Two Airbus Defence & Space AC-235 light gunships ordered by the Jordanian special operations command have made the type’s public debut at the SOFEX exhibition being held at Marka airport, Amman, this week. They were recently delivered after modification by ATK. Developed in partnership with Jordan’s King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB), the AC-235 is based on the CN-235 tactical transport, two of which were provided by Jordan for the conversion.
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.
Although India already operates two types of airborne early warning aircraft, the air force is pressing ahead with a program to procure a third platform with extended range, longer endurance and higher operational altitude performance.
The U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned maritime surveillance aircraft is progressing through its flight-test program, but still without a “sense-and-avoid” system that would protect against collisions with other aircraft. The program office said it is taking a “layered approach” to meeting the requirement until it finds a technology solution.
Dr. David Byers, developer of the Synthetic Air Traffic Advisory System (Satas), which uses off-the-shelf technology to create a virtual control tower, demonstrated the system at last week’s Sun ’n’ Fun show in Lakeland, Fla. Satas combines a SharpEye radar unit, developed by DeTect of Panama City, Fla., for marine applications, with the airfield radar system from SRI of Rockledge, Fla., which makes ground security radars. Together, the systems identify and track aircraft flying in the area, all without the need for any transponders on board the aircraft.
Large flocks of birds around many Indian airports continue to threaten aircraft that are constantly under threat of strikes particularly during takeoff and landing. Data compiled by Airports Authority of India for Chennai International Airport, for example, shows bird strikes increased from 38 in 2012 to 50 in 2013.
Civilian operators that work in combat environments now have an option to equip their helicopters with electronic warfare devices that can detect incoming missiles and launch chaff and/or flare countermeasures. Rotorcraft Services Group (RSG, Booth No. 1206) recently signed an agreement with Switzerland-based Ruag Schweiz to provide integration and qualification services for Ruag’s Integrated Self-Protection System (ISSYS) Plug-on-Device (POD) for use in the civil aviation market.
Befitting the vertical lift that members of the Helicopter Association International (HAI) provide to the world, on the eve of Heli-Expo 2014, association president Matt Zuccaro pronounced the state of the industry “very up.”
“Air tours are doing well, corporate operations have re-established themselves and offshore oil and gas work is very busy right now, so it’s a pretty positive picture,” Zuccaro said. Nonetheless, the industry faces challenges including a potential shortage of pilots and mechanics.
Elbit Systems is launching two new products this week at Heli-Expo: SkyVis and Clearvision Heli EVS. SkyVis combines Elbit’s helmet-mounted display with commercially certifiable line-of-sight and daytime head-up display capabilities, day or night, with or without night-vision goggles, in all phases of flight and in marginal weather. Clearvision Heli EVS is a multi-spectral enhanced vision system designed for helicopters that provides improved situational awareness. It offers a 35-degree field of view and is designed to help pilots cope with low-visibility conditions.
Esterline CMC (Booth T87) is celebrating a couple of milestone contract awards here at the Singapore Airshow this week, as well as showcasing its main avionics products–including its popular Cockpit 9000 CNS/ATM update solution for legacy Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft. This is aimed at extending the service life of 20-40 year-old aircraft by up to 30 years, future-proofing them against advances in ATC technology.