Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Briefings : Typhoon problems, Reaper, Brazil

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Briefings : SDR, Ocean, Arms Sales

  • The SDR mayhem continues with the RAF now apparently under threat, according to the mainstream media anyway. Seems like the sort of arguments i read in Warship World last year. According to some sources the UK is preparing to give up having a continuous nuclear deterrent and go for a "cheaper alternative". How many times must we have these arguments?
  • HMS Ocean has arrived off Rio de Janeiro to take part in an amphibious operation with the Brazilian Navy and Marines. Ocean will also be taking part in a UK-Brazil trade & industry exhibition. I wonder if they'll try and flog the helicopter carrier off to the Brazilians while they are at it.
  • A $60 billion arms deal between the US and Saudi Arabia has been proposed which would include F-15s, Apaches, Blackhawks and all sorts of other gear.
  • Portugal could buy 6 of the new KC-390 tactical transport from Embraer. Brazil, Chile and Columbia are also likely to buy the type.
  • A recent computer virus is said to have been created by a Jihadist group. A new front in the "War On Terror"?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Endurance to be replaced by icebreaker?

The Royal Navy's Antarctic patrol ship HMS Endurance, which was badly damaged in 2008 off the coast of Chile following an accident, is to be replaced by a Norwegian icebreaker according to reports. The icebreaker will be bought or leased from next year to save the estimated £30 million cost of repairing Endurance.

Briefings : 6 squadron, Anti-piracy, Talent

Friday, September 3, 2010

Britain and France will not share carriers... but may share A400M

So Britain and France won't share a pool of aircraft carriers, well it was always going to have been unlikely (but may have been fun from a twisted outsider point of view). Instead the UK and France will be looking at how to share their respective fleets of A400M transports (does that mean they'll be able to get away with buying less?)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Briefings : More SDR stuff, Drug Busts, Meeting In Space

  • The Strategic Defence Review tittle-tattle continues. The Gurkhas are the latest in the firing line (so to speak) with suggestions they could be cut completely. One reason being they are no longer as cheap because of recent pension rights reforms.
  • HMS Gloucester has intercepted a yacht in the mid-Atlantic carrying an estimated £4 million in cocaine. The destroyer was en route to the Falklands when it was called upon to assist authorities off the Cape Verde islands.
  • Could the Royal Navy and Marine Nationale end up sharing a pool of 3 carriers? Neither side will confirm the report. If it did happen though it would mean the Queen Elizabeths going CTOL surely, which wouldn't be a bad thing. Nelson spinning in his grave et cetera.
  • Taiwan's F-CK-1C/D fleet will receive radar upgrades following the US releasing a block on the export.
  • Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) development is set to explode as these vehicles begin to play a major role in naval warfare
  • Was the meeting of 2 Chinese satellites in orbit a sign of a sophistocated space warfare programme? SJ-12 and SJ-06F are thought to have performed "non-cooperative robotic rendezvous" which could allow for an array of military applications such as inspection or sabotage of foreign satellites.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Briefings : Ocean, Trident, Eurofighter crash

  • HMS Ocean has begun an anti-drugs deployment in the Caribbean. The assault carrier will also be on hand to provide assistance to British territories in the area during the hurricane season (unless its bought home early to save a few quid).
  • The uncertainly about the Vanguard replacements and the continuation of Britain's nuclear deterrent is concerning some British defence companies especially how it may effect other defence spending.
  • Denmark has turned down a request by NATO to send F-16s to Afghanistan saying they have already done enough. Indeed unlike some other countries in the alliance the Danes have contributed a lot to the fight there.
  • A Eurofighter has crashed in Spain on a regular training flight. The fighter was being piloted by a Saudi Air Force pilot who died in the crash though a Spanish pilot also aboard managed to eject.
  • Israel is pressing ahead with its JSF purchase after getting approval to install Israeli equipment and support Israeli munitions. The F-35I will also have its EW suite kept up to date by the US to IDF requirements.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Briefings : SDR, Karrar, North Korea

