International Air Forces Relying on F-5 Fleets to Maintain Battle Readiness

by Matthew Beres, Airborne Retrofit & Modernization Analyst, Forecast International.

Iranian F-5 Saeqeh. Source – Shahram Sharifi

The past year has seen a significant surge worldwide to upgrade legacy fighters. Despite a rapidly aging worldwide fleet with an average of more than 50 years in service, international F-5 fleets are no exception. Even aircraft with more than 40 years of service are receiving upgrades. The 575 aircraft with an on average of between 30-40 years of service, therefore, may provide ample opportunities for retrofit programs. We’ve highlighted two such programs in this article. Continue reading

Ex-Alenia Boss Looks to Aero Vodochody Trainer Resurgence

by Richard Pettibone, Aerospace & Defense Companies Analyst, Forecast International.

L-39NG two seat trainer. Source: http://www.l-39ng.cz

With new management at the helm, Aero Vodochody is looking back to its future.  Under the guidance of new CEO Giuseppe Giordo, formerly of Leonardo (née Alenia Aermacchi), Aero Vodochody is looking to revitalize its training aircraft operations. Continue reading

Boeing Confronts Challenges of a New Administration and Cooling Commercial Sales

by Richard Pettibone, Aerospace & Defense Companies Analyst, Forecast International.

737 MAX 200. Photo Courtesy: The Boeing Company

With the glory days of the recent record-setting boom a memory, both Boeing and Airbus are adapting their operations as they prepare for flatter growth while ramping up production of new models. Continue reading

In a Sensible Move, Argentina’s Defense Minister Decides Not to Purchase Supersonic Jets

by Bill Ostrove, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Argentina IA-58 Pucara. Source: Wikipedia/Rob Schleiffert

Argentine Minister of Defense Julio Martinez has ruled out the purchase of supersonic fighter jets for the Argentine Air Force. The defense minister made his announcement on February 1 during an interview with Argentina’s Radio El Mundo.

Argentina has been searching for new supersonic fighter jets since it retired its Mirage IIIs in November 2015. The search has been wide-ranging, with Buenos Aires searching the world for both new and secondhand fighters. Continue reading

Indian Navy on the Hunt for Multirole Carrier-Borne Fighters

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Indian Air Force MiG-29

The Indian Ministry of Defense – acting upon the Navy’s formal requirement for 57 multirole carrier-based fighters (MRCBFs) – has issued  a Request for Information (RFI). The RFI comes with multiple queries, which range from weapons payload capability to license production agreements to transfer of technology. And, it also sends a signal that the effort to develop an indigenous naval fighter variant – via state-owned  Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s version of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (the LCA-Navy) – faces further hurdles. Continue reading

Greece Aims for F-16 Upgrade, but F-35 Plans Remain a Pipe Dream

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

F-16V
Source: Lockheed Martin

The Hellenic Defense Ministry announced on February 7 that Greece intends to move forward on an upgrade to its large inventory of F-16C/D combat aircraft and begin exploring a future purchase of the new-generation F-35 from the U.S.

The first project represents a much-needed focus on deteriorating Greek military capabilities in the air-sea domain, while the second remains an over-the-horizon dream nowhere remotely near Athens’ current fiscal reality. Continue reading

The Ongoing A-10 Replacement Saga

by Ray Jaworowski, Senior Aerospace Analyst, Forecast International.

U.S. Air Force A-10 Warthog (Source: U.S. Air Force)

In early 2014, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans to retire the U.S. Air Force A-10 fleet over a period of five years.  However, the proposal sparked considerable congressional opposition and, in FY15 and FY16 budgetary legislation, Congress blocked the Pentagon from retiring the attack aircraft. Continue reading

Sale of PTDS Aerostat to Saudi Arabia Could Lead to Sales of ZPY-1 STARLite Radar

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

ZPY-1 STARLite Radar. Source: Northrop Grumman

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on January 23 that the State Department had approved a possible sale to Saudi Arabia of model 74K Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) aerostats and related equipment.  The contract would carry an estimated value of $525 million. Continue reading

Shifts and Changes in Line-Up of T-X Contenders

by Ray Jaworowski, Senior Aerospace Analyst, Forecast International.

US Air Force T-38 Talon Trainer

The U.S. Air Force’s T-X advanced trainer program is one of the biggest prizes in the military aircraft market in the near future.  This is due to the scale of the program itself:  under the program, the Air Force intends to buy 350 advanced jet trainers to replace its fleet of Northrop T-38Cs.  In addition, the winning T-X aircraft will be in a position to become perhaps the leading competitor in the future global market for advanced jet trainers. Continue reading

Upgrade of Taiwan’s F-16s with APG-83 SABR Begins, while Raytheon’s RACR Looks Down for the Count

by C. Zachary Hofer, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

F-16 over Iraq in 2008.   Photo – United States Air Force (via wikipedia)

Sources in Taiwan report that the first four of the Air Force’s F-16A/Bs that will undergo an upgrade arrived at a plant in Taichung on January 16.  The aircraft will be upgraded and overhauled to the F-16V configuration.  As part of the estimated $3.47 billion upgrade, the F-16 fighters will be equipped with Northrop Grumman’s APG-83 SABR active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. Continue reading