Ukraine conflict: Russia records first combat loss of Su-35

by Gareth Jennings

A file photo of an Su-35 ‘Flanker-E' multirole combat aircraft, of the type that came down in eastern Ukraine on 3 April. (Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation)

Russia has lost its first Sukhoi Su-35 ‘Flanker-E' multirole fighter on combat operations over Ukraine, imagery posted online on 3 April reveal.

The premier operational combat aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) reportedly came down in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine, near the town of Izyum.

Although no information relating to how the aircraft came down has been revealed, the imagery released shows it to have come to rest largely intact, before being consumed by fire.

The aircraft is identifiable as being an Su-35 by it being a single-seat ‘Flanker' variant without canards, and equipped with the combination missile rails and wingtip-mounted electronic countermeasures systems in place of the missile rails of the baseline Su-27/30 versions.

As noted by Janes World Air Forces


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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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RAF, RAAF reform respective 80 Sqns as US-based F-35 data centres

by Gareth Jennings

The chiefs of the RAF and RAAF reconstituting their respective 80 Squadrons during a joint ceremony at Eglin AFB in the US. (Crown Copyright)

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) stood up their respective 80 Squadrons on 17 April to serve as US-based data units for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Announced by the RAF, the two separate but linked squadrons were reconstituted during a joint ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida.

“At the event, the [UK] Chief of the Air Staff, [Air Chief Marshal] Sir Richard Knighton, and [Australian] Chief of the Air Force Air Marshal Robert Chipman, formally awarded the dormant 80 Squadron number plates for each service to their respective teams within the Australia, Canada, and United Kingdom Reprogramming Laboratory [ACURL],” the RAF said.


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Russia has lost its first Sukhoi Su-35 ‘Flanker-E' multirole fighter on combat operations over Ukrai...

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