Textron AirLand aims to fly the first prototype of its Scorpion light attack/ISR jet in the first week of December. The aircraft is currently undergoing final checks, and is scheduled to fly following the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. A joint venture between Textron and AirLand Enterprises, the Scorpion has been secretly under construction at Textron subsidiary Cessna’s Wichita plant. The project began in January 2012, but was not made public until September this year.
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).
Last week Iraq took delivery of the first batch of Mil helicopters from the Rostvertol factory. Four Mi-35Ms were delivered to Iraq, their arrival being announced by Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki. Iraqi managers, crews and technicians have been training at the Russian army’s Torzhok center, with the first group completing its course in late September. Following the delivery of the initial batch will be at least two more Mi-35Ms, and a sizeable batch of Mil Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopters.
Lockheed Martin continues to upgrade its modernized target acquisition designation sight/pilot night-vision sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) for the AH-64 Apache, an electro-optical fire-control system that this year surpassed one million flight hours on the attack helicopter.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron made an unexpected stop here at the Dubai Airshow on his way home from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka. Speaking to assembled UK aerospace industrialists, he encouraged them to compete in what he termed the “global race.” Cameron did not refer specifically to the possibility of selling Eurofighter Typhoons to the UAE, but did say that he was “incredibly proud to stand up and promote the aircraft around the world.” He later stated his hop that the UK could be entering into a partnership here in the UAE on more general aerospace matters.
The AgustaWestland AW101 won Norway’s competition for a new search-and-rescue (SAR) helicopter. The win could be worth more than €1 billion if Norway buys 16 aircraft as planned and exercises options for another six. The AW101s will replace Sea Kings provided by Westland in the 1970s.
Israel will receive six Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotors, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel confirmed. They will come out of “the next order to go on the assembly line,” he added, with delivery within two years. The V-22s are being built under multi-year contracts, the latest of which was signed earlier this year.
Selex ES revealed its development of an expendable active-radar decoy (EAD) for combat aircraft. The BriteCloud is the size and shape of a flare and can be dispensed from a standard 55-mm flare cartridge. Flight-tests will take place next year on a Saab Gripen, and customers for the Swedish fighter will be the first to be offered the new electronic warfare device.
Alenia Aermacchi’s factory at Venegono has begun assembling the first of 30 M-346 advanced jet trainers for Israel. The Italian company said that the program to replace the Israeli air force’s TA-4 Skyhawks is on time and budget, “thanks to a highly skilled workforce and one of the most automated of production lines.”
The sunset could be farther off than thought for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the mainstay of the U.S. Navy’s carrier-based fighter fleet. With initial operational capability of the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter that will eventually replace the F/A-18 now planned in early 2019, Boeing and partner Northrop Grumman are proposing an “Advanced Super Hornet” upgrade designed to operate until 2030 and beyond.