A new inter-governmental treaty to be signed in 2013 or 2014 will enhance Anglo-French cooperation on missile development, said Antoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDA. The company has responded to the moves by London and Paris to share defense costs and capabilities with a proposal to create “centers of excellence” that will rationalize the development of new weapons. Bouvier explained that although MBDA is a multinational company, only specific programs such as the Meteor air-to-air missile and the Scalp/Storm Shadow cruise missile are currently developed cooperatively across national boundaries.
Russian air force commander Gen Alexander Zelin told Russian media that a new air-to-air missile will be accepted into service shortly and “double the combat capability” of the MiG-31 interceptor. A Russian air force spokesman added that the service plans to modernize 60 aircraft to the MiG-31BM standard by 2020. The upgrade includes a new radar (believed to be the Zaslon-M capable of detecting up to 10 targets simultaneously at a range of up to 175 nm); new mission computer; and new color cockpit displays.
On show in the static area is Singapore’s latest air defense system, the Spyder-SR provided by Rafael. Spyder (the name derives from the Python and Derby missiles that form its armament) is a family of air defense systems based on common weapons and common software. It was devised for export, and it has been successful in several countries, including India.
Rafael has come to the Singapore Airshow to display a wide array of its products, which can be seen at Booth N55. The Israeli company has become a specialist in several key areas, such as air defense, precision weapons, reconnaissance sensors and systems, and command and control. It believes that its products and systems have great relevance in many areas of the world, especially in the Asia Pacific region.
MBDA Deutschland conducted three firing trials of its PARS 3 LR fire-and-forget precision missile in late April as part of its campaign to sell the weapon to India. Performed at the Vidsel range in Sweden, the test firings were undertaken from a German Eurocopter Tiger UHT helicopter, for which PARS 3 LR has been selected by the German army.
Having been developed in some urgency, Rafael’s Iron Dome dual-mission defense system is now operational, and in April an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) battery proved its worth for the first time when several Grad rockets were intercepted after launch from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.
Typhoon pilots with Britain’s Royal Air Force will soon be flying with a helmet-mounted system that will significantly increase their situational awareness (SA), particularly in the air-to-air role.
Sukhoi has completed its preliminary flight and bench trials program for the T-50 PAK-FA fighter. Three airframes were built for the initial campaign, comprising one static aircraft (T-50-0), one flying prototype (T-50-1) and an avionics testbed (T-50-2). A display flight by T-50-1 on June 17 in front of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin marked the 16th time the aircraft had flown.
Following a successful test last fall, Raytheon’s fifth-generation AIM-9X–the principal short-range air-to-air missile employed by U.S. forces–could become a part of the air-to-surface inventory for employment against both land and sea targets.
MBDA’s joint venture with Abu Dhabi-based Baynuna Aviation Technology, dubbed Baynuna MBDA Missile Technologies (BMT), has just been incorporated. It was announced in February as a 49-51 effort between the European missile manufacturer and the local company.