Defence Secretary Announces First P-8A Deployment

February 18, 2019 – Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that the UK’s new fleet of submarine hunting aircraft will take to the skies over the Arctic next year. While visiting Royal Marines and Royal Navy personnel on winter training in Norway, the Defence Secretary announced that as part of their first deployment next year the RAF P8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft will be in the Arctic to counter Russian submarine activity that has reached Cold War levels. This deployment is part of the Defence Arctic Strategy, which will be published…

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UK Defense Minister Stuart Andrew Makes P-8A Announcement

January 31, 2019 – Defence Minister Stuart Andrew has announced the first fuel tanks supporting the UK’s new fleet of submarine hunting aircraft have rolled off the line in Cambridge. The major milestone comes after the first cohort of RAF aircrew commenced their training for the program earlier this month, marking the start of a vital enhancement of the UK’s military capabilities in the maritime environment. The P-8A Poseidon is a new aircraft for the RAF designed to operate for long durations over water in maritime patrol roles, in particular…

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GA-ASI Receives Experimental Certification on Newest MQ-9B SkyGuardian

December 4, 2018 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) received a Special Airworthiness Certification in the Experimental Category from the FAA for its second MQ-9B SkyGuardian aircraft. The company-owned Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) – registered as N191FP and known as YBC02 – joins the first SkyGuardian in support of the MQ-9B development program. This certification permits YBC02 to conduct flight operations in National Airspace (NAS) as a civil aircraft. “The certification helps us towards our goal of full integration of RPA into the National Airspace System [NAS],” said David…

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Sea King Helicopters and Asbestos

December 5, 2018 – Serving personnel, veterans, former MOD civilian personnel and contractors may have seen media reports about asbestos being found in some sea king helicopters. The MOD has undertaken an investigation and people that may have had an association with the sea king might find the following information useful in considering the possible risk of exposure: Asbestos in sea king the sea king first entered service in 1969 and the final aircraft were retired from the active inventory on 30 September 2018 historically, asbestos containing material was used where resistance to heat or…

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Lightnings strike Eagles and Hawks as F-35s train to defend UK skies

November 30, 2018 – Side by side several thousand feet above eastern England three warbirds fly in close formation as UK F-35s take part in their first combat exercise in home skies: playing out a mock 21st-Century Battle of Britain. Two Lightnings – one flown by an RAF pilot, the second with a Fleet Air Arm aviator in the cockpit – joined 40 British, American and French jets over East Anglia and the North Sea for Exercise Point Blank. For the past three years, the US and RAF have been…

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UK to double F-35 fleet with 17-jet order

November 15, 2018 – The UK is set to double its number of world-beating F-35 stealth jets after ordering 17 more aircraft, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced. The 17 new F-35B aircraft will be delivered between 2020 and 2022 and will complement the 16 British aircraft currently based at RAF Marham and in the US, as well as two additional aircraft which are already on order. Overall, the UK has committed to procure 138 aircraft over the life of the programme. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “I am delighted…

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RFA Tidesurge Conducts Chinook Trials

November 12, 2018 – While her sister pumps hundreds of tonnes of fuel into Britain’s new aircraft carrier, RFA Tidesurge is proving the £113m ships are more than mere tankers. The third of four large, fast tankers – built specifically to support the UK’s two Queen Elizabeth-class flagships – is carrying out trials with the largest helicopter on the UK Armed Forces’ books, the Chinook. Those trials, conducted off Portsmouth and in the Navy’s South Coast Exercise Areas, will help to write the operators’ manual for the Tide class, allowing…

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F-35Bs Join Forces with British Aircraft Carrier to Make History

October 2, 2018 – This week the first F-35 Lightning fighter jets landed on the deck of the United Kingdom’s new aircraft carrier making history and marking the beginning of more than half-a-century of ‘Carrier Strike’ operations. Royal Navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray and Royal Air Force Sq. Ldr. Andy Edgell, both test pilots at the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., were the first pilots to land the stealth F-35 Lightning fighter jets on board the carrier, demonstrating the formidable force HMS Queen Elizabeth and…

