A Lockheed Martin executive reported “lots of progress” in fixing problems associated with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter helmet-mounted display system (HMDS). But the company continues developing an alternate helmet display in case the existing system fails to meet requirements. Critical design reviews of both systems are planned in the fourth quarter.
Farnborough International organizers say that both static and flying displays for the 2012 show will be full, with a significant portion of the aircraft roster still to be publicly confirmed as of press time. Among the anticipated highlights could be one of the earlier in-service examples of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by high-profile Arabian Gulf carrier Qatar Airways. Also on the cards are two other, as yet undisclosed, Boeing transports.
The joint Indo-Russian project to produce a fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) for the Indian Air Force is facing a two-year delay. It will now take nine years instead of the stipulated seven to develop. The Indian Air Force attributes the delay to Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), which has a workshare of 25 percent in the program.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) reversed course on its Carrier Strike program, confirming a switch from the F-35C CV version back to the F-35B STOVL version of the Joint Strike Fighter. The decision was expected, and has been driven by a doubling of the estimated cost (to more than $3.2 billion) to convert for “cat and trap” operations one of two new British carriers that are already under construction.
Russian engine manufacturer Salut revealed that its backlog for the AL31F series now exceeds 400, thanks largely to orders from China. At the Engines 2000 exhibition in Moscow last month, Salut confirmed that more negotiations with China took place recently, but it declined to provide details. Salut also revealed progress on increased-thrust versions of the AL31F.
The U.S. Navy has started the process of eventually replacing its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighter and the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare derivative. On April 13, the service issued a request for information (RFI) seeking industry concepts for the F/A-XX fighter to replace Super Hornets and Growlers around 2030.
The French Rafale is reportedly well placed to triumph in the long-running fighter jet contest in Brazil, and also to secure the elusive order from the UAE, following the type’s success in India. Indian air force commander ACM N.A.K. Browne told AIN that his country would not accept a revised bid from the losing Eurofighter camp for the 126-aircraft MMRCA requirement.
The pair of Singaporean F-15SG fighters on static display here are the most advanced Strike Eagles ever built–but not for much longer because the huge order from Saudi Arabia that was confirmed recently allows Boeing to fit a fly-by-wire system.
India’s Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne confirmed to AIN here at the Singapore Airshow that the country’s resolve to select the lowest bidder for the contract for 126 medium multirole combat aircraft remains in place. The contract negotiation committee (CNC) opened Dassault Aviation’s bid proposing its Rafale on February 13 and identified the French OEM as the lowest bidder. The decision to involve another manufacturer is “procedurally untenable,” said Browne.
Since the late 1980s China has aggressively pursued a policy of modernizing its defense industries, with the aim of rivaling those of the West and Russia. Now the results of that policy are reaching the front line, allowing China’s forces to transition from a Cold War inventory that was dominated by huge quantities of unsophisticated equipment to a leaner force equipped with systems that are smarter and more competitive with those fielded by the West.