Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pskovavia AN24 veers off the runway after landing at Pskov

A Pskovavia Antonov AN-24 (RA-47697), performing flight PSW-1936 (dep. Sep 26th) from Moscow-Domodedovo to Pskov (Russia) with 32 people on board, landed at Pskov's runway in fog but went off the paved surface of the runway and came to a stop with all gear on soft ground about 20m off paved surface. There were no injuries, the aircraft sustained minor if any damage. (Source: avherald.com, 27-Sep-2016)

Northrop Grumman receives contract from three MQ-4C Tritons for USN

Northrop Grumman is being awarded $255.3 million for fixed-price incentive (firm target) modification P00009 to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-15-C-0002) for the procurement three low-rate initial production Lot 1 MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft, one main operation control station and one forward operation control station, training courseware, and tooling.  Work is expected to be completed in August 2020. U.S. Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. (Source: U.S. Department of Defense, 27-Sep-2016)

Bell Helicopter receives FMS contract for five Huey IIs for Kenya

Bell Helicopter was awarded a $52.2 million firm-fixed-price foreign military sales contract (Kenya) to produce and deliver five Huey II helicopters, spare parts, program management, special tools, and other program necessities. 
Bids were solicited via the Internet with one received. Work has an estimated completion date of Dec. 29th, 2017. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-16-C-0067). (Source: U.S. Department of Defense, 26-Sep-2016)

Bell Helicopter receives FMS contract for five Huey IIs for Uganda

Bell Helicopter, Ft. Worth, Texas, was awarded a $34.5 million firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales contract (Uganda) to produce and deliver five Huey II helicopters, spare parts, program management, special tools, and other program necessities. Work has estimated completion date of Dec. 29th, 2017. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-16-C-0065). (Source: U.S. Department of Defense, 26-Sep-2016)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ryanair to extend new winter routes to summer

The six new winter routes low cost airline Ryanair launched from Malta last April - to Brussels, Catania, Nuremberg, Toulouse, Valencia and Vilnius - will be retained year round, the airline said today. The new flights will be increasing the airline’s summer schedule by 20%, bringing the total number of routes to 42

The airline said it will operate the flights to Brussels and Catania daily, and to Nuremberg, Toulouse, Valencia and Vilnius twice weekly. It will also be increasing flight frequency to Dublin and East Midland and adding an aircraft to its Malta routes. (Source: timesofmalta.com, 27-Sep-2016)

Technical problem on Air Malta aircraft delays 7 flights

Seven Air Malta flights were delayed between one and five hours today due to a technical problem on an aircraft. The aircraft is currently being serviced by the airline's engineers.

A spokesman for the airline said the longest delay lasted five hours, impacting the flight to Rome (new departure time 1.30pm) The other delays were on the Birmingham route (two hours, 20 minutes, new departure time 8.30pm), Milan (two hours, new departure time 3.05pm), Cardiff (one hour, 40 minutes, new departure time 6.45pm), Vienna (one hour, 30 minutes, new departure time 5.50pm), Zurich (one hour, 15 minutes, new departure time 3.40pm) and Catania, (one hour, 10 minutes, new departure time 9.45pm).

Four of the flights had to be operated by the aircraft that was found to have a problem, the other delays were a result of a ripple effect. The problem was detected at around 5am when the aircraft was still in Malta.

A spokesman for the airline apologised to customers for the inconvenience but said safety was a priority for the company. (Source: timesofmalta.com, 27-Sep-2016)

Air X Charter adds maiden VIP-configured A340

Malta's Air X Charter has taken delivery of its first widebody aircraft, A340-300 9H-BIG (cn. 374), formerly 4R-ADF with SriLankan Airlines. The quadjet recently underwent reconfiguration into a VIP layout featuring 100 lie-flat seats and inflight Wi-fi. (Source: ch-aviation.com, 26-Sep-2016)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

India finally signs acquisition contract for 36 Rafales

France and India signed today the contract for the acquisition of 36 Rafale by India. The conclusion of this contract comes after the announcement by Indian Prime Minister, N. Modi, during his visit to Paris in April 2015, of his desire to rapidly equip the Indian AF with 36 Rafale. This desire was reiterated during the visit to India by French President, F. Hollande, in January 2016. The French Minister of Defence, Mr JY le Drian and his Indian counterpart, Mr M. Parrikar, were instrumental in advancing this project during the course of their numerous exchanges. (Source: Dassault Aviation, 23-Sep-2016)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Royal Netherlands Navy HNLMS Walrus calls at Valletta Port

The Royal Netherlands Navy Walrus-class HNLMS Walrus (S 802) has sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) this morning on a courtesy visit. 