  • The Strategic Defence Review trash talk continues, both Queen Elizabeth carriers could now be "scrapped" (well only QE itself could be scrapped of course as work hasn't begun on the 2nd carrier yet). The Red Arrows could also be under threat, doubt it though.
  • Upgraded Desert Hawk UAVs have arrived with British forces in Afghanistan. The latest version has improved cameras and a better wing for operation in the country.
  • Iran have unveiled their Karrar "attack drone", the latest of a seemingly endless array of indigenous weapons. However do any of these toys actually make it to serial production? The Karrar anyway can carry 4 missiles or bombs and has a range of 1000km.
  • A North Korean MiG-21 is said to have crashed in China when it ran out of fuel. US analysts believe it was due to a navigational error however not an attempted defection. Another suggestion is that it was heading to a Chinese air base for maintenance though there are no confirmed maintenance agreements between China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
  • Perhaps cyber warfare is a better bet for the DPRK, North Korea have apparently created official Facebook and Twitter accounts as part of their info-war against the decadent West.
  • One of the A400M prototypes visited RAF Brize Norton and allowed for a photo-op alongside a Hercules and a C-17.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Sea Viper completes "toughest test"

    The Sea Viper SAM, principal weapon of the Type 45 destroyer, has completed what has been called its "toughest test yet" on trials in the Mediterranean. The missile achieved a hit against a fast manoeuvring sea skimming target, though the successful missile appears to have been fired as part of a salvo (from which i assume some of the missiles missed).

    Briefings : New DPRK tank, P-8A, PLA report

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Briefings : Albion, Cyber Security, Greyhound

    • HMS Albion has arrived back to the UK after taking part in the large Auriga exercise off the eastern coast of the US. The amphibious ship and the Royal Marines 42 Commando took advantage of the training opportunities over in the USA.
    • The MOD is tightening up cyber security, and as less than half of the 340 laptops lost or stolen from the MOD over the last 2 years are said to have been encrypted you can see why. Unencrypted media is now to be banned and personal data handling to be improved.
    • The US Navy are looking into the possibility of remanufacturing its fleet of C-2A Greyhound carrier on-board delivery transports.
    • China has launched another surveillance satellite, the 6th this year. Yaogan Weixing-10 has SAR and high resolution optics officially for "scientific experiments and crop surveys" though the satellite along with 2 others form a maritime surveillance formation.
    • Kuwait wants to buy 209 Patriot MIM-104E missiles. 
    • Scientists have developed an invisibility cloak out of silk. At the moment it only works on light outside of the visible spectrum but they hope one day it can work there too. Its main use will be in medical science however.
    • Astute has had to return to port during its sea trials following problems with its anchor.

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Briefings : SDR, SLBMs, Tank reefs

    • The SDR leaks and gossip continue, according to the latest reports the RAF will take the brunt of the cuts in the UK forces and be left with less than 200 fighters. All Tornadoes and Hercules would be withdrawn and the number of Typhoons cut. The Army would lose 40% of its armoured vehicles and the Navy 2 submarines and 3 amphibious warship ships in the latest leaked proposals.
    • The MOD is looking into a training package to support the operations of its future fleet of A400M transports.
    • Russia has successfully tested 2 Sineva SS-N-23 SLBMs but the next test of the troubled next-generation Bulava SS-NX-30 has been postponed.
    • 25 ex-Thai Army tanks and other vehicles have been dumped in the Gulf of Thailand to produce an artificial reef. Similiar things are often done with ex-warships.

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    Fire at AWE

    A fire has broken out at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston. The fire was in a non-nuclear explosives area and there was no radioactive release according to officials though nearby residents were evacuated as well as staff from other areas of the site. The cause of the fire is now being investigated.

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    Review to be bought forward

    The decision on where the axe will fall on UK defence spending has been bought forward to the end of October instead of Christmas, they obviously did not want to ruin everyone's holidays. A fixed budget has not yet been set by the Treasury. One area of ongoing discussion with the Treasury is who is going to pay to replace Trident. The Treasury want the MOD to pay for it, the MOD naturally would rather it was funded separately like before.

    Daring enters service

    The first Type 45 destroyer HMS Daring has finally entered service with the Royal Navy following nearly a year and a half of sea trials and operational training. The first operational deployment of Daring is now planned for next year.

