The naval prototype of India’s Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) made its first test flight on April 27. Already delayed by four years, the program still faces design concerns, including weight. Strengthening of the rear airframe for carrier operations, and the addition of an arrestor hook, has made the aircraft about 1,000 pounds overweight.
AIN Defense Perspective » May 4, 2012
The Kuznetsov design bureau, part of the United Engine Corporation (ODK), unveiled a new geared turbofan design at the Engines 2000 exhibition in Moscow last month. The PD30 is proposed for an upgrade to the Antonov An-124 Ruslan heavy airlifter, which is currently powered by the Ukrainian Ivchenko Progress D18T. The PD30 could also power Russia’s proposed widebody airliner, known as Airplane 2020.
The U.S. Navy released a draft request for proposals (RFP) last month for its future airborne electronic warfare system, the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ), signaling a shift in the $2 billion program to the technology development phase. Contained in under-wing pods on the Navy’s EA-18G Growler, the NGJ will suppress advanced, integrated air defenses, communications systems, datalinks and other threats, replacing the long-serving AN/ALQ-99 tactical jamming system on the Boeing EA-18G and retiring Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowlers.
Northrop Grumman received a contract from the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) to build the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter based on the Bell 407 airframe. The contract, announced April 23, has a not-to-exceed cost ceiling of $262 million for two demonstration and six production MQ-8Cs.
India launched its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time on April 19. The Agni V weighs 50 metric tons, is 17 meters long and has a range of 5,000 km. Development has cost $480 million. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) says it will conduct two more validation tests before starting production. The missile is expected to be introduced by 2016, said a defense official.