUS)

Called (Logkiy Udarnyi Samolyot) in Russian, the LUS is a concept to develop a dedicated light attack aircraft out of the Yak-130. The LUS would include further avionics upgrades, an OEPrNK electrooptical targeting system and a nose radar. The radar is likely to be either the Phazotron FK-130 Kopyo-50, NIIP Bars-130 or the Leonardo Grifo-200 and the new targeting system will enable the integration of both the Kh-38M air-to-ground missile and Kh-31 antishipping/antiradiation missiles.


LD-130 Laser Rangefinder

At MAKS 2015 Irkutsk unveiled a modified Yak-130 with a nose-mounted LD-130 laser rangefinder and target designator. The LD-130 also integrates an electrooptical system for target acquisition. Because this system is not gimbaled and appears to have a limited frontal field of regard, its utility against ground targets is inferior to those of podded systems such as the Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod. It is apparently intended mostly as an aiming aid for the podded cannon.

SM-100 Turbofan Engine

Following the exclusion of Motor Sich from AI-222-25 production for the Yak-130, Salyut has sought to independently develop and build a new engine for the aircraft. It has dubbed the notional engine the SM-100. Aside from achieving industrial independence for the Yak-130 program, Salyut intends to raise the thrust to 6,614 lbf. (3,000 kgf) by incorporating an afterburner.

Talisman-NT Electronic Warfare Suite

The aircraft Irkutsk displayed at MAKS 2015 also carried wingtip-mounted Talisman-NT electronic warfare pods manufactured by the Belarusian company Defense Initiatives. These pods provide self-protection in the frontal and rear arcs against active and semi-active radar homing and infrared homing surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles (SAMs and AAMs). Talisman-NT also is effective against command-guided SAMs, and it appears to integrate with the existing podded chaff/flare dispenser and EW system designed for the Yak-130.

The protection arcs cover 90 deg. horizontally and 60 deg. vertically from the nose and tail. Threat warning is provided by radar warning receivers and a missile approach warning system that display threat information on one of the cockpit MFDs. The system can react to threats autonomously. It is apparently designed to jam threat radar systems, prematurely detonate the radio proximity fuses of approaching missiles and automatically launch flares against incoming IR-guided missiles. Finally, the system can pass target data to antiradiation missiles. The manufacturer claims 10 W of output power (1,400 W input) over the 2.0-18.0 GHz radio band.

Production and Delivery History


Algeria placed an order in March 2006 for 16 Yak-130s to be delivered from 2008 to 2009. After three years of delays, the first aircraft were delivered in November 2011 and the remainder arrived in 2012. They have export-standard identification friend-or-foe equipment, and their cockpit instrumentation is scaled in imperial units. All labels on the aircraft are in French. These aircraft also were ordered with UV-26M wingtip flare dispensers. The contract reportedly included a significant option for additional aircraft.


Bangladesh placed an order for 16 Yak-130s in 2013. It anticipated delivery of the aircraft in 2015 and 2016; by the end of 2015 six had been inducted and the remaining 10 followed in 2016 as expected.

On July 11, 2017, a Bangladeshi Air Force Yak-130 crashed at Lohagora, Chittagong, due to a fault in the flight control system. Another accident followed on Dec. 27, 2017, when two more Yak-130s suffered a midair collision. Accordingly, only 13 remain in service in 2021.


In December 2012 the Belarusian MoD ordered four Yak-130s with delivery expected in 2015. The four aircraft were inducted into Belarusian Air Force service on April 27, 2015. In August 2015, Belarus ordered a further four aircraft, which were delivered in 2016. Four more were contracted in 2018 and delivered by July 2019. The 12 aircraft are used primarily for light attack in Belarusian service and are teamed with Su-25s. On May 19, 2021, a Belarusian Yak-130 was lost in a crash.


From 2016 Iran considered ordering up to 24 Yak-130s from Russia as part of a wider arms deal, but as of June 2020 nothing had materialized to this end.


A $300 million contract for 10 Yak-130s was signed in August 2017. The first four of these aircraft were delivered in December 2018 by an Il-76. This delivery marked the reintroduction of an aerial combat capability Laos had lost in the 2000s with the retirement of its MiG-21s.


A contract was signed with Libya in January 2010 for the procurement of six aircraft. The civil conflict that began during the Arab Spring in February 2011 and culminated in the October 2011 downfall of the Gaddafi regime ensured that the contract would never be fulfilled.


