The deployment of four UK Royal Air Force Tornadoes to perform overwatch of Iraq, and an unconfirmed report last week that more might be deployed for surveillance of northern Nigeria, serves to illustrate the ongoing value of the aging but effective “Tonka.” Although the RAF fleet is scheduled to be retired in 2019 in favor of the F-35, upgrades continue, with another one announced recently. Meanwhile, the German air force intends to keep its Tornado fleet until at least 2025, with its own upgrades.
Aurora Flight Sciences told AIN that it is close to securing up to three customers in Europe, plus one in the U.S., for its Centaur optionally piloted aircraft (OPA), which is based on the Diamond DA42 twin-engine tourer. The American company has been marketing the Centaur in the U.S. as a versatile, low-cost airborne sensing platform for two years but only recently expanded the effort to Europe.
PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) has stepped up its marketing of maritime versions of the CN235 and is completing assembly of its first C295. The moves result from the collaboration agreement that PTDI signed with Airbus Defense & Space in 2011. That deal also transferred production of the smaller C212 transport to PTDI’s facility in Bandung.
Thales announced that its Scorpion helmet-mounted sight and display system (HMSD) had been selected for all new weapons systems sales and upgrades by Airbus Helicopters. The unusual sole-source selection had been made “following a full and open competition,” Thales said. The Airbus Helicopters military product line that could be sold with the HMSD consists of seven helicopters.
Testing the U.S. Army conducted in June proved that equipping an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for an airborne electronic attack role is “technically and tactically feasible.” The service will continue experimenting with the system, although it has no immediate plans to field it on a UAS.
Rotron, a Gilo Industries Group company, announced here at the Farnborough Airshow the launch of what the company calls the first series of commercial off the shelf (COTS) heavy-fuel engines in the 20-60 hp category.
Simulator specialist CAE has just signed a contract with the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control program management organization to perform a major upgrade to the flight crew simulators that are used to train crews from the 16-nation joint force that flies the Boeing E-3A Awacs. This upgrade is being performed in parallel with a new flight deck upgrade for the 17-aircraft operational fleet.
With four maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) in the static park at this week’s Farnborough Air Show, and much talk about British requirements in the chalets, it might seem that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is about to take action to rectify its most glaring “capability gap.” But British defence procurement minister Philip Dunne told journalists at the show on Wednesday that no decision to reconstitute the capability will be taken until after next year’s strategic defense review.
Operational with 12 nations, of which five are NATO members, Raytheon’s Patriot air defense system is pursuing three key campaigns in Europe as part of a global resurgence in interest in the system. That trend has already resulted in Qatar signing a letter of acceptance for Patriot this week. With the U.S. Army committed to Patriot through 2048, Raytheon is working on a new-generation Patriot and other developments to maintain the system’s viability in the face of emerging and future threats.
The Wisła (“Shield of Poland”) air and missile defense (AMD) program is the largest and most far-reaching defense procurement ever in the post-Communist history of this NATO border nation. The program has immense implications for Poland’s national security even under normal circumstances, but the invasion and occupation of the Ukrainian region of the Crimea by Russia, and an escalating Russian-backed incursion in the eastern regions of Ukraine, has upped the stakes in this program.