F-35 being pitched to new European customers

by Gareth Jennings

Seen in US Marine Corps service, the F-35 is competing several European fighter tenders. (US Air Force)

An official has noted new active sales campaigns in Europe for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Speaking under the Chatham House Rule, the official said that, in addition to the already known competition in Finland and the previously disclosed requirement in Greece, the F-35 is currently engaged in hitherto undeclared campaigns in two other European countries.

“A number of other [European] countries have expressed interest officially, and that would be Spain, Greece, and the Czech Republic. [These] are in active campaign,” the official said on 3 November.

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US Navy expects to deploy carrier Ford during third quarter

by Michael Fabey

The US Navy expects to deploy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford during the third quarter. (Michael Fabey)

The US Navy (USN) plans to operationally deploy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) during the third quarter of this year, Rear Admiral James Downey, USN Aircraft Carriers Program executive officer, said on 21 January.

The carrier is now going through a planned maintenance availability following shock trials and testing, Rear Adm Downey noted during a press briefing on the status of the navy's carrier force.

After that, the ship “will do workups” during the second quarter into the third, he explained. At the end of the time, he said, Ford would sail “to multiple theatre of operations with multiple allies with its strike group and air wing”. The ship is to deploy to areas that include “more nations than I can briefly summarise,” he noted.

However, Rear Adm Downey added, exactly where and when that deployment will occur is “not publicly releasable”.

The deployment is a signficant one – being the first with such operational tasking. However, Rear Adm Downey underscored Ford

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Update: Colombia eyes Danish F-16s as potential Kfir replacement

by Roberto Jose Garcia Hernandez

The Colombian Air Force (FAC) is interested in acquiring an undisclosed number of Royal Danish Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16s to replace its ageing fleet of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) Kfir C-10/C-12 fighters.

A FAC source told Janes on 20 January that it will send a technical team to Denmark in the coming days to assess and evaluate the aircraft offered.

The Scandinavian country is phasing out its F-16 fighter fleet in favour of the F-35 Lightning II and will sell up to 24 aircraft before 2025. The first eight F-16s will be available to international customers this year according to Lieutenant Colonel Casper Borge Nielsen of the Danish Ministry of Defence's Materiel and Procurement Agency. Col Nielsen stated that the F-16s have 5–10 years of lifespan remaining, and that along with the aircraft, Denmark will also sell large quantities of support equipment, tools, and spare parts.

Janes understands that the FAC is looking to acquire at least 15 jets to replace its Kfirs, with the used F-16s understood to cost about USD15 million each.

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India tests new BrahMos variant

by Parth Shukla & Shaurav Gairola

BrahMos Aerospace conducted additional test-firing of its universal long-range supersonic cruise missile system from the Integrated Test Range, Chandipur, off the coast of Odisha, on the east coast of India, at 1030 h local time on 20 January.

The variant of the BrahMos missile that was tested was not confirmed by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD). However, Janes analysis of images suggests that the missile was the BrahMos extended-range (ER) variant. India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said the tested missile was an enhanced variant, and images show a missile larger than the compact air-launched version of it, named BrahMos NG.

The MoD said the missile was tested by BrahMos Aerospace in co-ordination with the DRDO and Russia's NPO Mashinostroyeniya (NPOM). BrahMos Aerospace is a joint venture between these two entities.

According to the MoD, the tested BrahMos missile was equipped with advanced indigenous content and technologies and followed a modified optimal trajectory. It added that the test was successful.

The MoD said that the missile employed an upgraded control system and had been “fine-tuned to achieve enhanced capabilities”.

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An official has noted new active sales campaigns in Europe for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II...

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