EADS North America to Face Boeing in the KC-X 'Finals'

After failing to find a local prime for the KC-X bid, the European conglomerate decided to pit its U.S. subsidiary EADS North America to compete against Boeing in the $35 billion bid to replace the U.S. Air Force KC-135 tankers. EADS is expected to propose a derivative of its Airbus 330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft, currently undergoing flight testing. Five customers have already selected the MRTT as their future tanker. Boeing is proposing the B767 NewGen tanker, that uses elements from other aircraft, such as the P8 and Boeing B777 that will have to be tested and refined through the development program. (more... )

An Israeli Helmet Display is Tailored for Rocket Planes

Rocket Race Rocket Racing pilots participating at the upcoming Tulsa Airshow will have the first opportunity to experience and demonstrate the next generation helmet mounted display technology sofar available only to fighter pilots. The revolutionary Targo Racer aviator’s helmet developed by Israel's Elbit Systems integrates a display system and avionics, that enable Rocket Racing League (RRL) pilots to competitively challenge each other flying the  3D Raceway-In-The-Sky (RITS) sky track. (Read More...)

Four killed in a CV-22 Osprey Crash in Afghanistan

A U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft crashed in southeastern Afghanistan Thursday April 8, 2010 killing four – the three crew members and a government contractor. The CV-22 regularly operates with the Air Force's Special Operations Command (AFSOC). Other personnel aboard were injured and were taken to a military base for treatment, NATO said. According to ISAF announcement, the aircraft went down after dark,  about 7 miles (11 kilometers) from Qalat, the capital of Zabul province. This event was the first combat loss of the Osprey tilt rotor aircraft. The Taliban claimed its forces have shot down the aircraft but NATO officials said the cause of the crash is unknown and that an investigation is underway. The Taliban regularly take responsibility anytime a coalition aircraft crashes, often after a NATO press release has been issued. In this case, the Taliban claimed responsibility long before NATO acknowledged the crash.

Israel to Buy Three C-130J

The Pentagon has approved the sale of three Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules military transport aircraft to Israel. The current approval is for the first aircraft and support infrastructure, worth $115 plus options for two additional planes. (read more...)

Romania to Replace Lancer with F-16

Romania will replace the upgraded MiG-21 (known as Lancer) with U.S. made F-16, to be used as multi-role fighters. A part of the air force modernization program Romania plans to replace at least two squadrons currently flying the MiG-21 Lancer with F-16s. Under the current program, Romania will receive 24 used F-16 Block 25 aircraft withdrawn from U.S. Air Force service. At a later phase, Romania will buy additional 24 new F-16 Block 50-52 aircraft to replace another Lancer squadron. Ultimately, the Romanian Air Force will replace the Block 25 aircraft with 24 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The total cost of the first phase is estimated at $1.3 billion, including the upgrading the 24 Block 25 aircraft, and integrated logistic support package for 3-5 years. Initial deliveries are expected in 2013.

Thales Selected to Modernize IFF on Indian MiG-29s

Thales will deliver the Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG (RSK-MiG) avionic identification systems to be installed in 63 upgraded MiG-29 aircraft bound to India. The systems, part of Thales' TSB 2500 family of Interrogator Friend/Foe (IFF) systems to retrofit into Indian MiG-29 multi-role fighters offering the Indian Air Force secure identification capability mid-2011. (read more...)

Canada Completes Hornets Upgrade

Boeing delivered the last (79th) upgraded CF-18 Hornet aircraft to the Canadian Department of National Defence, bringing the nine-year, two-phased CF-18 Modernization Project to a close. The program was conducted by an industry team including Boeing and L-3 Communications MAS. Phase 1 was valued at US$436 million and Phase 2 at $150 million. (read more...)

F-35B Demonstrates Hover, STOVL Capability

F-35B STOVLhe first Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II demonstrated its short takeoff, and vertical landing (STOVL) capability, during a series of test flights conducted over the test center at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. On March 18, 2010. These tests were a significant milestone leading in the verification of the aircraft STOVL capability, considered critical for future marine corps and international users. A first flight on that day verified the aircraft hovering capability with a follow-on mission completing vertical landing on the 95 foot pad. In the hovering test the F-35B confirmed predictions of the jet’s vertical thrust, stability and control in hovering flight. (read more...)

Boeing unveils a new B767 Derivative 'NewGen Tanker' for U.S. Air Force Competition

Boeing B767 Boeing has unveiled today the 'NewGen Tanker', the aerial refueling aircraft being proposed for the U.S. Air Force KC-X tanker competition. According to Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, the Boeing NewGen Tanker will satisfy all mandatory Air Force requirements and offer an American-made tanker that will be capable, survivable, and combat-ready at the lowest cost to the taxpayer. (read more...)

