Tag: F/A-18

Boeing fires back in response to Trudeau statement, Bombardier jumps in

Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had some of his toughest language yet for Boeing in the ongoing trade dispute that has affected the purchase of Super Hornets as interim fighter jets.

“We have obviously been looking at the Super Hornet aircraft from Boeing as a potential significant procurement of our new fighter jets,” Trudeau said Monday. “”But we won’t do business with a company that’s busy trying to sue us and trying to put our aerospace workers out of business.”

The full story can be read here

Boeing has countered with this statement:

“Boeing is not suing Canada. This is a commercial dispute with Bombardier, which has sold its C Series airplane in the United States at absurdly low prices, in violation of U.S. and global trade laws. Bombardier has sold airplanes in the U.S. for millions of dollars less than it has sold them in Canada, and millions of dollars less than it costs Bombardier to build them.

This is a classic case of dumping, made possible by a major injection of public funds. This violation of trade law is the only issue at stake at the US Department of Commerce.  We like competition.

It makes us better.  And Bombardier can sell its aircraft anywhere in the world.  But competition and sales must respect globally-accepted trade law. We are simply using laws that have been on the books for decades and subjecting them to a fair hearing based on the facts.”

Bombardier added its voice to the debate in a statement on its website entitled, “Boeing’s Hypocrisy.”

“Bombardier shares Boeing’s commitment to a level playing field, but in this case, they were not even on the field.  Delta ordered the C Series because Boeing stopped making an aircraft of the size Delta needed years ago.

It is pure hypocrisy for Boeing to say that the C Series launch pricing is a “violation of global trade law” when Boeing does the same for its new aircraft.

Boeing’s self-serving actions threaten thousands of aerospace jobs around the world, including thousands of U.K. and U.S. jobs and billions of purchases from the many U.K. and U.S. suppliers who build components for the C Series.

The U.S. government should reject Boeing’s attempt to tilt the playing field in its favor and impose an indirect tax on the U.S. flying public through unjustified import tariffs.”

 

The latest update on the Canadian government’s dispute with Boeing

CF-188 Hornet

Reuters news service is now reporting an update on the ongoing interim Super Hornet issue. It reports that Canada last month attempted to end the dispute with Boeing Co. by suggesting it could withdraw a threat not to buy Super Hornet jets if the U.S. firm dropped a trade challenge against Bombardier Inc.

I don’t know if this is exactly a great revelation though. The position of the Liberal government since April/May – when it put the brakes on the Super Hornet deal – has been pretty much that.  Drop the complaint about Bombardier or we won’t buy the Super Hornets.

Boeing has complained to the U.S. government that Bombardier is receiving subsidies, which in turn, allowed it to sell its C-Series civilisn aircraft at below-market prices. Boeing convinced the U.S. Commerce Department and International Trade Commission to launch an investigation into Bombardier.

The Trudeau government revealed Tuesday that it held talks last month with Boeing in hopes of convincing the U.S. aerospace giant to drop its case against Bombardier at the U.S. Commerce Department.

Those talks broke down when, according to Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., David MacNaughton, Boeing decided to stop negotiating. “We had some proposals back and forth and then they walked away,” MacNaughton said in St. John’s, where federal cabinet ministers were meeting to strategize before the return of Parliament next week.

“For whatever reason, they (Boeing) decided they weren’t going to continue to have discussions with us.”

Boeing has repeatedly argued that military purchases shouldn’t be linked to the commercial interests of a country’s aerospace firm.
On Sept. 25 we will get a better idea of the outcome of this dispute. That’s when the initial ruling on whether the U.S. will impose tarrifs on Bombardier for its civilian C-Series aircraft will be released.
(with files from the Canadian Press)

 

 

 

Here is what the RCAF gets from Boeing and the U.S. in Super Hornet deal

David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen
More from David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen

I had my story in the National Post on the estimated Super Hornet package cost that was released by the U.S. State Dept. Tuesday. It can be read here:

http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/buying-super-hornet-fighter-jets-would-cost-canada-more-than-6-billion-u-s-government-confirms

Here are more specific details about what Canada gets for $5.23 billion U.S.:

“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Canada of ten (10) F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft, with F414-GE-400 engines; eight (8) F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft, with F414-GE-400 engines; eight (8) F414-GE-400 engine spares; twenty (20) AN/APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars; twenty (20) M61A2 20MM gun systems; twenty-eight (28) AN/ALR-67(V)3 Electronic Warfare Countermeasures Receiving Sets; fifteen (15) AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods; twenty (20) Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems–Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS-JTRS); thirty (30) Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS); twenty-eight (28) AN/ALQ-214 Integrated Countermeasures Systems; one hundred thirty (130) LAU-127E/A and or F/A Guided Missile Launchers; twenty-two (22) AN/AYK-29 Distributed Targeting System (DTS); twenty-two (22) AN/AYK-29 Distributed Targeting Processor (DTP); one hundred (100) AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Tactical Missiles; thirty (30) AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM); eight (8) AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Special Air Training Missiles (NATM); twenty (20) AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Tactical Guidance Units; sixteen (16) AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II CATM Guidance Units. 

