Airstrikes against Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria this week featured the combat debut of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighter, and of the Royal Saudi Air Force F-15S Strike Eagle. The air forces of Bahrain, France, Jordan, Qatar and the UAE also participated, and the Royal Australian Air Force is en route to the fight with F-18s and a Wedgetail AEW aircraft.
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).
Russia has abandoned plans to build a large fleet of Antonov An-140T tactical airlifters as replacements for aging An-26s and An-72s, thanks to deteriorating relations with the new regime in Ukraine, where Antonov is based. Instead, the Russian defense ministry has revived the Ilyushin Il-112 project, a development of the Il-114 airliner, even though it was shelved in 2010 in favor of the less expensive An-140T.
Billed as the first military aircraft to be designed and built entirely in Africa, Paramount Aerospace’s AHRLAC (advanced high-performance reconnaissance light aircraft) made its public debut at the Africa Aerospace and Defence show, held last week at Waterkloof AFB, near Pretoria in South Africa. The aircraft had made its first flight on August 13.
Embraer and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) on September 25 rolled out the first American-assembled A-29 Super Tucano for the U.S. Air Force’s Light Air Support (LAS) program. The single-engine turboprop will be used to provide light air support, reconnaissance and training capabilities to the Afghanistan military.
The Russian defense ministry has ordered seven more Su-30SM two-seat fighters worth 13 billion roubles, boosting the total to be acquired to 72. Of these, the Russian air force is getting 60 and naval aviation 12. An initial contract for 30 was placed in 2012. Some have reportedly been deployed to Crimea.
Boeing is now proposing the 737-700 Boeing Business Jet airframe for the emerging U.S. Air Force JStarsTARS (Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System) replacement program. Eyeing the same requirement, meanwhile, Northrop Grumman has been flying a smaller, company-owned Gulfstream G550 development aircraft.
The threat of renewed U.S. government budget sequestration in FY2016 loomed large at this week’s U.S. Air Force Association (AFA) conference and exposition. Nevertheless, Air Force leadership seemed confident that they could protect their top-priority procurements: the F-35 stealth fighter, KC-46 tanker and the long-range strike bomber (LRS-B). This same week, the U.S. Congress passed a continuing resolution to enable uninterrupted spending on operations and procurement from October 1, the start of FY2015. A definitive National Defense Authorization (NDA) for FY2015 is not expected until January.
The U.S. Air Force expected to begin the repair process this week to return to flight the two-seat F-16Ds it grounded this summer after discovering cracks in canopy sill longerons between the front and rear pilots’ seats.
Modifying the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter is part of what the U.S. Navy wants to discuss with contractors in a series of “technical interchange meetings” before it develops an analysis of alternatives (AoA) for a future carrier-based strike fighter.
Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy completed the preliminary design review (PDR) for the aerial refueling system of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early-warning aircraft, the company announced on September 3.
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