China’s new J-10 combat aircraft made its public debut at the Zhuhai airshow last month. Two examples of the fourth-generation fighter named “Vigorous Dragon” were part of an expanded Chinese defense presence at the event. The JH-7 fighter-bomber, L-15 jet trainer, J-8 interceptor and H-6Y bomber-tanker were also on flying and static display.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has exceeded Mach 1 for the first time–a timely achievement after a recent Rand study suggested that the design lacked maneuverability for air-to-air combat. Lockheed Martin said that the Lightning II accelerated to Mach 1.05 with a full internal load of inert weapons–5,400 pounds–on November 13. The design top speed is Mach 1.6. The Rand study on Air Combat discussed the potential performance of U.S.
Although India’s 126-aircraft requirement is the main prize for the world’s fighter manufacturers, major procurement decisions in Brazil and Switzerland are expected to be made long before Delhi makes its choice.
Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway are all formally investigating alternatives to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to replace their F-16s.
Ahead of schedule and under budget, Boeing delivered the first of an expected 85 operational models of its EF-18G Growler to the U.S. Navy in early June, followed by three more during July and August. Electronic attack squadron VAQ-129 based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, received the aircraft, which are expected to enter operational evaluation in September as the fleet readiness squadron fills out to five aircraft.
Yesterday’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter briefing turned into a celebration of the recent first flight of the F-35B STOVL version. The three customers for the new-generation jump jet (the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.K. and Italy) lined up to sing its praises. Test pilot Graham Tomlinson from BAE Systems was on hand to describe the maiden flight.
The Yak-130 advanced jet trainer is not cavorting about the skies over Farnborough, but company executives are on hand at the Irkut stand (Hall 1 E8) to discuss its capabilities and give an update on the program.
Last week Saab received two orders from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration for equipment to upgrade the Swedish air force’s fleet of Gripen fighters. The first, worth around $54 million, covers the provision of electronic warfare systems, scheduled for delivery this year or next. The second, worth approximately $42 million, provides weapons pylons compatible with GPS-guided weapons. Deliveries are scheduled for 2009 to 2011.
Switzerland is in the market for about 20 new fighters to progressively replace its remaining F-5 fleet. In a preliminary evaluation, the defense ministry pre-
Saab achieved the first flight of the Gripen Demo from the company’s Linköping airfield in Sweden on May 27. Crewed by test pilots Mikael Siedl and Magnus Ljungdahl, the flawless 30-minute flight marked the start of a three-year campaign, during which the fighter will demonstrate a wide range of new technologies destined for the Gripen Next Generation aircraft, as well as options for existing models.