Faced with growing costs in the Lockheed Martin F-35 program, Denmark is reviewing its options for a new fighter and has invited Boeing (F/A-18 Super Hornet), Eurofighter (Typhoon) and Saab (Gripen E) to submit information for alternatives. A decision is due in 2015. Dassault (Rafale) may have been approached, but at the time of writing appeared unlikely to respond. The company has a history of not bidding on programs that it calculates have little chance of success.
MBDA has confirmed that production rounds of the Meteor long-range air-to-air missile are scheduled for delivery before year-end. However, MBDA managing director Steve Wadey would not disclose which air force will be the first to get the new missile, which MBDA UK claims represents a “step change in the air-to-air world.” AIN reported last year that French Rafale and Swedish Gripen fighters would be flying operational Meteors ahead of the four Eurofighter nations.
As China reaches an agreement with Russia to buy Sukhoi Su-35 fighters, the domestic J-20 fighter program might have developed problems that China cannot solve on its own anytime soon.
Saudi Arabia and Great Britain have still not agreed to terms for a resumption of Eurofighter Typhoon deliveries. Twenty-four aircraft are operational in the Middle East kingdom, out of the total 72 agreed in the Al-Salam deal. Construction of numbers 25 upward began in 2009, but instead of proceeding to the final assembly line, the subassemblies were placed in storage at BAE’s Warton factory. When they were eventually moved into final assembly last year, it seemed that an agreement was close.
Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft is stepping up the development of its Sukhoi Business Jet (SBJ) and is set to install an executive interior into the first example of the Superjet 100-Long Range (SSJ100-LR) airliner, from which its new VIP model is derived.
Top Russian officials have confirmed sales deals with China for the Sukhoi Su-35 and with Indonesia on an additional quantity of Su-30MK2 multirole fighters.
Defense contractors flocked to Bangalore for the Aero India show this week, even as the Indian government confirmed that the years of plenty might be over. Defense minister A.K. Anthony confirmed that his spending would be cut in the fiscal year that starts in April, although not on “operational preparedness.”
The integration of the new BrahMos missile on to Sukhoi’s Su-30MKI long-range fighter is due to reach a key milestone this year with integration of the weapon on test aircraft, ahead of planned first deliveries to the Indian Air Force (IAF) next year.
Defense contractors gathering for this week’s Aero India show in Bangalore will be coming to terms with the realization that military procurement plans could well be diminished for next year’s fiscal budget, which begins in April 2013.