Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are going head-to-head with active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar programs to update F-16 fighters and other fighters around the world. Northrop Grumman announced yesterday that it now has U.S. State Department licenses to talk to a number of export customers at DSP-5 level, a status that Raytheon announced for its proposals in November.
Ten weeks after the deadline for comments on the draft RFP for the latest attempt to procure a new KC-X aerial refueling tanker, the Pentagon has still not released the final document. It now says to expect this by the end of the month, and that some changes have been made. Northrop Grumman said it would not bid unless the final RFP was changed to give credit for the greater capacity of the A330MRTT (aka KC-45).
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 Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout, a vertical takeoff unmanned air system (VTUAS), began its first operational deployment with the U.S. Navy last month. Two vehicles are currently embarked on the guided-missile frigate U.S.S. McInerney (FFG 8) for a six-month cruise operating alongside a Sikorsky SH-60B on counter-drug operations in the eastern Pacific. Compatibility trials with the frigate got under way last December.
Boeing is due to fly the first P-8A maritime patrol aircraft equipped with a mission system early next year as the program to replace the U.S. Navy’s aging fleet of P-3 maritime patrol aircraft moves into the flight-test phase. The Navy plans to buy 117 P-8As, derived from the 737-800 airliner, with an initial operating capability in 2013. Meanwhile, India is the first export customer, with eight aircraft on order.
Former deposit-holders for Eclipse 500 very light jets recently filed four lawsuits in New Mexico district courts alleging various wrongdoings by Eclipse Aviation executives before the company filed for bankruptcy one year ago. Named in the suits are former Eclipse Aviation leaders, including Vern Raburn, Roel Pieper, Peg Billson, Michael McConnell and Mark Borseth, as well as sales and support personnel.
The first Euro Hawk UAV for the German Air Force (GAF) was unveiled last month at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, Calif. facility. It was apparent that the wing pods that house the SIGINT sensors, provided by EADS Defence and Security, have again grown in size, since AIN provided a description of this program at the Paris Air Show last June.
Northrop Grumman has now equipped more than 400 aircraft of 42 types with its AAQ-24(V) Nemesis directed infrared countermeasures system, which is designed to protect aircraft against shoulder-launched missiles, or Manpads. The original plasma lamp-based turret gave way to the eye-safe Viper laser from 2002, and the system continues to be in great demand. Now the company is examining a range of new applications for Nemesis.
Airbus and Northrop Grumman are reluctant to discuss the status of the two KC-45s (A330s) built for the KC-X USAF tanker competition in advance of the award of the contract to Northrop Grumman by the Pentagon last year. Northrop Grumman offered the aircraft as proof of its serious intent in pursuing the requirement. The first KC-45 was flown to Dresden for the addition of a main-deck cargo door by EADS-EFW.
Battle lines were drawn here this week for round three of the Great Tanker War. Conflict is likely to break out next month, when the Pentagon is expected to issue a new draft request for proposals (RFP) for the KC-X program. Boeing said that it may now offer a tanker version of the 777.