UK manufacturer Aveillant last week unveiled a 3-D radar system capable of watching aircraft continuously to distances of 40 nm from the antenna. Since the new system’s antenna does not rotate it is capable of direct contact with the aircraft at all times. It then measures distance and altitude by tracking the target’s Doppler shift and reports back with speed, altitude and direction-of-flight information. The first demonstration of the system is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year.
Guided rocket conversion competitors BAE Systems and Raytheon announced new milestones for their respective offerings. BAE’s Advanced Precision Kill Weapon (APKWS) and Raytheon’s Talon laser-guided rocket (LGR) convert standard 2.75-inch Hydra rockets into precision guided munitions by adding a semi-active laser guidance package.
Dr. David Byers, developer of the Synthetic Air Traffic Advisory System (Satas), which uses off-the-shelf technology to create a virtual control tower, demonstrated the system at last week’s Sun ’n’ Fun show in Lakeland, Fla. Satas combines a SharpEye radar unit, developed by DeTect of Panama City, Fla., for marine applications, with the airfield radar system from SRI of Rockledge, Fla., which makes ground security radars. Together, the systems identify and track aircraft flying in the area, all without the need for any transponders on board the aircraft.
Now 10 days after the transponder from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 stopped transmitting over the South China Sea, the search for the missing Boeing 777 has expanded to involve 25 countries and cover an area spanning a million square miles. The expansion of the search came in reaction to evidence that the airplane’s satcom system continued to transmit for several hours after Malaysian military radar lost contact with the airplane some 200 miles northwest of the island of Panang off the Western coast of the Malay peninsula.
Large flocks of birds around many Indian airports continue to threaten aircraft that are constantly under threat of strikes particularly during takeoff and landing. Data compiled by Airports Authority of India for Chennai International Airport, for example, shows bird strikes increased from 38 in 2012 to 50 in 2013.
Ushering in a new era of capability for the UAE’s growing defense business is the Al Tariq glide-bomb kit family produced by Tawazun Dynamics. The joint venture between Tawazun (51 percent) and South Africa’s Denel Dynamics (49 percent) was announced in September 2012 at the AAD show in Pretoria. Based on Denel’s Umbani weapon, Al Tariq is a modular family of bomb kits that turn regular freefall bombs into stand-off precision-guided weapons.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) last week notified Congress of another massive sale to Gulf countries by American companies. Saudi Arabia is buying air-launched weapons worth $6.8 billion for its new F-15SA Strike Eagles; the UAE is buying air-launched weapons worth $4 billion for its F-16s. The main U.S. contractors to benefit are Boeing (providing SLAM-ER and Harpoon missiles and small-diameter bombs) and Raytheon (providing JSOW missiles and Paveway “smart” bombs).
Here at Le Bourget, Rafael is launching the latest member of its Spice (smart, precise impact, cost-effective) family of precision-guided glide bombs, the Spice 250. The company’s Spice 1000 and 2000 have now been in service for some time with several customers, and they are combat-proven. These Spice variants comprise guidance and wing kits that are applied to standard Mk 83 1,000-pound and Mk 84 2,000-pound warheads, the wings giving them a range of around 60 km for the Spice 2000 and 100 km for the Spice 2000.
Based in Mooresville, North Carolina, Iomax USA (Chalet A132) has chosen the Paris Air Show to launch its ArchAngel border-patrol aircraft. The ArchAngel has a wide variety of sensor and weapon options available and offers customers a low-cost but highly effective platform for a range of ISR and light attack missions. ArchAngel is in many ways an evolution from the Air Tractor AT-802U armed agricultural aircraft that was previously displayed at Le Bourget. However, much has changed since then.
For the Dassault Rafale combat jet, the French intervention in Mali provided another chance to demonstrate its multirole capability. Starting with a 3,400-mile interdiction mission (AI) launched from France on the night of January 13, up to six aircraft subsequently flew daily from their deployed base at N’Djamena, Chad, also performing reconnaissance and close-air-support (CAS) missions. Six of them are still there.
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