The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) reversed course on its Carrier Strike program, confirming a switch from the F-35C CV version back to the F-35B STOVL version of the Joint Strike Fighter. The decision was expected, and has been driven by a doubling of the estimated cost (to more than $3.2 billion) to convert for “cat and trap” operations one of two new British carriers that are already under construction.
AIN Defense Perspective » May 11, 2012
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) chose the Alenia C-27J Spartan to replace a fleet of 14 DHC-4 Caribou STOL airlifters that have already been retired. The 10-aircraft deal will be conducted via the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system, with L-3 acting as the prime contractor. Alenia and L-3 formed a partnership to sell the C-27J to the U.S. armed forces. The RAAF also evaluated the EADS CN-295 for the Air 8000 requirement.
Russian engine manufacturer Salut revealed that its backlog for the AL31F series now exceeds 400, thanks largely to orders from China. At the Engines 2000 exhibition in Moscow last month, Salut confirmed that more negotiations with China took place recently, but it declined to provide details. Salut also revealed progress on increased-thrust versions of the AL31F.
The U.S. Navy has started the process of eventually replacing its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighter and the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare derivative. On April 13, the service issued a request for information (RFI) seeking industry concepts for the F/A-XX fighter to replace Super Hornets and Growlers around 2030.
Schiebel reported trials of its Camcopter S-100 on a frigate of the Italian Navy, equipped with a Wescam MX-10 high-definition camera. The small unmanned helicopter “has successfully proved its maritime capability on 14 different classes of vessel in three oceans,” the company claims. A trial with the French navy is ongoing.