Sixteen Harrier GR.7/9 V/STOL (vertical and/or short take-off and landing) jets flew over the UK Midlands Wednesday to mark the type’s retirement from British military service. The 70-strong Harrier force fell victim to the recent Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has since rushed to ground them in a vain attempt to stem criticism of the decision.
On November 19, Lockheed Martin received a $3.5 billion contract modification to build 31 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the fourth low-rate initial production (LRIP) batch. Together with earlier long-lead funding, this brings the contract value for LRIP-4 to $3.9 billion. The batch comprises 10 F-35A CTOL aircraft for the U.S.
The U.S. National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform drafted a recommendation for large reductions in U.S. military spending in an effort to save $200 billion. The document suggests ending procurement of the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor and slashing the planned buy of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.
France and the UK signed a wide-ranging defense pact with far-reaching consequences for operational and industrial policy. The two countries will create an integrated carrier strike group and coordinate refits to ensure that one British or French aircraft carrier is always operational.
The UK is to cut its planned acquisition of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) by up to two-thirds, switch versions and delay introduction of the aircraft.
The Kestrel single-engine turboprop, whose developers had been seeking funding, has found new life under the leadership of Alan Klapmeier, cofounder and former chairman of Cirrus Design. Klapmeier’s new company, Kestrel Aircraft, is based in Brunswick, Maine, and plans call for an investment of more than $100 million in the program.
The Sikorsky X2 technology demonstrator last month unofficially set a new speed record for rotorcraft, as it reached 250 ktas at the company’s development flight center in West Palm Beach, Fla. The aircraft, which features contra-rotating coaxial main rotors and a pusher propeller, took off at 7 a.m. for its 17th flight, which lasted 1.1 hours. At the controls was chief test pilot Kevin Bredenbeck.
The fact that Sikorsky’s experimental X2 is a compound helicopter will not exclude it from setting an official helicopter speed record, according to Marcel Meyer, executive officer of records for the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, the world aviation record sanctioning body.
The Sikorsky X2 technology demonstrator unofficially set a new speed record for rotorcraft yesterday, as it reached 250 ktas at the company’s development flight center in West Palm Beach, Fla. At the controls was chief test pilot Kevin Bredenbeck. The 250-knot speed was the program’s main objective since launch in 2005, and was attained in level flight during a 1.1-hour sortie.
Lockheed Martin has begun flight testing a new sensor for the F-35's targeting system, developed by the company's missiles and fire-control division. The test aircraft is a highly modified Boeing 737 operated by BAE Systems and is known as the CATBird (cooperative avionics testbed).