The long-expected follow-on order from Saudi Arabia for Eurofighter Typhoons has still not materialized, but in its half-yearly report BAE Systems revealed that it expects to receive orders worth about $2.2 billion to upgrade Saudi aircraft. Earlier this year, a protracted renegotiation of the original “Al Salam” deal for 72 aircraft was finally concluded.
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.
MBDA Missile Systems (Outdoor Exhibit 10, Chalet D1) said yesterday that it would assemble the first copy this week of the Brimstone 2 missile, which is now in series production. The missile incorporates a dual-mode, millimeter-wave radar and semi-active laser seeker, an “insensitive munition” (IM) rocket motor and warhead and a new, stronger airframe.
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).
The Eurofighter Typhoon IPA5 has arrived at Farnborough carrying precious cargo. Beneath the nose radome is the first flight- test example of the Euroradar Captor-E WFoR (wide field of regard) electronically-scanned radar. The sensor was installed only recently and, after a few shakedown flights, the aircraft was ferried south from BAE Systems’ airfield at Warton, Lancashire, for the show.
On a flying visit to the Farnborough Airshow yesterday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced a major boost to the UK’s defense budget by pledging £1.1 billion to a package that both extends current capabilities and introduces new ones. Cameron specifically mentioned Raytheon/Bombardier Sentinel and the Beechcraft King Air-based Shadow airplanes, which were due to be withdrawn next year following the UK withdrawal from Afghanistan, but which have proved of such use that they are to be retained for at least three more years.
Northern Ireland-based Denroy Plastics (Hall 1 Stand B16) has won a new contract to supply plastic components to the multi-national Eurofighter Typhoon program. The undisclosed contract adds further components to the ones already supplied by the company, which now provides 180 separate parts for the Typhoon. The contract announcement was accompanied by a visit from RAF Typhoon pilots to Denroy’s Balloo Road plant in Bangor.
Multi-role functionality has been a long time coming for the Eurofighter Typhoon. But the four-nation industrial consortium building the combat jet says the Phase 1 Enhancements (P1E) package that is now entering service represents a “paradigm shift” in capability.
The commander of the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon force, Air Cmdr. Gary Waterfall, said the new package allows the RAF to drop 500-pound Paveway IV “smart” bombs “at the moment of our choosing, on targets of our choosing, with a multitude of fuse settings, impact angles and arrivals.”
Saab has completed integration of the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM on the Gripen. Next year the Swedish air force fighter will be the first to go operational with the new missile, according to Saab. The Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon will also carry the Meteor. The Gripen previously conducted the first eight developmental test firings of the ramjet-boosted missile.
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