Europe’s first purpose-built center for UAV research activities has opened in Spain. Known as Atlas (air traffic laboratory for advanced unmanned systems), the facility was officially opened on March 21 by the president of Andalucía, Susana Díaz, whose regional government has funded much of the €4.5 million implementation of the project from EU allocations. Additional funding has come from national government, and the site has been developed in close cooperation with potential customers, such as Boeing.
Australia’s Defence Materiel Organization awarded Boeing Defense Australia a five-year contract extension valued at AUD $901 million ($819 million) to maintain Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) E-7A Wedgetail airborne early-warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. Nearly half, or AUD $443 million, of the money will be spent in Australia, Defense Minister David Johnston said.
On Monday the North Atlantic Council announced that it will begin operating airborne early-warning flights in response to the situation in Ukraine, where pro-Russian forces are largely in control of Crimea. NATO will fly Boeing E-3 Awacs airborne early-warning aircraft in the airspace of member states Poland and Romania, which both border Ukraine. The flights are intended to “enhance the alliance’s situational awareness” of events in Ukraine.
Singapore is buying Thales Raytheon Systems GroundMaster 200 radars, adding to an already-extensive ground-based air defense (GBAD) line-up of systems. A development radar, mounted on a Man 8 x 8 truck, was on display in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) static display at the Singapore Airshow this week. The nearby RSAF pavilion contained graphics that confirmed the island state’s purchase of MBDA Aster 30 air defense missiles.
A recent order for two Alenia C-27J Spartans by Peru has highlighted a new way to assess the merits of airlifters, which the company labels as “transport productivity.” Rather than use traditional methods of assessing operating costs, such as cost per flying hour, it is better to evaluate the transport cost per ton/mile, asserted Giovanni Timossi, Alenia’s v-p international sales for Asia and Oceania.
Saab (Booth C11) has many years of experience devising protection systems for combat aircraft, and here at Singapore 2014 it is showing its latest offering, the ESTL. Formerly known as BOH, it is a modular system that draws on several of the company’s successful missile warning and countermeasures systems to create a cost-efficient means of protecting combat aircraft against current and predicted infrared and radar-guided missile threats.
A team from UTC Aerospace Systems (Chalet CD07) is here promoting the DB-110 dual-band airborne reconnaissance sensor, and talking of a multispectral upgrade to come. The podded sensor flies on the F-16s of nine air forces, on the new Saudi air force F-15s, and on Japan’s P-3s. It first entered service on the Tornado strike aircraft of the UK Royal Air Force, where it is named the Raptor system.
One of the messages that Raytheon has brought to Singapore is that the evolving technological capabilities of both air-to-air missiles and fighter radar must proceed hand-in-hand if an operator is to take full advantage of new performance gains. As radar-guided weapons increase in effective range capability, so better radars are required with sufficient performance to match that of the weapon.
Boeing sees its new maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) based on the Bombardier Challenger 605 business jet as potentially a starter platform for countries eyeing the higher-end P-8 Poseidon the company is supplying to the U.S. and Indian navies.
In an unexpected move, the Republic of Korea Navy is pursuing a U.S. offer to supply 20 Lockheed Martin S-3A Viking twinjets for maritime surveillance. The service told legislators in Seoul that this is a lower-cost option for expanding this capability compared to acquiring refurbished P-3C Orions from the same manufacturer to add to the current fleet of 16, or new aircraft such as the Airbus Military C295, Boeing P-8 Poseidon, or Lockheed Martin SC-130J Hercules.