Also included in this sale are AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles (NVG); AN/ALE-47 Electronic Warfare Countermeasures Systems; AN/ARC-210 Communication System; AN/APX-111 Combined Interrogator Transponder; AN/ALE-55 Towed Decoys; Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS); AN/PYQ-10C Simple Key Loader (SKL); Data Transfer Unit (DTU); Accurate Navigation (ANAV) Global Positioning System (GPS) Navigation; KIV-78 Duel Channel Encryptor, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF); CADS/PADS; Instrument Landing System (ILS); Aircraft Armament Equipment (AAE); High Speed Video Network (HSVN) Digital Video Recorder (HDVR); Launchers (LAU-115D/A, LAU-116B/A, LAU-118A); flight test services; site survey; aircraft ferry; auxiliary fuel tanks; aircraft spares; containers; storage and preservation; transportation; aircrew and maintenance training; training aids and equipment, devices and spares and repair parts; weapon system support and test equipment; technical data Engineering Change Proposals; technical publications and documentation; software; avionics software support; software development/integration; system integration and testing; U.S. Government and contractor engineering technical and logistics support; Repair of Repairable (RoR); repair and return warranties; other technical assistance and support equipment; and other related elements of logistics and program support.  The estimated total case value is $5.23 billion.”

 

Belgium takes over NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission in Estonia

A Belgian Air Component (Luchtcomponent) General Dynamics (Lockheed-Martin) F-16AM Fighting Falcon

In a ceremony at Estonia’s Ämari Air Base in Estonia on Tuesday, the Spanish Air Force handed over responsibility for guarding Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian airspace to a Belgian Air Force contingent flying F-16 fighter jets.

“Active air policing is an indispensable part of NATO’s visible presence and deterrence on the alliance’s eastern flank,” Ministry of Defence Undersecretary for Defence Policy Kristjan Prikk said according to a ministry press release, noting that the outgoing Spanish rotation’s fighter jets were scrambled 32 times over their four-month period. “This hints at a complicated security situation where we live and is proof that we need continued allied support in guarding Baltic airspace.”

Estonian Air Force Chief of Staff Col. Riivo Valge presented the Spanish airmen with Baltic Air Policing missions and thanked them for protecting Estonian and Baltic airspace. He also greeted the incoming Belgian airmen, who will serve based out of Ämari for the next four months.

The Belgian air contingent, which will serve the mission with four F-16 figher jets, is based on the makeup of the Belgian Air Force’s 10th and 2nd Tactical Wings. A Belgian contingent also served at Ämari from January through April of last year.

The U.S.’ General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft originally designed for the U. S. Air Force which can be used as a fighter for airspace defense, an attack aircraft against ground and maritime targets as well as for reconnaissance purposes.

 

Trump comments about Finnish Super Hornet causes confusion

Finnish Air Force F/A-18 Hornet MLU

Comments by U.S. President Donald Trump about Finland’s fighter jet replacement program has lawmakers in that country baffled. At a joint press conference Monday with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, Trump announced that Finland had agreed to buy “a large number” of Super Hornets from Boeing.

One problem. Finland’s fighter replacement competition is still years away from selecting a winning aircraft. Finland has received responses to its request for information about fighter jets from a number of firms, which not surprisingly, were/are interested in any similar Canadian program.

Boeing provided information on its Super Hornet, Dassault Aviation gave details on the Rafale and the Eurofighter organization provided information on the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Other responses to the request came from Lockheed Martin, with its F-35, and Saab with the Gripen E. Finland’s Ministry of Defence denied Trump’s claims. It noted that the program is years away from a decision (2021 is when Finland is expected to select a winner).

“President Trump’s remarks are baffling,” Matti Vanhanen, chairman of the Finnish national parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, told Defense News.

“There are still years to run in the fighter replacement competition before a final decision is reached. If the leadership of the United States harbors the idea that the matter is a done deal, then this is not good.”

 

 

 

Dutch Air Force updating RCAF on F-35 acquisition

(Photo above shows a Dutch air force F-35 at Abbotsford International Air Show. Photo by Mark Pugliese)

Dutch air force officers are updating their Canadian counterparts about their progress on the acquisition of F-35 fighter jets as the aircraft’s manufacturer tries to convince the Liberal government of the plane’s suitability as an interim replacement for aging CF-18s.