The Dutch submarine is presently berthing alongside at Wine wharf, and she's expected to sail from Valletta Port on Wednesday, Sep. 28th. (23-Sep-2016)

Italian Navy ITS Sfinge and ITS Driade call at Valletta Port

Two Italian Navy Minerva-class corvettes ITS Sfinge (F 554) and ITS Driade (F 555) have sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) this morning on a courtesy visit. 

The two Italian corvettes are presently berthing alongside at Pinto wharf, and they're expected to sail from Valletta Port on Monday, Sep. 26th. (23-Sep-2016)

USMC AV-8B crashes into the sea off the coast of Okinawa

A U.S. Marine Corps pilot was rescued Thursday afternoon after an AV-8B Harrier jet crashed into the sea off the coast of Okinawa. The jet, assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, went down about 2 p.m. 100 nautical miles east of Okinawa, a Marine Corps statement said. 

It took off from Kadena AB in the central part of the island, Japanese officials said. The Harrier’s pilot ejected before impact and was rescued a short time later by members of the Air Force's 33rd Rescue Squadron, 18th Wing, out of Kadena. The cause of the crash remains under investigation. (Source: stripes.com, 22-Sep-2016)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Lockheed Martin receives FMS contract for one C30J for Israel

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Marietta, Georgia, has been awarded a $55.5 million modification (P00581) to previously awarded contract FA8625-11-C-6597 to definitize an undefinitized contract action for one C-130J aircraft. This modification is 100% unclassified foreign military sales (FMS) to Israel. The work is expected to be completed by April 30, 2018. U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. (Source: U.S. Department of Defense, 21-Sep-2016)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Irish Naval Service LE James Joyce recalls at Valletta Port

The Irish Naval Service Samuel Beckett-class offshore-patrol vessel LE James Joyce (P 62) has sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) this morning on a courtesy visit. This is her third visit in Valletta Port this year.

The Irish OPV is currently deployed in the Mediterranean and assigned to E.U. Naval Force Mediterranean (Operation Sofia).

LE James Joyce is presently berthing alongside at Deep Water Quay-4 and she's expected to sail from Valletta Port in the coming days. (21-Sep-2016)

USAF TU-2S crashes near Sutter Buttes mountain range

The U.S. Air Force has confirmed that one pilot was killed and another injured after they both ejected from a Lockheed TU-2S Dragon Lady trainer version of the strategic reconnaissance aircraft on Sep. 20th.

The two-seat TU-2S was on a training mission from its home station at Beale AFB, California, and was attached to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing’s 1st Reconaissance Squadron. The aircraft came down at approximately 09.00 near the Sutter Buttes mountain range. The aircraft was one of five TU-2S aircraft used to train U-2S pilots. (Source: www.combataircraft.net, 21-Sep-2016)

Azores Airlines to lease six new A321neos

Portuguese carrier Azores Airlines will lease six new Airbus A321neos -including four A321LR long-range versions - from U.S. lessor Air Lease Corp. (ALC). The CFM Leap 1A-powered aircraft will be delivered between 4Q 2017 and early 2021.

Based in the Azores, an Atlantic island group 900-nm west of Portugal, the airline will use the aircraft on its transatlantic network, as well as on services to mainland Portugal and elsewhere in Europe, replacing older A310s. (Source: atwonline.com, 20-Sep-2016)

Hellenic Army AH-64 crashes off the coast of Halkidiki

A Hellenic Army Boeing AH-64 Apache crashed during an exercise off the coast of Halkidiki, close to the shore, in northern Greece on Sep. 20th. Both pilots escaped unharmed. (Source: alert5.com & aviation-safety.net, 20-Sep-2016) [Video clip]

A China Eastern overruns end of the runway on landing at Dali

A China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-700 (B-5242), performing flight MU-5935 from Kunming to Dali (China), landed on Dali's RWY 17 at about 15:58L (07:58Z) but overran the end of the runway coming to a stop with the nose gear off the paved surface of the runway end safety area. There were no injuries, the aircraft sustained minor if any damage. (Source: aviationherald.com / Photo: Aviation, 20-Sep-2016)

France receives second B√Ętiment multi-mission ship

The French Navy has taken delivery of the second Kership-built B√Ętiment multi-mission ship named 'Bougainville'. The second of overall three vessels in the class was delivered on Sep. 16th and will soon head for its homeport in Papeete in French Polynesia.

