When Serbia shot down U.S. Air Force F-117 during the Kosovo war in 1999, skeptics of stealth claimed vindication. However, that success was due to a combination of poor mission planning, smart air-defense operators exploiting both radar and ELINT sensors, some vulnerability in the first-generation platform–and pure luck. Low-observable technology has moved on, and the F-22, F-35 and the latest UCAVs are stealthier than the F-117.
If you look closely at the exhibits of the major aerospace and defense companies here this week, you will likely notice some unexpected capabilities on display. With their traditional defense businesses threatened by declining budgets, many of these companies are exploring “adjacent markets.”
This trend started with offers in the security and IT realms. But now they are extending to other areas, such as energy, environment and climate; food and water security; and natural disaster protection and response.
As congestion increases, avoiding collisions between aircraft and birds is becoming a more pressing issue. The Indian Air Force, which conducts many operational and training flights and often at very low level, attributes around 10 percent of accidents to bird hits. It took the lead last year by issuing global bids to four companies for 45 bird detection and monitoring radar systems (BDRS) to be installed at airports and air bases across India.
An airport ground vehicle transmitter developed by ITT Exelis and avionics manufacturer FreeFlight Systems is the first such device certified to a new standard by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Ground vehicles fitted with the device can be monitored by air traffic controllers, improving “situational awareness” and safety at busy airports. The vehicle movement area transmitter (V-MAT) continuously reports the position of a ground vehicle through automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) OUT transmissions.
Thales reported progress in developing the next generation of air traffic management (ATM) system for ATC facilities operated by the French Air Navigation Service Department (DSNA). The company said it is on track to deliver an intermediate version of the advanced 4-Flight system to two French area control centers (ACCs) by 2014.
Legislation currently being developed in Nigeria as part of the new Civil Aviation Act 2013 will attempt to classify safety and security staff (such as air traffic controllers) in that country as “essential,” effectively banning them from striking against the country’s aviation system. No date has been announced for presentation of the proposed legislation.
NBAA chose its White Plains Regional Forum at New York’s Westchester County Airport today to announce a new, free educational program that has the promise of saving corporate, business, charter and general aviation flights both time and money. The “brain child” of Jim McClay, NBAA air traffic management specialist, who works at the FAA ATC Control System Command Center in Warrenton, Va., FileSmart seeks to increase awareness among aircraft operators of the value of filing timely and accurate flight plans.
Bombardier is offering an avionics block upgrade for its Challenger 300 in response to interest by operators in the Pro Line 21 Advanced system that comes standard in the new Challenger 350, the company announced here yesterday. Bombardier plans to introduce the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 retrofit as service bulletins during this year’s third quarter.
The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) and Northrop Grumman said the MQ-4C Triton broad area maritime surveillance aircraft completed its first flight from the company’s Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility on May 22. The Global Hawk maritime derivative flew for 80 minutes in restricted airspace and reached an altitude of 20,000 feet.
Prime contractor Raytheon expects that the U.S. Army will begin an operational evaluation in the coming fiscal year of its joint land attack cruise missile defense elevated netted sensor system (JLENS), an aerostat-based surveillance system that will monitor a sizeable chunk of the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region.