Today the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB, Arizona, formally unveils its first Lockheed Martin F-35A, following delivery of the aircraft earlier in the week. Hosted by Undersecretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning, the ceremony comes ahead of this weekend’s public airshow at the base. The aircraft was flown in on Tuesday by test pilot Colonel Roderick Cregier from Edwards AFB.
Defense » Military Aircraft
News and issues relating to the defense aerospace business, with emphasis on current/in-use, in-development and prospective programs for manned military aircraft and unmanned combat aircraft vehicles (UCAVs).
At the Dassault Aviation annual press conference, in Saint-Cloud (France), CEO Eric Trappier has confirmed achieving a firm agreement with Indian group Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) concerning the partnership between Dassault and HAL for the 126 Rafale fighters that India wants to buy. The agreement covers the general configuration of the aircraft, the technology transfers and the detailed workshare between the two partners and their subcontractors. Also, it clarifies the mechanism of warranties, said Trappier.
Sikorsky Aircraft anticipates contract awards this year from the U.S. Air Force for its new combat rescue helicopter (CRH) and from the Navy for a new U.S. presidential helicopter.
This week Airbus Defence and Space unveiled the Orlik MPT, an upgrade of the PZL-130 Orlik (eaglet) trainer that made its first flight in 1984 and has been the Polish air force’s basic trainer since entering service in 1993. The new version introduces a host of improvements intended to equip it to serve as the initial step in a new-look Polish training syllabus, and the unveiling follows Poland’s decision to procure the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 to serve as the advanced/lead-in trainer before successful students progress to Poland’s front-line F-16 fighters.
On Monday the North Atlantic Council announced that it will begin operating airborne early-warning flights in response to the situation in Ukraine, where pro-Russian forces are largely in control of Crimea. NATO will fly Boeing E-3 Awacs airborne early-warning aircraft in the airspace of member states Poland and Romania, which both border Ukraine. The flights are intended to “enhance the alliance’s situational awareness” of events in Ukraine.
Airbus Defence and Space has confirmed an anticipated order from the Republic of Singapore Air Force for six A330 MRTT tanker/transports. The selection of the Airbus rather than the Boeing KC-46A was first revealed yesterday via the Singaporean ministry of defense’s Twitter account. At the same time, the country’s Ministry of Defense also confirmed that it is to order two more Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk maritime helicopters for the naval air arm’s 123 Squadron, raising the total number to eight.
The UK Ministry of Defence has finally signed off on the Watchkeeper tactical unmanned air system for the British Army, awarding the system a formal Release to Service. The RTS award brings to an end a process to certificate the Watchkeeper for military service that has dragged on approximately three years longer than originally anticipated.
The latest example of the stealthy Chengdu J-20 fighter has recently undergone high-speed taxi testing at the company airfield, suggesting that a first flight is imminent, possibly scheduled for this weekend. Thought to be the third flying example of the J-20, the new aircraft is being considered as a true developmental airframe for an operational fighter, and has introduced a number of significant improvements over the two technology demonstrators that preceded it. Many of the changes are measures taken to reduce the type’s radar cross section.
Boeing has announced the receipt of a new order for its P-8A Poseidon maritime patroller. Worth $2.4 billion, the contract covers 16 new aircraft for the U.S. Navy. Significantly, the order moves the program into full-rate production, earlier aircraft having been ordered on a low-rate initial production (LRIP) basis. A move to full-rate production had been delayed while Boeing proved that the P-8 could meet its 25-year life, plus other mission-related requirements.
The Pentagon proposes retiring the U-2 Dragon Lady and A-10 Warthog in the Fiscal Year 2015 defense budget it will present to the Congress next week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said. Hagel and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, previewed the budget for reporters on February 24.
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