Just as in the U.S. there is considerable interest in Europe in developing a solution to the sense-and-avoid problem for unmanned aircraft. A number of different programs are running concurrently under different national, international and industrial consortia, and while several have clocked up significant hours of flight test in surrogate or testbed aircraft, none have as yet flown on board an unmanned platform.
Multi-role functionality has been a long time coming for the Eurofighter Typhoon. But the four-nation industrial consortium building the combat jet says the Phase 1 Enhancements (P1E) package that is now entering service represents a “paradigm shift” in capability.
The commander of the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon force, Air Cmdr. Gary Waterfall, said the new package allows the RAF to drop 500-pound Paveway IV “smart” bombs “at the moment of our choosing, on targets of our choosing, with a multitude of fuse settings, impact angles and arrivals.”
Airbus Defence and Space has teamed with Textron to offer the Shadow M2 tactical UAV for a French army requirement that is expected to be launched in the coming weeks. France has been deliberating over a UAV for the army for some time, and has tested the Thales Watchkeeper extensively. Meanwhile, Sagem has offered the Patroller UAV. However, the ministry of defense has indicated it will shortly issue an open tender. Under the teaming agreement, Airbus D&S will install French mission equipment in the Shadow.
The UK Ministry of Defence awarded BAE Systems a £16.7 million ($28 million) contract to supply its third-generation common missile warning system (CMWS) for British military helicopters. The order represents the first direct commercial sale of the latest generation countermeasures suite, BAE said.
The organizers of this week’s ILA Berlin airshow claimed 1,200 exhibitors from 40 countries, and were expecting 200, 000 visitors, including public spectators on the last three days. The show had plenty to offer in the fields of civil aerospace, space and environmental solutions. However, defense exhibitors and attendees at ILA Berlin are mostly focused on German requirements. The problem is, the Germans are not buying anything.
Guided rocket conversion competitors BAE Systems and Raytheon announced new milestones for their respective offerings. BAE’s Advanced Precision Kill Weapon (APKWS) and Raytheon’s Talon laser-guided rocket (LGR) convert standard 2.75-inch Hydra rockets into precision guided munitions by adding a semi-active laser guidance package.
BAE Systems has been awarded a contract extension that will see it continue to support the RAF’s Tornado GR.Mk 4 fleet until the type’s planned retirement in 2019. BAE has been supporting the aircraft through the ATTAC (availability transformation: Tornado aircraft contract) program since 2006, but the initial 10-year period was due to expire in 2016. The new extension adds three years and approximately £125 million ($210 million) to the deal.
Vertical lift UAV developer CybAero said the Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls approved export permits for a €5.5 million ($7.5 million) order a Chinese customer placed for its APID 60 unmanned helicopter, the company’s largest order.
Best known for its business aviation service portfolio, PremiAir International Group has a new CEO. Keith Marshall served 24 years in the British Army as a helicopter pilot and instructor before launching a career in the private sector that has included stops with Northrop Grumman; MGISC Toulouse; and Selex Galileo (formerly GEC-Marconi), where he held the title of executive v-p in the electronic warfare and battlespace divisions. Marshall’s appointment signals a drive to bolster PremiAir’s capabilities in aerospace systems markets, according to the company.
After more than two years of negotiation, the governments of the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have agreed new terms covering the delivery of 48 Typhoon fighters. Under the original 2007 Project Salam contract, Saudi Arabia ordered 72 Typhoons, with BAE Systems acting as lead company for the Eurofighter consortium. The first 24 aircraft were delivered without issue, but the remaining 48 aircraft became the subject of debate.