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.
The C-27J Spartan twin turboprop, selected by the U.S. Army in 2007 to provide intra-theater airlift support in austere environments such as Afghanistan and shifted to Air Force jurisdiction two years later, now faces early retirement to the aircraft “boneyard” at Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona.
The first production upgrade of a C-130H Hercules under the long-running Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) was delivered to Little Rock AFB on January 3. Warner Robins Air Logistics Center modified this aircraft, which is the fourth to be delivered to the C-130 training base; Boeing modified the first three C-130 AMPs in San Antonio under a 2001 design and development contract.
Airbus Military has begun final assembly of the first production A400M, slated for the French Air Force. The company says that delivery of this aircraft (MSN7) is on schedule for the first quarter of 2013, thanks to good progress in the flight-test program.
The French Air Force will sign a contract for between five and seven A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports in 2013, with quick deliveries foreseen, according to its commander General Jean-Paul Palomeros. Budget difficulties thwarted earlier French attempts to procure a new tanker.
While the A400M program enters a new phase of turbulence, with Germany looking to slash its purchase to 40 from 53 and France looking to renegotiate a maintenance deal, the flight-test campaign is forging ahead with the aim of getting the European airlifter delivered by the end of 2012.
Critics may say that Boeing’s argument is self-serving, but McCrary and colleagues believe that the upgrades already made or pending on the F-15 and F-18 prove their point.