F/A-18: Le Koweit s’approche d’une décision

28 nov. 2016 | Par Guillaume Belan

Il en était question depuis plusieurs mois, la nouvelle s’approche doucement d’une décision : le Koweit s’apprête à commander 28 F/A-18 Super Hornet. C’est ce qu’a confirmé le General Lafi al-Azemi, responsable des acquisitions militaire du Koweit. Le marché devrait dépasser les 5 Mds de dollars. Les F/A-18 de Boeing viendront remplacer les F-18 vieillissants. Des F-18 que Boeing s’est engagé à reprendre selon le général al-Azemi. Le Koweit en dispose de 39.

Il y a quelques semaines le département d’état américain avait accordé son feu vert pour cette vente. A noter que le le Koweit s’est récemment porté acquéreur de 28 Eurofighter Typhoon (lire ici). L’émirat s’apprête donc a gonfler considérablement ses capacités de chasse et de bombardement, à l’instar du Qatar, qui, outre le Rafale, souhaiterait acquérir jusqu’à 72 F-15 (lire notre article ici). Des besoins apparus avec la montée en puissance des tensions régionales (Yémen, Syrie, Irak, Iran…) qui provoque une certaine course aux armements dans la région. Le Koweit vient également de commander des hélicoptères H225M (relire ici).

Source: Air&Cosmos

Boeing vend 84 chasseurs F-15 à l’Arabie Saoudite

Le 30 décembre 2011 par Barbara Leblanc

Le groupe américain décroche le 29 décembre un contrat de plus de 22 milliards d’euros.

C’est l’administration Obama qui annonce la nouvelle. Les chasseurs conçus par Boeing seront dotés de technologies électroniques avancées. Le contrat prévoit la vente de 84 unités, mais aussi la modernisation de 70 chasseurs plus anciens.

Cela fait plus d’un an que les Etats-Unis avaient obtenu le feu vert du Congrès pour la vente de ces appareils. Mais le processus a été ralenti face aux tensions dans la région.

Selon la Maison Blanche ce contrat permettra la création de 50 000 emplois américains et de raffermir la coopération régionale en matière de défense avec l’Arabie Saoudite.

« Il illustre l’engagement américain en faveur d’une Arabie saoudite forte en matière de capacité de défense, qui est un élément-clé de la sécurité de la région, estime Andrew Shapiro, haut fonctionnaire du département d’Etat. A l’évidence, l’une des menaces pour l’Arabie Saoudite est l’Iran ».

Washington tout comme Ryad s’inquiètent du programme nucléaire de Téhéran, soupçonné de chercher à se doter de l’arme atomique sous couvert d’un programme énergétique civil. « Ce contrat est donc un message fort envoyé par Washington », assure-t-il.

Téhéran a menacé ces derniers jours de fermer le détroit d’Ormuz, par où transite entre un tiers et 40% du trafic pétrolier mondial, en cas de nouvelles sanctions internationales contre son programme nucléaire controversé, un geste qui exposerait la république islamique à une réaction militaire des Etats-Unis.

Source: L’usine nouvelle

USAF Pulls Funding For F-15 IRST Upgrade

Mar 15, 2011

By Amy Butler

The U.S. Air Force has terminated funding for an infrared search and track (IRST) upgrade for its F-15C/D fleet as part of the service’s push last year to produce savings for the Pentagon’s fiscal 2012 budget.

Air Force officials say that the effort was designed to provide “the only USAF search and targeting capability in the infrared spectrum designed specifically for air-to-air, providing air-to-air attack capability in a radar-denied environment on the F-15C/D.” The system could be useful for air-to-air fighter engagements as well as cruise missile targeting and ballistic missile early warning. Lockheed Martin provides the sensor for the pod.

However, the service opted to remove research and development funding for the program in fiscal 2012 and beyond, according to Air Force officials. In the budget, they propose pulling $34.9 million in fiscal 2012 and a total of $345 million across the future year defense plan (including 2012).

Boeing, which is the prime contractor for the F-15, says that it continues to work with the Air Force to “explore options” for the program.

Air Force officials cite “technical challenges” with the F-15 version as their rationale. However, they also say that a version of the IRST designed for the Navy is “behind schedule.”

Navy officials, however, say that the effort is proceeding as planned. “The Navy’s F/A-18 IRST program is meeting program cost and schedule requirements,” says Marcia Hart-Wise, a spokeswoman for the service’s Super Hornet program.

The Navy version is ahead of that planned for the F-15 in its programmatic schedule. Because the Navy’s deliveries of F-35s come later than the Air Force’s and because its fleet of Super Hornets must remain operationally relevant longer than some Air Force legacy fighters, the service is spending money on its F/A-18E/Fs to keep them in the fight. One industry official notes that the use of an IRST is required because radars run the risk of being jammed at critical moments. The Navy is still buying Super Hornets and plans to buy an additional 41 aircraft owing to delays in the F-35 schedule.

