When Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) developed the T-50 Golden Eagle in partnership with Lockheed Martin in 2001 hopes were high in South Korea that the only supersonic trainer jet would become a hit around the world. Nine years later, industry opinion remains divided as to whether this potential will be fulfilled and what has actually been achieved to this end since KAI entered a joint marketing effort with Lockheed Martin in 2006.
In late September the Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF) became the latest customer for the Hawker Beechcraft T-6 Texan II trainer and the first for the weapons-capable T-6C. The $37 million Foreign Military Sales contract covers the first installment of a planned 24-aircraft purchase that was first notified to the U.S. Congress through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency in late 2007.
Appearing for the first time outside China, the L-15 Falcon is at Dubai to promote its capabilities here in a region that offers significant market potential for advanced trainers. At the same time, the resurgent AVIC organization is highlighting its ability to provide total training solutions for modern air arms.
The first Euro Hawk UAV for the German Air Force (GAF) was unveiled last month at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, Calif. facility. It was apparent that the wing pods that house the SIGINT sensors, provided by EADS Defence and Security, have again grown in size, since AIN provided a description of this program at the Paris Air Show last June.
On Tuesday Patria handed over the first serial production upgraded Hawk trainer to the Finnish air force here at the Paris Air Show. The Finnish group has upgraded the aircraft with a CMC Electronics Cockpit 4000 avionics suite, SparrowHawk HUD and multi-function displays, among other improvements.
Esterline CMC Electronics (Hall 3 Stand D50) is giving Paris showgoers their first glimpse of the company’s latest portable computer with the unveiling of a new version of the PilotView electronic flight bag (EFB) called the CMA-1410.
If all goes well, the German air force could be the first air arm to routinely operate a military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in European airspace. The first Euro Hawk should fly from the U.S. to the Manching test base in southern German during mid-2010 and begin operational flight evaluations from Schleswig-Jagel air base a year later.
The United Arab Emirates has selected the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master to fulfill its advanced trainer and combat support requirement. The UAE Air Force and Air Defense (AFAD) plans to acquire 48 Masters for lead-in fighter training and light attack duties.
Although neither the UAE nor Singapore has yet chosen their new jet trainer, both have now eliminated the BAE Systems Hawk from consideration. They continue to evaluate the more modern Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and KAI/Lockheed Martin T-50 Golden Eagle. These setbacks have caused BAE to refocus the Hawk sales campaign on upgrades and through-life support.
The first seven Eurofighter Typhoons for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) are now in final assembly at the Warton, UK facility of BAE Systems. The company will say only that the first flight is planned for “later this year.” The date of the first delivery to the Kingdom is known to be June 2009. The first 24 of the 72 Typhoons that are being supplied to Saudi Arabia are being assembled at Warton.