The U.S. Air Force contested an audit report by the Pentagon’s inspector general which found that the service has not justified its plan to buy 401 General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft by 2019. The audit report is based on outdated information, responded the Air Force, which said that it plans to buy 55 fewer Reapers.
News and issues relating to the defense aerospace business, with emphasis on current/in-use, in-development and prospective programs for manned military aircraft, unmanned combat aircraft vehicles (UCAVs), military aircraft engines, avionics, missiles, bombs, guidance systems and ground-based air-defense systems.
During last week’s African Aerospace and Defence show in South Africa Denel Dynamics revealed that the Marlin active radar-guided missile will undertake its first flight test early next year. This will be a ground-launched ballistic trial at the Overberg Test Range to examine the missile’s basic flight systems. Successful completion of this phase will lead to programmed tests of the missile’s guidance systems, before closed-loop guidance tests are undertaken, in which the seeker controls the guidance system.
Although a $2.2 billion upgrade of India’s Dassault Mirage 2000 fighters is progressing, around a quarter of the fleet of 49 is grounded because a contract for spares has remained unsigned for years, AIN has learned from sources involved in the program.
Embraer quietly sold a half-dozen Legacy 500s to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) in April, newspaper Valor Econômico reported yesterday. Deliveries are expected to start in 2016. In addition, the FAB signed a technology-transfer contract with Norwegian Special Mission for the supply and integration of systems in the fly-by-wire twinjets for the in-flight inspection of Brazil’s aviation navigation aids.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) planned to conduct functional flight tests of an unmanned aircraft detect-and-avoid (DAA) system early this month in advance of trials on the NASA Ikhana Predator B slated to begin in November.
The long-expected follow-on order from Saudi Arabia for Eurofighter Typhoons has still not materialized, but in its half-yearly report BAE Systems revealed that it expects to receive orders worth about $2.2 billion to upgrade Saudi aircraft. Earlier this year, a protracted renegotiation of the original “Al Salam” deal for 72 aircraft was finally concluded.
Elbit Systems of America provided more detail on the Center Pedestal Display (CPD) it is providing to Lockheed Martin for the F-16V upgrade. Along with a new AESA radar, the CPD is a key element of the upgrade, which is proceeding for 150 Taiwanese F-16A/Bs, while the U.S. Air Force struggles to fund the improvements for its own fleet.
Airbus Defence & Space announced a repeat order from Egypt for eight more C295 transports, and one from Brazil for three C295s configured for search-and-rescue. The company will be offering C295s with a winglet option beginning next year, although it did not say whether the newly ordered aircraft would be so configured. Airbus has received orders from 19 countries for more than 140 C295s.
Bell Helicopter is applying systems designed for its 525 Relentless commercial medium twin to the V-280 Valor third-generation tiltrotor technology demonstrator it is developing for the U.S. Army as part of its Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Program for Future Vertical Lift (FVL).
The 2014 Farnborough International Airshow (July 14-20) was a dynamic and captivating edition of the long-running biennial event–packed with high-octane sales activity, novelty and a touch of controversy. As of press time, the show was on track to surpass all the main metrics for the 2012 event, with more than twice the volume of announced sales; more than 100,000 visitors on the five trade days; and approximately 1,500 exhibitors (of which 26 percent were newcomers and 15 percent had expanded their presence).
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