The Argentine AF bought 8 Tecnam P2002 JF light aircraft

In recent days, the Argentine Air Force acquired 8 Tecnam P2002 JF light aircraft from Aerotec Argentina, a distributor of Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam. The AF has been leasing the P2002's since 2016 for basic training in the Military Aviation School in Cordoba. Recent news calculated the amount of the operation of approximately 1.5 million U.S. dollars, still no official statements have been made yet. According to Tecnam: “The Argentine Air Force required that the Tecnam P2002JF CS/VLA would have a package of equipment and avionics superior to the standard civil version in order to extend the original capacities of the aircraft. Known as “Glass Cockpit + Night VFR“, This includes the Garmin G500 PFD digital instrument panel, an integrated GTN 650 COM / NAV / GPS navigation and communications system with antennas and instrumentation, speedometer and back altimeter, heated pitot, instrument lights and maps, dimmer and auxiliary alternator.

Brazilian Navy’s Wild Lynx helicopter First Shipborne Landing

As published by the Brazilian Navy, Brazilian Navy’ 1st Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopter Squadron (EsqdHA-1) successfully completed its first landing aboard a ship with the converted and upgraded Mk21B (AH-11B in brazilian service) Wild Lynx helicopter last July 20th. 

The operations included three controlled approaches under Visual Meteorological Conditions, one pick-up, one vertical replenishment or VERTREP and four controlled approaches under Instrument Meteorological Conditions. The success of these first trials means EsqdHA-1 is now ready to send helicopter serial N-4004 to the “Lebanon XVI” deployment in the Mediterranean scheduled for August 4th. The Brazilian Navy signed contract in 2014 to upgraded eight Wild Lynx by Leonardo at Yeovil, UK. The helicopters were originally Mk21's, acquired in 1978 and upgraded as Mk21A Super Lynx in 2003. The first flight of the Mk21B was in September 2017 and the entire fleet upgrade is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

The argentine AF C-130s needs more and new engines

Today and increasingly, the Argentine
Air Force C-130 and KC-130H’s are having operational setbacks. Engine failures
are not uncommon, and it gets ever more difficult to procure the necessary
funding to properly stock the AF. The argentine C-130’s are without
question, the most important aircraft in the nation, critical for a number of
duties including paradrop, search and rescue, transport and air to air refueling
(only KC-130). An important overhaul and upgrade program were implemented from
2014 and on by the Fabrica Argentina de Aviones (FAdeA) in partnership with L-3
to integrate the Flight II+ suite in the argentine aircraft, also the two KC-130s
have been equipped with a Wescam MX-10 gyrostabilized platform with LLTV and IR/EO
sensors. Such an FMS sponsored upgrade was only recently paid and at a great cost, armed forces land and properties were auctioned in order to procure necessary payment also of brand-new Bell 412 EP helicopters, T-6C Texan II and their conversion to the C+ standard.

U.S. and Colombia are expanding their Regional Helicopter Training Center

The Colombian Air Force has recently received its 60th Th-67 “Creek” helicopter from the U.S. Army for its Regional Helicopter Training Center (RHTC). Such an idea came after the signature of the so called “Plan Colombia” in late 1990s between both nations. This program provides funding for military and police forces in support of counter drug and counter terrorism, but not exclusively for Colombia. Early on, the three phase Initial Entry Rotary Wing Training was made in Ft Rucker, Dale County, Alabama. Such a course was given by Spanish speaking contractors but after the 1999 agreements, an effort was made to transfer this course to the Colombian Air Force’s 4th Combat Command (CACOM 4) to which Th-67 helicopters were provided and the’ then called Joint Initial Entry Rotary Wing Training and now Regional Helicopter Training Center began as a proven and cost effective course.

Trump officially designates Brazil a non-NATO ally

President Trump on Wednesday officially designated Brazil as a major non-NATO ally, making it easier for the South American country to purchase U.S. weapons and defense equipment. The president sent a memo to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late Wednesday notifying him of the change, which he had hinted at earlier this year. Sixteen other countries have major non-NATO ally status, including South Korea, Australia, Argentina and Kuwait. Colombia is the only other Latin American nation affiliated with NATO as a "global partner," meaning it would not necessarily have to engage in military action. Trump said during a visit in March from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro that he intended to make the country a major non-NATO ally. He suggested the country could be considered to be added to NATO, but the alliance would have to invite Brazil to join.

U.S. to provide four maritime surveillance radars for the Colombian Navy

As published by Infodefensa, Erich Saumeth reported on the current provision of four Kelvin Hughes SBS-900 maritime surveillance radars to be installed by Northern Defense Industries on U.S. counter-drug funding. Sources indicate that at a cost of over 8 million U.S. dollars. These installations will be deployed in Jurado, Solano Bay, Pizarro and Gorgona Island. They will be integrated within the SICTVM, The Navy’s surveillance and traffic control system, to support Naval Pacific Force responsibilities on Jurado, Solano Bay, Pizarro and Gorgona Island. Such radars will improve the capabilities of the Colombian Navy in countering go fast boats, semi submersibles used for drug trafficking and smuggling by organized crime and armed groups.

The FA-50 is not enough for the Argentine AF

Once again, Argentine mass media takes notice on the proposed purchase of Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 Golden Eagle for the Argentine Air Force. We did cover this fact recently and in short, Clarin published already known information but with stating a supposed green light by the President Mauricio Macri to go on and submit this agreement. Such negotiations allegedly are for first squadron of 8 to 10 aircraft and their logistical support and training for the next two years. Financial restraints would prevent the AF to also include advanced weaponry to which will turn to its own arsenal of AIM-9L/M and free fall bombs for the time being. 

Many criticisms come from the fact that no FA-50 in service is capable of using Air to Air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) weaponry and still with no air to air refueling capacity or large capacity conformal fuel tanks (CFT), which would leave the aircraft with internal fuel only and on a very limited combat radius. This is only offered by KAI as a possible development on request. 

The FA-50 is no match in the class of neighboring F-16’s and Gripens but will bring sustainable scalability and capabilities in which the aging and progressively obsolete A-4Ar Fightinghawks don’t make the cut anymore.

U.S. reinforces overflights of Venezuelan EEZ

As we reported last Monday, after
July 19th’s encounter of the U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries II with a pair of
AMBV’s Su-30MK2, USN flights resumed over the Venezuelan Economic Exclusion
Zone (EEZ). Although this is nothing new, its going on for both Obama’s and Trump’s administration. For sure, Venezuela and its Caribbean Sea surroundings are one of the main interests of the VQ-1 Squadron, based at NAS Whidbey Island. VQ-1 is among the last squadrons of the P-3 Orion in USN service, in this case the ELINT specific EP-3 Aries II variant. Starting 2023, the EP-3 is to be replaced by the MQ-4C Triton UAS with a MULTI-INT suite in the U.S. Navy.