Irkutsk has offered the Yak-130 for the Royal Malaysian Air Force s light combat aircraft competition, under which Malaysia hopes to acquire at least 36 aircraft. To meet Malaysia s requirements, Russia is offering the aircraft with the NIIP Tikhomirov Bars-130, a downsized derivative of the Bars-M radar used on Malaysia s Su-30MKM. It also will carry enhanced countermeasures, with UV-26M pods at the wingtips and two underwing ECM pods incorporating infrared and radar warning receivers.

The Yak-130 s commonality in manufacturing and maintenance with the Su-30MKM may make the aircraft more attractive against its competitors, the KAI FA-50, the BAE Hawk, the Sino-Pakistani JF-17 Thunder, the Chinese L-15 Hongdu, the Czech L-39NG, the HAL LCA Tejas and the Leonardo M-346FA. Irkutsk also is offering to provide the aircraft as knockdown and semi-knockdown kits as an industrial offset.


In 2015 Myanmar placed an order for 14 Yak-130s. Six were delivered in 2017 and eight followed in 2019 for a total of 14 in service.


In April 2015 the head of Nicaragua s armed forces indicated that Nicaragua would acquire six new light attack aircraft in the coming years. He mentioned the EMB-314 Super Tucano, the Yak-130 and the MiG-130. Despite the wide range of capabilities apparently under consideration in June 2017 the Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa reported that the government had selected the Yak-130. It is clear that the government has a preference for the Yak-130 but it is unlikely that a firm agreement has been or can be reached on procurement due to Nicaragua s limited fiscal resources.


In December 2011 the Russian MoD signed a contract with Irkut Corporation for the procurement of 55 Yak-130s, which were to be delivered by 2015. These aircraft would complement the twelve low-rate initial production (LRIP) aircraft already procured under a May 2005 contract with Sokol. Only the LRIP aircraft were built at the Sokol plant in Nizhny Novgorod. In December 2013, the MoD ordered 12 more aircraft for a new aerobatic display team. The same month, 10 aircraft were ordered for the Russian Navy. Irkut was awarded another contract in 2018 for 30 Yak-130s. Sometime in 2019 the MoD is believed to have ordered an undisclosed number of additional aircraft. Finally, in August 2020 the Russian MoD announced another contract for 25 Yak-130s.

In total, Aviation Week believes 151 aircraft have been ordered. As of May 2021, 111 had been delivered, with five more to follow by the end of the year.

On May 29, 2010, a Yak-130 crashed due to the flight envelope protection system reacting to incorrect maintenance parameters set by the ground crew. The aircraft was grounded while the flight control software was rewritten. Another crash occurred in April 2014, with one pilot killed. Because of these crashes, 109 Yak-130s are in Russian Air Force service in 2021. The four remaining trials aircraft remain with Yakovlev, and the Yak-130D was donated to the Monino Central Air Force Museum.


In December 2011 Syria signed a contract for the procurement of 36 Yak-130s. For political and financial reasons related to the catastrophic civil war that began that year after the Syrian state responded to Arab Spring protests with force. The contract was never canceled, and efforts were made into 2014 to begin deliveries of the aircraft, but they have not materialized as of May 2021. In June 2019 Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) pilots reportedly were dispatched to Russia to receive training on the Yak-130, but it is not clear whether this was related to the procurement contract or was intended to train Syrian pilots for other aircraft as part of Russian efforts to support the beleaguered Syrian military.


In January 2020 Vietnam signed a $350 million contract to procure 12 Yak-130s to replace its L-39 jet trainers. The new aircraft will join the 915th Training Aviation Regiment of the Vietnam Peoples Air Force.

the 915th Training Aviation Regiment of the Vietnam Peoples Air Force.

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The UFO Debate: Revenge of the Aliens?

The UFO Debate: Revenge of the Aliens? rupa.haria@avi Mon, 06/21/2021 - 09:01

The 2017 revelation that a secret U.S. Defense Department program has investigated reports of UFOs is hardly a new topic: debate about whether the UFOs existed and the Pentagon was covering up their existence -- was covered extensively in Aviation Week & Space Technology more than 50 years ago. And our reporting had a decidedly anti-extra-terrestrial bent.

Philip J. Klass, Aviation Week s legendary avionics editor, published an in-depth analysis in the summer of 1966 suggesting that some reported sightings of UFOs were actually luminous plasmas of ionized air, a special form of ball lightning generated by electric corona that occurs on high-tension power lines under certain conditions.

