A team from UTC Aerospace Systems (Chalet CD07) is here promoting the DB-110 dual-band airborne reconnaissance sensor, and talking of a multispectral upgrade to come. The podded sensor flies on the F-16s of nine air forces, on the new Saudi air force F-15s, and on Japan’s P-3s. It first entered service on the Tornado strike aircraft of the UK Royal Air Force, where it is named the Raptor system.
BAE Systems said that it has produced and certified a replacement part for the BAe 146 regional jet for the first time using additive manufacturing, or “3-D printing” technology. Now the company is exploring using 3-D printing to supply replacement parts for other commercial aircraft types.
Flight tests of the MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile on a Eurofighter Typhoon began on November 27. A week later, the four-nation industrial consortium delivered the 400th aircraft. The first Tranche 3 Eurofighter flew on December 2 from Warton.
MBDA reported a series of successful firings earlier this month of the Brimstone 2 air-surface missile being developed for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF). The new version of the 100-pound-class, low-collateral-damage weapon adds a laser to the original millimeter-wave (MMW) radar guidance system. The missile will be carried by RAF Tornados and, later, Typhoons and F-35s. MBDA is promoting the Brimstone for other platforms, including UAVs such as the Predator/Reaper series.
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.
The new managing director of Eurofighter said here yesterday that that the company must become leaner, more flexible and take decisions faster. CEO Alberto Gutierrez arrived 10 days ago from Spain and Airbus Military, where he was head of operations. “The Eurofighter is the best in its class for many things, but we must capture new technology and cater for changing customer requirements,” he said.
The NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) announced this week that it has awarded a contract to the trinational Panavia consortium to further upgrade the Tornado for the Italian air force. The latest in a series of upgrades will allow Italian Tornados to carry the small-diameter bomb (SDB) and the advanced anti-radiation guided missile (AARGM).
A short-notice, low-profile visit to the UAE by British Prime Minister David Cameron this week boosted the prospects of an order for the Eurofighter Typhoon. But government and military sources in London and Paris told AIN that the Emiratis are in no hurry to make a decision, and that the Dassault Rafale remains in contention. Dassault declined to comment on the latest development.
The proposed 60-40 merger of EADS and BAE Systems was called off after management in both companies miscalculated the reaction of governments and shareholders. Paris and Berlin proved unwilling to give up their stakes in EADS, or reduce them to a degree that was acceptable to the two merging companies, to London, and (perhaps) to Washington.
EADS Cassidian redelivered to the German air force (GAF) the first two Tornado fighter-bombers to be upgraded to the ASSTA (Avionic System Software Tornado Ada) 3.0 standard. After several months of retrofitting, certification and acceptance flight tests, they were returned to the GAF’s 33rd Wing at Buechel at the end of June.
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