    Thursday, July 29, 2010

    Briefings : Talent, Marines, Hawk

    • RN submarine HMS Talent is taking part in war games with the Indian Navy. The Telegraph is reporting that the RN are furious at this leak of details as the whereabouts of Royal Navy ships is usually not disclosed... apart from on the many news stories published on the MOD's own website of course.
    • The Royal Marines of the Fleet Protection Group has also been in training in a variety of vessels including jet-skis in rather less warm waters, the Clyde to be exact.
    • Part of the RAF's Hawk trainer fleet has been grounded following problems found with the elector seat on one aircraft during an inspection. All aircraft with a Mark 10 ejector seat will not be cleared to fly until they have been inspected.
    • Part of the latest Astute submarine Audacious has been moved between different parts of BAE Systems facilities in Barrow. The 800 ton section had to be moved along the road, as you can imagine it had right-of-way.
    • Flight tests for the STOVL JSF fighter, which the UK will buy, are behind schedule because of a higher than expected failure rate of components.

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    Briefings : Trident cuts, RN cuts, CVF

    Monday, July 26, 2010

    Briefings : Army cuts, Arms sales, Co-op

    Afghan War Leaks

    The big news today of course is the leak of thousands of documents on the Afghanistan War by Wikileaks. The leaks detail the hundreds of civilian casualties caused by NATO forces in unreported incidents and the rise in Taleban bombs against NATO troops. 90,000 records were released by Wikileaks and a number of newspapers were given access beforehand so they could produce reports like this.

    The leaks detail how the Taleban are using SAMs to shoot at NATO aircraft, US special forces embark on missions to capture or kill leaders in the insurgency and that Pakistan's intelligence agency is backing the Taleban. It has also been reported that the UK's GCHQ is helping the US pinpoint Taleban and al-Qaeda leaders for attacks by drones.

    Much of the information dates from earlier in the war and many details were perhaps already assumed but this will be a torrent of bad press for the Allies.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    RAF offer to scrap Nimrod and Tornado

    The RAF have offered up the new Nimrod MRA4 and the Tornado GR4 fleets as a sacrifice to save billions of pounds over the long run. The cuts were offered by the RAF as part of the government's strategic defence review and would hit Scotland hard with the closure of a base and the scrapping of an expansion of another. It is thought the RAF are playing the game though as one of the Nimrods' major roles is to protect the Navy's Trident submarines and it is likely the Navy would oppose such a cut. The Tornado cut, which would be within 5 years, is more likely however as the planes would be nearing the ends of their lives by then anyway. Although their official withdrawal date is 2025 it is thought they will be out of hours some time before that.

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Video : Farnborough Air Show 1950

    With Farnborough now on lets go back to a slightly earlier time...

    Briefings : Gripen NG, Canada JSF, CVF

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    Briefings : Trident costs, Anglo-French Co-op, Gripen-NG

    Monday, July 12, 2010

    Taranis revealed

    The BAE Systems Taranis stealth UCAV demonstrator has been rolled out ahead of a planned first flight in 2011. Part of Taranis' purpose is to prove the UK can develop a stealth UCAV and if the UK decides to go ahead with Taranis a production version could be in service before the end of the decade. That will depend on a number of factors however such as money.

    Briefings : Bomb disposal, M51, Sky Warrior

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    Briefings : UK Afghanistan kit, Tejas, CH-53K

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    Briefings : Brimstone, French defence cuts, Military blogging (updated)

    MOD signs contract for ASCOD SV

    The MOD have signed a £500 million contract with General Dynamics UK for the development phase of a new Scout armoured fighting vehicle. The Scout is derived from the ASCOD SV which is already used by some NATO armies. The MOD contract will result in 7 development vehicles, eventually the Scout will replace the Scimitar in Army service.
    In related news the awarding of the armoured vehicle contract to General Dynamics UK has led BAE Systems to close it's Radar Road plant in Leicester after they were unsuccessful in bidding for this contract.

    Thursday, July 1, 2010

    Briefings : Drug haul, Mantis, B-1B

    • BAE Systems has completed a successful flight test programme with it's Mantis MALE UAV demonstrator in Australia and has now been returned to the UK. It will be rebuilt ready for some further ground based testing. Its not known if it will fly again. BAE will roll out it's Taranis UCAV demonstrator later this month.

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Video : 40 Commando Royal Marines on boat patrol at Kajaki

    Royal Marines from 40 Commando in Afghanistan don't often have to call on their skills as an amphibious unit. But around Kajaki, their ability to operate on the water as well on the land makes them an especially useful force...

