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Ta-ra to “Timmy”

The Royal Air Force’s tanker/transport fleet transition took another big step earlier this week, when the last operational sorties were performed with its Lockheed L-1011 TriStars. These included providing tanker support for a detachment of Eurofighter Typhoons returning from an exercise commitment in the USA, and supporting training activities involving the same type and the […]

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Lovely Lavi

Well done to Alenia Aermacchi, for rolling out its first of 30 M-346 advanced jet trainers for Israel on 20 March. As shown in this company-sourced image, the Israeli air force has gone for a nice grey and black colour scheme for its aircraft – for which it has revived the name “Lavi”. As our […]

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Fighter Friday, part 2: Gripen E

As if bringing you one major European fighter programme update within a week wasn’t enough, two full days at Saab’s Linköping site on Monday and Tuesday allowed me to also get a full update on the status of the developmental Gripen E. If you are of the view that the design which won selection in Sweden, Switzerland […]

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Fighter Friday, part 1: Typhoon

I’d been planning to prompt some discussion on The DEW Line earlier in the week about the Eurofighter programme, to coincide with a feature article of mine which appeared as the cover story for the latest issue of Flight International, but a four-day trip to Sweden means it’s now a Friday Fighter topic instead. Our […]

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Singapore to join the MRTT club

We reported yesterday on Singapore’s confirmation of plans to buy the Airbus Defence & Space A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT); a story we had been hoping to cover at the air show there last month. The announcement was part of a long-term defence presentation given to parliament by defence minister Ng Eng Hen. In this, […]

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Australia details P-8 introduction plan

Australia has confirmed a plan to buy eight 737-based P-8A maritime surveillance aircraft from Boeing, following the US and Indian navies in ordering the type (US Navy image below). The fact that Canberra has approved the roughly A$4 billion ($3.6 billion) transaction isn’t a surprise – it has been involved in the P-8 and precursor […]

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Swiss set clocks for Gripen vote

Democracy’s a wonderful thing for those of us lucky enough to have it, but it can also be a little bit bonkers, to the casual observer. Switzerland’s ongoing efforts to buy 22 new fighters provides today’s example. The nation’s parliament late last year gave its approval to the proposed deal with Saab (company-sourced image below), […]

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New trainers for New Zealand

Don’t get too excited, folks, but New Zealand has just ordered its first ejection seat-equipped aircraft since the government of the day controversially scrapped its air combat fleet back in 2001. This type isn’t quite in the same category as the Douglas A-4 Skyhawks or even the Alenia Aermacchi MB-339s that the Royal New Zealand […]

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Don’t fear the Reaper

After many months of asking, I finally got the chance to visit the Royal Air Force’s 13 Sqn at Waddington in Lincolnshire on 15 January, and to see its UK-based ground control station for the General Atomics Reaper. The UK’s only armed remotely piloted air system, the Reaper has been in RAF service since late […]

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Rafale gets next development deal

We’ve written recently about the latest packages of enhancements for the Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen, and now it’s the turn of the Dassault Rafale. Defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (pictured below in Rex Features-sourced image) visited Dassault’s Mérignac final assembly site on 10 January, where details of the F3 R-standard deal were announced. Agreed by the […]

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