The U.S. has approved an Iraqi request for 24 Beechcraft AT-6C Texan II turboprop strike aircraft. Together with associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support, the sale would be worth an estimated $790 million. Iraq is the first announced customer for the AT-6, which lost the controversial U.S. Air Force contest for a Light Air Support (LAS) aircraft to the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano.
Although it made its debut at the IDEX show earlier this year, the Aerostat-200 from Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments (Adasi) is being shown in its full inflated glory for the first time in public at the Dubai Airshow. The 200-cubic meter aerostat, which began operations this year, can carry a payload such as an EO/IR sensor up to more than 500 feet to provide non-stop surveillance. Adasi will soon introduce the more voluminous Aerostat-500, followed by the even larger Aerostat-900 with a 3,500-foot altitude capability.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) of California belatedly revealed that its Lynx multimode radar had been flown successfully on an aerostat during a U.S. Air Force exercise last July.
Israeli sensor specialist Controp Precision Technologies (Hall 3 C17) is displaying a range of its advanced electro-optic/infrared/laser payloads, including several new products. The latest payloads are tailored for use with UAVs, and also for aerostat applications.
Ice road truckers could be out of business soon. Boeing and SkyHook are developing a hybrid heavy-lift helicopter/blimp capable of hoisting a 40-ton sling load and moving it 200 miles without refueling. The JHL-40 will be capable of transporting equipment and materials to remote drilling and mining locations in the Canadian Arctic and Alaska. The helium “envelope” will support the vehicle while the four main rotors will lift the payload.
The UAE’s requirement for an airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft was another topic bubbling just under the surface at Dubai, [UAE SET TO MAKE AEW&C CHOICE FROM NORTHROP, BOEING OR SAAB] as reported in AIN’s Dubai Air Show Tuesday edition.