Marine Aviation has no Other Option but Wait for JSF

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are running out of fighters. Heavy wear and tear over nearly a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan has depleted the two services’ combined fighter force. Purchases of new planes have been delayed by controversial planning decisions. As a result, U.S. maritime forces operate at elevated risk. Robotic systems could help mitigate this risk, but the Navy has resisted adopting pilot-less aircraft. (more... )

Stealthy Jet Draws Flak by Escalating Cost, Delays

F35Two reports soon to be released, by the Pentagon’s Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) and Government Accountability Office are expected to cast more shadows on the F-35 Lightning II program recently scrutinized by almost every senior Pentagon official. One of the most vocal critics of the program is the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOTE), and the Joint Estimating Team (JET) formed to investigate the JSF program have both released negative reports leading the Secretary of the Air Force and Secretary of Defense to openly criticize the program, sofar considered to be an example for joint services and multinational program advantages. (read more...)

India to Buy 42 Additional Russian Su-30MKI

India and Russia are negotiating a new contract on the delivery of 42 Su-30MKI to the Indian Air Force – India's Daily News & Analysis reports. The new deal could be worth more than $3 billion and will bring the Indian Air Force fleet of Su-30MKI to 271 aircraft. India received its first order of 50 Su-30MKI in 1996 and additional 40 in 2007. India is producing under license 140 aircraft. The operational Indian Su-30MKI fleet currently numbers about 100 aircraft, mainly deployed at airbases close to the borders with China and Pakistan.

Tanker program – Round 3!

In a third attempt in nine years to replace its current 50-year-old tanker aircraft, the U.S. Air Force will release the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the USD$35 billion aerial tanker competition. The Air Force is hopeful, that both the Boeing Company and Northrop Grumman/EADS will bid for the work. The Northrop/ EADS team won the Air Force contract in the last competition, but following a Boeing protest, the government cancelled the contract. Northrop has said the team will not bid again, unless changes are made to the draft RFP released last September. The RFP, scheduled for publication Wednesday, lists 372 requirements, which the bidders should address within 75 days. The Pentagon will announce its decision by September this year. (read more...)

Brazil's FX-2 – Time for Decision

The selection of the next generation fighter for the Brazilian Air Force is expected to be announced by the end of March. The selection process drew much criticism in Brazil, due to the conflict between the President Luiz Inacio Lola and Air Force commander General Juniti Saito. Lola has personally negotiated with French president Nicolas Sarkozi who agreed to grant Brazil generous technology transfer, to produce the Omnirole Rafale in-country. (read more...)

Russia Unveils New Stealth Fighter

T-50Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA made a successful 47-minute maiden flight on Friday 29 January 2010, taking off from Komsomolsk-on-Amur Airfield in Russia’s Far East, adjacent to the manufacturer’s site. The aircraft was flown by Sukhoi test-pilot Sergey Bogdan. Sukhoi, the aircraft designer is expecting to complete flight testing and enter serial manufacturing by 2015, anticipating orders for at least 400 aircraft for the Russian and Indian Air Forces. (read more...)

Gripen NG to Get Selex Galileo IRST

Saab has selected the Skyward-G Infrared Search & Track (IRST) system to equip the Gripen Next Generation (NG) fighter. IRST performs air-to-air functions similar to a 'passive radar', thus contributing to reduced electromagnetic signature while denying the target early warning about offensive actions being taken ('lock on signal'). According to Selex Galileo, the Skyward-G can operate in highly cluttered environments to track single and multiple targets, and can also operate in slaved acquisition mode. The selection of the SKYWARD-G system follows an earlier agreement signed in March 2009 between Saab and SELEX Galileo, for the development of the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar Raven ES-05 for Gripen NG.

Sikorsky to Refurbish over 100 S-61s for Operations in Afghanistan

The U.S. State Department has awarded Sikorsky Aircraft an indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity (IDIQ) agreement to purchase up to 110 modernized S-61T aircraft to be used for passenger and cargo transport, supporting the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. The new helicopters will provide an alternative to the Pentagon's current purchase and use of Russian Mil-8 and Mil-17 helicopters. (read more...)

France to Receive E-3F AWACS Upgrades

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing a $324 million under a Foreign Military Sale contract to upgrade four French Air Force E-3F Sentry (AWACS) aircraft. The upgrade program will modernize the mission computing systems on board, to be brought to a level similar to the U.S. Block 40/45 system. The change takes the AWACS fleet from large legacy mainframe computer architecture to modern Windows- and Unix-based mission computing which are more convenient to support.

 

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