The recent Aero India show was a magnet for many international aerospace companies that are chasing various Indian procurements. In the airlift category, Lockheed Martin delivered the first of six C-130Js that the Indian Air Force (IAF) will use especially for the transport of special forces. The manufacturer signed a joint venture with Tata to produce C-130J airframe parts, amid suggestions that the IAF might buy another six Hercules.
Airborne early warning and control
Saab sprung a major surprise earlier this month by announcing an order worth some $680 million for its Erieye AEW&C (airborne early warning and control) system from an unidentified customer. The number of Saab 2000 platforms was also unspecified. Saab said the contract covers ground equipment, logistics and support, and will run for approximately 4.5 years.
Embraer expects its revenues from the defense sector to grow by almost a third this year, reaching approximately $650 million compared with $500 million in 2009. Its military backlog going into 2010 stood at $3.2 billion and could increase if Indonesia’s defense minister signs off on a deal for eight EMB 314 Super Tucano trainer/light attack aircraft.
India will test fly, in 2012, its indigenous airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system integrated onboard a modified Embraer EMB 145, an official involved in the project said.
Boeing Defence Australia is in the process of installing elements of the Project Vigilare network-centric command and control system (N3CS) at the Royal Australian Air Force base at Williamtown, and has begun to demonstrate the system’s connectivity. The installation program continues throughout this and next year.
As was true of much of the industry, Israel Aerospace Industries saw a fairly steep dip in sales during 2009, largely due to a marked softening in demand on the civil side of its business. Published financial results for the first three quarters of 2009 showed sales slipping by about 25 percent on 2008 and there were few signs that the fourth quarter numbers will have reversed this trend.
Continued tensions in the Far East and southern Asia are ensuring that the region remains a major sales battleground for the world’s fighter houses. At stake is the sale of several hundred new combat aircraft in the coming years as air arms seek to modernize their forces or, in the case of countries such as Japan and Singapore, stay ahead of the regional threat.
Breaking with a tradition that has seen major military procurements signed and announced only in Abu Dhabi, the UAE government sealed deals for new training and AEW&C aircraft during the Dubai Airshow this month. Pilatus secured the new basic trainer, an order for 25 PC-21s worth $521 million, to also include several training simulators with all systems and services.
Northrop Grumman’s E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is currently undergoing carrier compatibility tests at the U.S. Navy’s Patuxent River dummy-deck facility in Maryland before its first venture to sea. Initial carrier trials are to begin in the first half of next year, the exact schedule depending on carrier availability. Here at the Dubai Airshow an operational U.S. Navy E-2C Hawkeye 2000 from the U.S.S. Nimitz is on display in the static area.
The Saab 340 AEW&C aircraft with Erieye radar, which is destined for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), took to the skies for the first time on Friday, flying from Saab’s Linkoping plant where airborne early warning and control conversion work is undertaken. Thailand has one AEW&C aircraft on order (plus another option), as part of a deal involving Gripen fighters.