Facing an uncertain budget environment in the coming months, the U.S. Air Force will nevertheless continue developing a new long-range strike bomber (LRS-B) capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear weapons. “Long term, we’re committed to the long-range strike bomber. We’re going to try to keep programs like that on track,” Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said.
There is renewed speculation on unofficial Chinese websites that the country has closed a deal with Russia for licensed production of the Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range supersonic bomber. But there has been no confirmation from Moscow or Beijing, and a senior military researcher in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has discounted the speculation.
Five days after a ceasefire ended the latest conflict between Israel and the Hamas regime controlling Gaza, in which the Rafael Iron Dome rocket interception system featured prominently, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced the first successful test of a new interception system. The David’s Sling system, or “Magic Wand,” that was co-developed with Raytheon and the U.S.
Ajit Singh, head of India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, and members of the Association of Indian Commercial Pilots have begun another safety-focused battle of wills. The pilots have filed a petition in court claiming the minister overstepped his authority when his department increased the maximum number of hours pilots will be expected to fly in a single day, as well as the length of their maximum allowable duty day. The pilots claim Singh’s actions violate current Indian civil aviation rules.
A short-notice, low-profile visit to the UAE by British Prime Minister David Cameron this week boosted the prospects of an order for the Eurofighter Typhoon. But government and military sources in London and Paris told AIN that the Emiratis are in no hurry to make a decision, and that the Dassault Rafale remains in contention. Dassault declined to comment on the latest development.
On October 6 Israel shot down a UAV over the northern Negev desert, south of Hebron and near the country’s nuclear weapons site at Dimona. The UAV entered Israeli airspace from the Mediterranean and was intercepted by F-16s from Ramon air base. According to Israeli media reports, the first Python missile fired at the drone missed, but a second was successful. The Israeli air force has released a video purporting to show the engagement.
Business aviation charity Sky Hope Network is collecting donations for the families of nine industry workers who were killed in a terrorist attack on September 18 in Afghanistan. Employed by South Africa-based ACS/Balmoral Central Contracts, the victims were three pilots, five mechanics and a customer service representative, who were targeted by a suicide car bomber as their minivan stopped at a gas station on its way to the airport in Kabul.
Bombardier Aerospace recently delivered a Global 6000 to the U.S. Air Force, the fourth Global-series aircraft added to the existing USAF inventory with E-11A military designation. The Air Force plans to equip this new addition with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, in time for deployment next summer. This system will allow battlefield communications systems to share data.
Sikorsky Aircraft Australia has signed a four-year agreement with the Australian Defense Force for ongoing logistics and engineering support for the Commonwealth of Australia’s fleet of S-70A and S-70B Black Hawks. The more than $120 million deal, which includes six annual renewable options, is a follow-on agreement to one that is expiring after an eight-year term. Sikorsky Aircraft Australia does business as Sikorsky Helitech.
Eurocopter’s X3 compound helicopter prototype began its U.S. demonstration tour at the company’s Grand Prairie, Texas campus yesterday. The X3 first flew in 2010 and can reach speeds in excess of 230 knots. Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling said the company is “well positioned to bring this type of helicopter to market in the next 10 years.”