Eurofighter has withdrawn the Typhoon from competitions for a new combat aircraft to replace F-16s in Denmark and Norway. Both countries are partners in the U.S.-led Lightning (Joint Strike Fighter) program but are considering alternatives before committing to production F-35s.
JAS 39 Gripen
The choice of a multi-role fighter aircraft for the Polish air force could result in the launch of a “private jet” in Poland, depending on the offset proposals of the winning bidder. In competition are Lockheed Martin (F-16), SAAB-British Aerospace (Gripen) and Dassault Aviation (Mirage 2000). The contract is expected to be signed in the first quarter of this year and the offset agreements are required to be signed within 60 days after that.
For business jets operating in potentially hostile areas, Sweden’s Saab might soon offer some protection. The company’s Avitronics division is hoping to receive EASA certification within the next eight months for its Civil Aircraft Missile Protection System (Camps). The company claims the defense system–based on countermeasures already in use on military aircraft–is the only such European system for civil aircraft.
After a long-running procurement saga, the Royal Thai Air Force has selected the Saab Gripen to replace its elderly Northrop F-5 fighter fleet. The deal also covers the supply of airborne early warning aircraft to bolster the nation’s air defenses.
The Pakistan air force is due to begin receiving new-build F-16s from Lockheed Martin beginning in 2009. The 18 aircraft on order–plus a major upgrade package for the nation’s existing aircraft and further options–will dramatically enhance the service’s capabilities and will bring to a close a controversial 20-year procurement saga.
The long-awaited competition to supply 126 new fighters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) is formally under way. The six contenders for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) requirement have received a formal request for proposals (RFP), and must respond by next March. The Boeing F/A-18E/F, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16, RSK MiG-35 and Saab Gripen will be evaluated.
All systems go! That was the message from the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter briefing at the Paris Air Show last week. The first test flights have already provided good validation of some of the aircraft’s unique features. The eight international partners are all still onboard, all having signed up for the production sustainment and flight development (PSFD) phase over last winter.
As Saab celebrates its 70th birthday this year (and 50 years at the Paris Air Show), the company is on the verge of a major technology demonstration program of the Gripen NG that will ensure the viability of the JAS 39 Gripen fighter “well beyond 2040,” according to Gripen International managing director Johan Lehander.
South Africa’s Denel Optronics has been awarded a multi-million dollar production order for optical helmet tracker systems (HTS) to equip the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter. The deal represents the latest South African investment by BAE Systems through its Defense Industrial Participation program, which arose from South Africa’s decision to modernize and right-size its air force with 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainers and 28 Gripen fighters.
MBDA, the missile manufacturer owned by BAE Systems, EADS and Finmeccanica, has appointed Antoine Bouvier as its new chief executive. He replaces Marwan Lahoud. Bouvier was most recently chief executive officer of EADS Astrium Satellites, a post he took up in 2002, and before that he held senior positions at ATR culminating in his becoming chief executive in 1998.