Since winning the $4 billion contract from the U.S. Air Force for development and engineering of the KC-X refuelling tanker last February, Boeing has provided only generalities on the design of its KC-46A. Last week, during a series of media briefings in Philadelphia and St.
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).
During a visit by Pakistani Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani to Beijing in late May, it was reported that China is to provide 50 Chengdu JF-17 Thunder multirole fighters to Pakistan, and that China will pay for the aircraft. The report comes at a time when Pakistan’s relations with the U.S.–its other principal warplane supplier–have soured over the May 2 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.
Lockheed Martin has learned “some painful lessons” during the development of the F-35, CEO Bob Stevens told journalists in late May. “There’s more realism now,” he added.
Lockheed Martin test pilot Dan Canin flew the 12th “weight-optimized” F-35 Lightning II test airframe on May 21, completing the allotted trials batch. CF-3, the third of the F-35C carrier versions, is now undergoing initial trials before joining two other F-35Cs and four F-35B STOVL test aircraft at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., later this year.
The “Dragon Spear” conversion of U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command MC-130W special mission aircraft, incorporating a new 30-mm chain gun and other enhancements, has given the command a lethal gunship.
Flight testing of the A400M airlifter is on track, and Airbus Military expects civil type certification (TC) by the end of the year, according to the new head of the program, Cedric Gautier. The four development aircraft have now logged more than 1,600 flight hours and will be joined by a fifth next October, which will be in production configuration.
Airbus Military is exploring an airborne early-warning and control version of the C295 tactical airlifter. A company-owned aircraft that has been modified with a six-meter-diameter dummy rotodome will start a three-month flight-test campaign next month.
There was news last week of two long-delayed air-refueling tanker contracts. The Italian air force (AMI–Aeronautica Militare Italiano) formally accepted into service two of the four Boeing KC-767 tanker-transports that it ordered more than eight years ago. But Airbus Military conceded that another few weeks will likely pass before the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) accepts its first two A330MRTTs.
During the 2011 International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF), held in Istanbul on May 10 to 13, EADS Cassidian signed a memorandum of understanding with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), covering the participation of Turkish industry in the Talarion Male UAV program. This modular surveillance platform is being developed to meet projected requirements from France, Germany and Spain.