Pentagon sources confirmed to AIN that Lockheed Martin has been ordered to stop work on the development of a second block of AW-101-variant helicopters scheduled to join the U.S. presidential fleet in 2015, while the Department of Defense reassesses the program and perhaps seeks alternatives that could include the Sikorsky S-92. When the President is aboard, these helicopters are designated “Marine One.”
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).
Helicopter traffic around the Statfjord and Gullfaks offshore oil fields in Norway was seriously disturbed on December 11 by the incursion of the Russian carrier/cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, along with two Udaloy-class cruisers. About 14 helicopters carrying oil workers had to scrub their flights because of Sukhoi Su-33 activity in the air. Sikorsky S-92 pilots with Norsk Helikopter and CHC could see the fighters operating below them.
While record-breaking orders for airliners were announced, the just-completed Dubai Air Show, held from November 11 to 15, offered no big news for the defense industry. However, there were important developments across the border in Saudi Arabia, and the UAE Air Force is close to making important decisions about its future pilot training system.
Saudi Arabian Airlines has signed a MoU for 22 A320 narrowbodies, heralding the eventual signing of the first order by the Kingdom’s flag carrier for Airbus airplanes in some two decades, Airbus announced here yesterday. The agreement allows the flag carrier to increase the order by eight aircraft of the same type.
A series of flight tests held in France this past summer has successfully shown that the Thales TopOwl helmet-mounted display system originally designed for helicopter pilots works just as well for those flying military transport aircraft. The tests made use of the TopOwl-H head up display (HUD) system now in full-scale production. Thales has made more than 400 to date.
A senior air force officer serving with NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan has challenged the defense industry to produce lighter and more capable equipment for troops calling in air strikes on Taleban positions.
On August 31 this year Saab held a party at its Linköping aircraft factory to celebrate the company’s 70th birthday. Guests were treated to a flying display by aircraft from Saab’s past and entertained at a forum where speakers from various business units described their vision of where the Swedish company might be in 30 years’ time, when it comes to celebrate its centenary in 2037.
Test flights of a completely upgraded Sukhoi Su-35 will start before year-end, according to Sukhoi general director Mikhail Pogosyan. The Russian design bureau (Stand E738) hopes the super-maneuverable multi-role fighter will secure its future in the global fighter market shortly and is promoting it as an interim model between the existing Su-30MK and an advanced fifth-generation aircraft.
Russia’s defense industry seems determined to make up for ground it has lost to Western rivals in the market for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The most tangible evidence to date came in August at the MAKS airshow in Moscow where RSK-MiG launched its stealth Skat unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV).
BAE Systems (Stand W412) has started building the airframe for the Taranis, a $254 million unmanned combat aerial vehicle demonstrator aimed at helping the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) determine its armed forces’ future equipment needs.