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PROPOSED F-16V SALE TO TAIWAN MAKES SOME HEADWAY
Monday, August 19, 2019
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Source: Lockheed Martin


Source: Lockheed Martin


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NEWTOWN, Conn. -- A Taiwanese request to the U.S. for an $8 billion government-to-government sale of 66 Lockheed Martin F-16V Block 70 jet fighters appears to have some momentum as reports indicate the Trump administration has informally given approval for the sale.

The move comes as the U.S. and China remain embroiled in a trade dispute that could turn tenser over a sale to Taiwan, a de facto independent nation whose historical ties to the mainland fuel Beijing's sovereignty claims over the island.

Because Taiwan is effectively marginalized on the global market due to the reluctance of arms-producing nations to sell high-end platforms and elicit rebukes from China, its principal source of supply has historically been the United States.

But over time the U.S. became reluctant to provide higher-end materiel such as combat aircraft to Taiwan in order to avoid provoking Beijing.

The latest proposed sale would involve the F-16Vs as a long-term replacement for the Taiwanese Air Force's inventory of Northrop F-5E Tigers that were brought into service in the 1970s.

Taiwan is already in the process of upgrading its existing stock of 145 F-16A/B fighters to the latest Lockheed Martin F-16V (Viper) configuration under a roughly $4.2 billion program referred to by Taiwan as the "Phoenix Rising" project.

The pending F-16V purchase is a reboot of earlier efforts to procure 66 new-build F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighters that gradually, despite negative signals from Washington towards Taipei's combat aircraft requests, grew into an ambition to acquire the Lockheed Martin fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter.

Taiwan tried to submit letters of request for price-and-availability data on F-16C/Ds on four separate occasions from 2003 onwards, with the most recent being an effort to convince the U.S. government to grant it access to a squadron of F-16C/D Block 50/52 jet fighters in order to plug a capabilities gap that would open up during the lengthy Phoenix Rising upgrade process on the existing Taiwanese F-16 fleet.

These requests were all deferred by successive White House administrations, largely due pressure from China. With Beijing warning that such a sale would cross a "red line" the Obama administration opted to ignore the Taiwanese request rather than risk antagonizing China.

But the current White House administration is more inclined to reassert longstanding U.S. support for Taiwan while incurring Beijing's wrath.

Nonetheless, a sale would still require approval from Congress, although that is expected to pass on a bipartisan basis. For now the sale has been passed from the State Department to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee for informal review and approval. This will be followed by a requisite 30-day formal review process prior to the issuing of a letter of offer and acceptance to Taiwan by the State Department regarding the sale. After this Taiwan and Lockheed Martin would still need to negotiation on a final contract.

Reports of an impending deal drew an anticipated response from China. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Suang stated on August 19 that the pending F-16V sale would represent a violation of Beijing's One-China Principle, warning that countermeasures against Washington will be taken should the sale goes forward.

Earlier in July, China stated it would impose sanctions on U.S. firms involved in a $2+ billion foreign military sales package involving M1A2T Abrams main battle tanks and other equipment to Taiwan.

Source:  Forecast International Internatinal Miltiary Markes Group
Author: FI Blog - DAN 

 
FIRST BELARUSIAN SU-30SMS SPOTTED
Sunday, August 18, 2019
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Source: Irkut Corporation


Source: Irkut Corporation


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MINSK -- The first Su-30SMs for Belarus' Air Force has appeared.

Over the weekend, an image of the first two Belarusian Su-30SM fighter jets emerged on Russianplanes.net, a plane-spotting website. The photo, taken by Alexey Korshunov, showed one of the aircraft outside a plant owned by the Irkut Corporation, which manufactures the jet. Inside a hanger, another aircraft could be seen with Belarusian markings and the number 01.

Belarus expects to begin taking delivery of up to four of the fighter jets later this year. In 2017, Minsk inked a contract for the supply of a dozen jets, reportedly at a cost of around $600 million.

Russia's Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation told TASS Russian News Agency in May of this year that the deal was at the implementation stage, adding, "The aircraft will be delivered in strict compliance with the terms of the contract after advance payments from the Belarusian side are received."

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had previously cricitized the pricetag, but the fact that the aircraft have been manufactured indicates that either payment has been provided, or Russia expects that the financial arrangements will be completed.

Source:  Izvestia
Associated URL: Click here to visit
Source Language: Russian

 
ATKINS TO COLLABORATE WITH AERALIS TO DEVELOP NEW SUITE OF TRAINING JET AIRCRAFT
Friday, August 16, 2019
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Source: Atkins


Source: Atkins


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LONDON -- Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, is collaborating with aircraft designer and manufacturer AERALIS to develop a new family of training jet aircraft using a patent-pending modular design.

Together, the organizations will design two types of modular aircraft - the Basic Trainer and the Advanced Trainer - which will provide training, from cadet to front-line pilot, for the most advanced combat aircraft systems currently in development.

Each aircraft will comprise a common core fuselage that will be fully adaptable using different wings and engines depending on the level of training being undertaken. It is expected that the acquisition and maintenance of the family of training jets will cost 30% less than a conventional flight training system thanks to the modular design affording an 85% commonality in aircraft parts.

Atkins will be advising on the design of the jets, using a digital twin to explore different design concepts for the fuselage and its interchangeable components.

Dave Clark, Aerospace & Defence Market Director at Atkins, said: "Our collaboration with Aeralis provides us with a great opportunity to help shape the development of cutting-edge aircraft design. Thanks to innovative tools such as a digital twin, we will be able to run virtual tests on the training jets before they are built to drive efficiencies and reduce the risks associated with aircraft design and production."

Tim Davies, Aeralis Strategy Director, added: "The AERALIS team are looking forward to working with Atkins to build modular aircraft using innovative design processes that will motivate a new generation of young people to train in aerospace engineering, manufacturing and STEM subjects as well as follow careers in aviation."

The training simulation that will be installed onto the training jets is currently being developed by Aeralis in partnership with Thales. Previously Atkins has also worked alongside Thales to deliver systems and safety assurance for the training centrifuge at the state-of-the-art fast jet pilot training facility at the Royal Air Force College in Cranwell.

Source:  Atkins
Associated URL: Click here to visit

 

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