Having been developed in some urgency, Rafael’s Iron Dome dual-mission defense system is now operational, and in April an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) battery proved its worth for the first time when several Grad rockets were intercepted after launch from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.
Typhoon pilots with Britain’s Royal Air Force will soon be flying with a helmet-mounted system that will significantly increase their situational awareness (SA), particularly in the air-to-air role.
Sukhoi has completed its preliminary flight and bench trials program for the T-50 PAK-FA fighter. Three airframes were built for the initial campaign, comprising one static aircraft (T-50-0), one flying prototype (T-50-1) and an avionics testbed (T-50-2). A display flight by T-50-1 on June 17 in front of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin marked the 16th time the aircraft had flown.
Following a successful test last fall, Raytheon’s fifth-generation AIM-9X–the principal short-range air-to-air missile employed by U.S. forces–could become a part of the air-to-surface inventory for employment against both land and sea targets.
MBDA’s joint venture with Abu Dhabi-based Baynuna Aviation Technology, dubbed Baynuna MBDA Missile Technologies (BMT), has just been incorporated. It was announced in February as a 49-51 effort between the European missile manufacturer and the local company.
The four partner nations in Eurofighter have agreed to delay until 2015 the introduction of the Meteor, the advanced rocket-ramjet beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed by MBDA. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is managing the development of Meteor, and is the only country to have committed to production so far. However, the MoD told the UK National Audit Office that it was falling into line with Germany, Italy and Spain.
A ceremonial review of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) last month included the static display of two new Japanese air-to-air missiles that are now entering service on the JASDF’s F-15J interceptors. The AAM-4 is an active-radar-guided replacement for the AIM-7M Sparrow. It has been under development by Mitsubishi and the Japan Defense Agency (JDA) for about 10 years.
Intended to arm the ‘Euro-canards’ (Gripen, Rafale and Typhoon) and possibly integrate into the RAF’s JSFs, the MBDA Meteor ramjet-powered missile is taking giant strides towards service entry. Recent successful guided firings have paved the way for trials of production-representative missiles, keeping the program on track for an in-service date of 2013.
Two companies are offering Israeli-built anti-missile systems to the civil aircraft market to protect airliners and business aircraft from the terrorist threat posed by shoulder-launched missiles, or Manpads (man-portable air defense systems).
Russia’s AGAT Research Institute is unveiling a new seeker that could become an industry standard in the air-to-air and surface-to-air missile industry. Designated the 9B-1103M-150, the model is a more advanced and compact version of the active RH seeker fitted to the Vympel RVV-AE medium-range air-to-air missile–the Russian equivalent of the Raytheon AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM).