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.
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).
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.
The U.S. Army terminated the second test flight of its Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) concept vehicle soon after launching it on August 25 after detecting a “flight anomaly,” the Pentagon said. The experimental glide vehicle and its three-stage rocket booster exploded and fell back on the Kodiak Launch Complex where it had lifted off, some 25 miles from Kodiak, Alaska.
The U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $240 million contract modification to build three more RQ-4B Global Hawk Block 30 unmanned aircraft, each with integrated sensor suite and signals intelligence (Sigint) payloads, plus two Sigint payloads as retrofit kits. The new aircraft will join 18 Block 30 Global Hawks the service earlier planned to retire.
South African defense company Paramount reported on August 13 the first flight of its Advanced High-performance Reconnaissance Light Air Craft (AHRLAC). The twin-boom, tandem-seat, push-prop design, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66B turboprop, has been under development since September 2011.
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