The Airbus Military A400M is spreading its wings, as the once-troubled program makes progress toward first delivery early next year. The airlifter went to South America last month and Southeast Asia this week, for viewing by potential customers. The company said last November that it hopes to sell about 300 A400Ms over the next 20 years, and that the first production slots for new customers are available in 2016-17.
Lockheed Martin has provided more details on the lower-cost C-130XJ that it revealed earlier this year, along with the proposed SC-130J Sea Herc for maritime missions. The company has delivered 252 of the 320 C-130Js on order by 15 countries, and is reducing the production rate to 30 per year from last year’s peak of 36.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) advises that “prudence and strong management attention” are required during the development phase of the U.S. Air Force’s KC-46A aerial refueling tanker. In a report to Congress, the GAO repeated concerns expressed last fall that the program faces schedule and technical risks.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) will decide on a new multi-role tanker transport by year-end. Bids for six aircraft from Airbus Military for the A330MRTT and from Ilyushin for the Il-78MK are now being compared, Airbus Military market development vice president Ian Elliott told AIN in Delhi this week. The new in-flight refuelers will augment the existing fleet of six Il-78s, which has been in service for over half a decade at Agra airbase.
Northrop Grumman has gained a large new contract from the U.S. Air Force to supply its large aircraft infrared countermeasures (LAIRCM) system for fixed-wing platforms. In February it was one of two contractors the Army selected to demonstrate a next-generation common infrared countermeasures (CIRCM) system for helicopters and other aircraft, although a bid protest has stalled that program.
Boeing has selected Elbit Systems to supply the high-resolution large area display (LAD) for future export versions of the F-15 Eagle and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The 11- by 19-inch LAD replaces several multifunction displays. It forms part of the F-15 Silent Eagle proposal to Korea, and the Super Hornet proposal for Brazil’s long-running fighter contest.
Having delivered a pod-equipped Boeing 767 multi-mission tanker transport (MMTT) to the Colombian air force in late 2010, IAI’s Bedek Aircraft division has now added a flying boom option to its MMTT offering. The design of the boom has been finalized and testing completed. The boom is an IAI-designed fly-by-wire (FBW) unit controlled from a remote air refueling operator’s station on the flight deck.
Lockheed Martin is offering to reduce the price of the C-130J Hercules by stripping out some of the more expensive systems. The U.S.-built airlifter is facing new competition later this decade, when Embraer’s yet-to-fly KC-390 becomes available.
Eyeing regional requirements, including here in Singapore, Airbus Military has brought an A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) to the show. It is one of 14 destined for the UK Royal Air Force’s future strategic tanker aircraft (FSTA) fleet. A total of 28 MRTTs have been ordered by four countries.
The U.S. Air Force is terminating the C-130 avionics modernization program (AMP) and culling 286 aircraft from its fleet over the next five years as it restructures to meet budget constraints. At the same time, the service plans a service-life-extension program (SLEP) for 350 F-16s to compensate for delayed deliveries of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.