The French and German governments have agreed to reduce their shareholdings in EADS to 12 percent each, and drop their veto rights over key decisions. Spain will hold 4 percent. EADS said the pact will normalize and simplify its governance, while still allowing the three countries “to protect their legitimate strategic interests.”
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).
Bangladesh and Vietnam are close to buying the Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced jet trainer, according to Russia’s weapons exporter, Rosoboronexport, but in other Asian countries the aircraft faces growing competition from China in the form of the Hongdu L-15. “There are no sales prospects for our aircraft in China, because the local engineers have developed their own design. Outwardly, the L-15 bears a distinct resemblance to the Yak-130,” said Sergei Kornev, head of the Rosoboronexport department for aviation.
Europe’s first unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) has flown. The Neuron technology demonstrator took off from the Dassault test base at Istres, France, at dawn on December 1. Dassault is the prime contractor, teamed with Alenia Aermacchi (Italy); EADS-CASA (Spain); Hellenic Aerospace Industries (Greece); Ruag (Switzerland); Saab (Sweden) and Thales (France).
Five days after a ceasefire ended the latest conflict between Israel and the Hamas regime controlling Gaza, in which the Rafael Iron Dome rocket interception system featured prominently, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced the first successful test of a new interception system. The David’s Sling system, or “Magic Wand,” that was co-developed with Raytheon and the U.S.
Although already deployed on operations to meet urgent needs, the Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned surveillance helicopter has reliability and sustainability problems that have delayed its regular fielding. An updated selected acquisition report (SAR) obtained by InsideDefense.com reveals that both the initial operational capability and the full-rate production decision have been delayed by about two years until May or June 2014.
China has ordered 10 used Il-76s from Russia’s arms vendor Rosoboronexport as an interim measure to enlarge its fleet of the heavy airlifters, before the redeveloped Il-476 version becomes available. Sergei Kornev, head of Rosoboronexport’s aviation equipment department, told AIN that his company has already found seven suitable airframes on the secondary market. They are being overhauled before delivery to the PLA Air Force. Rosoboronexport is still sourcing the other three aircraft, which could come from non-Russian fleets.
The U.S. Navy released a draft request for proposals (RFP) for the long-delayed VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program on November 23. The draft RFP revives an acquisition program that was cancelled more than three years ago. The formal RFP is expected to follow early next year.
China’s recently flown second stealth fighter is powered by a pair of Russian-supplied Klimov RD-93 turbofans, AIN has learned. A large model of the design, which has been dubbed the J-31 in unofficial reports, was on display at Airshow China in Zhuhai last week.
The Z-10 and Z-19 helicopters both made their public debuts at Airshow China in Zhuhai last week. The Changhe-built Z-10 performed daily during the show, while the Harbin-built Z-19 appeared twice. Neither was available for close inspection in the static park. Both are tandem-seat machines with nose-mounted gyro-stabilized sensor/targeting “ball”-style turret, and stubby wings with weapons pylons.
Technical issues continue to affect the Airbus Military A330MRTT Multi-Role Tanker-Transport program, delaying full operational capability with four air forces that are due to receive a total of 28 aircraft ordered to date. A second refueling boom separated from an A330MRTT during a test flight in Spain in September.