USAF migrates air tasking software into cloud

by Carlo Munoz

A US Air Force KC-46A Pegasus tanker conducts air-to-air refuelling with a US Air Force F-16 over the Canadian Arctic in March 2021. Service leaders migrated the MAFPS system for air mobility operations into the cloud. (North American Aerospace Defense)

The US Air Force (USAF) and BAE Systems have successfully migrated the air service's premier planning and tasking software for mobility operations into a cloud computing environment, marking one of the first mission-critical air force programmes to be transitioned into the cloud.

The Mobility Air Forces Automated Flight Planning Service (MAFPS) is the primary air planning tool used by Air Mobility Command (AMC) to support air tasking orders (ATO) for air refuelling and material transport operations across the globe. The primary users of the MAFPS programme are airmen assigned to the AMC's 618th Air Operation Center (AOC) at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, as well as the 603rd AOC at US Air Forces in Europe and the 608th AOC headquartered at US Pacific Air Forces.

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RAAF improving Super Hornet, Growler air combat training

by Akhil Kadidal

Aircrew from the RAAF's No 1 and No 6 Squadron walk towards their aircraft at RAAF Base Darwin. Australia has upgraded its training to maintain the “air combat capability edge” of its F/A-18F and E/A-18G Growler pilots and personnel. (LAC Sam Price/Department of Defence/Commonwealth of Australia)

An air combat training programme for Australia's Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet and E/A-18G Growler aircrews has been upgraded and extended.

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has signed a new five-year, AUD109.7 million (USD76.4 million) contract to enhance the ground-based training of pilots and personnel.

Janes has learned that the new Electronic Attack Air Combat Training Support (EATS) contract will replace the earlier Air Combat Training Services Support (ACTSS) contract, which was providing support for F/A-18F and E/A-18G units. The ACTSS contract was in place from 2010 to July 2022.

The EATS contract was announced on 1 August. The new contract is said to be a contemporary evolution of the ACTSS to provide “key support to the F/A-18F and EA-18G capability”.

Under the conditions of the agreement, Raytheon Australia will deliver ground-based “simulator maintenance and engineering as well as aircrew training services”, a DoD spokesperson told Janes.

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China ends unprecedented show of force around Taiwan with enduring repercussions

by Ridzwan Rahmat

Taiwan Navy personnel stand guard on the Chi Yang (Knox)-class frigate, ROCS Ning Yang , on 7 August while it was berthed near Keelung City as China conducts major drills around Taiwan's main island. (Annabelle Chih/Getty Images)

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) appears to have wound down the series of unprecedented military exercises it was conducting around Taiwan from 4 to 7 August.

Publicly available data on 8 August indicate that aircraft and merchant ships have largely resumed their routes through the six exclusion zones around the main island of Taiwan, which had been demarcated as exercise areas by the Chinese government during the period.

Co-ordinates of these zones were released by China's state-sponsored Xinhua News Agency on 2 August, hours after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan. Since then, there have been no further Notices to Mariners (NOTMARs) or Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) from the Chinese government on military exercises in the vicinity.

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China deploys UAVs near Taiwan, Japan

by Oishee Majumdar

The flight path of the UAVs deployed by the PLA near Japan's south-western islands and Taiwan on 4 August. (Japan Ministry of Defense)

Japan's Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that it spotted Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) near Taiwan and Japan's Nansei/Ryuku islands on 4 August.

According to the MoD, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) deployed one BZK-005 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV, a TB-001 MALE UAV, and at least one other unmanned aircraft near the East China Sea area.

The BZK-005 and TB-001 UAV flew over the Miyako Strait, which is located between Japan's Miyako and Okinawa islands, more than once reaching the south of the Sakishima islands before reversing back on the same route, the MoD said.

The other unmanned aircraft was seen flying off the northeastern coast of Taiwan and continued to circle over the “high seas”, the MoD added.

The MoD said that the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) dispatched fighter jets from its Southwestern Air Command Support Flight to intercept the UAVs.

Janes analysis of the BZK-005 UAV image shared by the Japanese MoD indicates that it is the modernised BZK-005E variant.

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The US Air Force (USAF) and BAE Systems have successfully migrated the air service's premier plannin...

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