Helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland is here at the Farnborough airshow with three new aircraft: the civil GrandNew and the military AW159 Lynx Wildcat and AW149. All made their first flights during the last 12 months, although flight testing for the development of the Grand derivative is believed to have started two years ago.
The world’s largest private King Air operator is exhibiting at the Farnborough Airshow for the first time in a bid to broaden the appeal of its fleet of 150 special-mission twin turboprops, available for hire for everything from covert spy operations to aerial mosquito spraying.
The first courses to be provided under the UK’s new military flying training systems (MFTS) are to begin in less than a year when Royal Navy observers start training next May. Later that year, advanced jet training with new BAE Systems Hawks is to begin, and air crew destined for that training are already preparing on the first of six flight training devices installed at the Royal Air Force’s Valley base.
Announced last week was the first successful test of the 250-kilogram laser-guided version of Sagem’s AASM modular weapon. The laser AASM was launched from a Rafale and hit a target at the Biscarrosse range 25 kilometers away. AASM versions already qualified are the basic inertial/GPS guided bomb, and a version that adds imaging infrared.
Boeing has flown the interim version of the Silent Eagle, a company-funded effort to generate further export sales of the F-15 Strike Eagle.
Armed forces in Europe are bracing themselves for severe cutbacks as governments tackle budget deficit problems. The scale of the cuts is evident in a couple of proposals made public last week. Germany’s defense minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, has tabled a plan that saves €9.3 billion ($11.7 billion) in the long term, with current fleets and acquisition programs hit hard.
Northrop’s venerable T-38 Talon supersonic trainer entered service with the U.S. Air Force in March 1961 and has provided the advanced portion of the service’s training syllabus ever since. Over 1,100 were delivered and more than 450 remain in service.
Boeing and Eurocopter have agreed to cooperate on a future transport helicopter (FTH) and at the ILA Berlin Air Show both companies displayed a tandem-rotor concept that resembles an enlarged CH-47 Chinook. The fuselage would be 66 feet long and 12 feet wide, enabling the internal carriage of armored vehicles. Both France and Germany have requirements for a next-generation heavy-lift helicopter, and a NATO staff target is being developed.
Eurocopter was eyeing new German military requirements at the ILA Berlin Air Show earlier this month, even as it defended its delivery performance on the German Army’s Tiger attack helicopter program. The company displayed a Forward Air Medical Evacuation (medevac) configuration of the NH-90, and its concept for the Marinehubschrauber 90-Neue Generation (MH90-NG), that would replace the German Navy’s Sea King and Lynx fleets.
Lockheed Martin on May 27 announced the award of a $245 million contract covering the supply through Foreign Military Sales of three KC-130J Hercules tankers for the Kuwait Air Force (KAF). The first aircraft is scheduled for delivery in late 2013, with final delivery early in 2014. Congress was notified in July 2009 of a potential sale of up to eight C-130Js to Kuwait. The sale is being managed through the Navy program office.