01 Oktober 2014

Australia’s First F-35A Takes to the Skies

01 Oktober 2014
 RAAF AU-1 takes to the skies (all photos : Lockheed Martin)

FORT WORTH, Texas – Australia’s first Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter made its inaugural flight on Sept. 29, marking another significant milestone for the Royal Australian Air Force’s F-35 program. Lockheed Martin F-35 Chief Test Pilot Alan Norman, piloted the aircraft through a series of functional checks for the sortie that lasted two hours.

The aircraft, known as AU-1, is scheduled for delivery to the Royal Australian Air Force later this year and will be assigned to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. Australia and partner countries will use the jet for F-35A pilot training.

The F-35 Lightning II aircraft provides the Royal Australian Air Force with a transformational 5th generation fighter capability and significant benefits for the Australian aerospace industry. Australian industry already has more than $412 million (USD) contracted.

The F-35 Lightning II is the world’s most advanced military aircraft and for more than a decade, the U.S. and its allies have invested in developing this fifth-generation, international, multirole fighter aircraft serving as a cornerstone of global security in the 21st century.

(Lockheed Martin/F-35)

Vietnam Welcomes Sixth Twin Otter Seaplane

01 Oktober 2014

Sixth Twin Otter seaplane VNT-773 of Vietnamese Navy (photo : Phunu Today)

The sixth Twin Otter seaplane has officially hit the road in Vietnam, is expected to land at Cam Ranh Bay in early October.

Reportedly, sixth seaplane DHC-6 Twin Otter (as well as the final agreement to purchase six planes were Navy Vietnam and firm Viking Air of Canada signed in 2010) brought number MSN 887 VNT-773 (N900VK / C-GVAT) has officially hit the road in Vietnam on the morning of 28/9.

So nearly a week after the graduation ceremony second pilot group of Vietnam Navy in Victoria on 22/9, sixth seaplane DHC-6 Twin Otter take off has done for the country itinerary .

Earlier, speaking at the graduation ceremony on 22/9 pilots Vietnam, CEO of Pacific Sky Aviation, Mr. Michael Coughlin said 5 out of 6 Twin Otter from Viking Air 400 order has been transferred to the Vietnamese Navy South. It is expected that the sixth aircraft will arrive in Vietnam base in early October.

Vietnam pilot group of 10 recently graduated from flight training at Pacific Sky on 22/9. They were happy to receive the diploma, behind the sixth Twin Otter seaplane.

Pacific Sky Aviation is a member company of Viking Air, participate in training to take on all the technical staff and pilots Twin Otter floatplane in Vietnam. With the support and teaching of Pacific Sky, in 2013, a first group of 26 Vietnam Navy officer has completed flight training program and a maintenance phase, while the second group of 10 Pilots also completed a flight training program lasted 20 months intensive.

The seaplane pilots Vietnam undergone training in Canada include: 6 months learning English aviation; certification of private pilots transport and trade of Canada; a total of 6,000 hours of flight training; collective response on the water and on a night flying aircraft C172, C182 and DHC-2 Beaver.

The pilots must have 1,000 hours total on the DHC-6 aircraft types, including 650 hours of flight time and 2,100 takeoff - landing on the coastal waters and the lakes in British Columbia.

When on the water, the pilot will also be supported by a pilot training aircraft DHC-6's Pacific Sky and Viking representative in Vietnam.

With a team of 6 Twin Otter, Vietnamese Navy Aviation will soon have a fleet of maritime patrol aircraft modernization, strengthening the protection of the sovereignty of the island nation.


Thai Air Force to Order Reconnaissance-Roled Avanti II

01 Oktober 2014

P180 Avanti II (photo : Jaysen F Snow)

The Royal Thai Air Force’s deputy chief of air staff, Air Chief Marshal Sutthiphan Kritsanakhup and Piaggio Aero Industries’ government sales director Francescomaria Tuccillo on 29 September reached an agreement in Rome for the delivery of one P180 Avanti II in a new photographic reconnaissance configuration.

Reached in the presence of Italian air force chief of staff Gen Pasquale Preziosa, the agreement will lead to a contract signing on 30 September. This will coincide with a Royal Thai Air Force delegation visiting Piaggio Aero’s new main facility in Villanova d’Albenga, near Savona, north-west Italy.

The Thai officials have already visited the Italian air force's 14th Wing, which is equipped with Avanti IIs in transport and special mission configurations, and its multi-crew training centre at Pratica di Mare air base, to receive information on the training capabilities that the service could provide to its Thai counterpart.


Japan Puts Helicopter Carrier Izumo on Sea Trials

01 Oktober 2014

JMSDF helicopter carrier JS Izumo was unveiled on 6 August 2013 at the IHI Marine United shipyard in Isogo, Yokohama. (photo : Jane's)

The Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) has begun sea trials of its helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH 183), a JMSDF official confirmed to IHS Jane's on 29 September.

The 248 m-long vessel, which displaces 24,000 tonnes at full load, is the largest Japanese military ship built since the Second World War and can carry up to 14 helicopters. Izumo and its yet unnamed sister ship (DDH 184) will replace the JMSDF's two Shirane-class destroyers, JS Shirane (DDH 143) and JS Kurama (DDH 144), inducted in March 1980 and 1981 respectively.

