Raytheon Systems Ltd. (RSL) has revealed details of the Shadow R1, a modification of the Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350ER that was done in the UK as an urgent operational requirement for the UK Royal Air Force. The four aircraft were delivered last year without fanfare to No 5. squadron, which also operates the five Sentinel R1 (Astor) surveillance jets provided by RSL. They have since been deployed to Afghanistan.
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).
Israel has agreed to acquire 20 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs), despite U.S. reluctance to permit their modification with Israeli-designed equipment. Recent talks in Washington between Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates confirmed a compromise that was first revealed at the Farnborough airshow.
Oman is set to buy a further 18 Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft in a package worth $3.5 billion. The U.S. Congress was notified of the potential sale earlier this month. The package also includes conformal fuel tanks, 18 Lockheed Martin Sniper targeting pods and four Goodrich DB-110 reconnaissance pods.
India signed a contract for 57 more BAE Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers (AJTs), all to be manufactured under license at the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) factory in Bangalore. A previous contract provided 24 Hawk AJTs from the BAE Systems production line in the UK, six more in kit form for assembly by HAL, and 36 to be license-built.
Reports from Washington suggest that a new arms package being assembled for Saudi Arabia could reach record proportions, as much as $60 billion. Another 80-plus F-15 fighters could be offered, along with about 70 UH-60 Black Hawk and up to 60 AH-64 Apache helicopters.
Lockheed Martin has begun flight testing a new sensor for the F-35's targeting system, developed by the company's missiles and fire-control division. The test aircraft is a highly modified Boeing 737 operated by BAE Systems and is known as the CATBird (cooperative avionics testbed).
In the same week that the Chengdu JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft made its international debut at the Farnborough airshow, the product of this co-development between China and Pakistan was offered to Indonesia. The Pakistan Defence Minister signed a defense cooperation agreement with his Indonesian counterpart in Jakarta.
Japan is examining the possibility of continuing production of the Mitsubishi F-2 to bolster its fighter fleet in the face of growing Chinese capability, adding some 20 aircraft to the 94 (plus four prototypes) currently procured. The Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) is looking for a new fighter and has stated a desire for the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, but U.S. export restrictions have ruled that out.
Boeing has revealed its latest thinking on how the C-17 heavy airlifter could meet the joint future theater lift (JFTL) requirement that is emerging in the U.S. The “Advanced Tactical C-17” would retain the basic wings and tail of the current C-17A, but feature a new fuselage that is four feet narrower and consists of more composite structure. The four P&W F117 turbofans would be upgraded to provide 13 percent more thrust.
During the Farnborough airshow in late July, the Brazilian air force announced its intention to acquire 28 Embraer KC-390 twinjet tanker/transports. First flight is expected in 2014, with service entry planned before the end of 2015.