Dassault has redelivered to the French Navy the first of ten 10 Rafale M aircraft , that are being upgraded from F1 to F3 standard. The work included replacement of the fighter’s central mission computer;, new cockpit screens;, wiring and weapons store changes. The Spectra electronic warfare system was also upgraded, and provision to change the RBE2 radar to the latest AESA version was made.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the entry into service for one of business aviation’s most enigmatic aircraft, the star-crossed Beech Starship, which was intended as a replacement for the King Air. As the first aircraft with an all-composite fuselage, the twin-turboprop pusher with radical canard forward design underwent a lengthy development and certification process before finally entering service.
During last week’s African Aerospace and Defence show in South Africa Denel Dynamics revealed that the Marlin active radar-guided missile will undertake its first flight test early next year. This will be a ground-launched ballistic trial at the Overberg Test Range to examine the missile’s basic flight systems. Successful completion of this phase will lead to programmed tests of the missile’s guidance systems, before closed-loop guidance tests are undertaken, in which the seeker controls the guidance system.
The Russian defense ministry has ordered seven more Su-30SM two-seat fighters worth 13 billion roubles, boosting the total to be acquired to 72. Of these, the Russian air force is getting 60 and naval aviation 12. An initial contract for 30 was placed in 2012. Some have reportedly been deployed to Crimea.
Piaggio Aero’s new Avanti Evo aircraft is making its first appearance outside Europe this week at the LABACE show. The new model has been designed to deliver improved performance and a quieter ride–both inside and out–compared with the existing Avanti II twin turboprop. The Evo is being shown here at Congonhas Airport in the static display area of the Italian airframer’s Brazilian distributor Algar Aviation.
The Swedish defence export agency FXM announced that the Saab Gripen will not be entered for Denmark’s new fighter competition. Denmark has issued an 800-page “Request for Binding Information” (RBI) on alternatives to the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter; it is one of two international F-35 partners that has not yet committed to the program. The Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon are the other contenders in Denmark.
BAE Systems launched a new version of the Striker integrated display helmet for combat aircraft pilots here at the Farnborough Airshow this week. Mark Bowman, the company’s chief test pilot, demonstrated how BAE has leveraged its work on an alternative helmet-mounted display (HMD) for the Lockheed Martin F-35 to produce Striker 2. The company was tapped to provide the alternative, using night-vision goggles, after serious development problems with the Elbit Systems/Rockwell Collins HMD that is integral to the F-35 cockpit.
The contract to begin full integration of the MBDA Storm Shadow long-range precision attack missile with the Eurofighter Typhoon is expected to be signed today. Philip Dunne, UK Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, announced the signing while speaking at Farnborough yesterday.
The contract is between Eurofighter and NETMA, the four-nation Eurofighter management agency, and is worth €150 million ($205 million).
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.
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