Brazil has chosen the Saab Gripen E as its new fighter aircraft, after years of indecision. Defense Minister Celso Amorim and Brazilian air force commander Bg. Juniti Saito announced their preference for the Swedish jet over the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Dassault Rafale after authorization from President Dilma Rousseff. Previous attempts to decide the FX-2 competition failed at the political level.
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).
Iraq has signed a contract with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) to buy 24 T-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainers. According to KAI, the deal at the outset is worth $1.1 billion, including initial pilot training, but will almost double in value with the addition of support over 20 years. Iraq also evaluated the Aero Vodochody L-159, BAE Hawk Mk 128 and Yakovlev Yak-130, according to KAI.
Boeing and Saab signed a joint development agreement for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X jet trainer requirement. They join three other industry teams offering aircraft for the T-X competition, which is expected to begin with a request for proposals (RFP) in 2016.
Airbus Military and Alenia Aermacchi have performed firefighting trials of their competing tactical airlifters, the C295 and the C-27J, respectively. As defense budgets tighten, both companies are hoping to sell new, cost-effective applications such as these.
Beechcraft has sold more than 50 King Air twin turboprops for special missions this year, according to Dan Keady, the company’s senior v-p for special missions. “That’s double last year’s total,” he told AIN.
Textron AirLand’s prototype Scorpion twin-engine “tactical” jet, which was built by Textron subsidiary Cessna Aircraft, flew for the first time this morning in Wichita. The aircraft, flown by engineering test pilot Dan Hinson and copilot David Sitz, took off from McConnell Air Force Base and conducted “a range of handling maneuvers” for nearly an hour-and-a-half, completing the flight at 10:30 a.m. Central Time. The joint-venture company had delayed the flight for several days because of weather in Wichita.
The U.S. Navy declared operational readiness of the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and deployed the first Poseidons to the Asia Pacific region earlier this month.
Flight tests of the MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile on a Eurofighter Typhoon began on November 27. A week later, the four-nation industrial consortium delivered the 400th aircraft. The first Tranche 3 Eurofighter flew on December 2 from Warton.
UK Royal Air Force (RAF) crews have begun training on the Eurocopter Puma Mk 2, although the two squadrons will not be cleared for service until 2015. Under a contract signed in 2009, Eurocopter is upgrading 24 of the 40-year-old helicopters with new engines, glass cockpits, digital autopilot and other improvements. Seven have been redelivered to date.
India’s twice-bid reconnaissance and surveillance helicopter (RSH) competition has been delayed again. An oversight committee is now scrutinizing the latest bids to inquire into allegations of improper conduct by an army officer during flight trials of the finalists. The Kamov Ka-226T and Eurocopter AS550C3 Fennec are competing for an Army and Air Force requirement for 197 helicopters.
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