Earlier this month Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) began flight trials of the single Boeing 767-200ER it has converted to multi-mission tanker transport (MMTT) configuration for the Columbian air force (Fuerza Aérea Colombiana). During the initial 3.5-hour post-conversion flight, the MMTT successfully cleared the full flight envelope, and subsequently engaged in refueling trials with an IAI Kfir C10 fighter.
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 has consolidated its military aircraft business into four divisions from six, as part of a rationalization process prompted by slowed defense spending. Two of the previous divisions are amalgamated into a single missiles and unmanned airborne systems division based in St. Charles, Mo., while the current rotorcraft division is split.
In the last few weeks the Embraer KC-390 jet tanker/transport program has gained four international partners, who have expressed their intentions to purchase the aircraft and to participate in its development and manufacture. Following the announcement at Farnborough in July that the Brazilian air force would initially acquire 28 KC-390s, the latest announcements raise prospective sales to 54.
An improved version of the Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk mini-UAV is now operating with the British Army in Afghanistan. The hand-launched system has an improved video sensor and a larger wing. The UK is the only announced customer for the Desert Hawk.
Iran unveiled a jet-powered UAV that it claimed could deliver two 250-pound bombs to targets beyond 600-miles range. The Karar drone appears to be in the same class as the CL-289 UAV designed and built for reconnaissance by Canadair in the 1980s.
Responding to public complaints from Pentagon officials about the cost and progress of the Global Hawk program, Northrop Grumman has provided a robust defense.
AeroVironment has become the first company to fly a stratospheric, very-long-endurance UAV as part of the U.S. government’s Global Observer initiative. The 175-foot-wingspan aircraft took off from Edwards Air Force Base on August 5 and flew for one hour, reaching 4,000 feet.
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.
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.