Although the F-35 is in much better shape now than it was a year ago, “we’re not declaring victory yet–it’s still a development program,” said Lockheed Martin v-p of F-35 program integration Steve O’Bryan at the Paris Air Show. But O’Bryan noted that the top U.S. government procurement official had recently expressed cautious optimism and declared that there are no technical showstoppers.
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).
On static display at this week’s Paris Air Show was the Patroller, a new Male UAV that Safran subsidiary Sagem has developed from the German Stemme S15 motor-glider. Competing against the Thales Watchkeeper, Sagem will field the Patroller to meet a French Army requirement for 30 tactical UAVs. The Watchkeeper has generated more publicity, but Sagem is quietly suggesting that its long-winged contender is better.
Alenia Aermacchi and Italy’s Ministry of Defense signed an agreement at the Paris Air Show to jointly define specifications and collaborate on a new “basic-advanced” jet trainer, the M-345 HET (high-efficiency trainer). The new trainer would be a further development of the company’s M-311 design, with entry into service between 2017 and 2020.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) announced new features on the sensors available for the Predator/Reaper series. The company’s Lynx Block 20A multimode radar now has a “VideoSAR” software system and the ability to auto cross-cue to an EO/IR sensor.
On show for the first time at the Paris Air Show this week was a complete Thales Amascos system, the French company’s contender in the booming maritime surveillance market.
Irkut and the Yakovlev Design Bureau announced at the Paris Air Show this week that they expect Bangladesh to sign up for the Yak-130 trainer/light attack platform before the end of the year. If this happens, the nation will join a growing number of nations that have ordered the type, including Belarus last December.
German missile house Diehl Defence (Hall 2c B355) is proposing the GILA (guided intelligent light armament) weapon to the German ministry of defense as a potential weapon to arm the Eurocopter Tiger. The weapon is an adaptation of Elbit’s GATR (guided advanced tactical rocket), which fits a laser guidance package to a 68mm or 70mm rocket. GATR has recently been awarded a demonstration contract by U.S. Special Operations Command.
BAE Systems expects that the U.S. and Korean governments will sign a letter of offer and acceptance later this year authorizing the foreign military sale (FMS) of BAE’s F-16 avionics and weapons upgrade to the Republic of Korea Air Force. The company provided an update on the Korean program and a sales pitch for further F-16 upgrades during a Paris Air Show briefing on Tuesday.
On Tuesday at the Paris Air Show Boeing Defense, Space and Security announced an agreement with Embraer Defesa & Segurança to lead sales efforts of the Embraer KC-390 medium airlifter in the U.S. and UK and in select states in the Middle East. Boeing will also be the prime for sustainment and training in those territories, with Embraer providing the aircraft and assistance. The deal is part of the over-arching teaming agreement announced last year. Boeing and Embraer foresee an addressable market of 700 aircraft in the medium mobility market.
LH Aviation’s LH-10 Ellipse light aircraft is no stranger to the Paris Air Show, and an example is flying in the display here this week. Another Rotax 912ULS-powered LH-10 is being shown at the company’s stand (outdoor area B57) in an armed ISR configuration, complete with TDA’s new RPM laser-guided 68mm rockets in two-round launchers.