Brazil’s Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) plans to retire its fleet of Mirage 2000 fighters at the end of this year. The announcement has brought new focus on Brazil’s longstanding but deferred FX-2 new fighter requirement. In testimony to the Brazilian Senate on August 13, FAB Commander Lt. Gen. Juniti Saito defended the need for new fighters to maintain an adequate air defense, as well as for the benefits any purchase would bring to Brazil’s own aerospace sector.
Banyan Air Service is here in São Paulo to convince Latin American operators why they should bring their aircraft north to its maintenance and modifications center at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport in Florida. At its LABACE exhibit (Stand 3011) the company also is demonstrating its Banyan Wi-View media server, which can store up to around 100 movies on an aircraft.
A briefing on the Eurofighter Typhoon organized by BAE Systems at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford last week provided a further indication that some key upgrades to the combat jet are being funded by Saudi Arabia and possibly Oman. The four original partner nations have proved reluctant to collectively fund in the near term enhancements that extend the aircraft’s air-to-ground capability, such as integration of the MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile. The four partners have also so far failed to approve full development of the Captor-E AESA radar by the Euroradar consortium.
Late last month, a Saab JAS 39C Gripen fired two examples of the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile. They were the first production-representative rounds of the weapon to be fired as the Meteor program gears up to deliver operational capability beginning early next year. The missiles were launched at remotely controlled targets at the Vidsel range in northern Sweden. They validated the datalink between the launch aircraft and the missiles, as well as the weapon’s ability to lock on. The trials also verified the command support that has been developed for the pilot.
Rockwell Collins and Piaggio announced an upgrade program for the Piaggio Avanti twin turboprop. The program, available from Ruag Aviation, allows operators to upgrade their Pro Line 4 avionics to Pro Line 21. The Pro Line 21 P180 cockpit will be equipped with three or four 10-inch by 8-inch LCDs and Rockwell Collins’s Integrated Flight Information System, plus a new FMS and GPS-4000 that enables Waas LPV and space-based augmentation system with vertical guidance approaches.
Europe’s failure to launch a medium-altitude long-endurance (Male) UAV to compete with long-established offerings from Israel and the U.S. was a major talking point at last week’s Paris Air Show. AIN’s team of editors and reporters provided full coverage of the world’s biggest aerospace event; all the stories can be found online at www.ainonline.com–some of them in longer form than we were able to publish in our four print editions of Paris Airshow News.
Saab CEO Håkan Buskhe revealed this week that the company is exploring the idea of an Optional Manned Gripen (OMG). While believing that manned operations will still be needed for at least the next 40 years, Buskhe also recognizes that many “dull and dangerous” missions could be performed better by an unmanned aircraft. Using an OMG for such roles rather than acquiring another type of aircraft would, in essence, halve the logistics costs. OMGs could perhaps operate in a formation under the control of piloted aircraft.
On display in the Thales pavilion, the AESA (active electronically scanned array) version of the RBE2 radar will soon become the first of its kind to go operational in Europe. The first French air force Rafale squadron to convert to the new fighter will receive four AESA-equipped aircraft in October. The first production radar was delivered last October and is completing operational testing at Mont de Marsan airbase.
Sergei Bogdan, who is flying the Sukhoi Su-35S demonstration flights in the flying display here this week, has more than 4,900 flight hours on several dozen aircraft types, including 460 hours in the cockpits of Su-35 fighters.
Piaggio Aero has unveiled its P.1HH HammerHead unmanned aerial system (UAS) at the Paris Air Show. First announced in February at the IDEX show in Abu Dhabi, the HammerHead program is based on the company’s P180 Avanti II twin-turboprop business turboprop, but it has reinforced wings with greater area offering extended range and endurance.