Lt.-Gen. Dennis Luyt, the head of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, said his organization has been providing updates to Canada on its F-35 purchase and aircrew training. “They are very interested in our experiences,” Luyt said in a recent interview.

“We’re on track,” he added. “It’s looking very promising.”

The Netherlands is purchasing the F-35A as the replacement for its F-16 fighter jets. The Dutch parliament approved an initial order of eight aircraft in March 2015.

The first aircraft are to be delivered in 2019 and Dutch pilots and maintenance crews are currently undergoing training in the U.S. The Netherlands will purchase up to 37 F-35s.

A Dutch air force F-35 was recently on display at the international air show in Abbotsford, B.C.

Luyt said if Canada does eventually buy the F-35, that acquisition would further strengthen the user group of nations operating the plane. Having allied air forces capable of being interoperable with each other is important, he added. “If we operate the same platform it’s obviously a big thing,” Luyt explained.

AF1 Pilot Giggs, AF2 Pilot Griffiths. Tom Reynolds Chase photographer. Public release approved John Kent

In a June 1 letter, Lockheed Martin offered the Liberal government the F-35 as an “interim” fighter aircraft.

Last year, the Liberals announced a proposal to buy 18 interim fighter jets from Boeing to deal with a capability gap facing the Royal Canadian Air Force. But that multibillion dollar plan to acquire Super Hornet jets has been thrown into limbo after Boeing filed a trade complaint in the U.S. against Bombardier of Quebec. The Liberal government broke off discussions with Boeing on the Super Hornet deal.

Lockheed Martin has seen opportunity in the rift and has told the Liberals it can deliver F-35s on a similar schedule that was being considered for the Boeing planes. Lockheed Martin president Marillyn Hewson said in the June 1 letter to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and then procurement minister Judy Foote, that Canada could acquire the F-35 at a cost of between $80 million U.S. and $85 million U.S. per aircraft.

Sajjan’s office stated that no decisions have been made about the interim fighter jet and that various options are being looked at.

Luyt said the Netherlands conducted an extensive process to purchase a new fighter jet. “The biggest thing we needed (was) to make a technology leap to a 5th Generation aircraft” he pointed out.

Part of the consideration in selecting the F-35 was interoperability with U.S. forces. If the Dutch air force goes into combat it will likely be with the U.S. “That (interoperability) is an important consideration but not the only one,” Luyt explained.

Every F-35 contains components manufactured by Dutch companies, Lockheed Martin has noted. On Aug. 16, the U.S. Department of Defense announced the overseas warehouse and distribution centre for parts for F-35s in Europe would be located in the Netherlands.

Luyt said one of the other main attractions of the F-35 is that it will be constantly upgraded. “It will be state of the art for decades,” he added.

 

Arctic Fighter Meet 2017

The Swedish air force is hosting the 2017 Arctic Fighter Meet at the Flygvapnet air-base at Luleå, in the North of Sweden.

The meet is scheduled to take place from 21 to 25 August.

Swedish air Force Gripen fighters and F-16 fighters of the Norwegian air force will be joined by six F/A-18 Hornets and three Hawk-Jet training aircraft of the Ilmavoimat (Finnish Air Force). Cross Border Training (CBT) between Finland and Norway will take place during the exercise, to hone the skills of the pilots and test the air defence systems of the participating nations.

The aim of the exercise is to fly in accordance with the training programmes of the Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish Air Forces, increase reaction times through airspace incursion drills, as well as to educate newly qualified pilots in Joint-training missions and mission interoperability.

Similar exercises have been held since 2003. The aim is to strengthen defence cooperation in the Nordic countries (NORDEFCO) and to develop the international interoperability. The exercise promotes cooperation between the Nordic nations of NORDEFCO and NATO and is designed to integrate the training programmes of the participating countries and increase operational effectiveness.

For more information, contact the Chief of staff of the Lapland flight detachment Juri Kurttila, p. 0299 800 (vaihde).

 

Ilmavoimat

Airmen deploy to support Estonia FTD

Ten A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, a MC-130J Commando II, and approximately 270 Airmen and associated equipment from bases across the U.S. and Europe will deploy to Amari Air Base, Estonia, Aug. 4-20.

Ten A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, a MC-130J Commando II, and approximately 270 Airmen and associated equipment from bases across the U.S. and Europe will deploy to Amari Air Base, Estonia, Aug. 4-20.
The deployment is funded by the European Reassurance Initiative as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which ensures U.S. European Command has a ready persistent rotational presence of American air, land and sea forces in the region.

