The AgustaWestland deal in India for AW101 helicopters that is being investigated after bribery allegations has prompted the Indian government to re-examine its already delayed defense procurement procedure 2013 (DPP). This is now focusing on “indigenization,” which defense minister A.K. Antony described recently as the “ultimate solution to the scourge of corruption.”
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).
Major fighter manufacturers displayed their wares this week at the 2013 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition in Malaysia in anticipation of that country’s pending requirement for new fighters. Five aircraft considered contenders for the program–the Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab JAS-39 Gripen, Dassault Rafale, Boeing F/A-18F and Sukhoi Su-30MKM–participated in the aerial display.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott and other political leaders joined Embraer president and CEO Frederico Curado on March 26 to cut the ribbon on a 40,000-sq-ft hangar at Jacksonville International Airport that Embraer will use to assemble the A-29 Super Tucano for the U.S. Air Force Light Air Support (LAS) program.
Late last week Saab received a second order from FMV, the Swedish defense material administration, for the development of the Gripen E fighter that is slated to form the combat equipment of the Swedish air force from 2018.
China broke into the ranks of the five largest arms exporting countries for the first time since the end of the Cold War, displacing the UK in the volume of arms deliveries, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri). The UK dropped from the list for the first time since at least 1950, the Swedish institute said.
The Colombian Army formally inducted into its fleet five new Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters. Colombia is the first South American country to acquire the S-70i variant, which is assembled at Sikorsky’s PZL Mielec facility in Poland.
Sikorsky said the helicopters were custom-equipped in the U.S. for the special forces of the Colombian army’s air assault division. They join a national fleet of 96 UH-60L Black Hawks operated by the Colombian National Police, army and air force. Colombia operates the world’s fourth-largest Black Hawk fleet.
Operational testing and evaluation of the F-35A has begun, with the delivery of four aircraft to Nellis AFB. They were accepted by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center in a ceremony on March 19. Eight more F-35As will join them by 2019. The Air Force has now received 24 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing aircraft. Another 34 F-35s have been delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy.
The first T-50 advanced jet trainer for the Indonesian Air Force has been flown in Korea by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The first export order for the T-50 was placed in 2011, and is worth $400 million for 16 aircraft, according to the Indonesians.
Ilyushin and the Russian defense ministry have begun a joint flight-test and certification program for the Il-76MD-90A airlifter. The first flight in the program took place on March 18 at the Gromov Flight Test and Research Institute, in Zhukovsky, using the prototype (RA-78650) that first flew from the Aviastar manufacturing facility in Ulyanovsk in September last year.
During a press conference at last week’s Heli-Expo convention in Las Vegas, Kamov general designer Sergei Mikheyev dropped something of a bombshell when he revealed that the Kamov Design Bureau had produced the initial conceptual design for China’s Changhe (CAIC) Z-10 attack helicopter. Having made its public debut at last year’s Zhuhai airshow, the Z-10 is in the early stages of production and has entered service with at least one Chinese army unit.