The Russian defense ministry has decided to modernize the air force’s surviving MiG-25 spyplanes for service until 2020. The venerable aircraft will receive a modern navigation suite based on Glonass receivers and laser gyroscopes; digital photo and video cameras; and a new “radio-technical reconnaissance complex.” The latter will include a new side-looking radar for surface surveillance and various communications and electronic intelligence-gathering systems.
The $1.79 billion deal for Superior Aviation Beijing to acquire bankrupt Hawker Beechcraft has been scrapped, the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer announced this morning. As a result, Hawker Beechcraft now plans to emerge from bankruptcy protection in the spring as a standalone company focusing on its turboprop, piston, special-mission and trainer/attack aircraft, as well as parts, maintenance, repairs and refurbishment businesses. The company’s Hawker business jet lines will likely be sold–in whole or individually–or shut down, it added.
Eurocopter plans to design a fly-by-wire (FBW) control system for light helicopters, according to a job offer the company published yesterday. The manufacturer is looking for an engineer who would initially be tasked with writing specifications for the FBW system, which seems to indicate the entry into service of such a rotorcraft would take place after that of the still-under-wraps X4. A Dauphin medium-twin replacement, the fly-by-wire X4 is planned to enter into service in 2020.
GE Honda Aero Engines completed water-ingestion testing last week on the HF120 engine that powers Honda Aircraft’s HondaJet. The tests were done in one of GE’s Peebles, Ohio test cells.
“2012 has been an extremely productive year,” said GE Honda Aero president Terry Sharp. The HF120 passed the ice slab test in August 2011 after failing it in February 2011, due to fan blade tip deformation causing a reduction in required thrust, according to executive v-p Masahiko Izumi. “We decided to make a small design change” to the fan blade tips, he said.
The FAA granted type certification last Friday for the Sikorsky S-76D medium-twin helicopter, a protracted program that was launched in 2006. Deliveries, which were originally slated to start in late 2010, are now planned to begin later this quarter, as the backlog is “approaching half a billion dollars.”
According to Sikorsky Global Helicopters vice president Ed Beyer, “The S-76D will offer a higher cruise speed than its predecessors, coupled with more efficient fuel burn, making the S-76 more productive than ever.” Deliveries of the original S-76 began in 1979.
The proposed 60-40 merger of EADS and BAE Systems was called off after management in both companies miscalculated the reaction of governments and shareholders. Paris and Berlin proved unwilling to give up their stakes in EADS, or reduce them to a degree that was acceptable to the two merging companies, to London, and (perhaps) to Washington.
The Russian defense ministry awarded United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) a launch order for 39 Il-476 heavy airlifters, also referred to as the Il-76MD-90A. The move is partially designed to convey program assurance to potential customers in China and India. These countries already operate “classic” Il-76s. The new version can transport a 114,500-pound payload over a range of 2,700 nm.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is poised to take important decisions on new helicopters and refueling aircraft, said Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne in a briefing to mark the service’s 80th anniversary and the release of a new, unclassified doctrine document.
On October 6 Israel shot down a UAV over the northern Negev desert, south of Hebron and near the country’s nuclear weapons site at Dimona. The UAV entered Israeli airspace from the Mediterranean and was intercepted by F-16s from Ramon air base. According to Israeli media reports, the first Python missile fired at the drone missed, but a second was successful. The Israeli air force has released a video purporting to show the engagement.
Embraer delivered 40 aircraft in the third quarter, including 27 airliners and 13 business jets (11 light and two large jets), the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer announced yesterday. The company has shipped 129 aircraft in the first nine months–83 E-jet airliners and 46 business jets (40 light and six large jets)–which equates to 10 more airliners, but three fewer business jets, than it delivered in the same period last year.