According to the JMSDF, Izumo 's sea trials are being carried out in preparation for the vessel's impending commissioning. "The trials have started and will go on for about six months before we commission it in 2015", Lieutenant Commander Yasushi Kojima of the Maritime Staff Office told IHS Jane's . However Lt Cdr Kojima did not reveal the exact nature of the trials nor the date that they started, adding only that they have "just begun".

The DDH-183 Izumo in comparison to its predecessor the DDH-181 Hyuga (image : worldwarships)

YouTube footage dated 23 September shows tugs escorting Izumo out of Tokyo Bay.

According to IHS Jane's Fighting Ships , Izumo will be equipped with an OQQ-22 bow-mounted sonar for submarine prosecution while defence against anti-ship missiles will be provided by two Raytheon RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile SeaRAM launchers.

Despite concerns raised by Japan's neighbours, the vessel's comparative lack of offensive weapons seem to corroborate with claims by JMSDF officials that it will be deployed mainly for border surveillance and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions.

Besides embarking aircraft such as Sikorsky/Mitsubishi SH-60K Seahawk anti-submarine warfare helicopters and the AgustaWestland/Kawasaki MCH-101s, Izumo can accommodate 970 personnel, including the ship's crew and Japan Ground Self-Defence Force troops.

Izumo is scheduled for commissioning in March 2015 while DDH 184 is due to be launched in August the same year by Yokohama-based shipbuilder IHI Marine United. The second vessel's induction is anticipated for March 2017.


Manuver KRI Bung Tomo Class

01 Oktober 2014

 KRI Bung Tomo 357, KRI John Lie 358 dan KRI Usman Harun 359 (all photos : Antara/Suara)

Sejumlah kapal Republik Indonesia (KRI) kelas Van Speijk dan Multi Role Light Fregate (MRLF) melakukan manuvera taktis di perairan Karimunjawa, Jawa Tengah, Minggu (28/9). Latihan tersebut bagian dari penyambutan KRI John Lie (JOL)-358 dan KRI Usman Harun (USH)-359 buatan BAE System Maritime Naval Ship Inggris yang selanjutnya akan bergabung dengan KRI Bung Tomo (TOM)-357 di jajaran Satuan Kapal Eskorta (Satkor) Komando Armada RI wilayah Timur (Koarmatim) TNI AL.

Kapal Republik Indonesia (KRI) kelas Multi Role Light Fregate (MRLF) KRI Usman Harun (USH)-359 melintas diperairan Karimunjawa, Jawa Tengah, Minggu (28/9). 

Sejumlah kapal Republik Indonesia (KRI) kelas Van Speijk dan Multi Role Light Fregate (MRLF) melakukan manuvera taktis di perairan Karimunjawa, Jawa Tengah, Minggu (28/9).

KRI John Lie (JOL-358) dan KRI Usman Harun (USH-359) yang baru tiba melaksanakan latihan formasi di Perairan Karimunjawa, Jateng, Minggu (28/9).

Kapal Republik Indonesia (KRI) kelas Multi Role Light Fregate (MRLF) KRI Usman Harun (USH)-359 melintas diperairan Karimunjawa, Jawa Tengah, Minggu (28/9).


30 September 2014

US Approves FMS of Nine UH-72 Lakota for Thailand

30 September 2014

UH-72A Lakota (photo : Airport Data)

WASHINGTON - The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Thailand for UH-72A Lakota Helicopters and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $89 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on September 26, 2014.

The Government of Thailand has requested a possible sale of 9 UH-72A Lakota Helicopters, warranty, spare and repair parts, support equipment, communication equipment, publications and technical documentation, Aviation Mission Planning Station, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $89 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States, by helping to improve the security of a major non-NATO ally.

This proposed sale will contribute to Thailand’s goal of upgrading and modernizing its military forces with a new light utility helicopter capable of meeting requirements for rotary-wing transportation, while further enhancing interoperability between Thailand the U.S., and among other allies. Thailand will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractor will be EADS North America in Herndon, Virginia. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require ten contractor representatives to travel to Thailand for a period of five weeks for equipment deprocessing/fielding and system checkout.

There will be no adverse impact on the U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.


Paket Menarik Eurofighter untuk Indonesia

30 September 2014

Eurofighter Typhoon (all photos : militaryphotos)
Dalam waktu dekat Kementerian Pertahanan dikabarkan akan kembali mengakuisisi jet tempur baru untuk mengisi hanggar Skadron Udara 14, yang sebentar lagi ditinggalkan jet pencegat F-5E/F Tiger II.

Salah satu kandidatnya adalah Eurofighter Typhoon, yang belakangan gencar ditawarkan pihak Airbus Defence & Space. Bagi Angkasa, kemunculan pesawat ini terbilang menarik, setidaknya oleh karena dua hal. Pertama adalah karena pesawat ini sejatinya dibuat berdasarkan filosofi atau kebutuhan khusus untuk sistem pertahanan udara Eropa. Dan kedua, karena pesawat ini ditawarkan dengan paket transfer teknologi yang bisa digunakan untuk masa depan industri kedirgantaraan Indonesia.

