The path to a fully multi-role Eurofighter Typhoon is finally becoming clear. At a media briefing here tomorrow (Wednesday), the company hopes to announce the first test flight in Italy of an aircraft carrying the MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile. The jet’s full operational clearance to drop smart bombs came recently. Meanwhile one of the prototypes will fly next spring with the Selex AESA radar.
Both Tawazun and Mubadala are displaying models of the new maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) version of the Piaggio Avanti that is under development for Adasi, a Tawazun subsidiary. Piaggio Aero, in which Mubadala has a large stake, is developing the aircraft platform with a long-span wing and increased foreplane and tailplane area, among other changes. Sweden’s Saab has been employed to provide the mission system. The MPA will be operated by a crew of four, comprising a pilot, two sensor/system operators and a mission commander.
The adoption of Honeywell’s SmartPath precision landing system by Middle East airports is expected to gain momentum over the next few years, in response to the “phenomenal growth” of aviation in the area, according to SmartPath senior product manager Pat Reines–although the company is still waiting its first order from the region.
Quest Aviation Solutions has put plans to develop the Gulf region’s first locally-produced helicopter on ice to take up an opportunity to become sales distributor for MD Helicopters. In a deal announced here at the Dubai Airshow this week, Quest will be appointed as the U.S. manufacturer’s representative in the UAE. It is reviewing a project launched two years ago to begin local production of a Ukrainian-designed helicopter called AVQ.
Aviation Partners Boeing last month announced that, after launching on the Boeing 737 NG, split scimitar winglets can now be fitted on the Boeing BBJ family. The new split scimitar winglets offer a significant reduction of drag compared to the non-winglet-equipped Boeings and a noticeable drag reduction for those equipped with Aviation Partners Boeing blended winglets.
Selex ES revealed its development of an expendable active-radar decoy (EAD) for combat aircraft. The BriteCloud is the size and shape of a flare and can be dispensed from a standard 55-mm flare cartridge. Flight-tests will take place next year on a Saab Gripen, and customers for the Swedish fighter will be the first to be offered the new electronic warfare device.
Progress has proven slow–tediously slow–for Mitsubishi’s MRJ regional jet program during the two years between the 2011 Dubai Air Show and this one. In fact, program schedules reflect two separate year-and-a-half-long delays to certification since then, placing the company further from its elusive goal today than it thought it stood during the 2011 edition of the Middle East’s premier aerospace event.
“We have worked a lot to define the volume and to look at how the 7X is used for long flights, to find the most comfortable and efficient way to use [the new 5X],” said Olivier Villa, Dassault senior v-p for civil aircraft.
The cabin volume of the 5X is 1,770 cu ft compared to 1,550 cu ft on the 7X. The unfinished cabin interior height is 78 inches, which is four inches more than the 7X/900LX, and the maximum width is increased by 10 inches.
Dassault Aviation launched its long-awaited, all-new Falcon 5X at last month’s NBAA show in Las Vegas. The long-range, advanced technology model should provoke strong interest among the growing Middle Eastern jet set.
With around 1,000 employees, the electronic warfare arm of Selex ES is a major player in the EW marketplace, as a lead integrator on programs, such as the Praetorian defensive system of the Eurofighter Typhoon; a provider of equipment; and as a developer of new technology. It is also increasingly involved in supporting EW operations of air arms as nations move toward greater control over their own electronic warfare resources.