The Russian unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) program revealed as long ago as 2007 may have reached the flight test phase. The evidence comes from a near midair over Arkhangelskoye on February 17, reported by the pilots of two L-29 jet trainers belonging to a civilian flying club based at the Barataevka airfield near Ulyanovsk. The L-29 pilots rapidly altered heading and altitude to escape collision with an unidentified flying object that they described as “a heavyweight unmanned air vehicle”.
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.
BAE Systems has been awarded a contract extension that will see it continue to support the RAF’s Tornado GR.Mk 4 fleet until the type’s planned retirement in 2019. BAE has been supporting the aircraft through the ATTAC (availability transformation: Tornado aircraft contract) program since 2006, but the initial 10-year period was due to expire in 2016. The new extension adds three years and approximately £125 million ($210 million) to the deal.
As part of enhanced collective measures agreed to by member countries in April, NATO has deployed more fighters to eastern Europe in response to the continuing crisis in Ukraine. France and Canada have dispatched aircraft this week, while a new NATO multinational team is taking over the enhanced air defense detachment in the Baltic republics.
Israel’s Air and Space Force on Wednesday took delivery of the first of six Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules it has ordered through U.S. foreign military sales channels. While the aircraft had been formally handed over to the IASF last June, it was retained in the U.S. for tests and training.
Although India already operates two types of airborne early warning aircraft, the air force is pressing ahead with a program to procure a third platform with extended range, longer endurance and higher operational altitude performance.
Impatient with delays in inducting the HJT-36 Sitara intermediate jet trainer from government-owned defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), the Indian air force has issued a request for information (RFI) for Stage II intermediate jet trainers. The Indian Air Force (IAF) requires 85 IJTs, and the cutoff date for RFI response is April 4.
Boeing said its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) demonstrator, a modified Bombardier Challenger 604, completed its first flight on February 28 from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Subcontractor Field Aviation conducted the four-hour test flight.
The Obama administration delivered a proposed $496 billion base U.S. defense budget for Fiscal Year 2015 to the Congress on March 4. In a round of briefings at the Pentagon, service budget officials spoke of making difficult choices because of spending limits Congress imposed in the Budget Control Act of 2011, followed by deep “sequestration” budget cuts that took effect in FY2013.
Civilian operators that work in combat environments now have an option to equip their helicopters with electronic warfare devices that can detect incoming missiles and launch chaff and/or flare countermeasures. Rotorcraft Services Group (RSG, Booth No. 1206) recently signed an agreement with Switzerland-based Ruag Schweiz to provide integration and qualification services for Ruag’s Integrated Self-Protection System (ISSYS) Plug-on-Device (POD) for use in the civil aviation market.
Moog’s third-generation lightweight Moog-FTS Stores Management System (SMS) is flying with the Bell 407GT and the MD530G and can be adapted easily to other platforms. Jason Reichard, Moog business unit director, said that the main advantages of the new system are its lower cost, much lighter weight and ease of installation across a variety of platforms including helicopter, fixed-wing, marine and land.