Greece submits letter of request for F-35

by Gareth Jennings

With an Italian aircraft displayed at the recent ILA Air Show in Berlin, the F-35 is set to acquire a new European customer with Greece having submitted a letter of request to the US government. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Greece's plans to acquire the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) have taken a step forward, with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis saying on 30 June that a letter of request (LOR) had been sent to the United States.

According to Reuters, Mitsotakis made the disclosure at the NATO Madrid Summit in Spain, saying that Greece intends to buy 20 F-35As to equip two squadrons, and that further procurement batches may follow.

With the LOR now submitted, Mitsotakis said that, subject to the usual processes, deliveries are expected to begin from 2027 or 2028.

The Hellenic Air Force (HAF) is looking to acquire the F-35A as part of a wider ramp-up of its combat aviation forces, which has seen delivery of Dassault Rafales from France and upgrades to its existing fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons.


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South Korea announces new aircraft engine factory

by Akhil Kadidal

A new engine factory being developed by Hanwha Aerospace at Changwon will produce engines for the KAI KF-21 and the TA-50 multirole trainer aircraft. (Zhang Hui/VCG via Getty Images)

Hanwha Aerospace is building a new factory to produce engines for combat aircraft, including the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) KF-21 Boramae 4.5-generation aircraft. The new factory is also expected to support the development of South Korea's new domestic fighter engine programme.

Ground was broken for the 16,530m 2 engine production facility at Changwon on 15 April 2024, the South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) said on 17 April. The factory is being developed at a cost of USD30 million and is scheduled to be operational by 2025. The MND added that the factory's priority is the licence production of the 92.1 kN (20,700 lb st) General Electric F414-GE-400 engine for the KF-21.

A Hanwha Aerospace spokesperson told Janes on 19 April that “100%” of the licence manufacture of the F414 engine will be achieved at this factory. “The facility is expected to produce approximately 300 engines annually [after becoming operational], the spokesperson added.


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RNLAF helps Luftwaffe prepare Chinook capability

by Gareth Jennings

A Dutch Chinook (foreground) arrived at Holzdorf Air Base in mid-April to help the Luftwaffe prepare for the arrival of its own Chinooks into the station from 2027. In the background is a Luftwaffe CH-53G currently based at the location. (Bundeswehr)

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) is helping the Luftwaffe prepare for its upcoming Chinook heavy-lift helicopter capability, dispatching one of its own helicopters to the type's future operating station in mid-April.

The Bundeswehr said on 18 April that an RNLAF CH-47F Block 1 Chinook landed for the first time at Holzdorf Air Base (also known as Schönewalde), south of Berlin, to help the Luftwaffe prepare for the arrival of the first of its CH-47F Block II Chinook Standard Range (SR) air-to-air refuelling (AAR)-capable heavy-lift helicopters from 2027 to 2032.

“With the future stationing of the CH-47, Holzdorf Air Base will become a hub for helicopter transport. The [Luftwaffe] is gaining initial experience with the Chinook transport helicopter with its Dutch allies – in flight operations, refuelling, and training,” the Bundeswehr said.


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UK contracts H145 helicopters for Brunei, Cyprus missions

by Gareth Jennings

With the UK already flying the H145 with the UKMFTS training programme, it has acquired additional rotorcraft to take on its Brunei and Cyprus support missions. (Crown Copyright)

The United Kingdom has contracted Airbus to deliver six new Airbus Helicopters H145 rotorcraft to be used in Brunei and Cyprus.

Announced by the Defence, Equipment, and Support (DE&S) branch of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 18 April, the GBP122 million (USD152 million) award will see the helicopters acquired to replace the Airbus Puma HC2s (Helicopter Cargo 2) that are supporting the British Army's training mission in Brunei following the recent retirement of the Bell 212s, as well as the Pumas HC2s that performing search-and-rescue (SAR) and support duties at Royal Air Force (RAF) Akrotiri in Cyprus following the recent retirement of the Bell 412s.

Known as Jupiter HC2 in UK military service, the D3-standard five-bladed helicopters are to be delivered later in 2024. The MoD already operates the D2-standard four-bladed H145 in the trainer configuration, with seven Jupiter HT1 (Helicopter Training 1) aircraft in use with the UK Military Flying Training System.


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