    Briefings : Pakistani F-16s, Illustrious, French MALE

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    New armoured vehicles for Army in Afghanistan

    The MOD has announced that British troops in Afghanistan will be getting some new armoured vehicles. 140 additional Jackal 2s and 28 Wolfhounds will be bought. The Jackals, which will take the total ordered for the Army up to 500, will be of the 2A model with improved cab protection. The Wolfhound order will take the total orders for the tactical support vehicle up to 125.

    Briefings : Atlantic, T-X, KC-10

    • The German Navy has retired it's last Atlantic maritime patrol aircraft. Second hand P-3C Orions are now operated instead.
    • One of the next big aircraft procurement programmes is a new advanced trainer for the USAF to replace the T-38 Talon. The winner of the T-X programme would also likely perform well with other trainer procurement programmes worldwide so the stakes are high. Contenders include the T-50 Golden Eagle and the Hawk 128.
    • Boeing have won a $216 million contract to upgrade the cockpits of the USAF's fleet of KC-10 tankers. The upgrade includes a new communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management (CNS/ATM) system to allow the planes to operate and comply with forthcoming civil aerospace organisation standards.
    • Sweden will buy 2 new submarines.

    Amphibious force joins Auriga

    The Royal Navy's amphibious task group has left port to join up with US and French naval forces off the east coast of the US to take part in the Auriga deployment. HMS Albion and HMS Ocean will join in exercises with the US Navy and USMC. 3 Commando RM will take part in some exercises at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. HMS Ark Royal is already with Auriga (acting as flagship) and has embarked 12 USMC Harriers (we don't have many left of our own). FAA pilots will be flying USN F-18s however in preparation for flying the JSF (one day - we hope).

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    Government will move ahead with Trident but look at costs

    The Defence Secretary in a parliamentary debate said that the UK would definitely move ahead  with a continuous sea-based nuclear deterrent though value for money will be looked at in all areas. These comments came as Fox was talking about how he intended to restructure the MOD to make it more efficient and leaner (P45 printing commence!)

    RN submarines to have female crew

    Women will be allowed to serve on the Royal Navy's fleet of submarines after research showed the air and proximity of the nuclear reactor on board the submarines would not adversely affect pregnant women. The first female crew are likely to be 5 officers who will join one of the Vanguard ballistic missile submarines. The Guardian meanwhile lauds the UK armed forces for their efforts on diversity and equality.

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Briefings : Agamemnon, KC-X, K-8

    Work has begun on the 5th Astute class submarine for the Royal Navy (to be named Agamemnon) though it will be part of the coalition's strategic defence review. But then again most things will be these days.

    The KC-X next generation tanker deal for the USAF is expected to be announced in November. EADS and Boeing are both bidding in the long-running and troubled competition. The US Army is experimenting with fuel cell technology on an M1 Abrams tank. The tank's auxiliary power unit will convert diesel into hydrogen and then generate electricity using a fuel cell.

    China's K-8 jet trainer / light attack plane is a popular buy at the moment. Myanmar have ordered 50 of the planes which will be supplied in part-form and then assembled in the country.

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Briefings : SAR-H binned?, F136 to be binned?, LEMV

    The SAR-H next generation UK search & rescue service announced earlier in the year has been suspended as part of a £10 billion series of cuts announced by the government today. The PFI contract will now be reviewed. Some design work for the Trident replacement programme will also be delayed.

    While the JSF programme looks ever shakier, the alternative engine F136 programme for it looks to be on foundations of mash potato. US Defence chief Gates has said funding the F136 would be a serious mistake. Bad news for Rolls Royce.

    Good news for fellow UK company Hybrid Air Vehicles however who will design the platform to be used in the Long-Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) programme, an unmanned surveillance airship intended for use in Afghanistan. The airship is a hybrid design which gets 40% of it's left from aerodynamic lift. Northrop Grumman will build the airships.

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    Briefings : J-6, US defence cuts, South America

    The PLAAF has officially bid farewell to the J-6, it's version of the MiG-19 Farmer. The type remained in production long after the Soviet Farmer had ceased production and indeed up until the 1990s was the core type in China's air force. The J-6 was retired from combat duties in 2005 and now withdrawn from it's remaining duties too.

    A committee in US Congress is looking into ways of dramatically cutting US military spending. The Sustainable Defense Task Force plans to cut over a trillion dollars in military spending over the next 10 years with all services in the firing line for possible deep cuts. One programme of course in the firing line will be the JSF with flight tests of the Block 1 aircraft now underway. Another big procurement programme in trouble is the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle for the US Marines who have been asked to justify it.

    One place military spending is still ongoing is in South America. Venezuela wants to buy another 22 K-8Ws for the training and light strike roles while Chile wants to modernise it's Hercules transports with new cockpit displays.

    The safety of ammunition used by the British Army has raised concerns with a watchdog worrying that the potential for a serious accident. The PM is to tell MPs that the winding down of the British presence in Afghanistan is to soon begin. The Chief of the Defence Staff was removed from his post earlier (or his early retirement announced rather) indicating the PM wants a new chief to oversee the withdrawal. However US government geologists have apparently found vast mineral wealth in Afghanistan so maybe they'll be wanting to stay after all.

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Briefings : MALE, Afghanistan, Serbian Typhoons?

    The UK and France are to work together on technology studies for a European MALE (Medium-Altitude Long Endurance) UAV. The French are keen on a European solution as the alternative would likely be an American solution like the Reaper which the RAF already operate and which the French are considering as a stop-gap. Italy meanwhile have received their first Reapers.

    The number of bomb disposal teams the British Army has deployed in Afghanistan is to be doubled to 20. The Prime Minister wants the allied action in Afganistan to be speeded up and extended to stabilise the country faster so UK forces can be withdrawn. A progress report on Afghanistan will also be published once a quarter (a good move in my view).

    Serbia have expressed an interest in buying the Eurofighter Typhoon to replace their remaining Fishbeds and Fulcrums. A plan has also been drawn up for the production of 124 Tranche 3B Typhoons for the 4 partner nations. Syria is to buy Fulcrums, armoured vehicles and other weapons from Russia.

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    Briefings : Sharpshooter, Trident, Naval operations

    Royal Marines from 40 Commando have received the new long range Sharpshooter L129A1 rifle the UK bought earlier in the year as an urgent response to the need for a longer-ranged rifle as the SA80 was struggling with the medium to long range combat being fought in Afghanistan.
    The RUSI has warned that trying to replace Trident with an alternative nuclear deterrent will likely cost more than retaining Trident unless the UK is willing to seriously dilute it's commitment to a continuous deterrent presence (which might be an option to be honest). Defence cuts (which are very likely) could affect the Army and RAF mostly with the Army being reduced to it's smallest size since the Boer War (a kind of pointless comparison though to be honest).

    The French and US Navies have been conducting some joint exercises involving French Rafales landing on a Nimitz aircraft carrier and also one having it's engine removed and refitted on the US carrier to demonstrate interoperability. USN Hornets also performed landings on the Charles de Gaulle. Meanwhile the USN is asking the public for help in trying to find 4 of it's UUVs which it lost contact with during an exercise.

    HMS Daring is undergoing 6 weeks of intense training as it is tested by the Flag Officer Sea Training taskmasters who make sure RN warships are fit for action. Though it can't receive the full FOST treatment as it doesn't have a working Sea Viper system yet of course.

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    Briefings : Scimitar, VIP helicopter, JSF

    The Scimitar has been in service since 1971, so its the same age as me. And like me its starting to feel it's age. The Army's reconnaissance vehicles have been criticised as being past their sell-by date. The FRES programme is intended to deliver a replacement but of course has been plagued by delays. The Army's most decorated soldier WO2 Mick Flynn said the Scimitar's gun often jammed and the light tank often broke down.

    Boeing are to offer a licence-built AgustaWestland AW101 in a renewed competition to produce a new VIP helicopter for the USA. The AW101 did win the competition before, that time as part of a joint-bid with Lockheed which eventually was cancelled after huge cost rises.

    The carrier version of JSF, the F-35C, has made it's first flight. The JSF is due to start replacing the US Navy's Hornets by around 2016. The USAF and US Army meanwhile has ordered 8 more C-27J tactical transports from Finmeccania.

