The German Ministry of Defence abruptly canceled plans to introduce a fleet of five Northrop Grumman RQ-4E Euro Hawk UAVs for high-altitude Sigint collection. The first aircraft, delivered in July 2011, was already flying on development tasks from Manching airbase near Munich. According to German media reports, the country has already spent €508 million of the planned €1.2 billion (in 2012 prices) to acquire the fleet, which was intended to replace aging Atlantic manned twin turboprops.
The laser-guided version of the Sagem AASM (armament air-sol modulaire) air-launched “smart” weapon was qualified last month by the French air armaments agency (DGA) at the Cazaux flight-test center, and will soon enter service in France with operational squadrons of Rafale combat aircraft. It is intended primarily for use against mobile targets. Meanwhile, the French air force has revealed details of recent attack missions over Mali when up to 12 INS/GPS-guided versions of the AASM were salvo-fired within one minute against preplanned targets, to achieve maximum surprise.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense has issued a contract for the modernization of the Navy’s fleet of Ilyushin Il-38 maritime patrol aircraft. The Novella mission system will be installed in an unspecified but “large” number of aircraft serving in the Northern Fleet, making them Il-38Ns. Of the 59 aircraft produced between 1967 and 1972, some 18 are currently in operation. The work was initially planned for the Ministry of Defence’s aircraft repair plant No. 20 at Pushkino, but instead the MoD has contracted UAC’s Ilyushin and Myasishchev to undertake it at the Zhukovsky airbase near Moscow.
Eclipse Aerospace has arrived with an aircraft on static display for the first time at EBACE. The manufacturer is represented by its official European distributor, UK-based Aeris Aviation (based at Branscombe Airfield in Devon), which is offering demo flights in the Eclipse 500 very light jet during the show.
During an EBACE interview, Daher-Socata (Booth 1643) airplane division senior v-p Nicolas Chabbert told AIN that none of the company’s design engineers is currently working on its new twin project (NTX) that it has been considering since 2008. “The NTX project is in standby mode,” he said. At least, the Tarbes, France-based manufacturer of the single-engine TBM 850 turboprop knows where its main competitors stand. Pilatus has just unveiled a light twinjet, the PC-24, and Beechcraft now offers a turboprop-only lineup.
JetNet iQ director Rolland Vincent is “very optimistic” about the outlook for business aviation in Europe as well as the rest of the world, he said yesterday at EBACE. Over the next 10 years, the company is calling for deliveries of 9,317 business jets worth $257 billion. In 2022, the projected business jet fleet would thus reach 25,937, a 36-percent increase from the 19,016 jets flying today.
Daher-Socata’s NTX project, a new twin the company has been considering since 2008, “is in standby mode,” airplane division senior v-p Nicolas Chabbert told AIN this week at EBACE.
AIN understands that Daher-Socata has considered both a twin turboprop and a twinjet under the NTX project banner. Without referring specifically to one option or the other, Chabbert said Daher-Socata is not excluding any possibility. However, the company has already ruled out resurrecting the Grob SPn program after some in-depth evaluations, including flight tests of the SPn prototype.
Bombardier’s wholly owned Amsterdam Service Center at Amsterdam-Schiphol International Airport will soon add engine services by Dallas Airmotive, interior refurbishment by OHS Aviation and aircraft cleaning and detailing by the Allen Group to its line and heavy maintenance services for Learjet, Challenger and Global business jets, the Canadian company announced here yesterday. Plans call for a series of agreements with the three suppliers to take effect in the second half of this year.
Eurocopter (Booth 7050) has received orders from China’s State Grid General Aviation Co. (SGGAC) for two AS350 B3e AStars and one EC225 . They will be used not only to support the country’s electric grid development but also for other airlift missions. “The SGGAC is growing its helicopter fleet and capabilities,” said general manager Zou Ben Guo.
The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) and Northrop Grumman said the MQ-4C Triton broad area maritime surveillance aircraft completed its first flight from the company’s Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility on May 22. The Global Hawk maritime derivative flew for 80 minutes in restricted airspace and reached an altitude of 20,000 feet.