Foreign companies can now own 49 percent of Indian defense companies, following a change announced as part of the country’s budget statement on July 10. The budget was presented by Finance and Defense Minister Arun Jaitley, a member of the newly elected government. It includes an allocation of $38.17 billion for defense, a gain of 12.44 percent. Some $15.76 billion of this (up from $13.15 billion last year) is capital expenditure, used primarily for procurement.
News and issues relating to the defense aerospace business, with emphasis on current/in-use, in-development and prospective programs for manned military aircraft, unmanned combat aircraft vehicles (UCAVs), military aircraft engines, avionics, missiles, bombs, guidance systems and ground-based air-defense systems.
Time is running out for the Lockheed Martin F-35 to make its international debut. The fleet remains grounded after the engine fire on June 23. “We’re working day and night to provide evidence to the airworthiness authorities, but we haven’t learned enough yet,” said Lt Gen Chris Bogdan, head of the F-35 Joint Program Office.
The Brazilian Navy gave AgustaWestland a $160 million-plus contract for the upgrade of eight Super Lynx Mk 21A helicopters. The Navy has operated the Lynx since 1978, receiving nine Mk 21s followed by nine Mk 21As. Five of the Mk 21s were later upgraded to Mk 21A.
MBDA successfully undertook two CAMM (common anti-air modular missile) launches in recent weeks, the company announced. The firings were carried out at the Vidsel overland range in northern Sweden on May 29 and June 5, and were the first seeker-guided launches for the CAMM. Instrumented-only firings of CAMM were conducted in April last year.
Saab has completed integration of the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM on the Gripen. Next year the Swedish air force fighter will be the first to go operational with the new missile, according to Saab. The Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon will also carry the Meteor. The Gripen previously conducted the first eight developmental test firings of the ramjet-boosted missile.
Transatlantic ferry flights of four Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning IIs, due to make their international debut in the UK, were delayed this week by the engine fire that occurred June 23 at Eglin AFB. As a result, tentative plans to fly one or more of them over the naming ceremony for the UK’s new aircraft carrier were cancelled. HM The Queen will formally christen the big ship named after her, at Rosyth dockyard in Scotland on July 4.
Despite recently acquiring the GA-ASI Reaper UAS from the U.S., the French air force has extended the service of its predecessor UAS, the Harfang, until at least the end of 2017. The Harfang UAS consists of IAI Heron 1 UAVs that are equipped with a communications and control system designed by Airbus Defence & Space (previously EADS Cassidian) in France. The French defense procurement agency, DGA, has recently signed contracts with main contractor Airbus D&S, and with IAI, for the upgrade and continued maintenance of the Harfang system.
Frustrated by the slow process of acquiring American air power hardware, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has turned elsewhere. He told the BBC’s Arabic Service that Iraq has “bought second-hand fighters from Russia and Belarus that will arrive in a few days’ time.” Maliki’s government is trying to counter a rapid advance by The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (Isis), whose fighters have overrun most of five Iraqi provinces.
The first EC725 to be fully assembled in Brazil was handed over to the Brazilian navy on June 17, Airbus Helicopters said. The previous 11 EC725s received by the Brazilian armed forces were only partially assembled in Brazil, or supplied direct from Airbus Helicopters’ production line in France.
A prototype of the Sukhoi T-50 Russian fighter caught fire while landing at the Zhukovsky test base near Moscow on June 10. First reports about the mishap surfaced on local radio stations broadcasting road traffic incidents, when the fifth-generation warplane was seen trailing smoke on the approach. It was Bort number 55, the fifth and most recent T-50 prototype, which made its first flight on Oct. 27, 2013.