Tag Archives: NATO

Former US adversaries to buy Russian attack choppers…with US consent

According to the last year’s contract Iraq is to buy 10 Mi-28NE Night Hunter (NATO codename: Havoc) along with armament and equipment, defence24.pl reports.

It is the first delivery of choppers, being a part of a bundle of contracts between Iraq and Russia. The aggregate value is claimed to be of around $4.3 billion – it is indeed quite a lot.

Image Credit: blog.naver.com

The Iraq’s Mi-28NE, being an export derivative of Mi-28N, are to increase the defense capabilities of the country significantly.

The equipment of the helicopter is pretty much the same as of the version used by the Russian Air Force and it includes: thermal imaging system, night vision system, Almaz-280 radar with a range of 10km. The radar is capable of detecting both ground and aerial targets.

Another peculiar feature of the Havoc is an integrated fly-by-wire system, capable of flying at low levels in an automated mode.

The armament is a 30mm cannon and several models of missiles, including Ataka anti-tank guided missiles as well as (quite unusual for an attack helicopter) air-to-air Igla-W and R-60 AAMs.

Not only does the Rosoboronexport offer include 10 helicopters, but it also contains pilots and ground crew training, supply of spare parts and armaments. It is the first contract of the two-party agreement.

Iraqi now being a democratic country, guided by the US may afford such expensive contract. As capt. Saad Al Khadfaji said in his interview for Arabian Aerospace: ‘We are a rich country. Our budget was $110 billion last year, and it will increase this year, so money is not a big issue’.

In the light of the above, $4.3 billion purchase of the Russian helicopters is just a tiny bit of the huge amount of money Iraq has at its disposal, probably thanks to the crude oil still being a valuable asset in the international market.

Iraq is not the sole former US adversary that buys military equipment from (another) former US enemy (Russia). Afghanistan also is to buy Mi-17V5’s until end of this year. A tripartite agreement between US, Afghanistan and Russia is a basis for this decision.

Image Credit: helicopter-database.de

Rosoboronexport was to deliver 21 helicopters, with prospects of delivering another 12 pieces for the Afghan Armed Forces. The value of the Afghan contract, which is paid by Pentagon (sic!) is to be of $900 million.

This contract has been harshly critizized in the US, as it avoids the prohibition of armament purchases from Rosoboronexport. The prohibition was implemented by the US congress.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

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F-16s depart for NATO Tiger meet with special color scheme that has almost vanished after landing

Following The Aviationist’s first post on the Polish Air Force Special Colored F-16s that were to attend the NATO Tiger Meet in Norway, there were rumors that the aircraft from Krzesiny AB had not landed at Orland airbase.

Indeed, someone who was spotting over there did not see one or both of the Tigerish F-16s from Poland.

Well, the mystery has been solved.

There’s a photo that is confirming that both planes actually arrived in Norway (the very same aircraft). But they were somehow different from departure as the Tiger overlay did not make it, as it was peeled off the aircraft.

It is the peculiar nature of the F-16 paint job that does not let use another layer of liquid coating on the fuselage.

This is not the first an aircraft loses its special paint job in flight, but the majority of these episodes took place several years ago, when the F-16 characteristic’s haze paint scheme was not very well known.

Being among the last operators of the Viper, maybe the Polish Air Force still has to learn the proper kind of paint that must be used for special colored F-16s.

Image Credit: Polish Press Agency

Written with David Cenciotti

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These are the first images of the Italian Typhoons providing NATO air defense capability to Iceland

As explained on a previous post, on Jun. 11 (a day after it was originally planned), Italian Eurofighter with 4°, 36° and 37° Stormo (Wings)  deployed to Keflavik Airbase, Iceland to provide a NATO air defense capability to the Northern European country that does not operate autonomous airspace surveillance aircraft.

“Operation Icy Skies” includes maintenance and support personnel as well as air defence controllers from GRCDA (Air Surveillance Squadron), 21st and 22nd Radar Squadron, respectively, based in Poggio Renatico (Ferrara), Poggio Ballone (Grosseto)  e Licola (Naples), that provide reporting and control services and airspace surveillance services within the Iceland AOR (area of responsability).

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The Italian involvement in Iceland’s air defense is a clear example of the new NATO strategic concept that encourages asset and cost sharing, as well as capability pooling.

Two KC-767A aerial tankers (MM62227 and MM62228) ferried the Italian Typhoons to Iceland on 11 June, in two flights; both departed the following day.

The following images were taken by Eggert Norðdahl at Keflavik, as the Typhoons (F-2000A according to the Italian Mission Design Series) performed the first orientation and dedicated training sorties required for the subsequent NATO validation of the Italian Air Force assets.

F-2000 ground

Image credit: Eggert Norðdahl

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Large “RARÓG-13” exercise ends in Poland

As website of the 32 Air Base of Polish Air Force reports, Raróg 2013 exercise ended two days ago.

The large scale exercise of the Polish Air Force’s 2nd Tactical Aviation Wing was named after a Saker Falcon.

The main purpose for conducting  Raróg was to certify that the Polish Air Force can be a part of NATO and EU response forces. The exercise was a part of FORCEVAL procedure (evaluating whether the forces are liable to be relocated to a different operational theater than their homebase). It was conducted in the period between Jun. 3 and 7.

Throughout the week the skill of coordinating actions on the level of the Air Force and other armed forces that perform different duties on every day basis was the main focus. The aim was to simulate a conflict with a highest possible fidelity.

The core part of exercise included aviation combat sorties, such as Air-to-Air, Air-to-Ground; DCA/Defensive Counter Air, or even CAS/Close Air Support. Another field of improvement was training of the TAOR (Tactical Area of Responsibility) procedures. What is more, IT systems were tested for security as well as combat readiness of the aircraft in a given situation.

Finally the ICCS (Individual Common Core Skills) were the last subject of testing.

Photo Credit: Adam ROIK/DOSZ COMBAT CAMERA

The exercise took place in Tactical Area of Operations in the 32. Air Base and in the airspace over the Nadarzyce Range. It was directed by Polish Air Force commander, Brig. Gen. Włodzimierz Usarek and saw the participation of the Polish MiG-29s, Su-22s and CASA C-295, along with the F-16s from 31. Air Base.

The drills were most probably a response to the Russian/Ukrainian activity beyond the Poland’s eastern border. Earlier this year, Steadfast Jazz-13 was another exercise takin place over the Polish territory.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

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“German decision to scrap Euro Hawk drone purchase will not affect AGS program” NATO officials say

According to NATO, the  AGS (Alliance Ground Surveillance), a project that is based on high-altitude long range UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems), a main operating base and several command and control stations to monitor “what’s happening on the ground, at long range, over periods of time, around the clock, in any weather”, will not end due to the German withdrawal from the Eurohawk programme.

As TheAviationist reported earlier, the withdrawal of Germany is caused by extremely high cost of introducing the drones into the European airspace environment. 

NATO officials claim that Block 40 Global Hawk drones are going to be the main assets in the AGS. They are to operate from Sigonella airbase in Sicily by 2017.

The cooperative defense project involves 13 nations: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the United States.

Poland joined later, but it already opted out.

The main reason for Germany to opt out was the cost.

Even if the AGS goal goes beyond reconnaisance (as it will support SAR activities as well), the recently increased military activity beyond the Poland’s eastern border may be the real reason for introducing the drones into the European airspace.

Nevertheless, the problem does not necessarily stem from the budget, but from the European legal background, with its strict provisions when it comes to the air-traffic.

It would be very hard to introduce an autonomous airframe, such as Global Hawk into this environment; the consequent risk seems to restrain Germany from being an active part of the AGS.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

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