Boeing is making further improvements to the F/A-18E/F, and evaluating a more powerful version of the Super Hornet’s GE F414 powerplants. A new core and a new fan that could deliver 20 percent more thrust are under investigation by Boeing and General Electric. Boeing F/A-18 program manager Bob Gower said that no change to the aircraft’s inlets would be required to increase mass flow. The core has already run in a test cell.
Embraer has redesigned its C-390 tactical transport after advice from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). The new configuration has a larger fuselage, a new wing and a T-tail, and therefore now has much less commonality with the EMB-190 regional airliner. The FAB is expected to launch the program with an order for at least 22 aircraft.
Lockheed SP-2H, Reno, Nev., Sept. 1, 2008–The Lockheed Neptune air tanker was destroyed after losing power and crashing two miles from Reno Stead Airport, killing the two ATP-rated pilots and a flight mechanic. A witness who watched the airplane take off reported seeing flames coming from the left engine when the airplane was at about 100 to 300 feet agl. The left wing was engulfed in flames.
Lockheed Martin announced on October 7 a $393.6 million contract to supply four C-130J-30 “stretched” Hercules military transports to the Qatar Emiri Air Force beginning in 2011. This comes a few months after the Qataris signed a deal to acquire from Boeing two C-17s, which will be delivered next summer. Currently the QEAF has no tactical/strategic airlift capability, so the new purchases signal a dramatic change in air force doctrine.
While the U.S. Air Force’s KC-X tanker replacement program is held in abeyance–waiting for the incoming Administration to sort out–the support contract for the service’s existing KC-135 fleet is building into a saga of epic proportions. A U.S.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates last week called off the revised KC-X tanker solicitation before the final request for proposal (RFP) was issued.“We can no longer complete a competition that would be viewed as fair and objective in this highly charged environment,” he said.
Boeing faces a tough decision, now that the Pentagon has confirmed that bigger is better in the KC-X tanker competition. “We’ve now revised the language to make it unambiguous that we intend to provide consideration above threshold for fuel offload,” said U.S. director of defense procurement and acquisition policy Shay Assad. He spoke at a press briefing on August 6, to introduce the draft revised request for proposals (RFP).
Northrop Grumman rates its chances of clinching the KC-X contract as only 50 percent, if the US Congress intervenes in the decision. Paul Meyer, who heads the company’s bid team, told Aviation International News of his confidence that the Pentagon would select the KC-45 again second time round. But he fears that protectionist sentiment could overturn the verdict.
Northrop Grumman rates its chances of clinching the KC-X contract as only 50 percent, if the U.S. Congress intervenes in the decision. Paul Meyer, who heads the company’s bid team, told Aviation International News of his confidence that the Pentagon would select the KC-45 again the second time around. But he fears that protectionist sentiment could overturn the verdict.
Lockheed Martin has chosen Esterline CMC Electronics (Hall 4 C14a) to supply its TacView portable mission display to meet current and future C-130J mobile display system requirements. Compact and weighing less than four pounds, TacView brings paperless cockpit operations to military environments, while increasing crew efficiency by reducing cockpit workload.