Dassault’s new Falcon 7X, which is making its public debut this week in Paris, will fly in this morning’s aerial display scheduled during the official visit of French President Jacques Chirac. The rest of the week the three-engine business jet will grace Dassault’s static display, but won’t fly again until Saturday for the general public and the airshow visit by French prime minister Dominique de Villepin.
During the Cold War, the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom) produced the yearly list of items that U.S., European, and Japanese firms were enjoined not to sell to the Soviet Union or any of its client states. The system worked reasonably well, and Soviet military designers were forced to develop their own sophisticated guidance systems, precision machine tools and other advanced technology.
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.
In the last two years, France’s radar and airborne electronics firm Thales has enjoyed steady progress in the development and integration of new radar and avionic modes for the Dassault Rafale fighter, the latest being the F3 configuration. The French government signed a production order for this configuration in December and it should be fully deployed by 2008.
Some 20 new aircraft, including the world’s largest–such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 777-200 Long Range–are among the 200 types on display here, making the Paris Air Show an exceptional showcase of flying hardware. Also making their first appearances are the Dassault Falcon 7X and Gulfstream G450 and G550 business jets, Embraer’s new 195 regional aircraft and Kazan Helicopters’ Mi-38.
DGA, the French arms procurement agency, last year spent €9.87 billion ($12.1 billion) on equipment orders for the French armed forces under the country’s 2003-2008 defense budget. This accounted for a 15.3-percent increase over 2003 investments and included €1.3 billion ($1.6 billion) in research funding.
Regarded as a prime example of Russian expertise in fighter design, the MiG-29 has become a classic much admired for its ability to perform extreme maneuvers–not least on the international airshow circuit. However, as perceptions of potential threats have changed, so too the MiG-29 has developed from a dedicated fighter/interceptor into a multi-role combat aircraft with a much enhanced capability for attack against ground and naval targets.
Dassault Aviation had mixed fortunes in 2005 with a slight fall in revenue and net result, balanced by a record 123 firm orders for Falcon jets, up from 69 the previous year and 40 in 2003. At a press conference in Paris on Thursday, chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne said he does not expect the same level of sales to be maintained this year.
The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) medium multirole combat aircraft (M-MRCA) tender is beginning to resemble a free-for-all that shows no signs of abating and will continue for several years.
French avionics and radar firm Thales has a major presence here in Singapore, along with a substantial number of employees. Thales representatives told Aviation International News that, among other major projects, its technical and service personnel are one of the major contractors for supporting the Airbus A380 aircraft that are to be delivered to Singapore Airlines (SIA) beginning next November.