The UK Royal Air Force flies three Nimrod R.1 versions that are dedicated to SIGINT (signals intelligence). They were converted from MR.2 maritime patrol aircraft, and their sensors have been upgraded regularly to monitor emerging new threats and signals. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) developed a plan for a complete replacement of the aircraft’s SIGINT suite, Project Helix, and chose L-3 Communications UK to provide it.
Royal Air Force
Yesterday AgustaWestland and Boeing signed an agreement to jointly manufacture the Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopter for the Italian army. AgustaWestland serves as the prime for the Italian contract, and takes responsibility for design and systems integration, plus delivery. Boeing Rotorcraft Systems plans to build the Chinook fuselages at its plant at Ridley Park, Pennsylvania.
“Contractorization” may be an ugly word, but for Lockheed Martin and Britain’s VT Group, it is pretty good business. Their joint venture, called Ascent, last month won a £635 million ($1.25 billion) contract to provide the military flying training system (MFTS) for UK armed forces over the next 25 years. During that time, a further £6 billion ($11.8 billion) could be spent on training aircraft, simulators, equipment and services.
Marshall Aerospace is proposing a significant upgrade for the RAF’s Tucano trainer, in conjunction with the original manufacturer, Bombardier subsidiary Short Brothers.
The UK Royal Air Force mounted the biggest flypast seen in Europe for many years over RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, last Friday. On the ground, the Queen presented new colors to the RAF and the RAF Regiment with due ceremony, to mark the service’s 90th anniversary. Fortunately, the popular song title came true, and the rain did not fall on her parade.
The advanced stand-off radar (ASTOR) ground surveillance system produced by Raytheon has passed a major operational test, and will be officially accepted by the UK Royal Air Force by September. Raytheon and British military officers lined up here yesterday to describe recent progress on a system that is, in fact, three years behind schedule.
The Art of Flight is the title of an exhibition of paintings produced by David Bent on show in Hall 4. The exhibition features original works including a major new painting commemorating the 90th anniversary of the RAF, the “Plane Tessellation” series based on aircraft shapes and the “Red Arrows Collection.” Bent’s prints are limited to a maximum of 50 each and signed by the artist.
French ground power specialist Guinault is providing aircraft juiced up on the ground here at the Farnborough show through its partner PowerVamp. The company, which also serves the same need at the Paris Air Show, makes ground power units for aircraft of all sizes, as well as equipment such as cabin heaters and air starters.
As the British subsidiary of a leading American defense contractor majoring in sensitive communications and intelligence technologies, General Dynamics UK (Chalet A34) treads an interesting but complex path. On the one hand, the company is a portal for the import and adaptation of U.S. systems that help the British armed forces achieve connectivity and interoperability.
Raytheon Aircraft Parts Inventory and Distribution Co. (Rapid) and Arnoni Aviation of Houston, Texas, have entered an agreement that makes more than 21,000 line items from Raytheon Aircraft’s excess and inactive inventory available on Arnoni’s Web site (www.125parts.com). “We feel that bringing Arnoni on board to help move some of our Hawker parts is a natural,” said Drew McEwen, Rapid v-p of sales.