BAE Systems is competing against Lockheed Martin to be the prime contractor for Korea’s forthcoming upgrade of some 130 F-16s. Attention has focused largely on the competition between Northrop Grumman and Raytheon to supply the AESA radar. But the Korean request for proposals also invited non-OEMs to bid as system integrator. Taiwan and the U.S. are also planning a similar upgrade to some 140 and 300 aircraft, respectively. Other F-16 operators may follow, making this a multibillion-dollar market.
Officials from Raytheon UK and personnel from the Royal Air Force (RAF) are emphasizing the excellent performance of the Sentinel R.1 Airborne Stand-Off Radar (Astor) system over Afghanistan and Libya. They are hoping that the UK Ministry of Defence will reverse its 2010 decision to withdraw the ground surveillance system, which flies on five Bombardier Global Express business jets, after most British troops leave Afghanistan in 2014.
Aveillant, a spin-off company from France-based technology engineering specialist Altran, is developing a new radar designed to distinguish between aircraft and the rotating blades of wind turbines, eliminating the potential confusion wind farms could cause in ATC and allowing wind farms to be built closer to airports.
This summer’s London Olympics dominated the agenda at the British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) annual conference on March 6, with the group’s patron, Prince Michael of Kent, reminding members that this is an opportunity for the industry to shine. While the high-security event poses plenty of challenges, it should provide a welcome boost to a largely service-based industry that generates almost $3.2 billion for the UK economy each year.
Sporty’s Pilot Shop introduced a wire-free weather receiver for the iPad. Called Stratus, it combines an ADS-B and GPS receiver into a single unit that wirelessly streams Nexrad radar, text weather, TFRs and aircraft position to the ForeFlight Mobile app for iOS devices. The Wi-Fi connection allows multiple iPads to connect to Stratus, making it possible for two-pilot crews to view weather on separate iPads. There are no monthly subscription fees for the weather information, according to Sporty’s. Stratus costs $799.
The future of air travel in Europe could include small electric, pilotless aircraft transporting individuals or small groups to fill the gaps in the scheduled air transport network. European aerospace research organizations are nearing completion of an original study on personal air transportation concepts for the 2030 to 2050 time frame. The €4.4 million ($5.7 million) program, dubbed PPlane, could rival–or complement–business aviation.
The FAA has received reports from Eurocontrol, Airservices Australia and Nav Canada that the mode-S transponders of some U.S.-registered aircraft transmit a FLT ID that does not correlate to the aircraft identification indicated on the flight plan. This could lead to aircraft being misidentified.
Hilton Software has released a major update to its WingX Pro iPad moving-map software. Some of the improvements to WingX Pro version 6.2 include adding local and national Nexrad weather radar to ADS-B capability (available using the separate SkyRadar ADS-B unit), the ability to switch moving-map GPS information and airspace notifications on and off, adding a favorites function to the moving-map search and an improved timer function on the moving map.
Gross navigation errors (GNEs) continue to occur on North Atlantic crossings, many of them committed by business aircraft, according to Anita Trotter-Cox, president of Assessment Compliance Group. She spoke on the subject at NBAA’s International Operators Conference in San Diego last week.
U.S. Air Force leadership has defended the decision to halt acquisition and current operations of the Global Hawk Block 30 UAV, in favor of retaining the manned Lockheed Martin U-2 reconnaissance aircraft.