Saab (Booth C11) has many years of experience devising protection systems for combat aircraft, and here at Singapore 2014 it is showing its latest offering, the ESTL. Formerly known as BOH, it is a modular system that draws on several of the company’s successful missile warning and countermeasures systems to create a cost-efficient means of protecting combat aircraft against current and predicted infrared and radar-guided missile threats.
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.
A team from UTC Aerospace Systems (Chalet CD07) is here promoting the DB-110 dual-band airborne reconnaissance sensor, and talking of a multispectral upgrade to come. The podded sensor flies on the F-16s of nine air forces, on the new Saudi air force F-15s, and on Japan’s P-3s. It first entered service on the Tornado strike aircraft of the UK Royal Air Force, where it is named the Raptor system.
Rising military tension in north Asia sparked by China’s escalating defense spending and erratic posturing by North Korea is driving growth in Honeywell’s defense business. The need to maintain operational availability for the large installed base of U.S.-made aircraft operated by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan is spurring strong demand for spares and product support, according to Mark Burgess, senior director with Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific (Booth 23, Chalet CS42).
One of the messages that Raytheon has brought to Singapore is that the evolving technological capabilities of both air-to-air missiles and fighter radar must proceed hand-in-hand if an operator is to take full advantage of new performance gains. As radar-guided weapons increase in effective range capability, so better radars are required with sufficient performance to match that of the weapon.
The war of words between the system integrators and radar houses that are chasing the F-16 upgrade market intensified here this week. With 3,500 Fighting Falcons still flying, at least one-third of which might be upgraded, the stakes are high. Here in Singapore, BAE Systems Inc. and Raytheon are hoping that the local Ministry of Defence will entertain their rival proposals for a contract that could be worth almost $2.5 billion, and consider them above the solution offered by Lockheed Martin (LM) and Northrop Grumman (NG).
Raytheon has warned against overreliance on stealthy platforms alone in future air combat. Despite their low radar cross-sections (RCS), fifth-generation fighters such as the F-35 can be detected by modern air defense systems. To defeat these defenses, air forces should take full advantage of the latest sensors and weapons that can be carried on less stealthy aircraft, the company said.
Russia’s Irkut Corp. is well known in the Asia Pacific region because of the mighty vectored-thrust Sukhoi Su-30 series multirole fighters in service with Indian and Malaysian air forces, numbering about 200 aircraft. The maker also supplied Su-27UB operational trainers to China; and a number of Asian nations still operate swing-wing MiG-23U trainers and MiG-27 strike aircraft built at the corporation’s manufacturing site in Irkutsk city, western Siberia.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) last month signed two contracts for a new training system to replace its ageing Pacific Aerospace CT-4E Airtrainer piston-engined trainers–currently shared by the Central Flying School and Pilot Training School.
At the heart of the new $128 million system are 11 Beechcraft T-6C Texan II turboprop trainers and two CAE simulators. The contracts also cover parts, training, logistics and maintenance support. Local company Safe Air has been selected as sub-contractor to assist with implementation of the system.
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.
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).