Israel Aerospace Industries subsidiary Elta Systems has announced a series of new orders this week to various customers for fighter radars, maritime surveillance radars and electronic countermeasures pods.
Pratt & Whitney’s engines power a wide range of military aircraft in operation around the world, but 2011’s developments in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lightning II program made the company’s year–especially as its F135 became the sole powerplant for all three Lockheed Martin JSF variants: the conventional F-35A, STOVL F-35B and carrier-based (CV) F-35C.
Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have teamed to offer a pod-mounted radar surveillance system that can easily be fitted to transport aircraft or medium-sized helicopters. The Vigilance system is being marketed as a viable alternative to expensive, role-dedicated airborne platforms. It also offers maritime and overland reconnaissance options, thanks to the versatility of modern AESA radar technology.
Hungary extended until 2026 the lease contract with the Swedish government for the 14 Saab Gripen C/D fighters that it received in 2006 and 2007. The agreement was due to expire in 2016. According to press reports in Budapest, Hungary currently pays $130 million per year to operate the aircraft, which were surplus to Swedish air force requirements. Saab said it is pleased by Hungary’s “long-term strategic decision.”
Sukhoi has delivered 12 Su-27SM(3)s to the Russian air force. The aircraft were originally intended to be supplied as subassemblies to China under a contract signed in 2009, and the last delivery was made in late December. The airframes were assembled at Sukhoi’s KnAAPO plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur from parts originally manufactured for what was meant to be a second batch of 95 airframes in the Chinese order for 200 Su-27SKs. However, China took only the first 105 Su-27SKs, most of which were assembled in China from Russian kits.
The first international Joint Strike Fighter, an F-35B for the UK, was rolled out on November 22, one week before a parliamentary report shed more light on the UK’s decision to switch from the STOVL F-35B version to the conventional carrier landing F-35C version.
Switzerland has chosen the Saab Gripen as its new fighter aircraft, in preference to the Dassault Rafale or Eurofighter Typhoon. Defense Minister Ueli Maurier told journalists that the Swedish package including 22 jets is worth $3.4 billion.
The third prototype of the Sukhoi T-50 fifth-generation fighter made a first flight on November 22 with test pilot Sergey Bogdan at the controls.
The saga of the UAE’s new fighter procurement took another turn Wednesday when the Emirates’ top decision-maker on defense contracts described Dassault’s offer for the Rafale as “uncompetitive and unworkable.”
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.