The rival contenders for the huge U.S. Air Force KC-X competition for a new aerial tanker have been briefing the relative merits of the KC-30 and the KC-767 all round the show this week. But political considerations apart–and there are plenty of those–it all boils down to a simple fact: size matters.
Northrop Grumman’s laser directional infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) system has successfully thwarted simulated heat-seeking missile attacks on an AH-64D Apache helicopter. The series of 31 tests took place at Vliehors Test Range in Netherlands on a Dutch aircraft.The system is self-contained in a pod and thus removable. It automatically detects a missile launch.
Northrop Grumman’s UK subsidiary, Park Air Systems, has been selected to supply air traffic control upgrades in Central and Eastern Europe worth approximately $15 million.
The U.S. Marine Corps has chosen Northrop Grumman’s directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system for its CH-53E helicopters in a $19.7 million deal. It will be the first application of the company’s two-color infrared missile warning sensor system coupled with its mini-pointer/tracker assembly, forming a DIRCM suite to protect the CH-53Es from threat missiles.
As the final E-2C Hawkeye 2000 proceeds down the Northrop Grumman production line at St. Augustine, Florida, the company is preparing to fly the first example of its replacement–the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. The first of two system development and demonstration (SDD) aircraft was rolled out at the plant on April 30 and is being checked out on the ground prior to a first flight in late summer.
Paul Schweizer seems to have taken well to his unfamiliar role as an employee. Some five months after Sikorsky bought his company, Schweizer joked about having to answer to a boss for the first time in 22 years, but he seemed liberated by the prospect of tackling a backlog that had grown too big for his little company to handle.
The landing gear extension and retraction system for the Airbus A380 and the Boeing KC-767A tanker mission system are among Smiths Aerospace’s most visible contributions to this year’s Paris Air Show, but they are just the tip of a highly diversified iceberg, according to the group’s president, Dr. John Ferrie.
Bloodied and bruised by the U.S. Air Force tanker fiasco, Boeing has fought back this week by bringing the first KC-767A to the Paris show. But yet another damning report on the aborted U.S. lease deal has not only further tarnished the company’s reputation but also cast doubt on whether the Pentagon really needs a new fleet of tankers anytime soon.
Here at the Paris Air Show yesterday, Stork and Northrop Grumman signed a framework contract worth $150 million for Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter airframe components. If the agreement translates into a firm order, Stork will produce 520 in-flight opening doors for all three types and 110 inner weapons bay doors for the STOVL version during the low-rate initial production phase.