The movers and shakers of the airpower world were out in force here Saturday for the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference. Organized by the Institute for Near East & Gulf Military Analysis–the UAE-based think tank–the conference featured presentations from nine air force commanders or their deputies.
Responding to mounting criticism of civilian casualties caused by air strikes, the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) tightened the rules of engagement (RoE) last July.
President Obama last month announced his intent to nominate Erroll Southers as Assistant Secretary, Department of Homeland Security (Transportation Security Administration). If nominated and confirmed, he will become the fifth administrator of the TSA. A former FBI agent, Southers is currently an assistant chief for the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department’s Office of Homeland Security and Intelligence.
One of the more unusual debutants at this year’s airshow is Israel Aerospace Industries’ HAROP loitering munition. A cross between an unmanned aerial vehicle and a bomb, HAROP is an expendable air vehicle that is launched from the box in which it is transported. The weapon can loiter over the battlefield for up to six hours, using its nose-mounted EO/IR sensor turret to spot targets or relay video imagery back to the control station.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has announced that it is to supply the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod to the Royal Saudi Air Force. The Snipers will replace the LANTIRN system used by the RSAF’s F-15S strike aircraft. The deal represents the first phase of a $100 million multi-year sensor modernization program, conducted through Foreign Military Sales channels.
Here is a scenario produced by Northrop Grumman that demonstrates the thinking behind the Navy-UCAS program:
Last month Sikorsky displayed a mock-up of a possible X2 Light Tactical Helicopter
(LTH) design at the Army Aviation Association of America annual convention. The mockup reflects Sikorsky’s military concept for the X2 compound helicopter research vehicle, currently in flight test. Sikorsky hopes to set a new helicopter speed record
Dramatically expanding the country’s airlift capabilities, the United Arab Emirates plans to add Boeing C-17s and Lockheed Martin C-130Js. The country is purchasing four C-17 Globemaster IIIs for AED4.3 billion ($1.17 billion), and 12 C-130Js for AED5.9 billion ($1.6 billion). Financial management of the purchases has been assigned to Al Waha Capital, and deliveries are scheduled for 2012 and 2013.
Indian helicopter requirements provided the only real news at this month’s Aero India event in Bangalore. Indian officials confirmed the relaunch of the competition for nearly 200 armed light helicopters, a requirement that is now called the reconnaissance and surveillance helicopter (RSH). Eurocopter has proposed the AS 550 C3 Fennec, with license-manufacture by Hindustan Aeronautics.