Buoyed by last week’s endorsement of the F-35 from Canada, Lockheed Martin vice president Tom Burbage, delivered a business-as-usual update on the Joint Strike Fighter program here in Farnborough this week. There was some talk of the alleged mounting costs, but much more about the flight-test program and international partnerships.
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 announced here yesterday a set of potential enhancements to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet that it will market to export prospects. They include an enclosed weapons pod that is intended to lower the aircraft’s radar cross section. The countries currently evaluating or expressing interest in the Super Hornet include Brazil, Denmark, India, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, and Qatar.
Ankara-based Turkish Aerospace Industries rolled out a new tactical medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAV last Friday. Named Anka, the UAV has been developed to answer the Turkish armed forces’ TIHA (tactical UAV) requirement, but is also to be offered for export.
Lockheed Martin may be focusing a large proportion of its promotional efforts on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, but the company insists there is still a lot of life left in the F-16 and that production could continue alongside that of the F-35 for some years. Meanwhile, the company has outlined a sustainment and supportability plan that projects to at least 2040.
In the U.S. Air Force KC-X competition size matters, but not much else, according to a Boeing briefing here. The company refused to discuss how its NewGen Tanker could be “combat ready” when substantial development work must be done. Citing competitive reasons, Boeing gave no technical details on the new cockpit, the new refueling boom, or even which version of the 767 it was based on.
Some aircraft fulfill their missions so well that they seem to last almost forever. The Sikorsky S-61/H-3 Sea King helicopter, the prototype of which made its first flight way back in 1959, appears on its way to achieving this “never die” status.
This month the Italian air force’s fleet of 12 Alenia Aeronautica C-27J transports racked up its 10,000th flying hour, during the course of which the type has consistently demonstrated high operational efficiency. The fleet was delivered to the 46th air wing at Pisa between 2007 and last year, and since 2008 the airplanes have been used on theater operations in Afghanistan.
Robust and versatile, the series of small-medium tactical transports designed by CASA in Spain are still enjoying steady sales after more than 40 years. Now owned by EADS and marketed by Airbus Military, the C-212, CN-235 and C-295 have logged 817 sales to 127 operators in 58 countries. “These aircraft are little jewels. They are our bread-and-butter, and deserve more headlines,” said Airbus Military CEO Domingo Urena.
Hawker Beechcraft’s first AT-6 PRTV (production-representative test vehicle) has taken time out from its busy test schedule to make its international debut here at Farnborough. It arrives having completed an impressive demonstration of its light attack and armed reconnaissance capabilities during a two-week U.S. joint forces exercise.
Air Tractor’s AT-802U light attack and surveillance aircraft made its debut at Paris last year, but comes to Farnborough this year with new capabilities. Chief among them is a mission endurance extended to more than 10 hours thanks to a new fuselage fuel tank.