    Sunday, June 6, 2010

    Briefings : J-15, Dauntless, Bullets

    The Russians are annoyed with the Chinese for "copying" it's Su-33 Flanker-D as the J-15 for it's own aircraft carriers which are yet to be completed. The Russians however say that the J-15 is inferior to the Su-33.

    The second Type 45 destroyer has joined the Royal Navy as HMS Dauntless. It is of course great news though tempered by the fact 1/3 of the total T45 fleet is now in service.

    The MOD has contracted BAE Systems to produce a better bullet. A "higher performance" 5.56mm bullet is being sought after worries the standard NATO rounds are no longer effective against such obstacles as ...er... car windscreens.

    Monday, May 31, 2010

    Briefings : F136, SIGINT A320, Indian fighter upgrades

    The alternative engine for the JSF, the GE/Rolls Royce F136 has been in trouble from the bean counters for some time but may survive another year at least because the US government simply doesn't have the time to axe it because of other defence priorities.

    Airbus is working on a SIGINT version of it's A320 airliner. Airbus are currently bench testing equipment in a self-funded study. There are no orders for such a plane yet though Airbus say they are talking to several potential buyers.
    India is busying it's chequebook in order to upgrade it's fighter fleet. 40 Su-30MKIs will be upgraded with new radars, EW systems and support for the BrahMos missile. The air force's 56 Mirage 2000s are also likely to be upgraded with new avionics, cockpit displays and EW/weapon systems.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Operation Dynamo 70 years on

    It is 70 years since Operation Dynamo, the "miracle" when thousands of allied troops were evacuated from France at Dunkirk (and other ports) back to Britain as the Germans pressed irresistibly into France. The BBC website has created a nice selection of maps and infographics to try and explain exactly did go on at Dunkirk.

    A fleet of boats, some survivors from the original operation, will re-enact the journey over to Dunkirk today. They will be escorted across by HMS Monmouth.

    The Telegraph have a video report. The Daily Mail looks at some of the soldiers who didn't manage to be evacuated and their terrible fate.

    The Guardian has meanwhile gone back into it's archives to 1936 to find a report complaining about the state of the British Army and how so many recruits were rejected as they were unfit. Similiar things are often said about recruits nowadays, the more things change the more things stay the same.

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Britain to have no more than 225 nuclear warheads

    We already knew that Britain has 160 "operationally available" nuclear warheads but the total figure of warheads to be held by the British including warheads in maintenance has remained a secret until now. The government has announced it will retain a maximum of 225 warheads. The government say they are committed to the nuclear deterrent but are to review the circumstances under which it would be used.

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Briefings : Lynx AH9A, Camouflage, USN Fighter Gap

    The upgraded Lynx AH9A has entered service with the British Army in Afghanistan. The first two helicopters sent to the country began operational flights earlier this month following some training and test flights. The AH9A has more powerful engines and improved guns, electronics and self-protection.

    Also in Afghanistan British troops have begun wearing the new MTP camouflage scheme, the first change in camouflage for 40 years. The US Navy will attempt to close it's "fighter gap" by extending the lives of it's Hornets into the 2020s rather than trying to speed up production of the JSF or buying more Super Hornets.

    What happened to the X-37B after it was launched into space? The USAF arn't saying but amateur satellite observors have discovered it's orbit.

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Retro Tucanos

    The RAF have repainted two of it's Tucano T1 trainers in a "retro" WW2 camouflage style (the red in the roundels looks too small to me though) as part of it's effort to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. They flew in formation with one of the RAF's heritage flight's Spitfires a few days ago. I'd love to see a Typhoon repainted like this too.
    Photo © Geoffrey Lee/Planefocus

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    Briefings : AURIGA, Patrol vehicles, Reaper

    A number of Royal Navy and RFA vessels are taking part in the AURIGA multinational naval task force. A four month series of exercises involving the RN, USN and French Navy are currently taking place off the US Eastern seaboard. HMS Ark Royal, HMS Liverpool, HMS Sutherland and RFA Fort George are among the vessels taking part.

    Force Protection and Supacat are being invited to tender for new patrol vehicles for the British Army which will replace the controversial Snatch Land Rover in Afghanistan. The two vehicles being considered are the Ocelot (below) and the SPV400.

    The Reaper UAV has reached the 10,000 flying hours mark in RAF service over Afghanistan.