Read the full analysis in Aviation Week's archive

Klass noted that a then-popular book about UFO sightings near Exeter, New Hampshire, expresses the belief that top Air Force and government officials know that the UFOs are extra-terrestrial spacecraft but successfully kept this a secret for nearly two decades to prevent national panic. But he was skeptical. A much more plausible scientific explanation emerges when the Exeter sightings are analyzed, he wrote, devoting another four pages to lay out that analysis.

Philip J. Klass' avocation was debunking sightings of UFOs

Klass went on to become a leading skeptic of UFO sightings, traveling extensively to conduct investigations first hand. In 1976, he, astronomer Carl Sagan, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov and other notables founded the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. Klass also wrote six books debunking reports on UFO incidents and published The Skeptics of UFO Newsletter in his spare time.

I had the privilege of knowing Phil early in my career and even co-wrote an article with him on signals intelligence, not UFOs in the late 1990s. But when I went looking for his 2005 obituary in our bound volumes of past issues, the page had been mysteriously torn out.

Revenge of the aliens?

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Sikorsky H-60/S-70 Black Hawk

Sikorsky H-60/S-70 Black Hawk user+1@localho Wed, 06/09/2021 - 21:17

The Sikorsky H-60 Black Hawk is a medium weight military transport helicopter in service with the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard, and with dozens of military operators in Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. More than 4,000 Black Hawks have been built since 1974. U.S. and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Black Hawks are designated as H-60s with subvariants, such as the UH-60, MH-60, HH-60, etc., reflecting the primary mission the Black Hawk variant. Generally, Black Hawks sold via Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) are referred to as S-70s though Sikorsky does have internal designations for FMS Black Hawks as well.

Program History

During the Vietnam War, the Huey fleet proved the feasibility and utility of air mobile operations but suffered from a lack of survivability and insufficient cabin volume. The U.S. Army launched the Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System (UTTAS) to replace the Huey in January 1972. The service planned to procure 1,107 helicopters which would be powered by two General Electric T700 engines. Early requirements for UTTAS included stowage within the C-130 and the ability to meet the following performance metrics on a 95 F day at 4,000 ft:

  • accommodate a fully equipped rifle squad of 11 soldiers plus a crew of three
  • cruise at a speed of at least 145 kts. (167 mph)
  • endurance of 2.3 hrs.
  • demonstrate greater crash resistance for crew compartments
  • provide greater survivability against ground fire

Bell, Sikorsky, and Boeing- Vertol responded to the Army s UTTAS request for proposals (RFP). In August 1972, Boeing-Vertol and Sikorsky were selected to build prototypes for a competitive fly off with the YUH-60A and YUH-61A respectively. Each contract was to build three prototypes with $61.9 million for Boeing-Vertol and $91 million awarded to Boeing ($390 and $574 million in 2021 dollars respectively). Sikorsky was particularly deliberate in its bidding strategy. The company had begun work on its UTTAS concept in 1971 following the loss of both the Army's Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) and Heavy Lift Helicopter (HLH) competitions to Lockheed and Boeing-Vertol respectively.

Sikorsky s YUH-60A first took flight on Oct. 17, 1974 and was followed by Boeing-Vertol s design that November. The Army took delivery of contractor prototypes through March 1976 and subsequently began an eight-month evaluation encompassing more than 1400 flight hours. Sikorsky won source selection on December 23, 1976 owing to the type s use of mature technologies and to it meeting or exceeding all UTTAS program requirements. Following Army tradition, the UTTAS program was renamed as the Black Hawk program in honor of the eponymous Sauk war chief. See production & delivery section for more details.

Features & Variants

There are three generations of Black Hawks with successive improvements being made to each: H-60A, H-60L and H-60M. The Seahawk group is inter-related with each generation but is more often considered its own distinct group given its maritime focus.

First Generation


The UH-60A was the first production configuration variant in the H-60 family with an initial empty weight of 10,387 lb. and a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 16,450 lb. The A model could accommodate external sling loads of up to 8,000 lb. As the A-model s mission equipment was expanded, its empty weight gradually increased to 11,284 lb. by the end of production. The UH-60A was initially powered by a pair of 1,600-shaft horsepower (SHP) T700-GE-700 turboshafts.