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RAF Jets Intercept Russian Bombers approaching UK Airspace

Today (20 September), RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon fighter aircraft scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth to monitor two Russian planes approaching UK airspace. The Russian Blackjacks long-range bombers were not talking to air traffic control, making them a hazard to all other aviation. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: Russian bombers probing UK airspace is another reminder of the very serious military challenge that Russia poses us today. We will not hesitate to continually defend our skies from acts of aggression. Once again the rapid reactions of our RAF have demonstrated…

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Sea King Helicopters: Asbestos

September 12, 2018 – The Ministry of Defence (MOD) are currently making a thorough investigation into whether some sea king helicopters contain asbestos. Veterans may have seen media reports about asbestos being found in some sea King helicopters. The MOD is undertaking a thorough investigation of this and any advice to veterans will be published here when available. In the meantime, the following information may be useful. asbestos is fire resistant and was widely used in the 20th century as an insulating material in boilers, pipework etc and notably in building construction…

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British-armed F-35B Lightning jet takes to the skies

Britain’s new stealth fighter jet, the F-35B Lightning, has carried out its first trials armed with UK-built weapons, showcasing the major role that the UK plays in the supersonic aircraft and bringing it a step closer to operations on the frontline. Defence Minister Stuart Andrew revealed that a British F-35 Lightning jet reached the landmark milestone whilst he was on a visit to the Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA) in Wales. The Welsh site is set to become a global repair hub for the cutting-edge aircraft, providing crucial maintenance,…

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Lightning pilots ramp up training for HMS Queen Elizabeth debut

August 22, 2018 – Ramping up training ahead of debuting on Britain’s new carrier, ex-Fleet Air Arm pilot Peter ‘Wizzer’ Wilson takes off from a replica ski jump in an F-35B. Four test pilots are getting in last-minute training ready to take their specially-modified stealth fighters aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth next month. They’ll conduct around 500 landings and take-offs on the 900ft deck of the future flagship – the first time the Portsmouth-based warship has hosted fast jets. She’s about to strike out across the Atlantic – another first – after…

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UK Announced Project Guardian

Known as Project Guardian, the new Air Command and Control System will support the continued early detection and rapid response to potential hostile or suspect aircraft that pose a threat to UK sovereignty, be that terrorists or state-based actors. This project will see the current systems at RAF bases in the UK and Falkland Islands replaced with the new technology. It will allow the RAF to exercise command and control of UK and NATO fighters to intercept aggressive or suspect aircraft that are a threat. The RAF routinely intercept, identify…

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US Navy Contract Announcements January 17, 2018

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Co., Stratford, Connecticut, is being awarded an $18,891,070 modification to a previously issued delivery order 4039 placed against basic ordering agreement N00019-14-G-0019. This modification provides for non-recurring engineering and project support management for the production of the MH-60R in support of government of Saudi Arabia under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Stratford, Connecticut (90 percent); Troy, Alabama (5 percent); and Owego, New York (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2019. Foreign military sales funds in the amount of…

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FOI responses published by MOD: week commencing 1 January 2018

Ministry of Defence (MOD) Freedom of Information (FOI) responses published during the week commencing 01 January 2018 Information regarding Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) Ref: HOCS 2017/09876PDF, 180KB, 5 pages Career projection for named ranks within the navy Ref: Defence Statistics 2017/09010PDF, 498KB, 4 pages Request named documents relating to army equipment Ref: DE&S 2017/10573PDF, 8.75MB, 345 pages Request number of personnel in RAF Aircrew Training Pipeline broken down by ranks for financial years 2015 to 2018 Ref: RAF 2017/06564PDF, 234KB, 5 pages Information on statistics of women at RAF Benson Ref: RAF 2017/09053PDF, 181KB, 3 pages Copy of High Wycombe Station Safety, Health and Environmental…

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