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).

July 14, 2014 - 8:00am
The Saab Gripen did the first eight development firings of the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM. The European missile house chose the Swedish fighter in preference to the Rafale or the Eurofighter, but the Meteor has since been integrated on all three aircraft.

The integration of new weapons on some combat aircraft has become so expensive that European Defence Agency (EDA) held a workshop to discuss the problem. But Saab (Hall 4 Stand E5 and Chalet C35) has some helpful suggestions, based on its experience with the Gripen. The Swedish fighter served as the development platform for the Iris-T and Meteor air-to-air missiles, and other weapons were successfully added on time and budget.

July 14, 2014 - 7:45am
The Reaper can be armed with four Hellfire missiles and two GBU-12 laser-guided 250-pound bombs. The RAF usually flies with all four missiles, but only one bomb. The UAV’s Raytheon MTS-B sensor ball and laser rangefinder/designator is beneath the nose, with the satcom antenna above.

In response to increased scrutiny of armed UAV operations by human rights groups, British legislators and the United Nations, the British Ministry of Defence (UK MoD) has stepped up efforts to reassure the public. Late last year, it allowed media (including AIN) access to the Royal Air Force Reaper ground control station (GCS) at RAF Waddington for the first time. New documents describing UK operational procedures, including targeting, have been released. The UK is one of only three countries to have fired weapons from UAVs in combat, the others being Israel and the U.S.

July 14, 2014 - 5:45am

Japan’s Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) has released images and footage of the ATD-X (advanced technology demonstrator-experimental), following the appearance of a privately taken blurred image a few weeks ago.

Made public this weekend, the new images were taken on May 14 and show the aircraft being moved out of the paint shop, resplendent in TRDI’s house colors and bearing the serial 51-0001. In April, Japan’s defense minister, Itsunori Onodera, told journalists that the ATD-X is scheduled to fly this year.

July 14, 2014 - 5:35am

Northern Ireland-based Denroy Plastics (Hall 1 Stand B16) has won a new contract to supply plastic components to the multi-national Eurofighter Typhoon program. The undisclosed contract adds further components to the ones already supplied by the company, which now provides 180 separate parts for the Typhoon. The contract announcement was accompanied by a visit from RAF Typhoon pilots to Denroy’s Balloo Road plant in Bangor.

July 14, 2014 - 1:30am

Some seven months after Brazil’s selection of the Saab Gripen NG in December 2013 to fulfill the country’s F-X2 new fighter requirement, Embraer and Saab announced on Friday a memorandum of understanding to partner in delivering the program for the Brazilian air force.

July 14, 2014 - 12:30am

Textron AirLand’s new Scorpion tactical jet is making its international debut here in the UK. The clean-sheet design attracted curious onlookers last week at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in Fairford, UK, including among them Gen. Mark Welsh, U.S. Air Force chief of staff. This week, the jet can be seen on static display at the Farnborough International Airshow through Thursday.

July 14, 2014 - 12:20am

The Lockheed Martin F-35 may yet show up here, but the odds were still against it yesterday, as AIN went to press. A senior Pentagon official said Thursday that all F-35 engines had been inspected and no faults found. But the organization responsible for the four F-35B STOVL versions that are supposed to make the transatlantic trip did not lift the grounding.

July 13, 2014 - 1:05pm

At the recent ILA Berlin Airshow, Airbus Defence & Space reported progress with the passive radar [alternatively, passive coherent location (PCL)] system that predecessor company Cassidian had been developing since 2006. Frank Bernhardt, project manager, said that the company has “worked closely” with two armed forces on tests of the system. One of them is Germany.

July 13, 2014 - 1:00pm
The Ramona and follow-on Tamara passive detection systems were deployed by Warsaw Pact countries on  mobile vehicles.

European companies, especially in the East, are continuing to refine passive ground-based technologies with the potential to detect stealth aircraft. The best known of these is the detection and correlation of emissions from aircraft–such as from radars, radar altimeters and other navigation devices–using ESM/ELINT techniques, sometimes known as passive emitter tracking (PET).

July 13, 2014 - 11:19am
Boeing Next Generation Bomber

The U.S. Air Force announced that it released a request for proposals (RFP) to industry on July 9 for its new Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program to develop the next generation heavy bomber. The service said it expects to make a contract award next spring.

 
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