The UH-60A incorporated a host of new technologies and design features in its rotor arrangement to improve survivability and performance. The four-bladed main rotor uses titanium spars that are swept 20-deg. aft, while the tail rotor is canted 20-deg. upwards generating 400 lb. of supplemental lift. The UH-60A features armored, crash resistant crew seats and its airframe is designed to withstand small arms fire and to provide limited protection against 23 mm cannon fire.


Sikorsky has its own designation system independent of the U.S. tri-service system. For decades, each country had its own specific designation within the S-70A series. For example, Australia s aircraft, equivalent to the UH-60A, were designated as the S-70A-9. In contrast, Austrian aircraft were designated as the S-70A-42 but were equivalent to the UH-60L configuration. This system fell out of favor with the advent of the UH-60M-equivalent S-70i which does not receive a country specific identifier.


The MH-60A was the first UH-60 variant developed for U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) featuring SOF related mission systems such as night vision systems, improved countermeasures, and enhanced communications equipment. The aircraft was quickly replaced by the more capable MH-60K.


In the early 1980s, the Army briefly sought a helicopter to provide long-range, ground moving target indication (GMTI) capability. To this end, it experimented with a single YEH-60B demonstrator fitted with the Stand Off Target Acquisition System (SOTAS) radar starting in 1981. The system was fitted conformally to the bottom of the airframe and was deployed outwards, enabling the antenna to rotate. The Black Hawks inherent limitations in power, weight, and cooling capacity as well as in altitude (for signal propagation/horizon) made the helicopter ill-suited for long-range GMTI. Ultimately, the Army discontinued the program as the Northrop Grumman E-8 J-STARs became available.


The EH-60C is an electronic warfare variant of the Black Hawk fitted with the ALQ-151(V)2 Special Purpose Electronic Countermeasure System. The suite is also known as the Quick Fix mission system. The ALQ-151(V)2 consists of four dipole antennas mounted on the tailcone as well as a deployable whip antenna. EH-60Cs were used to support armored cavalry regiments and light divisions by locating and jamming enemy communications. These specialized aircraft were eventually replaced by EH-60Ls fitted with the ALQ-151(V)3.


The S-70C is a commercial version of the UH-60A. C-1 and C-1A models were sold the Republic of China (Taiwan) and C-2 to the People s Republic of China. See production & delivery history section for country specific modifications.


The VH-60N is a VIP transport variant operated by the Marine Corps HMX-1 the squadron responsible for the transport of the President and other key government officials. The N features a blend of Seahawk and A-model features. Aside from VIP furnishings, the N-model also features measures to protect the helicopter against electro-magnetic pulses.

UH-60A+ & UH-60FFF

The UH-60A+ features improved T700-GE-701D turboshafts capable of producing 2,000 SHP however, the A-model s gearbox remains unchanged. Surplus U.S. Army A-models were converted for Afghanistan. A portion of these are fitted with an armament package, becoming UH-60 Fixed Forward Firing (UH-60FFF) variants. See Afghanistan under production & delivery history section for additional details.

Second Generation


The second generation UH-60L was conceived to restore performance lost by increases to the A-model s empty weight. New mission equipment such as the Hover IR Suppression System (HIRSS) and provisions for the enhanced stores support system (ESSS) added approximately 900 lb. to the airframe. The L-model restored 1,000 lbs. of performance with the addition of a new 3,400 SHP gearbox derived from the SH-60B, T700-GE-701C engines which each provided 1,800 SHP and a new flight control system. The UH-60L can carry sling loads of 9,000 lb., enabling the helicopter to carry the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV).


The CH-60E was a proposed UH-60L derivative for the USMC to replace the Boeing-Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight. While it was not pursued, the concept eventually evolved into the MH-60S.

HH-60G/MH-60G Pave Hawk

The Pave Hawk was developed for U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). The MH-60G was used for special operations forces (SOF) infiltration and exfiltration while the HH-60G was developed for combat search and rescue (CSAR). To meet SOCOM s requirements, the aircraft recieved a series of modifications including an inflight refueling probe, a nose mounted weather radar, an automatic flight control system and measures to assist in all-weather operations.


The J model is a maritime SAR variant developed for the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) from the UH-60L. JASDF specific modifications include upswept ESSS mounts, a weather radar, a nose mounted FLIR, a rescue hoist and bubble windows for greater visual awareness during SAR. The J-model uses GE 401C engines which are adapted for maritime conditions. MSDF Black Hawks sport either a yellow-white or distinctive two-tone blue camouflage pattern.


