BAE Systems is competing against Lockheed Martin to be the prime contractor for Korea’s forthcoming upgrade of some 130 F-16s. Attention has focused largely on the competition between Northrop Grumman and Raytheon to supply the AESA radar. But the Korean request for proposals also invited non-OEMs to bid as system integrator. Taiwan and the U.S. are also planning a similar upgrade to some 140 and 300 aircraft, respectively. Other F-16 operators may follow, making this a multibillion-dollar market.
AIN Defense Perspective » April 27, 2012
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) revealed two options to extend the endurance of the MQ-9 Reaper UAV, also known as the Predator B. Wing-mounted fuel tanks and a 22-foot wing extension could be installed in the field in the “near term,” according to the company. They would complement the modified main landing gear, announced previously, that increases the Reaper’s max takeoff weight to 11,700 pounds from 10,500 pounds.
With the procurement of the RQ-20A Puma AE for the first time, the U.S. Marine Corps has adopted four different small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufactured by AeroVironment, of Monrovia, Calif. The service placed a $5.5 million order for Puma systems under an existing Army contract, with delivery planned in two weeks, AeroVironment reported.
After several years of testing, the U.S. Marine Corps has deployed the BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) to Afghanistan. The APKWS is a conversion of the Hydra 70-mm unguided rocket into a precision-guided munition through the addition of the WGU-59/B mid-body guidance unit developed by BAE.
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has delivered the first of 55 Turkish Air Force (TAF) upgraded T-38M jet trainers to the service. TAI completed two prototypes and is upgrading three more aircraft. The other 50 will be modified at a TAF depot over the next three years, with TAI’s assistance.
The avionics modernization program was designed by TAI and includes 14 new features, including equipment supplied by Turkish defense companies Aselsan and Havelsan. The front cockpit has a head-up display, and both cockpits have upfront controllers and two large head-down displays.
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