Recent briefings in Brussels and London on Operation Unified Protector reveal that attack helicopters provided by France and the UK are now making key contributions to NATO-led operations over Libya, which has been extended until the end of September.
Royal Air Force
Boeing is investing $130 million to overhaul the Boeing CH-47 Chinook production line in Ridley Park, Pa., making it the largest capital investment made by the company’s Defense, Space & Security segment. The project to renovate 223,000 sq ft of production space around lean manufacturing principles will be completed in October.
BAE Systems has announced a plan to implement a new “regionalized” strategy to support the Latin American market, where some 90 of its aircraft are now in service with nearly 40 operators. The company unveiled the new support strategy at its first ever Americas operators’ conference, held in Lima, Peru, May 23 and 24.
Cobham(Hall 2B EF167) delivered four converted Hawker Beechcraft B350ER King Air special mission aircraft to Ascent Flight Training for the UK Military Flying Training System on June 9. The delivery was made at the Cobham Aviation Services facility adjacent to Bournemouth International Airport.
Eurofighter confirmed in Paris yesterday that an AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar would enter service on the Typhoon in 2015, and announced the start of flight trials with the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM (beyond-visual-range, air-to-air missile).
NATO’s Operation Unified Protector has given the Eurofighter Typhoon the opportunity to finally make its combat debut, with both the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and Italian air force aircraft involved in the operation. RAF operations over Libya have been mounted by a six-aircraft detachment at Gioia del Colle in southern Italy, from where they are operating alongside 12 Panavia Tornado GR.Mk 4s.
BAE Systems brings its Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) to the Paris Air Show seeking to extend the life of its hugely successful trainer, which has already trained around 20,000 pilots. There are plenty of opportunities for the Hawk AJT, including the potentially massive T-X requirement for a T-38 replacement for the U.S. Air Force.
Typhoon pilots with Britain’s Royal Air Force will soon be flying with a helmet-mounted system that will significantly increase their situational awareness (SA), particularly in the air-to-air role.
Honeywell Aerospace said its unmanned T-Hawk Micro Air Vehicle has flown several missions in support of disaster-remediation efforts at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan.
Two semi-official reports have criticized support arrangements for the UK Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon fleet. The UK National Audit Office (NAO) said that the four-nation collaborative contracts were complicated, and had resulted in “shortages of spares and long timescales for equipment repair.” The Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) referred to “a very complex supply chain that stretches all over Europe.”