Lockheed Martin has begun flight testing a new sensor for the F-35's targeting system, developed by the company's missiles and fire-control division. The test aircraft is a highly modified Boeing 737 operated by BAE Systems and is known as the CATBird (cooperative avionics testbed).
In the same week that the Chengdu JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft made its international debut at the Farnborough airshow, the product of this co-development between China and Pakistan was offered to Indonesia. The Pakistan Defence Minister signed a defense cooperation agreement with his Indonesian counterpart in Jakarta.
Japan is examining the possibility of continuing production of the Mitsubishi F-2 to bolster its fighter fleet in the face of growing Chinese capability, adding some 20 aircraft to the 94 (plus four prototypes) currently procured. The Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) is looking for a new fighter and has stated a desire for the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, but U.S. export restrictions have ruled that out.
Buoyed by last week’s endorsement of the F-35 from Canada, Lockheed Martin vice president Tom Burbage, delivered a business-as-usual update on the Joint Strike Fighter program here in Farnborough this week. There was some talk of the alleged mounting costs, but much more about the flight-test program and international partnerships.
Boeing announced here yesterday a set of potential enhancements to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet that it will market to export prospects. They include an enclosed weapons pod that is intended to lower the aircraft’s radar cross section. The countries currently evaluating or expressing interest in the Super Hornet include Brazil, Denmark, India, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, and Qatar.
Lockheed Martin may be focusing a large proportion of its promotional efforts on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, but the company insists there is still a lot of life left in the F-16 and that production could continue alongside that of the F-35 for some years. Meanwhile, the company has outlined a sustainment and supportability plan that projects to at least 2040.
A prototype of the very latest type of active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar will be flying on a Eurofighter Typhoon in 2013, so that customers can take delivery in 2015. The Captor-E will feature an innovative “re-positioner” with two rotating joints so that the array can cover a wide field of regard (WFoR).
The Eurofighter Typhoon partner companies will announce here today their decision to kick-start the development of an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for the four-nation combat aircraft. The Indian air force competition for 126 AESA-equipped fighters is driving the move because the four European air forces that fly the Typhoon have no immediate requirement for an AESA.
Canada has selected the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as its next combat aircraft, Peter MacKay, the country’s defense minister, announced last Friday. The $9 billion commitment covers 65 JSFs. The first is due for delivery in 2016 to begin replacement of the CF-18 Hornet fleet. The commitment does not include ongoing training and support, which is estimated at a further $7 billion.
While development of the T-50 PAK-FA gathers pace, the Su-35 remains Sukhoi’s export priority for the next five to seven years. The aircraft is designed to plug the gap between the existing Su-30 and future fifth-generation fighters. According to Sukhoi, the Su-35 already incorporates some fifth-generation technology, thereby having an edge over other fourth-generation combat platforms.