Tag: Fighter

Clock ticking for Canada on Super Hornet offer

F/A-18F Super Hornet with a full compliment of fuel tanks. U.S. Navy photo by PhotographerÕs Mate 2nd Class Christopher L. Jordan.

The Canadian Press recently reported that the Trudeau government has until the end of the year to decide on an offer for Super Hornet fighter jets.

There is a formal offer on the table to sell 18 Boeing Super Hornets. But that is in limbo because of Boeing’s complaint about the Canadian government and the support it has provided to Bombardier for the development of the C-Series passenger aircraft.

The Trudeau government can ask for an extension, but there is no guarantee it will be granted, Canadian Press noted.

But industry officials tell Defence Watch there the Liberals don’t have much to worry about. Boeing is not going to turn down $6 billion in business if the Trudeau government decides to buy the aircraft.

The Trump administration is also not going to turn down an offer that would secure well-paying U.S. jobs at Boeing’s production facility.

Would there be a price increase? There could be a slight one but that could be offset by tougher bargaining on the part of the Canadian government, officials say.

Boeing, which has seen its reputation undermined in Canada because of the whole Bombardier issue, might be in a mood to provide even more favourable terms, they add.

Whether the Liberal government buys Super Hornets or simply delays the acquisition of aircraft until after the next election remains to be seen.

Inside the Royal Canadian Air Force there is the view that it makes sense to just go into a competition for a full-fleet replacement instead of buying “interim” Super Hornets.

 

NATO fighter-jets enjoy 1st quiet week in 6 months

Belgian Air Component F-16AM Fighting Falcons

NATO fighter-jets guarding the Baltic skies enjoyed the first quiet week in nearly six months, with no scrambles last week, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said.

According to the press release, NATO jets did not have to intercept any Russian warplanes in the international airspace above the Baltic Sea on Oct. 9-15.

The last calm week was reported in early May. The past summer was rather intense for the NATO air-policing mission, with weeks involving a dozen or a few dozen scrambles.

The NATO air-policing mission in the Baltic states is conducted from Lithuania and Estonia.

 

Boeing is the “king of corporate welfare” or Boeing has never received subsidies – you decide

Boeing has accused Bombardier of selling its C-Series passenger liners to U.S.-based Delta Airlines at an unfairly low price with help from government subsidies in Canada.

Another day and another article about Boeing’s dispute with Bombardier and the Canadian government.

As readers are well aware, Boeing complained earlier this year to the U.S. about what it has labelled as subsidies provided to Bombardier by Canadian governments. As a result, the Trump administration has hit the Canadian company with a penalty of almost 300 per cent in duties on its C-Series civilian passenger aircraft.

In an article today about the ongoing dispute I had this line near the end of the story: “Boeing’s critics point out it receives billions of dollars of subsidies from the U.S. government.”

That has prompted a rebuke from Boeing spokesman Scott Day, who accused me of “spreading false information.”

According to Boeing it hasn’t received any subsidies. Day noted that, “U.S. Export-Import Bank financing does not go to Boeing. Boeing doesn’t receive a single penny in funds or financing from the Export-Import Bank.”

Bombardier C Series CS300

He also added that “the World Trade Organization has dismissed the vast majority of subsidy claims against Boeing.”

For starters, reporting accurately what Boeing’s critics are saying isn’t “spreading false information.”

Boeing’s critics, both in Canada and around the world, have indeed repeatedly pointed out that the company receives billions of dollars of subsidies from U.S. governments at the federal, municipal and state levels.

The U.S. watchdog group Good Jobs First has continually reported on the billions of dollars that it says Boeing receives in government subsidies. In 2015, the St. Louis Business Journal, citing a Good Jobs First study, noted that Boeing is the nation’s largest winner of state and local tax incentives, receiving in excess of $13 billion U.S.. Most of that was related to Boeing’s commercial aircraft manufacturing, the newspaper noted.

