Former Grumman and Gulfstream Aerospace chief test pilot Robert Smyth, 84, died Tuesday at his home at the Leeward Air Ranch in Ocala, Fla. During his career at Grumman, he test flew the F9F Cougar, F11F Tiger, A-6A Intruder, F-14A Tomcat and the Gulfstream I twin turboprop, in addition to helping with the Apollo Lunar Module development in the 1960s. Smyth joined Gulfstream in 1981 and retired in 1993 as vice president of operations. His family is planning a remembrance ceremony.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program faces fresh challenges as the new year begins. First, a long-awaited “should cost” review from the U.S. Defense Acquisition Board might clarify whether Lockheed Martin’s continued optimism on the average procurement unit costs (APUC) is justified. In addition, big cuts to the U.S. defense budget seem unlikely to spare the F-35, which is the Pentagon’s highest profile acquisition, and might undermine the basis for the APUC calculations.
The first international Joint Strike Fighter, an F-35B for the UK, was rolled out on November 22, one week before a parliamentary report shed more light on the UK’s decision to switch from the STOVL F-35B version to the conventional carrier landing F-35C version.
The saga of the UAE’s new fighter procurement took another turn Wednesday when the Emirates’ top decision-maker on defense contracts described Dassault’s offer for the Rafale as “uncompetitive and unworkable.”
Has the Eurofighter Typhoon really unseated Dassault’s Rafale as the UAE Air Force’s fighter-of-choice for a 60-plane order?
South Korea is expected to issue a request for proposals for an F-16 radar retrofit this week. It could be the first country to decide between the Northrop Grumman Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) and the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR).
French hopes of an early order for Rafale fighters from the United Arab Emirates Air Force may have been dashed. A British source with knowledge of the requirement has told AIN that the Emiratis will now hold a formal competition, and had just issued a request for proposals (RfP) to the UK government for the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Critics may say that Boeing’s argument is self-serving, but McCrary and colleagues believe that the upgrades already made or pending on the F-15 and F-18 prove their point.
Military aircraft requirements in the Middle East and Asia worth billions of dollars remain unresolved, and will be a major talking point at next week’s Dubai Air Show. Most of the major aerospace companies will have a presence at the show, although the venue is unlikely to provide confirmation of any major order.
The U.S. Air Force will proceed with a service life extension program (SLEP) and avionics upgrade of 300 to 350 F-16 Fighting Falcons to compensate for an expected two-year slip in operational readiness of the F-35A Lightning II, service leaders told the U.S. Congress on November 2.