Speaking prior to the Paris Air Show, Antoine Bouvier, CEO of European missile house MBDA, said, “2012 was an excellent year in terms of performance but it was a year of contrast for order intake. It was our best ever year for export, but the domestic market fell short, especially in France.” Leading those good export figures was a sizeable sale of MICA air-to-air missiles to India to support a Mirage 2000 upgrade program.
China’s under-development J-20 combat aircraft recently demonstrated its missile-launch mechanism, which the Chinese media tout as a simple but “more efficient” design than that of the American F-22.
Boosted by a visit from British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday, yesterday Eurofighter described an upgrade path for the Typhoon that finally appears to be on a firm footing.
Morocco and the U.S. government have signed a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) to purchase Raytheon’s AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder infrared guided air-to-air missile for the country’s Lockheed Martin F-16s. This makes Morocco the fourth country to purchase the Block II and the eleventh to purchase AIM-9X, although the quantity is undisclosed.
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.
A new inter-governmental treaty to be signed in 2013 or 2014 will enhance Anglo-French cooperation on missile development, said Antoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDA. The company has responded to the moves by London and Paris to share defense costs and capabilities with a proposal to create “centers of excellence” that will rationalize the development of new weapons. Bouvier explained that although MBDA is a multinational company, only specific programs such as the Meteor air-to-air missile and the Scalp/Storm Shadow cruise missile are currently developed cooperatively across national boundaries.
Russian air force commander Gen Alexander Zelin told Russian media that a new air-to-air missile will be accepted into service shortly and “double the combat capability” of the MiG-31 interceptor. A Russian air force spokesman added that the service plans to modernize 60 aircraft to the MiG-31BM standard by 2020. The upgrade includes a new radar (believed to be the Zaslon-M capable of detecting up to 10 targets simultaneously at a range of up to 175 nm); new mission computer; and new color cockpit displays.
On show in the static area is Singapore’s latest air defense system, the Spyder-SR provided by Rafael. Spyder (the name derives from the Python and Derby missiles that form its armament) is a family of air defense systems based on common weapons and common software. It was devised for export, and it has been successful in several countries, including India.
Rafael has come to the Singapore Airshow to display a wide array of its products, which can be seen at Booth N55. The Israeli company has become a specialist in several key areas, such as air defense, precision weapons, reconnaissance sensors and systems, and command and control. It believes that its products and systems have great relevance in many areas of the world, especially in the Asia Pacific region.
MBDA Deutschland conducted three firing trials of its PARS 3 LR fire-and-forget precision missile in late April as part of its campaign to sell the weapon to India. Performed at the Vidsel range in Sweden, the test firings were undertaken from a German Eurocopter Tiger UHT helicopter, for which PARS 3 LR has been selected by the German army.
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