The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) and Northrop Grumman said the MQ-4C Triton broad area maritime surveillance aircraft completed its first flight from the company’s Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility on May 22. The Global Hawk maritime derivative flew for 80 minutes in restricted airspace and reached an altitude of 20,000 feet.
Prime contractor Raytheon expects that the U.S. Army will begin an operational evaluation in the coming fiscal year of its joint land attack cruise missile defense elevated netted sensor system (JLENS), an aerostat-based surveillance system that will monitor a sizeable chunk of the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region.
The U.S. Air Force awarded Raytheon a $50.6 million engineering and manufacturing development contract to build mobile ATC systems capable of providing approach control guidance to military and other aircraft operating within a terminal airspace area. Raytheon will supply 19 mobile systems under the service’s deployable radar approach control (D-Rapcon) program; the overall contract value is approximately $400 million.
In a last-ditch effort to stop the FAA’s furloughing of air traffic controllers to meet government-wide budget reductions, the House and Senate passed legislation late last week to transfer money from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund to pay controllers’ salaries and prevent the closure of some privately operated control towers. Congress quickly moved to relieve the FAA of its need to furlough controllers after just five days of prolonged flight delays at major airports last week.
Some of the very communities on which the regional airline industry built its legacy face “devastating cuts to air service” if the various stakeholders don’t act quickly, officials from the Regional Airline Association warn. The reasons vary, and each presents its own set of challenges.
On Sunday the FAA began air controller furloughs that the agency said are required to comply with budgets cuts mandated under sequestration. The move has resulted in not only cascading air traffic delays but also scorn and lawsuits from aviation industry groups.
Flight Explorer, exhibiting at the ABACE show here in Shanghai for the first time, claims to offer much more than flight tracking, although that is one of the company’s core products. It can track aircraft equipped with Iridium satellite communications systems anywhere in the world, and provide a private feed of that data to customers who operate those aircraft. Flight Explorer (Booth H525) is a Sabre group company, and also provides flight tracking via global radar feeds of aircraft flying in airspace controlled by the U.S.
The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has chosen the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR) for its pending upgrade of 134 F-16C/Ds, for delivery beginning in late 2016. The Koreans are the first to choose between the RACR and the rival Scaleable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) from Northrop Grumman, which previously supplied all radars for F-16s. At least another 500 F-16s belonging to Singapore, Taiwan and the U.S. Air Force could be upgraded with advanced electronically scanned array (AESA) radars such as the RACR and the SABR.
As expected, President Obama’s budget for Fiscal Year 2014, released yesterday, includes a proposed aviation user fee–just as previous budgets have since 2007 when the Bush Administration first floated the idea.
“Midair collisions statistics are revealing,” said Avidyne COO Patrick Herguth during the company’s press conference at Sun ’n Fun 2013 (Booth C-71). “Fifty-nine percent of midairs happen near the airport; and 54 percent are between aircraft flying in the same direction.” Herguth was citing a 10-year-long study published by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.