Observers at the 611 Institute airfield at Chengdu were treated to the first glimpses of the long-predicted second prototype (2002) of the Chengdu J-20 stealthy fighter early this month. In the days that followed the aircraft undertook a number of high-speed taxi trials, culminating in a first flight on May 16. Days before, the first prototype (2001) is reported to have deployed to the Chinese flight-test establishment at Yanliang near the city of Xian, signaling the beginning of a new phase of flight trials.
AIN Defense Perspective » May 18, 2012
In the early hours of 15 May, European naval forces (Eunavfor) carried out their first strike against a pirate base in Somalia. The ships and helicopters of Eunavfor undertaking “Operation Atalanta” have attacked renegade vessels at sea on numerous occasions, but Tuesday morning’s raid was their first strike against targets on shore.
On May 4 Boeing flew for the first time an F-16 that the company has converted for pilotless flight under the U.S. Air Force’s Full-Scale Aerial Target (FSAT) program. The flight took place at Cecil Field, near Jacksonville, Florida. A Boeing test pilot took the aircraft up to 41,000 feet during the 66-minute sortie.
Thales will provide its high-performance inertial reference system (HPIRS) and GPS to support all-weather operations by the new Embraer KC-390 military transport. The French avionics manufacturer described the new-generation HPIRS as a “technological breakthrough” in inertial and GPS navigation, combining advantages of a civil-certified product with the performance required for a military aircraft. It is the company’s first HPIRS contract for a military transport aircraft.
Serbian company UTVA is developing a light attack aircraft, known as the Kobac (sparrowhawk). It is based on the Lasta-95 piston-powered trainer that has been sold to the Iraqi air force, and was formerly known as the Lasta-TP. Designed by UTVA in conjunction with the military technical institute and Yugoimport-SDPR, the turboprop-powered Kobac is being offered for weapons training and counter-insurgency roles.
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