In the article, I also quoted Marc Allen, Boeing’s president of international business, who stated the company took its action against Bombardier to ensure a level playing field in the aerospace industry and Boeing believes that global trade only works if everyone plays by the same rules.

Boeing’s critics say that isn’t true and Boeing is really out to destroy it competitor Bombardier and significantly hurt Canada’s aerospace industry. They too could accuse me of “spreading false information” by reporting on Boeing’s view, although they haven’t yet. Maybe that email is to come.

Interestingly, Day’s email arrived just as Bloomberg TV was reporting that the United Kingdom’s Labour Party has now labelled Boeing the “king of corporate welfare.”

Labour’s trade spokesman Barry Gardiner accused the U.S. aerospace giant of “egregious hypocrisy” in pursuing the illegal-subsidies claim against Bombardier Inc.

Boeing has been denounced by many in the UK government and opposition MPs for putting thousands of UK jobs at risk with its action (the wings for C-Series aircraft are built in Northern Ireland).

Gardiner told Bloomberg that “no aircraft these days comes to market without support from government,” including those produced by Boeing.

“Boeing has absolutely been sucking at the milk of corporate welfare in America for far too long,” Gardiner said on Bloomberg TV. “They need to understand that the way in which they are playing this does not sit well with U.K. parliamentarians.”

But according to Boeing executives the 300 per cent duty now tacked on to Bombardier aircraft being sold in the U.S. is about all about “following trade rules” and not about punishing its competitors. “This trade case is about fairness,” Day noted. “Taking government subsidies and using them to offer below-production-cost pricing on aircraft is a violation in the U.S., and the laws are well-known.”

Both sides have their view.

But it is becoming clearer now that Boeing’s actions could have serious consequences in its ability to sell defence related products to Canada and the United Kingdom.

Government officials in both countries have suggested that is the case.

Whether that comes about still has to be seen though.

Air-to-Ground Missions were a key Training Focus in Ruska 17 exercise

A Finnish Air Force F/A-18 Hornet armed with JASSM standoff missile during Ruska 17 Air Operations Exercise in Rissala Air Base.

Since 2016, Finnish Air Force F/A-18 multi-role fighters have been capable of carrying air to ground weapons. During Ruska 2017 Air Operations Exercise the exercise troops familiarize themselves with all aspects of planning and execution operations including air-to-ground missions.

Protecting Finland’s population, critical infrastructure of the nation and the troops and capabilities of the Finnish Defence Forces from attacks from the air is the main mission of the air defense of Finland.

The air defense of Finland, led by the Finnish Air Force, is based on Defensive Counter Air missions performed by combat aircraft supported by Ground-Based Air Defence units with both airborne and ground-based capabilities equally important to mission success.

From late 2016, a new type of mission capability has been added to the Finnish Air Force as its the F/A-18 C/D Hornet multi-role fighters reached Full Operational Capability for the use of precision-guided air-to-ground weapons. As a part of the Mid-Life Upgrade 2 (MLU 2) programme that ran from 2012 to 2016, the short range guided bomb JDAM, medium-range glide bomb JSOW and the long-range JASSM standoff missile were integrated to the F/A-18 fleet.

During Ruska 2017 air operations exercise the exercise troops familiarized themselves with all aspects of planning and execution operations including air-to-ground missions.

Aircraft maintenance reservists were trained in handling the JDAM bomb during Ruska 17 air operations exercise in October 2017.

The weapons inventory enables the Finnish Air Force to support all three branches of the Finnish military, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force with the ability to strike various types of ground targets from a distance up to several hundred kilometers. The F/A-18 with the air-to-ground capability is a flexible and fast platform for delivering firepower even during surprising and fast-developing military crises.

The air-to-ground capability of the Finnish Air Force contributes to the Defense of Finland in several ways. One of its important effects is the fact that the potential attacker needs to take into consideration the defender’s ability to strike its units and their staging areas from a distance – something that an air defence force with only Defensive Counter Air and Ground Based Air Defense capabilities is unable to do.

