The FAA published an update last week to the 13-year-old JO 7110.113D order governing procedures for issuing departure clearance using the pre-departure clearance (PDC) system available through the electronic control tower datalink system (TDLS). The change resulted from the agency and user community jointly identifying several inconsistencies in the process, as well as misunderstandings about how the process is understood by those receiving clearances.
NBAA joined a coalition of aviation groups this week in calling for the Senate to pass legislation that would require the FAA to get industry input before implementing mandatory testing of pilots and air traffic controllers for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) before receiving a medical certificate. The U.S. House of Representatives passed an identical bill on February 11 by voice vote.
Rockwell Collins (Booth No. 8040) opened Heli-Expo 2014 with announcements that its new MFD-268P2B multifunction displays are now standard equipment on Sikorsky S-92 medium-lift helicopters.
Available on new S-92s delivered this year, the MFD-268P2B offers improved color stability and readability for high-angle, cross-cockpit viewing. The displays may also be upgraded, with provisions for installation of synthetic vision, H-TAWS terrain awareness and the company’s MultiScan weather radar systems.
The latest example of the stealthy Chengdu J-20 fighter has recently undergone high-speed taxi testing at the company airfield, suggesting that a first flight is imminent, possibly scheduled for this weekend. Thought to be the third flying example of the J-20, the new aircraft is being considered as a true developmental airframe for an operational fighter, and has introduced a number of significant improvements over the two technology demonstrators that preceded it. Many of the changes are measures taken to reduce the type’s radar cross section.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced today that the country’s government has approved the purchase of eight Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. The first aircraft is scheduled to enter service at RAAF Edinburgh in South Australia in 2017, and all eight are due for delivery by 2021. The initial deal is worth AUS$4 billion ($3.59 billion), of which around a quarter will be spent in Australia on aircraft support and base facilities. A further four aircraft are held as options. Australia becomes the second export customer for the Poseidon, following India.
Having already supplied pricing, availability and technical data, Northrop Grumman is hopeful that in the coming weeks the Republic of Korea will sign a letter of acceptance concerning the acquisition of four RQ-4B Global Hawk HALE UAVs, paving the way for a formal request for proposal and contract signature. The potential sale was notified to U.S. Congress in December 2012, and is being conducted via government-to-government channels, with the U.S.
One of the messages that Raytheon has brought to Singapore is that the evolving technological capabilities of both air-to-air missiles and fighter radar must proceed hand-in-hand if an operator is to take full advantage of new performance gains. As radar-guided weapons increase in effective range capability, so better radars are required with sufficient performance to match that of the weapon.
The war of words between the system integrators and radar houses that are chasing the F-16 upgrade market intensified here this week. With 3,500 Fighting Falcons still flying, at least one-third of which might be upgraded, the stakes are high. Here in Singapore, BAE Systems Inc. and Raytheon are hoping that the local Ministry of Defence will entertain their rival proposals for a contract that could be worth almost $2.5 billion, and consider them above the solution offered by Lockheed Martin (LM) and Northrop Grumman (NG).
Raytheon has warned against overreliance on stealthy platforms alone in future air combat. Despite their low radar cross-sections (RCS), fifth-generation fighters such as the F-35 can be detected by modern air defense systems. To defeat these defenses, air forces should take full advantage of the latest sensors and weapons that can be carried on less stealthy aircraft, the company said.
Facing the demands of increasing air traffic capacity and operational efficiency, the countries of the Asia Pacific region have launched various programs to adopt recent advances in Air Traffic Management and advances inavionics technology over the past couple of decades. Some countries (notably Australia) have forged ahead, while others are further behind, but it is hoped that recent developments could see closer cooperation for an eventual move to a whole-area solution.