Pratt & Whitney has delivered the first F135 production-standard short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) engine to Lockheed Martin for the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter program. The engine manufacturer plans to deliver another 18 STOVL engines next year. Any further design changes will likely be limited to “mostly software tweaks,” a P&W representative told AIN. Meanwhile, the U.S.
On November 19, Lockheed Martin received a $3.5 billion contract modification to build 31 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the fourth low-rate initial production (LRIP) batch. Together with earlier long-lead funding, this brings the contract value for LRIP-4 to $3.9 billion. The batch comprises 10 F-35A CTOL aircraft for the U.S.
The U.S. National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform drafted a recommendation for large reductions in U.S. military spending in an effort to save $200 billion. The document suggests ending procurement of the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor and slashing the planned buy of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.
France and the UK will jointly develop a new medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV that could enter service in 2015. The two countries are also likely to combine forces on future unmanned combat air systems (UCAS), by launching a “joint technology and operational demonstration” to run for six years, beginning in 2013. The decisions form part of the cross-channel agreement between the two countries.
France and the UK signed a wide-ranging defense pact with far-reaching consequences for operational and industrial policy. The two countries will create an integrated carrier strike group and coordinate refits to ensure that one British or French aircraft carrier is always operational.
The UK is to cut its planned acquisition of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) by up to two-thirds, switch versions and delay introduction of the aircraft.
India will join Russia in the development of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) as well as a multirole transport aircraft (MTA). At a meeting in Delhi, the defense ministers of both countries confirmed the projects, although India has not yet signed a draft $300 million preliminary design contract for the FGFA. The MTA agreement was signed last month, when Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.
The EADS Barracuda UCAV technology demonstrator performed a new flight-test campaign at Goose Bay, Canada. The company flew four missions focusing on sense-and-avoid capabilities; auto-taxi systems; flight-testing of a structurally integrated antenna; and the exercising of an image exploitation chain, including an automatic target detection system. The UCAV was carrying an EO/IR sensor provided by Zeiss.
Anyone who has ever faced a potential repair of an old car knows the dilemma about throwing good money after bad. Do you make yet another expensive repair to avoid the cost of buying a new car or does the sum of the mounting repair bills equal the payments on a new purchase that will result in lower maintenance costs?
Lockheed Martin has begun flight testing a new sensor for the F-35's targeting system, developed by the company's missiles and fire-control division. The test aircraft is a highly modified Boeing 737 operated by BAE Systems and is known as the CATBird (cooperative avionics testbed).