Officials from Raytheon UK and personnel from the Royal Air Force (RAF) are emphasizing the excellent performance of the Sentinel R.1 Airborne Stand-Off Radar (Astor) system over Afghanistan and Libya. They are hoping that the UK Ministry of Defence will reverse its 2010 decision to withdraw the ground surveillance system, which flies on five Bombardier Global Express business jets, after most British troops leave Afghanistan in 2014.
Royal Air Force
Even as Hawker Beechcraft announced in March that Brazil has become the Wichita OEM’s leading market for its civil aircraft line, the company was continuing to do battle with rival Sierra Nevada and its Brazilian partner Embraer over a light air support (LAS) contract potentially valued at close to $1 billion. Now, a new chapter in the competition has opened.
Hawker Beechcraft is evaluating whether the long-serving but still popular Baron 58 piston twin could be adapted for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
Raytheon has just conducted a successful trial of its Griffin B forward-launch small precision weapon. The test demonstrated the weapon’s capability to defend a forward operating base (FOB). The Griffin was fired from a fixed Wedge launcher against target coordinates more than 2.5 miles away provided by sensors mounted on a tethered aerostat, of the type that are typically raised to protect Army FOBs. The Griffin A aft-launch version is in service with the U.S. Marine Corps C-130 Harvest Hawk aircraft and the Air Force’s MC-130W Dragon Spear.
In the operations center at the Rolls-Royce factory in Bristol, UK, it is well past midnight, but engineers are still manning some of the dozen consoles, standing by to receive queries, consult databases and dispense their technical expertise to operators of the company’s military engines anywhere in the world.
A helicopter operating in the South China Sea suffers a lightning strike that forces it to take refuge on an oil platform, blocking its only landing pad from other movements. Within seconds of the engines shutting down, staff at AgustaWestland’s logistics center at Lonate Pozzolo near Milan are aware of the problem and a response plan is swinging into action that will see technicians assessing the extent of the damage and dispatching a replacement rotor within a few hours so that the aircraft can return to base to complete repairs without further disrupting operations.
Hawker Beechcraft and Asia-Pacific distributor, Hawker Pacific, today announced the delivery of a fleet of five King Airs–two Model 350Cs (cargo-door variant) and three B200Cs–to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Eastern Division in Australia. The turboprops will join a fleet of air ambulance aircraft operated on contract for New South Wales Department of Health for aeromedical primary response and inter-hospital transfers. The King Air 350C is the first one in the region that is fully dedicated to the air ambulance mission.
Britain’s Ministry of Defence might sell its RAF Northolt air base in the west London suburbs as part of aggressive budget cuts. The airfield is already used for limited business aviation operations, and these could potentially increase if the property is sold to a company wanting to operate it as an airport. However, if Northolt is sold for some other commercial purpose, then the airport could be history. The options are due to be considered as part of a wider review of UK airport capacity to be launched in the spring.
Brazil’s Embraer and its U.S. partner, Sierra Nevada Corp., confirmed that the A-29 Super Tucano won the U.S. Air Force Light Air Support (LAS) competition. Hawker Beechcraft continued to protest the decision, by appealing to the Court of Federal Claims, and the Air Force issued a stop work order this week, just days after Sierra Nevada was awarded a $355 million contract for an initial 20 aircraft, as well as training equipment and support.
Alsalam Aircraft Co. is hoping for a record year and believes there is much business to be had in VIP conversion work and military MRO.