The A-10s from the 175th Wing, Warfield Air National Guard Base, Md., will train with multinational Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and Combat Control Teams at Amari and Jagala, Estonia.
The MC-130J is from the 352nd Special Operations Wing, RAF Mildenhall, U. K. and a combat communications team will deploy from the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

While deployed, the A-10s will also train with the Finnish Air Force F/A-18 Hornets in Finland, Spanish Air Force F/A-18 Hornets in Estonia and multinational JTACs in Latvia. Flight operations will take place in Finnish, Estonian, Latvian and international airspace.

This training will focus on maintaining joint readiness while building interoperability capabilities.

 

Finnish training missions to be flown with the United States National Guard in August

International co-operation improves Finland’s defence capability and is part of the daily activities of the Air Force. The United States is an important partner for Finland, and training with the U.S. National Guard gives us an opportunity to draw best practices and share experiences.

Autumn 2015 marked the first time when Hawk jet trainers of the Finnish Air Force undertook training missions with A-10s from the United States.

The Finnish Air Force will carry out training missions with A-10 attack aircraft of the U.S. National Guard, focusing on air combat training and air-to-ground operations training. The flight operations will take place in Finnish and international airspace.

The participating A-10 attack aircraft belong to the 104th Fighter Squadron, part of the 175th Wing of the Maryland Air National Guard. They will be visiting Estonia for exercise purposes in August. The Finnish Air Force will be represented by F/A-18 Hornet multirole fighters and Hawk jet trainers, a total of six aircraft. Additionally, Army troops will take part in joint  air-to-ground operations training.

The flight operations will be conducted on weekdays between 8 am and 6 pm, mostly in designated exercise areas located in Southern Finland. Although the A-10s will mainly be using Estonian air bases during the exercise, individual aircraft will also visit FiAF bases.

The Finnish Air Force has flown training missions with Baltic-based detachments since 2015. In addition to the U.S. Armed Forces, the training missions have been participated by aircraft representing the Royal Air Force and the French and German Air Forces as well as detachments of the Swedish Air Force operating from their domestic bases. Autumn 2015 marked the first time when Hawk jet trainers of the Finnish Air Force undertook training missions with A-10s from the United States.

Further information: Tomi Böhm, LtCol, Commander of Fighter Squadron 31, Karelia Air Command, tel. +358 299 800 (operator)

The $13 Billion Aircraft Carrier That Has Trouble With Planes

The USS Gerald R. Ford. Photographer: Ridge Leoni/U.S. Navy via Getty Images.

Bloomberg Politics, by Anthony Capaccio, 15 June 2017

The newest and costliest U.S. aircraft carrier, praised by President Donald Trump and delivered to the Navy on May 31 with fanfare, has been dogged by trouble with fundamentals: launching jets from its deck and catching them when they land.

Now, it turns out that the system used to capture jets landing on the USS Gerald R. Ford ballooned in cost, tripling to $961 million from $301 million, according to Navy documents obtained by Bloomberg News.

While the Navy says the landing system has been fixed, the next-generation carrier built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. still hasn’t been cleared to launch F/A-18 jets carrying a full complement of fuel tanks under their wings, a handicap that could limit their effectiveness in combat.

The twin issues underscore the technical and cost challenges for the planned three-ship, $42 billion Ford class of carriers that is drawing increased congressional scrutiny. The Navy and Trump want to increase the carrier fleet from 11 authorized by law to 12.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain has long criticized the Navy’s management of the Ford program and joined a congressional effort that capped funding for the first carrier at $12.9 billion and for a second ship under construction, the John F. Kennedy, at $11.4 billion. He grilled Navy officials on the carrier’s costs at a hearing of the committee on Thursday.

John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) Construction Progress September 2016 SeaWaves Magazine.

While it’s encouraging to see the Ford “finally delivered to the Navy,” the Arizona Republican said, the service’s funding request for it exceeds the congressional budget cap by $20 million. Now, McCain said, the Navy wants to award a construction contract for the third ship that’s $1.6 billion more than the previous one.

“This is unacceptable for a ship certified to be a repeat design that will deliver just three years later,” he said.

General Atomics

The surge in costs for the development phase of the advanced arresting gear — built by General Atomics to catch planes landing — was borne by the Navy under terms of that contract. In addition, the program acquisition costs of the three systems built so far more than doubled to $532 million each from $226 million, an increase which must be paid by closely held General Atomics.

