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Philippines signs military aircraft contracts for $528mn
by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) March 28, 2014

Korea becomes 14th country to fly C-130J Hercules
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 28, 2014 - Lockheed Martin reports that it delivered this week two C-130J transport aircraft for South Korea at its manufacturing facility in Georgia.

The two aircraft were built under a 2010 contract for four planes. Their delivery makes the Republic of Korea the 14th country to fly the newest C-130 model.

"For almost three decades, Republic of Korea Air Force crews have relied on C-130s to support humanitarian and peacekeeping missions in the Pacific Rim region," said George Shultz, Lockheed Martin's vice president and general manager of C-130 Programs "The arrival of South Korea's new Super Hercules fleet ensures that these critical missions not only will continue, but extend for many more decades the added capabilities only the C-130J can provide.

"Lockheed Martin values its longtime partnership with South Korea and we are honored to welcome it to the Super Hercules family."

The C-130Js for the Republic of Korea's air force is the longer fuselage, or "stretched," combat delivery variant and will be handed over to the South Korea Air Force next month. The last two aircraft ordered are expected to be delivered in June.

Korea currently operates a dozen C-130H aircraft.

Lockheed said it is to provide support -- including training of aircrew and maintenance personnel -- for the new aircraft over a two-year period under a separate contract.

Airbus Helicopters delivers first production Cougar AS532 ALe to Chile
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 28, 2014 - Airbus Helicopters delivered its first production Cougar AS532 ALe aircraft to the Chilean Army this week at an international airshow in Santiago.

"This is an important day for Chilean aviation," said General Sergio Retamal, aviation commander for the Chilean Army, or Ejército de Chile. "We are very proud to be the first operator of this new version of the Cougar. The Lamas we once flew were replaced by Pumas and now Cougars.

"Thanks to these aircraft, we are a reliable ally for rescue operations and natural disaster response, among other missions."

The Cougar AS532 AL is a multi-role helicopter with two Turbomeca Makila 1a1 turboshaft engines, a maximum speed of 150 knots and a service ceiling of more than 19,000 feet. For military operations it can carry 25 fully equipped soldiers and can be outfitted with pod-mounted cannons and rocket launchers. It can also be used for search-and-rescue operations and medical evacuation.

The "ALe" variant of the aircraft features the same four-axis autopilot and new avionics glass cockpit as that of the company's the EC225 Super Puma.

The Chilean Army flies eight AL variants of the helicopter.

The Philippines on Friday signed agreements to buy $528 million worth of military aircraft from South Korea and Canada amid ongoing territorial disputes with China.

"After more than four decades of stagnancy in its dream of improving its capability, our air force has found a promise of new life with the realisation of our (military) modernisation programme," Philippine Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.

Korea Aerospace Industries will deliver 12 FA-50 jets worth 18.9 billion pesos ($421.12 million) in just over three years under a contract agreed by Philippine defence officials and South Korean government representatives.

The Southeast Asian country also completed a 4.8 billion-peso contract with Canadian Commercial Corp. and Canada's Bell Helicopters to build eight helicopters for the military.

The twin deals are part of the Philippines' 75-billion-peso effort to upgrade its armed forces, particularly units tasked with patrolling disputed territory in the South China Sea.

These units are dwarfed by those of neighbouring China, which claims most of the area, including waters and islets much closer to the Philippines.

China said its coastguard on March 9 blocked two Philippine-flagged vessels approaching Second Thomas Shoal, which is guarded by a small group of Filipino marines but is also claimed by Beijing, the latest in a string of such confrontations.

Under the military upgrade programme, President Benigno Aquino's government has also acquired two refurbished frigates from the US coastguard.

Saab, Pilatus agree to collaborate on trainer aircraft
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 28, 2014 - Swedish and Swiss defense companies have agreed to collaborate on a new trainer aircraft if the Swedish Air Force decides to replace its SK 60 planes.

The companies -- Saab of Sweden and Switzerland's Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. -- signed their memorandum of understanding on Friday in Bern, Switzerland.

"We are very pleased to be working closer with Pilatus and look forward to exploring other business opportunities in Switzerland," said Saab President and Chief Executive Officer Hakan Buskhe. "This is a result of a long dialogue that began with the selection of the Gripen E (fighter) in Switzerland. It truly shows that there are extended business opportunities that can result from the Gripen decision."

The SK 60 is the Swedish Air Force designation for Saab's 105 jet trainer aircraft, which was developed in the early 1960s. Saab has a full turnkey contract with Swedish Defense Materiel Administration for the air force's SK 60s.

"Saab's SK 60 has helped train generations of Swedish Air Force pilots and we are pleased to enter into a MoU with Pilatus, to proactively explore its replacement with the PC-21, a highly capable and affordable training platform for pilots," said Lennart Sindahl, executive vice president and head of Aeronautics at Saab.

Pilatus' PC-21 is a single-engine turboprop trainer in service with five countries.

Additional details on the possible collaboration between the two companies were not disclosed.


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