The UH-60J or UH-60 J (modernized) (often referred to as or kai for modified when abbreviated or as UH-60J+ in English language sources) is a SAR variant fielded by the JASDF as a replacement for the J-model. The UH-60J+ configuration includes J-model features as well as a removable inflight refueling (IFR) probe, SATCOM and a collision avoidance system.


The UH-60JA is a general transport derivative based upon the UH-60L for the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF). It features ESSS mounts, a nose mounted weather radar, a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) turret, IR suppressors and license built IHI 401C engines.


The K-model was developed for U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). The UH-60K features uprated T701D engines as well as additional longerons and strengthened structural components to raise the helicopter s MTOW to 24,500 lb. Mission equipment consisted of the Texas Instruments APG-174 terrain following radar (TFLR), the Raytheon AAQ-16 FLIR turret, and a digital map system. As with the Pave Hawk, the MH-60K featured an in-flight refueling probe and rescue hoist.

AH-60L Harpia

The Harpia is a gunship derivative of the Black Hawk developed by Colombia. Each successive generation of the Harpia added weapons and improved avionics. Early Harpia I models were limited to gun pods with 250 rounds of ammunition. Harpia II introduced stub pylon mounted hardpoints for machine guns and 2.75 in. rockets as well as a weather radar and night vision capability. Colombia partnered with Elbit and Sikorsky in 2002 to develop the Harpia III configuration which features a Toplite II FLIR and targeting system, the Modular Integrated Display and Sight Helmet (MiDASH), an integrated stores management system and an improved armaments package. Harpia IV features the ANVIS/HUD-24, Toplite III EO/IR system and an improved countermeasures suite.


The HH-60L is a medevac UH-60L derivative incorporating many of the preceding HH-60Q features including a glass cockpit, additional electrical power, an oxygen generating system and capacity for six patients.


The MH-60L Defensive Action Penetrator (DAP) which was originally named the Direct Action Penetrator shares the K-model s features but also is fitted with a weapons kit typically consisting of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, M134 7.62 mm miniguns, 2.75-inch rocket pods or M230 30 mm cannons mounted on removable pylons. Despite carrying offensive weaponry comparable to that of an attack helicopter, the DAP lacks the armor protection of dedicated gunships.


The UH-60P is a UH-60L derivative for Korea with a rotor brake, ESSS mounts and T701C turboshaft engines.


The HH-60P is a Korean derivative of the UH-60P designed for CSAR missions. Unlike its USAF equivalent, the HH-60P does not have an IFR probe .


The VH-60P is a South Korean VIP variant derived from the UH-60P.


The HH-60Q Dustoff was a Medevac demonstrator featuring additional electrical power, an oxygen generating system and capacity for six patients. The Q-model also featured a nose mounted weather radar and FLIR system. Work on the Q-model informed the subsequent HH-60L.


The UH-60V is the latest derivative of the L model and features a digital cockpit similar to that of the UH-60M. The V-model features 2,000 SHP T701D turboshafts but lacks the new rotors and other performance enhancements developed for the M-model. See the production & delivery history section for additional details regarding the program.

Third Generation


As the load of equipment supplied to U.S. Army soldiers increased from 240 lb. to 290 lb., another revitalization of the Black Hawk was necessary to restore performance margins lost in the 1990s to early 2000s. The UH-60M s principal design changes include T701D turboshafts, new wide-chord composite rotor blades (which provide 470 lb. of additional lift), digital avionics, multi-function displays and a machined airframe to reduce vibration and weight. The M model has an empty weight of 12,511 lb. and MTOW of 22,000 lb.



GSB Gold Standard Banking, Josip Heit and SPREE FLUG in Times of Coronavirus

In the coronavirus pandemic, job cuts, such as those currently at the aircraft manufacturer Airbus, are hitting the Federal Republic of Germany particularly hard. The 5100 jobs that are to be cut are not only slowing down the German economy, but are also burdening the national budget. Worldwide, Airbus plans to cut a full 15,000 jobs due to the corona crisis. In other countries, the company is also making cuts: In France 5000 jobs are... Source: RealWireRead full story.


