The latest Selected Acquisition Report on the Lockheed Martin F-35 program has updated the Pentagon’s cost estimates. The eight international partners may take some comfort from the predictions of future unit recurring flyaway costs, once full-rate production begins. That is, if they defer the majority of their buys until then, which seems increasingly likely. The report also details the schedule delays that were officially approved last December.
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.
The U.S. Navy grounded its fleet of 14 MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopters following the recent crash of an aircraft in Afghanistan and a ditching at sea. The Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) said it is reviewing Fire Scout system performance and operational procedures. Loss rates of U.S. military unmanned platforms are not often discussed, but official data from the U.S.
Halfway through a 10-year agreement between Washington and Tel Aviv, the U.S. now gives Israel $3.1 billion each year in foreign military funding (FMF), which is about one-fifth of the total Israeli defense budget, according to a recent report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS) .The FMF total does not include American money spent on joint missile defense projects with Israel, for which $99.8 million has been requested in Fiscal Year 2013.
As UAVs become more prevalent, their capabilities will continue to develop. If you haven’t seen the videos demonstrating the nano-quadrotor UAVs under development at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, then you are missing something.
Lockheed Martin agreed at the show this week to forge a teaming agreement with PT CMI Teknologi to pursue the NASRI (National Airspace Surveillance–Republic of Indonesia) program. This NASRI project seeks to greatly enhance the Indonesian military’s ability to maintain air sovereignty over the country’s widely spread territory, which includes 17,000-plus islands.
Raytheon has just conducted a successful trial of its Griffin B forward-launch small precision weapon. The test demonstrated the weapon’s capability to defend a forward operating base (FOB). The Griffin was fired from a fixed Wedge launcher against target coordinates more than 2.5 miles away provided by sensors mounted on a tethered aerostat, of the type that are typically raised to protect Army FOBs. The Griffin A aft-launch version is in service with the U.S. Marine Corps C-130 Harvest Hawk aircraft and the Air Force’s MC-130W Dragon Spear.
Over two decades have passed since the laser-guided version of Raytheon’s AGM-65 missile left production but, due to emerging requirements, the “laser Maverick” is back.
Esterline CMC Electronics (Booth T87) has finished delivering its integrated Cockpit 4000 avionics suite to Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for the Turkish Air Force’s 40-aircraft KT-1T trainer program.
The U.S. government is revamping its export control regime for military-related products, a systemic reform long sought by the nation’s aerospace industry. The reform could facilitate prospective deals being pursued by U.S. companies here in the Asia Pacific region and other parts of the world.
The issue of military exports pits advocates of weapons nonproliferation against those who argue that the U.S. must remain economically competitive with other nations. But there is wide acknowledgment that the existing system of vetting products and technologies for export is deficient.
French air force commander General Jean-Paul Palomeros, speaking on the recording of full-motion video (FMV) from airborne platforms–especially UAVs, said, “The challenge today is to exploit the amount of ISR data gathered and then disseminate it in a useful way to different customers.” A huge amount of expert manpower is required, he told AIN, but the general is not convinced that automatic target recognition software is the answer. Artificial intelligence would be best applied to make UAVs fly autonomously, he believes.