Royal New Zealand Air Force retires P-3K2 Orion aircraft

by Tim Fish

A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft is pictured at RNZAF Base Auckland in Whenuapai on 24 January. The service's fleet of three P-3K2s is being retired at the end of January following 57 years of service. (Tim Fish)

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) will retire the last three of its P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) at the end of January 2023 after 57 years of service.

At RNZAF Base Auckland in Whenuapai on 24 January, No 5 Squadron, which operates and maintains the aircraft, completed a final flypast of the three aircraft in formation. Two of the aircraft will then fly to RNZAF Base Woodbourne where the fleet is being put into storage.

The decommissioning of the last three P-3K2 Orions from the original fleet of six aircraft is taking place about six months early, before the replacement fleet of four P-8A Orion MPAs has been stood up for operations at No 5 Squadron's new home at RNZAF Base Ohakea.

Wing Commander Glen Donaldson told Janes

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Chadian Air Force unveils Aksungur UAV

by Jeremy Binnie

Chad's new Aksungur is seen warming up for take-off in a still from a video released by the AAT. (Armée de l'Air Tchadienne)

The Chadian Air Force (AAT) has revealed it has received at least one Turkish Aerospace (TUSAŞ) Aksungur unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

It released a video on 21 April that included footage of an Aksungur with AAT markings and the Turkish-format serial 23013 taking off from Adji Kosseï Air Base at N'Djamena International Airport armed with eight MAM-L small laser-guided bombs. The video also featured AAT personnel being trained by TUSAŞ in Türkiye.

The AAT operates at least two TUSAŞ Anka UAVs and three TUSAŞ Hürkuş-C turboprop light-attack aircraft, which were unveiled when President General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno visited Adji Kosseï Air Base in July 2023.

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US Navy accepts first two Textron T-54 deliveries

by Zach Rosenberg

The first of two Textron T-54s delivered to the US Navy, intended to replace the T-44s. The deliveries were announced on 22 April. (US Navy)

US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) accepted delivery of the first two Textron T-54 Multi-Engine Training System (METS) aircraft at Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas, the service announced on 22 April. The aircraft are set to begin training students at NAS Corpus Christi's Training Air Wing Four in boreal spring 2025, the US Navy (USN) told Janes .

The USN intends to operate 64 of the Textron King Air 200-based aircraft, which will replace the Textron T-44 as the service's main twin-engine pilot training aircraft. Deliveries are set to run through 2026, and the aircraft is meant to operate until 2055.

“This aircraft brings modernised training to student naval aviators and prepares them for the advanced aircraft they will fly in the fleet,” said Captain Duane Whitmer, USN programme manager.

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US Department of State approves Basler BT-67 sale to Argentina

by Zach Rosenberg

The BT-67 is no stranger to Antarctica's harsh climate. This picture displays a Basler BT-67 (re-engined DC-3) in polar configuration equipped with snow skids. (Basler)

The US Department of State has approved Argentina's request to purchase Basler BT-67s, support equipment, and training for up to USD143 million, the department announced on 18 April.

“The proposed sale will … [provide] additional capacity for airdrop and airlift operations to service Antarctica during the winter season,” the announcement read. “This will reduce the burden on other airlift assets in Argentina.”

The number of aircraft to be purchased is unknown, but the deal includes spare engines, ground handling equipment, transport, and personnel training. Basler and the Argentine Ministry of Defense had not responded to Janes questions at the time of publication.

Argentina maintains nearly a dozen research bases on Antarctica, according to the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship. Argentina's air force operates several aircraft types capable of operating in Antarctica, including four Lockheed Martin C-130Hs and seven de Havilland DHC-6s.

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The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) will retire the last three of its P-3K2 Orion maritime patro...

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