The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford in the UK reports a record number of acceptances in response to invitations sent to international air forces. Approximately 250 military aircraft from 25 countries, and air chiefs from more than 40 countries, are attending the event, which takes place this weekend before the Farnborough International Airshow opens. Highlights include a U.S. Air Force B-2 stealth bomber, the Saudi, Korean and UAE aerobatic teams, and first-ever visits by the Colombian and Japanese air arms.
JAS 39 Gripen
The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford in the UK reports a record number of acceptances in response to invitations sent to international air forces. Approximately 250 military aircraft from 25 countries, and air chiefs from more than 40 countries, are attending the event, which takes place this weekend before the Farnborough International Airshow opens.
Farnborough International organizers say that both static and flying displays for the 2012 show will be full, with a significant portion of the aircraft roster still to be publicly confirmed as of press time. Among the anticipated highlights could be one of the earlier in-service examples of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by high-profile Arabian Gulf carrier Qatar Airways. Also on the cards are two other, as yet undisclosed, Boeing transports.
Farnborough International Airshow organizers are promising that both the static and flying displays for the 2012 air show will be as full as ever. Behind the scenes the display roster is fully booked, but airframers have yet to give clearance for all the aircraft to be publicly confirmed.
Boeing has selected Elbit Systems to supply the high-resolution large area display (LAD) for future export versions of the F-15 Eagle and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The 11- by 19-inch LAD replaces several multifunction displays. It forms part of the F-15 Silent Eagle proposal to Korea, and the Super Hornet proposal for Brazil’s long-running fighter contest.
The French Rafale is reportedly well placed to triumph in the long-running fighter jet contest in Brazil, and also to secure the elusive order from the UAE, following the type’s success in India. Indian air force commander ACM N.A.K. Browne told AIN that his country would not accept a revised bid from the losing Eurofighter camp for the 126-aircraft MMRCA requirement.
All three services of the Malaysian armed forces have received significant cuts to their procurement budget requests for 2012. The political context for this is the build up to a general election, which must be held by 2013. With defense spending being a contentious issue in Malaysia and the need to reduce state spending, the current government has opted for sizable cutbacks.
Dassault has offered to adjust the Rafale package for Switzerland to reduce cost and prevent the confirmation of the Saab Gripen as that country’s new fighter. The move follows the leaking of the Swiss air force evaluation report on the competing fighters, which also included the Eurofighter. The Rafale was the clear winner of the SAF evaluation, with the Eurofighter second, but the Swiss government opted for the cheaper Gripen package. This was worth $3.4 billion and included 22 jets. The potential new French offer is $3 billion for 18 aircraft, according to reports in the Swiss media.
France’s Dassault Rafale fighter won India’s $10 billion-plus medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contest for 126 combat jets because its direct acquisition and life-cycle costs were 22 to 25 percent lower than those of the Eurofighter Typhoon. This verdict came from “a top [Indian] defense ministry source” quoted by The Times of India newspaper in Delhi last Friday. AIN believes that the report is credible. Negotiations on the contract should be completed by October, the source added.
Hungary extended until 2026 the lease contract with the Swedish government for the 14 Saab Gripen C/D fighters that it received in 2006 and 2007. The agreement was due to expire in 2016. According to press reports in Budapest, Hungary currently pays $130 million per year to operate the aircraft, which were surplus to Swedish air force requirements. Saab said it is pleased by Hungary’s “long-term strategic decision.”