KAI KF-X shambo.pfaff@i Wed, 06/24/2020 - 21:12

The Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) KF-X is a multi-role 4.5 generation fighter. The KF-X is powered by two General Electric (GE) F414-400K turbofan engines. Image shows final C-109 design with caret inlets, boundary layer diverter and canted twin tails. Munitions stored conformally in the Block I configuration with provisions for an internal weapons bay in the subsequent Block II configuration. Credit: KAI

Program History

Prelude & Early Ambitions

In the early 1990s, South Korea sought to develop a robust domestic aerospace industry. Under the Peace Bridge II program, Lockheed Martin agreed to open a production line for F-16s in Korea. Hundreds of South Korean engineers were trained in the United States in preparation for domestic F-16 production and Lockheed Martin committed to a series of offset agreements including the development of a new Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) designated as the KTX-2 which would become the T-50. In response to the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, the Korean government directed the creation of KAI in October 1999 from the three largest aerospace chaebols (Korean conglomerates): Daewoo Heavy Machinery, Hyundai and Samsung Techwin (formerely Samsung Aerospace).

As KAI gained experienced with the KTX-2 program, the Kim Dae-jung Administration began to study proposals to develop an indigenous fighter. In August 2001, Defense Minister Kim Dong-shin announced the government would begin development of an indigenous fighter in 2003 which would enter service in 2015. In 2002, the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) wrote the initial Required Operational Characteristics (ROC) for a medium weight fighter which would be slightly superior to the F-16. The original requirements did not call for low observability (LO) or internal carriage of weapons. During the 197th meeting of the Korean Joint Chiefs in November 2002, initial KF-X ROCs were approved. A medium performance indigenous fighter would be developed to complement the higher-end F-15K which had been selected as the F-X in April 2002. The F-X program began in November 1997 and originally sought to procure 120 fighters by 2020 but was ultimately divided into three distinct phases for 40 (2002), 21 (including one attrition replacement, 2008) and 60 (revised down to 40, 2014) aircraft respectively.

Development work for the medium performance indigenous fighter would be led by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) which coordinates nationwide defense R&D activities and reports directly to the Ministry of National Defense (formerly the Defense Acquisition Procurement Agency or DAPA until 2014). By 2007, South Korea was looking at developing a 5th generation, LO fighter. The world s first 5th generation fighter, the F-22, had reached initial operational capability (IOC) just two years prior following more than 20 years of development. Ambitious plans to expand domestic industry and discord amongst Korea s defense policy community greatly contributed towards the program s initial delays. Furthermore, differences in defense policy between subsequent administrations greatly affected the progress and funding of the KF-X program.

Feasibility Studies & Evolution of Requirements

Between 2002 and 2014, the government commissioned multiple feasibility studies on KF-X from the Korea Institute of Defense Analysis (KIDA), Korea Development Institute (KDI), Konkuk University and the Korean Institute of Science and Technology Evaluation Assessment (KISTEP). In 2012, the ADD also hired IHS Janes and Strategic Defense Intelligence to examine the KF-X s exportability.

In December 2007, the Korea Development Institute (KDI), an economic policy think tank staffed largely by government employees, found that the program would cost 10 trillion ($10.6 billion in adjusted 2020 dollars) and result in only 3 trillion ($3.2 billion in adjusted 2020 dollars) in economic benefits. KDI s ROCs assumed KF-X would be LO with internal carriage for four air-to-air missiles (AAMs) and performance characteristics in between the F-16 and F-15. In October of that year, four companies had submitted bids for KF-X (now nicknamed Boramae): Saab, Airbus (then EADS), Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Saab submitted two derivatives of its JAS 39 C/D fighter. The P305 was a single engine derivative while the P306 had twin engines, both stored weapons internally. EADS offered the Eurofighter Typhoon as the basis for a cooperative development program. Boeing and Lockheed Martin were operating under stringent U.S. export controls and kept a lower profile during the early stages of KF-X.

2009 marked a series of important milestones for the KF-X in terms of international participation and solidification of requirements. On March 9, 2009, South Korea and Indonesia and signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the joint development of KF-X. Indonesia committed to fund 20% of the KF-X development and purchase 50 IF-X (Indonesian derivative KF-X) aircraft. South Korea attempted to solicit Turkish participation in the program but Korea and Turkey were reportedly unable to reach an agreement regarding leadership of a co-development program. KF-X program requirements

