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Military aviation news: December 2015
Dec 31:

Northrop Grumman received a contract to deliver one E-2D to the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) on December 30.


Lockheed Martin received two contract to deliver Super Hercules aircraft to the United States Air Force, US Marine Corps and US Coast Guard. The details of total order for 43 Hercules can be read here: Super Hercules contract December 30.

Dec 23:

Airbus Defense and Space delivered two A400Ms. One transport aircraft was handed over to the German Air Force on December 18th. It flew to its Wunstorf Air Base on December 21st. The delivery is the third aircraft for LTG 62 which will be the sole wing operating the type within the Luftwaffe. On December 22nd the French Air Force took delivery of its eight aircraft.
The company schedule to delivery 13 A400Ms in 2015 of which now ten have been delivered to its customers: France (2), Germany (2), Malaysia (1), Turkey (1) and the United Kingdom (4).

The Bulgarian Air Force flew its last Mig-21 mission on December 18th. Only a few aircraft remained in active service at Graf Ignatievo Air Base near the city of Plovdiv. The base also houses the fleet of Mig-29s. Six aircraft are to receive maintenance and upgrades in Poland.

Dec 22:

Lockheed Martin received the long term order for the production of the F-35 Lightning II. Low Rate Initial Production - LIRP 11.

On December 21st Lockheed Martin delivered two Super Hercules. The first a C-130J.30 was delivered to the  AW at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas. The second a HC-130J delivered to 71st Rescue Squadron / 347th Rescue Group based at Moody AFB, Georgia.

Dec 21:

Last week the German MoD announced to keep the C-160D Transall in service untill 2021. The Luftwaffe (German AF) had three transport wings operating the aircraft. LTG 62 based at Wunstorf withdrew its Transalls to become the Airbus D&S A400M operator. At current two A400Ms have been delivered to the wing. German Air Force transport wings period 2016 - 2021:
Wing Air Base Aircraft Comment
LTG 61 Landsberg C-160D Till Dec '17. Limited flight hours 2016. Wing will be disbanded.
LTG 62 Wunstorf A400M To received 40 A400Ms. Wing will become the sole transport unit.
LTG 63 Hohn C-160D Till Dec '21. Wing will be disbanded.

Note 1: The BMVg is excluded as the special air wing is tasked with transportation of VIP, Medevac and Air-to-Air refuelling.

Note 2: The C-160s received an upgrade becoming the C-160D ESS (Selbstschutz - Self defense)
A400M C-160D

Dec 18:

NHIndustries (NHI) delivered the first NH90 ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare) helicopter to Sweden. They purchased 18 NH90-TTHs divided in two configuration: 13 SAR (Search and Rescue) and 5 ASW. A contract has been signed to modify four already delivered SAR helicopters to the ASW variant balancing the fleet to nine each. Swedish NH90 are customized and include a tactical radar, underwater sonar and an high cabin.

Sikorsky was awarded a FMS contract modification (W58RGZ-12-C-0008) to produce 10 MH-60R helicopters for the Royal Saudi Arabia Navy.

Dec 17:

In November the USAFE deployed two USAFE fighter squadrons both from the 48th FW RAF Lakenheath to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. 493rd FS was the first squadron to deploy with six of its F-15C Eagles on November 6th. They were followed by six F-15 Strike Eagles from 492 FS on November 12th. The deployments were made on request of the Turkish government. USAF announced to withdraw both fighter squadrons on December 16th.
F-15E 492nd FS F-15C 493rd FS

Incirlik AB accomodates more deployments. The USAF deployed 12 A-10Cs and Germany has send two Tornado fighters in the reconnaissance role with another four to follow and an A310MRTT to support air-to-air refuelling operations.

Dec 16:

In addition to the celebration of the 2.500th Hercules delivery (see news Decemer 11) Lockheed Martin announced the delivery of a MC-130J Commando II to AFSOC at Hurlburt Field AFB, Florida and a HC-130J Combat King II. The last one entering service with the 71st Rescue Squadron / 347th Rescue Group based at Moody AFB, Georgia.

Dec 13:

The German Air Force deployed its first aircraft to Incirlik Air Base Turkey. After terrorist attacks in Paris France asked member EU countries for support leading to Germany responding with six Tornado aircraft to be assigned to reconnaissance missions, one A310MRTT drogue and hose equipped tanker and a navy frigate. Taktischen Luftwaffengeschwader 51 (TLG 51) based at Schleswig-Jagel Air Base in Northern Germany was tasked to deploy to Turkey. On December 10 two of its recce Tornadoes left the base supported by a A310MRTT from the BMVg at Koln and the sole A400M from LTG 63 based at Wunstorf.

