The UK’s new military air safety regime has contributed to the delayed entry into British service of some new platforms, such as the Airbus A330MRTT Voyager tanker, the Thales Watchkeeper UAS and the L-3 Integrated Systems Airseeker (the UK version of the USAF’s RC-135 Rivet Joint SIGINT aircraft). As a result, some UK aerospace industry managers have expressed dissatisfaction with the Military Aviation Authority (MAA), in off-the-record comments to this editor and others.
Advanced Jet Training at RAF Valley was the first “training service package” to be signed by Ascent–the contractor that is taking over the UK Military Flying Training System–with the UK’s Ministry of Defence. Another to train the Royal Navy’s rear aircrew (“observers”) followed. It was implemented in 2011-12 at RAF Barkston Heath on the MoD’s pre-existing contract-provided Grob 115E elementary trainers, and at RNAS Culdrose, where four King Air 350ER twin turboprops acquired by Ascent are based.
Fast-jet pilot training in the UK has been thoroughly modernized, thanks to the introduction of new simulators, courseware and the BAE Systems Hawk T.2 trainer. Ascent, the contractor that is taking over the UK Military Flying Training System (MFTS), says the new set-up is “affordable, and demonstrably good value for money.” Still, there are grumblings from those opposed to the commercial provision of British military flying training, on either philosophical or practical grounds.
Farnborough airshow attendees who want to indulge in the creative experience of light and sound that is the Wind Tunnel Project (www.thewindtunnelproject.com), can visit the old tunnel sites during the airshow.
TAG Aviation is providing shuttle buses to the site for visitors this week. There is parking near the wind tunnels for those who want to make their way there independently. The address is: Buildings Q121 and R52, Hall Road, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 7JP.
Airbus Defence and Space Military Aircraft is scheduled to deliver the first of 22 A400M airlifters to the Royal Air Force in September. The delivery of aircraft MSN15 not only will mark the start of operations by a third country, but also represents the introduction of new capabilities as an important step along the type’s development roadmap. To get those capabilities into service has necessitated an intensive flight-trial campaign in the first part of this year.
Multi-role functionality has been a long time coming for the Eurofighter Typhoon. But the four-nation industrial consortium building the combat jet says the Phase 1 Enhancements (P1E) package that is now entering service represents a “paradigm shift” in capability.
The commander of the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon force, Air Cmdr. Gary Waterfall, said the new package allows the RAF to drop 500-pound Paveway IV “smart” bombs “at the moment of our choosing, on targets of our choosing, with a multitude of fuse settings, impact angles and arrivals.”
MBDA successfully undertook two CAMM (common anti-air modular missile) launches in recent weeks, the company announced. The firings were carried out at the Vidsel overland range in northern Sweden on May 29 and June 5, and were the first seeker-guided launches for the CAMM. Instrumented-only firings of CAMM were conducted in April last year.
Airbus has suggested civilian operation of the A400M airlifter for disaster relief flights. At a media briefing during the ILA Berlin airshow last week, Norbert Kolvenbach, vice president for public affairs Germany, noted that the aircraft is already certified by EASA. He floated the idea of a “supranational” operator, such as the United Nations. “The A400M could be interesting,” said Birgitte Stalder-Olsen, head of logistics for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), at the same briefing.
The UK Ministry of Defence awarded BAE Systems a £16.7 million ($28 million) contract to supply its third-generation common missile warning system (CMWS) for British military helicopters. The order represents the first direct commercial sale of the latest generation countermeasures suite, BAE said.
Brazil’s airports are standing by for a huge influx of executive aircraft as the FIFA soccer World Cup gets under way next month. Supporters, teams and other stakeholders will turn to business aircraft for transportation to and from Brazil, and also as a means of traveling around the country during the competition. Recognizing the need to meet the temporarily increased demands for fuel services, Air BP (Booth 634) has launched a number of initiatives to augment its well-established Brazilian fuel services.
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