In 2009, the government commissioned Konkuk University s Weapons System Concept Development and Application Research Center to study the feasibility of the KF-X program. The study was led by Major General (ret.) Shin Bo Hyun who had previously led the original F-X evaluation team in 2002. Major Gen. Hyun s report found development and production of the KF-X was feasible if the KF-X was effectively downgraded to a 4.5 generation platform. The study concluded 5th generation capabilities were not necessary in a North Korea scenario. Stand-off weapons would allow non-LO aircraft to conduct strikes. The study proposed the following ROCs :

  • Combat Radius: 1.5 times that of the F-16C/D Block 52 (approximately 500 miles or 800 km)
  • Service Life: 1.34 times that of the F-16C/D (approximately 10,700 hours)
  • Empty weight of 10.4 metric tons (22,928 lb.)
  • Reduced radar cross section (RCS), but not true LO
  • One to two engines

A 4.5 generation fighter would cost 6 trillion ($6.1 billion in adjusted 2020 dollars) to develop and approximately 50 billion to build ($51 million in adjusted 2020 dollars). A production run of 250 aircraft would be required to reach sufficient economies of scale. A total of 120 KF-Xs could be built to replace the legacy Boeing F-4 Phantom and Northrop F-5 fleets. An additional 130 could be built to eventually replace the ROKAF s F-16 fleet. The study concluded that South Korean industry possessed 63% of the required technologies for the program. Konkuk University s conclusions were well received and the program ultimately abandoned hopes to produce a fifth generation fighter at least in the short term (Block II and notional Block III).

Ties to F-X

The DAPA under the Myung-bak Lee Administration (Feb. 2008 to Feb. 2013) lowered F-X Phase III ROCs in an effort to make the bid more competitive and emphasize technology transfer for F-X at the cost of platform capability (particularly in terms of LO). The new ROCs enabled Boeing s F-15 Silent Eagle (F-15SE) and Airbus Eurofighter Typhoon to participate alongside Lockheed Martin s F-35. EADS (Airbus) offered to invest $2 billion in the KF-X program as part of its Eurofighter Typhoon bid. In August 2013, the DAPA selected the F-15SE as the only qualified bidder of the F-X Phase III as Lockheed s bid exceeded the specified price restrictions and the Eurofighter Typhoon was disqualified for a bidding irregularity. Later that month, a group of 15 former ROKAF Generals signed a petition against the F-15SE s selection. The Defense Project Promotion Committee chaired by Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin overturned the initial DAPA decision in accordance with new ROCs from the Joint Chiefs favoring LO performance. On March 24, 2014, Seoul announced its intent to purchase 40 F-35As a reduction from 60 for budgetary purposes. On Sep.24, it announced it had completed negotiations with the U.S. government regarding price, offsets and technical details. As part of the 7.34 trillion ($6.5 billion in adjusted 2020 dollars) deal, Korea requested the transfer of 25 technologies to support the KF-X program.

KAI Down Select

In December 2014, the DAPA issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the KF-X program. Two teams participated throughout the competition: KAI-Lockheed Martin and Korean Air Lines (KAL)-Airbus-Boeing. The RFP requires a clean sheet design, but the KAL team reportedly wanted to use a modified F/A-18E/F with Airbus supplying components the U.S. manufacturer could not. However, Boeing ultimately withdrew before bidding which opened in February 2015. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) selected the KAI-Lockheed Martin team for the Korean Fighter Experimental (KF-X) program a month later. In November 2015, Indonesia agreed to fund 1.7 trillion ($1.54 billion in inflation adjusted 2020 dollars) or approximately 20% of the program s development costs. South Korea followed through by awarding the KF-X development contract to KAI in December.

The Finance Ministry approved 8.69 trillion budget ($7.65 billion in adjusted 2020 dollars) for KF-X s development over a period of 10 years and 6 months. Korean industry and Indonesia will fund 20% of the aircraft s development costs each with South Korean government financing the remaining 60%. The total program is expected to cost 18 trillion ($15.1 billion) for both development and production of 120 aircraft.


New Positions, Promotions, Honors And Elections (Jan. 27, 2020)

New Positions, Promotions, Honors And Elections (Jan. 27, 2020) bridget.horan@ Fri, 01/24/2020 - 09:00

NASA has promoted Robert Pearce to associate administrator for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. He was acting associate administrator and has held a number of strategic executive and program management positions at NASA. Pearce succeeds Jaiwon Shin, who has retired.

Wizz Air has hired Jourik Hooghe as executive vice president/chief financial officer. Hooghe had been with the Adecco Group. Wizz Air also promoted Iain Wetherall to chief investment officer, a new position; Wetherall was chief financial officer.