Dec 11:

Lockheed Martin delivered the 2.500th Hercules. The HC-130J Combat King II was delivered from the Marietta, Georgia production plant to USAF 71st Rescue Squadron / 347th Rescue Group based at Moody AFB, Georgia.

The Air Force of Austria acquired a C-130K from the Royal Air Force. It has been flown to Linz-Horsching air base were it will be used as a ground instructional airframe. All C-130Ks operated by the RAF had been placed in storage or sold to other countries. This Hercules C1, XV 295, was stored at St. Athan and received Austrian registration 8X-CZ. Three C-130Ks (Hercules C1) are operated by the Austrian Air Force which also have been purchased from the RAF.

Dec 10:

The Turkish Air Force received its fourth and final E-7T from Boeing. The E-7 is an AEW aircraft based on the commercial B-737-700 airframe.

Dec 8:

The German Army (Heeresfliegertruppe) received its first two of 15 ordered Airbus Defense and Space - Airbus Helicopters H145M lightweight multirole helicopters. The helicopters will support the Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) - German Army special forces. The H145M is the military version of the civil H145. For use by the KSK the H145M is equipped with a fast roping system, cargo hooks, hoist, door mounted gun, ECM system and ballistic protection. The H145M can be operated day and night as well as in harsh weather conditions.

Dec 7:

Boeing delivered its 14th and final Chinook HC6 to the Royal Air Force. In total the RAF received 72 Chinooks starting from the Chinook HC1 to the the Chinook HC6. More information related to the RAF Chinook version can be read at CH-47 in Europe.

Sikorsky was awarded a contract modification (W58RGZ-12-C-0008) to fund the US Navy fifth program year for 29 MH-60R helicopters. Estimated completion date is December 31, 2017.

Dec 5:

The Italian Air Force took delivery of it's first F-35A Lightning II. Italy became the sixth nation to receive a Lightning after the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Australia and Norway. AL-1 as the aircraft is known is the first aircraft to be delivered by a
Dec 3:

After the British government and the House of Commons approved air strikes on Syria in the evening of December 2 the Royal Air Force flew its first mission. Tornado GR4s from the RAF Marham wing deployed to RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus last year and supported coallition air strikes over Iraq. The Tornadoes received Air-to-Air refuelling from a Voyager.

RAF Typhoons based at RAF Lossiemouth started to deploy to RAF Akrotiri in the morning of December 3.

Voyager K2 Typhoon FGR4 Tornado GR4

Deployed are:
Aircraft: Role:
Airseeker 1 aircraft conducting surveillance missions. *
Reaper Number unknown conducting surveillance and precision strike missions.
Sentinel Surveillance.
Tornado GR4 8 aircraft from RAF Marham conducting air-to-ground missions. **
Typhoon FGR4 6 aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth conducting air-to-ground missions.

*   The RAF has two AirSeeker aircraft (RC-135) delivered.
** 2 additional aircraft deployed together with the Typhoons on December 3.

An AH-64 Apache based at Fort Campbell (Kentucky and Tennessee) crashed in Montgomery county 12 miles from the base while on a routine training mission. The attack helicopter was assigned to the 101st

Within a month the US Army lost three helicopters: one AH-64 Apache in Wonju South Korea killing both pilots on November 23, an UH-60 BlackHawk on November 24 (see news November) and above Apache.

Dec 2:

Airbus Defence & Space delivered the second A400M to the German Air Force at its plant at Sevilla Spain. The first aircraft was delivered on December 19th, 2014. A400M number three will be delivered soon. Germany purchased 53 A400Ms but plans to operate 40 of the transport aircraft.
The first German AF A400M
landing at Eindhoven.

In another news release Spain has agreed a revised delivery schedule for its A400Ms of which the first is expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2016. 27 A400Ms are to be delivered to the Spanish Air Force but intends to operate only 14 aircraft.

Not reported by Airbus D&S is the delivery of the third A400M to the Turkish Air Force. MSN28 apprently left the production plant at Sevilla on November 25th.
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M. Jaarsma - Phantomaviation.nl