Nearly a year after the Sukhoi T-50 made its first flight, another fifth-generation fighter program made its debut, in the form of Chengdu’s J-20. The aircraft was revealed in late December 2010, before making a first flight on January 11 this year.
The deputy program officer of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program office said Tuesday that predictions over escalating costs of the next-generation multi-role fighter will be proven wrong because of built-in reliability and maintainability aspects. With the program facing renewed scrutiny by the U.S. Congress and Department of Defense (DOD), Air Force Maj. Gen. C.D.
Alenia Aeronautica’s standing as a player in the fast-developing UAV market has been bolstered by its role a first-level partner in Europe’s Neuron unmanned combat air vehicle program. Last month, the Italian company delivered the first weapons bay doors and its operating mechanism to program leader Dassault Aviation.
After the preliminary design review was completed on schedule in April 2003, every subsequent milestone in the F-35 program was missed by at least one year. Yet Lockheed Martin continued to exude optimism, rejecting criticism that production was being ramped up before development and producibility issues were solved.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 development program has met or exceeded the revised flight-test schedule that was written following a technical baseline restructuring (TBR) last August, according to Lockheed Martin officials. But some significant technical issues remain, and affordability continues to be a key concern for the new-generation combat aircraft.
Here at the Paris Air Show, Dassault and BAE Systems have joined forces to display a mockup of the UK company’s Mantis medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV technology demonstrator. The combined exhibit highlights the recent agreement between the two companies to codevelop the Telemos UAS to meet the needs of both British and French armed forces.
Lockheed Martin’s F-35 is the Pentagon’s largest cooperative program. Eight partner countries are collectively contributing $4.9 billion to the system design and development phase (SDD). They have projected a total buy of 597 aircraft as follows: Australia, 100; Canada, 65; Denmark, 30; Italy, 131; The Netherlands, 85; Norway, 48; Turkey, 100; and the UK, 138.
Prompted in part by the prospect of squeezed Pentagon budgets, U.S. defense groups have been consolidating operations in pursuit of higher value, higher technology pursuits.
Lockheed Martin has learned “some painful lessons” during the development of the F-35, CEO Bob Stevens told journalists in late May. “There’s more realism now,” he added.
The Boeing Phantom Ray stealthy and autonomous UAV demonstrator made its first flight at Edwards AFB on April 27, and flew again in early May. The flights followed high-speed taxi tests that validated ground guidance, navigation and control and verified mission planning, pilot interface and operational procedures.