The technical and technology transfer bids for one of the biggest-ever fighter deals of recent times are due for delivery in 11 days time. Six prime contractors chase India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) requirement for 126 aircraft with an option for 64 more. The contenders are the Boeing F/A-18, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16, MiG-35 and Saab Gripen.
Following the signing of a contract by the Kingdom of Thailand for six fighters, Saab is celebrating the capture of its first Gripen customer in the region. The deal also covers the supply of two Saab 340 twin-turboprop airliners, one configured with the Saab Microwave Systems Erieye radar for airborne early warning. Thailand plans to use the other for training and transport.
Rockwell Collins (Stand No. P65) announced that a supplemental type certificate for its Pro Line 21 Integrated display system on King Air 200 aircraft with an SPZ 200 autopilot is now available to dealers. Superior Aircraft Maintenance of Medford, Oregon, completed the installation. The Pro Line 21 King Air installation integrates with the aircraft’s existing autopilot and sensors.
Some international partners in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program could delay signing up for production airplanes until 2013. George Standridge, Lockheed Martin F-35 vice president for business development, said that funding of long-lead items would be required 36 months before first flight, with a larger down-payment due 12 months later.
AIN recently obtained the video footage of China’s indigenous J-10 fighter, which was released when the aircraft was officially revealed just over a year ago. Development of the J-10 started in the mid-1990s but was shrouded in secrecy amid speculation about technology theft from the West and of assistance from Israel following the cancellation of that country’s own Lavi fighter.
Eurofighter has withdrawn the Typhoon from competitions for a new combat aircraft to replace F-16s in Denmark and Norway. Both countries are partners in the U.S.-led Lightning (Joint Strike Fighter) program but are considering alternatives before committing to production F-35s.
It has been a turbulent year for the aviation industry: a stalled economy, company failures and bankruptcies, layoffs and furloughs, management changes, product-line overhauls, security regulations and new aircraft launches. What follows below are the people who shaped 2002, as chosen by AIN’s editors.
It was late on an autumn night as I swung the car into the rough lane that leads to our house. A few feet beyond the mailbox post, the headlights caught something in the grass. At first it could have been a rabbit standing tall, but closer inspection revealed it to be a magnificent bird, most likely a Peregrine falcon but possibly a gyrfalcon, and it had chosen our lane as a resting place on its migratory route.
The choice of a multi-role fighter aircraft for the Polish air force could result in the launch of a “private jet” in Poland, depending on the offset proposals of the winning bidder. In competition are Lockheed Martin (F-16), SAAB-British Aerospace (Gripen) and Dassault Aviation (Mirage 2000). The contract is expected to be signed in the first quarter of this year and the offset agreements are required to be signed within 60 days after that.
Libya plans to buy 14 Dassault Rafale fighters as part of an arms package agreed by French President Nicholas Sarkozy and Libyan leader Muammar Ghadaffi during a state visit to Paris this month. The package, which is worth $5.8 billion, also includes 35 Eurocopter helicopters and the return-to-service and upgrade of Libya’s Mirage F1 fighter fleet.