The French Air Force will sign a contract for between five and seven A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports in 2013, with quick deliveries foreseen, according to its commander General Jean-Paul Palomeros. Budget difficulties thwarted earlier French attempts to procure a new tanker.
UAVs and drones
Arguably the most impressive new design on display at Dubai is Adcom Systems’ latest unmanned air vehicle, the United 40. Based in Abu Dhabi, the company has forged a reputation for taking innovative approaches to UAV and aerial target design, and the United 40 does not disappoint due to its tandem-wing layout and dramatic S-shaped fuselage.
Leading Italian exhibitors at the Dubai show are demonstrating the company’s increasing capability in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles.
AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) earlier this month introduced the Shadow M2, a growth version of its Shadow 200 UAS with increased payload capacity for signals intelligence, electronic warfare and other new missions.
L-3 Unmanned Systems of Dallas has completed a series of capability enhancements to its Viking 400 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) supplied to the U.S. Special Operations Command under a 2009 contract. Added under the Block 1A upgrade are a new electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret and digital datalink.
Boeing plans a November 2 rollout ceremony in Mesa, Ariz., for the first upgraded AH-64D Apache Block III destined for the U.S. Army.
AeroVironment, manufacturer of a line of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) used by the U.S. military and other forces, unveiled a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), man-portable UAS named Shrike.
U.S. special or covert forces are using hand-launched UAVs disguised as large birds to monitor terrorist movements along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The Pakistan Frontier Corps recovered one such UAV after it crashed on August 25 near one of its border forts in Baluchistan.
The U.S. Army will mount the largest yet demonstration of manned and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) interoperability.