If Lockheed Martin is to be believed, there’s not much wrong with the F-35 program. In a briefing here yesterday, vice president F-35 business development Steve O’Bryan stuck doggedly to the company mantra that development is moving right along, with plenty of accomplishments despite the slow pace of flight testing.
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).
Hawker Beechcraft has delivered the first four of 15 Beechcraft T-6A military trainers scheduled to go to the Iraqi air force under the terms of a pair of contracts signed last August and September, the company announced here yesterday. Plans call for the air force to take delivery of the rest of the aircraft in the first and fourth quarters of this year.
Unmanned air vehicles for cargo duties have been studied for some years, but the current difficulties being experienced by U.S. and other forces in Afghanistan has lent a new urgency to development of this concept. IEDs and ambushes have taken a heavy toll on the MSRs (main supply routes) along which the military is forced to move its materiel.
With J-10A production in full stride, Chengdu is working on integrating new technology, which may lead to an improved production aircraft. A prototype has been seen and photographed with several important new features. Most obvious are new radome and intake structures.
Confirmation of the serious problems in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter development came yesterday when U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates dramatically fired the Marine general running the program. Maj. Gen. David Heinz, the program executive officer, took the blame for the delays and cost increases that have mounted in recent months. Gates also withheld $614 million in performance fees from prime contractor Lockheed Martin.
Before the long-delayed first flight of the A400M, the new airlifter’s TP400 turboprop was flown 18 times on a C-130 flight test bed (FTB) modified and flown by Marshall Aerospace. During a presentation to the UK’s Royal Aeronautical Society last October, Marshall’s chief test pilot Iain Young and flight test engineer Rob Boyle described the challenging task.
Here at the Singapore Airshow, Raytheon Missile Systems (Stand U01) is showcasing its Fish Hawk standoff antisubmarine torpedo. While the weapon has been under development for some time, this is its inaugural promotion at a major international exhibition, highlighting the interest in it from the Asia-Pacific region.
Continued tensions in the Far East and southern Asia are ensuring that the region remains a major sales battleground for the world’s fighter houses. At stake is the sale of several hundred new combat aircraft in the coming years as air arms seek to modernize their forces or, in the case of countries such as Japan and Singapore, stay ahead of the regional threat.
The design maybe 40 years old, but there is plenty of life left in the F-15 Eagle fighter. Boeing’s St. Louis factory is producing F-15Ks for South Korea and F-15SGs for Singapore, and current orders mean that the Eagle will be in production into 2012. Meanwhile, Boeing Defense, Space and Security (DSS) is maintaining the technology insertion program that has seen the F-15 remain a viable option in today’s tactical aircraft marketplace.
The U.S. Air Force is wresting with the manpower, training and cultural issues that surround the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In his presentation to the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference (DIAC) last November,* USAF commander General Norton Schwartz outlined the new terminology and career fields that the service is introducing in response.