France and the UK will jointly develop a new medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV that could enter service in 2015. The two countries are also likely to combine forces on future unmanned combat air systems (UCAS), by launching a “joint technology and operational demonstration” to run for six years, beginning in 2013. The decisions form part of the cross-channel agreement between the two countries.
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).
France and the UK signed a wide-ranging defense pact with far-reaching consequences for operational and industrial policy. The two countries will create an integrated carrier strike group and coordinate refits to ensure that one British or French aircraft carrier is always operational.
The UK is to cut its planned acquisition of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) by up to two-thirds, switch versions and delay introduction of the aircraft.
We spend all week walking around the NBAA Convention thinking about business aviation, and at times it feels like there’s more King Airs here than scantily clad models at a car show. But there’s one King Air that stands out from the rest, the one Sierra Nevada Corp. has on static display at NBAA this week.
AgustaWestland is promoting three of its civil helicopters for proposed U.S. Department of Defense programs. Two of the three, the AW119 single and the AW139 medium twin, are built at the company’s Philadelphia plant.
After four years of flight tests, the first upgraded Lockheed Martin C-5M Super Galaxy was redelivered to the U.S. Air Force late last month. The most significant of the more than 70 changes in the reliability enhancement and re-engining program is the replacement of the four GE TF39 turbofans with modern GE CF6-80C2 engines that deliver 22 percent more thrust, improved fuel consumption and lower noise.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified a potential sale to Sweden of 15 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters. Estimated at a value of $546 million, the request also covers 34 General Electric T700-GE-701D turboshaft engines and 15 defensive aid sets, each comprising AAR-57(V)3 missile warning, APR-39 radar warning and AVR-2B laser warning systems.
Saab sprung a major surprise earlier this month by announcing an order worth some $680 million for its Erieye AEW&C (airborne early warning and control) system from an unidentified customer. The number of Saab 2000 platforms was also unspecified. Saab said the contract covers ground equipment, logistics and support, and will run for approximately 4.5 years.
The first Airbus A330 future strategic tanker aircraft (FSTA) for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) made its first flight after conversion on September 13. Three days later, the British legislature published a report that heavily criticized the $16 billion-plus procurement of the RAF’s new tankers via a private finance initiative (PFI).
Last week Denel Aviation delivered the first fully upgraded Rooivalk back to the South African Air Force (SAAF). After testing, the indigenous attack helicopter will finally get its type certificate and be inducted into the SAAF as the Rooivalk Mk 1. The SAAF’s No. 16 Squadron has been semi-operational on the type for a number of years, but the fleet has suffered problems.