Boeing test pilot Ricardo Traven is flying his usual impressive routine here in the Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet. The price of this significantly upgraded warplane to the U.S. Navy has been significantly reduced in recent years, so Boeing is bullish about international prospects. Australia recently became the first export customer for the Super, and Boeing is eyeing India, Japan, Greece and Switzerland, among others.
As the final E-2C Hawkeye 2000 proceeds down the Northrop Grumman production line at St. Augustine, Florida, the company is preparing to fly the first example of its replacement–the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. The first of two system development and demonstration (SDD) aircraft was rolled out at the plant on April 30 and is being checked out on the ground prior to a first flight in late summer.
In the fighter aircraft business, there’s no substitute for combat experience, if you want to impress potential customers. The Dassault Rafale has now dropped bombs in anger as part of NATO’s stabilization effort in Afghanistan.
A Raytheon Beech T-34 Mentor crashed on December 7 when the left wing snapped off about four inches inboard of the root attach point. The Mentor was being operated by Texas Air Aces/Aviation Safety Training (AST) and crashed near Houston Hooks Field, killing the flight instructor and front-seat passenger. AST’s mission was emergency upset training for major flight departments around the U.S.
“In today’s combat environment, the name of the game in dropping air-to-ground munitions is how to double the distance from the target from which we can drop the weapon itself–the release range–but still not experience any decrease in accuracy,” said Lockheed Martin’s John Schoeppner. “We have achieved this level of performance with our AN/AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pod, but what we feel further differentiates us from our competitors is our pod
With one carrier-borne squadron already operational, deliveries to the French air force well under way, an impressive range of weapons already qualified and significant upgrades now funded, the Rafale program comes to the 2005 Paris Air Show in very good shape. Together with partners Snecma and Thales, Dassault has produced another warplane that is the pride of all France.
Irvine, California-based Aerospace division of Eaton Corporation arrived at Le Bourget flush with orders to provide major sub components for several of the latest generation U.S. military aircraft programs.
Progress in the Eurofighter Typhoon program remains slow, although steady. In recent months, single-seat production aircraft with added functionality have been delivered to all four partner air forces. Air-to-air missile firings against targets representing sophisticated threats have taken place. Flight tests of the latest flight control system software are under way.
The landing gear extension and retraction system for the Airbus A380 and the Boeing KC-767A tanker mission system are among Smiths Aerospace’s most visible contributions to this year’s Paris Air Show, but they are just the tip of a highly diversified iceberg, according to the group’s president, Dr. John Ferrie.
Here at the Paris Air Show yesterday, Stork and Northrop Grumman signed a framework contract worth $150 million for Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter airframe components. If the agreement translates into a firm order, Stork will produce 520 in-flight opening doors for all three types and 110 inner weapons bay doors for the STOVL version during the low-rate initial production phase.