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mentioned Raytheon/Bombardier Sentinel and the Beechcraft King Air-based Shadow airplanes, which were due to be withdrawn next year following the UK withdrawal from Afghanistan, but which have proved of such use that they are to be retained for at least three more years.
Rosoboronexport, Russia’s defense export agency, continues to benefit from backing by President Vladimir Putin. Speaking at a late April meeting of the Commission for Military Technical Cooperation with Foreign Countries, Putin claimed that Russia is second only to the U.S. in terms of volume of military shipments, with a 27-percent market share.
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.
The British government has sought to exclude Russian officials from this year’s Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) by refusing to issue its usual special invitations for the country’s official delegation. According to the Russian embassy in London, some Russian business visitors have been denied UK visas, preventing them from traveling to this week’s show.
MBDA successfully undertook two CAMM (common anti-air modular missile) launches in recent weeks, the company announced. The firings were carried out at the Vidsel overland range in northern Sweden on May 29 and June 5, and were the first seeker-guided launches for the CAMM. Instrumented-only firings of CAMM were conducted in April last year.
Saab has completed integration of the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM on the Gripen. Next year the Swedish air force fighter will be the first to go operational with the new missile, according to Saab. The Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon will also carry the Meteor. The Gripen previously conducted the first eight developmental test firings of the ramjet-boosted missile.
Infinity Support Services (ISS) has announced plans to install a level-D flight simulator for the Sikorsky S-92 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. FlightSafety International will design, manufacture and support the training device. For the ISS Academy, FlightSafety will also supply training programs and supporting documents. FlightSafety will operate the S-92 simulator for two years and provide training for ISS simulator technicians. The simulator is expected to enter service by year-end and will be the first S-92 simulator installed in the Middle East.
Private charter operator Qatar Executive–a subsidiary of Qatar Airways–is set to open a new FBO at Doha’s Hamad International Airport shortly, having already moved its headquarters there. The airport, which opened earlier this year after a series of delays, is scheduled to replace Doha International Airport as the Gulf nation’s primary international gateway. The company plans to strengthen its core Middle East, Far East and African markets next year, according to executive vice president David Edwards.
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday on June 12 by making a tandem parachute jump from a Bell 429 light twin near his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. Bush and tandem partner Mike Elliott, a former member of the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights parachute squad and current president of the All Veteran Parachute Team, departed the 429 from 6,300 feet msl and landed uneventfully on the grounds of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, where Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush were married almost 70 years ago. Mrs.
NBAA announced on Tuesday that Chris Strong, the association’s senior vice president of marketing and member services, has assumed the role of senior vice president for conventions and membership. Strong’s new responsibilities were formerly held by Kathleen Blouin, who stepped down from her position as NBAA senior vice president of conventions and forums on Monday.