Versions of the Global Hawk are proliferating, with five now in service or development for the U.S., as well as the Euro Hawk for Germany and another for the NATO-AGS (air/ground surveillance) requirement.
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).
If all goes well, the German air force could be the first air arm to routinely operate a military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in European airspace. The first Euro Hawk should fly from the U.S. to the Manching test base in southern German during mid-2010 and begin operational flight evaluations from Schleswig-Jagel air base a year later.
Last month Sikorsky displayed a mock-up of a possible X2 Light Tactical Helicopter
(LTH) design at the Army Aviation Association of America annual convention. The mockup reflects Sikorsky’s military concept for the X2 compound helicopter research vehicle, currently in flight test. Sikorsky hopes to set a new helicopter speed record
he Obama Administration’s proposed Fiscal Year 2010 defense budget ends funding for the controversial Presidential helicopter replacement program, the cost of which had ballooned to $13 billion for 28 VH-71 Kestrels. The VH-71 was based on a highly modified version of the three-engine AgustaWestland EH101, with Lockheed Martin serving as the prime contractor and system integrator and Bell as a maintenance subcontractor.
Denel Aviation of South Africa has been certified by Lockheed Martin as a service center for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of C-130s. Although there are already eight of these facilities around the world, this is the first one in Africa. Denel says that there are 140 C-130s or L-100s (the commercial version) flying in Africa with 14 operators. Denel has been maintaining C-130s for the South African Air Force (SAAF) for many years.
Boeing has applied some stealth design principles to the F-15 Strike Eagle, and is marketing the modified aircraft for export as the F-15SE Silent Eagle. On the new model, the conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) already added to the F-15E are adapted to carry weapons internally and the vertical tails are canted outwards to reduce radar-cross section under certain conditions.
Alenia Aeronautica is claiming leadership in Europe of unmanned aircraft development, following the recent completion of new flight tests of the Sky-Y demonstrator. The five flights took place within specially designated airspace in the Puglia region of Italy, and followed 14 earlier flights on the test range at Vidsel in northern Sweden.
The new tactical transport jet that has been under development in Brazil for the past two years was formally launched this month. Embraer signed a contract with the Brazilian Air Force on April 14 for the KC-390 at the Latin America Aero and Defence Show. As the revised designation now suggests, the aircraft can also act as a refueler, either in the air or on the ground.
The four Eurofighter partner nations (Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK), reached an agreement early this month on a course of action concerning the third tranche of Eurofighter production. Tranche 3 covers the final 236 aircraft of the 620-aircraft umbrella contract.
Negotiations between Alenia Aeronautica and Boeing concerning an industrial partnership to build the C-27J Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) came to an end last month. Discussions had been ongoing for more than two years, although they were temporarily halted last year. The current economic climate is considered to be the primary cause, as Boeing has stated that there were no concerns about the product or the proposed partnership.