For the Dassault Rafale combat jet, the French intervention in Mali provided another chance to demonstrate its multirole capability. Starting with a 3,400-mile interdiction mission (AI) launched from France on the night of January 13, up to six aircraft subsequently flew daily from their deployed base at N’Djamena, Chad, also performing reconnaissance and close-air-support (CAS) missions. Six of them are still there.
The laser-guided version of the Sagem AASM (armament air-sol modulaire) air-launched “smart” weapon was qualified last month by the French air armaments agency (DGA) at the Cazaux flight-test center, and will soon enter service in France with operational squadrons of Rafale combat aircraft. It is intended primarily for use against mobile targets. Meanwhile, the French air force has revealed details of recent attack missions over Mali when up to 12 INS/GPS-guided versions of the AASM were salvo-fired within one minute against preplanned targets, to achieve maximum surprise.
Bombardier’s new Challenger 350 will feature an upgraded flight deck based on the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 suite, but marketed by Bombardier as the Pro Line 21 Advanced. The Advanced version brings new capabilities to Pro Line 21 and will also be available as a retrofit on Challenger 300s.
Ruag Aviation has delivered its first cabin completion project, a Bombardier CRJ200 airliner that was transformed into a 10-seat VIP configuration. The entire cabin, including electrics, was reworked with a luxury interior that included wireless cabin entertainment, private area, club seating and dining areas. The company’s cabin interior program offers a one-stop-shop that covers design consultancy, cabin design, furniture construction, cabin integration and certification. It also offers exterior painting and design services.
Last December, Dassault Aviation named Eric Trappier as its new chairman and CEO. The 52-year old Frenchman, who was previously the group’s international executive vice president, succeeded Charles Edelstenne when he retired on January 8 after more than half a century of service to the Dassault group.
The United Arab Emirates Air Force has decided to buy another 25 Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 60 fighters. The deal is worth $4 to $5 billion, according to a senior Pentagon official who briefed reporters in Washington. The UAE, together with Saudi Arabia, will also be receiving unspecified “advanced standoff weapons” for its fighters, added the same official. The sales have not yet been formally notified to the U.S. Congress, although the Pentagon had consulted with key legislators there, according to the official.
With the rapid development of China’s economy and accumulation of personal wealth, traditional transportation means such as civil airliners and high-speed railways are no longer sufficient to meet the needs of high-end business people. Business and private aviation is increasingly emerging as an option for the wealthy, who are now having to decide on how best to access this mode of transportation.
Sukhoi announced this week that the “design and development” (D&D) phase of the Russo-Indian prospective multifunctional fighter (PMF), also known as the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), has been completed. The aircraft is a joint development with India of the T-50 that Sukhoi has already designed and flown for the Russian Air Force. “The airplane has been shaped completely,” the manufacturer stated.
After a 10-year hiatus, Piaggio America is exhibiting at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-in, which is being held this week in Lakeland, Fla. The West Palm Beach, Fla.-based North American sales arm of the Italian aircraft manufacturer is displaying a demonstrator Piaggio Avanti II twin turboprop until the airshow ends on Sunday. The Avanti II will also participate in the aircraft flying display this afternoon at the airshow, Piaggio added.
Major fighter manufacturers displayed their wares this week at the 2013 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition in Malaysia in anticipation of that country’s pending requirement for new fighters. Five aircraft considered contenders for the program–the Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab JAS-39 Gripen, Dassault Rafale, Boeing F/A-18F and Sukhoi Su-30MKM–participated in the aerial display.