Breaking with a tradition that has seen major military procurements signed and announced only in Abu Dhabi, the UAE government sealed deals for new training and AEW&C aircraft during the Dubai Airshow this month. Pilatus secured the new basic trainer, an order for 25 PC-21s worth $521 million, to also include several training simulators with all systems and services.
The Saab 340 AEW&C aircraft with Erieye radar, which is destined for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), took to the skies for the first time on Friday, flying from Saab’s Linkoping plant where airborne early warning and control conversion work is undertaken. Thailand has one AEW&C aircraft on order (plus another option), as part of a deal involving Gripen fighters.
Last year the production version of the Saab BAMSE (Bofors advanced missile system evaluation) entered service with the Swedish armed forces and now the company is promoting the air defense system for export.
Last month Saab announced a partnership with Ultra Electronics’ UK-based Communication and Integrated Systems division covering the joint exploration and exploitation of the market for vertical takeoff and land unmanned aerial vehicle systems (VTUAS). Earlier, in May, Saab announced another partnership with Swiss UAV, which added the Neo and Koax vehicles to create a VTUAS family along with the Saab-developed Skeldar.
After years of investigation, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said it would seek to prosecute BAE Systems “for offenses related to overseas corruption.” The alleged offenses have been widely reported to involve the sales of Gripen fighter aircraft to South Africa and their lease to the Czech Republic (BAE is a partner with Saab in the Gripen International company); a ground radar system to Tanzania; and two former Royal Navy frigates to R
Delta Air Lines’ plans to cut another 10 percent of its system capacity this fall will result in the loss of 100 pilot jobs at Comair, 110 at Mesaba Airlines and 56 at Atlantic Southeast. ASA’s cuts take effect September 1, while a planned 20-percent drop in block hours by the end of September at Comair will require a broad review of all staffing levels “in the coming weeks.”
Ruag Aerospace and Saab Avitronics are launching a low-cost protection system for helicopters that can be rapidly installed to provide a range of protective features on a per-mission basis. The plug-on device (POD) is an integrated, self-contained unit offering high levels of protection against man-portable and other low-level missile threats.
This week the Swedish chief prosecutor, Christer van der Kwast, decided to close the preliminary investigation into alleged illegal methods concerned with the sale of Gripen aircraft. Saab’s communications director, Cecilia Schön Jansson, commented that, “the decision is fully in line with what we have claimed all along. We can now put this behind us.”
Avionics display provider Barco last month announced the details of an agreement with Saab of Sweden to produce a head-up display for light airplanes and helicopters that replaces traditional overhead HUD technology using a simpler video-camera setup controlled by special software.
All 125 turboprops in Saab Aircraft Leasing (SAL)’s portfolio had found homes by the end of last year, leaving the company with not one of its aircraft available for lease or purchase. SAL executed 17 aircraft transactions during a period of limited availability.