On a flying visit to the Farnborough Airshow yesterday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced a major boost to the UK’s defense budget by pledging £1.1 billion to a package that both extends current capabilities and introduces new ones. Cameron specifically mentioned Raytheon/Bombardier Sentinel and the Beechcraft King Air-based Shadow airplanes, which were due to be withdrawn next year following the UK withdrawal from Afghanistan, but which have proved of such use that they are to be retained for at least three more years.
Ukrainian defense electronics group Aerotechnica (Hall 2 Stand C28b) has been at the forefront of the urgent effort to modernize the country’s air defenses in response to the military standoff with Russian-backed separatists. It specializes in replacing dated radar hardware, such as vacuum-tube modules and traveling wave-guide tubes with solid-state components. The company has successfully performed this upgrade with numerous radar sets, most notably the P-18.
At the recent ILA Berlin Airshow, Airbus Defence & Space reported progress with the passive radar [alternatively, passive coherent location (PCL)] system that predecessor company Cassidian had been developing since 2006. Frank Bernhardt, project manager, said that the company has “worked closely” with two armed forces on tests of the system. One of them is Germany.
European companies, especially in the East, are continuing to refine passive ground-based technologies with the potential to detect stealth aircraft. The best known of these is the detection and correlation of emissions from aircraft–such as from radars, radar altimeters and other navigation devices–using ESM/ELINT techniques, sometimes known as passive emitter tracking (PET).
NBAA released a new publication, “NBAA Aircraft Transactions Guide,” to assist those considering buying or selling a business airplane. Developed by the NBAA Tax Committee, the guide provides background on the most relevant FAA and DOT regulations, federal and state tax issues and aircraft ownership structures. It also maps the various steps of the aircraft transaction process, from the letter of intent to the closing.
Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy conducted the first flight of an MQ-8B Fire Scout equipped with a new maritime surveillance radar that will “drastically” improve the Navy’s long-range surface search capabilities, the contractor said. The Navy plans to field the radar on the unmanned helicopter next year.
UK manufacturer Aveillant last week unveiled a 3-D radar system capable of watching aircraft continuously to distances of 40 nm from the antenna. Since the new system’s antenna does not rotate it is capable of direct contact with the aircraft at all times. It then measures distance and altitude by tracking the target’s Doppler shift and reports back with speed, altitude and direction-of-flight information. The first demonstration of the system is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year.
The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive for certain Rockwell Collins TDR-94 and TDR-94D mode-S transponders. The AD was prompted by instances of the transponders not properly responding to mode-S only all-call interrogations when the airplane transitioned from a ground to airborne state.
Unconfirmed reports have surfaced that claim a military U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operating far above civilian airways might have been responsible for an April 30 computer failure at the FAA’s Los Angeles Center. Both the center’s primary and backup radar computer systems failed at the same time, causing nationwide air-traffic backups into and out of Southern California. Some believe the U-2’s ultra-high altitude might have confused the ATC computers.
Dallas Addison Airport (ADS) recently became part of a five-year, $10 million radar network demonstration project to learn how X-band sensors can improve hazardous weather forecasts, warnings and responses in dense urban environments.