Dassault has redelivered to the French Navy the first of ten 10 Rafale M aircraft , that are being upgraded from F1 to F3 standard. The work included replacement of the fighter’s central mission computer;, new cockpit screens;, wiring and weapons store changes. The Spectra electronic warfare system was also upgraded, and provision to change the RBE2 radar to the latest AESA version was made.
While operational commanders try to target an elusive enemy from the air over Iraq and Syria, senior U.S. commanders and aerospace academics are wrestling with an associated question: how to take advantage of tremendous advances in information networking to prosecute modern air campaigns. During the recent Air Force Association (AFA) conference, the shortcomings of current military air systems networking were explored in some frank comments during a panel session entitled “The Combat Cloud,” and in other discourse.
The U.S. Air Force said on August 19 that it recently grounded 82 two-seat F-16D fighters following the discovery of canopy sill longeron cracks between the front and rear pilot seats. An “immediate action time compliance technical order” the service issued after post-mission flight inspections revealed initial structural cracks led to the discovery.
Riding on a wave of military business, electronics group KRET, a subsidiary of Russian Technologies, plans to expand its presence in the global market for civilian avionics and systems by offering avionics packages for the Kamov Ka-226T and Mil Mi-171A2 helicopters and the Tupolev Tu-204SM and Irkut MC-21 narrow-body jetliners.
On a flying visit to the Farnborough Airshow yesterday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced a major boost to the UK’s defense budget by pledging £1.1 billion to a package that both extends current capabilities and introduces new ones. Cameron specifically mentioned Raytheon/Bombardier Sentinel and the Beechcraft King Air-based Shadow airplanes, which were due to be withdrawn next year following the UK withdrawal from Afghanistan, but which have proved of such use that they are to be retained for at least three more years.
The integration of new weapons on some combat aircraft has become so expensive that European Defence Agency (EDA) held a workshop to discuss the problem. But Saab (Hall 4 Stand E5 and Chalet C35) has some helpful suggestions, based on its experience with the Gripen. The Swedish fighter served as the development platform for the Iris-T and Meteor air-to-air missiles, and other weapons were successfully added on time and budget.
For UAC subsidiary Irkut, the Farnborough Airshow is a great chance to connect with Western partners and prospective customers for its MC-21 narrowbody airliner development. The group claims that the new design’s composite wing will give it an operating cost advantage even over the new re-engined Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737Max airliners.
Japan’s Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) has released images and footage of the ATD-X (advanced technology demonstrator-experimental), following the appearance of a privately taken blurred image a few weeks ago.
Made public this weekend, the new images were taken on May 14 and show the aircraft being moved out of the paint shop, resplendent in TRDI’s house colors and bearing the serial 51-0001. In April, Japan’s defense minister, Itsunori Onodera, told journalists that the ATD-X is scheduled to fly this year.
The successful consolidation of key parts of Russia’s aerospace industry into the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) is more evident at this year’s Farnborough International Airshow then at any time since the group’s formation back in February 2006.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 may yet show up here, but the odds were still against it yesterday, as AIN went to press. A senior Pentagon official said Thursday that all F-35 engines had been inspected and no faults found. But the organization responsible for the four F-35B STOVL versions that are supposed to make the transatlantic trip did not lift the grounding.
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