 

Suomen Ilmavoimat

Canada takes first official step to buying used fighter jets from Australia

Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornets.

Canada has taken the first official step to purchasing used fighter jets from Australia as it’s dispute with Boeing continues unresolved.

The Canadian government has now submitted a formal expression of interest to Australia to acquire the aircraft, Public Services and Procurement Canada confirmed.

Canada began discussions in late August with the Australian government to assess the potential purchase of used F/A-18 fighter aircraft from that country.

“On Sept. 29, 2017, Canada submitted an expression of interest, formally marking Canada’s interest in the Australian equipment,” Public Services and Procurement Canada announced in a new statement. “Canada expects to receive a response by the end of this year that will provide details regarding the availability and cost of the aircraft and associated parts that Canada is considering.”

The Australian jets are being considered as interim fighters. They would supplement Canada’s existing CF-18 fleet until a new aircraft could be acquired.

The move to try to acquire fighter jets from Australia coincides with the U.S. government’s decision, based on a Boeing complaint, to hit Bombardier with almost 300 per cent duties on its CSeries civilian passenger jet.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to bring up the Boeing complaint and duties with U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

The Liberal government had wanted to buy 18 Super Hornet fighter jets but that plan was derailed when the jet’s manufacturer, Boeing, filed the trade complaint in April against Bombardier of Quebec over its civilian passenger jets.

Boeing complained to the U.S. government that Bombardier was receiving subsidies, which in turn allowed it to sell its C-Series civilian passenger aircraft at below-market prices.

The U.S. ruled in favour of the American aerospace giant and as a result, Bombardier will face duties of almost 300 per cent.

That move by Boeing, however, scuttled the Super Hornet deal and prompted Canada to look elsewhere for jets.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan recently said that Canada has looked at surplus fighter jets from Kuwait but those are not available at this time. He acknowledged Canada is now focused on the Australian jets.

“We are going to be moving ahead with filling that capability gap,” Sajjan noted. “We are pursuing other options.”
The Liberals have said they will eventually buy 88 new jets to replace the CF-18s.

Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18s.

Trudeau has said Boeing can forget about selling fighter jets to Canada as long as it tries to undercut thousands of Canadian jobs with its ongoing trade complaint against a Quebec aerospace firm.

“We won’t do business with a company that is busy trying to sue us and put our aerospace workers out of business,” Trudeau said.

Boeing’s complaint has also drawn the ire of the government in the United Kingdom.
Parts of the C-Series are built in Northern Ireland.

The U.K.’s prime minister, Theresa May, has raised the issue with Trump. She has also warned that Boeing’s actions are jeopardizing future defence contracts with the U.K.

Marc Allen, Boeing’s president of international business, has said the company wanted to ensure a level playing field in the aerospace industry. He said Boeing believes that global trade only works if everyone plays by the same rules. That wasn’t the case for Bombardier, he added.

Boeing on Tuesday launched an advertising campaign to raise awareness of the company’s presence and annual impact on the nation’s economy.

Boeing’s critics point out it receives billions of dollars of subsidies from the U.S. government. Boeing is trying to undercut Bombardier, a potential competitor, Canadian government and industry officials say.

 

Russian Strategic Missile Troops begin large-scale drills in South Siberia

Marina Lystseva/TASS, archive

MOSCOW, October 11. /TASS/.

Russian Strategic Missile Troops began large-scale exercises in Southern Siberia’s Altai Territory, the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service said late on Tuesday.

More than 4,000 servicemen and 400 pieces of military hardware, including Topol ICBM mobile launchers, will take part.

Avation will also be used, including supersonic interceptor aircraft.

 

NATO fighter-jets scrambled once from Lithuania last week over 2 Russian warplanes

An F-15C of the 493d Fighter Squadron (493 FS), nicknamed “The Grim Reapers”, scrambles to intercept at RAF Lakenheath. The Squadron is presently on Baltic Air Policing duties in Siauliai, Lithuania and represents a key element in NATO’S Enhanced Forward Presence in the region.