Keunggulan yang ditawarkan Typhoon ada pada dua dapur pacu Eurojet EJ200 berkekuatan masing-masing 13.490 pon dengan thrust-weight ratio 1,15 untuk menjamin kemampuannya mengejar dan menaklukkan lawan secara cepat di udara. Dengan sepasang canard yang terpasang di depan, pesawat sayap delta ini dijamin mampu melakukan gerakan menekuk dengan angle of attack yang jauh lebih impresif dibanding jet tempur pada umumnya. Gerakan menekuk amat diperlukan karena langit negara Eropa terbilang sempit.

Angkasa mencatat, Typhoon telah dirancang sejak 1980-an - ketika banyak negara Eropa tengah dihantui ekses Perang Dingin - namun baru bisa diterbangkan untuk pertama kali pada 1994 atau empat tahun setelah Perang Dingin usai. Manuverabilitas yang tinggi jadi persyaratan utama karena jet tempur ini akan digunakan sebagai tulang tombak penghadangan jet-jet tempur Uni Sovyet yang umumnya dirancang untuk menembus pertahanan udara lawan dan melakukan pemboman masif.

Penggarapan pesawat ini dipecah di empat pabrikan yang terletak di Jerman (DASA), Inggris (BAe), Italia (Aeritalia), dan Spanyol (CASA) yang pengintegrasiannya dikendalikan secara terpusat oleh Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH. Oleh sebab restrukturisasi yang diberlakukan Uni Eropa, pembuatan dan komersialisasinya kini dilimpahkan kepada BAE System, Alenia Aermacchi dan Airbus Defence & Space.

Nah, karena kewenangan penjualan atas segala produk Airbus DS untuk Indonesia dan sekitarnya kerap dilimpahkan kepada PT Dirgantara Indonesia, upaya penjualan Typhoon di wilayah ini pun dititipkan kepada manajemen pabrik pesawat yang ada di Bandung tersebut.

Sedang Dikaji

Pihak Kementerian Pertahanan dan KKIP (Komite Kebijakan Industri Pertahanan) sendiri memastikan bahwa Typhoon sudah masuk sebagai kandidat. Bersama Sukhoi Su-35 (Rusia), Dassault Rafale (Perancis), Saab Jas-39 Gripen (Swedia), Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet (AS) dan Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 62, pesawat ini akan segera diseleksi menurut kebutuhan operasional (ops-req) yang diajukan TNI AU.

"Pesawat-pesawat itu kini sedang dikaji. Keputusan baru akan diambil setelah pemerintahan baru berkuasa. Kita tunggu saja" ujar sebuah sumber. Pernyataan ini serta-merta mementahkan berita online yang menyatakan bahwa Pemerintah telah menyatakan positif membeli dan tengah menunggu pengirimannya.

Lalu seperti apa persisnya transfer teknologi yang ditawarkan? Belum ada rincian pasti. Namun, seperti diungkap Vice President Bisnis dan Pemerintahan PT Dirgantara Indonesia, Irzal Rinaldi Zailani, transfer teknologi yang ditawarkan bisa mengarah ke teknologi atau elemen yang diperlukan dalam perancangan jet tempur KFX/IFX. Oleh karena proses perakitannya bisa dilakukan di Bandung, enjinir PT DI juga bisa ikut menyerap ilmu dalam pembuatan jet tempur.

KFX/IFX adalah prototipe jet tempur masa depan yang tengah dirancang Korea Selatan bersama Indonesia. Merujuk Angkasa (Februari 2014), meski telah menuntaskan tahapan Pengembangan Teknologi pada akhir 2012, pemenuhan standar generasi 4,5 yang diharapkan masih menemui sejumlah kendala. Pesawat ini diantaranya belum menemukan mitra yang benar-benar mau "berbagi" teknologi radar penjejak sasaran multi-fungsi (AESA) dan mesin pendorong berkekuatan besar.

Dari tiga gambaran mesin yang dinilai cocok, yakni Eurojet EJ200, General Electric F-414 dan General Electric F-414 baru pihak Eurojet-lah yang menawarkan diri. Di lain pihak General Electric (AS) menyatakan berat untuk berbagi mesin yang kini menjadi andalan F/A-18E/F Super Hornet itu, namun tidak dengan GE F-100 yang selama ini dipakai F-16 versi awal.

"Kami tak mau pakai F-100, karena daya dorongnya terlalu kecil. Kami tetap pada prinsip bahwa jet tempur yang dihasilkan harus yang unggul. Kalau seadanya, itu sama saja cari mati," ujar Dr Rais Zain, M.Eng, KFX/IFX Configuration Design Leader kepada Angkasa.   
Selain itu, kedua pihak juga masih mencari sistem persenjataan yang bisa disimpan dalam internal weapon bay, sistem data-link yang bisa mengacak komunikasi darat-udara dan perangkat anti-jamming.


(Angkasa Magazine, No 12/XXIV, September 2014)