Faced with China’s increasingly assertive military posture, as well as a continuing ballistic missile threat from North Korea, Japan plans to spend more on defense, boosting its air and maritime forces. The plan commits to buying 28 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft, 17 Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotors, and three Northrop Grumman Global Hawk UAVs over the next five years. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) will also upgrade existing fleets of F-2 and F-15 fighters.
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.
Israeli defense specialist Rafael (Booth N51) has unveiled a new system to tackle short-range mortar and rocket threats, and close-in air threats such as UAVs. Rather than employing a projectile to destroy incoming threats, the new Iron Beam system uses a high-energy laser (HEL).
The Indian government last week stalled completion of several major military equipment deals until at least the end of the current financial year on March 31. “We have no money,” said defense minister A. K. Antony at the Defexpo show in New Dehli on Thursday.
Singapore’s Black Knights aerobatic team has been reformed for the seventh time to wow the crowd at this year’s show. The six Lockheed Martin F-16Cs have been painted in a snazzy new red-and-white design. Led by Lt Col Joseph Leong, 44, a 26-year veteran of the Republic of Singapore Air Force, the team’s pilots are all experienced instructors with a minimum of 1,000 hours in the Fighting Falcon.
AgustaWestland has opened an office in the Seoul to capitalize on recent sales success in South Korea. The subsidiary of Italian group Finmeccanica has about 50 helicopters of various types in service or on order there in military, parapublic or commercial roles. These include eight AW159 Wildcat maritime helicopters for the Republic of Korea Navy–the first export sale of this type. The manufacturer hopes that this order may be expanded. The AW139 is selling well for commercial applications.
As concern over the jamming of GPS signals grows, Elbit Systems (Booth N65) announced that it had sold its iSNS immunity system to an unspecified Asia Pacific country for installation on maritime surveillance aircraft. The Israeli company claims that the system provides full jamming immunity for multiple satellite channels and handles multiple interfering signals and/or jammers operating on concurrent frequencies. ISNS is very flexible and can work with all types of GPS, without prior knowledge of satellite locations, Elbit says.
The Elta subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (Booth P39) has added an electronic intelligence (Elint) capability to its ELM-2060 synthetic-aperture radar reconnaissance pod. The pod fits on the centerline of fighters from almost any origin, and has already been sold to a number of customers worldwide.
PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Booth E35), also known as Indonesia Aerospace (IAe), delivered its first complete main fuselage assembly for the EC225/725 helicopter series to Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) last December. The company had previously supplied five upper fuselage sections, as well as 23 tail booms, in a $43 million long-term deal struck in 2008 that called for a total of 125 component sets. Now IAe has been entrusted to supply integrated fuselages. This year, it will supply one every 10 weeks, and one tail boom every three weeks.
In an unexpected move, the Republic of Korea Navy is pursuing a U.S. offer to supply 20 Lockheed Martin S-3A Viking twinjets for maritime surveillance. The service told legislators in Seoul that this is a lower-cost option for expanding this capability compared to acquiring refurbished P-3C Orions from the same manufacturer to add to the current fleet of 16, or new aircraft such as the Airbus Military C295, Boeing P-8 Poseidon, or Lockheed Martin SC-130J Hercules.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has once again come to the Singapore Airshow to display a diverse selection of its products. Despite the economic turndown, the group has maintained a strong financial position through the focused application of its technological capabilities, and a healthy research and development effort across its portfolio.