In late March Saab announced a teaming agreement with Selex Galileo to develop the ES-05 Raven active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for the Gripen Next Generation fighter program. Selex Galileo is also the lead in the Euroradar consortium developing the Captor radar for the Eurofighter, while Saab Microwave Systems (formerly Ericsson) builds the mechanically scanned PS-05/A radar currently installed in the Gripen.
JAS 39 Gripen
The four partner nations in Eurofighter have agreed to delay until 2015 the introduction of the Meteor, the advanced rocket-ramjet beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed by MBDA. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is managing the development of Meteor, and is the only country to have committed to production so far. However, the MoD told the UK National Audit Office that it was falling into line with Germany, Italy and Spain.
Saab reacted with vigor to a statement by the Norwegian government that the Gripen fighter was inferior to the Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF in most aspects of performance–and was also more expensive. Norway had been evaluating the Gripen NG (New Generation) as an alternative to the JSF, and Saab had high hopes of launching the NG version with the help of its Scandinavian neighbor.
Although India’s 126-aircraft requirement is the main prize for the world’s fighter manufacturers, major procurement decisions in Brazil and Switzerland are expected to be made long before Delhi makes its choice.
Eurofighter has offered India codevelopment of an active antenna for the Typhoon’s Captor radar, as part of its bid to secure that country’s 126-unit order for a new combat aircraft. Eurofighter CEO Aloysius Rauen said that there had been “positive discussions” with India about a plan that would share the costs of converting the mechanically scanned Captor with the four original Eurofighter partner nations.
Four Rafale fighters from the French Air Force have completed a month-long deployment to the U.S., where they conducted a squadron exchange at Luke AFB and then took part in a Red Flag exercise at Nellis AFB. According to Dassault, no shootdowns were scored against the Rafale during the 10-day exercise, and American observers were particularly impressed with the accuracy of the fighter’s Sagem AASM “smart” bombs.
Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway are all formally investigating alternatives to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to replace their F-16s.
This year’s show benefits from recent improvements to infrastructure and facilities as organizer Farnborough International continues a 60-year evolution of development begun by the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC). One of the first examples was a re-landscaping of the exhibition site in 1980 to accommodate continuing growth.
L-3 Communications announced here at Farnborough a number of significant contracts. From the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory comes a $34 million indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for L-3 Wescam’s MX series of 15-inch and 20-inch EO/IR sensor turrets. Deliveries begin immediately and are intended for use in the airborne reconnaissance low and persistent threat detection system (PTDS) programs.
Last week Saab received two orders from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration for equipment to upgrade the Swedish air force’s fleet of Gripen fighters. The first, worth around $54 million, covers the provision of electronic warfare systems, scheduled for delivery this year or next. The second, worth approximately $42 million, provides weapons pylons compatible with GPS-guided weapons. Deliveries are scheduled for 2009 to 2011.