China’s first Type 075 LHD to commence sea trials
The first Type 075 Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) for China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA-N) is set to start its first sea trials.
Open source imagery from its berth at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai shows the 780 foot long amphibious vessel with interior lights switched on as part of preparations for going to sea.
China has launched two LHDs, with at least one more undergoing construction at the shipyard. Resembling the US Navy’s Wasp class, the Type 075 has a full-length flight deck, six landing spots for helicopters, and a well dock that can be flooded for landing and hovercraft.
First Indian Rafales on the way
The first Dassault Rafale fighters for India are currently on their delivery flight.
The five aircraft – the first of a batch of 36 of which another five are staying in France for training – are due to arrive at Ambala Air Base in northern India on July 29 after departing Merignac in southern France on July 27. The Rafales are being accompanied on their 7,000 km journey by two French Air Force A330 Phénix MRTTs which will refuel them en route, with the group scheduled to make a stopover at Al-Dhafra in the UAE.
India selected the Rafale to meet a requirement for 126 fighters, but negotiations between it and manufacturer Dassault broke down, leading to an intervention from both governments which brokered a deal for 36 fighters.
India seeking more P-8I Poseidons
India is reportedly seeking more Boeing P-8I Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.
Various Indian media outlets have reported that it plans to request six more P-8Is to complement the 12 aircraft it already has in service or on order.
The Indian Navy already operate and initial eight P-8Is, a modified version of the P-8A operated by the US Navy, Australia, and the UK, and on order for Norway, South Korea and New Zealand. In 2016 India ordered an additional more P-8Is which are due to be delivered from late 2020.
First Singaporean CH-47F Chinook sighted
The first Boeing CH-47F Chinook for Singapore has been photographed at a small airport in Delaware undergoing test flights by manufacturer Boeing.
The helicopter was seen in Wilmington airport, not far from Boeing’s Chinook factory at Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, carrying the US civil registration N271GG, but also Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) roundels and titles.
The helicopter differs quite significantly from the CH-47Fs in use with the US and Australian Armies, being fitted with larger fuselage fuel tanks from the MH-47G, a nose radar, satellite communications dome, an under-nose electro-optical (EO) turret, and an Elbit defensive suite.
N271GG is one of 16 CH-47Fs registered by Boeing with the FAA in February this year, suggesting that is the number of helicopters that have been ordered by Singapore.
South Korea to go with F-35Bs?
Media outlets in South Korea have reported that country is considering an order for the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) version of the Lockheed-Martin F-35B Lightning II for the second phase of its F-X III fighter program.
The US ally plans to acquire 20 jets under this phase of the program as a follow on to the F-35A conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) fighters it acquired under the first phase, deliveries of which are currently ongoing.
It was originally anticipated that South Korea will acquire more F-35As, but the country announced last year that it will build and operate a light aircraft carrier capable of operating fixed-wing aircraft.
New Zealand commissions new AOR
The Royal New Zealand Navy has commissioned its new AOR, HMNZS Aotearoa.