The latest and most capable version of the U.S. Army’s Apache attack helicopter could possibly take on more of a role in joint operations with the Navy. Among planned upgrades, the fire-control radar of the AH-64E Guardian will be enhanced to work in the littoral environment close to shore, said the service’s Apache project manager.
British air-to-air refueling service provider AirTanker has provided, on time, all nine Voyagers (Airbus A330MRTTs) that make up the “core” fleet providing service to the UK Royal Air Force (RAF). They have replaced the RAF’s aging VC10 and TriStar tankers. One of them is now engaged on the type’s first “no-notice” operation—the refueling of RAF Tornados flying strike missions over Iraq.
Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy completed the preliminary design review (PDR) for the aerial refueling system of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early-warning aircraft, the company announced on September 3.
With four maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) in the static park at this week’s Farnborough Air Show, and much talk about British requirements in the chalets, it might seem that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is about to take action to rectify its most glaring “capability gap.” But British defence procurement minister Philip Dunne told journalists at the show on Wednesday that no decision to reconstitute the capability will be taken until after next year’s strategic defense review.
Kongsberg and Raytheon announced a teaming agreement this week to develop and market the Norwegian company’s JSM (joint strike missile) for the air-launched OASuW (offensive anti-surface warfare) mission.
Thales Optronique (Hall 4 Innovation Zone A1) unveiled its successor to the Damoclès targeting pod on the eve of the Farnborough show. The new sensor system, called “Talios,” should be ready in time for deployment on a major new operational standard of the Dassault Rafale multi-role fighter that is due to enter service in 2018. A new-generation targeting pod, known as PDL-NG, has been one of the key elements associated with the Rafale’s F3R upgrade standard. Development of PDL-NG started in 2009, with approval to proceed affirmed in January 2013.
Embraer Defense and Security is on course to complete the first prototype of the KC-390 tactical airlifter/tanker in time for it to make its first flight before the end of the year. At the specially built assembly site at Gavião Pexoto the fuselage of the first aircraft has already been partly painted in the colors of the Brazilian air force, which is the lead customer for the aircraft. The second aircraft is also in final assembly, and is scheduled to fly soon after the first machine.
The Brazilian Navy gave AgustaWestland a $160 million-plus contract for the upgrade of eight Super Lynx Mk 21A helicopters. The Navy has operated the Lynx since 1978, receiving nine Mk 21s followed by nine Mk 21As. Five of the Mk 21s were later upgraded to Mk 21A.
Boeing is targeting the third quarter for the maiden flight of a 767-2C “provisioned freighter” that will become one of the first U.S. Air Force KC-46A aerial refueling tankers. The company acknowledged encountering what it described as typical issues in the tanker’s development, and that it slipped an internal goal to fly the aircraft for the first time in June.
The Brazilian air force formally committed to the KC-390 airlifter last month, signing a $3.2 billion contract for 28 aircraft in a ceremony at Embraer’s São Paulo facility. The event was attended by Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff. Final assembly of the first of two KC-390 prototypes is slated to start this month.
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