About Craig Hoyle

Author Archive | Craig Hoyle

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One Airborne Laser, gift-wrapped

I stumbled on this Rex Features image showing the USA’s Boeing 747-400-based YAL-1A Airborne Laser testbed (ALTB) aircraft, which is now preserved at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group site at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. It’s just over six months since the unique aircraft arrived at “The boneyard”, following a final pass flown over California’s Edwards AFB on 14 […]

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Could Israel’s Lavi project be revived?

From the “curiouser and curiouser” files: an update on ECA Program’s pitch to provide an Integrated Opposing Force (IOPFOR) capability to support fighter pilot training for NATO nations. The Amsterdam-based outfit issued a press release while I was away on leave, announcing its overdue selection of a candidate aircraft to deliver the proposed future aggressor […]

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Oman brings fresh colour to C-130J

Fresh back in the office yesterday after a spell of much-needed R&R, I opened a Lockheed Martin news release only to be shocked by the revelation that someone is – at last – having a C-130J painted in something other than boring old grey. I like the scheme shown in the Lockheed image below – it’s of […]

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Bonkers Tonkas: UK sets Tornado retirement date

There has been a fair bit of uncertainty for a while now about the likely shape and size of the UK’s future combat aircraft fleet, but the Ministry of Defence’s planners appear to have resolved at least part of this, according to BAE Systems. Contained within the company’s lengthy half-year results statement on 2 August was the […]

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Fabulous Flankers in Australia

The six-nation exercise ‘Pitch Black 2012′ kicked off in Darwin, Australia on 27 July, with the Royal Australian Air Force hosting visiting aircraft and personnel from Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and the USA. Among the equipment on show are four of the Indonesian air force’s great-looking Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 fighters, which are making a […]

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The Yak-130, those engine intake doors and our exclusive flight test

One of our most-read stories from the Farnborough air show reported on the confusion caused when eagle-eyed flight ops types caught sight of the Yak-130′s engine-intake blanking doors for the first time and were concerned that something was not right with the aircraft. Only after some reassuring words from Irkut personnel about this being a […]

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‘Drone Wars’ – the UK’s involvement over Libya explained

I shudder to use the expression ‘Drone Wars’ when talking about what are more correctly termed unmanned air systems or remotely piloted air systems, but the phrase seems to have entered the public psyche too far now to ban entirely on The DEW Line, and is admittedly attention-grabbing for headline purposes. My interest was caught the other day, […]

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Four blimey: Rafale half-year deliveries

I didn’t make it to Dassault’s half-year results briefing in Paris today, but there are a few interesting items for all to see within the company’s media material from the event, which is now available online. Firstly, only a combined four Rafales were delivered to the French air force and French navy in the first six months of […]

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Another Voyager enters conversion

AirTanker just Tweeted this shot of the sixth A330 to enter conversion as a Voyager tanker/transport for the UK. Photographed on its arrival from Toulouse on 23 July, the widebody will be the fourth aircraft to enter work at Airbus Military’s Getafe site near Madrid, following a recent decision to relocate the activity from Cobham […]

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The Bear stays rare: UK air defence stats

My daily trawl of the UK’s Hansard publications threw out an interesting snippet this morning, with an answer in the House of Lords revealing the number of times the Royal Air Force has scrambled quick reaction alert fighters due to Russian activity within the last four years. Noting that “The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace at all […]

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