Chasing the Polish requirement for up to 70 new multirole helicopters to replace aging Mil Mi-8/17s, Eurocopter announced that it will create an assembly line for the EC725 Caracel in that country. Turbomeca simultaneously announced that it will produce the helicopter’s Makila 2 turboshaft engines in Poland.
AIN Defense Perspective
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) introduced two BAE Systems 146 jet transports modified to accommodate troops and their equipment. BAE Systems Regional Aircraft designed the conversion–from a quick-change interior–under a $23 million urgent operational requirement (UOR) contract; subcontractor Hawker Beechcraft Services at Chester in the UK completed the project.
At the Latin American Aerospace and Defense (LAAD) Show, Embraer announced a new customer for the EMB-314 Super Tucano. The Senegalese Air Force signed a contract for three aircraft and in-country training of pilots and mechanics by Embraer. Senegal will use the aircraft for border surveillance and internal security. The deal takes the number of the type ordered to 210.
The fatal crash of an Su-27UBK fighter trainer of the China’s People Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in late March has called attention to the lack of advanced jet trainers for pilots of China’s third-generation fighters, the Su-27, J-10 and J-11. But although the L-15 has been under development by Nanchang-based Hongdu Aviation Industry Group (HAIG), there is no confirmation from within China that the PLAAF has placed a substantial production order.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) recorded its lowest accident rate in 36 years in the year ending March 31. The introduction of upgraded Western aircraft; quality audits of maintenance practices; increased use of simulators; and voluntary reporting of unsafe acts have contributed to the improved record, a senior official said at a recent media briefing.
Sukhoi announced this week that the “design and development” (D&D) phase of the Russo-Indian prospective multifunctional fighter (PMF), also known as the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), has been completed. The aircraft is a joint development with India of the T-50 that Sukhoi has already designed and flown for the Russian Air Force. “The airplane has been shaped completely,” the manufacturer stated.
The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has chosen the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR) for its pending upgrade of 134 F-16C/Ds, for delivery beginning in late 2016. The Koreans are the first to choose between the RACR and the rival Scaleable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) from Northrop Grumman, which previously supplied all radars for F-16s. At least another 500 F-16s belonging to Singapore, Taiwan and the U.S. Air Force could be upgraded with advanced electronically scanned array (AESA) radars such as the RACR and the SABR.
The Obama administration has proposed a $526.6 billion defense budget for Fiscal Year 2014 that continues funding for developmental priorities, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the KC-46A tanker and a future long-range bomber. The President’s base defense budget does not include funding for overseas contingency operations in Afghanistan and does not reflect budget cuts mandated by sequestration.
Bell Helicopter unveiled its next-generation tiltrotor on April 10 at the Army Aviation Association of America (Quad A) annual convention in Fort Worth, Texas. Bell intends to enter the V-280 Valor in the U.S.
Boeing subsidiary Insitu has sold several export variants of its Integrator unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to international customers, the company said this week. The Block 2 variant for export is described as a separate baseline system to the 135-pound maximum takeoff weight (mtow) Integrator being developed for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps RQ-21A small tactical UAS (STUAS) requirement. The Integrator and its smaller sister, the 44-pound mtow ScanEagle, use a common pneumatic catapult launch and SkyHook catch cable retrieval systems, and a common command-and-control system.