Alenia Aeronautica is one of three companies within the Italian Finmeccanica group that deal with fixed-wing aircraft production. The others are Alenia Aermacchi, which is also active in both commercial and military aircraft, and Superjet International, the joint venture with Russia’s Sukhoi in the regional jet business. The company is eagerly awaiting the imminent maiden flight of the Boeing 787, which will open a new phase in the program.
Rolls-Royce has signed a jointly funded research and technology contract with the UK ministry of defense.
Alenia Aeronautica is claiming leadership in Europe of unmanned aircraft development, following the recent completion of new flight tests of the Sky-Y demonstrator. The five flights took place within specially designated airspace in the Puglia region of Italy, and followed 14 earlier flights on the test range at Vidsel in northern Sweden.
Shortly before the Farnborough airshow Dassault accomplished the first autonomous flight of its AVE-D UAV demonstrator. On June 30 at Toul, France, the AVE-D flew a completely autonomous sequence. It included moving away and returning to its parking spot, runway alignment, takeoff, maneuvering and landing, without any offboard input.
One of the biggest problems for those designing the next generation of unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs) is how to define, choose and incorporate a powerplant. Rolls-Royce believes it has the answer in a new type of engine system that has a much hotter core and provides not only power to the airframe, but also manages the entire power requirement of the UCAV. However, it doesn’t have the money for the program–at least, not yet.
Switzerland is in the market for about 20 new fighters to progressively replace its remaining F-5 fleet. In a preliminary evaluation, the defense ministry pre-
While European governments preach greater collaboration in defense research and development, three competing programs for uninhabited combat air vehicles (UCAVs) have been officially funded. Yet the aim of all three is to preserve the European high-technology base and develop important capabilities such as low-observability and autonomous control, independent of the U.S.
The Dassault family again holds the majority share of Dassault Aviation, with 50.01 percent of the French aircraft manufacturer’s stock.
EADS Defense and Security Division confirmed that three European governments have provided funds for a risk-reduction study of the company’s concept for a modular, jet-powered reconnaissance UAV. EADS Germany previously designed, built and flew a UCAV demonstrator called the Barracuda mainly using its own funds, but this unmanned airplane crashed last year during an early test flight.
Two of Europe’s manned combat air vehicle programs have taken significant strides in recent times. The Neuron UCAV technical demonstrator is being built by a Dassault-led team with partners in Sweden, Italy, Greece, Switzerland and Spain. From official notification in February 2006, the team has established an efficient structure for industrial cooperation, leading to a satisfactory interim review in September.