The Romanian air force took delivery of its first Alenia C-27J Spartan at Bucharest-Otopeni air base. Seven Spartans are on order to replace the last of Romania’s Communist-era transports and to bolster the transport fleet’s ability to support international operations. The last aircraft is due in 2012.
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).
Boeing unveiled the first F/A-18F Block II Super Hornet for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) at a July 8 ceremony in St. Louis. The aircraft manufacturer is building 24 Super Hornets for Australia, in two batches of 12. The first aircraft is due to be delivered in March 2010, and Australian production will run at roughly one per month. The aircraft will have APG-79 AESA radar installed.
As negotiations to secure a future for Europe’s troubled A400M airlifter continue, the UK government is taking the hardest line with Airbus Military, and moving quickly to secure alternative solutions. At the meeting of defense ministers in Seville, Spain, last month, the UK vetoed a Franco-German proposal to delay a final decision until December.
With the recent handover flights from the commercial factory to Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) in Seattle, the P-8A Poseidon next-generation maritime patroller for the U.S. Navy remains “firmly on track,” according to Tony Parasida, vice president and general manager of Boeing IDS’s ASW & ISR Systems division.
Airbus has presented “a realistic development and production schedule” to the A400M partner nations, CEO Tom Enders said here in Paris on Tuesday. Ahead of next week’s meeting in Seville with the defense ministers, Airbus won’t answer detailed questions about the plan in public. But they seem to have convinced one customer already: French defense minister Herve Morin said here yesterday that he could see “light at the end of the tunnel.”
One of the more unusual debutants at this year’s airshow is Israel Aerospace Industries’ HAROP loitering munition. A cross between an unmanned aerial vehicle and a bomb, HAROP is an expendable air vehicle that is launched from the box in which it is transported. The weapon can loiter over the battlefield for up to six hours, using its nose-mounted EO/IR sensor turret to spot targets or relay video imagery back to the control station.
On Tuesday Patria handed over the first serial production upgraded Hawk trainer to the Finnish air force here at the Paris Air Show. The Finnish group has upgraded the aircraft with a CMC Electronics Cockpit 4000 avionics suite, SparrowHawk HUD and multi-function displays, among other improvements.
After a difficult period in which the whole program’s future lay in doubt, AgustaWestland’s Future Lynx has emerged with a new name–AW159 Lynx Wildcat–and renewed optimism. The aircraft was selected by the UK Ministry of Defence in May 2006 to fulfill its battlefield reconnaissance helicopter requirement for the British Army, and a surface combatant maritime rotorcraft requirement for the Royal Navy.
“Une fois Mirage, toujours Mirage!” insists Thierry Goetschmann. “Once you have flown the delta you never want to fly anything else,” said the pilot of the Mirage IIIDS-EMIR that graces the Paris Air Show. Goetschmann is the world’s only civilian-rated Mirage III pilot, and a veteran of 1,100 hours in the type. He will fly the Mirage in the air display over the weekend, which will be nostalgic viewing for many here.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has announced that it is to supply the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod to the Royal Saudi Air Force. The Snipers will replace the LANTIRN system used by the RSAF’s F-15S strike aircraft. The deal represents the first phase of a $100 million multi-year sensor modernization program, conducted through Foreign Military Sales channels.