The Super Hornet IRST system is mounted on the front of a 400-gal. centerline fuselage fuel tank.

Source : AviationWeek

USAF F-15E flies with new radar system

10:57 GMT, January 25, 2011 EGLIN AFB, Fla. | Officials took a step forward in the F-15E Strike Eagle’s continuous technological evolution as the U.S. Air Force’s most versatile combat aircraft here Jan. 18.

Officials from the 46th Test Wing launched the fourth generation fighter for the first time with a new and improved radar system, the APG-82(V)1.

The APG-82 uses active electronically scanned array radar technology composed of numerous small solid-state transmit and receive modules. The standard radar, APG-70, is a mechanically scanned array housed in the nose of the aircraft. Although the current F-15E radar has undergone numerous updates and upgrades, it is still the same system the aircraft had on its maiden flight more than 24 years ago.

« We’ve been able to get more out of it, but at this point it’s pretty much maxed out, » said 1st Lt. Nathaniel Meier, a radar modernization project manager with the Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force.

The new radar lacks the motors and hydraulics of the old system and includes a new avionics and cooling system.

Aircraft radar continuously sends out and receives energy to identify objects or targets around it.

Due to its unique capabilities, the F-15E radar operates as air-to-air and air-to-ground radar, officials said.

« One AESA-equipped F-15E can detect and track multiple targets simultaneously and gain the same battle picture and prosecute the same number of attacks that currently require several mechanically scanned radar assets, » said Brad Jones, the Boeing director for U.S. Air Force development programs. « Adding AESA multiplies the effectiveness of the F-15E. »

The advantage AESA radar has over an MSA is its near-instantaneous ability to redirect its focus from air-to-air to air-to-ground mode, officials said.

By no longer having to wait for the array to physically move to a new area of interest, the aircrew receives better situational awareness in less time, Lieutenant Meier said.

The four-year-old project borrowed from existing technology to create the new system. The array system was taken from F-15C Eagle models and the avionics were borrowed from F-18 Hornets.

The reason for the change was to improve the entire aircraft’s reliability, availability and maintainability, Lieutenant Meier said.

The new radar works as a plug-in-play system with newer, easily replaceable parts, the lieutenant said.

It’s expected to have approximately a 20-fold improvement in aircraft reliability, he said.

The aircraft also stays mission-ready.

An average failure for the radar component was previously measured in tens of hours and can now be measured in hundreds of hours, Lieutenant Meier said.

The APG-82 has fewer moving parts and the new equipment lasts longer, which cuts down on the time needed for repairs, he said.

The modification of the aircraft, which began in June 2010, was a concerted effort by members of Boeing, the 46th Maintenance Group, Raytheon, the 46th Technical Support Squadron and the OFP CTF.

« Without their determination, (F-15E) RMP would not have been anywhere close to making its first flight, » Lieutenant Meier said.

The developmental test flight was considered successful, and the aircrew members said they liked what they saw during the flight.

« There are huge performance increases, » said Maj. Raja Chari, a 40th Flight Test Squadron member and the pilot for the first flight. « We’re getting the benefit of two decades worth of technology. From what we saw in this flight, we’re heading in the right direction. »

The developmental test process is about building incrementally into testing more complicated functions of the equipment and finding any flaws and problems based on usage in specific test profiles.

« Really, the engineers put in the time and hard work, » Major Chari said. « We have the easy part of seeing if it will do what they thought it would. It was interesting to see the engineers reacting and diagnosing the issues right away, based on our feedback. »

Capt. Chris Dupin, a 40th FTS member and the weapons system officer for the first flight, said he noticed improved capabilities during the initial flight.

He said the radar was able to detect F-16s much farther away than ever before.

« The kill chain for anything is the ability to detect, identify, target and engage a threat, » Captain Dupin said. « If we can detect an air target earlier or farther away, that leaves more time and space to complete the rest of the kill chain. Completing the kill chain faster and earlier means we’re better able to gain or maintain airspace superiority. »

The biggest « test » facing the project involves combining avionics and array systems from other aircraft and incorporating them into a totally different one.

« By using (government and commercial) off-the-shelf equipment, the Air Force is able to save a large amount of the development costs, but the challenge is integrating these new systems and making them work as one, » Lieutenant Meier said.

Developmental testing is scheduled to continue through 2012, but the OFP CTF, being a shared unit of the 46th Test Wing and 53rd Wing, is unique in that its members can perform developmental tests while incorporating early operational testing.

Officials have begun modifying a 53rd Wing F-15E with the new radar and they plan to begin some of the operational type of testing as early as March.

The next stage of testing for the radar will be conducted by Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center officials before being incorporated in all F-15Es beginning in approximately 2014.