The UK’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) has introduced a permanent 250-knot speed restriction for standard instrument departures (SIDs) from London’s Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Northolt and London City airports. Aircraft are required to maintain and not exceed 250 knots below FL100.
Royal Air Force
BAE Systems today issued an upbeat description of progress with the previously troubled upgrade of the Nimrod MRA.4 maritime patrol plane for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF). Two development aircraft have now logged 70 hours on 30 test flights, and RAF aircrew have flown in every position onboard.
Making its first flight just days before the show, the Beechcraft King Air 350ER special mission aircraft is making a debut appearance here at Le Bourget. Building on Raytheon’s extensive experience in producing some 3,000-plus aircraft in this category, the 350ER differs from its predecessors in offering a total solution in terms of both platform and payload.
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.
Grob is developing a new high-altitude long-endurance aircraft based on the new SPn Utility Jet. Dubbed the G600 HALE, the aircraft could be used on surveillance or research tasks operating at extremely high altitudes. With a 116.80-foot wingspan, the basic G600 will have a range of 5,540 nm and an endurance of some 17 hours. However, an ER variant of the G600 would extend the endurance to 18 hours 30 minutes.
The maxim that attack is the best form of defense implies that the two modes are effectively two sides of the same combat coin. Elisra’s designers see it this way, claiming that their latest combined defensive aids suite (DAS) and intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, target acquisition and search (ISTAR) systems represent the most complete all-in-one-box package available for modern warplanes.
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.
A Royal Air Force Merlin helicopter is the leading hardware item in a major participation at the Dubai show by the UK Ministry of Defence and its associated Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO).
Riyadh-based Alsalam Aircraft Co. is emerging as a key player in efforts to upgrade Saudi Arabia’s fleet of 84 Panavia Tornado interdiction strike aircraft.
Following its introduction into service with the four Eurofighter partner air forces–Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom–in spring 2004, the service Typhoon fleet has passed 5,000 hours of flight. By the end of October the manufacturers’ development aircraft had also racked up more than 4,000 hours, so that the combined fleet is rapidly approaching the 10,000 mark.