Senior British military officials confirmed that the UK will conduct shipboard rolling vertical landing (SRVL) trials on the F-35B version of the Lockheed Martin Lightning II stealth combat jet. The SRVL technique would allow the aircraft to land at higher weights than is currently possible in the VTOL mode. The F-35B has faced weight problems, leading to concerns that it could not “bring back” to its aircraft carrier a useful weapons load that has not been expended in combat.
A long list of major U.S. aerospace and missile defense systems that have been compromised by hackers was obtained by The Washington Post. The list was withheld from the publicly released version of a Defense Science Board Task Force report to the Pentagon on cyber threats last January. The report concluded that “the DOD is not prepared to defend against this threat.” According to senior industry and military officials contacted by the newpaper, most of the hacking was done by China.
Major fighter manufacturers displayed their wares this week at the 2013 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition in Malaysia in anticipation of that country’s pending requirement for new fighters. Five aircraft considered contenders for the program–the Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab JAS-39 Gripen, Dassault Rafale, Boeing F/A-18F and Sukhoi Su-30MKM–participated in the aerial display.
Having selected the Gripen E/F to fulfill its F-5 replacement requirement, the Swiss air force is calmly confident that the acquisition makes it through the political process unscathed. Lt. Gen. Markus Gygax, the air force chief of staff, spoke to AIN last month about his service’s plans for the machine.
Last month Raytheon and Kongsberg conducted the first firing of the Evolved Sea Sparrow missile (ESSM) from the NASAMS (Norwegian advanced surface-to-air missile system). The June 24 firing at Norway’s Andøya Rocket Range not only validated the ability to fire the ESSM with the system, but also the ability to integrate an older-generation Hawk high-power illuminator into the system.
MBDA has unveiled a mockup and video depiction of SPEAR, a turbojet-powered air-surface missile for the UK Royal Air Force. SPEAR stands for selective precision effects at range and the missile is intended for launch from the stealthy Lockheed Martin F-35 (Joint Strike Fighter) at ranges in excess of 100 km.
MBDA has successfully completed firing trials of Meteor, the missile that will be carried by the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen, and the company is now preparing to start production. The collaborative effort by six European nations has been nine years in development but has produced a beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) that is “vastly superior to anything else in the market,” according to chief engineer Andy Bradford.
The U.S. Department of Defense rolled out a $614 billion Fiscal Year 2013 budget submission February 13, revealing further program cancellations and “restructurings” to previously announced cuts. Sacrificed in the Pentagon’s exercise to reduce $259 billion over its five-year future years defense program (FYDP) are the Navy’s medium-range martime unmanned aircraft system (MRMUAS) and the Air Force’s next generation missile (NGM).
Over two decades have passed since the laser-guided version of Raytheon’s AGM-65 missile left production but, due to emerging requirements, the “laser Maverick” is back.
Production of the Boeing F-15 Strike Eagle is currently due to end next year, after the last of 60 F-15K models for Korea and 24 F-15SG models for Singapore are completed.
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