Canadian air navigation service provider Nav Canada says the number of monthly controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) contacts in domestic airspace has grown 10-fold since September 2012. At that time the monthly tally was about 7,000, but by May this year it had reached 76,000. National adoption of CPDLC was completed in April this year when the Toronto center began employing the text-based communications system.
Electronic-component manufacturer TT Electronics-IMS is showcasing here at Farnborough International Airshow 2014 its full range of specialized manufacturing capabilities, and its accreditation by the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (Nadcap). The production capabilities include cable harness manufacturing and assembly, printed circuit board assembly, environmental qualification and full product integration. The company also offers manufacturing analysis expertise, such as its “Product Life Management” services.
U.S.-based UTC Aerospace Systems and Selex ES, a Finmeccanica company, have signed an agreement to offer a TacSAR (tactical synthetic aperture radar) to complement the proven DB-110 EO/IR sensor. The European company will adapt its Seaspray 7500 radar to fit in the center third of the pod that houses the UTC DB-110 on fighter aircraft.
BAE Systems launched a new version of the Striker integrated display helmet for combat aircraft pilots here at the Farnborough Airshow this week. Mark Bowman, the company’s chief test pilot, demonstrated how BAE has leveraged its work on an alternative helmet-mounted display (HMD) for the Lockheed Martin F-35 to produce Striker 2. The company was tapped to provide the alternative, using night-vision goggles, after serious development problems with the Elbit Systems/Rockwell Collins HMD that is integral to the F-35 cockpit.
MBDA Missile Systems (Outdoor Exhibit 10, Chalet D1) said yesterday that it would assemble the first copy this week of the Brimstone 2 missile, which is now in series production. The missile incorporates a dual-mode, millimeter-wave radar and semi-active laser seeker, an “insensitive munition” (IM) rocket motor and warhead and a new, stronger airframe.
The contract to begin full integration of the MBDA Storm Shadow long-range precision attack missile with the Eurofighter Typhoon is expected to be signed today. Philip Dunne, UK Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, announced the signing while speaking at Farnborough yesterday.
The contract is between Eurofighter and NETMA, the four-nation Eurofighter management agency, and is worth €150 million ($205 million).
Clean Sky (Hall 4 Stand B10), Europe’s aerospace research venture, is exhibiting a model of a modified Airbus A340 with so-called “laminar flow” on an outboard section of the wings. The technology, if applied to the entire wing, could bring a 5-10 percent improvement in fuel burn. The A340 testbed is scheduled to fly next year.
The U.S. Air Force announced that it released a request for proposals (RFP) to industry on July 9 for its new Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program to develop the next generation heavy bomber. The service said it expects to make a contract award next spring.
Detailed requirements for the bomber are classified and in a press release the Air Force described the platform in generalities. It nevertheless designated the LRS-B as a top priority, along with the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter and KC-46A tanker.
Airbus Helicopters will lead the design of a compound rotorcraft demonstrator dubbed “LifeRCraft” (Low Impact Fast & Efficient RotorCraft) as part of Europe’s Clean Sky 2 Joint Technology Initiative, which was formally launched last week in Brussels. Preliminary studies, architecture and specification activity will start this year, with development and testing of components and subsystems envisioned in the 2016-2018 timeframe. Flight evaluations could start in early 2019.