VILNIUS, Oct 9 (LETA–BNS) – NATO fighter aircraft conducting the NATO air-policing mission in the Baltic states were scrambled once from Lithuania last week to intercept military aircraft of the Russian Federation in the international airspace over the Baltic Sea.

On Oct. 2, NATO fighter-jets were scrambled to intercept an IL-20 and an IL-76 flying from mainland Russia to the Kaliningrad region, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said.

Ilyushin Il-20 surveillance aircraft “coot”

The aircraft had pre-filed flight plans, had their onboard transponders on and maintained radio communication with the regional flight control center.

The NATO air-policing mission is conducted from Lithuania and Estonia.

 

Requests for information on weapons and equipment for the HX fighter project sent

Gripen NG Multi-Role Weapons Package, Saab

The Finnish Defence Forces’ Logistics Command sent a Request for Information (RfI) on weapons and other equipment regarding the HX fighter project to the governments of seven countries to be forwarded to their respective industries. A request for a quotation (RfQ) will be drawn up on the basis of the responses received.

The main goal of the RfI is to determine what capabilities will be available to meet Finland’s estimated future needs and therefore the focus is on available potential and capabilities in the post-2025 period. RfIs were sent to a number of government representatives in France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Norway, Sweden and the United States to be further sent to designated companies.

The weapons and equipment will be procured on a separate contract alongside the aircraft and RfQs on them will be sent in spring 2018. The decision on the weapons and equipment will be made as part of the decision on the aircraft type. Procurement contracts are scheduled to be signed in spring 2021. Since the estimated total price to replace the Hornet fleet will also include weapons and sensors, the negotiations to procure them will be scheduled to take place alongside negotiations to procure fighters; this will ensure that aircraft-specific systems will be managed. It will be possible to use some of the systems in several multi-role fighters and this will be an important factor to consider in the contracts.

The official RfQ to replace the Hornet fleet will be made in spring 2018 after five aircraft producers who have responded to the RfIs have been selected. Testing the suitability of different fighters in Finland’s conditions will be started in 2019 and the final procurement decision will be made in 2021. The decision will be based on four considerations: military capabilities of the multi-role fighter, security of supply chain and industrial cooperation, life-cycle costs, and security and defence policy considerations.

The new multi-role fighters will be introduced in 2025-2030, at the same time as the Hornet fleet will be decommissioned.

 

UAE wants to buy over a squadron of Su-35 advanced fighter jets from Russia

MOSCOW, October 3. /TASS/.

The United Arab Emirates wants to buy over a squadron of Sukhoi Su-35 advanced fighter jets from Russia and the contract may be signed by the end of 2017, a source in the system of military and technical cooperation told TASS on Tuesday.

“They want a lot, over a squadron but the exact number will be specified in the course of negotiations that may be held in November during an air show in Dubai,” the source said.

The relevant contract may be signed by the yearend, if the negotiations are successful, the source said.

TASS does not yet have an official confirmation of this information.

A squadron is a tactical Air Force unit, which consists of formations and wings and also comprises aircraft maintenance personnel. A fighter aviation squadron in the Russian Air Force normally comprises 12 aircraft but their exact number depends on the type of an aviation regiment.

The Su-35 is a Russian-made multipurpose generation 4++ super-maneuverable fighter jet equipped with a phased array radar and steerable thrusters. It can develop a speed of up to 2,500 kilometers per hour and has a flying range of 3,400 kilometers and a combat radius close to 1,600 kilometers. The fighter jet is armed with a 30mm gun and has 12 hardpoints for carrying bombs and missiles.

The UAE currently has 49 Mirage 2000-9/EAD/RAD and 55 F-16E fighter jets in it’s combat aircraft inventory.

 

Defence Minister Sajjan suggests Boeing won’t be considered for future fighter jet replacement

Minister of National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan suggested Thursday that Canada would not consider a Boeing product for any future fighter jet and that the door on the company’s involvement in other future Canadian military procurements is close to being shut.

