News Clips from Dubai 2009
Kazak Operator Receives Two More AW139s
Kazakhstan-based JSC Euro-Asia Air has taken delivery of two AgustaWestland AW139 medium-twin helicopters, the manufacturer announced on the eve of the show. Configured with 15 seats, the aircraft will be used for offshore oil and gas missions in the Caspian Sea, where JSC already operates two AW139s. AgustaWestland and sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna are studying the feasibility to jointly build a civil helicopter training and maintenance center in the country. AgustaWestland (Stand C420) has sold more than 440 AW139s to almost 120 customers.
ATFLIR for Switzerland, RWR Upgrade for USAF
Raytheon (Stand E320) has just announced important orders for two of its key product lines. In the first, Switzerland has placed a $42 million order through foreign military sales channels for 14 AN/ASQ-228 advanced targeting forward-looking infrared (ATFLIR) pods. The sophisticated pods will give the Swiss Air Force’s F/A-18 Hornet fleet improved targeting and laser-tracking capability, as well as the ability to perform some reconnaissance functions.
The U.S. group also has received a $19.8 million contract covering the supply of 34 ALR-69A(V) digital radar warning receivers (RWRs). This represents a low-rate initial production batch of RWRs that will initiate the upgrade of the U.S. Air Force’s C-130, F-16 and A-10 fleets, which currently employ the ALR-69. The ALR-69A(V) provides enhanced situation awareness, resulting in increased crew survivability. Its digital architecture allows for easy reprogramming so that the system keeps pace with emerging threats. It is also adaptable to new targeting techniques, such as multi-platform geo-location of threats. Raytheon is also producing the ALR-67(V)3 RWR for F/A-18s, with over 440 delivered to date.
JASSM-ER Scores Sixth Success
Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158B joint air-to-surface standoff missile-extended range (JASSM-ER) recently completed its sixth successful test flight, from six launches. The U.S. Air Force purchased 12 missiles, six for developmental test and six for operational tests. Trials are to continue until the middle of next year, and a low-rate initial production decision is anticipated in 2011. The most recent trial was undertaken at the White Sands range in New Mexico.
The JASSM-ER retains the basic systems and stealthy shape of the 2,000-pound class AGM-158A weapon, but has a range increased to over 500 miles. It has a dual-mode penetrator and blast fragmentation warhead, and combines infrared and enhanced anti-jam GPS/INS guidance. It is compatible with B-1, B-2, B-52 and F-16. The current tests have been conducted from the aft weapons bay of a B-1B, and IOC is planned for this platform in early 2013.
Boeing Studies Miniature Weapons
At present, to arm a UAV, the principal weapon options are drawn from the manned aircraft, where ordnance is generally large and packs a heavy punch. Now, warfighters are calling for weapons tailored for UAV operations. Such munitions need to be not only much smaller, so they impose less burden on the platform, but also must cause little collateral damage, so that they can be employed in the urban environments where UAVs are often used.
In response to these demands, in late September the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory awarded a $500,000 contract to Boeing’s Phantom Works to demonstrate technology for miniature weapons. The contract covers the first phase of the program, which is expected to last for nine months. A two-year second phase is envisioned, with a $6.5 million budget.
As the prime contractor for Phase 1, Boeing will leverage its JDAM and small-diameter bomb technology to develop system integration, seeker, avionics, guidance and control, and mission planning for the new weapon.