General Atomics spokeswoman Meghan Ehlke referred all questions to the Navy “per our contract.” Captain Thurraya Kent, a Navy spokeswoman, said the contractor forfeited all bonus fees it could have made during the 2009-2016 development phase and the service is reviewing the company’s master schedule for the John F. Kennedy weekly. The Navy also has placed personnel at the company’s facility in Rancho Bernardo, California, to monitor progress.

Most of the cost increase was driven by an underfunded technology phase that didn’t allow enough time for the discovery and correction of problems and for the technology to mature before the start of the development phase, Kent said. It’s “a lesson the Navy will ensure is applied to all future programs,” Kent said.

The Navy reported the cost increase to Congress last month because it breached thresholds established under a 1982 law for major weapons systems. It’s separate from the 22 percent increase since 2010 for construction of the carrier, which resulted in Congress imposing the $12.9 billion cost cap.

Trump, who has repeatedly complained about the high cost of major weapons systems — and then taken credit for reining them in — did that in a Coast Guard commencement address on May 17. The Ford “had a little bit of an overrun problem before I got here, you know that. Still going to have an overrun problem; we came in when it was finished, but we’re going to save some good money.”

‘It’s No Good’

Trump said “when we build the new aircraft carriers, they’re going to be built under budget and ahead of schedule, just remember that.” Still, the Government Accountability Office said in a new report Tuesday that the John F. Kennedy’s cost estimate “is not reliable and does not address lessons learned” from the Ford’s performance.

Trump scoffed at the carrier’s troubled electromagnetic launch system in a Time magazine interview last month, saying it doesn’t work and “you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out.” Saying the Navy should stick with an old-fashioned steam-driven catapult, he added, “The digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.”

Until the catapult problem, which was discovered in 2014, is resolved it limits how much combat fuel can be carried in planes being launched from the carrier’s deck.

That “would preclude normal employment” of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the radar-jamming Growler version because “the aircraft are limited in the types of missions that they can accomplish” without added under-wing fuel tanks, Army Lieutenant Colonel Roger Cabiness, spokesman for the Pentagon’s testing office, said in an email. He said the Navy asserts that testing on the ground has solved a software flaw that caused excessive vibrations of those fuel tanks.

F/A-18F Super Hornet with a full compliment of fuel tanks. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Christopher L. Jordan. (RELEASED)

Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley told the Senate committee Thursday that fixing the vibrations was simply part of a “systems tuning effort” for each plane that will launch from the carrier.

“The Navy estimates the software problem will be resolved and software updates incorporated” on the carrier for testing at sea during the vessel’s post-shakedown phase between May and November of 2018, Michael Land, spokesman for the Naval Air Systems Command, said in an email. He said actual launches of jets with wing tanks will follow in 2019.

The Navy still has time to fix the catapult issue. Though the Ford has been delivered, the ship is not scheduled to be declared ready for operations until 2020, with first actual deployment planned for about 2022, according to spokeswoman Kent.

 

First F-35 ready aircraft carrier gets underway for flight deck certification

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72)

NAVALTODAY.COM, 2 June 2017

The U.S. Navy’s first aircraft carrier capable of accommodating fifth-generation F-35C fighter aircraft, the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), departed Naval Station Norfolk to conduct carrier qualifications (CQ) and flight deck certification (FDC) on June 1.

The evolutions mark major milestones for Abraham Lincoln’s transition from the shipyard to a fully capable warship.

FDC consists of an assessment of Abraham Lincoln’s sailors to not only successfully conduct day and nighttime flight deck operations, but also emergency barricade testing, flight deck firefighting and crash and salvage drills.

The first jet that lands on the Abraham Lincoln during the trials, will also be the first one to land on the carrier in five years. Lincoln spent the last four years in Newport News undergoing its refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) which prepared it for another 25 years of service.

While the Abraham Lincoln has been modified to become capable of launching F-35C jets, the U.S. Navy said the carrier is scheduled to launch and recover pilots from Carrier Air Wing 7 in F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets, E-A-18G Growlers and C-2 Greyhounds. No F-35C flights are apparently scheduled for this underway.

“For the past year, air department Sailors have trained and prepared for this underway period,” said Cmdr. David Burmeister, Abraham Lincoln’s Air Boss. “Everyone has been waiting for this opportunity to get our flight deck certified and bring Lincoln back to operational status.”

In addition to practicing flight deck operations, the command sent hundreds of sailors to specialized training to obtain flight deck qualifications and executed multiple fire drill scenarios for evaluation

“Our sailors who work on the flight deck, in the catapults and arresting gear, in the hangar bay and with our fuel systems, are ready to go,” said Burmeister. “I have never seen a group of individuals work harder to achieve their goal. I look forward to seeing them in action when the first jet hits the deck.”