This week’s Dubai Airshow was the first time that a UAE Air Tractor AT-802i has been shown in public. The UAE purchased 24 of these highly modified agricultural aircraft, and took delivery of the first in late 2010. Media reports suggest that six of the aircraft are being donated to Jordan but probably with armament capability removed.
Defense » Military Aircraft
News and issues relating to the defense aerospace business, with emphasis on current/in-use, in-development and prospective programs for manned military aircraft and unmanned combat aircraft vehicles (UCAVs).
Aerospace and defense contractor AAR (Stand 2118) has announced new contracts with U.S. government agencies. Here at the Dubai Airshow, the company is emphasizing its increasing global reach.
In June this year the second multi-year procurement contract was signed for the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey. It will deliver 93 MV-22s for the Marine Corps and seven more CV-22s for the US Air Force over the course of five years. With the current annual rate of production running at around 40 aircraft, that means that in the near future there will be considerable production capacity available for foreign military sales (FMS) as deliveries to the U.S. military drop off.
Boeing has selected the Bombardier Challenger 605 business jet to be the platform for its maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) offering. This program was announced in 2012 as a cheaper alternative to Boeing’s high-spec P-8 Poseidon maritime patroller that is on show here at the Dubai Airshow. However, the MSA mission suite draws heavily on the technology developed for the P-8, albeit sized for a business jet application. At the time of the MSA launch the platform had not been selected.
The path to a fully multi-role Eurofighter Typhoon is finally becoming clear. At a media briefing here tomorrow (Wednesday), the company hopes to announce the first test flight in Italy of an aircraft carrying the MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile. The jet’s full operational clearance to drop smart bombs came recently. Meanwhile one of the prototypes will fly next spring with the Selex AESA radar.
Making its public debut at the Dubai Airshow is the Air Tractor AT-802i, an agricultural aircraft heavily modified for counter-insurgency/light attack/ISR missions. The aircraft were purchased by the UAE with a mission system integrated by Iomax, and it is believed that a batch of 24 is nearing the end of delivery after the first arrived at the end of 2010. The U.S.-based company has now migrated the mission system from the Air Tractor AT-802 to the outwardly similar Thrush 510P airframe and launched the aircraft as the ArchAngel at this year’s Paris Air Show.
Lockheed Martin has brought its T-50 Golden Eagle simulator to Dubai to continue its promotion of the supersonic advanced trainer system in the region and particularly in the UAE. The T-50 was developed in Korea by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) working in close partnership with Lockheed Martin and is now in service with the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) in the form of the T-50 advanced trainer and TA-50 lead-in fighter/weapons trainer versions. The fully combat-capable FA-50 is due to be delivered before the end of the year to begin the replacement of the ROKAF’s Northrop F-5s.
Next month a ceremony will be held in Pakistan to mark the delivery of the 50th JF-17 multirole fighter from the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) factory at Kamra. The handover marks the completion of production of the first batch of aircraft for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Designed in China by Chengdu as the FC-1, the JF-17 Thunder is being jointly developed and marketed by the Chinese and PAC.
Both Tawazun and Mubadala are displaying models of the new maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) version of the Piaggio Avanti that is under development for Adasi, a Tawazun subsidiary. Piaggio Aero, in which Mubadala has a large stake, is developing the aircraft platform with a long-span wing and increased foreplane and tailplane area, among other changes. Sweden’s Saab has been employed to provide the mission system. The MPA will be operated by a crew of four, comprising a pilot, two sensor/system operators and a mission commander.
This month UTC Aerospace Systems will complete deliveries of new brakes and wheels for the U.S. Air Force’s entire Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules fleet. The brakes replace the original equipment, offering significant performance improvements, enhanced maintainability and reduced life-cycle costs. Compared to the original steel brakes, the new brakes cool much quicker, resulting in reduced time on the ground in “hot” landing zones.