Lockheed Martin (LM) has added a battle management system to its Dragon series of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) products as the company continues to offer this wide-ranging set of platform, sensor and communications solutions for export. Meanwhile, the U.S. company is believed to have won a contract from the UAE to integrate the country’s air and missile defenses.
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.
Four air forces have opted for the A330MRTT to date, and Airbus Military is marketing the tanker worldwide. Current prospects include Brazil, France, India Korea and Singapore. But the big prize of a U.S. Air Force contract eluded the European manufacturer, which lost out to Boeing after two controversial, hotly fought competitions.
The AirTanker consortium comprises Babcock, Cobham, EADS, Rolls-Royce and Thales. These partners have all contributed equipment and/or buildings to the project. AirTanker Ltd. holds the contract with the UK MoD; service delivery is via another registered company, AirTanker Services Ltd.
The commercial outfit that will provide the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) with air-to-air refueling service for the next 22 years says that it will meet the forecast in-service date. By May 2014, AirTanker will have nine Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports (MRTTs) ready on the ramp at RAF Brize Norton. It has already trained 18 aircrews, received six aircraft and begun operational flying. Chief executive Phil Blundell told AIN that his company could also assist other customers that need training on the A330MRTT–such as the UAE Air Force.
The Indian navy ship Vikramaditya successfully completed testing recently and, after final adjustments and painting at Sevmash Dockyards in northwest Russia, was due to be handed over to a Indian navy crew of 1,326 that is eagerly awaiting the November 15 handover ceremony, just before the Dubai show.
Late last month Raytheon announced that it had received contracts worth $71.7 million to continue upgrading its Patriot air and missile defense system for the U.S. Army. The latest contracts, which add a modernized radar digital processor (RDP) and modern man station (MMS), highlight the continuous development that is being applied to the Patriot to keep it at the forefront of the air defense arena. The Patriot system has now conducted 2,500 search and track tests, and around 1,000 flight tests.
With around 1,000 employees, the electronic warfare arm of Selex ES is a major player in the EW marketplace, as a lead integrator on programs, such as the Praetorian defensive system of the Eurofighter Typhoon; a provider of equipment; and as a developer of new technology. It is also increasingly involved in supporting EW operations of air arms as nations move toward greater control over their own electronic warfare resources.
Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter both contributed to the design and development of parent company Textron’s new Scorpion military jet, which was unveiled yesterday. According to a Textron spokesman, Bell brought composite expertise to the project, while Cessna designed and built the jet at its Pawnee facility in Wichita. A nearly completed prototype, which has been fitted with a pair of Honeywell TFE731 turbofans, is expected to fly by year-end.
Indian commerce minister Anand Sharma announced the raising of the country’s cap on foreign direct investment (FDI) in 13 important industrial sectors, including defense. But while the defense industry was expecting the cap to be raised to 49 percent from the present 26 percent, Sharma said that defense proposals for more than 26 percent will be permitted only for state-of-the art technology.
Faced with tough budget decisions on new weapons programs, the U.S. Army appears to be delaying a decision on the $6- to $8 billion Armed Aerial Scout program while concurrently moving forward with the potential $100 billion joint multi-role (JMR) initiative.