The first NH-90 Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) in final operational configuration was delivered to the French Army on January 30. “This is the culmination of the most important helicopter program ever launched in Europe,” said Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling. Earlier deliveries of the TTH version to Australia, Germany and Sweden attracted criticism in those countries for various deficiencies. But Eurocopter said that the final configuration includes field-tested avionics that enable the helicopter to carry out its missions night and day with no major restrictions.
BAE Systems revealed L-3 Link Simulation & Training as its partner to provide the ground-based training system for BAE’s Hawk Advanced Jet Training System (AJTS), proposed for the U.S. Air Force T-X jet trainer replacement program. L-3 Link, based in Arlington, Texas, joins Northrop Grumman as announced partners on the BAE pursuit team.
The first production upgrade of a C-130H Hercules under the long-running Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) was delivered to Little Rock AFB on January 3. Warner Robins Air Logistics Center modified this aircraft, which is the fourth to be delivered to the C-130 training base; Boeing modified the first three C-130 AMPs in San Antonio under a 2001 design and development contract.
Malaysia’s requirement for a new multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) was a key feature of this week’s Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition. Although no formal request for proposals (RFP) has been issued, the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen were all on flying or static display in pairs.
The prototype MiG-29K (side number 311) was loaded by crane onto India’s new aircraft carrier in Severodvinsk last month. The Sevmash Dockyard said that work to convert the former Russian cruiser Gorshkov is 90 percent complete.
The Italian Air Force accepted the first of six Alenia Aermacchi M346 advanced jet trainers. A second aircraft will follow shortly, and the pair will be flight-tested further by the air force at Pratica di Mare airbase.
The JF-17 Thunder fighter, co-developed by China’s Avic and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), is to receive improvements that will start being produced with the Block-2 version from next year.
Alsalam Aircraft Co. is hoping for a record year and believes there is much business to be had in VIP conversion work and military MRO.
French hopes of an early order for Rafale fighters from the United Arab Emirates Air Force may have been dashed. A British source with knowledge of the requirement has told AIN that the Emiratis will now hold a formal competition, and had just issued a request for proposals (RfP) to the UK government for the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Critics may say that Boeing’s argument is self-serving, but McCrary and colleagues believe that the upgrades already made or pending on the F-15 and F-18 prove their point.