The Aerospace Corp. has promoted Todd Nygren to senior vice president of the engineering and technology group, which comprises 1,500 engineers and scientists. Nygren has held multiple leadership positions at the company including general manager and chief engineer for addressing emerging national security threats.

Northrop Grumman has promoted Lesley Kalan to corporate vice president and chief strategy and development officer. Kalan was vice president of government relations since Jan. 1, 2018, and vice president of legislative affairs since 2010.

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has named Kori Schake a foreign and defense policy studies director and resident scholar. She succeeds Danielle Pletka, who remains an AEI senior fellow focused on the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy. Schake was deputy director general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

Airbus has created a new communications and corporate affairs office whose leadership comprises: Maggie Bergsma, head of communications for commercial aircraft; Yves Barille, head of communications for helicopters; Dirk Erat, head of communications for defense and space; and Philipp Encz, head of the company s creative content teams and internal and external communications. Guillaume Steuer has been appointed head of external communications, reporting to Encz.

Safe Flight Instrument Corp., a lift--instrumentation and control-systems maker, has promoted Maria Ferrara to vice president of manufacturing, a new position, from director of quality assurance, during which she oversaw Safe Flight s AS9100 certification. Ferrara was BAE Systems lead quality assurance engineer.

Virgin Galactic has hired Michelle Kley as general counsel, secretary and executive vice president of legal. Kley was senior vice president, chief legal/compliance officer and secretary at Maxar Technologies Inc.

Triumph Group has promoted Thomas A. Quigley III to vice president of investor relations and controller, from corporate officer and controller. He succeeds Michael Pici, who has left.

Airlines for America has named Riva Khoshaba Parker vice president of labor and employment/litigation. Parker had worked at the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army and helped create the Army s first nationwide labor litigation team.

Ulla Lettijeff has been appointed director of Helsinki Airport and a member of Finavia s executive group, effective Feb. 6. Lettijeff has held several managerial positions at Fiskars Group and Nokia.

The DuPage Airport Authority of West Chicago, Illinois, has named Mark Doles executive director. He succeeds David Bird, who has retired. Doles was interim executive director.

RTCA Inc. has made three board appointments: Nathan Boelkins, Michael Ingram and Lorne Cass. Boelkins heads Collins Aerospace commercial avionics; Ingram is vice president/general manager of Honeywell cockpit systems, and Cass is American Airlines operations/industry affairs vice president.

D. Scott Davis has been named independent lead director of the Honeywell board. He succeeds Enesa President/CEO Chico Pardo, who was lead director in January 2016-20.

The Aerospace Corp. has elected three new board members: former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Air Force Gen. (ret.) Paul J. Selva; former Defense Department official Kathleen H. Hicks; and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and former NASA official Dava J. Newman.

Platinum Tools has hired Scott Lipsett as marketing manager, succeeding Jason Chesla, who recently was named national accounts manager. Lipsett was brand manager at Reactor Watch. Before joining Platinum Tools as marketing manager in 2016, Chesla was a sales and marketing consultant at LiveWire Innovation.

Lufthansa has added a board-level position for customer and corporate responsibility, led by Brussels Airlines CEO Christina Foerster. It has also appointed Thorsten Dirks to head the new IT, digital and innovation department and Harry Hohmeister to lead the commercial passenger airlines division. Swiss International Airlines Chief Finanacial Officer Michael Niggemann has joined the board for three years and taken over management of human resources and legal affiars.

FlightSafety International has promoted Matthew De Foe to manager of the Paris Le Bourget learning center. He succeeds Yannick Kerriou, who has left. De Foe was program manager, training director and assistant manager at Tucson, Arizona, and West Palm Beach, Florida.

Hong Kong-based Kadoorie subsidiary Metrojet Ltd. has hired Capt. Kobus Swart as director of flight operations. A former air force pilot, Kobus was chief operating officer and director of operations at TAG Aviation Asia and Hongkong Jet.


Makenzie Lystrup vice president/general manager of civil space at Ball Aerospace, has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition of her distinguished record in the fields of planetary science and infrared astronomy, science policy and advocacy, and aerospace industry leadership.

Brandon (Randy) R. Belote III, a former Northrop Grumman Corp. vice president of strategic communications, has been selected to receive the 2019 Lauren Lyman award for outstanding achievement in aerospace communications.


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