A briefing on the Eurofighter Typhoon organized by BAE Systems at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford last week provided a further indication that some key upgrades to the combat jet are being funded by Saudi Arabia and possibly Oman. The four original partner nations have proved reluctant to collectively fund in the near term enhancements that extend the aircraft’s air-to-ground capability, such as integration of the MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile. The four partners have also so far failed to approve full development of the Captor-E AESA radar by the Euroradar consortium.
BAE Systems has won a contract to provide the spoiler control electronics for the new Boeing 737 Max, the UK-based company announced Tuesday. The deal boosts BAE’s comparatively small but resurgent civil business at a time of sagging defense spending.
BAE Systems expects that the U.S. and Korean governments will sign a letter of offer and acceptance later this year authorizing the foreign military sale (FMS) of BAE’s F-16 avionics and weapons upgrade to the Republic of Korea Air Force. The company provided an update on the Korean program and a sales pitch for further F-16 upgrades during a Paris Air Show briefing on Tuesday.
Saab CEO Håkan Buskhe revealed this week that the company is exploring the idea of an Optional Manned Gripen (OMG). While believing that manned operations will still be needed for at least the next 40 years, Buskhe also recognizes that many “dull and dangerous” missions could be performed better by an unmanned aircraft. Using an OMG for such roles rather than acquiring another type of aircraft would, in essence, halve the logistics costs. OMGs could perhaps operate in a formation under the control of piloted aircraft.
Poland is looking for a new advanced trainer that can replace its current Iskra jets from around 2015, to complement PZL Orlik primary/basic trainers. Eight new aircraft are being sought in a tender for an integrated aircrew training system for the country’s air force. With Czech company Aero Vodochody having dropped out, three companies have recently responded, in the form of Alenia Aermacchi (M346), Lockheed Martin (KAI T-50) and BAE Systems (Hawk AJT).
Transport Canada has granted Falko Regional Aircraft full transport category type certification for the Avro RJ series of airliners. The jets had not been certified in Canada when originally in production with BAE Systems, although the earlier BAe 146 models were approved by Transport Canada.
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) introduced two BAE Systems 146 jet transports modified to accommodate troops and their equipment. BAE Systems Regional Aircraft designed the conversion–from a quick-change interior–under a $23 million urgent operational requirement (UOR) contract; subcontractor Hawker Beechcraft Services at Chester in the UK completed the project.
Saudi Arabia and Great Britain have still not agreed to terms for a resumption of Eurofighter Typhoon deliveries. Twenty-four aircraft are operational in the Middle East kingdom, out of the total 72 agreed in the Al-Salam deal. Construction of numbers 25 upward began in 2009, but instead of proceeding to the final assembly line, the subassemblies were placed in storage at BAE’s Warton factory. When they were eventually moved into final assembly last year, it seemed that an agreement was close.
Contrary to recent speculation in the financial press, EADS has no intention of reviving the merger talks with BAE Systems that were aborted last October. “It’s not on our radar; we’re both moving on,” said Tom Enders, CEO of EADS. “All the stars were aligned last summer, or so we thought. But at least one proved to be missing,” he continued, in a reference to the German government’s opposition to the merger.
The Regional Aircraft Division of BAE Systems has won a contract with Eastern Airways of the UK for its rate-per-flying-hour aircraft spares support service. The three-year support deal covers 16 Prestwick-built Jetstream 41 turboprop airliners. BAE Systems has provided support for Eastern Airways’ Jetstream 41 operation for the past 11 years.