UK Prime Minister David Cameron made an unexpected stop here at the Dubai Airshow on his way home from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka. Speaking to assembled UK aerospace industrialists, he encouraged them to compete in what he termed the “global race.” Cameron did not refer specifically to the possibility of selling Eurofighter Typhoons to the UAE, but did say that he was “incredibly proud to stand up and promote the aircraft around the world.” He later stated his hop that the UK could be entering into a partnership here in the UAE on more general aerospace matters.
Royal Air Force
Eight senior air force commanders from the U.S., Europe and the Middle East have agreed to speak at the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference (DIAC), which immediately precedes the Dubai Air Show on November 16. They include the British and French air force commanders, and the commander of the USAF’s Central Command. Their decision to attend the conference and show may reflect a desire to reassure allies in the Gulf of their support, after recent disagreements over policy toward Egypt and Syria.
Flight trials of the BAE Systems Taranis UCAS technology demonstrator have started at the Woomera test range in South Australia. But neither the company nor its customer, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has made any announcement. The news emerged from a policy document on military UAS that the MoD submitted to the defense committee of the UK parliament.
Delivery of a new SIGINT aircraft for the Royal Air Force has been postponed. The UK’s Military Airworthiness Authority (MAA) has not yet reviewed the safety case. The Airseeker (the RAF’s name for the U.S. Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint system) is the latest airframe that could be delayed by the MAA’s detailed scrutiny, which British contractors have privately called overzealous.
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has bid a fond farewell to the VC10 air refueling tanker, a type that has been in British military service for 47 years.
The Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI) in London this week was supported by more than 1,500 exhibitors, with 30,000 visitors from around the world expected, according to organizer Clarion Events. DSEI’s main focus has traditionally been on land, naval and security equipment. But a number of exhibitors this year featured air systems, and the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) ran a series of seminars in which senior officers outlined the service’s capabilities and future plans.
On behalf of the seven European nations buying the Airbus Military A400M, the French government defense procurement agency (French acronym DGA) announced that the new airlifter had achieved military certification.
Airbus Military believes that teething problems with its multi-role tanker/transport (MRTT) business are now behind it, and that it’s set to grow over the coming year. With the A330 MRTT the company has the only new-generation tanker/transport flying, and hopes to secure new customers while continuing to deliver aircraft to its existing four operators, who will have received 17 aircraft by the end of 2013.
Beechcraft has a long history of providing special-mission platforms for military intelligence and security programs, reaching back to the late 1950s. Today this business remains highly important to the company, based largely on the King Air family that has become a popular choice of platforms for special-mission duties. Now the company is broadening its portfolio by offering the smaller and cheaper Baron G58 as an ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) platform, and has already delivered the first example to a customer.
British Helicopter Association CEO Peter Norton has urged UK authorities to abandon plans for new restrictions on rotorcraft operations over urban areas following the January 16 accident in which an AgustaWestland A109 Power crashed in central London. The crash prompted British Prime Minister David Cameron to order a review of helicopter operating rules, and an Air Accidents Investigation Branch inquiry is in progress.