Kership, a joint venture between DCNS and Piriou, received an order for the construction of three ships with an option for a fourth by the French defence procurement agency DGA on Dec. 30th, 2013. France decided to construct the fourth vessel in May 2015 and the award of a contract is expected to take place in 2017. (Source: navaltoday.com, 20-Sep-2016)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Marinette Marine SY launches the USN's 13th littoral combat ship 'Witchita'

Wichita, the U.S. Navy’s 13th littoral combat ship was launched during a Sep. 17th ceremony at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette. Ship sponsor, K. Lehrer, christened the future USS Wichita, in Navy tradition by breaking a champagne bottle across the ship’s bow just prior to the launch.
LCS 13 will undergo additional outfitting and testing at Fincantieri Marinette Marine before the ship’s anticipated delivery next year. (Source: navaltoday.com, 19-Sep-2016) [Video clip]

MDL launches second Visakhapatnam-class destroyer 'Mormugao' for Indian Navy

Indian shipbuilding company MDL has launched the nation's second indigenously built Visakhapatnam-class destroyer 'Mormugao'. Weighing 2844 tonnes at launch, the destroyer entered water for the first time during a Sep. 17th ceremony in Mumbai.

Also called Project 15B, the ships are an improved version of the Indian Navy’s Kolkata-class destroyers (Project 15A). Project 15B ships incorporate improved stealth characteristics including enhanced weaponry and sensors along with the long range Barak 8 surface-to-air missile. (Source: navaltoday.com, 19-Sep-2016)

Egypt receives second Mistral-class helicopter-carrier

The Arab Republic of Egypt has received the second and last Mistral-class helicopter carrier it acquired from France in Oct-15. The change of flag ceremony for the amphibious assault ship which Egypt named 'Anwar El Sadat' took place on Sep. 16th and was attended by various officials of the two countries. The delivery of the first of these two helicopter carriers, 'Gamal Abdel Nasser', took place on Jun. 2nd, 2016. (Source: 19-Sep-2016)

DCNS launches 'Bretagne', French Navy's fifth FREMM

French shipbuilder DCNS has launched 'Bretagne', the French Navy’s fifth FREMM multi-purpose frigate. The Sep. 16th float out is an important achievement for DCNS as it shows that the shipbuilder is capable of delivering six of the frigates to the French Navy by 2019, the company said. (Source: navaltoday.com, 19-Sep-2016)

DCNS float the first Gowing 2500 corvette for Egyptian Navy

On Sep. 17th, DCNS floated the first Gowind 2500 corvette out of its assembly hall at the Lorient shipyard just 12 months after construction began. The 'Elfateh', the first of a series of four Gowind 2500s for the Egyptian Navy, is scheduled for delivery in 2017. The three sister-ships will be built under a technology transfer agreement at the Alexandria Shipyard; work on the first having begun in 2016. (Source: Mer et Marines, 18-Sep-2016)

Monday, September 19, 2016

German Navy FGS Werra calls at Valletta Port

The German Navy Elbe-class (Type 404) replenishment ship FGS Werra  (A 514) has sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) this morning on a courtesy visit. 

The German MCMV is currently deployed in the Mediterranean and assigned to E.U. Naval Force Mediterranean (Operation Sofia).

FGS Werra is presently berthing alongside at Bolier wharf, and she's expected to sail from Valletta Port on Friday, Sep. 23rd. (19-Sep-2016)

Air Baltic re-lands at Riga without nose-gear after reporting a problem on departure

An Air Baltic de Havilland Dash 8-400 (YL-BAI), performing flight BT-641 from Riga (Latvia) to Zurich (Switzerland) with 63 passengers and four crew, was climbing out of Riga's RWY 18 when the crew reported problems with the nose gear, stopped the climb at 5000 feet and entered a hold to work the related checklists. 

The nose gear, that had not fully retracted and became stuck half way into the wheel well, could now neither be fully retracted nor extended. After a hold of about 100 minutes trying to release the nose gear the crew performed a low approach which verified the nose gear was barely visible and definitely not in a position for landing. 

The crew prepared the aircraft for a nose gear up landing and landed on RWY 36 about 2.5 hours after departure, keeping the nose up as long as practicable, then lowering the nose onto the runway surface. The aircraft came to a stop on both main gear and the nose. There were no injuries. (Source: avherald.com, 17-Sep-2016) [Video clip]