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.
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).
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.
The U.S. Army awarded Boeing a $234 million foreign military sales contract to supply 24 AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopters to Saudi Arabia, affirming a long pending order. The Department of Defense announced the contract award on August 29; the estimated contract completion date is Dec. 31, 2016.
Ruag Aviation announced a teaming with Highland Integrated Surveillance Systems (HISS) to market and deliver turnkey electronic warfare solutions for aircraft. The Swiss and American companies have “complementary competencies,” according to RUAG.
Pilatus Aircraft has signed a 10-year contract with Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) for the Indian company to supply PC-12 NG aerostructures. Tata will replace existing supplier PZL-Swidnik of Poland. This is India’s first major private partnership, and results from the 30-percent offset obligation (worth about $165 million) that Pilatus incurred in its sale of 75 PC-7 Mk II trainers to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The deployment of four UK Royal Air Force Tornadoes to perform overwatch of Iraq, and an unconfirmed report last week that more might be deployed for surveillance of northern Nigeria, serves to illustrate the ongoing value of the aging but effective “Tonka.” Although the RAF fleet is scheduled to be retired in 2019 in favor of the F-35, upgrades continue, with another one announced recently. Meanwhile, the German air force intends to keep its Tornado fleet until at least 2025, with its own upgrades.
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