Boeing and Saab signed a joint development agreement for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X jet trainer requirement. They join three other industry teams offering aircraft for the T-X competition, which is expected to begin with a request for proposals (RFP) in 2016.
Royal Thai Air Force
Late last week Saab received a second order from FMV, the Swedish defense material administration, for the development of the Gripen E fighter that is slated to form the combat equipment of the Swedish air force from 2018.
Thai Aviation Industries (TAI) and Rockwell Collins have just completed a major avionics upgrade for the Royal Thai Air Force’s C-130 Hercules fleet. The upgrade began five years ago and was accomplished in two phases, each covering six aircraft. The program allows the C-130 fleet to meet CNS/ATM (communications, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management) mandates until at least 2020, in turn allowing unrestricted access to global airspace.
Malaysia’s requirement for a new multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) was a key feature of this week’s Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition. Although no formal request for proposals (RFP) has been issued, the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen were all on flying or static display in pairs.
Sikorsky delivered three S-92s to the Royal Thai Air Force outfitted for head-of-state missions. Crew training started at Lop Buri Air Base, for an expected duration of six months. One of the aircraft features the first installation of a LifePort medical kit in an S-92.
Continued tensions in the Far East and southern Asia are ensuring that the region remains a major sales battleground for the world’s fighter houses. At stake is the sale of several hundred new combat aircraft in the coming years as air arms seek to modernize their forces or, in the case of countries such as Japan and Singapore, stay ahead of the regional threat.
The Saab 340 AEW&C aircraft with Erieye radar, which is destined for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), took to the skies for the first time on Friday, flying from Saab’s Linkoping plant where airborne early warning and control conversion work is undertaken. Thailand has one AEW&C aircraft on order (plus another option), as part of a deal involving Gripen fighters.
Singapore Technologies Aerospace is highlighting its C-130 avionics upgrade capabilities on Stand No. G01, where a cockpit display features modernization planned for Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) models. They include the AN/APN-241 low-power color weather and navigation radar for which Northrop Grumman won an integration contract last year.
Following the signing of a contract by the Kingdom of Thailand for six fighters, Saab is celebrating the capture of its first Gripen customer in the region. The deal also covers the supply of two Saab 340 twin-turboprop airliners, one configured with the Saab Microwave Systems Erieye radar for airborne early warning. Thailand plans to use the other for training and transport.
After a long-running procurement saga, the Royal Thai Air Force has selected the Saab Gripen to replace its elderly Northrop F-5 fighter fleet. The deal also covers the supply of airborne early warning aircraft to bolster the nation’s air defenses.
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