No civilian casualties…low collateral damage…restrictive rules of engagement. Today, the air-ground attack mission is more demanding than ever. The Paveway IV precision-guided weapon produced by Raytheon UK is already the Royal Air Force’s smartest bomb. A proposed series of improvements should make it even more flexible and accurate.
Sen. Claire McCaskill is the latest politician to take a poke at the FAA, this time over an $860 million contract to train new and current air traffic controllers. According to the Missouri Democrat, who is chairman of the Senate subcommittee on contracting oversight, the program will run out of money by August, more than one year before the contract is scheduled to end.
A demonstrator for the U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (Bams) UAV crashed near NAS Patuxent River on June 11. The UAV crashed into swampland about 20 miles east of the base and was destroyed, after what the Navy described as a routine flight. The accident came just four days before Northrop Grumman unveiled the first MQ-4C, the full-specification Bams UAV, at Palmdale, Calif.
Jamming of GPS signals by North Korea may have contributed to the fatal crash of a Schiebel S-100 Camcopter UAV near Incheon, South Korea, on May 10. The small helicopter crashed into its ground control van, killing a Schiebel engineer and injuring the two remote pilots, both Koreans. The jamming started on April 28 and disrupted passenger flights into Seoul’s two airports, Kimpo and Incheon. South Korean government officials told local media that the jamming originated from the border town of Kaesong.
BAE Systems is competing against Lockheed Martin to be the prime contractor for Korea’s forthcoming upgrade of some 130 F-16s. Attention has focused largely on the competition between Northrop Grumman and Raytheon to supply the AESA radar. But the Korean request for proposals also invited non-OEMs to bid as system integrator. Taiwan and the U.S. are also planning a similar upgrade to some 140 and 300 aircraft, respectively. Other F-16 operators may follow, making this a multibillion-dollar market.
Officials from Raytheon UK and personnel from the Royal Air Force (RAF) are emphasizing the excellent performance of the Sentinel R.1 Airborne Stand-Off Radar (Astor) system over Afghanistan and Libya. They are hoping that the UK Ministry of Defence will reverse its 2010 decision to withdraw the ground surveillance system, which flies on five Bombardier Global Express business jets, after most British troops leave Afghanistan in 2014.
U.S. Air Force leadership has defended the decision to halt acquisition and current operations of the Global Hawk Block 30 UAV, in favor of retaining the manned Lockheed Martin U-2 reconnaissance aircraft.
Hawker Beechcraft is evaluating whether the long-serving but still popular Baron 58 piston twin could be adapted for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
Raytheon and Northrop Grumman are developing new systems and concepts for close air support using an unmanned version of the twin-engine A-10 Thunderbolt II. The companies received contracts worth $7 million each in April 2011 under phase one of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) Persistent Close Air Support (PCAS) program.
The U.S. Department of Defense rolled out a $614 billion Fiscal Year 2013 budget submission February 13, revealing further program cancellations and “restructurings” to previously announced cuts. Sacrificed in the Pentagon’s exercise to reduce $259 billion over its five-year future years defense program (FYDP) are the Navy’s medium-range martime unmanned aircraft system (MRMUAS) and the Air Force’s next generation missile (NGM).