Sweden is advancing its own Gripen development path alongside that of the Gripen Next Generation aircraft intended for export, which is currently awaiting the outcome of major competitions in Brazil and India. The Swedish air force is now talking openly about a JAS 39E/F version that would draw on many of the technologies being applied to the NG program.
Announced last week was the first successful test of the 250-kilogram laser-guided version of Sagem’s AASM modular weapon. The laser AASM was launched from a Rafale and hit a target at the Biscarrosse range 25 kilometers away. AASM versions already qualified are the basic inertial/GPS guided bomb, and a version that adds imaging infrared.
Reports from Ecuador state that the nation is close to acquiring nine Atlas Cheetah C fighters from South Africa. The South African Air Force retired nearly 30 of the much-modified Mirage IIIs in 2008 to free up funds for the introduction of the Gripen, and the aircraft were made available for export through Denel and Armscor.
Armed forces in Europe are bracing themselves for severe cutbacks as governments tackle budget deficit problems. The scale of the cuts is evident in a couple of proposals made public last week. Germany’s defense minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, has tabled a plan that saves €9.3 billion ($11.7 billion) in the long term, with current fleets and acquisition programs hit hard.
The Eurofighter consortium in May submitted a proposal for the final batch of Eurofighters to be built for the four partner nations under the original contract. Tranche 3 was to have been contracted as a single batch, but was split in half to appease budget-cut-hungry politicians. Now the fight begins for the final 124 aircraft in Tranche 3B.
According to an industry source, Piaggio will announce more improvements for the P.180 Avanti twin turboprop before year-end. While the source wouldn’t discuss more details, one of the most obvious areas that Piaggio has yet to address is the Avanti’s unmistakable whine, which has led to its being the only modern turboprop banned under noise restrictions at Santa Monica (Calif.) Airport.
Avanti Gets Pro Line 21 Retrofit
Rockwell Collins has teamed with Ruag Business Aviation of Switzerland on a Pro Line 21 cockpit upgrade for the Piaggio Avanti turboprop twin. The retrofit
Attempts by India to fast-track the procurement process for its 126-aircraft Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft requirement have come unstuck as the evaluation process has taken far longer than initially expected.
Piaggio Aero (Booth No. 1325) took a bold stance during the recession to broaden worldwide recognition of its P180 Avanti II twin turboprop, according to John Bingham, president and CEO of Piaggio America and chief marketing officer for Piaggio Aero. “It paid off for us,” Bingham told AIN. Potential buyers who might not have considered purchasing an Avanti have added the turboprop to their shopping lists, he said.
ExxonMobil Avitat FBO Network Expands