Training pilots to fly combat jets is an expensive proposition. A proposal by European air chiefs to cut costs by combining forces has made only slow progress. However, two well established multinational training programs are readily available in North America. Meanwhile, “downloading” and “contractorization” are the prevailing buzzwords, as all air forces try to rationalize their flight training systems.
The U.S.-led Joint Strike Fighter program represents an important opportunity not only for large Italian aerospace companies, but also for medium-size firms that are playing a significant role in developing the F-35 Lightning. Among these is Milan-based Aerea, whose engineers are directly involved in the aircraft mission equipment integrated project team (IPT) at Lockheed Martin’s main facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
Still eagerly awaiting signs of lasting recovery from its three-year slump, the world’s aerospace industry will be looking to Singapore’s biennial airshow to deliver more of the sort of upbeat activity levels reported at the Dubai show staged in December. Asian Aerospace 2004 (February 24 to 29) will be viewed as a particularly important indicator of the health of the air-transport industry in the Asia/Pacific region.
TEAC Aerospace Technologies of Montebello, California (Hall 3 Booth D13g) is announcing here in Paris its receipt of a multiyear contract from General Dynamics UK for its solid-state, digital MDR-80 mission data recorders for more than 240 Eurofighter Typhoons. In April, the company announced it had signed a contract with Eurocopter for MDR-80s for the French air force AS 555AW Fennec helicopter upgrade program.
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.
Norway has added another €12.5 million in funding to its €23.2 million Eurofighter industrial agreement, which provides local defense companies with access and high-technology work connected with the four-nation fighter jet. The Eurofighter consortium is wooing the Norwegian air force for an order, as an F-16 replacement. Beneficiaries of the agreement include radar house Ericsson and software company EPM Technology.
Rohde & Schwarz–supplier of the VHF/UHF transceivers, based on its M3AR family, for the first batch of Eurofighter Typhoons–will also supply updated versions of the same radio communication equipment for the second batch of 236 aircraft. The German company will modernize radios, which will include a new data modem, together with partners Selenia Communications and Indra Sistemas.
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.
Deliveries of six Hawk Mk 129s to the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF) by BAE Systems beginning in the middle of next year will highlight the company’s continuing efforts to promote its advanced jet trainer in the highly competitive Middle East market. On August 26, the first of six aircraft destined for Bahrain made its first flight at BAE’s Warton facility in the UK.
Three years after its creation, Irkut Corp. has established itself as a key player in still evolving aerospace and defense industry. It is one of the main pillars of the country’s new OAK conglomerate which aspires to become a sort of Russian equivalent to Europe’s EADS group.