Raytheon is in the final stages of preparing the GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II for a system verification review to be undertaken within the coming weeks in advance of the U.S. government’s Milestone C review. If the review is passed successfully, a decision to enter the low-rate initial production (LRIP) phase is expected.
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 new Textron Aviation is here at Farnborough (Outdoor Exhibit L2) to show a portfolio of current production aircraft that are available in special mission configurations. The company is displaying a special mission Beechcraft King Air 350ER among other aircraft.
In March, Providence, Rhode Island-based Textron acquired the parent company of Beechcraft for $1.4 billion. It then combined Beechcraft and the former Hawker with its own Cessna Aircraft subsidiary to create Textron Aviation, offering a range of single-engine piston, turboprop and jet aircraft.
Textron Aviation announced yesterday at the Farnborough International airshow that its entire range of Beechcraft and Cessna products is now available in special-mission configuration. All 20 current-production aircraft “fit numerous mission profiles, including aerial survey, air ambulance, flight inspection, aerial surveillance, training and utility transport,” the company said.
The new CAE Multi-Purpose Training Center in Brunei is close to going fully operational, following the European Aviation Safety Agency’s level-D certification of its CAE 3000 Series full-flight simulator for the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter last month. The facility is the result of CAE’s efforts to deliver an integrated array of training solutions in a more cost-effective manner.
The U.S. Army’s 1-229th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion (ARB), based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, has fielded the latest model Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter in Afghanistan with impressive results, Army and Boeing officials said. The deployment has also afforded the “Tigersharks” an opportunity to direct unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) using the AH-64E’s UAS tactical datalink.
On a flying visit to the Farnborough Airshow yesterday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced a major boost to the UK’s defense budget by pledging £1.1 billion to a package that both extends current capabilities and introduces new ones. Cameron specifically mentioned Raytheon/Bombardier Sentinel and the Beechcraft King Air-based Shadow airplanes, which were due to be withdrawn next year following the UK withdrawal from Afghanistan, but which have proved of such use that they are to be retained for at least three more years.
Rosoboronexport, Russia’s defense export agency, continues to benefit from backing by President Vladimir Putin. Speaking at a late April meeting of the Commission for Military Technical Cooperation with Foreign Countries, Putin claimed that Russia is second only to the U.S. in terms of volume of military shipments, with a 27-percent market share.
Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG, a UAC subsidiary, comes to the Farnborough 2014 show boosted by a new Russian order for 16 MiG-29SMT single-seat, multirole fighters due for delivery by the end of 2016. Signing the $495 million order, Russia’s deputy defense minister Yuri Borisov said, “This order will make MiG feel more secure and look to the future with greater hopes…and provide a good starting point for setting up production of newer aircraft, such as the MiG-35.”
For UAC subsidiary Irkut, the Farnborough Airshow is a great chance to connect with Western partners and prospective customers for its MC-21 narrowbody airliner development. The group claims that the new design’s composite wing will give it an operating cost advantage even over the new re-engined Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737Max airliners.
Ukrainian defense electronics group Aerotechnica (Hall 2 Stand C28b) has been at the forefront of the urgent effort to modernize the country’s air defenses in response to the military standoff with Russian-backed separatists. It specializes in replacing dated radar hardware, such as vacuum-tube modules and traveling wave-guide tubes with solid-state components. The company has successfully performed this upgrade with numerous radar sets, most notably the P-18.