The move comes after the U.S. government hit Bombardier with duties of almost 220 per cent on its C-Series passenger jets. That penalty came as a result of Boeing’s complaint that Bombardier was selling the C-Series in the U.S. at a lower cost because it received subsidies from the Canadian government. Bombardier is selling the planes to Delta Airlines.

But the move is being seen in the Canadian government as an attempt by Boeing and the Trump administration to undercut Canada’s aerospace industry. Boeing receives significant subsidies in the U.S. In addition, Boeing does not make aircraft similar to those Bombardier sold Delta.

Canada has put on hold its planned purchase from Boeing of 18 Super Hornet jets to be used as an interim fighter for the RCAF.

Will Dassault’s Rafale now make the cut in Canada’s ongoing fighter procurement dispute?

Sajjan on Thursday suggested Boeing will not be considered for other Canadian defence procurements.

“Rest assured. We cannot do future business with a company that is threatening us,” he told reporters. “We have a lot to invest with our procurements. We work with trusted partners.”

Sajjan has said Boeing is not a trusted partner.

Will Boeing be banned from the competition for a full fleet of 88 fighter jets?

“Our government is not going to allow our aerospace sector to be attacked in this manner,” Sajjan responded.  “We can’t do business with a company that treats us in this way.”

It would be legally difficult for Canada to freeze out Boeing from competing on the future fighter jet replacement. But requirements for a future fleet could be written in a way that could prevent the Boeing Super Hornet from being selected.

The British government has also warned that Boeing may face some difficulties on future defence contracts in the United Kingdom. “Boeing is a major partner of the defence and one of the big winners of our last review of defence contracts, so this is not the attitude we expect from a long-term partner,” the UK’s defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon warned.

He noted that it has won large contracts from the British government for new aircraft. Those include Apache helicopters and maritime reconnaissance aircraft.  “They are going to apply for other defence contracts, and this type of attitude could clearly endanger our relationship “, Fallon pointed out.

Boeing officials say defence procurement should not be linked to other commercial actitivities.

Marc Allen, Boeing’s president of international business, said the company took its action to ensure a level playing field in the aerospace industry. He said Boeing believes that global trade only works if everyone plays by the same rules. That wasn’t the case for Bombardier, he added.

But Canadian government officials privately note that a duty of almost 220 per cent on Canadian aircraft is not a level playing field but protectionism by the Trump administration.

 

Gripen Aggressor enters the fray in US red air competition

Saab Gripe Agressor

Saab is exploring the burgeoning red air market with its Gripen Aggressor, but the new adversary aircraft could face a tough competition against cheaper, former military jets.

Last week, Saab unveiled a new derivative of its Gripen C at the DSEI exhibition in London. The Aggressor is outfitted with simulation-based capability to fire air-to-air missiles and Saab’s PS-05 Mk IV radar and an air combat manoeuvring instrumentation pod.

This week, Saab officially announced its intent to target the US Air Force’s adversary air (ADAIR) contract, though private contractors appear lukewarm on the new platform.

“We’re looking at all options at this time and it’s a highly capable fighter,” says Sean Gustafson, vice-president of business development at Draken International, which has already captured the USAF’s interim red air contract for Nellis AFB, Nevada. Draken holds 100 aircraft in its private fleet, including Douglas A-4 Skyhawks acquired from New Zealand, Aerovodochody L-159s and 20 recently acquired Dassault Mirage F1s from Spain.

Draken’s competitor, Textron Airborne Solutions, acquired 63 French F1s this month but is considering the Gripen Aggressor to fulfill the USAF’s 150 aircraft requirement for the ADAIR contract. But while Textron believes the Gripen’s capabilities would suit any aggressor programme, acquiring the aircraft boils down to Saab’s pricing, says ATAC chief executive Jeffrey Parker.

“The issue is right now it’s a slightly different model because we’re talking new aircraft versus former military aircraft,” he says. “So above all ATAC and US industry have to be able to create value for the [Defense Department], and the way we do that right now is by using former military aircraft.”