The Patriot air defense missile system was designed by Raytheon and first fielded in 1984. Four years later, a missile defense capability was added, mainly through changes to the guidance software. In the 1991 Gulf War, the system had mixed success against Iraqi short-range Scud missiles, and it became clear that its blast-fragmentation warhead was inadequate to the task.
Elbit Systems of Haifa, Israel, announced the first export sale of its Hermes 900 unmanned aerial system to a “Latin American country,” identified by various sources as Chile. The number of systems and air vehicles to be supplied is unspecified, but the contract includes ground control stations and sensors, including the DCoMPASS (digital compact multi-purpose advanced stabilized system) and radar systems.
The “Dragon Spear” conversion of U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command MC-130W special mission aircraft, incorporating a new 30-mm chain gun and other enhancements, has given the command a lethal gunship.
Airbus Military is exploring an airborne early-warning and control version of the C295 tactical airlifter. A company-owned aircraft that has been modified with a six-meter-diameter dummy rotodome will start a three-month flight-test campaign next month.
President Obama outlined ambitious new goals for U.S. deficit reduction, including a call for growth in security spending to be held below inflation over the next 12 years. This amounts to a $400 billion cut over current plans. Fiscal hardliners have called for even greater cuts in defense spending–up to $1 trillion. While the Congress would probably not implement such drastic surgery, the outlook for defense spending in the U.S.
Northrop Grumman announced the first carrier landing of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, on the USS Harry S. Truman. In addition, the Pentagon has now authorized an additional 10 aircraft, following a successful Defense Acquisition Board review.
Thales UK announced that its lightweight multirole missile (LMM) has been confirmed for maritime strikes by the UK Lynx Wildcat helicopter. The launch order is for 1,000 missiles with guidance by laser-beam rider to meet the UK’s future anti-surface guided weapon (Light) requirement.
The coalition of nations flying over Libya to protect civilians under UN Resolution 1973 is still flying some 150 sorties daily. Countries contributing aircraft are Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, Qatar, the Netherlands, Spain, the UAE, the UK and the U.S.
Bombardier Aerospace is offering a new service it calls Parts Satisfaction Guarantee, which waives the shipping, labor and restocking charges in applicable situations. According to the OEM the service also makes substantial headway in reducing the incidence of no-fault found (NFF) and defective on arrival (DOA) parts currently in circulation.
The air campaign over Libya has rekindled the debate about what exactly air power can accomplish without “boots on the ground.”