The Royal Air Force (RAF) will emerge from the current UK Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) with only two types of airlifter, two types of fighter and two types of helicopter. That much was confirmed here Tuesday when Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), spoke to journalists after delivering a presentation on Combat ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance).
Royal Air Force
Last week, Vince Cable, the business secretary in the new British government, heavily criticized the supply of 14 A330MRTTs to the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a private finance initiative (PFI). He told The Sunday Times that the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) is “a massively expensive and unnecessary commitment.”
AgustaWestland is boosting its customer-support capability with the opening of a new fleet operations center. The facility, located close to the Italian helicopter manufacturer’s headquarters near Milan Malpensa International Airport, is staffed and equipped to handle urgent technical questions and spares requirements around the clock.
The British government is reviewing a security agreement signed previously with the U.S. that could preclude future cooperation with Europe on unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs). Last week’s unveiling of the all-British Taranis stealthy UCAV demonstrator by BAE Systems has brought renewed focus on whether European governments and industry can or should unite to fully develop such a system.
The Eurofighter Typhoon partner companies will announce here today their decision to kick-start the development of an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for the four-nation combat aircraft. The Indian air force competition for 126 AESA-equipped fighters is driving the move because the four European air forces that fly the Typhoon have no immediate requirement for an AESA.
Hawker Beechcraft’s first AT-6 PRTV (production-representative test vehicle) has taken time out from its busy test schedule to make its international debut here at Farnborough. It arrives having completed an impressive demonstration of its light attack and armed reconnaissance capabilities during a two-week U.S. joint forces exercise.
Aviation & Applied Ecology in Moscow has just taken delivery of a Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350 with provision for dual digital-mapping cameras for photo- survey missions. It is also capable of being rapidly converted to VIP transport configuration. This aircraft is the first King Air to be exported to Russia, the type having received its local certification last December.
Talks to amend the Airbus A400M development and production contract will drag on into the autumn as the moratorium on funding imposed by the European partner nations continues.
Amid tight security, the Taranis Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (shown above) was unveiled at BAE Systems Warton airfield last Monday. Uncleared visitors were not allowed to approach the aircraft, but the stealth-driven configuration seemed unchanged from artists’ impressions previously released. The Taranis concept demonstrator is due to fly next year from an undisclosed overseas airbase.
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