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AW149 utility helicopter seen on its first flight at AgustaWestland facilities at Yeovil, UK. (Photo: AgustaWestland)

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November 2009

A short video depicting the first flight of the BAE Systems' Mantis UAV, which took place in Australia, October 21, 2009. (more detalis in Defense Update Unmanned Systems news)

Indonesia to Receive Remaining Su7SKM
by Year's End

Indonesia is expected to receive all six Su-27/30 fighters ordered in 2007 within the next year. According to the Russian press agency Novosti, the $300 million contract signed between Jakarta and Moscow in 2007 contract, covers the supply of three Su-30MK2 and three Su-27SKM fighters. Four have already been delivered. The remaining Su-27SK jets will be delivered by the end of this year. Indonesia originally planned to buy 16 Sukhoi fighters, but sofar has bought only six.

Ospreys Join the Fight,
Supporting Marines in Afghanistan

The U.S. Marine Corps has deployed the first detachment of MV-22B Osprey tilt rotor aircraft to Camp Bastion, in Hellmand province, Afghanistan. The ten aircraft are supporting Task Force Leatherneck area of operations. The 22nd MEU was the first Marine Expeditionary Unit to conduct a ship-based deployment with the tiltrotor aircraft. VMM-263 (Rein) attached to the MEU in September, 2008, and was also the first squadron to deploy with the aircraft to Iraq in 2007. (read more...)

Israel Emerges as 1st International Customer for the F-35A

As the JSF founding members squirm for excuses to cut projected orders, anticipating the program's soaring costs consuming growing shares of local defense budgets, Israel is expected to become the first international customer to commit to the next generation stealth fighter, although the country has not formally joined the program as one of the 'founding members'. (read more...)

This first view from the Dubai Airshow 2009, was aired yesterday by Flight Global. The Airshow will be open through November 19. To plan your 2010 aerospace events check our exhibitions list.

F-35B is Preparing for Vertical Landing at New Base

The first Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) stealth fighter arrived Sunday (Nov. 15) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., where it will conduct its first hovers and vertical landings through 2010. Another event in the F-35 program was the first flight of the optimized conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35 Lightning II, on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009 (photo below). This aircraft incorporates many evolutionary improvements and updates derived from the test program of the first F-35 – the AA-1. (read more...)


France Orders 60 Additional Rafales for Air Force, Navy

The French Ministry of Defense recently approved the order of 60 Rafale fighter aircraft for French Navy and Air Force, in addition to the 120 already ordered under the multi-year plan. The aircraft will include the latest enhancements, including an active electronic scanning array (AESA) radar, These and enhanced self-protection suite.

Thales Reco NG Reconnaissance Pod Enters Flight Testing

The French Air Force has initiated flight testing with the Reco NG aerial reconnaissance pod developed by Thales. Flight testing on board the Rafale is expected to continue for about six months. The pod can be operated in fully autonomous mode, without any intervention by the crew. The French air force has ordered 12 pod systems with three ground systems to equip Rafale F3 fighter. The French Navy will get six more systems. Thales is expected to complete the delivery of all 18 pods by April 2012. (read more...)

AW149, AW159 Helicopters Perform First Flights

AgustaWestland celebrated this week two first flight milestones. The Lynx Wildcat (AW159) multi-role military helicopter has successfully completed its maiden flight at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility, with AgustaWestland Chief Test Pilot, Donald Maclaine, at the controls. A day later, the first prototype of the AW149 multi-role military medium twin engine helicopter made its maiden flight from the company's Vergiate plant in Italy, flown by AgustaWestland Chief Test Pilot Giuseppe Lo Coco. Delivery of the first of the 62 multi-role AW159 Wildcat is expected in 2011, entering full operational capability with the British Army in 2014 and the Royal Navy in 2015. The AW149 is being proposed for the Turkish Utility Helicopter Programme (TUHP) (read more...)