AIR International – June 2018

(Jacob Rumans) #1

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replacement for Tornado and a
stop-gap until FCAS comes on
line. The ministry has said it will
prioritise the European Typhoon for
the contract for up to 90 aircraft,
but has asked for information
about the F-35A Lightning II, F-
Advanced Eagle and F/A-18 Super
Hornet. Volker Paltzo, Eurofi ghter
Jagdfl ugzeug GmbH CEO, said
Eurofi ghter can “deliver all roles
that Tornado currently covers”. He
went on to say that he includes
the nuclear role, which requires US
certifi cation, adding: “We do not
see any US restriction.”

US participation
Probably with an eye on the
contract for 90 jets to replace the
Luftwa e’s Tornados, US military
aircraft makers were at ILA in
force. Two Lockheed Martin F-35A
Lightning IIs from the 56th Fighter
Wing’s 61st Fighter Squadron ‘Top
Dogs’ based at Luke Air Force Base
Arizona attracted most attention in
the static display, but unfortunately
they did not take part in the fl ying
display. Presented by Boeing were
an EA-18G Growler from Electronic
Attack Squadron 137 (VAQ-137)
‘Rooks’ and an F/A-18E from Strike
Fighter Squadron 136 (VFA-136)
‘Knighthawks’, both assigned to

Carrier Air Wing 3 which is currently
deployed on the USS Harry S
Truman (CVN 75). Speaking to IHS
Jane’s at ILA, Boeing director for
global sales for strike, surveillance
and mobility Bryan Crutchfi eld said
the EA-18G is the only platform
now available that can replace the
electronic combat reconnaissance
(ECR) variant Tornado, as well as
the service’s interdictor strike fl eet:
“Any country with an electronic
warfare mission in an A2AD [anti-
access area denial] environment
needs the Growler... We are now
actively pitching this solution to the
Germans.” It is Boeing’s contention
that only Growler has the capability
to fulfi l the dedicated electronic
warfare and suppression of enemy
air defences roles currently
undertaken by the Tornado ECR,
but admits other contenders could
have pods and other sensors added
to do the job.

Heavy transport helicopter
Back in the 1970s, Germany
purchased 112 Sikorsky CH-53G
helicopters for the Deutsches
Heer (German Army), where
they are known as Mittleres
Transporthubschrauber (medium
transport helicopters). The fi rst
one was delivered on July 26,

1972, and the survivors are long
past their best; the Report on
the Operational Readiness of the
Bundeswehr’s Primary Weapons
Systems 2017, released in March
2018, revealed that of the 72
aircraft notionally available for
service on average only 16 were
ready for action. In December
2017, the German government
announced its approval for the
acquisition of between 45 and
60 aircraft under the Schwere
Transporthubschrauber (heavy
transport helicopter) programme.
Given the value of any potential
deal to provide the aircraft (at
least €4 billion), it comes as no
surprise that America’s two biggest
helicopter manufacturers have
put forward their two biggest
helicopters, Boeing with its iconic
H-47 Chinook and Sikorsky
with the CH-53K King Stallion. A
Europe-based US Army CH-47F
was on display in the static display
throughout the show and the
fl ying display featured a Royal Air
Force Chinook HC6 from No.
Squadron giving a spirited fl ying
Sikorsky owner Lockheed Martin
pulled out all the stops to debut the
King Stallion before an international
audience at ILA 2018. A US Air Force

C-17A Globemaster III carried the
fi rst of six System Development and
Test Aircraft, BuNo 169019, from
the United States to the Luftwa e’s
Holzdorf Air Base, which is home
to some of the CH-53s assigned
to Hubschraubergeschwader
64’s (Helicopter Wing 64). The
helicopter fl ew during the trade
days, but left on the Friday
before the public days. It showed
surprising agility for such a large
aircraft. Sikorsky claims the new
machine, while almost the same
size as its ancestor, can carry three
times as much, thanks to, among
other things, more powerful
engines and new high-tech fourth-
generation rotor blades. As part
of its bid to woo the Bundeswehr,
Lockheed Martin has teamed up
with German companies, including
Rheinmetall, the lead German
contractor, MTU, ZFL, Autofl ug,
Hydro, Rockwell Collins Germany,
Jenoptik, Hensoldt, Liebherr and
Rohde & Schwarz. Other businesses
may be invited to join should the
project progress.
It would be a brave person
who predicted the winner of this
competition. The US Marine Corps
has a requirement for 200 King
Stallions and Germany is familiar
with its predecessor, but the new

The COMAO demo on the fi nal day included this formation of a A400M Atlas and
two Tornados. Timm Ziegenthaler

One of only two surviving Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmoviks was the star of the show for
many. Jerry Gunner

This Armée de l’Air C-130J-30, serial number 5836/61-
PO, supported the French contingent; delivered in
December 2017 this was the fi rst opportunity for a
French C-130J to attend the event. Timm Ziegenthaler
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