There can be few finer sights in aviation than a General Dynamics F-111 bomber demonstrating the “dump-and-burn” routine. And here this week enjoy every second of it, for it could well be the last time you have the chance to witness the spectacle. The Royal Australian Air Force is retiring its F-111s in early December, and the Singapore Airshow is the final hurrah for the type outside its homeland.
Royal Australian Air Force
The movers and shakers of the airpower world were out in force here Saturday for the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference. Organized by the Institute for Near East & Gulf Military Analysis–the UAE-based think tank–the conference featured presentations from nine air force commanders or their deputies.
Boeing is making the long-delayed delivery of the Wedgetail airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) via the Dubai Airshow this week. The first of the six 737-based aircraft has arrived for display at the static park, where invited visitors will be able to go onboard.
Earlier this month, the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet completed a series of risk-reduction tests with an infrared search and track (IRST) system. A Boeing/General Electric/Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control team installed an IRST sensor in the nose of a modified 480-gallon fuel tank for the trials. The sensor was carried on the centreline station during six flights at NAS Patuxent River and four at NAWS China Lake.
The Roulettes display team from Australia is providing a daily example of skilled flying in conditions that are sometimes quite demanding. In a marked contrast to the thunderous roar of the RSAF Black Knights display team, which features the Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter, the turboprop-powered Australian-built Pilatus PC-9A trainers are slower–and quieter.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force is the first export customer for the latest Pilatus PC-21 turboprop trainer, developed to train pilots to front-line fighter level without intermediate training on a jet. Singapore’s new training program also is innovative on another level–under its private-public structure, Lockheed Martin serves as the main contractor, supplying all the infrastructure and leaving only the teaching to the military.
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