The U.S. Air Force announced that it released a request for proposals (RFP) to industry on July 9 for its new Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program to develop the next generation heavy bomber. The service said it expects to make a contract award next spring.
French air traffic controllers called off their work stoppages three days early on June 25 just as Belgian controllers launched a series of two-hour strikes that ran through June 26. The Association of European Airlines said in a statement, “The reason for this social unrest is linked to the self-interest of the unions, which refuse to accept much needed efficiency improvements to their working practices.” Nearly 400 flights in Europe were affected by the strikes on Wednesday alone.
Frustrated by the slow process of acquiring American air power hardware, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has turned elsewhere. He told the BBC’s Arabic Service that Iraq has “bought second-hand fighters from Russia and Belarus that will arrive in a few days’ time.” Maliki’s government is trying to counter a rapid advance by The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (Isis), whose fighters have overrun most of five Iraqi provinces.
The first EC725 to be fully assembled in Brazil was handed over to the Brazilian navy on June 17, Airbus Helicopters said. The previous 11 EC725s received by the Brazilian armed forces were only partially assembled in Brazil, or supplied direct from Airbus Helicopters’ production line in France.
The Taliban in Pakistan claimed responsibility for the June 9 attack at Karachi Airport that left 28 people dead, including the 10 militants who launched the assault. Some of the terrorists were disguised as airport security personnel, while others wore suicide vests as they attacked a VIP terminal with grenades, rocket launchers and machine guns. The Taliban said the attack was retaliation for previous drone attacks in another part of Pakistan.
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.
Iraq Gate, the first business jet operator based in Iraq, is celebrating its first anniversary. Operating five aircraft–one Bombardier CRJ-200, three Hawker 800XPs and one Beechcraft King Air B200–for charter services, it also offers flight planning and ground handling. Abu Ghazaleh is the CEO and general manager of the holding company, Jordan-based International Wings Group.
Guided rocket conversion competitors BAE Systems and Raytheon announced new milestones for their respective offerings. BAE’s Advanced Precision Kill Weapon (APKWS) and Raytheon’s Talon laser-guided rocket (LGR) convert standard 2.75-inch Hydra rockets into precision guided munitions by adding a semi-active laser guidance package.
As part of enhanced collective measures agreed to by member countries in April, NATO has deployed more fighters to eastern Europe in response to the continuing crisis in Ukraine. France and Canada have dispatched aircraft this week, while a new NATO multinational team is taking over the enhanced air defense detachment in the Baltic republics.
Authorities reopened the upper airspace over the republic of Kosovo to civilian overflights on April 3, 15 years after it closed because of the ethnic war in the former Yugoslavian territory. The action will lead to shorter flight routes in the region and represents “a significant step toward aviation normalization in the Western Balkans,” Eurocontrol announced.
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