The Paris Airshow this
year provided aerospace professionals and enthusiasts an opportunity
to witness one of the most dramatic changes in military aviation
- the shift from "manned airplanes" to "unmanned
aerial systems" (UAS). This transition is neither new,
nor unexpected, but the 47th Paris Airshow provided clear evidence
to the depth of this change. (more...)
fighters entering operational service, after decades of development,
the Super Hornet, MiG-29, Su-30, Typhoon, Rafale, Gripen and
Raptors will remain with us for the foreseeable future. Therefore,
innovations in manned platforms are less visible, and are normally
focusing on propulsion, avionics and weapons upgrade. More visible
are those platforms designed to support fighters – refuellers,
transports and special mission aircraft, based on modified commercial
aircraft and business jets. One of the few new faces on the
flight display was the Augusta-Bell 609 based on the tilt-rotor
lift and propulsion technology developed for the V-22. Only
the introduction of the new Dreamliner (B787), F-35 JSF, or
sending Raptors to international shows could bring some excitement
into these already familiar scenes.
Yet, unmanned systems are now appearing everywhere. Relieved
from the constraints associated with a pilot on board, UAS designers
have the freedom to try new concepts best optimized for specific
missions, surpassing the capabilities of the more versatile,
but much more expensive and vulnerable manned aircraft.
Defense Update's Paris Airshow coverage highlights some of
these trends, showing the military aircraft on display, new
weapons, avionics, and support systems. We are covering the
many UAVs shown on the flight lines and in the exhibition halls.
New air defense systems are also introduced and our report concludes
with a brief overview of the latest military satellites.
Topics covered in this review: