View Full Version : Fighter Development

Pages : [1] 2 3 4

16-01-10, 12:22 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Boeing Silent Eagle Completes RCS Testing

Posted by Amy Butler at 1/15/2010 9:26 AM CST

Company officials reveal that they have completed two weeks of radar cross section testing on the F-15 Silent Eagle prototype.
The trials, which employed various candidate stealthy coatings, took place last August and September, according to Mark Bass, vice president of F-15s for Boeing. Company officials have selected the optimum coating and say that the RCS testing yielded desired performance. Specifics on the coating and the RCS numbers was not provided.

Below is a pic of F-15E1, a U.S. Air Force test asset leased by Boeing to undergo the Silent Eagle mods. The photo was taken during the RCS testing phase in Boeing's anechoic chamber in St. Louis, and it was released at the request of Aviation Week. Company officials distorted the background of the photo to mask the proprietary capabilities of the chamber, but did not alter the image of the aircraft.

photo credit: Boeing

First flight is slated for July with a demonstration of the conformal fuel tank, which is converted to a weapons bay, to follow by late August. During this test, company officials will fire an Amraam at 20,000 ft flying .6 Mach to ensure that the bay doors and ejection mechanisms function as needed.

17-01-10, 01:21 AM
Boeing Looks To First Silent Eagle Flight

Jan 16, 2010

By Amy Butler

Mz Butler must be getting some nice gifts from Boeing for all this free advertising.............

With radar-cross-section (RCS) trials for Boeing’s Silent Eagle semi-stealthy F-15 prototype complete, company officials are now focusing on South Korea as a possible first customer.

The RCS testing took place during a two-week period last August and September, although Boeing has only just acknowledged it because of proprietary issues, says Mark Bass, vice president of F-15 programs.

The company is eyeing South Korea’s forthcoming F-X3 competition for 60 fighters as the first sales opportunity for the Silent Eagle. The South Korean parliament’s recent hesitancy about investing in all-stealth aircraft “validates our approach” with the aircraft, says Bass. The company is considering potential international co-development partners for a Silent Eagle conformal fuel tank, although no announcements have been made.

Boeing is developing the variant for international customers that already operate F-15s and are seeking additional aircraft. The system is a possible alternative for nations interested in the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Silent Eagle is not as stealthy as the JSF, but it could provide flexibility for countries trying to stretch their defense dollars.

In the early days of an air campaign, the Silent Eagle can be outfitted with weapon bays suitable for carrying air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons that would be tucked inside conformal fuel tanks, thus reducing the aircraft’s front-quadrant RCS. The aircraft could then be reconfigured in hours to handle the F-15’s characteristic heavy load of weapons once early threats are removed and sustainment operations begin.

The RCS tests on F-15E1, an Air Force test asset leased to Boeing, took place at the company’s anechoic chamber in St. Louis. Various coatings were evaluated and a final candidate has been selected and applied to the appropriate portions of the airframe. Testing produced the desired results, he said. Bass declined to provide details on the coating or the precise RCS numbers.

The RCS testing took place with the standard vertical fins on the F-15, not the 15-deg. canted structures unveiled last year by Boeing (AW&ST Mar. 23, 2009, p. 29). Data needed about an optional canted tail can be gathered mathematically, Bass says.

The RCS testing is a step leading toward first flight, which is slated for late July. Boeing had planned first flight for the first quarter of 2010, but slipped the milestone to allow for the inclusion of suggestions from prospective customers regarding upfront design work.

Following first flight, the focus will shift to demonstrating the ability of the conformal tank to safely deploy an Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile. The test is slated to be conducted at roughly 20,000 ft. at Mach 0.6, a benign scenario for the first shot. This demonstration will likely occur in July or early August, says Bass.

In the meantime, Boeing has applied for an export license and expects a ruling this spring.

Following the weapons demo, the team will turn its attention toward marketing and sales. Bass says the company has not tempered its hope of selling 190 Silent Eagles despite lackluster support from Israel, which is aggressively pursuing the F-35.

South Korea is expected to issue a request for proposals by early 2011 for new fighters. At a later date, Saudi Arabia may accept solicitations to replace up to 80 early model F-15s, says Bass. Singapore is also a possible customer.

Boeing has cited a rough cost for Silent Eagle of $100 million per aircraft, although that would depend on factors such as co-development plans that have not yet been established.

09-04-10, 03:54 PM

A Defense Technology Blog

What to Expect From Sixth Gen Combat Aircraft

Posted by David A. Fulghum at 4/9/2010 8:17 AM CDT

For Sixth-Generation warplanes, stealth data connectivity is going to be as important as a stealthy aircraft. A low-observable aircraft – operating inside the enemy’s ring of anti-aircraft defense – must be able to transmit data to standoff forces without giving away its position.

“Making sure you have connectivity is key, says Maj. Gen. Tom Andersen, Air Combat command’s director of requirements. “If you are stealthy -- and within a denied or anti-access area -- you don’t want to emit energy that [give away your location]. So we have concentrate on low probability of intercept or detection [LPI, LPD] type wave forms. Then we have to get it out of that environment so that it can help the follow on forces and support jammers like the non-stealthy Growler. That’s going to be a challenge.”

Improved fifth- and new sixth-generation manned and unmanned aircraft also are being planned to carry wide-area optical and electronic surveillance, explosive and non-explosive weapons and offer an intricate view of the surrounding networks that might affect them.

Also part of the advanced fight formula will be communications, including command and control, that can function even when under network attack.

“We’ve stood up a Sixth Gen Fighter office here, and we’re starting to figure out what those attributes should be,” Andersen says. “Survivability will be huge, so how do you that – with speed, stealth or some combination? Affordability is critical because $500 million per air vehicle doesn’t do much good [in a tough budget environment].

“If we start right now, 2030 is about the time you get a sixth gen fighter on the line,” Andersen say. “That’s about the time all the F-15s, F-15Es, F-16s and A-10s are programmed to be out of the inventory. At that point all you have is the F-35. I think [Sixth Gen] will have to be capable being [optionally] manned. The cost margin between manned and unmanned is now only about 3-5% delta. We have to be prepared to go either way.”

The new designs will undoubtedly be stealthy for penetrating enemy air defenses. And as long as they are close to key targets, “you would hate not to have an ISR capability,” Andersen say. Moreover, these aircraft need to be linked so they always know where they are in reference to each other and to any enemy threat all the time.

The advanced architecture for connectivity is called the Joint Aerial Layered Network (JLAN). It creates a mosaic for the battlefield with space, airborne and surface layers. And within those layers, the denied and anti-access areas are detailed along with where everybody else can operate.

The equipment on these new aircraft designs will also be innovative. It will, for example, exploit new segments of the electro magnetic spectrum. Also increasingly important will be a translator that transforms an LPI signal to a waveform that can be widely distributed by Link 16. That would avoid compromising stealth and also generate digital information that everyone can immediatel use.

Electronic attack, network invasion and generation of high power microwave pulses as weapons will also be part of the formula.

“We’re working the CHAMP joint project demonstration which is a high power microwave [device] in a cruise missiles [at Kirtland],” says Brig. Gen. Dave Goldfein, ACC’s director of air and space operations (A3). “We’re probably about three years from where we will have to transition it from the [joint demonstration program].”

11-04-10, 12:14 AM
Boeing Looks To First Silent Eagle Flight

Jan 16, 2010

By Amy Butler

Mz Butler must be getting some nice gifts from Boeing for all this free advertising.............

Not necessarily. I think you and I have discussed before Bug, that to be successful in business you have to have 2 of the big three components:

Be the First
Be the Biggest
Be the Best

Boeing are Big, they might not be the first, but because of the low cost option as opposed to the LM blow outs in the F-22 and the F-35 , they might end up being the best (or at the very least offer the most bang for your buck, which might constitute "best"). Some reporters are an intuitive bunch and it appears that she has cottoned on that Boeing have something.

Anyway, one prerequisite tends to beget the other. Being in "the biggest" category allows Boeing to push through ideas in alternate programs that they might have exploited if they had won the F-35 contract and not LM.

So, to a reporter, what is going on in St Louis, is exciting stuff, or at least it smells exciting. So no, I don't think she is on payroll.



13-04-10, 04:52 AM
Guard rolls out new radar for F-15

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy

National Guard Bureau

Congressman Ander Crenshaw (center) helps unveil the new APG-63(v)3 Active Electronically Scanned Array during a rollout ceremony at the 125th Fighter Wing in Jacksonville, Fla., April 12, 2010. Flanked by Air National Guard leaders - including the Adjutant General of Florida Maj. Gen. Douglas Burnett (second from left) - and representatives from Boeing and Raytheon, the congressman helped introduce the upgrade for the National Guard's F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

ARLINGTON, Va., (4/12/10) - The Air National Guard will unveil an upgrade to the radar system for its F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft today, which will give it greater capabilities while reducing maintenance costs.

The new radar system—the APG-63(v)3 Active Electronically Scanned Array—replaces the older mechanically controlled devices currently in the aircraft.

“When the F-15 was first designed and made, the radar in it was world class, the best at the time, but its 1970s technology,” said Air Force Maj. Dave Slaydon, chief of F-15 requirements for the Air National Guard. “It’s a mechanically scanned array, meaning it’s a radar dish like you would see in the movies and it has hydraulics that move it back and forth to point around the sky to find the bad guys.”

The new radar system does away with the hydraulics system completely.

“With this new technology it is a flat panel with a bunch of little panels on it and you can electronically steer the radar beam around,” said Slaydon.

A radar controlled electronically, rather than mechanically, has a number of benefits, including less maintenance on the equipment.

“Since there are no moving parts to it, it hardly ever breaks,” said Slaydon. “There aren’t any hydraulics or mechanical parts banging around. That gives it a really, really high reliability rate which is good for us as it means the jet is (available) more often to fly as there are less maintenance actions required on it.”

But, said Slaydon, the big plus is the improved capabilities of the radar unit.

“The performance part is where we really make the money,” said Slaydon. “With that technology of the radar being electronically controlled, the beam can be pointed all around the sky in fractions of a second.”

That translates to a greater situational awareness, said Slaydon.

“What that allows you to do is to track multiple targets and be able to engage multiple targets,” he said. “It also gives you a greater detection range, so you can find the bad guys at a further range and it has increased identification capabilities as well where the radar can scan the radar signature and tell if it’s a Boeing 747 or is it a fighter-type of jet.”

Development of the improved F-15 radar system has been ongoing for about the past five years, said Slaydon, adding that it has been an Air National Guard-led program from the beginning.

“We have partnered with the active duty Air Force, and they have taken a huge role in the program,” he said. “But it was conceived by, developed by and we’re fielding it first in the Air National Guard so that’s a big feather in our cap.”

The radar will be fielded by the 125th Fighter Wing, based in Jacksonville, Fla., said Slaydon. Units in the Oregon and Louisiana Air National Guard will be the next to get the radar sets.

Fielding in Florida and Oregon is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010, and Louisiana is scheduled to receive the upgrades in the early part of 2011.

“We’re spreading out the initial beddown to put the capability where it’s needed geographically,” Slaydon said. “After that initial issue, we’ll then go in a fill in with a few more as needed.”

He added that future sites may include Massachusetts and Montana.

Although the new radar units are specifically for the F-15, the technology translates to other fighter platforms as well, said Slaydon, adding that it has been incorporated into the F-22 Raptor.

The fielding of the equipment speaks to the capabilities of the Air Guard. “It just shows that the Air National Guard is committed to air dominance,” said Slaydon. “That applies to both our homeland defense mission as well as our worldwide capabilities that we bring air dominance to the combatant commanders worldwide. That includes modernizing our jets to bring the capabilities to what the mission requires.”

15-04-10, 10:09 AM
USAF may convert some F-15Cs to radar jammers
By Stephen Trimble

The US Air National Guard may convert some Boeing F-15C Eagles into electronic warfare platforms, possibly adding an entirely new role for the classic air superiority fighter.

Adding a jamming pod on the F-15C's currently empty centreline weapon station becomes possible after a subset of the fleet is upgraded with the Raytheon APG-63(V)3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, says Maj Todd Giggy, chief of weapons and tactics for the 159th Fighter Sqd.

"We're actively looking right now at an electronic warfare capability," Giggy says.

The first AESA-equipped F-15C rolled out for the 159th Sqd on 12 April at Jacksonville, Florida, the first of three ANG bases to receive 48 "Golden Eagles".

USAF officials eventually hope to upgrade with AESA all 176 F-15Cs planned to remain in-service through 2030, but only the first 48 aircraft are funded.

As a replacement for the APG-70 mechanically scanned array, the AESA boosts the range and detection capability for the F-15.

Ramon Estrada, Raytheon's director of F-15 growth programmes, declined to answer whether the APG-63(V)3 can detect Russia's stealthy new PAK-FA prototype fighter, which Sukhoi designates as the T-50.

But Estrada confirmed the AESA is designed to detect targets with small radar cross sections. "I don't know the specifics with the T-50," Estrada says, "but I will tell you that this -(V)3 radar is very capable of detecting low-RCS platforms".

The array also improves the F-15's ability to track radar signals, which could prove useful in the jamming role.

Giggy, however, emphasized that an F-15C equipped with a jamming pod would not become a rival to the US Navy Boeing EA-18G Growler. "I want to dispel the idea that we're looking at an F-15G," Giggy says.

The EA-18G comes with a wide-spectrum and relatively longer-range jamming system, which includes an ALQ-218 receiver system and ALQ-99 jamming pods.

The F-15C would instead have a more limited jamming pod optimized for short-range threats, Giggy says.

The ANG discussions about an electronic warfare role for the F-15C comes after the USAF has twice abandoned attempts to convert the B-52 into a standoff jamming platform.

USAF officials have instead decided to focus on the stand-in jamming role, employing the Raytheon miniature air-launched decoy-jammer (MALD-J), upgrades to the EC-130 Compass Call fleet and, possibly, upgraded F-15Cs.

The USAF has lacked a dedicated platform for jamming radars since 1997, when the EF-111 Raven fleet was retired without a replacement. In 2002, the USAF unveiled an airborne electronic attack system of systems plan, which included the B-52 stand-off jammer, MALD-J and the Boeing X-45C. Only the MALD-J programme survived budget cuts, however.

Meanwhile, the US Navy is replacing Grumman EA-6B Prowlers with the EA-18G fleet.

Gubler, A.
19-04-10, 10:14 AM
The F-23 Team’s (Northrop, McDonnell Douglas) design for the Naval Advanced Tactical Fighter (NATF) based on the F-23 has finally emerged from the shadows. NATF was to reuse the technology and design of the ATF (F-22/F-23) for the naval mission. This mission required carrier compatibility (which lead to the canards and bigger as far aft as possible tail configuration), longer endurance, strike capability and little need for supercruise. However funding cuts in the post Cold War environment saw NATF cancelled. Assuming its materials use could have made it exportable it would have been an ideal F-111/F-18 replacement for the RAAF.


21-04-10, 02:14 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

Eurofighter enhancement package enters flight test

By Craig Hoyle

Flight-test activities on a new package of modifications for the Eurofighter Typhoon have got under way in the UK, with the work to lead to new operational capabilities from next year.

To be performed on Tranche 2 production aircraft for partner nations Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, the phase 1 enhancement (P1E) programme will add new air-to-surface weapons functionality and an expanded communications fit.

BAE Systems began flying a modified instrumented production aircraft from its Warton final assembly site in Lancashire late last year in support of the P1E process. The asset is being used to clear the use of GPS- and laser-guided weapons in combination with the Rafael Litening III targeting pod, already integrated with some of the UK’s Typhoons.

© Eurofighter

"IPA6 commenced flight trials of a new software enhancement package in December,” says BAE, which adds: “the trials have been successful."

The same test aircraft will also be used to prove digital functionality for the Diehl BGT Defence IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missile, used by Eurofighter operators Germany, Italy and launch export customer Austria. Other activities will include assessing improvements to the Typhoon's man-machine interface, and expanding the capabilities of its Multi-functional Information Distribution System datalink.

A first package of P1E enhancements will be released to operators next year, with the remaining modifications to be available during 2012. The process will also involve development aircraft based in Germany, Italy and Spain.

Meanwhile, EADS Defence & Security chief executive Stefan Zoller says a decision is expected "within weeks" on whether the four partner nations will install active electronically scanned array radars with their Tranche 3A production Eurofighters.

"There is a proposal on the table, and now it's the task of the nations to respond as quickly as possible," he says. "We have to differentiate at what point in time the nations need that radar to equip their own fleets, and how fast we have to go to stay in [export] competitions. It's a case of emergency."

Contract approval was given late last year to produce a combined 112 aircraft under Tranche 3A, but the nations have yet to agree on a final configuration for the type.

Zoller also expects the partners to later proceed with the planned Tranche 3B production of the Eurofighter, but concedes: "maybe they will have different answers on the numbers of aircraft they need in their fleets."

EADS has a 46% stake in the combat aircraft programme, which also involves Alenia Aeronautica (21%) and BAE Systems (33%).

21-04-10, 11:50 AM
Nice RCA model. From Ares blog:

A Model Approach to Fighter Design (http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/aviation_week/on_space_and_technology/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&newspaperUserId=a68cb417-3364-4fbf-a9dd-4feda680ec9c&plckPostId=Blog%3aa68cb417-3364-4fbf-a9dd-4feda680ec9cPost%3ad1f8dcbe-d8ee-403b-95ce-f4f1c1d2260b&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest)

Posted by Graham Warwick (http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/community/persona/index.jsp?newspaperUserId=163197&plckUserId=163197) at 4/20/2010 12:12 PM CDT

Hats off to Steve Trimble's The DEW Line (http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2010/04/video-stealth-fighter-demonstr.html) for unearthing this video of a 13%-scale "generic future fighter" model built and flown by Sweden's Linkoping University (LiU), and based on a design produced by Saab. As the blog notes, it resembles stealth fighter concepts Saab has produced for South Korea's KF-X (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korea_Aerospace_Industries_KF-X) studies.

Video: Linkoping University

Flying models have often played a key role in aircraft development, particularly those with unconventional or unproven configurations, providing a low-cost way of finding out if an idea will fly. There are always issues about how well the results will scale to the full-size aircraft, but as an adjunct to expensive and exquisitely controlled wind-tunnel tests flying a model can be a quick and cheap way of uncovering any undesirable characteristics.

One example is NASA's Boeing X-48B, which is an 8.5%-scale flying model of a blended wing-body airliner, built to demonstrate that a tailless flying wing can be made controllable at low airspeeds. Looking back, in the 1950s Avro Canada launched 11 1/8th-scale models of the CF-105 Arrow supersonic fighter on Nike rocket boosters to verify wind tunnel data. Video of those flights (http://www.avroarrow.org/FFM/index.html) can be found at Arrow Recovery Canada's website, avroarrow.org.

Photo: LiU

LiU's Fluid and Mechatronic Systems (FluMeS) division [URL="http://www.iei.liu.se/flumes/aero/gff?l=en"]built the generic future fighter model (http://sitelife.aviationweek.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/8/2/683bfbd0-e926-460e-8294-f025b528757b.Full.jpg) under contract from Saab and Swedish procurement agency FMV. The goal is to show that a scaled concept demonstrator can be built cost-effectively, in a short time, and to evaluate its use in aircraft development as flying wind tunnel. First flight was in November last year, following which the 2.4m-span model has been instrumented and the test campaign is planned for this spring and summer.

27-04-10, 02:05 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Japan seeks foreign engines for stealth fighter prototypes

By Leithen Francis

Japan is looking to use foreign engines for the prototype aircraft needed for its fifth-generation fighter programme.

The ATD-X Shinshin programme is still in the study stage, but industry sources in Japan and overseas say Tokyo has issued a document to engine-makers seeking information and pricing on powerplants needed for two prototype aircraft.

Responses are due to be submitted by 10 May.

© Tim Bicheno-Brown/Flightglobal

Japan is interested in engines in the 10,000-20,000lb thrust class (44-89kN), and has a long-list of candidates on which it is seeking information, the sources say.

These include the General Electric F404 used to power the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet, Snecma's M88-2 for the Dassault Rafale and Volvo Aero's RM12, integrated with the Saab Gripen. Its search even contains the Gas Turbine Research Establishment GTX-35VS Kaveri, still in development for India's Aeronautical Development Agency Tejas light combat aircraft.

Japan had wanted to buy Lockheed Martin's F-22 to meet its future fighter requirement, but the US government has barred exports of the type and agreed to halt production for the US Air Force. Tokyo has responded by vowing to develop its own fifth-generation fighter under the ATD-X programme.

Local engine-maker Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI) has been assigned to develop the XF5-1 engine for the ATD-X. The move to source foreign engines for the prototypes could be part of efforts to give IHI more time and ensure that the overall programme remains on track.

Japan is also expected this year to issue a request for proposals for new fighters under its F-X programme. Aircraft in the running will include the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, and Lockheed's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

28-04-10, 02:11 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Caltech Cracks Visual Stealth?

Posted by Graham Warwick at 4/27/2010 5:16 PM CDT

Scientists at California Institute of Technology have created an artificial optical material they believe could form the basis of an invisibility cloak - aka visual stealth. The "negative-index metamaterial" (NIM) bends light in the wrong direction and is the first such material to work at visible frequencies - so far only the blue part of the spectrum.

Credit: Caltech/Stanley Burgos

Where previous NIMs used multiple layers to refract the light, the new metamaterial uses a single layer of silver permeated with "coupled plasmonic waveguide elements", says Caltech. It gets very Star Trek: "Surface plasmons are light waves coupled to waves of electrons at the interface of a metal and a dielectric...Plasmonic waveguides route these coupled waves through the material."

This approach makes the material more feasible to fabricate, says Caltech, and by changing the materials used or the waveguide geometry it can be "tuned to respond to a different wavelength of light coming from nearly any angle with any polarization." Knit yourself a cloak of invisibility out of that, Harry Potter.

Although research team leader Prof. Harry Atwater mentions invisibility cloaking, a more practical application could be enhancing the light collection in solar cells by creating broadband wide-angle materials that are index-matched to the solar spectrum. Useful, I'm sure, but I'll hold out for that visual stealth coating, thank you.

(Great spoof image this! Ha!)

28-04-10, 02:51 PM
Lockheed Martin Receives $1.5 Million Contract for Lightweight Kinetic Energy Net Armor

(Source: Lockheed Martin; issued April 27, 2010)

DALLAS, TX. --- The U.S. Army Applied Aviation Technology Directorate has awarded Lockheed Martin a $1.5 million contract that continues development of the Kinetic Energy Net (KEN) armor design. KEN is a modular composite armor system developed by Lockheed Martin that is lighter than current aircraft armor, but offers comparable protection.

“Kinetic Energy Net is a new direction in armor that doesn’t trade weight for strength,” said Glenn Miller, vice president of Technical Operations and Applied Research at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Aircrews operate in some of the most exposed places on the battlefield, but due to weight constraints users don’t have as much armor protection as they’d like. We developed KEN armor so it can also be integrated directly into the aircraft structure instead of attaching plates to the fuselage, which adds weight.”

Tests have confirmed that the KEN system offers more protection than steel plates, and it has a significant weight advantage. Additionally, Lockheed Martin realized a 13 percent reduction in weight against advanced ceramic and composite armor designs. The company’s goal in the next phase of the program is to cut total weight by over 40 percent, all without losing protective capability.

“Our passion for invention is making a world of difference for the people on the other side of that armor,” said Gil Metzger, director of Force Projection & Power Management Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The Lockheed Martin development team comprises some of the best innovators in the advanced materials and armor industries. We are moving forward and improving an already impressive design to realize the lightest, most effective armor technology known today.”

Lockheed Martin will further improve KEN armor performance by incorporating new forms of advanced ballistic materials and experimental strike faces. Future efforts may see armor applications transition from air vehicles to ground vehicles and even ground structures requiring lightweight ballistic protection.

KEN is an impressive addition to Lockheed Martin’s armor family, which also includes TekShield. The TekShield System of Survivability Solutions includes armor for ground vehicle applications, transparent armor, armor for buildings and reactive armor.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 136,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2009 sales of $45.2 billion.

29-04-10, 10:59 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

PICTURE: Boeing flies re-engined F-15K for South Korea

By Siva Govindasamy

Boeing has performed the first flight of a Pratt & Whitney F100-229EEP-equipped F-15K for South Korea.

The first "Slam Eagle" from Seoul's 21-aircraft follow-on order for the type, the multirole fighter completed a debut 1h 8min test flight from St Louis, Missouri on 19 April.

South Korea's Slam Eagle order represents a powerplant shift, with its air force's in-service fleet of 39 F-15Ks using General Electric F110-129s. Boeing delivered 40 of the aircraft between 2005 and 2008, with one having been destroyed in a fatal accident.

P&W says its enhanced engine package for the F100-229 increases the time between overhaul from 4,300 to 6,000 cycles.

© Boeing

04-05-10, 03:59 PM
Boeing has displayed a 1/16 scale model of a concept to replace the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The model was shown within Boeing's exhibit hall space at the Navy League Sea Air and Space Expo 2010 on 3 May at National Harbor, Maryland. The so-called F/A-XX model features stealthy design characteristics and a tailless planform for a carrier-based fighter. In some respects, it seems to appear as a natural follow-on to the aborted A-12 program, which was canceled 20 years ago as costs soared and design problems mounted.


08-05-10, 07:25 PM
Boeing plots return to next-generation fighter market

By Stephen Trimble on May 7, 2010 12:37 PM

Copyright: Boeing

Boeing graciously heeded my pleas to interview someone about their 1/16th scale model and poster (above) at Navy League displaying two concepts for an all-new fighter jet that would appear after 2025.

I admit the idea of launching a development program for a new, at least optionally-manned fighter seems ludicrous after the early termination of F-22 production -- not to mention the ongoing concerns about F-35 cost and performance.

But a Boeing official told me the acquisition process for a new fighter for the US Navy and US Air Force has already begun. The navy has renamed its program from F/A-XX to next generation air dominance (NGAD) as it enters the analysis of alternatives stage. The air force, meanwhile, also is starting an alternatives study for an F-22 replacement.

As far-fetched as the idea seams, there is a real need. After the F-35 replaces the navy's F/A-18Cs and the air force's F-16s and A-10s, something has to replace the F/A-18E/F and F-22.

Boeing is betting that something will be a clean-sheet, tailless fighter design. Concepts displayed at Navy League show off a 40,000lb-class fighter for carrier decks. The air force would likely need an airframe at least 50% larger to replace the 60,000lb-class F-22. If the airframes are not common, the air force and navy would likely be pressured to share the cockpit avionics and -- possibly -- engines.

Read a preview of my full story in next week's magazine on the jump.

Boeing unveils strike fighter options

Boeing used the show to reveal two concepts for a stealthy, tailless, supercruising strike fighter to replace the US Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornets after 2025.

Both twin-engine concepts, which feature optionally piloted cockpits, resemble a modern-day replacement for the ill-fated A-12 Avenger. The carrier-based stealth bomber project was cancelled in 1991 amid cost overruns and technical problems.

But the provisionally 9g-rated airframes also reflect the air-to-air performance once provided by the Grumman F-14, says Dave Thieman, a development official in Boeing's advanced global strike systems division.

Talk of replacing the F/A-18E/F, which entered service from 1999, may seem premature, but the earliest stages of the navy's acquisition process have already started.

"They're going to need [replacement] vehicles beyond 2025," says Thieman.

In June 2008, navy officials unveiled an F/A-XX requirement, including manned and unmanned airframe options.
More recently, the service has renamed the requirement as next generation air dominance (NGAD), seeking to widen the possibilities to include new airframes or land-based systems, such as missiles.

An analysis of alternatives is expected to start in late 2011, potentially leading to a technology demonstration phase with competing prototypes about two years later. Boeing's rivals are likely to include both manned and unmanned options.
For Boeing, NGAD represents a strategic opportunity to re-enter the US market for next-generation strike aircraft, which seemed lost after Lockheed Martin claimed the Joint Strike Fighter contract.

Boeing officials have focused on the navy's thinking for a Super Hornet replacement that remains at least 15 years away.

The company understands that its potential customer wants a replacement with more engine power to supercruise, with the low observable aircraft to also carry internal weapons, distributed sensors and have extreme agility.

"It's a [Lockheed] F-22 on the carrier," Thieman says.

Meanwhile, the US Air Force has launched a capabilities-based analysis for an F-22 replacement. Like the Super Hornet, the fighter remains in active production, but the air force expects a replacement will be required after 2025.

If funding for a replacement programme can be found, there is likely to be pressure for the air force and navy to launch a joint technology demonstration.

In that situation, the air force may require a bigger airframe than a carrier-based fighter, though the projects could share common engines, systems and weapons, Thieman believes.

10-05-10, 01:07 PM
Chinese naval J-11s spotted in the open

By Ted Parsons
10 May 2010

In early May Chinese military websites featured images outside the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation factory indicating that new single- and twin-seat J-11 fighters are probably being produced for the People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force (PLANAF).

The images showed J-11s in a very light grey livery consistent with the PLANAF's Sukhoi Su-30MKK2 fighters, 24 (one regiment) of which were delivered in 2004. The single-seat fighters reportedly have the designation J-11BH, a new variant of the J-11B, which in turn is Shenyang's significantly modified version of Sukhoi's Su-27SK that Shenyang began co-producing after a 1998 agreement. These will be accompanied by a version of the twin-seat J-11BS, identifiable in the recent images by its taller twin vertical stabilisers. In PLANAF service this aircraft will reportedly be designated the J-11BSH.

China's appropriation of Sukhoi's design – without contract or compensation – has resulted in considerable unease among Russian officials, who have also repeatedly expressed their scepticism as to whether China could copy the Su-27SK or go on to produce improved versions, such as a carrier-capable variant.

173 of 485 words
Copyright © IHS (Global) Limited, 2010

10-06-10, 03:30 PM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

ILA: Eurofighter submits Tranche 3B offer, as Serbia shows interest

By Craig Hoyle

The Eurofighter consortium has made its first move leading to the production of 124 Tranche 3B aircraft for Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, and been the subject of early interest from the Serbian defence ministry.

An initial proposal for the planned final batch of the combat aircraft was submitted to the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency last month, says export future business manager Rob Wells. This will negotiate with the industrial consortium on behalf of the partner nations over the next year or so, with a contract signature needed by late 2011.

This will ensure that the Eurofighter partner companies do not encounter a production gap after completing the programme's last Tranche 3A examples around mid-2016, Wells says.

© Eurofighter

Representing the remaining aircraft contained within a four-nation umbrella contract for 620 Eurofighters, the Tranche 3B examples are likely to be in a similar configuration to the 124 Tranche 3A aircraft ordered late last year. The UK has funded a change proposal to have its examples built with provisions for an active electronically scanned array radar, Wells confirms.

Meanwhile, Serbian officials are at the show looking at possible candidates for a domestic fighter requirement likely to total around 20 aircraft. Eurofighter responded to a request for information from Belgrade in April, and a delegation visited the company here on Tuesday.

One of the service's Soko S4 Super Galebs is in the static display at the show, and Serbian officials will also be meeting with other manufacturers at ILA.

Wells says the RFI did not specify the fleet size or delivery time for a future acquisition, which would look to replace the Serbian air force's remaining RSK MiG-21s and MiG-29s. With Belgrade pursuing EU membership, a fighter acquisition could potentially also be achieved by sourcing secondhand aircraft from one of the Eurofighter operating nations.

Italy is already sponsoring a bid to promote such aircraft to Romania, in an effort to persuade the nation to reverse a recent decision to buy used Lockheed Martin F-16s.

12-06-10, 05:55 AM
BERLIN, June 12, 2010

Eurojet offers dual-use engine for LCA

K. V. Prasad, The Hindu newspaper/website

“The engine will be competitive in many aspects”

Eager to join hands with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and its associates in the development of India's Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas-Mark II,' the Eurojet consortium is offering its engine that could be tweaked to work on its naval version.

“We are offering two variants of the EJ200, bidding for the India's LCA Mark-II which can be altered through a software change to suit the requirements for the naval version of the LCA,” Eurojet Vice-President Sales Paul Hermann told a group of journalists here.

The Aeronautical Defence Agency (ADA), the nodal agency for the design and development of the LCA under the overall supervision of the DRDO, had sought a proposal from the EJ200 and the American GE414 engine. The order will be initially for 99 engines with 10 of these in ready-to-use condition. There is an option for additional 49 engines order.

Eurojet Chief Engineer Wolfgang Sterr said there were over 1,500 EJ200 engines for the 700-plus Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft under contract to six nations. He said the engine was suitable for the LCA and could be used for the naval variant that the ADA was working on.

The Eurofighter is in the race for the 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft that the IAF is acquiring.

The naval version requirement of greater thrust for take-off from an aircraft carrier can be met without altering the hardware of the engine. With a switch of software the EJ200 can be used for the naval variant and vice-versa.

While the company preferred not to make any direct comment on the price tag, EJ Sales Director Adrian Johnson, said it would be competitive in many aspects through low life cycle costs, transfer of technology and offering partnership to India for future development and enhancement of the engine and its systems.

The officials said, “If the Eurojet makes the grade, the organisation could also share its expertise in India's quest to develop indigenous Kaveri engine. We have experienced the challenge India is facing, At Rolls-Royce, it took us 100 years to get where we are…,”Mr. Johnson said.

The Eurojet consortium includes Rolls-Royce (England), MTU (German), ITP (Spain) and Avio (Italy).

06-07-10, 02:27 PM
Results of NEWAC Technology Program Now Presented

(Source: MTU Aero Engines; dated June 30, web-posted July 5, 2010)

MUNICH --- What will the engine of the future be like? How can high-pressure compressors be designed to boost efficiencies even further? What promise does the use of intercoolers and recuperators hold? What innovative technologies will the combustor of the future incorporate? And which novel design and production processes does the industry need to be able to build tomorrow's engines? NEWAC (New Aero Engine Core Concepts), a European technology program led by MTU Aero Engines, has contributed to some of the answers to these questions. The results of the collaborative research effort were presented in late June.

99 experts in their respective fields convened in Munich for a two-day workshop to present and discuss the results of their work: over four years of extensive research, four new, highly innovative core engine configurations for game-changing propulsion systems were explored, which also included the integration of intercoolers and heat exchangers; some of the technologies are already being validated. New, lean-combustion concepts for very low oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions were developed and tested. The partners in the program conducted intensive test runs with compressors and novel, active control systems to improve stability and efficiency. These tests, too, yielded very promising results. The design of efficient and light-weight compressors was also studied.

"The money spent by the EU and the program partners is an investment that will pay dividends: It makes a major contribution towards a cleaner environment, and at the same time helps Europe's engine industry to remain competitive in the global marketplace," explained Stephan Servaty, senior manager, technology programs at MTU and NEWAC coordinator. Plans are to infuse all results obtained into future engines to make them fuel thriftier and cleaner. The goal is to reduce fuel burn and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to six percent and NOx emissions by as much as 16 percent.

Says Servaty: "The findings of this program, together with the insights gained in the VITAL technology program, will contribute substantially to achieving the ACARE targets for 2020." ACARE calls for the development of technologies that permit fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in air traffic to be cut by 50 percent by 2020, with the engines contributing about 15 to 20 percent of the improvements. Overall, the aim is to reduce NOx emissions by 80 percent and noise pollution by ten decibels, which is equivalent to a reduction in perceived noise to one half of year 2000 levels.

The NEWAC technology program is an integrated project co-funded by the European Commission under the Sixth Framework Program. European organisations, i.e. seven European engine manufacturers - AVIO, MTU Aero Engines, Rolls-Royce, Snecma (Safran Group), TechspaceAero, Turbomeca, Volvo Aero - medium-sized businesses, universities and research centres are partnering in the collaborative research effort; they set up working groups and defined test set-ups, computational models and theoretical methods. The program was led by MTU Aero Engines, Germany's leading engine manufacturer.

MTU is a long-established player in the global engine industry and has a total workforce of about 7,600 employees worldwide. In fiscal 2009, the company posted consolidated sales of some 2.6 billion euros. In the commercial area, MTU Maintenance is the world's largest independent provider of engine maintenance services. In the military arena, MTU is Germany's industrial lead company for practically all engines flown by the country's armed forces. The engine manufacturer is a global technology leader, excelling in low-pressure turbines, high-pressure compressors, and manufacturing and repair techniques.


07-07-10, 04:44 AM
Thales To Deliver AESA Radars Soon


Published: 6 Jul 2010 16:42

PARIS - Thales will begin deliveries in August of the first production batch of active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars for the fourth tranche of Rafale strike fighters, Pierre-Yves Chaltiel, head of electronic combat systems, said July 6.

A relative maturity in production of the AESA sensor allows Thales to launch the Searchmaster range of derivative products, which uses the active array technology. A compact version will be sold for UAVs and helicopters, and a larger model for medium-altitude, long-endurance drones, ground surveillance and maritime patrol aircraft, Chaltiel said.

The delivery of AESA production units marks the culmination of some 12 years' work and more than one billion euros ($1.3 billion) of government and industry investment, he told journalists ahead of the Farnborough airshow, which opens July 19.

It has taken "more than 10 years' effort to get to this stage," he said.

In the world market, only three industrial teams could claim this level of technological maturity, namely Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Raytheon, and Dassault Aviation and Thales, he said.

An AESA radar will significantly boost operational capabilities for the Rafale in terms of range, interception, tracking a multithreat environment and also improve countermeasures.

The technology will allow for the first time the same active array to be used for the radar and countermeasures.

"It will be the only European aircraft with this capability," he said.

The AESA radars will equip the fourth tranche of 60 Rafales ordered by the Direction Générale pour l'Armement (DGA) procurement office at the end of 2009. No financial details were available. A preproduction batch of three AESA radars have flown on the Falcon, Mirage 2000 and Rafale.

The tranche-four Rafales will operate at the F3 standard and the first AESA-equipped squadron is expected to be operational in 2012.

Some five or six countries have shown interest in the Searchmaster concept, which could be delivered in two years for the compact model and five years for the larger version.

The I-Master radar developed for the British Watchkeeper tactical UAV has drawn interest from the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, Chaltiel said.

Chaltiel outlined the technology roadmap for developing the AESA radar, which uses a patented cloud technology receiver module system, intended to allow insertion of new technology over the next 20 years without requiring extensive recertification.

Eurofighter's E-Scan

In another European radar development, Eurofighter has signaled it plans to launch an e-scan radar program for the four-nation Typhoon fighter.

The German-based plane maker said July 6 that it planned to announce an "important industrial agreement to further upgrade the Typhoon" at a July 20 press conference at the Farnborough air show.

Eurofighter program sources say the four partner nations will give the go-ahead to the Selex-led program to equip the fighter with the must-have e-scan radar.

The new sensor is vital to the aircraft's chances of winning major export orders in India and Japan.

The company couldn't be reached for a comment.

Eurofighter is owned by BAE Systems, Finmeccanica and the German and Spanish parts of EADS.

08-07-10, 11:13 AM
Boeing Anticipates Approval To Export F-15 Silent Eagle


Published: 7 Jul 2010 16:05

Boeing expects to receive an export license for its new F-15SE Silent Eagle within the month, a development that brings the company to openly pitch the jet to South Korea as a potential launch customer.

The F-15SE is being pitched as a customizable fighter that can be outfitted with AESA radars, radar absorbent coatings, large digital cockpit displays, fly-by-wire software, canted tails and bolt-on internal weapons bays. (Boeing)

The Chicago-based defense giant has been in tentative talks with Seoul about the aircraft over the last year. However, it has not been able to openly market the semi-stealthy jet to international customers until it received clearance from the U.S. Government to sell low-observable technology abroad.

Boeing now expects to receive a government license to market the jet to foreign countries this month following a review of the jet's stealth technology by the U.S. Government, according to Brad Jones, Boeing's F-15SE program manager.

South Korea "has asked for information on Silent Eagle so now we've applied for the [license] and we hope to get that before the end of the month," said Jones, after a July company briefing with reporters in Arlington, VA. "As soon as the export license is provided, then I can provide [marketing] information to a country."

South Korea requested information on the jet in late 2009 and Boeing submitted its application to market the jet internationally in early 2010, according to company spokesman Damien Mills.

When the jet was unveiled in 2009, it was seen as a potential option to hedge against a possible fighter gap facing the U.S. Air National Guard, which may have to retire its oldest F-16s and F-15s before it is fully equipped with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

However, in the year since, the Air Force has made it clear that it does not want to invest in any new fighter other than the F-35
Boeing is pitching the Silent Eagle as a customizable fighter that can be outfitted with a host of upgrades, including active electronically scanned array radars, radar absorbent coatings, large digital cockpit displays, fly-by-wire software, canted tails and bolt-on internal weapons bays.

The price of each jet will depend on the equipment purchased by each government, according to Jones. While the radar, advanced avionics and even the weapon bays can be retrofitted to existing F-15s, the canted tails may have to be installed on new jets as they are built.

08-07-10, 11:26 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

RAF Eurofighters at halfway point in modification programme

By Craig Hoyle

BAE Systems has reached the halfway point in a major programme to upgrade the UK Royal Air Force's earliest Eurofighter Typhoons.

Launched in 2006, the modification programme has recently redelivered its 22nd of 43 Tranche 1 production aircraft, says Martin Taylor, director availability and support programmes for BAE's Military Air Systems business unit.

Work is now under way at the company's Warton site in Lancashire on aircraft up to number 31, with key modifications including making improvements to the Typhoon's ground refuelling system and air-to-ground weapons carriage capability, plus providing a structural enhancement to its tail fin.

To conclude in 2012, the upgrade programme will bring the RAF's Tranche 1 Block 1, 2 and 2B-standard aircraft to a common, Block 5 standard.

08-07-10, 11:31 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

PICTURE: India rolls out naval version of Tejas fighter

By Radhakrishna Rao

The first two-seat trainer example of India's Tejas naval light combat aircraft will be flown for the first time before the end of the year, following the roll out of platform NP1 in Bangalore on 6 July.

In development for the Indian navy, the new version features several design changes from the Aeronautical Development Agency's baseline Tejas, already on order for the nation's air force.

These include the use of a longer and strengthened landing gear, an arrester hook to enable landing on an aircraft carrier and additional control surfaces and a leading edge vortex controller to reduce the fighter's required speed on approach to the vessel. Its front fuselage has also been changed to provide the pilot with better visibility over the nose.

Expected to replace the navy's remaining BAe Sea Harrier FRS51 fighters, the naval Tejas will initially be powered by a General Electric F404-IN20 turbofan engine.

To provide air defence cover, the aircraft will carry weapons including beyond visual-range air-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles and conventional bombs. It should operate alongside the navy's new RSK MiG-29K carrierborne fighters.

Describing the development of a new carrier-based fighter as a "challenging and complex endeavour", defence minister A K Antony says the activity will be supported by a shore-based test facility at Hans naval air station in Goa. This will have a ski-jump to assist with take-off and runway-installed arrestor gear to simulate carrier landings, with the equipment to be sourced from Russia.

"NP1 is now ready to undergo systems integration tests leading to ground runs, taxi trials and flight," the Indian government says.

The current project also covers the production by Hindustan Aeronautics of one single-seat naval prototype dubbed NP2, to fly by late 2011, and a static test airframe. The navy has also committed to buy an initial batch of six aircraft.

The ADA says its current prototype and pre-production examples of the Indian air force's Tejas fighter have now made more than 1,400 flights. The type is expected to secure initial operational capability with the service late this year.

09-07-10, 12:31 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

Thales reveals 'cloud' concept for Rafale radar technologies

By Craig Hoyle

Thales has revealed the first details of its new technology roadmap for the Dassault Rafale's radar and electronic warfare systems, which it believes could create opportunities to equip several other aircraft types over the next 20 years.

The new concept allows for the insertion of future technologies, such as gallium nitride transmit/receive modules, by using a so-called "cloud" architecture, says Pierre-Yves Chaltiel, head of electronic combat systems for Thales Airborne Systems.

Likely to be available within the next several years, the new T/R modules would enable Thales to reduce the depth of the antenna on the Rafale's RBE2 active electronically scanned array radar. Within a period of 10-12 years, it could also allow additional sensors to be embedded elsewhere within an aircraft's structure to enhance its overall sensor coverage.

The advance would also deliver increases in processing power, bandwidth capability and electronic counter-countermeasures characteristics, Thales claims.

For the Rafale, Chaltiel says a key benefit of the "cloud" concept would be to allow technologies to be added without having to re-qualify all the software used in the fighter's radar and Spectra EW packages. "The key is the systems knowledge - the processing power coupled with the radar and overall aircraft integration," he says.

The same technology could also be adopted for use by maritime patrol aircraft and airborne early warning platforms, or even offered as part of future mid-life upgrades for the Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen under a possible co-operation agreement with other European radar manufacturers, Chaltiel believes. "Thales is ready and open for co-operation," he says.

French industry and the nation's DGA defence procurement agency have made combined investments worth over €1 billion ($1.2 billion) in sensor development for the Rafale over the last decade or so, and Chaltiel confirms that the nation is "already working on advanced technology demonstrators for the future".

Meanwhile, Thales will in August deliver the first of three production-standard AESA RBE2 arrays to the defence ministry to support test activities with the Rafale. The new sensor will enter squadron service in 2012 as part of France's December 2009 order for a fourth tranche of 60 Rafales.

"The system is far different, in range and capacity of intercept in a multi-threat environment," Chaltiel says.

10-07-10, 12:47 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

F-15 Silent Eagle scores two firsts with export license, flight test

By Stephen Trimble

Boeing on 8 July received a license to export the F-15 Silent Eagle to South Korea and tested in flight one of the key upgrades for the stealthy new design.

"It was a big week for the F-15," says Brad Jones, Boeing director for F-15 development programmes.

The US Department of State awarded the license after a two-month review based on an undisclosed export policy established in May, Jones says.

South Korea is expected to issue a request for proposals for the F-X3 contract in the first quarter of 2011, Jones says.

The F-15SE will compete with the Lockheed Martin F-35 and Eurofighter Typhoon for the contract.


Boeing is offering a range of upgrades to make the F-15 more survivable in aerial combat. The package includes techniques and treatments to reduce the frontal aspect radar cross section (RCS) in X-band.

Boeing's goal at programme launch in March 2009 was to reduce the RCS signature to a level equivalent with the frontal-aspect stealth of the "international release version" of the F-35.

However, Boeing was unable to confirm last month whether the export policy approved two months ago allows the F-15SE to achieve that standard.

Depending on the customer's desires, the F-15SE also may include other upgrades, including a panorama cockpit display, a BAE Systems digital electronic warfare system (DEWS) and tail fins canted outward by 15º.

Another key feature for reducing the F-15 RCS signature is the addition of a conformal weapons bay (CWB).


F-15E1, Boeing's demonstration aircraft, on 8 July flew the first of three flights to demonstrate the CWB, a conformal fuel tank modified to launch a missile or drop a munition

The initial flight gathered data needed to launch a missile for the first time next week at the Point Mugu test range in California, Jones says.

Boeing has scheduled two windows for the missile launch test on 14 July and 15 July, Jones says. The F-15E1 is intended to launch the missile at 15,000ft and 250kts.

For the purposes of the test, a special control panel is installed in the cockpit to allow the pilot to open the CWB doors, launch the missile and close the doors again.

Boeing has previously dropped weapons from inside internal weapons bays, but only on demonstration programmes, Jones says. If the next flight test proves the F-15 CWB concept can successfully launch a missile, the company's next challenge will be to learn how to "productionise" the system.

An unidentified foreign supplier has already been selected to produce the CWBs for the F-15SE.

12-07-10, 02:17 PM

A Defense Technology Blog

Silent Eagle, Silent Partner

Posted by Bill Sweetman at 7/12/2010 6:23 AM CDT

Boeing started the flight test program for the F-15SE Silent Eagle on July 9. The long-serving F-15E1 prototype took off with a modified port conformal fuel tank (CFT) structure that incorporates a single weapons bay door and an AIM-120 launcher mounted on a trapeze. The test plan calls for an unguided AIM-120 launch.

Last week, F-15 development programs director Brad Jones confirmed that Boeing had signed a memorandum of agreement with a non-US partner that will design and build the definitive conformal weapons bay (CWB) structure if the program goes ahead. The partner is asking not to be identified, but given that the CWB is a relatively complex system and that the primary sales target for the F-15SE is Korea, the most likely candidate is Korean Aerospace Industries.

Jones also confirmed that, earlier this year, Boeing agreed with the Pentagon on a specification for the exportable radar cross-section (RCS) reduction package for the F-15SE. This followed RCS tests in the company's near-field range in St Louis, and makes it possible to apply for export licenses on a case-by-case basis.

Boeing is continuing to deliver F-15Ks to Korea, and the first of a second batch of 21 Slam Eagles made its first flight in April. Jones says that many of the SE modifications could be retrofitted to existing aircraft, but the main objective of the Silent Eagle program is the deployment of new-production aircraft.

Some SE features - like the digital fly-by-wire system, radar processor and large cockpit displays - are similar to the F/A-18E/F, according to Boeing. Although the avionics architectures of the two jets are different enough to prevent software from being transferred from one to another, some of the sensor fusion and networking technology developed for the Super Hornet could read across to the F-15SE.

13-07-10, 02:47 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

FARNBOROUGH: Silent Eagle makes quiet progress

By Stephen Trimble

One year ago, a nascent F-15 Silent Eagle programme needed to be rescued from what seemed like an internal crisis of confidence given away by a stray comment made by a top Boeing executive.

Tom Bell, a business development director briefing reporters at the Paris air show, pronounced as "premature" a previously announced flight-test schedule to certificate the Silent Eagle's three key technologies: conformal weapons bays; an electronic warfare upgrade; and possibly canted tails.

Bell's statement also contradicted a lower-ranking Boeing official, F-15 director Brad Jones, who had only a week earlier said that its first flight was planned in the first quarter of 2010.

According to Bell, Boeing had made no real internal commitment to funding Silent Eagle flight tests and, despite organising a dramatic public roll-out three months earlier, the F-15SE programme could still fall victim to internal funding cuts. "We're not at a point in the programme where we have a definitive path forward," Bell said.

Whether Bell spoke out of turn or mixed up his facts, the potentially damning statement became a blessing in disguise for F-15SE proponents. Just hours after the comment was reported, the Silent Eagle received a political trump card within the company: a personal endorsement by none other than Jim Albaugh, then president and chief executive of Boeing's defence business.

On 17 June 2009 Albaugh reaffirmed Boeing's commitment to the Silent Eagle. He indicated for the first time that a maiden flight for the F-15SE would be delayed by about six months, apparently so Boeing could engage potential suppliers and risk-sharing partners.

But the key message Albaugh sent on behalf of the programme was definitive: Boeing was committed to and investing in the future of the Silent Eagle.

Boeing declines to specify by how much it can reduce the fighter's radar cross-section. Picture: Boeing

Fast forward a year later, and the F-15SE has a right to enter the Farnborough air show in a confident position despite lingering questions about the accessibility of potential upgrades to foreign customers and the programme's appeal in the selective market for air dominance fighters.

While the Silent Eagle's future remains uncertain, Boeing has dutifully followed through on its commitment to advance the programme. A number of critical steps are complete on the path to first flight, which should now take place between July and September.

The progress of Boeing's timing on the programme is critical for two reasons.

Within weeks of the Farnborough event, South Korea could release a request for proposals for a new fighter to replace its ageing Northrop F-5s and McDonnell Douglas F-4s. The Silent Eagle is likely to compete against the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the Eurofighter Typhoon for the K-X3 contract.

Secondly, the proverbial clock is ticking on the 40-year-old era of F-15 production. Singapore and a previous order by South Korea are Boeing's only remaining customers, and the last aircraft is scheduled for delivery in slightly more than two years.

A new order must be sealed within the next year to avoid a costly gap on the production line, rendering new orders even harder to achieve for Boeing's F-15 sales team.

However, a new order by South Korea - assuming Boeing can overcome a US government-backed sales campaign on behalf of the F-35 to Seoul - could extend production for up to five years or longer.

Such a deal also could reinvigorate Boeing's Silent Eagle sales campaign to other existing F-15 customers - and likely F-35 buyers - such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

When the Silent Eagle was introduced, Boeing projected a market for 190 new or retrofit sales to the F-15's existing customers - an exclusive club artificially limited by meager international demand for an air dominance fighter with non-all-aspect stealth and the US government's reluctance to export the otherwise powerful fighter to other potential customers.

But keeping production alive now preserves any hope Boeing may harbour to capture the real prize: a fresh order by the US Air Force for new F-15 airframes, or perhaps a la carte-style purchases of key upgrades, such as the electronic warfare suite or the radar cross-section treatments.

However, a full generation of USAF leaders have pledged never to buy a fighter that is by design unshielded from radar detection from all possible angles, and the current chief - Gen Norton Schwartz - has not deviated from that singular, stealth-oriented philosophy.

But the USAF's unflinching position has not stopped Boeing's supporters in Congress, including Missouri senator Kit Bond, from reminding Schwartz about the increasingly urgent need to recapitalise the Air National Guard's fighter fleet at a faster pace than an all-Lockheed F-22 and all-F-35 fleet would be likely to allow.

Given the depth of the USAF's commitment to an all-stealth fighter fleet, new aircraft orders seem forever beyond Boeing's grasp.

But the Silent Eagle concept opens the door to a fleet retrofit in a la carte fashion. Indeed, Schwartz told reporters in March that the USAF is studying the need for a service life-extension programme for the F-15 and Lockheed F-16 - remnants of which are planned to remain in service through 2030 and beyond.

In the meantime, the 12 months after Farnborough is likely to determine how long the F-15 remains in production. The pressure is now growing on Boeing to prove the Silent Eagle is more than a paper concept.

First flight for the F-15E1 - a Boeing-owned technology demonstrator - modified with the first Silent Eagle improvements is scheduled for the third quarter of 2010.

On first look, the first flight aircraft may not resemble the cosmetically modified Silent Eagle concept that was unveiled in March 2009. That is largely because the 15e_SDgr tilt to the tailfins revealed at the factory unveiling is a future option, and is not incorporated into the flight-test programme.

Other major improvements outlined 16 months ago, including the BAE Systems digital electronic warfare suite (DEWS), Raytheon APG-82 active electronically scanned array radar and digital flight controls, are also absent from the flight-test configuration.

The sole purpose of the series of three flight tests is to validate that a Raytheon AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile or AIM-9 Sidewinder can be launched from a conformal fuel tank that an unnamed Boeing partner has transformed into an internal weapons bay.

"Really, from there we've proven our point," Jones says. "That's what our [potential] international customers are looking for: 'Thanks. You put it on a piece of paper, but now that you've demonstrated it, that means you can do it'."

Boeing has not released the identify of the conformal weapons bay supplier. With South Korea targeted as the most likely launch customer, it seems probable that the company would target a long-time industry partner in that country.

Korea Aerospace Industries, for example, has a wide-ranging relationship with Boeing, assembling airframes for AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and new wing skins for the Fairchild A-10. But Jones indicates that the weapons bay supplier may have no relation to the most likely launch customer.

The supplier was selected based "on the quality of their work, their commitment to innovation and their willingness to work as a team", Jones says, adding another key descriptor: "They have the technology to do this."

Jones's statement appears to narrow the supplier sources to existing F-15 buyers, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia or Singapore. As an F-15 customer and offset partner, Israel Aerospace Industries is responsible for delivering the CFT-3 conformal fuel tanks that are the basis for the weapons bay conversion.

The supplier's identity may be revealed in time, but Boeing's focus now is on completing the flight-test programme. It must show that the conformal weapons bays doors open and close, and the missile must be ejected cleanly, Jones says.

Implicitly, a successful result will confirm that Boeing has the launch rail correctly wired to the aircraft's databus.

Singapore is still in the process of receiving its F-15SG fleet. Picture: Kevin Flynn, Boeing

"We took the wiring from [the F-15's existing] weapon station and moved it back into the weapon bay so we wouldn't have to change software," Jones says.

Boeing has budgeted for only one missile-launching sortie in the flight-test series. During first flight from its manufacturing base in St Louis, Missouri, the modified F-15E1 will open and close the doors to the conformal weapons bays. Data points will be gathered at varying speeds and altitudes to derive a launch envelope for the third flight test.

A second flight will ferry the aircraft to the missile firing range at Point Magu, California. Finally, the third sortie will seek to validate the operation of the weapons bay.

Beyond the completion of the flight test phase, the fate of the Silent Eagle programme could rest with Seoul's bureaucracy.

At the South Korea air show last October, US government officials appeared to make no attempt to maintain a level playing field between the two home-built aircraft in the pending K-X3 competition. Bruce Lemkin, the USAF deputy undersecretary attending the show, told the South Korean press that he hopes Seoul chooses the F-35.

Lemkin's staff, meanwhile, are included in the process that sets the export release policy for the F-15SE. The sale of key Silent Eagle capabilities - most especially, treatments and techniques for reducing the frontal-aspect radar cross-section - depends on the US government's willingness to allow Boeing to affect sales prospects for the F-35.

When Boeing unveiled the Silent Eagle in March 2009, Jones said that the F-15SE could compete with the frontal aspect radar signature of the international release version of the F-35, assuming that the US government allowed an equal playing field in the export release policy.

Since that time, Boeing completed a study in December that detailed the maximum radar cross-section reduction achievable by the F-15SE configuration.

The study "told us what we could do", Jones says. "Of course internally we had a target we wanted to get to, and so we met our own target."

Jones says that data was submitted to the US government. An export release policy for the Silent Eagle was approved in the second quarter, he says, allowing Boeing to submit requests for licences to brief specific customers about the aircraft's capability.

"We have been in discussion with the Koreans for some time," Jones says. "But we've only been able to provide ITAR [international trafficking in arms regulations]-controlled information. We've not been able to provide them the full-capability briefing they'd like to have."

Obtaining the Obama administration's export release policy now allows Boeing to request licences to provide more detail to customers on a specific basis. Whether that amounts to giving it a level playing field against its competition, Jones now declines to say.

Jones says he is not able to characterise the degree of frontal aspect radar stealth approved for release in the Silent Eagle export policy.

"What the export policy tells us is you can get to a certain level [of radar cross-section reductions] and that's what you can get to," Jones says. "It doesn't compare to any other aircraft. It says, 'you, the F-15, can be at a certain level.'"

Through the export release process, the government selects which radar cross-section reduction techniques are allowable for each country that Boeing applies to offer the F-15SE.

"The US government knows what our target is," Jones says. "It's up to them to decide what they want to release."

In terms of boosting the F-15SE's overall survivability, such classified treatments designed to lower radar cross-section signature are only one method available to Boeing.

Far more simpler features are also available - and probably more easily exportable to foreign customers. Boeing, for example, offers a navigation pod that allows the F-15 to fly below most radar screens at under 100ft (33m) during night or day.

Since the F-15SE was unveiled, Boeing has also revealed a potential new upgrade for the Silent Eagle's cockpit displays. Customers have the option of selecting a large area display measuring 11 x 20in (280 x 508mm), Jones says. The panorama display is being offered in tandem with the export version of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

But the key technology aimed at improving survivability in the Silent Eagle is the addition of BAE's DEWS, which is derived from technology aboard the F-22 and F-35.

"The key to the [DEWS] is that we have in the wing roots the [electronic countermeasure] transmitters," Jones has said previously. "So what we do is we have the digital signal go to the amplifier that's right there by the antenna so there's no power loss. So we're putting large amounts of jamming power at each of the antenna sources."

A graphic showing the DEWS lay-out on the aircraft includes antennas in the forward fuselage beneath the cockpit, at the wing roots, and at the tips of the empennage and tailfins.

13-07-10, 02:53 AM
First glimpse of Chinese fighter, or Russian rip-off?

By Stephen Trimble on July 12, 2010 2:54 PM

DEW Line Blog

China has allowed the carrier-based J-15 to be photographed (above) and videotaped (below) for the first time after reportedly achieving first flight last August.

The J-15 is credited by the Chinese as indigenous development, but the Russians consider it a rip-off of a Sukhoi Su-33 that China acquired from the Ukraine. Moscow also has complained that China ripped off the Su-27 by starting a production line for the carbon-copy J-11B.

13-07-10, 04:45 AM
New AFRL Program Focuses On Aircraft Energy

Jul 12, 2010

By Graham Warwick

Directed-energy weapons and advanced sensors in next-generation combat aircraft will demand power and cooling beyond the capabilities of today’s technology and could prompt a fundamental change in the design of aircraft systems.

Keen to avoid the thermal-management “nightmares” that confronted developers of the stealthy fifth-generation F-22 and F-35, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is launching the Energy-Optimized Aircraft program to demonstrate a new approach to generating, storing, consuming and dissipating energy on aircraft.

Separately, the Air Force and Navy have begun defining their requirements for sixth-generation fighters under the label “next-generation air dominance” (NGAD). The Navy is looking at service entry around 2025, and the Air Force around 2030. While these dates are certain to slip, the 15-year timescales between development start and service entry for the F-22 and F-35 mean technology needs to be ready by 2015 at the earliest.

Keeping stealthy aircraft surfaces cool was a problem during flight testing of the F-22 in the California desert. To eliminate inlets and exhausts, stealth aircraft dump heat into the fuel, becoming “flying Thermos bottles.”

After the thermal-management challenges of the F-22 and F-35, AFRL launched the Integrated Vehicle and Energy Technology (Invent) in 2008 to develop hybrid electric systems technology with the goal of increasing aircraft range and endurance as well as power and cooling capacity.

The original program plan was to have three five-year spirals, but the first is now complete and AFRL is starting early with Spiral 2. “We started looking near-term at F-35-like fifth-gen vehicles that did not have advanced-cycle engines and were constrained to JSF-level technology,” says Steve Iden, AFRL program manager. “[In Spiral 1] we found we could have an impact, getting 8-10% better range by working the subsystems.”

Spiral 2 is an effort to pull together advanced engines, systems and aircraft designs from an energy perspective. “We’ve defined the concept of the energy-optimized aircraft, which steps above more-electric systems and sets goals at the vehicle level,” he says. “We don’t know what the benefit would be. It could be 50%—that’s the challenge [for industry].”

The Energy Optimized Aircraft (EOA) program is a five-year effort that will culminate in an integrated ground demonstration. AFRL is providing $26.6 million, with industry expected to contribute about the same in cost sharing. Iden says suppliers will invest toward improving the energy efficiency of their systems. Bids for the EOA program are due by late August.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

13-07-10, 08:45 AM
From the Jakarta Post..........

RI-S. Korea KFX cooperation: The second best option?

Curie Maharani, Singapore | Mon, 07/12/2010 9:23 AM

Shhhhhhh don't tell Floppsy Bunny and his crew, they'll go into even more paroxysms of fear and phobia................they already have 34-foot tall Roses growing outside their abodes, from all of the BS they've been spraying.................

Indonesia and South Korea are getting ready to sign an MoU on the joint-development of a KFX fighter jet program (dubbed Boramae) later this year, following a letter of intent in March 2009 on Indonesian participation in a KFX study. When enacted, the MOU will provide a breakthrough for both countries in terms of bilateral defense collaboration and aircraft technology indigenization.

The defense community and members of parliament believe that the cooperation will help the revitalization of the Indonesian defense industry. MPs urged the government to conduct a feasibility test before embarking on a US$2 billion venture that spans across an eight-year period. It is expected from the collaboration that five prototypes will be built before 2020.

Approximately 200+ aircraft will be manufactured for both the Indonesian and Korean Air Force. Surely there is a sense of pride creeping into every Indonesian’s minds knowing that the biggest Muslim country in the world is going to carry on an indigenize a fighter jet program, debunking the myth that only technologically advanced countries can achieve this.

Indeed, the cooperation will not only allow Indonesia to access the so-called 4.5th generation fighter jet technology, but also help South Korea preserve the bloodline for an indigenous fighter jet program since they can only afford 60 percent of the necessitate fund.

But before we indulge in a techno-nationalism fantasy, several imminent issues need to be pondered. Sarcastic remarks as to why Indonesia uses a jet fighter project as sustenance for the aerospace industry when the capacity of the Indonesian Aerospace is still limited to transport aircraft and helicopter, will inevitably raise.

Therefore, it is important to answer basic questions such as what the “indigenize fighter jet program” means in reality and how this will help revitalize the defense industry. There is also an urgency to shed some light upon the KFX program and whether it fits into the Indonesian strategic and defense-industrial interests.

The first issue is the technical and fiscal feasibility of the KFX project. The controversial project was initiated in 2001, with an estimated cost of $13 billion for the production of 120 aircraft, and has not progressed from a feasibility study since. It is acknowledged that South Korea is lacking both in technical and fiscal abilities to kick start the program, with the Korean Aerospace Industry (KAI) as a prime contractor possessing only 63 percent of technological capability needed.

Established through a merger of three companies in 1999, KAI has a modest experience of developing the indigenous KT-1 Wong Bee trainer, license-producing F-16K and joint-developing T-50 advanced trainer as well as making parts for F-15 (forward fuselage and wings).

It does not have an extensive track record as it exports only the KT-1 trainer to Indonesia and Turkey, and is still unable to sell a single T-50 advanced trainer jet despite having been shortlisted for procurement in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Israel, Greece, Singapore and the US.

The second issue is the “sovereignty” of technology contained in the KFX and sustainability of in-service operation, since the KFX will be using subsystems such as engine and avionics from third countries that might present political complication for Indonesia. The KFX will be developed from T-50 Golden Eagle, a supersonic advance jet trainer jointly developed by KAI and the US Lockheed Martin, with the latter provided the avionics system, flight control and wings. In addition to the US, it is possible that Israel also contributes through an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar that will be built domestically in South Korea.

With the Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) statement about the necessity to bring in international partner from big players such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, EADS and Saab to help develop the KFX, obviously there will be further third country subsystems fitted into the KFX platform, which bring more complexities of supply in the future. Nevertheless, there is benefit, as Indonesia might be able to absorb world class knowledge through cooperation with those big aerospace companies and establish a position in the global supply chain.

The third issue is risk associated with developing new technology; among them are cost overruns, under performance and delay. Under the MOU, Indonesia will bear 20 percent of the initial budget worth $8 billion, but the real cost can easily stretch out along the process. The risks of cost overruns and delay have taken place in similar collaborations such as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and the Eurofighter.

The JSF cost overrun is almost double its initial estimated price within 10 years of project (2001-2010), whereas the Eurofighter experienced cost overrun and “eternal delay” so bad that the participating countries decided to cut down the amount of aircraft order. Indonesia needs to be clear on how flexible they can be in terms of accepting risks incurred from participation in the project and whether the risk will be worthy of being paid off.

The fourth issue is whether the KFX project will really help revitalize the Indonesian defense industry, through job creation, transfer of technology and creation of local supply chains. Jakarta needs to be articulate in the clearest way possible about the expectation of the economic benefits possibly derived from the project.

It is not clear yet as to which model of work share is to be employed, whether it is juste retour (just return) or earned work shares (participation based on demonstrated competencies), or will Jakarta only access the know-how without participating in the production line (which is nearly impossible).

For the sake of comparison, the Eurofighter project helps create 30,000 jobs across Europe. However, with a cost at $45-50 million per copy, it sees limited prospect of export when facing competition from the JSF and Gripen, not to mention competing Russian and Chinese products in the non-European market.

Aviation Week estimated the break-even-point of the KFX will be reached with production of at least 200-250 aircraft, and it is only if the unit price of each copy can be pushed down to $41 million that makes it possible for export. If Indonesia were to order around 50 aircraft, it is possible to negotiate 20-25 percent of total work-share based on juste retourprinciple, and this will materialize in a significant number of jobs. Without export, however, the long-term economic benefits will likely demise once the project completes.

Experts share doubt whether the KFX can really offer the cutting-edge technology as offered by 5th Generation fighters such as the JSF and the Indo-Russian PAKFA in 2020s, which means in terms of strategic calculation, the KFX may not be the best option to fight with a more technologically advanced enemy.

Facing the 5th G fighter jet race from China, Japan, and Indo-Russia, the South Korean government has a difficult time calculating a trade-off between strategic and industrial interest, between building an indigenous fighter or buy best off-the-shelf (OTS) available on the market. Indonesia may not face a similar dilemma as there is no imminent 5th G fighter race with neighboring countries, but it does not mean that Jakarta do not need to explore another value for the money option.

Another possibility of using defense acquisition as industrial policy tool is using an offsets obligation to accompany the OTS procurement. Alternatively, $2 billion will enable Indonesia to get more than a squadron of cutting-edge OTS technology. Neither joint-development nor procuring OTS will give sovereignty of supply, but the OTS does not only give the advantage of value for money because it bypasses the development cost, but it also ensures getting the attested technology that probably would serve both defense-industrial and strategic interests better.

The writer is an associate research fellow with the Military Studies Program at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, specializing on small defense economies’ arms acquisition.

15-07-10, 12:20 PM
Sweden Will Buy New Gripen

Jul 14, 2010

By Bill Sweetman

One question for Saab’s Gripen Next Generation (NG) project has always been: Why should export customers buy an aircraft when its home customer has not committed to it? In discussions in June at Saab’s Linkoping, Sweden, headquarters, it became apparent that the NG is firmly in national defense plans, but a formal announcement is being delayed for domestic reasons.

“Sweden has committed to using the Gripen beyond 2040,” says Hans Rosen, head of Gripen marketing and campaigns. “The question is when to acquire the Gripen NG, and how many.” The program calls for the new variant to enter Swedish service around 2018, but Sweden has told export customers—some of which expect deliveries in 2014—that it will adjust its schedule so Sweden deploys the NG before they do.

Rosen’s comments on the future of the Gripen in Sweden echoed remarks made by Defense Minister Sten Tolgfors at an air power conference at Malmen in June. Tolgfors said modernization of the Gripen force is proceeding according to plan with conversion of a final batch of 31 JAS 39A models to the 39C standard.

This leaves the air force with 100 fighters, fewer than at any time during or since the Cold War. Sweden will offset the reduction by maintaining the force at a high technical standard. The next step will see all JAS 39C/D fighters modernized to a common configuration known as Materiel Standard (MS) 20, already under contract. Also approved is the integration of a new radar-guided missile, the MBDA Meteor, regarded by Saab as a massive improvement in lethality over the AIM-120C advanced medium-range air-to-air missile.

The next configuration, MS 21, is being defined, but it is clear that MS 21 is in fact the NG, with the General Electric F414G engine; modified airframe; Selex Galileo Raven ES-05 active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar; Skyward-G infrared search and track (IRST) system; and new core avionics. Selex’s Raven 1000P radar prototype is flying on the Gripen Demo and a ground rig is testing the innovative avionics in which flight-critical functions are partitioned so mission capabilities can be added more quickly through the fighter’s life.

The government is funding development of the definitive NG, which the independent defense procurement agency FMV calls JAS 39E/F. (A contract for the avionics system was issued in May.) The production version will have a larger wingspan and area, and the landing gear will be fully integrated with the wing (on the Demo, gear loads are taken through the wing and fuselage). Maximum takeoff weight has been increased (compared with earlier NG proposals) by 1,100 lb. to 36,400 lb.

The upgrade to the new airframe is logical for the Swedish air force. Putting the heavier AESA, plus Meteor and IRST on the C/D would reduce range and speed. However, the smaller fighter force means there are only three fighter bases, each covering a larger area. Since air defense is a primary mission, the air force wants longer reach in its fighters. JAS 39E/F provides that not only through greater range, but with supercruise—sustained Mach 1.2+ on military power with an air-to-air weapons load—that allows the fighter to reach a threat more quickly and with higher energy. Raven, Skyward-G and 4-8 Meteor air-to-air missiles also allow a threat to be identified and engaged at greater range.

Saab takes a long view of the Gripen program, Rosen says, and is confident of continued Swedish support and further export sales regardless of the outcome of competitions in Brazil, India and Switzerland. Although many regard Gripen as an outsider in the fighter business, it has won more export competitions than Rafale, Typhoon or Super Hornet.

The Demo prototype completed 152 flight-test sorties by mid-June, Rosen said, and a successful demonstration in India in May (the company previously performed demonstrations with the C/D version in India), including a landing and engine restart at Leh airfield in Kashmir, 10,800 ft. above sea level.

Credit: Saab

15-07-10, 06:24 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Eurofighter nations offered AESA radar enhancement

By Craig Hoyle

The Euroradar consortium has made an offer to provide an active electronically scanned array radar enhancement for Eurofighter partner nations Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

"We have tabled a proposal using risk-reduction work that has already been done," says Steve Mogford, chief executive of Selex Galileo, lead stakeholder in the Euroradar group. "We're just waiting for them to drop the flag." The move represents a standalone offer, and is not linked to the proposed Tranche 3B production phase of the Eurofighter programme, he adds.

The Euroradar consortium has proposed retaining as much "back-end" equipment from the Eurofighter's current mechanically scanned radar as possible as part of delivering the proposed E-Captor system.

© Eurofighter

Selex Galileo is already working towards integrating an AESA array with the Eurofighter for the UK under a technology demonstration programme worth around £20 million ($30 million). A modified aircraft is expected to fly in 2013 under the initiative.

The Eurofighter industrial consortium has cited the availability of an AESA array as a key addition if it is to secure additional export orders with the Typhoon. The type is currently being offered to meet requirements in nations including India, Japan, Oman and Switzerland.

16-07-10, 05:16 AM
International public debut of Gripen NG Demonstrator

Gripen NG Demonstrator will be displayed to the public for the first time outside Sweden. The event will take place in the UK during the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in Fairford 17–18 July and the following week at the Farnborough International Airshow.

The fighter will be arriving in Farnborough on Monday, 19 July and will be on static display until Friday 23 July.

Gripen NG Demonstrator is a flying platform for the development of new technologies and features incorporated into the Gripen NG – the next generation fighter with significantly increased combat range and endurance, increased payload and super-cruise capability.

“The extensive flight test programme with Gripen NG Demonstrator aircraft continues successfully and according to plan at the Saab facilities in Linköping, Sweden. This gives us the unique opportunity to bring the aircraft to UK during the Swedish summer holiday break,” says Lennart Sindahl, Senior Vice President Saab AB and Head of Business Area Aeronautics.

Previously, the Gripen NG Demonstrator has only been outside Sweden once. This was in May this year when it flew from Sweden to India, where evaluation trials were conducted by the Indian Air Force. This demanding evaluation phase included operations at the Indian air base Leh, situated 3300 meters above sea level. During this time, the aircraft also passed its 150th flight and to date it has conducted more than 175 sucessful flights.

The Gripen NG Programme offers a completely new avionics systems structure which will guarantee over 100% spare computing capacity and 30% spare capacity in all of the aircraft systems. The new structure makes it very easy and cost-effective to incorporate new functionality or integrate new hardware which in turn ensures that Gripen maintains its world leading capability throughout its service life.

Saab is now testing all the tactical systems, such as the AESA radar and the new communications system.

“The test programme is very extensive, we have finished, and successfully verified, the flight tests of the electro-optical Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS) and the new fuel system with larger internal fuel tanks,” says Mattias Bergström, the Gripen NG Demonstrator project manager.

The results of the Gripen NG Demonstrator Program will be used in both existing and new versions of the Gripen specifically tailored to the needs of specific customers, both nationally and for export.

Successful Partnership

A partnership between Saab, the Swedish Government and some of the world’s leading aerospace companies has been established to support and fund the Gripen NG Demonstrator Programme. The programme is aimed at demonstrating a range of future technologies and capabilities to ensure that Gripen remains at the leading edge of fighter aircraft performance and capability well beyond 2040.

19-07-10, 11:35 AM
Russia Fears Competition From Chinese Fighter Jets

Posted by Erin Sansone | July 16th, 2010

By WENDELL MINNICK, USMAN ANSARI And NABI ABDULLAEV – Just two weeks before Beijing plans to showcase its JF-17/FC-1 multirole fighter to potential buyers, a leading executive of Russia’s aircraft industry is trying to keep the planes from getting off the ground.

In a recent letter, Mikhail Pogosyan, the general director of Sukhoi Design Bureau and Russian Aircraft Corp. (RAC) MiG, asked Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) to block the Chernyshyov Machine-building Enterprise from delivering 100 RD-93 engines.

“I am not against the export of separate technologies, but it should be agreed with those who make final products that such export would not harm them,” Pogosyan told the Russian business daily newspaper Kommersant on July 6.

Pogosyan fears the single-engine JF-17, which costs up to $20 million per copy, could undercut sales of the $30 million, twin-engine MiG-29 Fulcrum.

FSMTC controls and supervises military cooperation with non-Russian governments.

A senior MiG executive confirmed the sending of the letter, but would not disclose other |details.

The engines are to power the Pakistani JF-17 Thunder and the Chinese FC-1 Xiaolong (Fierce Dragon), the nearly identical aircraft developed in a joint effort by China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industries Corp. and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC).

China plans to show two JF-17s at the Farnborough International Airshow later this month — the planes’ debut at international defense exhibitions — in hopes of drumming up export sales.

In 2005, China placed a $238 million order for 100 RD-93 engines from Chernyshyov, a Moscow-based subsidiary of the state-owned OPK Oboronprom holding company.

A contract for another 100 engines had been expected soon.

On July 6, Kommersant quoted a military industry source as saying, “The new contract with China for the sale of 100 RD-93 engines has not been signed.”

As well, China’s Guizhou Aero Engine Group is reportedly working on an alternative to the RD-93, dubbed the WS-13 Taishan.

The Russians are worried about China’s burgeoning defense aerospace industry, which is targeting markets once dominated by Soviet and Russian products.

In another demonstration of Russia’s concern over competition with China, the administration issued a July 7 tender on the state procurement website for a study on the strategy and tactics of Chinese exporters of arms and military equipment, their success and competitive advantages.

The Kremlin offers $6,500 for a research paper that will be used to prepare a report for President Dmitry Medvedev. The authors will be expected to study Russian-Chinese military and technical cooperation, including the state regulatory mechanisms, to identify factors that give Chinese exporters competitive advantages. Separately, authors of the paper should study how Chinese exporters operate in the markets that Russia traditionally considers its own.

Moreover, Russian officials say, China is doing it by intellectual theft.

At the 2009 Dubai Airshow, an official from Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state arms export agency, accused China of stealing the designs for the Su-27 (J-11B) and called China’s L-15 trainer jet a cheap copy of Russia’s Yak-130.

“Everyone in the defense industry should be concerned about the Chinese push into the market,” he said.

In China, said Dean Cheng of the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, “R&D does not stand for ‘research and development,’ but rather ‘receive and duplicate.’”

Some Chinese officials appear unconcerned over Russian complaints that China is stealing its customers.

“I hope that is the reason,” said Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, director*general of the Strategic Studies Department of the Chinese Army’s National Defense University.

Russia has a lot to protect. In 2009, MiG exports reached $325 million and its order portfolio now exceeds $3 billion.

Last year, the MiG-29 beat out China’s FC-1 and J-10 for a 20-fighter order from Myanmar. This year, the MiG-29 is competing against the JF-17/FC-1 for an Egyptian tender of 32 fighters. The FSMTC has already approved the re-export of RD-93 engines if China wins the Egyptian tender.

Dmitry Vasilyev, an arms export analyst with Moscow’s Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said the JF-17’s relatively small pricetag makes it more attractive.

“Two engines needed to equip one fighter costs about $5 million, and engines usually make up about one-quarter of the total price of a fighter,” Vasilyev said.

In fact, he said, it looks as if the Chinese government is offering the fighter for less than its production cost — “dumping” them on the world’s arms market.

Russia and China have already clashed in the international market over air defense missile system exports. The Russian S-300 anti-aircraft system is competing with the Chinese HQ-9 system for a three-year-old Turkish tender.

Pakistan is watching the engine dispute with concern. One observer gave even odds that Pogosyan would succeed in his efforts to block the engines.

“Russian military-industrial oligarchies are powerful and have immense say in the Russian governmental structures,” said retired Pakistan Air Force Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail.

That would hurt Pakistan’s domestic fighter program, Tufail said. Waiting for the Chinese WS-13 engine would require a whole range of test trials in different configurations and could lead to a two-year delay.

It does not help, Tufail said, that “China is not going whole hog with the JF-17 for reasons of their own.”

China is not building the fighter for its own air service; that role will be filled by the more capable J-10 aircraft.

Wendell Minnick contributed to this report from Taipei, Usman Ansari from Islamabad and Nabi Abdullaev from Moscow.

19-07-10, 11:51 AM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

FARNBOROUGH: Elbit reveals CockpitNG avionics concept

By Arie Egozi

Possibly of more immediate relevance to helicopters?

Elbit Systems is offering its CockpitNG to at least three platform manufacturers. The CockpitNG for fighter aircraft, helicopters, trainers and airlifters is being unveiled at the show.

The CockpitNG is based on a smart central large area display which includes all avionic components in one suite. The display is fully integrated with the helmet mounted and head-up displays.

According to Elbit all of the system's components incorporate multi-touch-screen technology to allow the pilot to operate the aircraft in a smooth and customisable manner.

© Elbit Systems

This modular solution enhances mission performance and reduces aircrew workload, and can be tailored to multiple platforms offering full multi-mission support for attack, emergency services, training and air support.

The modular and flexible high-resolution displays are all video-capable and feature extended day and night field-of-view.

The Elbit development team says that to ensure timely and accurate presentation of mission data, the CockpitNG includes a full suite of next generation avionics applications, simultaneously supporting Windows-based and real-time applications. Advanced data and sensor fusion, a smart electronic flight bag and a 3D vector map including embedded video and highway-in-the-sky (HITS) representation are fully integrated into the solution.

The team claims that embedded Virtual Avionics (EVA) with full support for virtual radar, EW and targeting pod further extend the solution to provide a cost-effective, virtual advanced fighter for training purposes.

19-07-10, 11:53 AM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

FARNBOROUGH: Pakistan and China eye export JF-17 customers

By Siva Govindasamy

China and Pakistan are eyeing international customers for their Chengdu/Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) JF-17 fighter, which is making its Western air show debut at Farnborough.

The countries jointly developed the aircraft, with the Pakistani air force receiving its first Chinese-manufactured examples in 2009. PAC also began indigenous assembly of the aircraft last year, and could incorporate western avionics, radars and other systems into the fighter from 2012.

Pakistan could have around 28 JF-17s in service by year-end, and eventually induct up to 250.

Both Pakistan and China are keen to export the fighter, which they tout as a low-cost alternative replace aged Northrop F-5s and Lockheed Martin F-16s. China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corp, which markets Chinese-made military aviation products globally, is in talks with around six potential customers, while the

© APG Photography

Pakistani government has also held initial discussions with others.

"China wants to use the JF-17 as part of its plan to become a significant player in the global military aviation market, while Pakistan is keen for exports that will help it to reduce its unit cost at its indigenous assembly plants," says an industry source. "Negotiations have been ongoing for a while now and they will continue at Farnborough, which is a great opportunity to show off what the aircraft can do."

Industry sources add that China has held talks with countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Venezuela, while Pakistani officials have held discussions with Egypt and Turkey.

A customer that commits to a "significant number of aircraft" could get help to set up an indigenous assembly plant if it is keen to help its domestic industry, say officials. This is similar to the arrangement with Pakistan for the JF-17 and a Chinese deal with Egypt for the Hongdu K-8 trainer and light attack aircraft several years ago.

Getting a suitable engine could be a potential hurdle, however, with Russia unwilling to allow China to use the Klimov RD-93 engine beyond the aircraft's current buyers. China's Guizhou Aircraft has been developing the WS-13 Taishan for the fighter for the past 10 years, and a JF-17 reportedly made a test flight using the new powerplant in March 2010. However, industry sources say the company is still not ready for mass production of the engine.

20-07-10, 03:23 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

VIDEO: Silent Eagle Bay Watch

Posted by Graham Warwick at 7/19/2010 4:31 PM CDT

Boeing has released video of the July 8 first flight of a prototype conformal weapons bay (CWB) for the stealthier F-15SE Silent Eagle. Installed on the company testbed, F-15E1, the prototype has only one of the two internal bays planned for the production CWB, which will have upper and lower bays for bombs and missiles. For flight tests, the upper bay carries an AIM-120 AMRAAM test round - a launch is planned to validate bay design and weapon separation.

Video: Boeing

20-07-10, 04:11 AM
China: Russia’s Not Stopping the Flow of JF-17 Engines

Posted by Bradley Peniston | July 19th, 2010

By TOM KINGTON, FARNBOROUGH, Britain – An official at the Chinese export agency marketing the Chinese JF-17/FC-1 fighter says Russia has given no signal that it will interrupt the flow of the RD-93 engine it makes for the aircraft.

JF-17 on static display at Farnborough 2010. (Defense News photo by M. Scott Mahaskey)

“We have a contract for the supply of 100 engines, we have signed an agreement for the eventual supply of 500 engines, and we believe that is still on course,” said the official from the China National Aero-Technology Import and Export agency (CATIC). “I have not seen any instruction to stop this. We have nothing through official channels, and believe the engine is still an option for exported aircraft.”

The official spoke at the Farnborough Air Show, where the JF-17 made its first static display appearance at an international air show.

Earlier this month, Sukhoi general director Mikhail Pogosyan had appealed to his government to block the supply of RD-93s, which are built by Chernyshyov Machine-building Enterprise. Russian aircraft exports were being harmed by Chinese competition, Pogosyan had warned.

The aircraft has been sold to the Pakistani Air Force, which flew to Farnborough two of the 16 aircraft it has received.

“It is the first time we put the aircraft out there so we can get feedback,” said a Pakistan Air Force official, describing the $20 million JF-17. “For cost and capabilities, there is no equivalent.”

The CATIC official said that talks were underway with “four to six” potential export customers. Pilots from those nations had been testflying the aircraft in China, he said.

“We expect the first contracts in a year or two,” the official said.

The JF-17 will not fly at Farnborough, but is slated to give a flight demonstration at the Zhuhai Air Show in November, the official said.

20-07-10, 02:34 PM
Raytheon To Start Integrating Helmet for F-16, A-10

Posted by Bradley Peniston | July 20th, 2010

By PIERRE TRAN, FARNBOROUGH, UK – Raytheon has won a contract worth $12.6 million for an initial integration and qualification of the helmet-mounted integrated targeting system for F-16 and A-10 aircraft flown by the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard, the company said in a July 19 statement at the Farnborough air show.

Raytheon will integrate the Visionix Scorpion helmet cueing system from Gentex. (Gentex image)

The potential market for the helmet-mounted system extends to the fleet of up to 1,000 F-16 fighters flown by the U.S. Air Force, and beyond them, to the estimated 4,000 F-16 aircraft operated by foreign air forces.

Under the deal, Raytheon will integrate the Visionix Scorpion helmet cueing system from Gentex into the cockpit systems of the A-10C and F-16C block 30/32 aircraft, said Wayne Iurillo, the support vice president of Raytheon’s technical services company.

“The system will track helmet movement to display accurate imagery regardless of the direction the pilot’s head is turned and it will be compatible with U.S. military standard airborne night vision systems,” the company said.

The phase 1 contract is part of a program with five one-year production options worth up to $50 million, he said.

Raytheon won the contract in an international competition that included other American bidders, as well as a firm from Europe and Israel.

Raytheon is waiting for the result, due in September, of another tender for Air National Guard F-16s. The company has bid its central pedestal display, is a large multifunction display, which allows the pilot to switch through different screens of information, including a moving map.

The display is designed as the interface for several processing units slotting into the same space occupied by older analogue gauges. The potential market consists of an upgrade of the 400-500 F-16s in the Air National Guard fleet.

Raytheon hopes to sell the central display and helmet-mounted system, along with its active electronically scanned array radar, to export customers of the F-16.

21-07-10, 04:00 AM
Industry Pre-funds Eurofighter AESA Until March

Jul 20, 2010

By Robert Wall wall@aviationweek.com

To protect the 2015 timeline for the development of an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for the key Indian export campaign, the Eurofighter radar consortium is pre-funding the system’s development until March.

Some workshare issues remain to be sorted out, but the development effort for the AESA that will replace the mechanically scanned antenna began this month. Eurofighter CEO Enzo Casolini says the work has been done on the back of an agreement in principle from the U.K., Germany, Italy and Spain to acquire such a system.

The first AESA should fly in 2013 on a Typhoon. One transmit/receive module product site will be selected, says Bob Mason, Selex Galileo vice president for marketing and sales. Not all workshare issues are fully worked out, and the consortium indicates it would be open to other participants if Typhoon export customers are interested.

The U.K. is running a technology demonstration program (TDP) in parallel, which also is to fly in 2013, but it is focused on particular modes London is interested in. The goal is to bring those into one radar, rather than have two versions.

The baseline for the performance is a harmonized requirement from the core nations that was developed in recent months. Nation-specific requirements could be handled through software differences, although industry officials would not say whether there may be hardware elements associated with the U.K. TDP activity.

The AESA will use the Captor back-end, which Mason says has sufficient power and cooling to handle the new antenna. A new back-end may emerge in another ten years as part of Typhoon’s natural system development process.

The new radar comes with a repositioner to provide a greater field of regard. Mason notes that the repositioner is well balanced and does not move as quickly as on the mechanically scanned version, and therefore should not present reliability concerns. What’s more, he argues, “any very minor reliability degradation” would be offset by the big boost in radar performance.

21-07-10, 04:15 AM
Boeing Claims Secret Strike Weapon Effort

Jul 20, 2010

By Bill Sweetman william_sweetman@aviationweek.com

Boeing is in production on at least one “proprietary” strike weapon system, claims Shelley Lavender, vice president and general manager of global strike systems. But Lavender refused July 20 at the Farnborough International Airshow to provide more information when pressed.

“I have nothing further for you on that,” the executive said.

More details were available on a new set of modifications to the company’s workhorse F-18 Super Hornet, described as “a roadmap for the international market” but designed to be retrofitted to any Block 2 aircraft. The most visible change is a stealth-configured weapon pod designed to accommodate a range of weapons, including four Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (Amraams), but other changes include conformal fuel tanks and more powerful engines.

General Electric demonstrated an improved F414 engine core some years ago, and the conformal tanks are expected to boost range by 10 percent. Other changes include a chin-mounted internal infrared search-and-track system and an all-aspect missile and laser warning system.

Boeing’s been quietly talking about a “beyond Block 2” Super Hornet configuration since around 2005, and its low observable team has been working on ways to reduce the signatures of conventional aircraft. The latest disclosure, however, may indicate that slippage in the F-35 program has encouraged Boeing to be more aggressive, as expected.

Secret — or “proprietary” — programs were included on a chart presented to reporters here, colored to indicate that they were in production. The secret program or programs are unidentified, but could well have emerged from Boeing’s history of ultra-stealthy tailless configurations, including the Bird of Prey demonstrator unveiled in 2002.

That project was aimed at combining reduced radar cross section with visual signature reduction, to achieve 24-hour stealth.

Ahh good, so you can switch it off when you don't need it, make it a 8-hour stealth package...........:doh

Stealth Eagle Photo: Boeing

21-07-10, 05:50 AM
Eurofighter Firms to Fund AESA Development for 9 Months

Posted by Bradley Peniston | July 20th, 2010

By TOM KINGTON, FARNBOROUGH, UK – Eurofighter GmbH, the industrial consortium that builds the Typhoon fighter, will “pre-finance” the initial development of the AESA radar the aircraft badly needs for export campaigns, but only until next March, CEO Enzo Casolini said at the Farnborough Air Show on July 20.

A Eurofighter Typhoon takes off at the Farnborough Airshow on July 20. (AFP photo by Ben Stansall)

Eurofighter is hoping that the consortium’s partner nations, Britain, Germany, Italy, and Spain, will then put up the money to keep the development on track to have a radar ready for potential buyers such as India.

Casolini pointed to a protocol of interest signed by the procurement offices of the four nations in May “in which they state they have a requirement and will commit as soon as possible.”

Asked if declining defense spending in Europe might yet scupper AESA investment plans, he replied, “This is fundamental for weapons systems. We are not putting flowers on the airframe.”

The development work is being undertaken by Euroradar, the consortium led by Italy’s Selex Galileo and including EADS and Spain’s Indra. Euroradar also worked on the mechanically scanned Captor radar now used on the aircraft.

Euroradar plans to use the existing back end of the aircraft’s radar, as well as existing cooling and power systems, then add new e-scan transmit and receiver modules. The modules would be delivered in 2013 for test flights that year, with entry into service in 2015.

“The 2015 schedule is needed to match the Indian requirement,” said Casolini, although officials did not rule out India receiving a first batch of Eurofighters with mechanically scanned radars that could be later upgraded.

The plan is complicated by the fact that the UK this year started its own e-scan development program with Selex Galileo, using Selex TR modules, which also envisages test flights in 2013. Casolini said the two paths being followed by the UK could merge.

“The UK agreement has now been changed to the four nation agreement,” he said.

“But if some nations have different requirements it will be possible to allow diversity,” he said.

“The two will come together,” said Euroradar chairman Andrew Cowdery.

Officials said that if the four-nation development was successful, one common TR module would be used by the partners for their radars, manufactured at a single location.

The choice will be based on “where it is cheapest to do so,” said Bob Mason, marketing and sales vice president at Selex Galileo.

Cowdery said the new radar would have the capability of offer electronic warfare functions, “but there is nothing in the protocol about this.”

Cowdery denied that Eurofighter has left it late to start develop of AESA radar, which is now considered a must-have on new fighter jets.

“Others jumped in too early. This radar has the wide field of regard and lightweight TR [transmit-and-receive] modules,” he said.

The radar’s field of view is enabled by a tilted, revolving swash plate on which the modules sit, as opposed to the fixed-plate used on American AESA radars.

Cowdery said maintenance on the swash plate would be slightly higher, “but the minor penalty is worth it,” for the extra functionality.

The new radar would use gallium arsenide in its modules, despite industry predictions that gallium nitride will one day offer higher performance.

“Gallium arsenide will not be beaten on cost,” he said. “We will be using it for a long time.”

A senior Italian defense source confirmed that Italy was behind the AESA initiative.

“We do not have costs or timings yet, and we are viewing this mainly for export at present, but we supporting the concept,” he said. “The problem is how can we transition to it when we have contracts for the Captor radar stretching out to 2016? We cannot throw it away, even if we think AESA will be the final solution.”

Pierfrancesco Francesco, CEO of Italian Eurofighter industrial partner Finmeccanica, said AESA was crucial for export sales of the fighter.

“If Italy decides not to buy all, or part of the Tranche 3B, it is crucial that it follows the example of the UK, which is to push and strongly support export sales to complete the order. And we are all agreed that e-scan radar will make the Eurofighter a lot more competitive in export markets.”

21-07-10, 09:32 AM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

FARNBOROUGH: Northrop seeks to enhance SABR for F-16

By Stephen Trimble

Northrop Grumman is seeking to enhance the scaleable agile beam radar (SABR) for the F-16 by porting new software modes developed for the F-35, says vice president for global sensor solutions Timothy Winter.

Northrop is unable to clarify which modes are involved, but Winters describes them as enhancements that boost the accuracy of the SABR air to air, air to ground and electronic protection modes.

It also has internally funded an effort that has demonstrated porting an F-35 mode with 70,000 lines of software code into SABR, Winters says.

The capability improvements may help Northrop sell SABR to the US Air Force as a retrofit for F-16 Block 50/52s, which would complement the F-35 as it enters service with the Northrop APG-81.

The company launched SABR development in 2008 to provide an electronically scanned array (AESA) for the global F-16 retrofit market.

21-07-10, 03:37 PM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

FARNBOROUGH: Saab still hopeful of Brazilian fighter contest win

By Craig Hoyle

Saab is waiting on the outcome of the Brazilian air force's F-X2 fighter contest, but still believes it has the best product, says chief executive Ake Svensson.

"I think it is up to president Lula [Luiiz Ignacio Lula da Silva] to decide which way he wants to go. But Gripen was number one in the air force evaluation, and we believe we are strongly competitive on price and industrial opportunities."

Svensson says Saab's domestic support places its Gripen NG in a strong position for requirements in Brazil, India and numerous other countries around the world. "The Swedish government has clearly stated its willingness to continue to invest in the Gripen, and is looking for international partners to work with."

The company's Gripen NG demonstrator is on static display at the show, having previously conducted an operational evaluation in India. "Our system has been extremely reliable," says Svensson.

© Craig Hoyle/Flightglobal

Saab will deliver its first of six Gripen C/Ds to export customer Thailand late this year, and is hopeful of securing follow-on orders with the nation.

Separately, the company is now ready to make the early delivery of two upgraded ex-Swedish air force Saab 340 airborne early warning and control system aircraft to the United Arab Emirates.

Svensson is making his last visit to Farnborough as the boss of Saab. He will be leaving his post as chief executive on 1 September, after 35 years at the company. "It's been a fantastic journey," he says.

22-07-10, 07:27 AM
Raytheon Working on Tiny AESA Radars

Posted by Bradley Peniston | July 21st, 2010

By JOHN REED, FARNBOROUGH, UK – FARNBOROUGH, UK – Raytheon officials here revealed that the company is working on tiny active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars that can be woven into the skin of aircraft or even missiles.

Raytheon is pursuing AESA radars much smaller than today's, like the APG-82(V)1 depicted in the nose of an F-15E Strike Eagle. (Raytheon illustration)

The new radars might be as much as 10 times lighter than some of the company’s current AESA radars, which are designed to ride in the noses of fighter jets, and potentially could be installed in the leading edge of a wing, a missile’s radome, a UAV’s body, and elsewhere. Raytheon’s APG-79 AESA, which is carried on U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, has a 95-pound array and a total system weight of 650 pounds.

“We’re working on this today, the same way we started working on AESA radar” before the U.S. Air Force adopted that technology around the year 2000, said Fred Lanes, head of business development for tactical airborne systems at Raytheon.

Lanes said the tiny sensors could be ready to go on aircraft within two to five years.

While the range and power for the radars is classified, “we’re within the next 10 years of developing” the technology to wrap an airplane in AESA radars, giving it 360-degree sensing ability, said Mike Garcia, the firm’s business development manager. “That’s the whole point of conformal [sensors].”

AESA radars can monitor air and ground situations simultaneously as well as taking high-resolution synthetic aperture radar snapshots of the ground that are so accurate they have been used to detect where the ground has been disturbed by someone burying a bomb.

Garcia would not say whether the company is looking at using such technology to extend the tracking range of air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM, which rely on the launching aircraft’s radar to hit targets that are beyond visual range.

22-07-10, 07:51 AM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

FARNBOROUGH: Boeing F-15 fires missile from internal bay for first time

By Stephen Trimble

The 40-year-old Boeing F-15 has fired an air-to-air missile for the first time from an internal weapons bay, demonstrating a critical new capability invented for the stealthy F-15 Silent Eagle.

At the same time, Boeing unveiled a similar capability as a new option for the international F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

In a flight test on 14 July, the F-15E1 testbed fired the missile from a newly integrated conformal weapons bay that was modified from a conformal fuel tank, Boeing vice-president and general manager of Global Strike Systems Shelley Lavender.

© Boeing

The missile launch test at Point Mugu, California, marked the final test in a series of three flights for the latest proposed version of the venerable F-15.

Boeing also showed a new image of the Super Hornet, with a design concept for a pod-mounted, external weapons bay slung beneath the aircraft.

The option is being offered to international customers. Boeing has discussed the option with the US Navy, but that customer is focused on keeping a standard configuration with the existing Block 2 version of the Super Hornet, Lavender says.

22-07-10, 08:02 AM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

FARNBOROUGH: Russia shrugs off Chinese Su-33 copy

By Siva Govindasamy

Russia's Sukhoi Aircraft says that it is unable to do anything to stop China from testing and manufacturing a copy of its Su-33 carrier-based fighter.

Beijing was keen to buy several dozen Su-33s earlier this decade as part of its plans to develop a deep-sea naval capability, but the deal never went through.

Instead, industry sources believe that it bought a Su-33 prototype from Ukraine and started using that as a prototype for its development, which has been tagged the Shenyang J-15. The first flight of the aircraft is believed to have taken place in June.

"There are licence agreements in place when countries buy our aircraft and it is illegal to produce a copy of it without getting our agreement," says Sukhoi's chief executive Mikhail Pogosyan. He adds that his company has "intelligence" about the Chinese aircraft, but says that there is little that can be done.

"We are always looking very carefully at what the competition is doing. What I can stress is that no copy is equal to the original, it will always be inferior to the original product. They do not have the technological capabilities that we have."

China, which used to depend on Russia for many of its military requirements, is going ahead with various programmes to develop indigenous aircraft that bear a close resemblance to its former supplier's products. It is also keen to become a supplier and potentially compete with Russia in the market, especially in the third world.

"We always welcome competition, even if it is not righteous competition, and we respect it," says Pogosyan. "But I am 100% sure that we have the products that will have an edge and a market."

23-07-10, 01:27 AM
Russia Gets Su-35S by Year-end, Libya to Follow

Jul 22, 2010

By Maxim Pyadushkin, Michael A. Taverna mike_taverna@aviationweek.com

The Russian air force will take delivery of its first Su-35S fighter by the end of 2010, with a Libyan deal for the aircraft also anticipated to be concluded in the same time-frame

Sukhoi CEO Mikhail Pogosyan, speaking at the Farnborough International Airshow, confirms that the air force would begin to receive the latest upgrade of the Su-27 Flanker before the year is out. The Su-35S, sometime also known as the Su-27M2, matches the Flanker airframe with more powerful 117S engines, thrust vector control and new avionics and systems.

Sukhoi executives say the aircraft’s radar signature has been reduced through the use of radar absorbent coatings as well as reducing the number of protruding sensors.

Preliminary testing of Su-35 has now been concluded according to the company. The initial flight test program was completed using two rather than the planned three aircraft after the third was lost as a result of a fire following a problem during taxi trials. So far 270 flights have been made totaling 350 flight-hours.

A further focus during the initial trials was at the fighter’s onboard equipment. The Su-35 is equipped with the NIIP Tikhomirov Irbis passive phased-array radar. The radar is intended to be able to track 30 airborne targets and engage 8 of them while at the same time tracking 4 and engaging 2 ground targets. According to Pogosyan, during the trials the radar showed a maximum detection range against the airborne targets of 400 km.

The Su-35’s infra-red search and track was able to detect and simultaneously track several targets at ranges in excess of more than 80 km.

The reported service life of the new aircraft is 6,000 flight hours, with a planned operational life of 30 years. The intended service life of NPO Saturn 117S engines is 4,000 hours, say the designers.

Suhkoi is now moving into joint evaluation trials with the Russian Air Force, pilots from the latter are already participating in the test program.

The Russian air force presently has an order for 48 Su-35S aircraft to be delivered by 2015. The aircraft was initially promoted to the Russian military as an interim platform until the fifth generation fighter being developed by the Sukhoi enters in service in 2016. Now Pogosyan is sure the air force will continue the procurement of Su-35 beyond this date – a second batch for the same number is anticipated in the latter half of the decade. The T-50 fifth-generation prototype is now in the early stages of flight testing.

Tripoli will likely be the launch export customer. Alexander Mikheev, deputy head of Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state-owned arms export agency, confirmed at Farnborough that the contract for delivery of undisclosed number of aircraft to Libya, one of the traditional recipients of Soviet armaments, is expected to be signed this year. The first export production slots are available from 2012.

Pogosyan says he has “no knowledge” of a purported 40-60 aircraft government-to-government Indian deal for the Su-35 that could be proposed if the aircraft does not make the short list for India’s medium fighter competition, expected to be decided at year’s end. In addition to the Su-35, the Su-30 also has “good export prospects,” he says, mainly from existing customers.

Pogosyan says the T-50 will make its public debut at the upcoming Moscow Air Show in August. He expects that ultimately the PAK FA will be available to export customers at a price that is higher than fourth-generation models but still “affordable” compared to competing Western fighters. “Russian fighters have always been competitive on the global market,” he notes, “and the PAK FA will not be an exception.”

The absence of Russian combat aircraft here, he says, was dictated by a pure business decision to display the aircraft only at shows that have a reasonable chance of generating sales, rather than for reasons of prestige. Legal issues involving a Swiss creditor, which have kept fighters away from Farnborough in past years, played “absolutely no role this year,” he says.

However, a broad palette of combat aircraft will be shown at the upcoming Moscow Air Show, including the T-50. Pogosyan admits that Russia will be faced with an increasing challenge from China, which practices even lower pricing.

He agrees that China’s Shenyang J-15 is a “copy” of the Su-33 and that this raises intellectual property issues. However, he insists that lower pricing will be offset by poorer performance. “We’re not afraid of competition, even when it’s unfair. Learning how to integrate complex advanced fighter technology takes time.”

23-07-10, 03:11 AM
Farnborough Review - Are Fighters Going Forward

Our first impressions from the Farnborough AirShow this year are that short termed, urgent requirements, have finally reached the air forces, traditionally known for their long term visionary and meticulous planning processes.

The recent conflicts fought at high profile, in Southwest Asia and Iraq, leave the military with minimal tolerance for error and, under these circumstances, they want everything right now and at the lowest cost.

With the absence of a major enemy, western air forces tend big ticket pending on buying new aircraft, while dragging procurement decisions on almost everything that does not directly support current combat requirements.

Fighter aircraft development and procurement programs are only one symbol of this trend. With a single, next generation fighters dominating the market for the foreseeable future, and the apparent commitment to buy few thousands F-35s over the next decades, the options open for air forces drill down to two - act now or wait and see. Some have already made their choices. The Canadians have recently decided in favor of the next generation fighter, as well as the Australians and British, but firm orders for production quantities are still pending. The U.S. Marine Corps are the most desperate for the new fighter, and the new accelerated test plan, currently underway, seems to brighten the future for the corps’ aviation, held in limbo as its current Vertical Take Off Short Landing (V/STOL) AV-8B and F/A-18C/D Hornets wear out under an extremely intensive operational regime.

Lockheed Martin, which has the highest stakes in the next generation fighter, opted to avoid the debate and visibly maintained a low profile with its F-35 program at Farnborough, leaving the scene for the competition. Wether this was a wise move or not, the future will tell, but it should certainly be scrutinized and questioned by the media.

F-35 AF-1 & AF-2 Arrival at Edwards Air Force Base. Photo: Lockheed Martin

The slow pace and escalating costs of the F-35 open rare opportunities for competing fighter manufacturers, despite not being ranked ’Fifth Generation’. They offer many advantages over F-35 - this can be better range or mission endurance, two-seat configuration, access to the aircraft avionics, integration of mission specific, or nation specific operating modes, and weapons that may not be included in the F-35 list. Better communications integration capability, or generally, implementing modern technologies that cannot be integrated into the F-35, due to its ’closed system’ approach add further to the dilemma.

This concept is best exemplified in the Gripen NG fighter, developed to respond to evolving requirements for modern fighters throughout the world, among those nations that are not prepared to pay for, or do not have the need for the 5th Generation stealth technologies associated with the F-35.

Whether 5th Generation fighters are justified or not is already a hotly debated issue, but the fact that major air forces, among them India, South Korea and Brazil and Japan are deferring their decision on 5th generation fighters to the middle of the decade, is encouraging countries like Denmark, Norway and Netherlands to re-evaluate their decisions on F-35.

Gripen NG. Photo: Gripen International

Others, like Switzerland, have reiterated their support for current generation fighters, over are moving to the next one. Aircraft manufacturers are encouraging these trends pouring new life into their systems through modernization programs.
The F/A-18E/F, and F-15SE from Boeing, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale and Saab Gripen are being offered in new and enhanced multi-mission configurations. Typical enhancements include advanced Electronically Scanning (AESA) radars, enhanced electro-optical (EO) sensors and new cockpit architectures.

Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. Photo: Lockheed Martin

The next wave in cockpit design introduced at Farnborough mimics the large F-35 flat-screen panel, with integrated helmet display and sight. The two companies leading this trend are Elbit Systems, with their CockpitNG architecture and L3, the developer of the F-35 cockpit display system.

Elbit is offering the new design for fighters, trainers as well as for helicopters, providing mission optimized design and significantly reduced workload.

Elbit Systems Cockpit NG - Smart 22" HD central display. Photo: Elbit Systems

Even stealth is no longer the exclusive domain of 5th generation fighters. Boeing is already developing the semi-stealth F-15SE, designed with conformal, internal weapon carriage capability and canted tails, that dramatically reduce radar cross section.

While its signature reduction is not expected to match that of the F-35, F15SE could offer significant advantage for the average missions of modern air forces, reducing requirements for full stealth platforms. Another trend is to adapt a ‘wait and see’ strategy, waiting for the unmanned combat air systems (UCAS) to emerge.

In fact, most of the missions carried out by manned fighter and attack aircraft could in the future be performed by unmanned assets, particularly in asymmetric scenarios. Manned missions would be reserved to gaining air superiority and maintaining air supremacy, which would require the skills, agility and rapid response of a manned piloted fighter.

Furthermore, UCAS are designed as unmanned systems, however, Boeing has already shown a future concept vehicle that could be produced as an optional, manned or an unmanned system, operating in a ‘pack’.

Boeing performed the first flight of the F-15E1 'Silent Eagle' flight demonstrator on July 8, 2010 Photo: Boeing

Emerging technologies even offer distributed EO systems giving the pilot panoramic vision and improved situational awareness over an entire hemisphere.

Even the JSF’s uniquely designed cockpit combining a single large-area and helmet display, is now becoming available for aircraft upgrading and new designs.

In terms of communications, Generation 4.5 and modernized aircraft offer more flexibility to adaptation of new communications, and datalinks, including line-of-sight (LOS) and Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS) Satellite links, having industry shift to ‘defensive modes’, focusing on modernization, enhancement and improvements of existing fighters.

The opposition is also improving. Russian and Chinese fighters are evolving in a pace equal, and in certain areas, even superior to that of western platforms, matching the West in terms of aerodynamic performance, maneuverability and weapons.

Traditionally inferior in avionics and mission equipment, Eastern fighters are currently rolled out of the assembly lines in Russia, China and Pakistan, equipped with the latest European technologies, as they are not bound by U.S. technology transfer limitations.

While top of the line fighter programs strive for the best performance and superiority at any cost, air forces engaged in recent asymmetric combat are realizing that such platforms are too expensive and relatively limited when called to perform ‘dull and dirty’ missions, requiring long endurance, efficient area surveillance, and precision strike capability in support of land forces. For these missions commercial aircraft are modified into special mission platforms, equipped with sensors, communications and operator stations to perform missions in the air, or relay intelligence and sensor data to ground-bound mission centers.

Typical platforms are utilizing the Hawker Beechcraft 200 and 350, which has proved itself in operational missions in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Another aircraft being used extensively as special mission Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platform is the DA-42 Guardian from Diamond Aircraft. Such aircraft are operating throughout the world by more than 20 countries, in support of police, law enforcement and government agencies.

To extend mission durations, the U.S. and other users are examining long endurance platforms, including airships that could remain on station for weeks, months and even years. One such system is the Long Endurance Multi-Int Vehicle (LEMV) airship, developed by Northrop Grumman and British airship manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles.

The DA42 Dominator is designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions with an all-composite construction that provides durability, reduced maintenance and lower aircraft weight to enhance mission endurance. Photo: Defense-Update

While special mission aircraft are traditionally also used to support other forces, an emerging trend evolving in tandem with armed UAVs, is the use of manned ‘armed reconnaissance’ platforms. Representative of this trend are the AT-802U Air Tractor, Embraer’s Armed Super Tucano and AT-6B from Hawker Beechcraft.

Unlike other surveillance aircraft, the Air Tractor was built to be operated from farm fields and dirt roads, and maintained out of the back of a truck. Photo: CAV

On the weapons domain, aerial weapons are becoming more precise, agile and offered at a lower cost. Few models displayed at Farnborough charting the path for the future, include the Saber from MBDA North America, a 10 pound precision-guided weapon, utilizing semi-active laser homing device and GPS/INS midcourse guidance and a scaled down ’Diamond Back’ wing kit, adapted from the Small Diameter Bomb which the company has been produced for several years. Another lightweight, high- precision weapon is the Mini Talon, produced by FTS, a Florida based MOOG subsidiary.

The SABER - small air bomb extended range from MBDA Photo: MBDA

© Copyright 2010 - Defense Update, Online Holdings International.

23-07-10, 03:19 AM
Eurofighter Typhoon: Air Forces Take Delivery of a Latest-Technology Helmet Mounted Symbology System

(Source: Eurofighter GmbH; issued July 22, 2010)

HALLBERGMOOS, Germany --- In July 2010 the UK Royal Air Force, Spanish Air Force, Italian Air Force and the German Luftwaffe have begun taking delivery of the most advanced Helmet-Mounted Symbology System (HMSS) which will form a key component of their Eurofighter Typhoon weapon systems.

The HMSS significantly improves tactical performance for Eurofighter pilots, by providing essential flight and weapon aiming information through line of sight imagery. Information imagery includes aircraft’s flight parameters, weapons status and aiming all projected on the HEA (Helmet Equipment Assembly) visor, thereby enabling the pilot to simultaneously look out in any direction (head out) and have all required flight and weapon aiming information always in his field of vision.

Together the Typhoon Helmet and HMSS provide world leading capabilities, giving the pilot, in conjunction with the rest of the Typhoon Human Machine Interface, unrivalled situational awareness whether “head in” or “head out”.

The HMSS passive and stealthy sensor system, developed and manufactured by BAE Systems, provides the Eurofighter pilot with significant operational advantages by reducing pilot workload and increasing the weapon envelope in combat situations. The Eurofighter Pilot will be able to instantly designate targets with full head movement, reducing the need for in-cockpit switch selection and aircraft manoeuvring. This exploits the full potential of high off-boresight missiles such as IRIS-T and ASRAAM which can now be deployed without the need to turn the aircraft on to the target.

As well as providing non-avionic type helmet essential safety characteristics of pilot life support and communications functions, the HMSS has full integration with all Eurofighter attack and navigation systems. The new helmet can be used throughout the full aircraft envelope (up to 9g) for both air-to-air and air-to-ground day / night missions. Ongoing weapon system capabilities including additional air-to-ground features will be released next year with the first already contracted batch of the Eurofighter enhancements programme. The new helmet and HMSS allow for ongoing development and enhancement such as increased night vision capabilities.

The HMSS is manufactured from carbon fibre and at under 2 kg its weight is similar to other contemporary non-HMSS helmets. Its modular design incorporates a pilot personal “inner” helmet, which fits into the standard “outer” avionic HMSS. This design allows both personal comfort and reduced ownership costs through the flexibility of an outer interchangeable HMSS. Ejection safety characteristics are built into the design.

The new helmet and HMSS has been in action during the Farnborough Air Show with BAE Systems test pilot Nat Makepeace wearing it during his daily air display.

Eurofighter Typhoon is the world's most advanced new generation real multi-role/swing-role combat aircraft available on the market and has been ordered by six nations (Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Austria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). With 707 aircraft under contract, it is Europe’s largest military collaborative programme and delivers leading-edge technology, strengthening Europe’s aerospace industry in the global competition. More than 100,000 jobs in 400 companies are secured by the programme. Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH manages the programme on behalf of the Eurofighter Partner Companies: Alenia Aeronautica/Finmeccanica, BAE Systems, EADS CASA and EADS Deutschland, Europe’s foremost aerospace companies with a total turnover of approx. EUR 88 billion (2008).


23-07-10, 04:33 AM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

FARNBOROUGH: India and Russia continue fifth generation fighter talks

By Siva Govindasamy

India and Russia are still discussing the terms of an agreement for their proposed Fifth Generation Fighter Programme, with Sukhoi Aircraft chief executive Mikhail Pogosyan expecting a contract to be signed by the end of 2010.

A deal on the aircraft, which will be based on Russia's PAK-FA, was expected at the end of 2009. But it was held up as they hammered out issues relating to technology transfer and the cost of the programme.

© Sukhoi

24-07-10, 09:43 AM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

FARNBOROUGH: Gripen hits back at 'paper aeroplane' slurs

By Craig Hoyle

Saab moved to counter opponents of its Gripen NG programme yesterday by outlining its ambitious plans to sell the type to nations from a lengthy list of potential buyers, including Brazil and India.

With its two-seat demonstrator now having flown more than 175 times, Saab Aeronautics managing director Lennart Sindahl says: "We are very happy with our position on the NG, and with our suppliers."

Responding to scepticism voiced by some rival fighter manufacturers, he says: "Come down and see the 'paper' aeroplane."

Saab assembled representatives from supplier companies APPH, General Electric, Martin-Baker and Selex Galileo to underscore the maturity of its demonstrator programme, which is de-risking technologies for a next-generation Gripen that is planned to enter service from 2015.

The aircraft on show here since Monday returned from an evaluation campaign in India during May, where Gripen says "everything worked like clockwork".

Saab has already been in discussion with Selex over a capability insertion roadmap for the aircraft's Raven Active Electronically Scanned Array radar stretching out over some 20-30 years, says Bob Mason, the latter's vice-president of marketing and sales.

Gripen marketing director Hans Rosen says the company is optimistic about entering the final phase of India's 126-platform medium multi-role combat aircraft contest after the NG's long-range journey. "I am confident we will make it," he says. "We really maximised our chances."

New Delhi is continuing its evaluation process after flying the Gripen and rival Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16 and RSK MiG-35.

A decision in Brazil, where the NG is again up against the Super Hornet and Typhoon is now "with the politicians", Rosen says. Meanwhile, the company is not neglecting other sales opportunities, he adds. "Today we have activities in 17 countries, and have also started some talks outside of those."

26-07-10, 09:02 AM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

FARNBOROUGH: South Korea signs MoU with Indonesia to develop KF-X

By Siva Govindasamy

South Korea is seeking international partners for its indigenous KF-X programme, which aims to develop a successor to its Northrop F-5s by early next decade.

Seoul signed a signed a memorandum of understanding with Indonesia last week on the KF-X, a move that could lead to Jakarta contributing up to 20% of the development costs. It has also begun negotiations with Turkey, although a deal is further out.

South Korea has a close relationship with both countries and has sold military aircraft to them. It has also bought CN-235s from Indonesian Aerospace.

Government officials from South Korea were also engaging industry at Farnborough, hoping to bring in Western companies as possible partners in the programme.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin and the Eurofighter consortium were involved in initial discussions and could become a development partner, say sources from the various companies. This could be similar to Lockheed's involvement in the Korea Aerospace Industries T-50 advanced jet trainer programme.

KAI is also expected to produce the KF-X fighter at its facilities in Sacheon, and help in the development using its experience with the T-50 and its F/A-50 fighter variant.

The KF-X programme, which was mooted several years ago, envisages the production of around 120 fighters for the South Korean air force. However, the potential cost of around $8 billion has meant that successive South Korean governments have balked at giving it the go-ahead. With other countries joining the programme, it would substantially reduce the cost for Seoul.

For Indonesia, the deal would help revive its moribund military aircraft production industry. It would offer it access to a reasonably advanced fighter programme, and industry sources say that local assembly is a possibility.

The first few prototypes of the KF-X aircraft are expected to be rolled out around 2020, say sources.

26-07-10, 10:13 AM

SOURCE:Flight Daily News

FARNBOROUGH: Boeing gets interest for F-15 from new customer

By Siva Govindasamy

Kuwait has surprised Boeing by asking for information on the F-15 Silent Eagle, making it the first non-operator of classic F-15s to express an interest in the latest version of the fighter.

Paul Oliver, Boeing's vice-president for the Middle East and Africa, confirms that a Middle Eastern country that is looking to "recapitalise" its air force has expressed an interest. However, he declines to say if the country is Kuwait.

Boeing itself has been saying over the last year that the Silent Eagle is aimed primarily at the countries that operate classic F-15s, and it has been focused on promoting its F/A-18E/F to those who do not and are looking for new fighters.

The F-15 would offer an air force a longer-range strike capability, and the potential to carry a bigger weapons payload, than the F/A-18E/F.

"Right not, this potential customer is asking if it can have information about the F-15. A lot of customers are looking to recapitalise their fighters," he adds. "There are a lot of countries looking for alternative platforms to the [Lockheed Martin] F-35 in the Middle East, and this is one of those."

Kuwait operates classic Boeing F/A-18C/Ds, and Oliver says that it has been considering upgrades for those fighters. However, the country is also believed to be keen to begin an international tender for fighters. If it upgrades the classic Hornets, the new fighters would augment rather than replace them.

29-07-10, 05:06 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

F-16 Gets A Probe

Posted by Bill Sweetman at 7/28/2010 6:03 AM CDT

It's remarkable that the Lockheed Martin F-16, despite being exported worldwide for 35 years, can't be refueled except by the handful of air forces that fly boom-equipped tankers. Cobham's Sargent-Fletcher division demonstrated a modified 370 gal wing tank a few years ago that housed a retractable probe, apparently for Israel, but as far as is known it was not adopted.

Hose and drogue refueling is mandatory for India's Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft contest, however, so Lockheed Martin, Cobham and HAL have teamed up to develop the Conformal Air Refueling Tanker/System (CARTS), which adds a probe in the forward end of the right-hand overwing conformal tank.

As the upper picture shows, CARTS makes the F-16 into a refueling hermaphrodite, with both a probe and a slipway, a feature not seen on many aircraft - the UK's E-3D AWACS and the F-105 are the only examples I can think of. In addition to being offered for the F-16IN, it is retrofittable to any Advanced Block 50/52 version.

29-07-10, 05:13 AM
More pics from Code 1 magazine...........

This aerial refueling system allows the F-16 to refuel from probe-and-drogue refueling systems. The system is called CARTS, for conformal air refuel tank system.

The probe telescopically extends and retracts from a purpose-built right-side forward conformal fuel tank. The right aft section and complete left-side conformal fuel tanks require no change. The mechanically driven probe quickly extends the nozzle to its fully extended position just in front of the front pilot’s eye position.

Gubler, A.
29-07-10, 05:28 AM
It's remarkable

Remarkable? Only on paper. All those F-16 operators have been happy to date with IFR via booms because they either didn't need IFR or had access to boom tankers (typically USAF provided). What looks remarkable from the armchair is often mundane in the real world.

29-07-10, 05:28 AM
Interesting, I didn't think the F-16 was a serious contender for MMRCA. Always nice to see new developments for older platforms though, thanks!

30-07-10, 12:57 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Lockheed to preserve F-22 tooling for future use

By Stephen Trimble

Lockheed Martin confirms the US Air Force has decided to retain tooling for the F-22 after the production line in Marietta, Georgia, shuts down as scheduled in 2012.

The decision means that USAF officials will be able to repair and modernise the service's aircraft, or manufacture new Raptors.

Lockheed says tools with "near-term needs" will be retained on site. Others will be preserved and stored in large, bar-coded steel containers commonly used by the shipping industry, which it says reduces "costs associated with conventional warehousing".

Air force officials were not immediately available to comment, but have previously said that a decision to preserve F-22 tooling would be intended to support a future service life-extension programme for the stealth fighter.

© BillyPix

At the same time, the decision also implicitly preserves the option to restart production if future administrations decide that the USAF needs more than 186 F-22s.

Congress in 2009 approved the Obama administration's decision not to extend F-22 production beyond the programme of record set by the Bush administration in 2006. But the Congressional approval came only after several months of heated debate.

Meanwhile, Rand's Project Air Force analytical group published a study on 3 March showing that the F-22 supply chain could be reactivated after a two-year gap. Rand studied not only the availability of tooling, but also whether key suppliers could leave the industry within this period of time.

However, Rand concluded that restarting production after a two-year work stoppage would significantly increase costs.

Assuming a 75-aircraft production run over five years, it found the cost per aircraft would be $227 million. If production continued without interruption, the average unit cost would be $173 million.

04-08-10, 06:25 AM
Boeing Receives 1st F-15E Radar Modernization Program Test Asset from Raytheon

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 3, 2010 – Boeing [NYSE: BA] received the first APG-82(V)1 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar test set for the U.S. Air Force F-15E Radar Modernization Program (RMP) from Raytheon in St. Louis on June 10. The radar test set, which has successfully completed Acceptance Test Procedures, will undergo further tests at Boeing's Electronic Systems Integration Lab in St. Louis before being integrated into an F-15E.

The APG-82(V)1 RMP replaces the APG-70 radar with an AESA, resulting in improved radar reliability, maintainability and performance, as well as reduced support costs. When integrated into the F-15E weapons system, the AESA radar will improve detection and tracking of enemy targets.

"One AESA-equipped F-15E can detect and track multiple targets simultaneously and gain the same battle picture and prosecute the same number of attacks that currently require several mechanically scanned radar assets," said Brad Jones, Boeing director for U.S. Air Force Development Programs. "Adding AESA multiplies the effectiveness of the F-15E."

Raytheon is producing five AESA radar test units as part of the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase of the program and will support Boeing's integration of AESA into the F-15E. Integration will take place at Boeing facilities in St. Louis, followed by developmental and initial operational test and evaluation flight programs.

Other RMP elements include a wideband radome, modified Environment Control System, and modified Radio Frequency Tunable Filters, which allow the radar and Electronic Warfare System to operate simultaneously.

Boeing and Raytheon share more than 35 years of success on numerous generations of F-15 radar, beginning with the delivery of the first APG-63 radar in 1972 and the incorporation of the world's first operational fighter AESA radar with the APG-63(v)2 on the F-15C in 2000. This legacy, along with shared experiences on the F/A-18E/F APG-79, ensures that the AESA-equipped F-15E will remain a force multiplier for decades to come.

05-08-10, 06:31 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

USAF debates major upgrade for F-22 Raptors

By Stephen Trimble

The US Air Force has confirmed to Flight International that a decision is pending on whether to launch a major upgrade for 63 of its Lockheed Martin F-22s.

Although the decision will be made internally within a few months, the service will wait to publicise the outcome until the Obama administration releases its fiscal year 2012 budget request next February.

Under review is a proposal to upgrade nearly half of the USAF's fleet of 186 operational F-22s with a suite of advanced new weapons that have entered service during the last few years, plus advanced communications equipment that is still in development.

The proposal comes after the Department of Defense decided to terminate F-22 production in early 2012. As part of that decision, it accepted a USAF proposal to spend $1.3 billion on a "common configuration programme", which is consolidating six different versions of the F-22 into three basic types.

For the training and test fleet, the USAF is upgrading 37 Block 10 F-22s, which include two types of production-representative test vehicles, to the Block 20 standard. This includes a new central integrated processor, eliminating an older software configuration that proved unreliable in operational tests nearly a decade ago.

Under the common configuration plan, the combat-coded F-22 fleet is separated into groups of 63 Block 30 and 87 Block 35 aircraft.

The Block 30s are being upgraded with Increment 3.1 capabilities, which include air-to-ground and electronic attack modes for the Northrop Grumman APG-77 radar.

Meanwhile, the Block 35s will also be modernised with the USAF's most advanced air-to-air weapons - the Raytheon AIM-120D AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder. The package, named Increment 3.2, also adds an automatic ground collision avoidance system and the multifunction advanced datalink. The latter will allow the F-22 to transmit data to other stealth aircraft.

USAF officials are now debating whether to upgrade the 63 Block 30 aircraft to the Block 35 standard. If the proposal is accepted, the USAF would operate a fleet of 150 F-22s with identical capabilities.

But the Raptor fleet would still lack a number of features common to most modern fighters, including an infrared search and track sensor for passive targeting and a helmet-mounted cueing system to shoot at targets beyond the field of view of the fighter's air-to-air missiles.

It is possible, however, that the USAF will add new capabilities to the F-22 beyond the Increment 3.2 upgrades. One example is a distributed aperture system now installed on the Lockheed Martin F-35, which provides 360° optical coverage around the aircraft.

According to Jim Pitts, president of Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, the USAF is likely to be interested in adopting the system on other aircraft as pilots become familiar with its capabilities.

10-08-10, 08:53 AM
TechnologyTake a spin in the Auto-GCAS enabled fighter jet that doesn't hit the ground

By Peter Farquhar, Technology Editor From: news.com.au August 09, 2010 10:30AM

WHEN the Australian Defence Force takes delivery of its F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in 2015, it can expect the usual array of advanced weaponry and stealth technologies.

For the price tag of around $110 million and climbing per plane, it ought to, but the first major upgrade to our air force fleet in 30 years is not all about firepower.

Last week, Aviation Week reporter Guy Norris got a sneak peek of the JSF's extraordinary new secret weapon — crash avoidance.

He's unlikely to ever forget it. At times he was experiencing 1000km/h in runs through canyons less than 70m off the ground.

The point of it all was for the US Air Force to show off its new system for dealing with those unfortunate moments when the pilot forgets where they are or loses consciousness — the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System, or Auto-GCAS.

Current systems are simply based on terrain awareness and warnings which alert pilots of impending collisions.

The big difference is that Auto-GCAS actually wrests control off the pilot and takes evasive action.

It won't save pilots' lives in a mechanical emergency or if they've detuned it in order to make a low pass, but all the scenarios Norris was put through replicated accidents that happened in combat situations.

One notable incident occurred when a USAF pilot pulled up out of a bombing run and turned the wrong way, plunging into the ground instead of up in the air.

It's not as unusual as it sounds — the US Defense Department estimates that it could lose some 130 fighter jets and their crews in similar scenarios during the next 25 years.

From what Norris learnt, if they had Auto-GCAS, they'd all be here today.

If he was impressed by anything, it was the system's "infallibility".

"The system worked no matter if we were just feet from the ground and a wingtip away from disaster or upside down, high over the desert and poised to make a dive that would have ended in a ground collision," he said.

"It also acted decisively and instantly."

The US Air Force will officially begin operational tests next week.

Initial F-16s are due to become operational in 2014, with the F-22 getting it into service in 2015 and the F-35 JSF in 2015-2016.

Norris said he wouldn't be surprised to see it one day implemented in commercial aircraft.

The main problem would be convincing regulatory officials that any evasive action wouldn't throw a plane into the path of another.

The answer to that may well lay here in Australia, where technology is now being developed to ensure UAVs stay clear of each other.

If commercial operators rely on the kind of precision Auto-GCAS employs, such calls may still be a little too close for passengers to bear.

Norris said one of the most hair-raising moments in the F-16 demonstration was the final test where the pilot threw the plane towards a 1200ft (365m) mountain.

Under current systems, cockpit displays turn red 20 seconds out from impact and automated voices start screaming at the pilot to pull up.

"In that case — at our speed," Norris said, "we were 1.5 seconds away from not being able to pull up and clear the mountain."

The pilot can override the system, a practical necessity in situations such as when strafing — firing virtually horizontally at ground targets.

When your jet's screaming along less than 20m to the ground, the last thing you need is to be thrown into a vertical 5g climb as soon as soon as you pass over the first slight rise.

Such reactions — known as "nuisance fly-ups" — are what have plagued similar systems in the past.

"During my flight over very rough terrain at extremely low levels, I could feel it nudging the flight controls to momentarily correct us — keeping away from danger," Mr Norris said.

"It only fired us into a full 5g+ pull up when the test pilot deliberately ignored the warnings."

Norris said he experienced "violent S-turns" at 950km/h just 30m above the desert with the Auto-GCAS fully engaged and not once was the plane thrown up and potentially into the range of enemy aircraft.

The same applied for a "hurtling passage down a ravine-like valley in the Sierra Nevada".

"This was meant to show a terrain masking run in which a combat pilot uses the terrain to shield them from radar, and was executed at high speed and seemingly within arm's reach of the trees and rocks either side," Norris said.

"Again — no nuisance fly-ups."

So how close was what Norris experienced to being a plane that couldn't crash?

"I thought of saying that exact thing," he admits.

"But the truth is there's no such thing — the system won't operate at very low levels and low speeds and with the gear down — in other words, when you are landing or taking off, which makes sense."

Norris said he flown in many military transports, including helicopters and fast jets, but his spin through the Sierra Nevada in an F-16 was his first "full-up" fighter ride.

And what did he think of his maiden flight?

"Terrifying at first," he said. "Then simply awesome."


Read the full story in Aviation Week — http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?i...


13-08-10, 11:22 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

New Saudi F-15S Could Be An Impressively Advanced Strike Fighter

Posted by David A. Fulghum at 8/12/2010 9:43 AM CDT

Saudi Arabia wants 84 new F-15S strike-fighters to replace some of its oldest F-15s, but they also want an advanced radar that will be similar to the radar on the F-35 that the Israelis plan to buy.

New digital radars with active electronically scanned array (AESA) antennas can increase surveillance and targeting ranges by three times. They can create maps with enough resolution to find small, moving targets. With the right software they can become sophisticated electronic warfare devices. And the newest twist is that with the next generation of air-to-air missiles, they can defend against short-range and some medium-range ballistic missiles.

The original request from Saudi Arabia was for the F-15S with a Raytheon-made, AESA radar that could increase the sensor’s range for detecting small targets to about 150 mi. depending on the radar cross section of the target -- and almost eliminates maintenance costs. The current radar in both the F-15S and Israel’s F-15I is the manually scanned APG-70 which is no longer in production. Israeli pilots say they can see large airliner sized targets at 150 naut. mi., but tactical fighter size targets only register at about 56 naut. mi.

The F-15Ss are part of a proposed $30 billion arms package that is being promoted by the Obama Administration.

The new AESA radar designs – such as the APG-63(v)3 on upgraded USAF F-15Cs and Singapore’s new F-15SGs – can detect very small targets. The U.S. variant can target stealthy cruise missiles at ranges great enough to attack and destroy them. More importantly, AESA radars the size of those in F-15s can find and target small moving ground targets at long range so that they can be struck with standoff weapons beyond the range of anti-aircraft weapons.

While Israel and Saudi Arabia carry the same radars in their F-15s, the Israeli Air Force has fielded long-range unmanned aircraft with precision targeting capabilities that make up for a lack of long-range radar on the manned aircraft. This gives Israel a qualitative advantage for the time being.

South Korea has the APG-63(v)1 (without an AESA antenna but with a digital processing back end) on its new F-15Ks. That means that the Koreans can upgrade the fighter’s capabilities when they can afford the advanced antenna arrays. Meanwhile they get the advantages of low maintenance.

The negotiations and manufacturing capabilities still in place at Raytheon indicate the candidate radar for Saudi Arabia would be the APG-63(v)1 or 3. Since the Israeli Air Force is planning to buy about 22 AESA-radar equipped F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the purchase of an advanced radar by the Saudis may become a moot issue. It could also soften any onus associated with introducing a stealth fighter to the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia’s fighting on the borders with Yemen insurgents reportedly has produced significant casualties within the Saudi forces. Air raids conducted with Saudi Tornados and F-15S aircraft began late last year against Houthis rebels in northern Yemen’s Sa’dah region.

It is the first military action for the Royal Saudi Air Force since 1991. Results have apparently attached some urgency to plans for upgrading the air and ground forces. The process started after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. But some of the force is aging and needs replacement.

High on that list are 82 F-15C/Ds. The Saudis’ best strike aircraft currently are 71 S-models with the Raytheon APG-70 radar with a detuned Doppler beam-sharpening capability. The Israelis have much the same radar (the APG-70I) with a similar reduction in capability. The USAF radars have about 3 times better resolution than those on the I and the S models. With the APG-70 radar line now closed, the question becomes what radar will the new F-15S aircraft carry.

14-08-10, 12:57 PM
Defense: Russian air force completing MiG-31BM modernization program

MiG-31 interceptor aircraft

17:21 13/08/2010© RIA Novosti. SkrynnikovRelated News

The Russian air force is completing a modification program for its MiG-31 interceptor aircraft to the MiG-31BM standard, the force's commander Col.Gen. Alexander Zelin said on Friday.

"The air force is currently carrying out the vital task of deep modification of the MiG-31 aircraft to MiG-31BM standard. This task is being successfully carried out," he said.

The MiG-31BM is fitted with upgraded avionics and digital datalinks, a new multimode radar, color multi-function cockpit displays, a new, more powerful computer and ability to carry new air-to-air and possibly air-to-surface missiles such as the AS-17 Krypton anti-radar missile.

Information on display next to a MiG-31BM in 2009 associated the aircraft with air-to-air missiles including the Vympel R-73 (AA-11 Archer), R-77 (AA-12 Adder), and R-33S (upgraded AA-9 Amos) and the K-37M (AA-X-13 Arrow).

The air force is also accepting other new aircraft, including the Su-34 strike aircraft, the forthcoming Su-35, the Yak-130 advanced trainer, and Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopters, he said.

Manufacturer's tests are also underway on the Sukhoi T-50 fifth generation fighter prototype.

Zarya (Moscow Region), August 13 (RIA Novosti)

14-08-10, 01:37 PM
Huh, I wouldn't have expected to see them spending money on the old MiG, unless it's a skills maintenance thing... although now that I think about it, would I be right in saying there'd be MiG-31 airframes with quite a lot of flight hours remaining on them?

I must confess a bit of a soft spot for the Foxhound, aesthetically speaking. Strikes me as a strange choice for upgrading though, I was under the impression the Russian Air Force still had a whole lot of Flankers they were planning to update.

14-08-10, 05:47 PM
Huh, I wouldn't have expected to see them spending money on the old MiG, unless it's a skills maintenance thing... although now that I think about it, would I be right in saying there'd be MiG-31 airframes with quite a lot of flight hours remaining on them?

I must confess a bit of a soft spot for the Foxhound, aesthetically speaking. Strikes me as a strange choice for upgrading though, I was under the impression the Russian Air Force still had a whole lot of Flankers they were planning to update.

I'm assuming they don't have anything comparable to use instead and can't afford to purchase replacements?

14-08-10, 07:27 PM
Well, if you look at the weapons they're putting on it it's basically an anti-AWACS platform. The range on the R-37 (AA-X-13, I hadn't seen it being called K-37M before) is supposedly on the order of 400km, though who knows what the pk is at that range.

Supposedly that role is to be taken over by the Su-35BM or PAK-FA at some point, until they're in service in real numbers the MiG-31 will perform the role quite well.

I suppose it'd also be quite good against any similarly sized targets as well, ie Tankers, Bombers and manned ISR aircraft, and non-maneuverable targets like UAV's and such.

16-08-10, 06:22 AM
Yeah... I have my doubts about the R-37 though. Has it even entered production at this point? There's been a lot of talk of Russian "AWACS killing" missiles like the K-100 but I'm yet to see anything convincing as to their capability or deployment...

edit: considering it's apparently getting radar and datalink upgrades, would it possibly have potential as a mini-AWACS platform itself?

Gubler, A.
16-08-10, 07:36 AM
Well, if you look at the weapons they're putting on it it's basically an anti-AWACS platform. The range on the R-37 (AA-X-13, I hadn't seen it being called K-37M before) is supposedly on the order of 400km, though who knows what the pk is at that range.

No its not. The MiG-31 is an anti-bomber platform what it was designed for and what its units operate it for. Which is why it is still in RuAF service. 400km against a B-52 a long way from home is a possibility but not against an AEW&C, which is pure fantasy.

16-08-10, 08:20 PM
They're similarly sized and have similar defensive aids, so they're relatively equivalent targets. I'm not suggesting that a lone MiG-31 would be able to accomplish something like that but as part of a larger battle plan incorporating multiple squadrons of aircraft I don't see why it wouldn't be possible. In the end of the day, AEW&C platforms aren't infallible and until we get stealth aircraft to perform the function (or swarmed UAVs, perhaps) the risk of a credible opponent taking one out is real and would be a serious setback in any campaign.

That's not to say that I don't agree with the fantasy aspect to a large extent, but given the wider proliferation of these aircraft the conflict need not necessarily be a RuAF vs USAF one.

Humor me, why do you think it isn't possible and what do you think would be the way to do it? :)

30-08-10, 04:10 AM
Govt FX project at standstill / Nation's air defense at stake in selection of next-generation fighter jet

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Government efforts to select the next generation of mainstay FX fighter jet for the Air Self-Defense Force, a decision likely to have a profound effect on the future of the nation's air defense, have come to a standstill.

The deadline to choose the successor to the ASDF's aging F-4 fighters is said to be 2016. But the Defense Ministry is likely to demand only research expenses for the FX fighter in its fiscal 2011 budget request to be submitted Tuesday. The ministry has unofficially decided to postpone the budget request to procure next-generation mainstay FX fighter jets.

The strain in the Japan-U.S. relationship caused by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan's handling of the relocation of the U.S. Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture has hampered Japan's ability to select FX fighters, observers said.

The 70 F-4 fighters currently owned by the ASDF were phased into service beginning in 1971. Many have degraded over time, and some were taken out of service as they reached their maximum permitted flight hours.

In the United States, which developed the aircraft, all F-4 fighters have been retired.

The major next-generation fighter jet candidates being studied by the Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces are the F-35 jointly developed by Britain, the United States and other countries; the Eurofighter, jointly developed by four European countries such as Britain and Germany; and the F/A-18E/F of the United States. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

The ASDF wants to purchase the F-35, a fifth-generation fighter jet, which features mobility as well as stealth capability to evade radar detection.

The F-4 fighter, a mainstay of the 1960s and '70s, is the nation's third-generation fighter, but the ASDF hopes to make a leap straight to fifth-generation fighters.

"Russia already is conducting flight tests of a fifth-generation fighter. China also will fly a fifth-generation aircraft in the mid-2010s," an ASDF official said.

However, the U.S. Air Force is not likely to deploy the F-35 until 2015, about two years behind schedule. Accordingly, it is unclear if Japan would be able to import the F-35 by its 2016 target.

The Defense Ministry plans to seek research expenses for F-35 technology in the fiscal 2011 budget.

However, sources close to military affairs said it is questionable whether the United States would disclose top-secret information pertaining to the F-35 at a time when Japan has not definitively expressed its intention to procure the fifth-generation U.S. fighter.

Grounds for concern include the F-35's price tag of more than 20 billion yen apiece, and the potential for the jet's malfunctioning after its development.

Moreover, there is no chance the United States would allow Japan to manufacture the F-35 under license by paying patent fees, as Japan did not participate in the fighter's joint development with the U.S. and other partner governments. Therefore, the fighter's introduction would offer no opportunities for Japan's defense industry.

Currently, F-2 fighters are produced domestically, but that program will be terminated in fiscal 2011. If Japan is subsequently unable to produce next-generation fighters under license, the nation's production and technology bases would be lost.

Meanwhile, the countries developing the Eurofighter are trying to market the aircraft to Japan using a "no black box approach," meaning sensitive information would be disclosed to Japan. They say Japan would be able to develop and produce its own version of the Eurofighter without leaking the developer countries' restricted military technology.

Britain's BAE Systems PLC Vice President Andy Latham, who is in charge of Eurofighter sales, said the aircraft would be best suited to nurturing the Japanese defense industry.

The point at issue is how Japan's selection of a European fighter would affect the Japan-U.S. alliance because Japan so far has adopted U.S. forces' mainstay fighters.

According to a senior Defense Ministry official, "If the Japan-U.S. relationship had not worsened due to the dispute over the U.S. Futenma Air Station, the Eurofighter could be one of our choices [for a next-generation fighter.]"

With no decisive factor, the ministry is also considering a plan to postpone the selection and procurement of the successor fighters and simply maintain domestic production of the F-2.

Prof. Satoshi Morimoto of Takushoku University criticized the government, saying it has no basic vision for the nation's security. "I can't see that the government has any clear vision pertaining to the selection of fighters and maintenance of the domestic defense industry," he said.

(Aug. 30, 2010)

09-09-10, 03:05 AM
Turkey interested in KF-X program

Turkey is the latest country to show interest in South Korea’s KF-X fighter program.

A senior official with the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said Turkey wants to replace its F-16s by 2020 and the KF-X is being considered.

Besides Turkey, Indonesia has also shown interest with in the program and has pledged to partly fund development costs. Both sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Jul. 15 with Jakarta pledging to bear 20 percent of the costs and buy about 50 aircraft.

12-09-10, 10:19 AM
The KF-X program seems to me to be a waste of good money.I suppose that they can leverage a bit off the experience on building the T50 which has yet to get an export sale but with Lockheed trying to flog the F35 I cant see SK getting the help they got with the T50. There are other planes around that they could build locally that are already nearly as good as what they seem to be aiming at. Also where is Indonesia going to get the 20% of the money for development costs,their GDP is less than ours. I cant imagine just how high these costs could be judging on the Eurocanards experience.

13-09-10, 03:07 PM
Italy Looks To Field Latest Tornado Upgrade

Sep 13, 2010

By Andy Nativi

GENOA, Italy — The Italian air force is about to field the latest upgrade of the Panavia Tornado, effectively assuring an extended life for the fighter bomber in Europe even as other countries are looking at curtailing the fleet’s life.

The move comes as the U.K. is reviewing the future of its Tornado fleet, and upgrade plans in Germany also are in limbo. Italy, meanwhile, plans to sustain both the interdiction version and the ECR (electronic combat and reconnaissance) suppression-of-enemy-air-defense model. Instead, Italy instead is considering cutting short the life of the AMX fleet, with the Tornados prevailing longer.

Discussions are underway to lock in the next upgrade package, although the full scope has not been settled. That likely includes the ability to deliver 250-lb. Small-Diameter Bombs, eventually to also be used on Eurofighters.

The initial requirement calls for 35 Tornados to be upgraded, although the program could be reduced to 30 or 25 units depending on funds . As part of that upgrade, the ECR aircraft would also get enhanced. That means the entire fleet, upgraded by the end of 2015, would have at least 10 more years of operational utility to its credit.

The Italian air force this week is due to formally accept the first of 15 Tornados undergoing the full mid-life update program to the so-called Ret 7 configuration, industry officials say. The first flight of the enhancement was completed in late July at Alenia Aeronautica’s Turin Caselle plant. The air force is set to receive the last of these aircraft in the first half of 2012.

The €50 million ($77 million) program, awarded in 2007, provides new digital displays to replace analog ones, a new flight data recorder, the full capability to employ night-vision goggles, an Emergency Locator Transmitter and the Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems Link 16 low-volume terminal to digitally transmit targeting information.

Italian air force officials note that the service plans to sustain the Tornado in inventory until at least 2025, with budget considerations likely to determine the retirement date. The transition will be driven as much by available funds for buying the replacement F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for the strike role—the ECRs are not due to be replaced by the JSF at this point.

The latter also are still being upgraded. The suppression-of-enemy-air-defense aircraft feature a dedicated electronic warfare system and multi-ship ranging, which allow the crew to accurately cross-cue target information to precisely locate enemy emitters. Next up is an enhancement to allow the ECRs to fire the AGM-88E anti-radiation guided missile, the latest iteration of the U.S. High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile with a multi-mode seeker to defeat threats even when they are shut down.

Fiscal realities have forced the Italian government to embark on an evolutionary upgrade path for its Tornado force. That approach is allowing the introduction of a “basic” upgrade package, even though money is tight, with more extensive enhancements due later.

The first major evolution was fielded in 2002. The Ret 6 package involved 18 aircraft; the first was delivered in 2004.

Those upgrades reflected lessons from the 1999 Kosovo war and focused on allowing the aircraft to employ smart weapons, as well as replacing both the Tacan radio navigation system with a new Thales version . An inertial navigation unit from Northrop Grumman and a Selex Galileo radar altimeter also were fielded, and the communications equipment was overhauled . U pgrades to the electronic warfare self-protection suite were fielded as well.

These aircraft are now able to deliver GBU-24 Paveway III laser-guided bombs, as well as the Enhanced GBU-24 (with GPS-aided navigation capability). The ability to deliver the Joint Direct Attack Munition Storm Shadow cruise missile also has been added.

27-09-10, 03:12 PM
Sensors from Cassidian Protect Norwegian F-16 Fighters

(Source: Cassidian; issued Sept. 27, 2010)

Three integrated sensor heads of the MILDS F system fitted to the port wing weapon pylon of a Royal Danish Air Force F-16 fighter.(Cassidian photo)

--Delivery of more than 100 missile warning sensors by 2011
--Reliable protection against shoulder-fired missiles
--Cassidian is the new name of EADS Defence & Security

Cassidian, the recently renamed defence and security pillar of EADS, will protect the F-16 fighter aircraft of the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RnoAF) against missile attacks. Cassidian Electronics has received a multi-million euro contract from RNoAF to deliver more than 100 AN/AAR-60 (V) 2 MILDS F sensors (MILDS F = Missile Launch Detection System, Fighter). Deliveries will commence in June 2011. During the project execution phase close contact to local authorities is supported by Oslo-based EADS Norway.

“MILDS F with its very low false alarm rate and fast detection combined with automatic initiation of countermeasures relieves the pilot’s workload in time-critical situations and ensures the safe return of both crew and aircraft”, explains Bernd Wenzler, CEO of Cassidian Electronics

MILDS F is a passive, imaging sensor detecting the UV radiation signature of approaching missiles. The extremely high resolution combined with rapid processing enables very reliable threat identification and virtually eliminates false alarms. Several sensors linked to a Countermeasure Signal Processor provide full spherical coverage and rapid reaction. The system allows flexible installation in either pylons, pods or in the fuselage of fighter aircraft. MILDS F considerably enhances the protection against anti aircraft missiles such as shoulder-fired infrared-guided missiles, which cannot be detected by current warning systems.

MILDS F is currently under implementation into operational use onboard the Royal Danish Air Force F-16A/B Block 15. Here, six MILDS F sensors (3 on each wing) and one processor are integrated into TERMA A/S’ Pylon Integrated Dispenser System (PIDS+) and Electronic Combat Integrated Pylon System (ECIPS+) and linked to the AN/ALQ-213 EW Management System.

MILDS F is based on the MILDS (Missile Launch Detection System) sensor proven in service aboard a huge variety of rotary wing and wide body aircraft, including Tiger, NH90, CH-53, CH-47 and C-130 and is especially designed to operate in the harsh fighter aircraft environment. MILDS F is also ideally suited for installation on other fighter aircraft like Tornado, Eurofighter or Gripen.

Cassidian, an EADS company, is a worldwide leader in global security solutions and systems, providing lead system integration and value-added products and services to civil and military customers around the globe: air systems (aircraft and unmanned aerial systems), land & naval and joint systems, intelligence and surveillance, cybersecurity, secure communications, test systems, missiles, services and support solutions. In 2009, Cassidian – with around 21,000 employees – achieved revenues of EUR 5.4 billion. EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2009, EADS generated revenues of EUR 42.8 billion and employed a workforce of about 119,000.


01-10-10, 03:20 AM
American engine to power LCA

Ajai Shukla / New Delhi October 01, 2010, 0:16 IST

In a last-minute twist, General Electric of the US has bagged the hotly contested $800-million tender to supply 99 engines for India’s Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA). After both engines in the contest — GE’s F-414 and Eurojet’s EJ-200 — were found technically suitable, the F-414 has been declared the cheaper option.

The choice of the GE-414 engine boosts the chances of America’s F/A-18 fighter and the Swedish Gripen NG in the $11-billion tender for an Indian Air Force medium fighter. Conversely, it is a blow to the Eurofighter, which is powered by twin EJ-200 engines.

In the initial commercial bids, opened in mid-September, Eurojet ($666 million) had bid lower than GE ($822 million). But, after two weeks of intensive evaluation by a defence ministry price negotiating committee, GE has been ruled the cheaper option.

“After evaluation and acceptance of the technical offer provided by both Eurojet and GE Aviation, the commercial quotes were compared in detail and GE Aviation was declared as the lowest bidder. Further price negotiations and contract finalisation will follow,” the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) announced today.

DRDO insiders say the price negotiating committee held several meetings for clarifications with Eurojet and GE representatives since the commercial bids were opened. After factoring in these clarifications, the GE engine was found to be cheaper.

The decision to buy the GE engine had been taken last week, but was only announced today in Bangalore in the presence of representatives from both companies.

Eurojet executives complain that a revised bid, submitted by them last night, was not taken into account.

Top DRDO officials emphatically reject any suggestion that US pressure had resulted in turning around the decision in favour of GE. “We had to factor in several expenses that the companies had not included in their bids. This is not surprising, since this was an extremely complex bidding process. But, after we evaluated and added in all expenses, GE was the cheaper vendor,” said a senior DRDO official.

Company and DRDO sources say the additional expenses added on to the Eurojet bid included the cost of extra transfer of technology that the company had offered and the price of tooling to build the engine in India.

Although narrowly pipped at the post, Eurojet has not given up hope. Said Eurojet Business Development Executive Paul Herrmann: “We remain optimistic about this tender. Over the next year, I believe the Indian defence ministry will encounter problems in obtaining US sanctions for transfer of technology relating to the GE engine. And, if GE fails to meet these Indian requirements, the contract will come to us.”

In a statement, the company said: "We expect further details from Indian authorities and more information about the process leading to the announced selection."

Defence ministry indicate that negotiations with GE will continue at least until mid-2011. Thereafter, the US company would be given 121 days (plus an allowable extension of two months) to obtain permission from the US government to transfer technology to build the engine in India.

06-10-10, 02:31 AM

I found the comparative graphics very interesting, especially with regard to SAM systems.



06-10-10, 03:25 AM
The Russians have designed and built superb SAM systems BUT I'd still like someone to explain to me HOW they are going to match SWARM tactics from Armed UAV's and, in the near future, true UCAV's........

The SAM's in particular are NOT stocked in their thousands, only on a few occasions, in their hundreds primarily due to high unit costs. The same unit cost will procure you more than one, sometimes ten or more UAV's.............denigrate the opposition Air Defence by giving him a Target Rich (false) environment for him to squnader the bulk of his missile force on.

Also, UAV's are inherently long loiter so every time you move your SAM group you immediately become a potential/probable target.

The plane-to-plane question has been answered eslewhere repeatedly. Both Russia and China remain light years away from current and developing USA and Western capabilities............the major problem the USA has is the delay in getting F-35 into service allied to a USAF that has had its head so far up its own ass it must being seeing daylight. Its policies and strategies have been semi-incoherent at best.

I also notice that the CLOWNS from APA (who the ferk decided they are a "Think Tank"???? :shakehead They couldn't "thunk" their way out of a wet tissue bag :stfu) are pushing the "modified" F-111 matched to the F-22 idea AGAIN! :hifu

06-10-10, 04:01 AM
Already been posted, no? generally think it's a bit of a beat up.

Gubler, A.
06-10-10, 05:15 AM
Posted in USAF game plan thread when unveiled a few weeks ago.

The next generation of Russian SAMs offer no significant advance other the last generation which themselves offered no significant advance over the previous back to the R-75/SA-2. All they are doing is fitting more rocket power. This does not overcome any of the significant hurdles that SAMs inherently face. If they really wanted to they could just stick the seeker of a SA-10 on top of a SS-20 missile and you’d have a SAM with a range radius that would cover all of Europe.

But while looking very impressive on an essentially two dimensional graphic none of these missiles are game changers in the four dimensional world that air combat inhabits. That is the world with up, down, curvature of the earth and that old enemy of simplistic weapons analysis: time.

How a Russian S-400 SAM is going to be able to shoot down anything other than a cruising 747 on a civil flight at the outer edges (well outer three quarters/half) of its new range table is beyond me. Because it can’t shoot through the Earth and it takes an air combat eternity to reach its full slant range.

Until the Russians start to build a SAM that can start to have significant effect in four dimensions this is just all spam. Such a SAM would need to be hypersonic so as to significantly cut down time of flight and the challenges of altitude and have an airborne or spaceborne target detection and engagement system so as to engage over the horizon. It will also need to be able to defend itself passively or actively against counter missile missiles. Until then I’ll go back to my hammock.

Gubler, A.
06-10-10, 05:27 AM
I also notice that the CLOWNS from APA (who the ferk decided they are a "Think Tank"???? :shakehead They couldn't "thunk" their way out of a wet tissue bag :stfu) are pushing the "modified" F-111 matched to the F-22 idea AGAIN! :hifu

If you had never typed that, I would have never read this:

The President is impressed. ‘Get me the Prime Minister of Australia on the phone please’, he asks. Five minutes later, the Prime Minister and the President are in earnest conversation. ‘We can deploy the F-111s to the USA in about two days’, the Prime Minister advises, ‘they have the range and don’t need tanker support.’

And I would not have suffered the subsequent loss of five million brain cells through critical intellectual failure, safety shut down, self destruction.

06-10-10, 11:27 AM
God, I saw that shit too.

I remember Goon once wanted people to "challenge him"on his costings for the F-111S upgrade. Okay, how about this?

An F119 engine is currently selling for about $12m a pop. An F-111 needs 2 of them. An APG-79 radar is selling for about $2.8m a pop.

Guess his $20m per aircraft upgrade cost is at least a bit short changed. We're $6.8m per aircraft over budget just with the purchase of new engines and radar per aircraft and we haven't even started any detailed design work on actually integrating these things onto the aircraft...

100x F119 engines alone (2x per each of the planned 50x aircraft) would cost $1.2b just to buy the bloody things (not that they've been released for sale anyway...)

APA = fail once again...

Gubler, A.
06-10-10, 12:10 PM
An F119 engine is currently selling for about $12m a pop. An F-111 needs 2 of them. An APG-79 radar is selling for about $2.8m a pop.

In this version they downgraded the engine to an F110. Still $20m wouldn't even cover the paperwork... Shouldn't you be doing Downfall Rant parody impersonations while touring the Führer Bunker rather than reading APA web nonsense?

06-10-10, 06:51 PM
apols if the vid was posted elsewhere and of course it is a "beat up" if that means the same thing as "spin".

But none-the-less interesting as the video is more a sign of an industry in flux that serves a service (the USAF) looking for a mission.

It is a different game here, then the one played in Australia. You have the mega giants and then you have the small guys knocking on the door, or more accurately digging with a spoon to make a 500m tunnel to get into the biz.

Now wouldn't you know it? the vid comes from


the Air Force Association

Anyway, the state of the US aerospace industry is not good. During the Bush administration they basically forgot what the 'A' in NASA stood for and you saw people struggling to keep one wind tunnel going capable of testing rotary aircraft. And there are more signs of extended atrophy. Sum game; if you are not nursing from the teet of a big program (e.g. JSF) you are doing anything and everything to just have 1 square meal a day.

All of which makes private space endeavors, the place to watch as angels like that kind of stuff.

You can't ignore what the video outlines. From my little seat looking at the health of aerospace in the USA, the video's comments, are exaggerated, but the premise is basically sound.



06-10-10, 11:45 PM
In this version they downgraded the engine to an F110. Still $20m wouldn't even cover the paperwork... Shouldn't you be doing Downfall Rant parody impersonations while touring the Führer Bunker rather than reading APA web nonsense?

It was raining and I was bored...

Speaking of which, I'm off to Sachsenhausen tomorrow. Should be a sombre affair...

07-10-10, 02:29 AM
DARPA Takes Big Step in Aircraft Safety

(Source: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; issued October 5, 2010)

Military aircraft today face many threats, including surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft guns and weapons fired from hostile aircraft. Despite modern systems that help friendly aircraft evade these threats, sometimes damage occurs.

To improve survivability of damaged aircraft, DARPA’s Damage Tolerant Controls (DTC) program is developing software to compensate for damaged aircraft control surfaces and engines, allowing pilots to land their aircraft safely. This technology also applies to material failures that can degrade flight performance in an unpredictable manner.

“Damage tolerance is an enabling capability to increase mission reliability in military aircraft operating in high-threat environments, but could benefit commercial and other aviation aircraft as well,” said James McCormick, DARPA program manager. “Damage tolerant control technology provides for real-time autonomous accommodation of damage followed by an adaptation process that alters flight control systems to compensate for the effects of damage.”

DARPA has teamed with the U.S. Army to demonstrate damage tolerance on the RQ-7B Shadow unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Flight testing is planned for Oct. 1 and involves up to 4 days of testing over the next several weeks. The tests, conducted at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, will verify performance of DTC to determine the limits of damage aircraft can handle, provide the Army [with] an understanding of DTC’s operational benefits to Shadow’s UAS mission, and generate awareness of overall progress in adaptive controls technology to encourage continued advancement in operational applications.

This class of control offers extensive performance improvements and cost savings that extend well beyond surviving damage. DARPA selected Rockwell Collins as the performer in this effort.


07-10-10, 02:40 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

BAE orders Captor M radars for Tranche 3A Eurofighters

By Craig Hoyle

Selex Galileo has won a £200 million ($317 million) contract from BAE Systems to supply 88 mechanically scanned Captor radars to equip Tranche 3A examples of the Eurofighter Typhoon for Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Announced on 5 October, the contract will ensure continued production of the Captor until an active electronically scanned array antenna becomes available for operational use from 2015. The four Eurofighter partner nations approved the development of the E-Captor radar in July, with development work under way.

"As a key partner of the Eurofighter programme we are strongly committed to delivering the best technology on the market, ensuring that the aircraft continues to meet the most stringent operational requirements," says Selex Galileo chief executive Steve Mogford.

© Crown Copyright

Equipment deliveries are due to start in 2012 under the new award, with the work to be performed by the company and its Euroradar consortium partners EADS Defence Electronics and Indra. It is unclear why the new order is for only 88 sensors, as Eurofighter's Tranche 3A contract covers the production of 112 aircraft.

Selex Galileo says more than 400 Captor M radars have been delivered so far, with the systems also integrated on Typhoons for export customers Austria and Saudi Arabia.

BAE also last month gave the Selex Galileo-led EuroDASS consortium a roughly £400 million contract to deliver Praetorian self-protection equipment for Tranche 3A Eurofighters.

07-10-10, 02:50 AM
VIDEO: Oxcart/SR-71 - History as indictment of today's aerospace industry?

By Stephen Trimble on October 6, 2010 11:57 AM

The video is well worth watching IF you are interested in aviation and aircraft development but it is 90 minutes long............

Could the modern US aerospace industry build an aircraft today that is as ambitious as the A-12 Oxcart/SR-71 was for its time? Could the industry build an aircraft today that could beat the performance of the CIA's Oxcart and the Air Force's Blackbird?

If you ask the people who built it, I think they would probably say no.

The Air & Space Museum held such a discussion on 24 September, which was unfortunately sold-out before I could buy a ticket. But the museum kindly posted a nearly 90-minute video of the panel yesterday. The panel includes original members of the Oxcart development teams from Lockheed's Skunk Works and Pratt & Whitney. Kelly Johnson and Ben Rich are no longer alive, but their subordinates tell some good stories.

Former Skunk Works manufacturing director Bob Murphy says 100 engineers were assigned to the SR-71 program. Rockwell hired 5,000 engineers to design the B-1 bomber. "I don't know how you coordinate 5,000 engineers," Murphy grumbles. Pratt & Whitney J58 engineer Bob Abernathy also remembers:

"Today there are layers and layers of oversight committees. In those days I could walk into Bill Brown's office and he'd pick up the phone and call Kelly. And there wasn't any of this -- more or less, the Air Force let Kelly Johnson and Bill Brown build the U-2, which they did, and then they built the Blackbird together as partners without the oversight that we have today."

21-10-10, 02:30 PM

A Defense Technology Blog

Generation Gap

Posted by Bill Sweetman at 10/21/2010 4:14 AM CDT

The Joint Strike Fighter program cancelled its participation in the Defense IQ Joint Strike Fighter conference in London this week. Capt John Martins, from the Joint Program Office, was on the original agenda but indicated a few weeks ahead of the date that he would not be attending. Indeed, I don't think that anyone from the government side of the program has given any kind of public briefing since Martins' appearance at the same conference in Athens last year.

With the news of the UK's switch from the F-35B to the F-35C, and a smaller, later buy, dominating the coffee-break discussions, competitors took to the podium to continue the theme developed at Athens: that the "fifth-generation" tag that Lockheed Martin applies to the F-22 and F-35 doesn't mean as much as the US company would like you to think.

Eurofighter, for example, says that in many respects, the Typhoon's capability is closer to that of the F-22 than the F-35 - in terms of speed, altitude, supersonic agility and missile load-out, key factors in air combat. Eurofighter people are also talking about an aspect of the program's early years which was a closely held secret at the time: the German partners were well advanced with design of a full-stealth supersonic fighter, and had tested large wind-tunnel and radar cross section models.

Development stopped only when the German team asked Rockwell (with whom they had worked closely on the X-31) if they could use the company's indoor RCS range. The US took one look at Lampyridae "and had a heart attack", one engineer recalls, because of its resemblance to the then-ultra-secret F-117. Under intense US pressure the project was halted.

In the process, Eurofighter people say now, the designers realized that a wide-aspect, wideband-stealth design with the desired level of speed and agility was feasible but would be too large to be affordable - and they point to the US decision to stop at 187 aircraft as validation of that decision.

Another point raised by Eurofighter and Boeing people is the importance of infra-red search and track (IRST). It's been around for many years, but is making a comeback on Typhoon, Gripen NG, some export F-15s and in a fuel-tank-mounted configuration on the Super Hornet. (JSF has an IRST function built into its electro-optical targeting system.)

IRST, says Boeing international business development vice-president Rick McCrary, "could be the AESA of the 2010s". Faster and smarter processing and better, cleaner detector technology are increasing sensitivity, reducing false alarm rates and (in conjunction with multi-platform datalink techniques) improving the ability to generate target tracks.

The USAF's Maj Chris Cassem, in a presentation on the F-15E as a "fourth generation fighter in a fifth generation world", made the point that the allegedly obsolescent "gen 4" aircraft still do a lot of things that the "gen 5" aircraft will not do for a long time, if ever: for example, carrying a large load and large variety of ordnance, external fuel for long range and persistence and a second crew member to operate sensors. (The last point was echoed by Cdt Steve Comstock of the Navy F/A-18 program office, who said that "a lot of single-seater pride has been swallowed" as pilots have realized how much information that AESA, modern targeting pods and datalinks can bring into the cockpit, and how much the fighter's dual helmet-mounted displays aid in crew coordination.)

Those "Gen 4" characteristics are invaluable in missions such as close air support, counter-piracy and non-traditional ISR, Cassem says.

By the way, in my own presentation to the conference, I made the point that stealth is valuable in air combat - but that its value is dependent on technology to identify the target so that it can be engaged beyond visual range, within rules of engagement. That turned out to mesh well with presentations on the F-22 and Rafale, both of which mentioned plans to improve combat ID capabilities. (In the case of the F-22 there are two phases of Combat ID improvement in current plans.)

The Rafale presentation, which talked about retaining combat ID capabilities "against RCS-treated targets" may point to the reason for this emphasis: radar-absorbent material treatments in inlet ducts may defeat jet engine modulation (JEM) processing, one of the most basic techniques for non-cooperative target recognition.

21-10-10, 07:55 PM

A Defense Technology Blog

Generation Gap

Posted by Bill Sweetman at 10/21/2010 4:14 AM CDT

God, it's been weeks Bill. Weeks and you haven't printed one negative JSF story. Are you okay?

Eurofighter, for example, says that in many respects, the Typhoon's capability is closer to that of the F-22 than the F-35 - in terms of speed, altitude, supersonic agility and missile load-out, key factors in air combat. Eurofighter people are also talking about an aspect of the program's early years which was a closely held secret at the time: the German partners were well advanced with design of a full-stealth supersonic fighter, and had tested large wind-tunnel and radar cross section models.

No, honest we ARE closer to F-22 than F-35. All we are lacking is the low observability, the advanced sensors, sensor fusion, advanced weapons, advanced logistics and maintainability and price. Other than the combat capability and the price, we are basically the same...

Development stopped only when the German team asked Rockwell (with whom they had worked closely on the X-31) if they could use the company's indoor RCS range. The US took one look at Lampyridae "and had a heart attack", one engineer recalls, because of its resemblance to the then-ultra-secret F-117. Under intense US pressure the project was halted.

Development only stopped because of the lack of funding you mean? So you went and bulit a 'normal' fighter instead? What you got was basically an F-16 level of capability 20 years too late...

In the process, Eurofighter people say now, the designers realized that a wide-aspect, wideband-stealth design with the desired level of speed and agility was feasible but would be too large to be affordable - and they point to the US decision to stop at 187 aircraft as validation of that decision.

So you built a second rate capability instead? That'll teach em...

Another point raised by Eurofighter and Boeing people is the importance of infra-red search and track (IRST). It's been around for many years, but is making a comeback on Typhoon, Gripen NG, some export F-15s and in a fuel-tank-mounted configuration on the Super Hornet. (JSF has an IRST function built into its electro-optical targeting system.)

IRST, says Boeing international business development vice-president Rick McCrary, "could be the AESA of the 2010s". Faster and smarter processing and better, cleaner detector technology are increasing sensitivity, reducing false alarm rates and (in conjunction with multi-platform datalink techniques) improving the ability to generate target tracks.

Nah, AESA is over-rated, just ask Eurofighter, SAAB and Dassult. Until they have it that is, then wait and see how "important" IRST is...

The USAF's Maj Chris Cassem, in a presentation on the F-15E as a "fourth generation fighter in a fifth generation world", made the point that the allegedly obsolescent "gen 4" aircraft still do a lot of things that the "gen 5" aircraft will not do for a long time, if ever: for example, carrying a large load and large variety of ordnance, external fuel for long range and persistence and a second crew member to operate sensors. (The last point was echoed by Cdt Steve Comstock of the Navy F/A-18 program office, who said that "a lot of single-seater pride has been swallowed" as pilots have realized how much information that AESA, modern targeting pods and datalinks can bring into the cockpit, and how much the fighter's dual helmet-mounted displays aid in crew coordination.)

Amazing how external fuel is such an efficient way to carry fuel all of a sudden. One wonders why civilian aircraft ALL carry their fuel internally if it is such an efficient way of carrying it?

It is also amazing to see legacy aircraft, say an F-16 carrying 3x extrnal tanks and a pair of CFT's, just managing to match the range which one of these "fifth generation" aircraft can manage on internal fuel alone... It also says a LOT about their capability when you realise they also generally carry a grand total of 2x PGM's in to the fight in such a state even in low threat environments because that is ALL they can manage, yet somehow 2x PGM's are insufficient when they happen to be carried by an F-35...

Consider that the F-35 matches them JUST with internal stores and fuel alone and STILL has 6x external hardpoints available and you have to start putting these capabilities into perspective...

Those "Gen 4" characteristics are invaluable in missions such as close air support, counter-piracy and non-traditional ISR, Cassem says.

No doubt. So if that IS the case then 5th Gen will be an even MORE significant advance...

By the way, in my own presentation to the conference, I made the point that stealth is valuable in air combat - but that its value is dependent on technology to identify the target so that it can be engaged beyond visual range, within rules of engagement. That turned out to mesh well with presentations on the F-22 and Rafale, both of which mentioned plans to improve combat ID capabilities. (In the case of the F-22 there are two phases of Combat ID improvement in current plans.)

The Rafale presentation, which talked about retaining combat ID capabilities "against RCS-treated targets" may point to the reason for this emphasis: radar-absorbent material treatments in inlet ducts may defeat jet engine modulation (JEM) processing, one of the most basic techniques for non-cooperative target recognition.

That's funny Bill. Shall I quote you own writings in reply on how little stealth matters in this world of IRST, L band radar arrays, etc, etc?

22-10-10, 02:12 AM
I always like it when I see a fellow member ENJOY a post here..................:abovelol

28-10-10, 03:14 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Raytheon to brief USAF on RACR test results

By Craig Hoyle

Raytheon is to reveal the results of flight tests with an active electronically scanned array radar developed as an upgrade for Lockheed Martin's F-16.

A first series of flights with the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR) were performed in July and August from Edwards AFB, California, the first time that the company-funded sensor had been airborne.

Developed as a modification for legacy F-16s, RACR is intended to challenge Northrop Grumman's monopoly as the radar supplier for the type.

Raytheon expects to brief US Air Force officials in mid-November about its analysis of the sensor's performance, says Ken Murphy, F-16 capture manager for RACR. Some information will be released publicly later this year.

Murphy declines to outline the campaign's key achievements ahead of the meeting, but confirms that the sensor was used in multiple air-to-air and air-to-ground operating modes. "We demonstrated what we wanted to demonstrate," he says.

Northrop has also tested its own AESA development, the Scaleable Agile Beam Radar, with the same F-16 at Edwards.

The companies are pursuing a possible requirement to upgrade some of the USAF's F-16s with active radar arrays. However, the service as yet has no programme of record to launch a competition.

© Tech Sgt Kevin Wallace/US Air Force

"We've done this work on internal funding to get a bedrock set of capabilities while we wait for firm customer requirements to finalise," Murphy says.

A lucrative market also exists with international F-16 operators. Northrop and Raytheon have secured approvals to seek marketing licences, and provided the USAF with pricing and availability data for at least one nation.

RACR features around 90% commonality with Raytheon's APG-79 AESA installed on the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and APG-82(V)1 for the F-15E. Scaled versions of the technology could also potentially be retrofitted to larger USAF types, such as its Boeing B-1B and B-52 bombers, the company believes.

04-11-10, 08:27 AM
Boeing, Korea Aerospace Industries Sign Agreement for Production of F-15 Silent Eagle Conformal Weapons Bay

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 3, 2010 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced that the company has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI) for KAI to design, develop and manufacture the Conformal Weapons Bay (CWB) for the F-15 Silent Eagle.

"KAI is a leading aerospace company with world-class core technical capabilities that complement Boeing's," said Roger Besancenez, Boeing F-15 program vice president. "We are excited about KAI's growing role on the development and production of key technologies for Boeing aircraft."

The CWB is an innovative internal carriage that will minimize the F-15SE's radar signature and significantly increase its tactical options. The F-15SE is equipped with two internal bays -- one on each side -- and is designed for multiple carriage configurations, including advanced air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions.

The CWB is an option for any potential customer that requires the capability, and can be installed on either new-build or existing F-15 series aircraft. The modular CWB also can be removed from the F-15 when it is not required, enabling the aircraft to transform to an external configuration within a matter of hours.

"Korean industry is an important partner and supplier to Boeing. This agreement with KAI will strengthen and deepen a mutually beneficial relationship," said Boeing Korea President Pat Gaines.

KAI builds the wings and forward fuselage for the F-15K program. KAI currently works with Boeing on programs including the AH-64D Apache, Peace Eye Airborne Early Warning and Control program, A-10 Wing Replacement Program, and all Boeing commercial airplane programs.

KAI is the Republic of Korea's representative aircraft manufacturer, established in 1999, consolidating the aerospace businesses of Samsung, Daewoo and Hyundai. Headquartered in Sacheon, Korea, its business lines include fixed-wing aircraft, rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and satellites.

The F-15 Silent Eagle is an innovative design solution developed in response to international customer requirements for a cost-effective, high-performance fighter aircraft to defend against future threats. Using a modular design approach, the F-15SE offers unique aerodynamic, avionic and Radar Cross Section reduction features that provide the operator with maximum flexibility to dominate the ever-changing advanced threat environment.

11-11-10, 03:19 AM
Decision on new fighter jets up in the air

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Defense Ministry will not specify which type of next-generation FX fighter jet it plans to purchase for the Air Self-Defense Force in a new midterm national defense program to be compiled next month, according to sources.

The ministry will be unable to name the fighter because of insufficient information on the performance of the F-35, a leading candidate to become the ASDF's new mainstay fighter that is being jointly developed by Britain, the United States and seven other countries.

Delays in development of the F-35 will likely force the U.S. military to postpone its own deployment of the jet until 2016 or later.

The new five-year Midterm Defense Program will specify this nation's defense plan for the five years beginning in fiscal 2011.

Other candidate fighters are the Eurofighter jointly developed by Britain, Germany and two other European countries, and the F/A-18E/F manufactured by the United States.

The ministry initially planned to specify in the program its choice of fighter and how many it plans to purchase.

However, because of the delay with the F-35, the ministry will set up a committee in April or later that will select one of the three candidate fighters based on performance comparisons.

The new defense program will be reviewed halfway through the five-year period to which they pertain, according to the ministry, which plans to also review an inventory of the nation's main weapons at that time.

The ministry earmarked 780 million yen in its fiscal 2011 budgetary requests for research into the performance of various FX fighters. Most of that money--680 million yen--will be spent on obtaining data on the F-35.

Performance data for the Eurofighter and the F/A-18E/F have already been obtained by the ministry.

In the most recent midterm defense program, which outlined the nation's defense plan to the end of fiscal 2009, the central government stated its intention to purchase seven FX fighters, with the U.S.-made F-22 seen as the most probable candidate. However, that became an impossibility in July last year, when the United States said it would no longer sell F-22 fighters.

(Nov. 11, 2010)

11-11-10, 12:48 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

KAI seeks additional partners for KF-X fighter

By Greg Waldron

Korea Aerospace Industries is talking to external parties about participating in its KF-X fighter programme, with Indonesia's planned involvement yet to be confirmed.

"We're not sure yet who we'll be working with on the KF-X," says Enes Park, executive vice-president at KAI. "More countries could come in." The South Korean government will provide 60% of the required funds for the programme, he adds, with the remainder to be sourced from "external parties".

While he does not rule out Indonesia's participation in the programme, Park says KAI is now speaking with "several countries".

At the Farnborough air show in July, South Korea signed a memorandum of understanding with Indonesia, with the latter to potentially contribute up to 20% of the KF-X development costs. Seoul was also in discussions with Turkey at that time.

The KF-X programme envisages the production of around 120 fighters for the South Korean air force. However, a potential price tag of around $8 billion has caused successive South Korean governments to balk at giving the project the go-ahead. The involvement of other countries could reduce costs for Seoul.

12-11-10, 03:00 AM
Eurofighter hopes to sell 40 jets to Turkey

Thursday, November 11, 2010


ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

A consortium based in Italy, from where Turkey already receives attack helicopters and military surveillance, wants to further boost its role in the Turkish defense market. Italy and Turkey should carry their commercial relations to the strategic level, says Italy's deputy defense minister.

'We are offering Turkey the opportunity to jointly develop the Eurofighter 2020, the next version of the Eurofighter,' says Marco Valerio Bonelli, head of public relations and communications at Eurofighter.

Eurofighter, a consortium of European aircraft makers, wants to sell 40 Eurofighter Typhoon 2020 jets to the Turkish Air Force, senior company officials said Thursday.

"We are offering to Turkey the opportunity to jointly develop the Eurofighter 2020, the next version of the Eurofighter," said Marco Valerio Bonelli, head of public relations and communications at Eurofighter. "It wouldn't be parts production, but joint development."

"We would like to provide two squadrons of Eurofighters to Turkey," said Giorgio Zappa, director general of Finmeccanica, an Italian conglomerate, whose subsidiary Alenia Aeronautica is one of the makers of the Eurofighter. Two Eurofighter squadrons consist of nearly 40 aircraft.

"Our cooperation [with Turkey] had been based mostly on industrial and commercial cooperation. Now we need to carry this cooperation to the strategic level, for 30 to 40 years," said Guido Crosetto, Italy's deputy defense minister.

"Today we are making together a helicopter, tomorrow we can move to another helicopter type, and then we can move to an aircraft," Crosetto said. "This matter will be one of the subjects I and [Turkish procurement chief] Murad Bayar will be talking about during my visit."

All three officials spoke to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review at the opening of Finmeccanica's Ankara office. Senior Turkish and Italian officials attended the opening ceremony.


Finmeccenica is the second largest industrial group and the largest hi-tech industrial group based in Italy. It works in the fields of defense, aerospace, security, transport and energy and is partly owned by the Italian government, which holds about 30 percent of Finmeccanica's shares.

Finmeccanica's subsidiaries in the defense field include Alenia Aeronautica, AgustaWestland and Telespazio, among others. AgustaWestland and Telespazio have already been awarded massive defense contracts in Turkey.

The Eurofighter consortium's members include Alenia Aeronautica, Britain's BaE Systems and the European EADS. The Eurofighter Typhoon is presently used by the air forces of Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria.

For its next-generation fighter requirements, Turkey has already chosen United States-led F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II. It plans to buy about 100 F-35s, worth about $15 billion.

However, Zappa said Turkey could accommodate both the F-35 and the Eurofighter Typhoon, as the two fighters have mostly different functions. The Eurofighter was designed mainly as an air-to-air fighter while the F-35 is more suitable for air-to-ground missions.

If Turkey decides to buy the Eurofighter, it could replace its fleet of older, U.S.-made air-to-air F-4Es with the new planes.

"It mostly depends on our budget conditions," one Turkish procurement official said about the chances of a Eurofighter buy. If Ankara chooses not to purchase the Eurofighter, it might buy an additional 20 F-35s, said a defense analyst.

Missile defense

In recent years Italy has become Ankara's largest defense supplier, after the U.S. It has signed multibillion-dollar deals with AgustaWestland for the joint manufacture of 60 attack helicopters and a smaller contract with Telespazio for a military satellite.

In a related development, a top official from the European missile maker Eurosam announced that his company signed a framework agreement with the Turkish military electronics company Aselsam, the missile maker Roketsan and the systems integrator Ayesas forr cooperation in missile technology Thursday. "This agreement creates great work potential with the Turkish companies," said Antonio Perfetti, Eurosam's president.

Eurosam is competing with U.S., Russian and Chinese rivals in supplying Turkey's multibillion-dollar long-range, high altitude anti-missile air defense systems program.

The framework agreement with the three Turkish companies details the work share of the Turkish firms in the Turkish program in the event Eurosam wins the Turkish missile contract.

The members of Eurosam include MBDA of France, MBDA of Italy and France's Thales. Perfetti is also general manager of MBDA Italy.

12-11-10, 05:01 AM
In other news, Lockheed Martin has announced plans that it wants to sell 50 squadrons of F-35 Lightnings II to Turkey...

Some "doubting Thomases" believe this may not happen however...

15-11-10, 03:00 PM
I'll stick this one in here but it more accurately should go in a Hybrid section.............


A Defense Technology Blog

China's Manned VTOL Vehicle Concept

Posted by Robert Wall at 11/15/2010 7:45 AM CST

The award for the most interesting concept being introduced at the Airshow China unfolding now at Zhuhai goes to Avic’s helicopter operations.

Details about this two-person, ducted fan, pusher air vehicle were scant on the eve of the opening of the event, but the model was on display:

The concept is supposed to bring about a way to achieve vertical takeoff and landing with much greater forward speed than seen typically on helicopters, says one program official.

There’s also a clear low-observable feature to the system. Under each wing are what look like conformal weapon bays. The pusher propeller also appears largely masked from radars looking at the target nose-on.

16-11-10, 01:55 AM
Sukhoi conducts flight tests of Su-34 fighter bombers

19:23 GMT, November 15, 2010

Moscow | Sukhoi Company conducted flight tests of serial Su-34 fighter bombers at the Chkalov Aviation Production Association (NAPO) flight testing station in Novosibirsk. Serial production of the Su-34 has been set up at the NAPO plant, which is a part of the Sukhoi holding company. The Russian Air Force already has in service several Su-34s. Another consignment of such planes is due by the end of the year.

In 2008 a state contract was signed with the government to supply the Russian Defense Ministry with Su-34 serial-production aircraft.

The Su-34 can effectively attack land-based, sea- and airborne targets by day and night in all weathers using the entire suite of its airborne munitions, including high-precision types. In terms of operational capabilities this is a 4+ aircraft. Its active safety system, along with the newest computers, provides extra capabilities for the pilot and navigator to perform aimed bombing and to maneuver under enemy fire. The excellent aerodynamics, large capacity internal fuel tanks, fuel-efficient bypass engines with a digital control system, in-flight refueling device and add-on fuel tanks enable the aircraft to fly long distances close to those of medium strategic bombers.

The aircraft features an outstanding flight performance, maintainability and maneuverability. It has long-range aiming systems and modern onboard devices for communications and information exchange with on-land control posts, ground troops, surface ships and in-flight aircraft. It is fitted with a smart anti-radar defense system. The Su-34 has a sophisticated survival system, including an armored cockpit. The aircraft can perform missions at a low altitude in by-pass and fly-by modes.

Last July Su-34s proved their high combat capabilities and flight performance at the Vostok-2010 military exercises. The aircraft successfully hit mock targets in the Russian Far East after flying non-stop all the way from a base in the European part of Russia. The mission involved a mid-air refueling operation.

Su-34's combat potential will be enhanced soon by new airborne munitions.

Gubler, A.
16-11-10, 02:20 AM
There’s also a clear low-observable feature to the system. Under each wing are what look like conformal weapon bays. The pusher propeller also appears largely masked from radars looking at the target nose-on.

LOL... Fail. Anyone familiar with this VTOL design as expressed previously by Focke-Wulf (Germany in the 1940s) and Sadleir (Australia in the 1980s) will know that the thrust from the dorsal ducted fan has to exit somewhere... Hence the opening panels for ducts under the wings... Let me guess? This post was from Ares Blog? Up there with 'billowing'...

16-11-10, 02:40 AM
LOL... Fail. Anyone familiar with this VTOL design as expressed previously by Focke-Wulf (Germany in the 1940s) and Sadleir (Australia in the 1980s) will know that the thrust from the dorsal ducted fan has to exit somewhere... Hence the opening panels for ducts under the wings... Let me guess? This post was from Ares Blog? Up there with 'billowing'...

Well yes dear, it does say ARES at the top of the post so one can reasonably assume its from them..............:doh

17-11-10, 02:54 PM
Russia ready to sell Su-35 fighter jets to China

Russia's state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport said on Tuesday it was ready to hold talks with China on the delivery of advanced Su-35 fighter aircraft to the Chinese air force.

"We are ready to work with our Chinese partners to this end [Su-35 deliveries]," Deputy General Director of Rosoboronexport Alexander Mikheyev said at the Airshow China 2010, which is being held on November 16-21 in Zhuhai.

The Su-35 Flanker-E, powered by two 117S engines with thrust vectoring, combines high maneuverability and the capability to effectively engage several air targets simultaneously using both guided and unguided missiles and weapon systems.

Russia's Sukhoi aircraft maker earlier said it planned to start deliveries of the new aircraft, billed as "4++ generation using fifth-generation technology," to foreign clients in 2011 and produce Su-35s over a period of 10 years up to 2020.

China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China) is the only international aerospace trade show in China that is endorsed by the Chinese central government. The biannual arms exhibition has been held in Zhuhai since 1996.

ZHUHAI (China), November 16 (RIA Novosti)

18-11-10, 04:58 AM
Erm... didn't this whole Flankers for China thing not end well for Russia last time?

Gubler, A.
18-11-10, 05:49 AM
Well yes dear, it does say ARES at the top of the post so one can reasonably assume its from them..............:doh

I was asking myself a rhetorical question via the association of ARES blog with various unfounded opinions about aviation.

18-11-10, 05:50 AM
Erm... didn't this whole Flankers for China thing not end well for Russia last time?

Nope there is only a passing similarity between the new Chinese Jian-11 and the SU-27............:thumbsup

The Shenyang J-11 (Jianji-11 or Jian-11) is the Chinese copy of the Sukhoi Su-27 (NATo reporting name: Flanker) air-superiority fighter built by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC). The basic variant J-11, built using Russian-supplied kits, is identical to the Su-27SK. The “indigenised” multirole variant J-11B was based on the Su-27SK/J-11 airframe, but fitted with Chinese-built avionics and weapon suite. Future productions of the J-11 will also be powered by the indigenous FWS-10A ‘Taihang’ turbofan jet engine.

Info and pics - compliments to Sinodefence.com

18-11-10, 05:54 AM
I was asking myself a rhetorical question via the association of ARES blog with various unfounded opinions about aviation.

You know I don't understand complicated words like "rhetorical".................

18-11-10, 02:44 PM
Erm... didn't this whole Flankers for China thing not end well for Russia last time?

Yeah, that surprised me as well.

18-11-10, 02:57 PM
Russia needs someone to help amortise the cost of their new SU-35 fighters. They've developed 2 new fighters (somewhat new anyway) but they themselves can barely afford to buy any of them. A foreign sale is the only way they will possibly be able to afford them in anything like the numbers they want. So far Russia has ordered only 48x SU-35. Who they hell can afford to develop a modern fighter for only 48x airframes, whilst simultaneously developing an even newer fighter?

No-one that's who and if it means a sale to China well, so be it. I suspect they'll just require China to order and pay for more upfront if they really want them. They'd have to know that China are likely to reverse engineer them if they are any good...

01-12-10, 12:02 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

Israel completes new upgrade on first F-16

By Arie Egozi

The Israeli air force has completed work to upgrade its first Lockheed Martin F-16C/D to the "Barak 2020" configuration. The programme involves equipping the strike aircraft with a new head-up display, digital debriefing system and other undisclosed capability enhancements.

Modifications are being performed at the squadron level, under the supervision of the air force's main technical unit number 22 - its central maintenance depot.

Further work will be conducted to upgrade simulators for the F-16C/D to incorporate the new systems.

Israel's air force plans to phase out its F-16A/Bs in the coming years and has no current plans to upgrade their systems. However, any delay to the delivery of the service's first Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters could affect the pace of their retirement.

02-12-10, 10:22 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Raytheon, Northrop Grumman take opposite paths on F-16 AESA sales

By Stephen Trimble

As rivals in a race to open an international market for retrofitting active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars on Lockheed Martin F-16s, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman are looking for customers in opposite locations.

The first customer for the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR), which shares 90 percent commonality with the APG-79 AESA aboard the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, may come from abroad, says Ken Murphy, a member of Raytheon's capture team.

"The international side realises they need to get out in from of the US [Air Force]," Murphy says. "We're hoping to see a [request for proposals] next year."

Murphy declined to cite specific countries, but Raytheon is known to have received export licenses to market RACR to Greece and South Korea.

Northrop Grumman, meanwhile, has predicted the US Air Force could move first.

Last month, Dave Wallace, Northrop's manager for F-16 sensor programme development, said a USAF decision to launch an AESA-retrofit programme is "right on the edge of their tongue".

Northrop offers the Scaleable Agile Beam Radar (SABR), which is derived from the APG-81 on the Lockheed F-35 and APG-80 on the F-16 Block 60.

Both companies have now integrated their AESA candidates on an F-16.

Most recently, Raytheon completed six flights with the RACR installed on a USAF F-16. Murphy acknowledges the RACR schedule was accelerated for a demonstration programme. Raytheon skipped the traditional step of installing the radar on a testbed aircraft, as Northrop tested SABR on a company-owned business jet.

But, Murphy explains, RACR could be integrated quickly because of its commonality with the APG-79 and Raytheon's experience with retrofitting an AESA on F/A-18E/Fs.

In only six flights, Raytheon tested several modes on RACR, including aerial search and track, synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indicator. The flights also showed that RACR could be integrated into the F-16's joint helmet mounted cueing system, allowing the pilot to cue the sensor with a head turn.

Murphy noted that such a system would prove ideal in a combat scenario on the Korean peninsula as a counter-artillery system.

"The capability that RACR brings would definitely help," he says. "Any type of AESA would be greatly needed and the capability it brings would be significant."

12-12-10, 06:01 AM
Turkey to upgrade PAF F-16s

By: Maqbool Malik | Published: December 11, 2010

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has opted for Turkish Aerospace Industrial Complex ‘TAI’ for the Mid Life Upgrade (MLU) of its F-16A/B aircraft fleet in a bid to enhance its operational capability.

Well-placed defence sources told The Nation on Friday that Pakistan and Turkey signed an agreement in this regard last week and the multimillion dollars project would begin soon. Sources said that Pakistan has opted for ‘TAI’ - the Ankara-based Turkish aerospace industrial complex - just for the cost-effectiveness after its lengthy negotiations with the US manufacturers failed to bear fruits. “The US manufacturers of the F-16 aircraft were very expensive. Therefore Pakistan had to opt for Turkey,” a source said.

Sources further said that under the agreement the project, that was expected to kick-start within next two months or so, would be executed in phases. The PAF, which currently has more than 40 F-16 A/B multi-roller fighter fleet, would soon start sending its F-16 aircraft to Turkey for the MLU.

TAI, established in 1984, is a joint venture of various Turkish companies and had successfully realised the co-production of F-16 fighters, CN-235 light transport/maritime patrol/surveillance aircraft, SF-260 trainers, Cougar AS-532 general purpose helicopters.

With its proven experience and know-how, TAI has improved its capabilities in the fields of design, production, modernisation, modification and systems integration of fixed and rotary wing air platforms, unmanned aerial vehicles and satellite.

Because of the high quality stringent standards including the NATO AQAP-2110, ISO-9001: 2000 and AS EN 9100, TAI has won position of a qualified supplier for Aermacchi, Agusta Westland, Airbus, Boeing, EADS CASA, Eurocopter, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, MDHI, Sikorsky etc.

13-12-10, 10:19 AM
Turkey may develop fighter aircraft with S Korea, Indonesia

Sunday, December 12, 2010

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

The Turkish Air Force is considering options for renewing its fleet. AA photo

Keen to bolster the capabilities of its Air Force, Turkey is interested in developing a new fighter aircraft with South Korea and Indonesia, senior Turkish and South Korean officials have said.

"There have been some preliminary talks about our possible participation in the KF-X program," a senior Turkish procurement official told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review over the weekend. "We are investigating the feasibility and possibilities of this program."

Maj. Gen. Choi Cha-kyu, director general of South Korea's aircraft program bureau at the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, said in September that Ankara was seriously considering taking part in the KF-X program.

"There will be a requirement [in Turkey] to replace the older fighters with newer ones by 2020," the daily Korea Times quoted Choi as saying at the time. "Once on board, Turkey is expected to bear the same amount of development costs as Indonesia."

The KF-X is a mainly South Korean program to develop an advanced multi-role fighter for the Air Forces of South Korea and Indonesia. It originally was launched in 2001, but then postponed because of financial and technological difficulties. The program will start again next year with the consent of budget authorities.

South Korea will provide 60 percent of the KF-X development costs worth some $4.2 billion, with the rest to come from other governments or corporate partners. About 120 KF-Xs would be built initially and more than 130 aircraft would be produced additionally after the first-phase models reach operational capability.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed in mid-July, Indonesia agreed to pay 20 percent of the bill and to buy about 50 KF-X planes when mass production begins.

South Korea also is seeking to receive technology transfers from Western aerospace firms. One possible corporate partner is Sweden’s Saab.

Other options

Turkey already has selected the U.S.-led F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II as its next-generation fighter aircraft type. It plans to buy about 100 F-35 aircraft worth nearly $15 billion. Many Turkish companies are members of the nine-nation Joint Strike Fighter consortium of nine Western nations, and are producing parts for the aircraft.

Lockheed Martin, the U.S. company leading the Joint Strike Fighter program, wants Turkey to increase the number of F-35 planes it plans to buy to 120 from 100. Turkey also will receive 30 F-16 Block 50 fighters from Lockheed as a stop-gap solution until F-35 deliveries begin around 2015.

But Turkish officials have said they are open to participating in one more future international fighter aircraft program.

Turkey also is facing pressure from Italy, a close defense partner, to buy the Eurofighter Typhoon, made by a European consortium including companies from Italy, Britain, Germany and Spain.

Giovanni Bertolone, executive vice president for operations at Finmeccanica, a top Italian industrial conglomerate, in early December called on Turkey to jointly produce the next phase of the Eurofighter. Finmeccanica is the parent company of Alenia Aeronautica, one of the makers of the Eurofighter.

Bertolone said the F-35 and the Eurofighter had different functions, and that Turkey could accommodate both fighters. The Eurofighter has been designed mainly as an air-to-air fighter while the F-35 is more suitable for air-to-ground missions.

In the event Turkey decides to buy the Eurofighter, these aircraft would replace the older U.S.-made F-4E Phantoms, recently modernized by Israel.

"We're encouraging Turkey to follow the examples of Britain and Italy, which will have both aircraft," Bertolone said. "Air-to-air fight capability is important, and we think this situation will gain prominence."

Many analysts believe that the planned South Korean-led KF-X also would be suitable for air-to-air fighting.

17-12-10, 03:02 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Turkey to Go it Alone on New Fighter?

Posted by Graham Warwick at 12/16/2010 11:01 AM CST

Even as Airbus and Boeing face the prospect of competing with Canada, China, Russia (and perhaps Brazil) for future narrowbody airliner orders, so the traditional rulers of the fighter market could find themselves battling with the likes of China, South Korea - and Turkey.

Local reports say Turkey's defense procurement committee has authorized a two-year conceptual design study of a fighter to be available after 2020 to replace the air force's F-4s and older F-16s. The study will be conducted by Turkish Aerospace Industries, which has produced the F-16 and is involved in the F-35 program.

English-language newspaper Hurriyet Daily News says Turkey is backing off from earlier talk of developing a new fighter jointly with Indonesia and South Korea, which is working on the KF-X project. Hurriyet quotes an anonymous procurment source as saying South Korea is unlikely to meet Turkey's demand for an equal partnership.

Hurriyet also quotes defense minister Vecdi Gönül as saying the Eurofighter Typhoon is "off Turkey's agenda". Ankara still plans to proceed with the acquisition of 100 F-35As to operate alongside its late-model F-16 Block 50s and the proposed new indigenous fighter.

Western and Russian fighter makers would seem to face a growing challenge, with South Korea launching concept definition of the KF-X, Indonesia signing an MoU to join the program, Japan looking at developing a stealthly fighter to enter service in the 2030s, and China pursuing a secret stealth fighter program.

Add in Egypt and Pakistan, which have each expressed a desire to develop (or codevelop) an advanced fighter, and India, which is beginning work on the stealthy Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, and the global fighter market looks set to get even more confused, complicated and politically charged than it is today.

28-12-10, 08:27 AM
12-27-2010 17:16

Seoul may revive development program for stealth fighter jets

By Na Jeong-ju

The military is considering developing its own stealth fighters by 2020 to counter North Korea’s military threats more effectively, according to media reports Monday.

Under a multi-billion-dollar project, codenamed “KF-X,” Seoul plans to develop indigenous, multi-role fighter jets by 2020.

However, the military is shifting the focus of the project to building stealth fighters in the wake of North Korea’s Nov. 23 artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island that killed two marines and two civilians.

“The basic concept of the program is being changed to develop a stealth fighter to evade the enemy’s radar systems,” Yonhap reported, quoting a military source. “The concept has been taking more concrete shape since the artillery attack.”

At a time when North Korea’s missiles and nuclear threats are growing, there has been a common understanding within the military that it should develop a stealth fighter to deter and cope with these.

“If our military has stealth fighters, it could put significant psychological pressure on the North Korean leadership,” the source said.

Initiated in 2001, the KF-X program had originally been aimed at developing and producing by 2020 about 120 fifth-generation fighters stealthier than Dassault's Rafale or the Eurofighter Typhoon, though not as much as Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightening II.

Officials said earlier that they were reconsidering introducing the fifth-generation stealth fighters due to technical and budgetary problems.

In late 2007, the Korea Development Institute, a state-funded think tank, concluded the KF-X would be nonviable economically. It said the program would cost at least $10 billion but could be expected to reap only $3 billion in economic benefits.

Some defense analysts have also raised questions on the technological aspects of the KF-X.

In a related move, the nation could delay the purchase of foreign stealth fighters under the F-X multi-phase fighter procurement program.

The F-X aims to buy 120 high-end fighter jets by 2020 in an effort to modernize the Air Force's fleet. Boeing won two previous deals in 2002 and 2008 to provide 61 F-15Ks.


28-12-10, 08:41 AM
12-27-2010 17:16

Seoul may revive development program for stealth fighter jets

By Na Jeong-ju

The military is considering developing its own stealth fighters by 2020 to counter North Korea’s military threats more effectively, according to media reports Monday.

Yes. This sounds reasonable. There is clearly nothing besides a low observable stealth jet, bought in small numbers, that will be able to counter North Korea's MiG-17/19/21 and Shangyeng J-5's (Chinese made variant of MiG-17) and handful of mid-80's standard MiG-29 fighters, that in total, number less than 150 aircraft...

28-12-10, 12:18 PM
We all know that South Korea develops it's force structure with one eye on the other side of the DMZ and the other on the far side of the straits of Tsushima.


29-12-10, 12:16 AM
The other factor increasingly important for the South Koreans are Exports and JV's with other nations. Having the ability to develop a "stealth" fighter is important for National Ego reasons for potential partners like Indonesia and Turkey............

29-12-10, 12:21 AM
Some of the web-blogs have been getting their, predominantly, Chinese knickers in a twist about this "new" fighter...........NOT really worth a shit unless they have somehow "magicked" their Aircraft Engine problems and longevity............piccies etc from Alert 5.........

XXJ being refueled

Posted in Uncategorized on December 28th, 2010

Another set of photos from China, this time it shows the new Chinese fighter being refueled by a bowser. Looks like its sporting a holographic HUD as well.

Another set of XXJ photos

Posted in Uncategorized on December 28th, 2010

A new set of photos on the Chinese fighter appeared today. The original images were small in size and these are blown up by someone from CDF.

29-12-10, 08:12 AM
These ones?



I wonder if Carlo might ACTUALLY sh*t himself with fear, when he sees these? I'm mean it's only one small step up from being unable to sleep through fear of the Chinese SU-30's, which he's already publicly stated he has suffered from...

29-12-10, 08:22 AM
More from Defense Systems.................

China’s 5th Generation Fighter Exposed?

December 27, 2010


Chinese aerospace enthusiast could not wait for the first flight of the J-20, depicting the new fighter with much of the hypothetical design features in these impressive drawing. To get a better look at the actual design of the aircraft we'll have to wait for better pictures.

Reports coming form internet sites in China have published images of a large, stealth-like aircraft that, if confirmed, could be the first hard evidence of China’s new 5th Genaration multirole aircraft. The images show the parked aircraft being inspected, and taxiing along a taxiway. Analysts in the West accepted the images with some doubts, due to the Chinese’ in displaying imaginary ‘facts’ but the photos released today seem genuine. recent reports coming from China mention Chengdu has recently completed two J-20 technology demonstrator aircraft sofar, one model will be used for the test flights and another one will be used for ground testing.

This image is the latest , and what seems to be the most realistic depiction of China's new J-20 5th Generation multi-role fighter aircraft being prepared for taxi runs. First flight could occur early next year.

The development of such program was known for some time but has never officially attributed to a specific type or maker. In 2009 deputy commander of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force He Weirong stated in a TV interview that China had multiple such programs underway and that an as-yet-undesignated fifth-generation fighter developed jointly by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation and Shenyang Aircraft Corporation would be in service by 2017-2019. According to U.S. intelligence assessments Chinese 5th generation aircraft could become operational by the turn of the decade.

Comparative view of several 5th Generation stealth fighters sizes the new J-20 between the F-22A and Russian T-50. However, a top view indicates the Chinese design could be radically different from the U.S. or Russian planes.

“The impression here is of a big, long aircraft, 70+ feet from nose to tail, which would make sense for a number of reasons. Rob Hewson at Jane’s has reported that Russia has supplied 32,000-pound thrust 117S engines for the J-20, which would be adequate for an aircraft in the 80,000 pound class – with perhaps lower supercruise performance and agility than an F-22, but with larger weapon bays and more fuel” writes aerospace analyst Bill Sweetman, editor of Aviation Week/DTI. Chinese sources have claimed that production aircraft will be powered by two 13,200kg/WS-10 class high thrust turbofan engines, coupled with Thrust Vector Controlled (TVC) nozzles both made in China. Russian assistance has been speculated with the supply of 14,000kg class Salyut 99M2 turbofan engines powering the prototypes. The Chinese could also get Russian assistance in radar cross section simulation for the new stealth design.

This image shows a (photoshop?) mockup of what is believed to be an early version J-12, developed at Chengdu in the early 2000s. China is currently working on a local derivative of the Russian Su-35, designated J-15.

A Chinese artist impression of the J20.

© 2010 defense-update.com

29-12-10, 08:27 AM
These ones?

I wonder if Carlo might ACTUALLY sh*t himself with fear, when he sees these? I'm mean it's only one small step up from being unable to sleep through fear of the Chinese SU-30's, which he's already publicly stated he has suffered from...

Yeah they are the later photos, I won't bother uploading and reprinting the previous ones as the quality is nowhere near as good.............

Floppsy Bunny is paranoid in any case, this will just add to it.........hopefully!

Two more.........

30-12-10, 07:33 AM
Clear front shot..........

30-12-10, 01:25 PM
That rudder deflection has got to be shopped!

That level of deflection in flight would probably result in either the tailplane leaving the aircraft, or the aircraft entering a catastrophic departure from controlled flight.


Gubler, A.
30-12-10, 01:28 PM
That rudder deflection has got to be shopped!

That level of deflection in flight would probably result in either the tailplane leaving the aircraft, or the aircraft entering a catastrophic departure from controlled flight.

I suggested it might be an air brake function for landing braking similar to the Gripen's canards on another forum.

Marc 1
30-12-10, 02:45 PM
I suggested it might be an air brake function for landing braking similar to the Gripen's canards on another forum.

As an airbrake, wouldn't you expect symetry between the two surfaces? Then again, the nosewheel is pointing the nose in the direction of the braked tail - maybe it's a feature?

Oh christ - I'm speculating like a fanboi on DT!!!!!!!! (and maybe its got rockets and is invisible with a cloaking devce an' the pilot has a really cool espresso machine....)

05-01-11, 01:15 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

Long March: China’s fifth-generation fighter is years away

By Greg Waldron

Images of a new aircraft purported to be China's fifth-generation fighter have created a stir among aviation enthusiasts, but a true Chinese combat aircraft in this category is probably well over a decade away from readiness.

In late December grainy photographs emerged on Chinese websites of an aircraft described as the fifth-generation Chengdu J-20. Most of the images appeared to show the aircraft during taxi tests, although one especially pixellated image showed what appeared to be the new aircraft close to taking off.

While there is the possibility that the aircraft is a hoax, Chinese air force generals have reportedly hinted about the existence of a fifth-generation fighter programme known as J-XX.

Some similarities to the Lockheed Martin F-22 and Sukhoi's PAK-FA/T-50 demonstrator are apparent. The J-20 features a blended fuselage and large, canted twin tails, while its fuselage has some low-observable characteristics. On the other hand, the aircraft's thrust nozzles are clearly fixed, whereas thrust vectoring has become de rigueur for even some fourth-generation fighters.

Douglas Barrie, senior fellow for military aerospace at the Institute of Strategic Studies, warns about concluding much based on available images.

"Drawing even tentative conclusions about anything other than the basic airframe configuration strikes me as speculative," he says. "The canard-delta configuration, coupled with canted vertical fins, is reminiscent of MiG's now cancelled 1.42 programme, and it would be interesting to know why the Chinese designers settled on this approach, rather than that of the Lockheed F-22 or Sukhoi T-50 platform."

Barrie says Sukhoi moved away from the "tri-plane" configuration in its latest revision of the Su-27, the Su-27SM2/Su-35, which disposes of the canard design of the Su-27M.

The J-20 also appears to be very large for a fighter. In one photo it dwarfs a truck, suggesting a size similar to the General Dynamics F-111, or perhaps more appropriately the long-retired Tupolev Tu-128. Size alone could suggest that the aircraft is not a fighter, but a bomber.

Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia is also dubious about the new aircraft. "I'm less sure that it's even much of an impressive airframe," he says. "There are two rather large canards. I'm not sure that can be reconciled with a low-observable design. It looks like something that might have been designed in 1985."

Despite China's clear ambitions to be a leader in both civil and military aviation, other programmes suggest that it lacks the building blocks to create a truly fifth-generation combat aircraft.

Chengdu's fourth-generation J-10 first appeared in 2006 after a decade of testing, but many experts feel it is comparable with Western aircraft of the 1980s. More recently, Beijing has struggled to develop the Shenyang J-15 carrier-borne fighter, a reverse-engineered version of the Su-33 that first flew 25 years ago.

One area where China is particularly weak is jet engines, with reports suggesting that its most advanced model, the Shenyang WS-10, requires an overhaul after every 20h of operation. The J-10 uses Russian Saturn AL-31s, as does the J-11B, a locally produced version of the Su-27.

Even the Chengdu JF-17 Thunder - an inexpensive aircraft pitched to developing nations such as Pakistan as a third-generation platform - is powered by the Klimov RD-93.

"People have seen the F-22 and this has given them ideas about how to approach stealth," says Richard Bitzinger, a senior fellow with Singapore's S Rajaratnam School of International Studies' Military Transformations Programme.

He points out that the F-22, the world's only operational stealth fighter, relies not only on a low-observable design, but also on the sophisticated integration of coatings and materials. The US Air Force type is also covered with sensors and avionics, many of which remain classified.

"The J-20 could make its first flight this year, but it is bound to have a long flight-test programme," Bitzinger says. In his view, China's fifth-generation fighter is over a decade away. For the time being the country will focus on cost-effective programmes such as the J-10 and J-11B to replace older types such as its air force's Chengdu J-7s - based on the Mikoyan MiG-21 - and Shenyang J-8s.

Bitzinger says that if China were to field J-10s and J-11Bs in sufficient numbers, it would be able to outclass key regional rivals such as Japan and Taiwan.

05-01-11, 01:31 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

PICTURE: Turkish air force to get first new F-16 in March

By Tolga Ozbek

Turkish Aerospace Industries will deliver the Turkish air force's first new Lockheed Martin F-16 during March under the Peace Onyx 4 programme.

A total of 30 new Block 50+ F-16C/Ds will be manufactured in Ankara under a 2007 agreement between Turkey and Lockheed. The first two-seat aircraft covered by the $1.65 billion deal was shown to President Abdullah Gul of Turkey in December.

TAI started manufacturing F-16s in 1987. It had delivered 240 to the Turkish air force by 1998, plus 46 to the Egyptian air force. The company reopened its assembly line for the type in late 2009.

Flightglobal's MiliCAS database lists the Turkish air force as operating 213 F-16C/Ds. Its latest attrition purchase comprises 14 single-seat fighters and 16 trainers.

© Turkish Aerospace Industries

05-01-11, 02:20 PM
Powering up

Jet engines: A nifty new engine design promises to improve combustion efficiency, thus cutting fuel consumption and reducing emissions

IN A world worried about global warming, improving the cleanliness and efficiency of jet engines is a priority for airlines and aircraft manufacturers. It is not just altruism: greener engines also use less fuel, and so cut costs. Incremental improvements over the years have made a difference. Modern jets burn only half as much fuel per unit of thrust as their 1960s counterparts. But some people think it is time for a radical redesign. One of those people is David Lior, the boss of a small Israeli firm called R-Jet Engineering.

Jet engines rely on Isaac Newton’s third law of motion: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When a jet is running, a compressor at the front draws in air and compresses it (see illustration). This air is guided and diffused by static blades to allow for easier ignition when it is mixed with fuel and ignited in a combustion chamber. The reaction comes in the form of rapidly expanding hot gases, which blast out of the rear of the jet and thus drive the aircraft forward. As they do so, they pass through another set of static blades which direct and accelerate the hot gases to turn a turbine. The turbine is connected by a shaft to the compressor at the front, thus turning it and keeping the whole process running.

The approach taken by R-Jet involves having the air and hot gases in the combustor rotate with the compressor and turbine. To achieve this, the company uses what it calls an orbiting combustion nozzle (OCN), which turns with the compressor to inject the air into the combustion chamber as a vortex. The vortex is maintained by blades that rotate on the inner casing of the combustor. This swirling action helps mix the air and fuel for a more complete and much quicker combustion. The hot gases then exit, also in a vortex, to drive the turbine.

This, says Dr Lior, eliminates the need for the two sets of static blades. That means an OCN engine can be built more cheaply with fewer components. It would also need to be only half the size of a conventional jet of similar power, says Dr Lior. The engine would use at least 25% less fuel and, he claims, its emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide would be cut by three-quarters because of its unique ignition properties.

So why are airlines not beating their way to R-Jet’s door? The company, founded by a group of Israeli military officials and jet-turbine experts from the former Soviet Union, has built a technology demonstrator but needs a bigger partner to take the concept further. As with any radical change to an existing technology, especially a jet engine, a large installed base of expertise together with lots of regulation mean it can be hard for a newcomer to make headway. To ease its entry into the market, R-Jet reckons that OCN engines could be used first as generators to produce electricity, or to power unmanned drone aircraft. Having established a track record for themselves in this way, the engines could then migrate to their intended use on airliners.

The big aircraft-engine-makers are exploring new ideas for jet engines. The most obvious change has been to their shape. Whereas jet engines were long and slim in the 1960s, today they have a vast opening at the front containing a giant fan. This fan is used to blow up to 90% of the air around the outside of the compressor and combustion chamber. This air is slower-moving than that going through the jet, but its greater mass also means it provides plenty of thrust—and more efficiently too, which is why modern “high-bypass” jets burn only half as much fuel as their 1960s counterparts. They are also some 80% quieter because the mass of slower-moving air shrouds the noisy hot gases coming from the rear of the jet.

One way to increase the efficiency of a high-bypass jet engine is to turn the fan into an open rotor, a bit like returning to propellers, but using two rings of stubby counter-rotating blades. Rolls-Royce and General Electric are looking at this approach. Pratt & Whitney is exploring putting a gearbox between the fan and the turbine, because fans run more efficiently at low speeds and turbines operate better at high speeds.

But however high-bypass engines are built in the future, at their core they will still have a basic jet engine. So if R-Jet’s technology can prove itself, it might provide another leap forward.

06-01-11, 12:38 AM
That rudder deflection has got to be shopped!

That level of deflection in flight would probably result in either the tailplane leaving the aircraft, or the aircraft entering a catastrophic departure from controlled flight.


What about deflection amount as a function of airspeed, so the thing can remain controllable at those slow speed flpsy airshow moments (thinking SU26 aerobatics from the late 80s).

06-01-11, 11:44 AM
J-20 stealth fighter: can any conclusions can be drawn about China's fifth-generation fighter programme?

Photographs released on the internet have provoked speculation that China is making rapid progress towards producing a state-of-the-art fighter jet, to compete with the United States, India and Russia.

The photographs appear to show the aircraft, variously known as the J20 and JXX, taxing along a runway.

Shock, horror, so its NOT a P51 Mustang killer...................OMG! :doh

Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, recently said China would be able to produce a combat jet by 2020, but if the photographs are genuine, it would suggest that it may be able to do so a decade or more sooner.

The photographs come amid growing fears over China's rapidly-expanding military capabilities. Naval experts have expressed concern over the Dong Feng-21D ballistic missile, which is designed to target aircraft carriers in mid-sea – thus denying the United States its traditional military dominance of the Pacific.

Fifth generation fighter jets are so designated because of their ability to evade radar even when carrying armaments, and computer systems which can network with other elements in a battle theatre. The US-manufactured F-22 is the only combat-ready fifth generation fighter.

Experts, however, are warning against drawing conclusions on the basis of the photographs.

Douglas Barrie, an aerospace expert at the International Institute of Strategic Studies, noted that the J20's airframe resembled that of an abandoned Russian prototype, the MiG 1.42.

"I'm not sure that its even much of an impressive airframe," said Richard Aboulafia, another analyst. "It looks like something that might have been designed in 1985."

For the most part, China's combat aircraft programme has lagged behind its competitors in the west and Russia.

China's fourth-generation combat jet, the J-10, appeared in 2006 – but experts say it compares with western aircraft that went into production two decades ago. Beijing has also struggled to develop the Shenyang J-15 carrier-borne jet, reverse-engineered from the Russian-made Sukhoi 33.

China's fifth-generation fighter programme, experts say, faces several critical challenges as it moves forward from prototype stage to actual production.

For example, Chinese avionics – the software-controlled electronic systems which gave modern combat jets their cutting-edge mission capabilities – are believed to be a generation behind their US, European, Israeli and Russian counterparts.

It is also unclear what kind of engine the new Chinese jet will use. Some commentators have suggested that a new prototype engine, the WS 15, will power the J20. The engine, however, is some years away from going into production – and potential foreign suppliers will be cautious about supplying equipment, because of fears over cloning.

Last summer, Russia threatened to cut off supplies of jet engines for China's JF-17, saying it had been cloned from its Sukhoi 27/30 and MiG 29 aircraft – and was being sold for $10 million less than the original.

Illya Kramnik, a Russian expert, said that "despite the strides made by China's aircraft designers in the last 20 years, China has only slightly narrowed the technological gap dividing it from the global leaders."

06-01-11, 01:58 PM
Rumored Stealth Jet Undergoes Tests: Report

(Source: Global Times (China); published Jan. 5, 2011)

By leaking photographs of the J-20 fighter undergoing ground tests, China has provoked a debate on its military and technological capabilities days before hosting US Defense Secretary Robert Gates. (Chinese internet photo)

The rumored prototype of China's "J-20 stealth fighter jet" has created a stir over the nation's defensive advancements, but analysts suggest that any such program would simply reflect the country's industrial military progress.

Pictures of the alleged fourth-generation jet fighter, equivalent to a fifth-generation craft under Western classifications, have been circulating on the Internet since mid-December.

The US-based Aviation Week magazine reported Monday that the prototype was undergoing high-speed tests late last week at the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute's airfield in Sichuan Province.

Citing a picture taken by unknown sources, the report said that the J-20 resembles the shape of the US Air Force's F-22 Raptor and "would facilitate loading larger weapons" than the US jet due to a higher ground clearance.

However, the report said engine development was still a problem, adding that it is still too early to tell whether the J-20 is a true prototype or intended to simply demonstrate technology.

The Moscow-based RIA Novosti News Agency reported earlier that the J-20 could use the indigenous Shenyang WS-10 engine, which is inferior to Russian-made engines.

Chinese authorities have not commented on the latest speculations, but He Weirong, deputy commander of the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), told China Central Television a year ago that the country was "making progress in developing a fourth-generation fighter jet."

Shortly after his statement, the PLAAF clarified that the aircraft He referred to was actually an upgrade of the third-generation J-10 that possesses some fourth-generation features such as stealth and super-cruise capabilities.

"If the development of the J-20 is true, it will be another reflection of China's fast industrial advancement, which has already been highlighted by high-speed railways and space exploration," Song Xiaojun, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times. "Besides the global, military impact, the rumored J-20 also bears political significance because it represents China's growing power."

He disagreed with some media reports that China is becoming aggressive militarily. "The country's increasing military strength matches its economic growth," Song added.

"Fifth generation" is a term used by US officials to described the most advanced fighter jets that incorporate technologies such as all aspects of stealth, even when armed, as well as possess a low probability of radar intercept and highly integrated computer systems. Under this classification, the US is the only country in the world that has combat-ready, fifth-generation aircraft, namely the F-22 and the F-35 Lightning II models. Russia's fifth-generation fighter jet, the T-50, made its debut in January 2010 but has not been equipped by the air force.

In December, Moscow and New Delhi reached a raft of defense and nuclear deals potentially worth billions of dollars, including joint design and development of fifth-generation fighter aircraft based on the T-50.

It took 15 years for the US military to develop the F-22, which costs around $150 million per unit. However, its production was terminated after President Barack Obama signed the country's 2010 defense bill that included huge spending cuts.

In promoting the defense bill, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in 2009 that China "is projected to have no fifth-generation aircraft by 2020" and only a "handful" by 2025, Reuters reported.

Li Daguang, a military expert at the PLA National Defense University, told the Global Times that Gates' prediction was overly optimistic.

"The recent rumor about the J-20 is pure speculation," he said. "The F-22 is an offensive weapon that fits Washington's global strategy. China's defense development is self-defensive in nature and does not require a fighter jet of that caliber.

"Furthermore, if China does want a fourth-generation fighter jet, it needs to build a large number of them in order to affect the regional military balance. The US has capped its number of F-22s at 187. How many should China build?"

Li also noted that China's aviation technology is still far away from competing with Western countries, especially the US.

"Some Western media are more optimistic than Gates, and than the Chinese people," he said. "They've hyped the issue because they want to." (ends)

US Downplays J-20

(Source: Global Times; published Jan. 6, 2011)

China is still years away from being able to field a stealth aircraft, dubbed the J-20, a US Navy official said Wednesday.

"In terms of the stealth photos, the IOC (initial operational capability) on the stealth aircraft, it's still not clear to me when it's going to become operational," US Vice Admiral David Dorsett, director of naval intelligence, said. (ends)

[I've NOT included the "input" from APA as its unadulterated crapola.........again!]

07-01-11, 12:31 PM
I saw some of APA's comments on another forum.

Basically it is as good as a F22, so the US must start building F22s again, ditch F35s and sell F22s to Australia.

Ie. the usual drek.

08-01-11, 03:46 AM
China Is Loving America’s Stealth Jet Freakout

By Spencer Ackerman January 7, 2011 | 5:38 pm

As the U.S. defense chief leaves for Beijing this weekend, some in China are busting a gut over how panicked American commentators appear over new Chinese stealth planes and anti-ship missiles.

Aviation circles are consumed with any and all news about the J-20, China’s first stealth jet. (You can have a lot of fun searching for “J-20″ on YouTube.) Its appearance on the internet coincided with Adm. Robert Willard’s public declaration that China’s carrier-killer missile reached the early stages of readiness. And with China starting to (maybe) build its own aircraft carrier, that’s got American defense analysts catching the vapors.

“Shades of 1939 are here again,” retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney wrote in a Fox News essay, claiming that the U.S.’s forthcoming F-35 will be no match for the J-20 — which so far only exists to the U.S. in the form of grainy photos. The only answer to forestall Chinese air hegemony? “[I]nsert funding for 12 F-22s into the 2011 budget that is under a Continuing Resolution now while the F-22 line is still open — and keep that line going as a counter to this fast developing Chinese threat.”

Vice Adm. Jack Dorsett tried to tamp down hyperventilation over the J-20 this week, while conceding that the new DF-21D anti-ship missile really is worrisome — as is China’s advancement in lasers, jammers, cyberwar and space.

All of that prompts a bout of smugness from China’s Global Times. “It is both natural and unnatural for the US to be concerned about China developing new weapons,” it editorializes. “Most powers wish that their superiority will last forever. China is growing up fast, and the US military edge over China is unavoidably shrinking.” The freakout will only be “dangerous for Sino-US relations.” If China could weaponize the sheer passive-aggression of this editorial, it would be the undisputed master of Asia.

Robert Gates’ China trip is designed to test whether there can be a more even keel to U.S.-Chinese military relations, after China suspended them last year to protest arms sales to Taiwan. For months, Gates has called for regularized mil-mil dialogue to reduce “miscommunication, misunderstanding, and miscalculation,” something Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has echoed.

Whether that’ll be the result of Gates’ trip remains to be seen. China’s smarting from its neighbors’ moves toward the U.S. — like Vietnam — in response to its aggressive 2010 regional posture. At the same time, Josh Rogin reports that Gates won’t get to see any People’s Liberation Army facilities that previous defense chiefs haven’t seen. But watch the Chinese laugh even harder if the U.S. hyperventilates over that.

08-01-11, 05:49 AM
JANUARY 8, 2011.

China Stealth Jet 'Leak' Viewed as Intentional .


BEIJING—Fresh video and still images of China's supposed stealth fighter prototype have emerged online, fueling speculation among military officials and experts about why the secretive military would suddenly allow the curtain to be lifted on such a sensitive project.

Despite China's tight Internet controls, Chinese bloggers have posted dozens of images of the J-20 online in the week leading up to a long-delayed visit by Robert Gates, the U.S. defense secretary, who arrives in Beijing Sunday on a mission to repair military ties.

Several Chinese bloggers have also posted what appear to be firsthand accounts of the J-20 conducting high-speed taxi tests—one of the last stages before a test flight—at the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute in western China.

The Chinese government and military have maintained silence on the apparent tests, which suggest that China is making faster-than-expected progress in developing a potential rival to the U.S. F-22—the world's only fully operational stealth fighter.

Yet Chinese bloggers described in detail Friday how Chinese officials had arrived at the airfield in motorcades and private jets to inspect the J-20 and pose for photographs wearing the pilot's helmet and sitting in the cockpit.

Many of the bloggers, some of whom appeared to be at the scene, said they had expected the aircraft to make its first test flight Friday, and were disappointed when the visiting officials dispersed without the J-20 taking off.

China's state media, meanwhile, sent mixed signals by quoting foreign media reports on the aircraft, and reactions to those reports from Chinese defense analysts, without actually confirming or denying that the tests were taking place.

Some experts suggest that this is China's way of responding to U.S. demands for greater transparency about its military build-up—one of the key issues overshadowing Mr. Gates's trip and a state visit to the U.S. by Chinese President Hu Jintao later in January.

Others suggest the images' publication is designed to send a message that China is emerging as a global military power even faster than most U.S. officials and experts have predicted—including Mr. Gates himself, who downplayed China's stealth fighter prospects in 2009.

Another theory is that the images were directed more at a Chinese audience in response to a recent agreement between Russia and India—China's two biggest neighbors and former military adversaries—to jointly develop a stealth fighter.

Most experts agree, however, that it is no accident that the pictures were published just before Mr. Gates arrives in China to meet his counterpart for the first time since military ties were suspended in January last year over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

Chinese authorities routinely delete politically sensitive material from the Internet, and often detain those who post it, but appear to have allowed most of the discussion and images of the J-20 to appear on military and aviation enthusiasts' blogs and websites.

The J-20 was until recently so secret that it did not have an official name and was known as the J-XX among Western defense and intelligence officials and experts.

"If anyone can keep a secret, it's China. This week's J-20-fest wasn't an accident," wrote Greg Waldron, deputy Asia editor of GlobalFlight.com, in his blog on the website of Flight International magazine.

"There are two possible reasons for the easy access the world is getting to the J-20. Either A) the country is trying to be more open, or B) they are trying to send a message," he said.

Gareth Jennings, aviation desk editor at Jane's Defence Weekly, said: "You definitely get the sense that it's being, not exactly stage-managed, but they're clearly not upset about the images being out there."

China does have a track record of gradually declassifying military programs by allowing occasional images to appear online, according to Douglas Barrie, senior fellow for military aerospace at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

"The timing is interesting as India is an obvious peer competitor," he said. "The officially sanctioned leakings may have been intended for a domestic audience to say: 'It's not just the Indians who'll have one of these; we do too.'"

However, he said there may have been a "mischievous element" in allowing the images' release just before Mr. Gates's visit.

Mr. Gates cut funding for the F-22 in 2009, predicting that China would not have any such planes by 2020 and only a handful by 2025.

A few months later, He Weirong, the deputy head of China's air force, announced that China's first stealth fighters were about to undergo test flights and would be deployed in "eight or 10 years."

U.S. defense and intelligence officials now say they expect China to start deploying the aircraft by around 2018.

Vice Adm. David J. Dorsett, the U.S. director of naval intelligence, told reporters this week that China was advancing faster than expected in some areas, although he said he could not tell from the J-20 pictures when it would be fully tested and operational.

"They've entered operational capability quicker than we frequently project," he said, according to an account of the briefing on the U.S. Navy's website.

"We've been on the mark on an awful lot of our assessments, but there have been a handful of things we've underestimated."

He said China's military was becoming more open, but not enough to reassure the U.S. about how it plans to use its new capabilities, which include an aircraft carrier and an antiship ballistic missile, both of which are expected to be deployed in the next year or so.

"Over the years, the Chinese military doctrine was 'hide and bide': hide your resources and bide your time," he said. "They now appear to have shifted into an era where they're willing to show their resources and capabilities."

Meanwhile, military aviation experts were scrutinizing the J-20 images to see what, if anything, they could tell about the aircraft's capabilities.

They can tell little about its stealth capability, as that depends not just on its shape, but on the composite materials it is made from, the paint that covers it, and the technology that it carries on board.

However, they are hoping to be able to tell if it is using a Chinese engine, as China has been trying for years to develop its own models to replace the Russian ones that it either imports or produces under license to power almost all its jet fighters.

Some aviation experts said the images suggested that there were either two prototypes undergoing tests, each with a different kind of engine—possibly one Russian and one Chinese — or that two types of engine had been tested in the same prototype.

The J-20 is expected to be China's first "fifth-generation" fighter, meaning it will likely have radar-evading stealth capability, the ability to cruise at supersonic speeds without using fuel-hungry afterburners, and the capacity to take off and land from a short runway.

—Yoli Zhang contributed to this article.

09-01-11, 09:47 AM
Way too many so called pundits predicting the end of US air dominance on the basis of some imagery.

Look at the issues that the world's most experienced builders and operators of 5th generation and stealth aircraft had with the F22 and are having with the F35, and tell me exactly how the Chinese are going to replicate decades of manufacturing and operational expertise in less than a decade.

Plenty of these so-called 'experts' and analysts' need to have a cold shower, take a deep breath and think first rather than react.

10-01-11, 01:41 AM
'Stealth' Chinese Fighter Jet Photos No Accident

By Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney

Published January 06, 2011

The Chinese have deliberately and very cleverly leaked their new fifth generation stealth fighter, the J-20, just in time for Secretary of Defense Gates' long delayed visit to Beijing this Sunday.

This is another move by the Chinese to subtly send the current American administration -- and our Asian allies signals -- that they are investing heavily in military capabilities that will dominate Asia in the future.

Could we see the first flight of this prototype during Secretary Gates visit or perhaps even when President Hu Jintao visits Washington on January 19? This is a very interesting question but it is clear to me that these important visits are linked with these initial sightings of the J-20 at the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute's airfield.

The J-20 looks like a knockoff of the USAF’s FB-22 that Lockheed proposed in 2002. It makes sense that it would now shows up as a prototype, almost ten years later, in China a country that has been the single biggest leader in cyber-espionage in the world.

It's a stolen design? Gimme a break, the only similarity between this and FB-22 is a cosmetic exterior appearance..........they can't possibly have designed this now can they? (Despite the fact the Chinese have been sending their Educated Elite overseas to be trained and educated for generations now..........)

Make no mistake, with China as our single leading creditor nation, the country has been moving forward aggressively to build a very creditable anti-access/anti-denial (AAAD) capability that is outstripping our capabilities to operate in the Taiwan Straits or the Chinese littoral.

On any given day we would be lucky to have 70 F-22s and 5 B-2s operationally available worldwide plus the new F-35 which will be no match for the J-20. Shades of 1939 are here again.

And WHAT does he base this uneasy assumption on? Chinese hyperbole? American hysteria and phobia? The uneducated stupidity of APA? Good God Almighty people are going to have this thing flying thru' Space doing Interplanetary travel next........

The Obama administration’s decision to kill the F-22 production line in April 2009 without a whimper from a Democratically-controlled Congress does not look very good now. I can assure our readers it will have huge adverse consequences in the future. Alarm bells should be going off in the new Republican Congress. I hope they are not in denial like their predecessors.

The quickest solution would be to insert funding for 12 F-22s into the 2011 budget that is under a Continuing Resolution now while the F-22 line is still open -- and keep that line going as a counter to this fast developing Chinese threat.

Our Japanese and Australian allies in the Pacific would be delighted to buy this superb stealth fighter aircraft if we would only let them. Burden sharing by our allies is going to be even more important for stability in Asia in the future.

Secretary Gates' and President Hu Jintao’s visits and discussions will further reveal that the Chinese have a different vision of their future position in Asia than the United States and our allies had previously imagined.

Bottom line: Beware America, time is running out!

Thomas G. McInerney is a retired Air Force Lt. Gen who graduated from West Point in 1959 and retired as Assistant Vice Chief of the Air Force. He is a Fox News military analyst.

10-01-11, 08:18 AM
McInerney sounds like a shill for the F22, I wonder whose payroll he might be on?

10-01-11, 12:14 PM
Sounds like an "air to air" man to me.

After completing the Armed Forces Staff College in February 1970, he was transferred to the Directorate of Operational Requirements, Air Force headquarters. During this assignment he participated in many high-level study groups on the Middle East, air-to-air missile requirements and the F-15 advanced air superiority fighter.


11-01-11, 12:07 AM
Don’t Panic: China’s New Stealth Jet Takes to the Air (Maybe)

By David Axe January 10, 2011 | 2:27 pm | Categories: China

Two weeks after grainy photos proved the existence of China’s first stealth fighter, the Chengdu J-20 might have just flown for the first time. The debut flight over southwest China, possibly depicted in the photo above, marks the beginning of a likely long and difficult testing phase for the large, angular airplane.

The photo could be a fake. Even if it is, the J-20’s debut flight is surely imminent. A planned take-off last week was scrubbed due to bad weather.

In any event, it could be a decade or more before J-20s begin to roll out of Chinese factories in meaningful numbers. But that doesn’t mean pundits, analysts and hawkish politicians aren’t already wringing their hands and warning of impending doom. That’s the same doom, it should be noted, that some observers predicted when Russia’s T-50 stealth prototype made its first flight a year ago.

In truth, any alarm over the J-20 is premature — note the Pentagon’s cool indifference. Right now, no one outside of the Chinese government knows what the J-20 is for, or what it’s capable of. The best anyone can do is guess, based on assumptions derived from a handful of digital snapshots. Those guesses, and their implications, are the subject of my latest article for The Diplomat.

Based on the J-20’s apparent size — around 70 feet from nose to tail, compared to just 60 feet for the F-22 Raptor — Defense Technology International editor Bill Sweetman proposed that the J-20 is “a bomber as much as, if not more than, a fighter.” The Chinese jet has “perhaps lower super-cruise performance and agility than an F-22, but with larger weapon bays and more fuel,” Sweetman added. “Super-cruise” is the ability to travel long distances at supersonic speed, something only the F-22 can really do, at the moment.

“Why would China need or want a short-range stealth aircraft?” Sweetman continued. “Any targets with defenses that call for that [stealth and speed] capability are a long way from the mainland.” Realistically, those targets could include Indian air defenses, Taiwanese airfields and U.S. Navy warships cruising the South China Sea.

It would make sense for Beijing to invest in a new, stealthy fighter-bomber. The People’s Liberation Army Air Force is already reasonably well-equipped with fresh new J-10 and J-11 fighters, rough equivalents of the F-16 and F-15, respectively. But the PLAAF’s main fighter-bomber is the older JH-7, a mediocre performer mostly incapable of launching modern guided weapons — and certainly doomed in the face of modern air defenses.

Taking the opposing view, Carlo Kopp and Peter Goon, partners in the Air Power Australia think-tank, argue that the J-20 is a fighter more than a bomber. Since they do not dispute the J-20’s apparent large size, they assume the Chinese plane is optimized for fast, high-altitude interception using long-range missiles, as opposed to close-range dogfighting. Kopp and Goon see waves of J-20s pounding through U.S., Taiwanese and allied defenses to target the vital support planes — E-3 AWACS, Rivet Joint spy planes, EC-130 radar jammers, etc. — that orbit behind the battle-lines.

By taking down these support forces, the J-20 could “significantly complicate if not close down air operations” for the U.S. in the Pacific. And forget using Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets or Air Force F-35A Joint Strike Fighters to stop the J-20s. Both American jets are “aerodynamically and kinematically quite inferior” to the Chinese stealth fighter, Kopp and Goon wrote.

Kopp and Goon have long advocated more F-22s as the only way to counter new Russian and Chinese fighters. Taking up this line, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney advocated Congress “insert funding for 12 F-22s into the 2011 budget” and keep buying the $150-million-a-copy jet indefinitely.

The Pentagon has ignored this advice, sticking with the planned total of just 187 Raptors and planning for an eventual purchase of more than 2,000 smaller, hopefully cheaper F-35s.

In doing so, the U.S. military brass seems to recognize several important truths. First, for all its apparent design strengths as a bomber or a fighter, the J-20 seems to rely on imported Russian engines — just as many other Chinese jets do. That gives Russia effective veto power over the J-20’s use in combat. All Moscow has to do is shut down the supply and support of engines to ground the J-20 and indeed most of the PLAAF.

Secondly, there are lots of ways to shoot down or otherwise disable Chinese fighters. Counting just American forces, there are: Air Force F-15s, F-16s, F-22s and (soon) F-35s; Navy and Marine F/A-18s and F-35s; Navy Aegis destroyers and cruisers; and Army surface-to-air missiles. But in a major shooting war, the Navy and Air Force wouldn’t wait for J-20s or other Chinese fighters to even take off. Cruise-missile-armed submarines and bombers would pound Chinese airfields; the Air Forces would take down Chinese satellites and thus blind PLAAF planners; American cyber-attackers could disable Beijing’s command networks.

Of course, China could reverse any of these tactics and use them against the U.S. and its allies. But the point stands: any Pacific shooting war would be a much more complex (and awful) affair than a simple showdown between jet fighters. The J-20 alone could not win that war any more than the F-22 could. Arguably, even fighting the war in the first place would represent a major defeat for the U.S., China and the whole world.

A little context helps explain why the Pentagon remains calm over the whole J-20 issue — and everyone else should, too. We still don’t know what the J-20 really is, and how it might eventually, subtly shape the Pacific balance of power. All we can do now is wait, watch and keep working on our own fighters — all without panicking or spending ourselves into oblivion.

Photo: Chinese Internet; via Flightglobal.com

11-01-11, 11:59 AM
First flight (that we know of.........)..............we're all doomed I tell you! I've gone to the Darkside..............

11-01-11, 03:04 PM
Anyone remember when Goon panned the F-35A AA-1 for flying with it's wheels down on it's first flight? It was on Ares if I recall his lunacy aright. There is so much of it though that it is difficult to keep track of sometimes, but I'm pretty sure it was there. Or maybe DT...

Anyone want to bet that he's not so harsh about this?


12-01-11, 12:05 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Anti-Stealth Sensors to Tackle Chinese and Russian LO Designs

Posted by David A. Fulghum at 1/11/2011 2:13 PM CST

With first flight out of the way, the discussion about China’s new J-20 stealth prototype is switching to the aircraft’s mission (fighter or, more likely, long-range strike), sensors (strike missions would require a high-resolution long-range radar) and communications (which would demand high-speed datalinks and sophisticated integration).

Conventional radars have only one-half to one-third of the range of an active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. Moreover, the movement of a conventional, mechanically-scanned radar antenna provides a tell-tale glint of radio frequency (RF) reflections to enemy aircraft with advanced radars. Such reflections slash at the effectiveness of a stealth airframe. China is known to be pursuing newer radar technology.

“It's too early to tell the true status of the Chinese AESA program,” says a Washington-based intelligence official. “We've seen lots of press and airshow info on the program, but that doesn't automatically translate into a robust development or give us an accurate look at where the PRC is as far as fielding one anytime soon.

“Like the [high-performance] engine, it'll be a challenge to take the step from older radars to one designed for a 5th-Gen fighter,” he says. “Again, though, the J-20 is just the first or second -- depending on whom you believe -- prototype into a very long development program.”

A two-seat J-10 fighter acted as chase plane for the J-20 during the flight

Photographs show the J-20 flying at shallow angles of attack and with its undercarriage extended. An observer posting minute-by-minute reports of proceedings to the Global Times, apparently from the fence at Avic’s Chengdu facility, said at 12:50:08 local time (04:50:08 GMT) that the aircraft had begun moving, following a second later with “accelerating” and at 12:50:16 “flying”. The landing was reported 18 minutes later.

Two passenger aircraft, one a 737, arrived at the Chengdu facility less than an hour before the J-20’s takeoff, presumably carrying important officials. The Chengdu plant is part of the Avic combat aircraft division, Avic Defense.

“Chinese military [sources] are saying that the first test pilot for the new Chinese fighter is Liang Wanjun,” the analyst says. “He has previously test flown the J-7, J-10 and JF-17. Liang has a total of 2,300 flying hours, joined the PLAAF in 1982 and became a test pilot in 1998.

It is unclear whether the J-20 is a prototype or only a technology demonstrator. Either way, it is not the only program for an advanced combat aircraft.

The deputy chief of the air force, He Weirong, said in November 2009 that in 2017-19 China would field a “fourth-generation” fighter, which in China means an aircraft of the F-22’s technology level. He was not referring to the J-20, however, because a month later a prominent news report in English quoted the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) as saying that the 2017-19 fighter would be an improved J-10. It is possible that the 2017-19 fighter is a supercruise version of the J-10 since the Chinese navy has expressed the need for an aircraft that can maintain fuel-efficient, long-distance, supersonic flight, a necessity for keeping enemy forces away from the coast of China.

The Chengdu J-20 design has struck most analysts and observers as familiar and somewhat different that the Lockheed-Martin F-22 and F-35 as well as the Sukhoi T-50.

“The J-20 is reminiscent of the Russian MiG 1.42 both in terms of planform, and also with regard to the rear fuselage configuration,” says Douglas Barrie, senior fellow for military aerospace at London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies. “The most obvious difference is the greater forward fuselage shaping as the basis for low observable characteristics, along with the different engine intake configuration. The MiG program was cancelled by the Russian government around 1997.”

Others note that the planform also has a resemblance to Sweden’s SAAB Viggen.

Another issue that will continue to surround all stealth designs is how long will current stealth designs offer invulnerability as air defenses adopt even larger and more powerful AESA radars. From the early days of AESA development, a key goal was to build a radar that can detect a very small object like a cruise missile at a distance great enough to target and shoot it down or a larger object like a fighter with a very low observable treatment.

Airborne detection of stealth aircraft may have already been accomplished in a series of tests done at Edwards AFB, Calif. in the second half of 2009. Those with insight into the research say Lockheed Martin’s CATbird avionics testbed –a 737 that carries the F-35 joint strike fighter’s entire avionics system -- engaged a mixed force of F-22s and F-15s and was able to target the F-22s.

"The F-35 mission systems suite is the most sophisticated and powerful avionics package of any fighter in the world," said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager at the time of the tests.

His clue about the fighter’s anti-stealth capability is in a reference to confronting new, sophisticated, foreign aircraft.

“The F-35's avionics include on-board sensors that will enable pilots to strike fixed or moving ground targets in high-threat environments, day or night, in any weather, while simultaneously targeting and eliminating advanced airborne threats,” Crowley said.

12-01-11, 08:41 AM
Finally, some rational commentary.

12-01-11, 10:03 AM
Goon broke cover on the Crikey 'Plane Talking' blog to spread his doom and gloom, "we must buy F111s or we'll all be rooned..."

He seems to have developed a new found appreciation for the Communist Chinese way of doing things, which includes such gems as:

"Conversely, because China is not infected with the politics of self advantage and “a total indifference to what is real”, their industrial base, including the high technology areas for military capabilities in the defence and security of China as well as for generating cash and influence through export, is not hamstrung nor made less effective by the leaching relationships typified in the incestuous quadrangle of interplay that exists between the Pentagon, the large corporate players in the US Industrial Base, the US Congress, and those upon whose needs they feed, the Services (i.e. US war-fighters)" and

"Therefore to claim that the J-20 will take China the equivalent time to put into operational service as that other true fifth generation fighter, the F-22A Raptor, or, even more fancifully, that “apology for a fourth and no-where near” a fifth generation strike fighter, the just-so-flawed JSF, is yet another classic example of the hubris, if not outright arrogance, that leads to the judging of the performance of others by attributing them with one’s own or, in this case, the performance of the above cited incestuous quadrangle" and

"Therefore, it would be foolish to judge China’s abilities to advance in ANY endeavour based on our own or those of America when it is not shackled with the foibles, fallacies, falsehoods and frauds that are not only tolerated but promoted in the West".

When called on some of his claims, he retreats to insults in which anyone who disagrees with him is labelled a tosser, retarded, and a masturbator.

Good to see he remains true to form.

Incidentally, to support his claims, he quotes an opinion, "that of a Defence colleague who is held in very high regard. Their name is not relevant to this discussion but what is said is, and very much so".

Funny, that so called colleague spouts exactly Goon's arguments in Goon's terminology. Surely he must be tired of inventing new fantasy characters to support his arguments.

12-01-11, 11:18 AM
He's a moronic bully, with typical tosser bully attitudes...........vermin of the worst kind.

14-01-11, 02:12 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

J-20's Stealth Signature Poses Interesting Unknowns

Posted by David A. Fulghum at 1/13/2011 10:01 AM CST

David Fulghum and Bill Sweetman/Washington

Anti-stealth and stealth detection technologies will bring into question all stealth designs, including China’s new J-20. How much invulnerability will current low-observability techniques retain as air defense systems adopt even larger and more powerful active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radars?

Airborne detection of stealth aircraft may already be an operational capability. Raytheon’s family of X-band airborne AESA radar family (in particular those on upgraded F-15Cs stationed in Okinawa) can detect small, low-signature cruise missiles. Moreover, Northrop Grumman’s lower-frequency, L-band AESA radar on Australia’s Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft is larger and potentially more capable of detecting stealth aircraft at longer ranges.

Better images emerging from China point clearly to the J-20’s use of stealth technology, but there are still major uncertainties and unanswered questions.

The overall shape resembles that of the F-35 and F-22, with a single “chine line” uniting the forebody, upper inlet lips and wing and canard edges, a curved surface above that line and flat, canted body surfaces below it. The wing and canard edges are aligned – the wing and canard leading edges are parallel and the trailing edge of the canard is aligned with the opposite wing trailing edge. The same basic philosophy has also been adopted in British, Swedish and Japanese studies for stealth fighters.

The aim in all cases is to endow a practical, agile fighter configuration with a “bow-tie” radar signature, with the smallest signature around the nose and the greatest (still much lower than that of a conventional aircraft with curved or vertical-slab sides) to the side. The fighter’s mission planning system, using a database of known radar locations, then derives a “blue line” track that weaves between radars and avoids exposing the side-on signature to those radars more than transiently.

The diverterless supersonic inlet avoids a signature problem caused by a conventional boundary layer diverter plate – the F-22 has a conventional inlet, which is likely to require extensive radar absorbent material (RAM) treatment.

The biggest uncertainty about the design concerns the engine exhausts, which as seen on the prototype are likely to cause a radar cross-section (RCS) peak from the rear aspect. One possibility is that a stealthier two-dimensional nozzle will be integrated later in the program: however, the nozzles on the current aircraft show some signs of RCS-reducing saw-tooth treatment, suggesting that the PLA has accepted a rear-aspect RCS penalty rather than the much greater weight and complexity of 2-D nozzles.

Other details of the design are unknowns. Stealth development has been dogged by detail design challenges. All the antennas on the aircraft have to be flush with the skin and covered with surfaces that retain stealth properties while being transparent in a specific frequency. Maintainability becomes a complex trade-off: some systems requiring frequent attention will be accessed via landing gear and weapon bays, and others by latched and actuated doors that can opened and closed without affecting RCS, but the latter are a heavy solution.

Perhaps the toughest challenge in stealth design is the need to manage RF surface currents over the skin. Early stealth designs used heavy, maintenance intensive RAM. The F-22 introduced a much lighter surface treatment, but it has proven unexpectedly difficult to maintain, causing corrosion issues. Lockheed Martin now claims that the F-35 will be robust and affordable to maintain in service, with a combination of a high-toughness sprayed-on topcoat and a conductive layer cured into composite skin panels.

The Chengdu J-20 design has struck many analysts and observers as familiar and somewhat different that the Lockheed-Martin F-22, F-35 or the Sukhoi T-50.

“The J-20 is reminiscent of the Russian MiG 1.42 both in terms of planform, and also with regard to the rear fuselage configuration,” says Douglas Barrie, senior fellow for military aerospace at London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies. “The most obvious difference is the greater forward fuselage shaping as the basis for low observable characteristics, along with the different engine intake configuration. The MiG program was cancelled by the Russian government around 1997.” However, the similarity to the MiG concept may suggest some collusion with the Russian aviation industry.

14-01-11, 09:53 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

J-20 could see neighbours review fighter programmes

By Greg Waldron

On 11 January China's Chengdu J-20 had its maiden flight, sending a signal about the country's aerospace ambitions and possibly spurring fighter programmes among its neighbours.

The 15min flight took place at midday at the Chengu Aircraft Design Institutes' aerodrome. The pilot took off and circled the airfield several times before landing.

The tests show the purported fifth-generation aircraft is large, roughly the size of the General Dynamics F-111, and features a delta wing and forward canards. Otherwise, little is known about the aircraft, though analysts question whether it is truly stealthy.

Following the test, President Hu Jintao of China confirmed the existence of the aircraft. According to media reports he only learned about the test when visiting US defence secretary Robert Gates asked about them during a meeting. This has led to speculation that China's military may have conducted the tests without the knowledge of China's civilian leaders.

China's technological limitations mean the J-20 - or any other true indigenous fifth-generation fighter - is unlikely to be operational before 2020. The J-20's appearance could, however, give a nudge to aircraft procurement and upgrade programmes among China's neighbours.

"A lot of countries will see the emergence of the J-20 as a game changer," says Richard Bitzinger, senior fellow at Singapore's S Rajaratnam School of International Studies Military Transformations programme. While he feels the J-20 is not a true fifth-generation fighter, he notes that it has a number of fifth-generation features, namely a stealthy design and, apparently, the ability to carry weapons internally.

Taiwan may feel particularly vulnerable in light of the J-20 - in addition to China's continued induction of Chengdu J-10s and Shenyang J-11Bs - a Chinese copy of the Sukhoi Su-27. Although its air force was regarded as superior to that of China's 10 years ago, its fleet looks increasingly antiquated, equipped primarily with ageing Lockheed Martin F-16 A/Bs, Dassault Mirage 2000s, and Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation Ching Kuo Indigenous Defence Fighters.

Taiwan has requested 60 F-16 C/D Block 50s, but the USA has dithered owing to its important geo-political and economic ties with Beijing. An industry source says any F-16 C/D deal remains frozen.

Although Japan revealed a stealth mock-up at the Japan Aerospace show in 2008, it is doubtful the country has the financial wherewithal to develop a fifth-generation fighter on its own. The USA has also consistently rebuffed the nation's efforts to buy the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.

Therefore the country could eventually look to purchase a fifth-generation capability in the Lockheed Martin F-35, of which it would need 40-50 to replace ageing McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms and Boeing F-15Js.

Video of Flight International analysis.............


19-01-11, 03:34 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Israel to expand F-15 upgrade plan

By Arie Egozi

The Israeli air force is to enhance an upgrade programme to its Boeing F-15 "Baz" strike aircraft to include its oldest A/B-model aircraft. One prototype has already been completed and will serve to accelerate the series upgrade.

"We are confident that after the upgrade is complete, all the Baz fleet will be capable of performing long-range strikes in the next 10 years," an air force source says.

Israel's F-15C/Ds have been upgraded within recent years, but the service had not planned to invest in modernising its earlier A/Bs.

However, a more comprehensive upgrade is now aimed at enabling the older aircraft to use advanced weapon systems, such as bombs equipped with Boeing's Joint Direct Attack Munition guidance kit. The work will also include improvements to the aircraft's radar, plus fuselage strengthening.

Officially, the air force has not related the expansion of its F-15 upgrade to delays with Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. But sources say the issue does have an impact on some programmes that are connected to the operational capabilities of its current fighters.

Israel still operates 25 single-seat F-15As and five two-seat F-15Bs, which Flightglobal's MiliCAS database says were delivered between 1974 and 1978.

24-01-11, 02:29 AM
China's stealth fighter 'based on US technology'

China's new stealth fighter is based on US technology acquired by Chinese spies during the 1999 Kosovo War, according to Croatia's former military chief of staff.

By David Eimer in Beijing 5:39PM GMT 23 Jan 2011

Stupid story but never mind no doubt we are going to get more of this crap...................

China unveiled the Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter during a visit to Beijing by Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, this month. The timing of its maiden flight was regarded as a deliberate reminder by China of its growing military might, and caused alarm amongst its Asian neighbours.

Now, the Admiral who was Croatia's chief of staff during the Kosovo War has said he believes that China formulated the technology for its J-20 jet from an American F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter that was shot down over Serbia in March 1999.

"At the time, our intelligence reports told of Chinese agents criss-crossing the region where the F-117 disintegrated, buying up parts of the plane from local farmers," Admiral Davor Domazet-Loso said. "We believe the Chinese used those materials to gain an insight into secret stealth technologies."

The Nighthawk was the world's first stealth fighter, planes that are almost invisible to radar and so able to operate over enemy territory with near impunity. At the time, the US claimed that the downing of one by a Serbian anti-aircraft missile was pure luck. Under its former President Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia routinely shared captured Nato military equipment with China and Russia.

China has a history of being accused of stealing military aircraft technology. Its relations with Russia were strained last year after Moscow accused Beijing of producing near identical versions of its Sukhoi Su-27 fighter and Su-33 naval fighter. China had bought the Su-27, only subsequently to build the similar J-11 fighter. The J-15 naval jet based on the Su-33 is needed for China's new aircraft carriers, the first of which may be launched later this year and which is also believed to be based on a Russian design.

24-01-11, 08:28 AM
Problems persist with the US on fighter planes

23 January 2011, Sunday / ERCAN YAVUZ, ANKARA

Turkey is now seeking new ways to sidestep difficulties in the procurement of F-16 fighter planes and there have been serious doubts as to whether its plan to purchase 100 F-35 fighter planes would ever materialize.

Turkey is seriously reconsidering the myriad agreements it has signed with the US, as well as its participation in an international consortium for the procurement of new generation fighter jets, due to rising costs and persisting problems originating from the American side.

Turkey is now seeking new ways to sidestep difficulties in the procurement of F-16 fighter planes, which it has been jointly producing with the US since 1987, due to the delayed delivery by the US authorities of some of the plane’s parts and accessories. There have been serious doubts as to whether Turkey’s plan to purchase 100 F-35 fighter planes would ever materialize, as the country is thinking about withdrawing from the consortium following the hike in costs that resulted from other countries leaving from the consortium.

With 240 F-16s, Turkey has the third largest fleet of these fighter jets after the US and Israel. Turkey chose the F-16 to use in its air force in the early 1980s, and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAİ) was established soon after the decision. Between 1987 and 1995, TAİ assembled 152 planes in the first phase of the F-16 project. The second phase took place between 1995 and 1999, and 80 planes were assembled. Turkey received its first overseas order for F-16 planes in 1993 from the Egyptian air force and assembled 46 planes for them.

Recently TAI upgraded the first of 17 planes for Jordan’s air force within the context of a modernization program. Several Turkey-made planes have also been dispatched to Pakistan.

In total TAİ has assembled 278 F-16s since it first began operations in 1987. During production, 29 planes were produced with no mistakes and three of them were considered “perfect.” Considering that only nine F-16 planes are produced as perfect out of 4,000 fighter jets in the world, Turkey’s success is conspicuous.

Turkey suspended production of the F-16 in 2000, but these fighter jets still remain the backbone of the Turkish armed forces.

Strained ties delayed delivery of plane accessories

As the agreement between the US and Turkey expired in 2000, Turkey has continued to work with Israel in modernizing the F-16s. Turkey has attempted to compensate for several mistakes that occurred while working with the US through several deals with Israel. The fundamental problem was that the US did not hand the F-16s directly to the Turkish Air Forces and it required TAİ-made planes be tested in the US before the eventual delivery to the Turkish Air Forces.

The US had also refused to provide source codes for the software of F-16s to Turkey since the inception of the joint production. Tensions in the relations between the US and Turkey have recently spawned a series of crises in this particular sphere, a possibility which Turkey has overlooked for years.

A senior official at the Turkish Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM) confided in Today’s Zaman that the US is not willing to provide vital parts of the F-16 planes to Turkey in contrast to agreements the two countries have signed in the past few years.

The same senior official said the US delayed the fulfillment its duties specified in the agreements it signed with Turkey between 1987 and 1995 and that this has caused serious problems in modernization of F-16s.

The official lamented that Turkey is experiencing very serious problems in obtaining parts and accessories for the planes as ties with Israel collapsed, and that he finds it noteworthy to stress that the US administration has made congressional approval a precondition of selling any sort of weaponry and military equipment.

Last October the US expressed concerns that Turkey was using US-made F-16s in the Turkey-China aerial exercises, which took place in the Central Anatolian town of Konya, but Turkey reassured the US administration that no US-made jets were used in the joint drill.

Turkey decided to modernize 165 F-16 planes on Dec. 11, 2009 and several Israeli firms were competing to win the tender, along with Turkey’s TUSAŞ and HAVELSAN. All projects between Turkey and Israel in the areas of military training and cooperation were frozen in mid-June after the lethal May 31 Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara, which was carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, leaving left nine civilians dead. The two countries were set to realize a $757 million plane and tank modernization project but this project was also shelved. The Turkish government decided to give the modernization tender to Turkish firms after Turkish-Israeli ties became strained.

A $240 million modernization project was given to Turkish companies, but 30 percent of the plane’s parts will be provided by the US military behemoth Lockheed Martin.

Turkey is also considering its participation in the world’s largest military consortium that is planning to produce 3,000 F-35 fighter jets. Turkey is the ninth country to take part in the production process of the F-35 warplane project. The other countries are the US, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, Canada and Norway. Turkey is expected to purchase 100 F-35 jets in the next 15 to 20 years. Rising costs pushed several countries to withdraw from the $280 billion project, and the same senior official said Turkey might also consider withdrawing.

The Defense Industry Executive Committee (SSİK), under the aegis of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will make its final decision in April. The SSİK is seeking ways to jointly produce some parts of F-35 fighter planes with the American General Electric Co. and the Rolls-Royce Group in Turkey.

Turkey is also deliberating the exchange of its F-16s for F-35s within a reasonable time period. Turkey is expected to pay nearly $11 billion for 100 F-35 fighter jets. Citing rising costs in production, the consortium is asking Turkey for an additional $4 billion for the F-35s, but Turkey is reluctant to pay this amount. As some countries have withdrawn from the project, Turkey will reportedly have to pay up to $25 billion for the project.

Turkey is planning joint warplane production with Gulf countries

Turkey has made a radical shift recently, deciding to produce its first fleet of national fighter jets following crises in F-16 and F-35 projects with the US and Israel.

Turkish authorities decided during a Defense Industry Executive Committee (SSİK) meeting last December to begin production on the first Turkish fighter jets in 2020 in order to meet the needs of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). TUSAŞ Engine Industries Inc. (TEİ) and TAİ will be the leading companies that will undertake production of these fighter jets, planning to design and produce plane engines by 2015.

Israel claimed that Turkey will fail to produce these jets as no country in the world would dare to build its own planes without participating in a consortium due to the high costs.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Adana deputy Kürşat Atılgan told Today’s Zaman that no country could produce a fighter jet by itself and for lucrative production, there needs to be at least 400 jets produced. Considering this fact, Turkey had been secretly trying to build a consortium with neighboring and friendly countries. In last month’s SSİK meeting, Gönül also talked about the possibility of joint production of fighter jets with South Korean companies. This issue was raised during Erdoğan’s recent visit to Gulf countries. Turkey thinks it will be easier to produce its own fighter jets with five countries involved in the region.

25-01-11, 06:18 AM
F-15E flies with new radar system

Posted 1/24/2011

Steve Coleman completes last-minute pre-flight checks underneath an F-15E Strike Eagle Jan. 18, 2011, on the flightline at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. This F-15E is equipped with the new APG-82(V)1 radar, which replaces the 24-year-old APG-70 radar system. Mr. Coleman is an F-15E crew chief. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

by Samuel King Jr.
Eglin Air Force Base Public Affairs

1/24/2011 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- Officials took a step forward in the F-15E Strike Eagle's continuous technological evolution as the Air Force's most versatile combat aircraft here Jan. 18.

Officials from the 46th Test Wing launched the fourth generation fighter for the first time with a new and improved radar system, the APG-82(V)1.

The APG-82 uses active electronically scanned array radar technology composed of numerous small solid-state transmit and receive modules. The standard radar, APG-70, is a mechanically scanned array housed in the nose of the aircraft. Although the current F-15E radar has undergone numerous updates and upgrades, it is still the same system the aircraft had on its maiden flight more than 24 years ago.

"We've been able to get more out of it, but at this point it's pretty much maxed out," said 1st Lt. Nathaniel Meier, a radar modernization project manager with the Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force.

The new radar lacks the motors and hydraulics of the old system and includes a new avionics and cooling system.

Aircraft radar continuously sends out and receives energy to identify objects or targets around it.

Due to its unique capabilities, the F-15E radar operates as air-to-air and air-to-ground radar, officials said.

"One AESA-equipped F-15E can detect and track multiple targets simultaneously and gain the same battle picture and prosecute the same number of attacks that currently require several mechanically scanned radar assets," said Brad Jones, the Boeing director for U.S. Air Force development programs. "Adding AESA multiplies the effectiveness of the F-15E."

The advantage AESA radar has over an MSA is its near-instantaneous ability to redirect its focus from air-to-air to air-to-ground mode, officials said.

By no longer having to wait for the array to physically move to a new area of interest, the aircrew receives better situational awareness in less time, Lieutenant Meier said.

The four-year-old project borrowed from existing technology to create the new system. The array system was taken from F-15C Eagle models and the avionics were borrowed from F-18 Hornets.

The reason for the change was to improve the entire aircraft's reliability, availability and maintainability, Lieutenant Meier said.

The new radar works as a plug-in-play system with newer, easily replaceable parts, the lieutenant said.

It's expected to have approximately a 20-fold improvement in aircraft reliability, he said.

The aircraft also stays mission-ready.

An average failure for the radar component was previously measured in tens of hours and can now be measured in hundreds of hours, Lieutenant Meier said.

The APG-82 has fewer moving parts and the new equipment lasts longer, which cuts down on the time needed for repairs, he said.

The modification of the aircraft, which began in June 2010, was a concerted effort by members of Boeing, the 46th Maintenance Group, Raytheon, the 46th Technical Support Squadron and the OFP CTF.

"Without their determination, (F-15E) RMP would not have been anywhere close to making its first flight," Lieutenant Meier said.

The developmental test flight was considered successful, and the aircrew members said they liked what they saw during the flight.

"There are huge performance increases," said Maj. Raja Chari, a 40th Flight Test Squadron member and the pilot for the first flight. "We're getting the benefit of two decades worth of technology. From what we saw in this flight, we're heading in the right direction."

The developmental test process is about building incrementally into testing more complicated functions of the equipment and finding any flaws and problems based on usage in specific test profiles.

"Really, the engineers put in the time and hard work," Major Chari said. "We have the easy part of seeing if it will do what they thought it would. It was interesting to see the engineers reacting and diagnosing the issues right away, based on our feedback."

Capt. Chris Dupin, a 40th FTS member and the weapons system officer for the first flight, said he noticed improved capabilities during the initial flight.

He said the radar was able to detect F-16s much farther away than ever before.

"The kill chain for anything is the ability to detect, identify, target and engage a threat," Captain Dupin said. "If we can detect an air target earlier or farther away, that leaves more time and space to complete the rest of the kill chain. Completing the kill chain faster and earlier means we're better able to gain or maintain airspace superiority."

The biggest "test" facing the project involves combining avionics and array systems from other aircraft and incorporating them into a totally different one.

"By using (government and commercial) off-the-shelf equipment, the Air Force is able to save a large amount of the development costs, but the challenge is integrating these new systems and making them work as one," Lieutenant Meier said.

Developmental testing is scheduled to continue through 2012, but the OFP CTF, being a shared unit of the 46th Test Wing and 53rd Wing, is unique in that its members can perform developmental tests while incorporating early operational testing.

Officials have begun modifying a 53rd Wing F-15E with the new radar and they plan to begin some of the operational type of testing as early as March.

The next stage of testing for the radar will be conducted by Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center officials before being incorporated in all F-15Es beginning in approximately 2014.

25-01-11, 08:18 AM
China says stealth technology not from US plane


January 25, 2011 - 5:20PM

An official Chinese newspaper on Tuesday dismissed a report that the country used technology taken from a downed U.S. airplane in its own stealth fighter program.

Chinese officials this month staged the first-known test flight of the J-20 prototype stealth fighter that could one day challenge American air superiority.

The flight came during a rare visit to China by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and caught many defense analysts by surprise, seeming to indicate that China was acquiring cutting-edge technology more rapidly than previously thought.

China says the plane is based entirely on indigenous designs, and the Global Times on Tuesday quoted an unidentified Defense Ministry official as dismissing an Associated Press report citing Balkan military officials and other experts saying that China likely gleaned some of their technological know-how from an American F-117 Nighthawk shot down over Serbia in 1999.

"It's not the first time foreign media has smeared newly unveiled Chinese military technologies. It's meaningless to respond to such speculations," the official was quoted as saying by the newspaper, which is published by the ruling Communist Party's flagship People's Daily.

Calls to the Defense Ministry's spokesman's office rang unanswered Tuesday.

The Defense Ministry has commented little on the test flight other than to assert that China continues to arm for defensive purposes only.

The U.S. fields the only stealth fighter in active service, the F-22 Raptor, the successor to the Nighthawk. The U.S. is also employing stealth technology on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, while Russia's Sukhoi T-50's stealth fighter made its maiden flight last year and is set to enter service in about four years' time.

No direct evidence or specific allegation has been offered on how China would have exploited the downed plane, although Balkan military officials say Chinese agents hunted for pieces of the F-117 wreckage and may have shared intelligence with their Serbian allies.

Western diplomats have said China maintained an intelligence post in its Belgrade embassy during the Kosovo war. The building was mistakenly struck by U.S. bombers in May 1999, killing three people inside, and cementing firm Chinese opposition to the NATO air campaign.

Serbia shot down the F-117 in March of that year, marking the first time one of the much-touted "invisible" fighters had ever been hit. The Pentagon believed a combination of clever tactics and sheer luck allowed a Soviet-built SA-3 missile to bring down the jet.

"At the time, our intelligence reports told of Chinese agents crisscrossing the region where the F-117 disintegrated, buying up parts of the plane from local farmers," Adm. Davor Domazet-Loso, Croatia's military chief of staff during the Kosovo war, told the AP.

"We believe the Chinese used those materials to gain an insight into secret stealth technologies ... and to reverse-engineer them," Domazet-Loso said in a telephone interview.

Parts of the downed F-117 wreckage _ such as the left wing with US Air Force insignia, the cockpit canopy, ejection seat, pilot's helmet and radio _ are exhibited at Belgrade's aviation museum.

While not completely invisible to radar, the F-117'S shape and radar-absorbent coating made detection extremely difficult. The radar cross-section was further reduced because the wings' leading and trailing edges were composed of nonmetallic honeycomb structures that do not reflect radar rays.

Experts say insight into this critical technology, and particularly the plane's secret radiation-absorbent exterior coating, would have significantly enhanced China's stealth know-how.

The newspaper report refuting the allegations that China used the F-117 technology comes one day after a U.S. federal judge sentenced an engineer of an earlier generation of stealth aircraft, the B-2 bomber, to 32 years in prison for selling military secrets to China.

Noshir Gowadia, 66, who was born in India, was convicted in August on 14 counts, including communicating national defense information to aid a foreign nation and violating the arms export control act.

Prosecutors said Gowadia helped China design a stealth cruise missile to get money to pay the $15,000-a-month mortgage on his luxurious multimillion dollar home overlooking the ocean on the Hawaiian island of Maui. They say he pocketed at least $110,000 by selling military secrets.

The defense argued Gowadia provided only unclassified information to China.

This story is sourced direct from an overseas news agency as an additional service to readers. Spelling follows North American usage, along with foreign currency and measurement units.

25-01-11, 03:48 PM
VR Breakdancing: Lockheed’s New Jet-Building Tool

By Spencer Ackerman January 24, 2011 | 5:53 pm

Skin-tight outfits. Body-rocking avatars. Executives in lipstick. Daft Punk helmets. Funny accents. Welcome to Lockheed Martin’s newest tool for designing fighter jets.

Officially, the Collaborative Human Immersion Laboratory, or — yes — CHIL — is an immersive virtual reality mechanism to cut down on the cost of building America’s Air Force. In reality, the CHIL gives engineers an excuse to do some VR line dancing. But that rings hollow. Lockheed Martin has just built its engineers a virtual-reality playpen, unveiled today and based in Littleton, Colorado. Employees are hooked up to a suite of motion-detecting sensors, gamer gloves and a head-mounted display helmet, with wires hanging out of their extremities and optional Tron-ready clothing.


Inside the CHIL’s “Cave” — the CHIL Cave! — they see themselves as uncanny valley-ready avatars, allowing them to test out and adjust various projects that the company manufactures to test their weak spots, all before the prototypes get physically built. Lockheed says it wants to use the CHIL to tweak its Air Force products, like the next-generation GPS satellite or the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter family of jets.

That’s supposed to keep costs down before any prototypes go to the manufacturing phase. And sure, projects like the F-35 could surely use those kinds of tweaks. But just look at the images in this video of Lockheed engineers doing motion-detected squat thrusts and slow-mo breakdancing. The CHIL Cave is going to be the world’s most bodacious gaming console. The next time an Air Force inspector general audits a Lockheed program, all he’s going to see is a bunch of avatars reenacting Thriller on an ersatz Joint Strike Fighter.

27-01-11, 02:49 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

USAF starts flight tests on F-15E with AESA radar

By Stephen Trimble

The US Air Force has started a three-year flight-test campaign for a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) designed for the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle.

The first Raytheon APG-82(V)1 was flown aboard an F-15E at Elgin AFB in Florida on 18 January. The same aircraft was pictured (below) also carrying an infrared search and track pod and the Lockheed Martin Sniper targeting pod during the maiden flight.

© Samuel King Jr/US Air Force

The AESA enhancement represents a key upgrade for the USAF's F-15Es. A US Government Accountability Office report last August warned that portions of the F-15E fleet could be grounded in 2014 if the new radar is delayed.

US Air Force officials also want to improve the F-15's capabilities as the power of AESA radar spreads around the world. The APG-82(V)1 is adapted from the back-end processor of the APG-79 installed on the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the front-end array of the APG-63(V)3 radar on some F-15Cs.

The new radar is also combined with other major upgrades, such as integrating the joint helmet mounted cueing system. About 220 F-15Es will be upgraded and preserved through 2035 as the USAF's front-line multi-role fighter.

The USAF has chosen not to participate in Boeing's plan to add other upgrades to the F-15E, including stealth treatments, a conformal weapons bay and a digital electronic warfare system.

04-02-11, 03:11 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

There May Be More Stealth Designs Coming From China

Posted by David A. Fulghum at 2/3/2011 12:04 PM CST

China’s J-20 stealthy prototype “is at the heavy end of the fighter scale, leaving ample room for medium and light platforms” as follow-on stealth designs to issue from Beijing’s aerospace industry, says Douglas Barrie, senior fellow at The International Institute for Strategic Studies.

These follow-on aircraft may also be the vehicles for developing more all-aspect low observability.

He notes that the J-20 appears optimized for stealth in the forward sector which would provide an advantage for beyond-visual-range air-to-air engagement or engaging surface targets with standoff weapons. The Chinese aircraft sports two lateral divertless supersonic intakes that includes a fixed-configuration bump to deal with air-flow rather than movable ramps or doors. The DSI approach is used by the F-35 and has been test-flown on China’s J-10 and may provide a radar-signature reduction benefit. Because China’s J-20 resembles MiG’s abandoned 1.42 stealth project, Barrie suggests that Moscow may have proceeded with its T-50 design after sharing the earlier MiG stealth data with China.

However, the Chinese may be embracing stealth fighters just as the technology is shifting to another part of the combat spectrum.

While the Chinese J-20 and Russian T-50 stealth strike fighter projects may offer a challenge for air dominance in the future, Western forces, led by the Pentagon, have chosen another path for its future force. They are investing heavily in unmanned combat aerial vehicles while neglecting the development of crewed, next-generation combat aircraft, Barrie says in his new study: “China’s J-20: future rival for air dominance?”

05-02-11, 10:20 AM
Russia tests upgraded MiG fighter jet for India

Indo-Asian News Service

Moscow, February 05, 2011

First Published: 12:13 IST(5/2/2011)
Last Updated: 12:15 IST(5/2/2011)

Russia's MiG corporation on Friday carried out the first test fight of a MiG-29 fighter modernized under a contract with the Indian Air Force (IAF). "On Feb 4, a MiG-29UPG fighter carried out its first test flight. The flight lasted for an hour and was flawless," MiG said in a statement.

The IAF has awarded the MiG corporation a $900 million contract to upgrade all of its 69 operational MiG-29s.

These upgrades include a new avionics kit, with the N-109 radar being replaced by a Phazatron Zhuk-M radar.

The aircraft is also being equipped to enhance beyond-visual-range combat ability and for air-to-air refueling to increase flying time.

In 2007, Russia also gave India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) a license to manufacture 120 RD-33 series three turbojet engines for the upgrade.

The first six aircraft are being upgraded in Russia while the remaining 63 will be refitted at the HAL facility in India.

10-02-11, 02:17 AM
Thrust-Vectoring Upgrade for Typhoon Eurojet EJ200?

February 9, 2011


Eurojet is offering to modify existing Typhoon EJ200 engines by installing thrust vectoring nozzles (TVN), improving maneuverability, supercruise and asymmetric load carrying capability while reducing five percent in fuel consumption. EJ200 TVN is part of the Eurofighter display at Aero-India 2011. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update.

Eurofighter and engine supplier Eurojet are promoting a thrust-vector option for the Eurojet EJ200 engines powering the Typhoon, proposed for the Indian MMRCA program. Eurofighter has raised the possibility of a thrust-vectoring upgrade to become part of a future Typhoon mid-life upgrade, a move that could deliver substantial operational cost savings that would offset the cost involved with the engine modification. Early at the Eurofighter program addind TVN was originally considered part of the Tranch 3 upgrades but this plan did not materialize.

According to Eurojet, a Typhoon equipped with thrust vectoring nozzles (TVN) could reduce fuel burn on a typical mission by up to 5%, while increasing available thrust in supersonic cruise by up to 7%. Typhoon is already capable of performing ‘super-cruise’ (flying supersonically without afterburner) and the proposed modification will further increase this capability. Other cost saving aspects of thrust vectoring include the potential to extend engine life by reducing operating temperatures at a given power setting. It could also be used to reduce take-off and landing distances and approach speed. Beside the operational cost savings, TVN enhances the aircraft maneuvering as it becomes a ‘virtual control surface’ when coupled with the aircraft flight-control system. Another aspect is improving the aircraft ability to carry an asymmetric weapons load.

Eurofighter is considering to fund a flight demonstration of TVN equipped Typhoon to test these capabilities. According to Eurojet, TVN could be retofitted to the existing EJ200 without the need for structural changes to the engine or airframe.

TVN was part of a research program slated for inclusion in the Tranche 3 upgrade. Eurofighter is now considering to fund a flight demonstrator to test and verify the potential performance and operational cost gains such systems can derive. Photo: Eurojet

© Copyright 2011 - Defense Update

10-02-11, 02:31 AM
BAE Displays Model of Navalized Typhoon for India


Published: 9 Feb 2011 17:48

BANGALORE - BAE Systems responded to an Indian Navy request for information on a new naval fighter last year with an offer based on the Typhoon combat jet.

At the Aero India 2011 show, which opened here Feb. 9, the company took the wraps off what it thinks an Indian naval Typhoon might look like. The design may be aimed squarely at the Indians, but with questions still being asked by some sections of the U.K. government over the price of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which is destined to equip a new Royal Navy aircraft carrier, the re-emergence of the naval Typhoon was a reminder options do exist.

Asked about the naval Typhoon at the show, Peter Luff, the British defense minister visiting Aero India in support of London's increasing export drive, ruled out interest in any platform other than the Joint Strike Fighter.

Paul Hopkins, BAE's vice president of air business development, said the work done on the naval Typhoon was solely geared toward the Indian Navy.

That said, the previous Labour administration eyed a navalized Typhoon as a possible plan B during negotiations with the U.S. over JSF technology transfer, and some of the work supporting the Indian request for information stems from that period.

Pictures displayed by BAE showed an aircraft model with a number of modifications compared to the land-based Typhoon being offered to the Indian Air Force in a contest to provide a medium, multirole combat aircraft. Most obvious is the conformal tanks and thrust vectoring nozzles, but other more subtle changes included a beefed-up undercarriage, some strengthening of the airframe and other requirements needed to take Typhoon to sea.

A small deployable flap on the upper wing could also be fitted to improve handling during take-off if thrust vectoring was not incorporated in the requirement.

Hopkins said BAE has done sufficient work to establish whether a naval Typhoon for the Indian Navy is feasible. Now the company has at least two hurdles to overcome.

First, Typhoon has to beat out opposition from the F/A-18, Rafale, Gripen, F-16 and MiG-35 for the Air Force order. Then the Indian Navy needs to decide whether it will continue to use ski jumps on its expanding aircraft carrier force or start to switch to a catapult and arrestor gear configuration.

"If it's a decision for a catapult, then we are not a contender," said Hopkins.

Meeting catapult requirements would add too much weight to the aircraft, blunt performance and add substantially to modification costs.

The more modest changes needed to launch from a ski jump and recover using an arrestor hook would add only around 500 kilograms to the aircraft weight, said Hopkins.

Air Force Typhoons already carry an arrestor hook for emergency landings although this would require strengthening.

Hopkins said a naval Typhoon would be capable of operating from the 45,000-ton Russian carrier Admiral Gorshkov, now being converted for the Indians into a vessel that can accommodate short takeoff but arrested recovery (STOBAR) flight.

Pictures of the Typhoon were shown on the BAE stand with the converted Russian carrier in the background.

BAE wasn't the only company with a fighter without a naval pedigree to respond to the Indian request for information.

A naval version of a STOBAR-capable Gripen is also being developed by Saab.

The F/A-18 and Rafale are already up to speed as land-based and naval fighters, and offer a ready-made catapult-launched solution once the Navy has a formal requirement for a new fighter.

Last month, the U.S. added to the possible naval contenders by saying it would make the JSF available if India asked.

10-02-11, 02:39 PM
Pretty pics time for the Navalised Typhoon................via Defense Update...............

11-02-11, 12:33 AM
Russian-Indian Project to Develop Perspective Multi-Functional Fighter (PMF-FGFA)

(Source: Sukhoi Company; issued February 9, 2011)

BANGALORE, India --- Development and production of perspective multi-role fighter is the largest joint project of Russian-Indian military-technical cooperation. In December 2010 during the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to India, the Rosoboronexport, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and the Sukhoi Company signed a contract to develop a preliminary design project of the new aircraft. This is the first of a series of documents governing the obligations of the parties at different stages of the program.

The PMF project includes the design and development of a next-generation fighter, which will have such advanced features as stealth, supersonic cruise speed, high maneuverability, highly integrated set of avionics, an advanced warning system about the situation, the internal deployment of weapons and the possibility of a centralized reporting and electronic warfare system.

The fighter is being developed on the basis of the Russian perspective aviation complex (PAK FA) according to stringent technical requirements of the Indian side. The further development of the program envisages design and development of a two-place version of the aircraft and integration of an advanced engine with increased thrust. The two sides are supposed to cooperate in joint marketing of the complex in other countries.

Implementation of the Russian-Indian PMF project enhances the strategic partnership between the two countries and strengthening of regional and global security. The project is based on innovative technologies that promote the aviation industry and allied industries, total military-industrial complex of the two countries. The joint development and creation of a fifth generation fighter will facilitate the development of scientific schools. It will provide sustainable load of defense industry enterprises involved in the design and manufacturing of the PMF.

This program provides an opportunity to accelerate the development and introduction of new materials, components and high technologies with a high potential for innovation, opens up prospects for the development of other projects of the unified aviation complexes of new generations.

The PMF project activity is based on the agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of India on cooperation in the development and production of perspective multi-role fighter. The agreement was signed on October 18, 2007 at the 7th session of the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on military-technical cooperation in Moscow.

Sukhoi also participates in other projects in the area of the Russian-Indian military-technical cooperation: modernization of the Su-30MKI fighters of the Indian Air Force, after-sales support of these aircraft, as well as the program of the BrahMos missile integration on Su-30MKI.


21-02-11, 03:06 PM
Eurofighter Naval Version Makes Debut at Aero India 2011

(Source: Eurofighter GmbH; issued Feb. 21, 2011)

HALLBERGMOOS, Germany --- At Aero India 2011 Eurofighter and partner company BAE Systems unveiled for the first time more details about the studies carried out for the initial definition of the navalised version of the Typhoon.

These studies have included the assessment of required design changes, piloted simulations to refine the aircraft’s handling qualities and discussions with key suppliers. The studies indicate that these changes are feasible, and would lead to the development of a world-beating, carrier-based fighter aircraft.

The most important element of the navalised Typhoon is that its exceptional thrust-to-weight ratio allows the aircraft to take off from a carrier without using a catapult but with a simple and much cheaper “ski-jump”. Detailed simulations have shown that the aircraft will be able to take off and land in this way with a full weapon and fuel load – providing a truly potent and flexible naval aviation capability.

The basic design of Typhoon helps to minimise the modifications needed to allow a Typhoon to conduct naval operations from a carrier. The aircraft’s structure is exceptionally strong, having been designed from the outset for the high dynamic loads associated with extreme air combat manoeuvring. The modifications required are limited and include a new, stronger landing gear, a modified arrestor hook and localised strengthening on some fuselage sections near the landing gear, as well as updates the EJ200 engines.

To reduce the aircraft’s approach speed and the resulting landing loads the study envisages the introduction of a thrust-vectored variant of the Eurojet EJ200 engine. Thrust vectoring (Engines with TVN have already undergone factory testing in the Eurojet facility) could be fully integrated into Typhoon’s advanced Flight Control System (FCS), allowing the pilot to focus on flying the approach path while the FCS manages the engine nozzle position. The ability to change the angle of the engines’ thrust will allow for a further enhancement in Typhoon’s already outstanding manoeuvrability, supercruise performance, fuel consumption and the handling of asymmetric weapon configurations.

A key design driver for navalised Typhoon is the commonality at 95 per cent with the land variant. Design changes are minimised, allowing for most of the spare parts and test equipment to be shared across a customer’s air force and navy fleets. The sensors, systems and weapons available to both variants will be common, allowing for a reduction in the aircrew training requirements. And in addition, the two variants will benefit from a common upgrade path – new capabilities will be available to both the air force and navy in similar timescales.

A navalised Typhoon can deliver this commonality, without compromising on capability.

Eurofighter Typhoon is the world's most advanced new generation real multi-role/swing-role combat aircraft available on the market and has been ordered by six nations (Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Austria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). With 707 aircraft under contract, it is Europe’s largest military collaborative programme and delivers leading-edge technology, strengthening Europe’s aerospace industry in the global competition. More than 100,000 jobs in 400 companies are secured by the programme. Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH manages the programme on behalf of the Eurofighter Partner Companies: Alenia Aeronautica/Finmeccanica, BAE Systems, EADS CASA and EADS Deutschland, Europe’s foremost aerospace companies with a total turnover of approx. EUR 88 billion (2008).


23-02-11, 03:25 AM
No Sixth Gen Fighter Coming: Donley

By Colin Clark Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 5:10 pm

Orlando — The Air Force would like to start work on a sixth generation fighter. It would. And it will work on advanced technologies at the service labs and encourage industry to keep ploughing ahead on promising technologies. But Air Force Secretary Mike Donley made very clear at the Air Force Association conference that the service is focused on building the coming fifth generation aircraft (also known as the Joint Strike Fighter) and has no plans to begin investing the nation’s treasure on a new aircraft.

“I don’t think you are going to see a sixth generation fighter program any time soon,” Donley told reporters on Friday. “We do not have the resources available to ramp up for a sixth gen fighter. We are still working on the fifth.”

Keenly aware of how important it is for the United States to appear not to be abandoning what could be a critical future set of capabilities, Donley added that “the early pieces of what would constitute a future program are already out there.”

But he could not put a pretty face on the fact that the U.S. just cannot afford such an effort at this time. “We are living with flat budgets,” he said, adding that no one knows “when or if those budgets will increase.”

It’s not clear whether this marks a public turnaround for Donley. In a piece penned with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz in the Washington Post, they said: “Within the next few years, we will begin work on the sixth-generation capabilities necessary for future air dominance. Donley could argue they are still working on those capabilities. just not within the purview of a formal program structure.

When I asked Donley if the absence of a sixth-generation effort was clear evidence of a decline in the US strategic position, he offered a reasonable reply: “The United States is still, and as far a I can tell, the U.S. will remain the essential force for stability in international security.“

Read more: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2011/02/22/no-sixth-gen-fighter-coming-donley/#ixzz1EkEw9Oqh

24-02-11, 01:12 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

PICTURES: Eurofighter reveals Typhoon development options for Middle East

By Siva Govindasamy

The Eurofighter consortium is developing a roadmap for the Typhoon that it believes will offer potential customers in the Middle East options to greatly enhance the type's capabilities.

"The plan is to, over the next eight to 10 years, take a phased approach to enhancing the Typhoon's capability," says Rob Wells, Eurofighter's export future business manager. "It is the exports that are driving these enhancements."

Eurofighter unveiled the plans, which include optional conformal fuel tanks, at IDEX 2011. Other enhancements include the option of MBDA's Meteor beyond visual-range air-to-air missile from 2014 and an active electronically scanned array radar that potentially offers a wider field of regard from 2015.

© Eurofighter

New air-to-surface weapons would include anti-ship missiles, stand-off-range cruise missiles and long-range glide bombs. A thrust-vectoring nozzle is also being offered for the aircraft's Eurojet EJ200 turbofan engines.

Wells says the programme's Tranche 3-standard aircraft will already have the provision to accommodate conformal fuel tanks, and that the consortium is open to collaboration with local industry on many of the options.

"Countries like Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain are looking at fighters, and we are willing to show them what their aerospace companies can do as well," he says.

31-03-11, 03:28 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

Budget pressures halt Eurofighter Tranche 3B talks, says Cassidian boss

By Craig Hoyle

Budgetary pressures being encountered by partner nations Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK have halted talks about the proposed Tranche 3B production phase of the Eurofighter programme, according to one of its key industrial participants.

"Currently, it's probably not a good time to engage in discussions between industry and governments on Tranche 3B, so we will see how this develops in due time," said Stefan Zoller, chief executive of EADS's Cassidian business unit.

"There is nothing on the agenda this year or next year," Zoller said during a financial presentation at Cassidian's Unterschleissheim headquarters near Munich on 28 March. "Our governments have no money," he added. "We have to see whether we can shift those discussions and firm commitments to a later date."

© Eurofighter

Noting that the decision is closely linked to the future export prospects of the Eurofighter Typhoon, Zoller said: "What we have to avoid is a break in the production line. We are in contact with the customers to see how we manage that."

One previously identified option could be to slow down the programme's current high production rate as a means of extending work beyond the expected completion of the last of 112 Tranche 3A aircraft in around 2015.

Formed of Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems and EADS, the Eurofighter industry consortium submitted its first offer for the proposed 124-aircraft Tranche 3B deal last May, with the goal of securing a contract signature by the end of 2011.

Its viability was quickly threatened, however, with both Italy and the UK stating their intention to end their purchases after Tranche 3A production. This would represent a failure by the nations to honour there four-nation commitment for 620 aircraft.

The UK has so far ordered 160 aircraft, but argues that its total planned offtake of 232 has already been met, after brokering the government-to-government sale of 72 Typhoons to Saudi Arabia.

Asked whether the lack of a firm commitment to Tranche 3B production could hurt the Typhoon's long-term export potential, Zoller noted Cassidian's steadily rising annual spend on self-funded research and development, which totalled €251 million ($354 million) last year.

"Now we see more defence customers having the idea to go 'off-the-shelf', with no pre-financing of R&D. We don't want to lose some competitive edge in our programmes, so we already started to finance on our own," he said. One such example is in developing an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for the Typhoon.

"E-scan for Eurofighter, which is a very decisive subject to stay in international competitions, is for the time being completely financed by industry. We have to keep the momentum and the technology developed, otherwise we shoot ourselves out of the market," he said.

The availability of an AESA sensor is now mandated in most fighter competitions, such as the Indian air force's 124-unit medium multirole combat aircraft battle. "Our customers have checked whether the capability is there or will be there in time for their aircraft," said Zoller. "We are in a very good position, and will have all the technology and all the features available."

The UK is funding a technology demonstration programme to integrate and fly an AESA radar with the Eurofighter, with Selex Galileo leading the effort. Noting that the required technology is already available in Europe, Zoller said: "The question is what is the British customer going to do, and how we align the [other] customers."

The Eurofighter programme dominates the current business activities of Cassidian Air Systems, which was itself responsible for around 40% of the company's €4.3 billion orderbook in 2010.

31-03-11, 08:56 AM
Y'know, one day in the not to distant future, I can imagine all of those Gulf arms sales coming home to roost.

Basically the Saudi's marched into Bahrain to stop Iranian-backed opponents of the current rulers from toppling the Bahraini leadership.

If they hadn't, there is a small chance that Bahrain would have become an Iranian satellite on the southern side of the Gulf.



SOURCE:Flight International

PICTURES: Eurofighter reveals Typhoon development options for Middle East

By Siva Govindasamy

The Eurofighter consortium is developing a roadmap for the Typhoon that it believes will offer potential customers in the Middle East options to greatly enhance the type's capabilities.

"The plan is to, over the next eight to 10 years, take a phased approach to enhancing the Typhoon's capability," says Rob Wells, Eurofighter's export future business manager. "It is the exports that are driving these enhancements."

Eurofighter unveiled the plans, which include optional conformal fuel tanks, at IDEX 2011. Other enhancements include the option of MBDA's Meteor beyond visual-range air-to-air missile from 2014 and an active electronically scanned array radar that potentially offers a wider field of regard from 2015.

© Eurofighter

New air-to-surface weapons would include anti-ship missiles, stand-off-range cruise missiles and long-range glide bombs. A thrust-vectoring nozzle is also being offered for the aircraft's Eurojet EJ200 turbofan engines.

Wells says the programme's Tranche 3-standard aircraft will already have the provision to accommodate conformal fuel tanks, and that the consortium is open to collaboration with local industry on many of the options.

"Countries like Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain are looking at fighters, and we are willing to show them what their aerospace companies can do as well," he says.

01-04-11, 06:16 AM
Eurofighter Nations OK AESA Radar Effort


Published: 31 Mar 2011 14:06

LONDON - The four nations behind the Eurofighter program have given the green light to the Euroradar consortium to continue development of an active electronically scanned array radar destined for the Typhoon fighter.

The radar is a critical system in the drive to secure export orders for the Typhoon in India, Japan and elsewhere, as well as being earmarked for fitting to aircraft operated by the partner nations Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The Selex Galileo-led Euroradar consortium started full-scale development work on the radar, known as Captor-E, last July with a nine -month work phase which officially ends March 31.

The cash-strapped governments had to turn to industry to fund the first nine-month phase of the program.

No one is saying yet how the next phase of work will be paid for but as the budgetary situation has continued to decline in Europe in the last year, analysts here reckon industry may have had a key role to play on funding this time round as well.

A spokesman for Eurofighter declined to comment on funding but said in a statement, "Following a successful nine months of development work, partner nations and industry will continue full-scale development of an AESA radar. …We are confirming the target 2015 entry into service date of the new system."

Without an AESA radar to match the technologies being offered by rival plane makers, Typhoon would effectively be out of the multi-billion dollar export market for high-end fighters.

Euroradar is developing a new array married with the existing back-end processor and receiver fitted to the current Typhoon mechanically scanned Captor radar.

Unlike rival radars, the Selex Galileo technology mounts the array on a repositioner, rather than being fixed, giving a wider field of view.

The U.K. arm of Selex Galileo is developing similar technology for Saab's Gripen NG, a rival to the Typhoon in the Indian fighter contest.

12-04-11, 04:04 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

Brazil to upgrade more F-5 fighters

By Arie Egozi

AEL Sistemas has received a follow-on contract from Embraer Defense and Security to support the upgrade of 11 more Northrop F-5s for the Brazilian air force.

An Elbit Systems subsidiary, AEL will provide the modified aircraft's radar, mission computer, displays, weapons management system and electronic warfare equipment under the $85 million deal, with work to conclude in 2013. It will also deliver one flight simulator, spare parts and ground support equipment.

The new award follows earlier contracts secured from Embraer in 2001 and 2007 linked to the F-5 modernisation programme.

© Embraer

"AEL has become a centre of excellence for avionics and the follow-on award attests to the customer's satisfaction with our performance track record," says Elbit chief executive Joseph Ackerman.

25-05-11, 02:49 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

Saab to complete Sea Gripen design work in UK

By Craig Hoyle

Saab is to recruit a small team of engineers to staff a new design centre for its Sea Gripen concept in the UK, in an effort that could eventually lead to the construction of a flight demonstrator.

The Swedish company announced its plan following a 24 May meeting with Ministry of Defence officials in London, where it is also to open a new headquarters to accommodate the project team.

The move comes as Saab chief executive Håkan Buskhe has revealed a strategy to significantly expand the company's presence in the UK by pursuing fresh business opportunities. "The MoD is looking for competition," he said.

To open within the next few months following the recruitment of around 10 personnel, the design centre "will capitalise on the UK's maritime jet engineering expertise", Saab said. "Its first project will be to design the carrier-based version of the Gripen new-generation multi-role fighter aircraft based on studies completed by Saab in Sweden."

Both images © Saab

A concept-design phase lasting roughly 12-18 months will follow, after which Saab could choose to prepare a flight demonstrator, most likely at its Linköping site in Sweden. It hopes to work in partnership with selected UK companies to advance the project, as the nation's industry already provides 28% of the content for the Gripen NG.

Saab has described its Sea Gripen as an "ideal replacement for existing fleets and new [aircraft] carrier nations", and named Brazil and India as possible future customers. The concept was first explored around five years ago, and sources have said that the aircraft would be suitable for use on vessels with a displacement as low as 25,000t. Deliveries could be made from 2018.

Saab has around 200 employees in the UK, but according to Buskhe, "there's no reason why we couldn't be 10 times as big here. We believe the UK is a good ground to make an expansion from. We believe we have a gap to fill, and that we can show that it's possible to acquire extremely fine products that are affordable.

© Saab
Buskhe: Saab wants to tap UK's maritime jet engineering expertise

"When you have cuts it's time to look into your normal procurement processes and challenge patterns that were used in the past. We believe we have something to bring to the table."

Acquisitions could be one possible route to meeting the growth ambition, but Buskhe said that any such move "must keep to the core values of Saab: that we can increase the product performance and decrease cost". The company has a net cash position of around SKr4 billion ($631 million).

25-05-11, 07:40 PM
China, Russia Erode U.S. Stealth Technology Lead


Published: 24 May 2011 20:30

The United States' lead in stealth technology is eroding more quickly than anticipated, senior uniformed officials told Congress on May 24.

"Those are discouraging," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Herbert Carlisle, the service's deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Carlisle was referring to Russia's development of the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA and China's efforts to build the Chengdu J-20 fifth-generation fighters.

"Over time I believe we will still maintain an advantage, but I think our advantage will be a shorter period of time," he said.

Carlisle added that the U.S. has maintained an advantage in stealth technology since the late 1970s with the debut of the now-retired F-117 stealth fighter.

"I don't see us maintaining an advantage for as long, as I think other nations will continue to gain that technology," he said.

Carlisle, who has extensive experience flying Soviet-built warplanes during the 1980s as part of the formerly classified 4477th Test and Evaluation Squadron, said both Russia and China are skilled at building good fighter aircraft.

However, Carlisle cautioned that neither of those two countries would be able to build such aircraft overnight. It takes time and experience to build such sophisticated stealth warplanes, he said.

'These things are hard to develop," Carlisle said, pointing to the difficultly the U.S. faced in building the B-2 stealth bomber, F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

"We have the same assessment," added Marine Lt. Gen. Terry Robling, that service's deputy commandant for aviation, who was testifying alongside Carlisle. "What's keeping us ahead right now - I think the Joint Strike Fighter and its capabilities will do that."

Speaking to reporters after his testimony, Carlisle added that although he thought Russia and China will eventually get to an operational fifth-generation fighter, they are not remotely close to matching the F-35.

"I think they'll get there eventually, but by that time, we'll be at the next level," he said.

26-05-11, 05:04 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Eurofighter nations give fresh support to AESA integration

By Craig Hoyle

Ministers from the four Eurofighter programme nations - Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK - have given their renewed support to the integration of an active electronically scanned array radar, according to partner company BAE Systems.

The backing was provided during a meeting held this month, said Peter Anstiss, board member for BAE's Military Aircraft and Information business unit.

"The programme is continuing," said Anstiss. "We and Selex Galileo have got engineers on it, and they are working to a programme supported by the four nations. The funding for that is anticipated."

Speaking about the development at BAE's Warton site in Lancashire on 25 May, Anstiss said: "If you look at the strength of conviction of ministers and chiefs of air staff, everyone is consistently talking about the capabilities of AESA, and radar integration. There is no wavering around that. It leaves us feeling very positive about the future upgrades that we need to meet export demand and that of the customer nations."

The integration of an electronically scanned radar and other new equipment, including MBDA's Meteor beyond visual-range air-to-air missile, forms a key part of efforts to sell the Typhoon to nations including India.

Anstiss also identified other potential buyers as Brazil, Finland, Greece, Japan, Malaysia, Oman, Romania, Singapore, South Korea and Switzerland.

Meanwhile, BAE in mid-May delivered the 100th production Eurofighter to have been completed at its Warton final assembly facility. The site has produced aircraft for both the UK and Saudi Arabia, with the centenary aircraft having been single-seat example BS74 for the former's Royal Air Force.

Current activities at Warton cover the assembly of 25 aircraft a year, said Martin Topping, BAE's head of Typhoon final assembly.

27-05-11, 04:01 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Rafale Ramps Up: In Squadrons and Capability

Posted by Robert Wall at 5/26/2011 5:38 PM CDT

The French navy next month expects to inaugurate its second operational unit, 11F, to be collocated with 12F at Landisvisiau near Brest.

The move comes as the inventory of single-seat Dassault Aviation Rafale Ms is starting to grow.

(credit: DGA)

Meanwhile, combat operations continue to drive new efforts for the French military when it comes to Rafale. Soon to be launched is an upgrade of the Thales Damocles laser targeting pod to augment the infrared channel with a TV channel. The latter should improve the ability to target in urban environments – both will be downlinked to ground controllers using the Rover system.

Deliberations in France also continue over the introduction of a low collateral damage weapon.

Although French fighters have been dropping concrete bombs (using a Paveway III guidance kit) in Libya, military officials want a more effective system. One topic of discussion is the purchase of Dual-Mode Brimstones from MBDA, although program officials note a final decision has not been taken. The Rafale would likely feature a basic integration of the weapon to speed fielding.

The Rafale, in the intervening period, has been heavily using the AASM (show here:)

(Credit: DGA)

27-05-11, 04:06 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

100th Rafale for September

Posted by Christina Mackenzie at 5/26/2011 6:08 PM CDT

I didn't realise they had a 100 about to be in service, I still thought it was a pocket handful..............

The 100th Rafale, a single-seater, will be delivered in September to the French Air Force, three months after the second Rafale naval squadron (11F) is formed, as Robert blogged earlier. The first Rafale squadron, you may remember, was formed in 2004 since when the aircraft has been operationally deployed with the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010 and this year in the missions over Libya.

The omnirole aircraft (as opposed to multirole, a distinction the French Air Force stresses because the Rafale can undertake several different missions in one sortie while a multirole aircraft can only undertake one mission per sortie) will be the F3 version of the aircraft which was first introduced in July 2008. The Rafale F-3 can carry the IR (infra-red) air-to-air Mica missile, the RF (radio-frequency) Mica, a gun which has air-to-air and air-to-ground capacities, the Scalp cruise missile, the GPS guided AASM “Hammer” air-to-ground munition, the IR AASM, the GBU-12 and 24 “Paveway” laser-guided air-to-ground munitions, the AM39 air-to-ground munition and the ASMP/A nuclear missile...not all at the same time, obviously, but it can still carry 14 tons under its wings, as much as the weight of the empty aircraft, more or less.

The F-3 also has the RECO-NG (new generation) pod, the LDP (laser designated pod), the PESA radar, front-sector optronics and the Rover video terminal which enables the pilot and someone on the ground to see the same image.

So what's next? Stéphane Rebb, Rafale program manager at the DGA French procurement agency, says the aim it to “keep Rafale at the top level of performance and interoperability,” and points out that “today's architecture and platform allows this to be achieved without any major hardware changes before the mid-life upgrade expected in around 2025.”

31-05-11, 04:43 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

P&W gears up for next-generation military engine

By Stephen Trimble

Not too long ago - October 2007, to be precise - engine maker Pratt & Whitney seemed painted into a strategically perilous corner.

New requirements were emerging for next-generation bombers, sixth-generation fighters, tactical airlifters and surveillance aircraft. These demanded a new kind of jet engine, one that could make the next leap in fuel efficiency by reconfiguring and squeezing the air flow at higher levels than ever before.

P&W seemed to be caught on the back foot. The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) had selected GE Aviation and Rolls-Royce in 2007 to demonstrate next-generation engine technologies under two contracts - the adaptive versatile engine technology (Advent) and the highly efficient embedded turbine engine (HEETE). P&W had submitted bids for both programmes, but lost. The company's grip on the Lockheed Martin F-35 programme with the F135 engine was secure, but GE and Rolls-Royce seemed poised to leapfrog the military's dominant engine supplier for the next wave of combat aircraft.

© Pratt & Whitney
The geared Turbofan's core and an F135 style low-spool are to combine in the PW9000

Much has changed, however, since the AFRL bypassed P&W for Advent and HEETE. The debate about the F-35 alternate engine is likely to linger on for years, but the GE/R-R-supplied F136 is officially off the books. Congress this year finally complied with the Department of Defense's five-year-old campaign to sever funding for the alternate engine, although supporters continue to push the cause.


Meanwhile, the US Air Force's requirements have changed since 2007, and the service is no longer looking for a next-generation engine to power the next-generation bomber. Instead, service officials aim to leverage off-the-shelf technology as much as possible. That is a good sign for the P&W F135, the only programme of record in the 40,000lb-thrust (178kN) class and which is scheduled to be in full-rate production when the new bomber arrives.

Most importantly, P&W has revealed its own next-generation jet engine aimed squarely at the Advent and HEETE class of 20,000-35,000lb thrust. Company officials declined to be interviewed about the internally funded PW9000 engine for this article. It is not clear if P&W ever intended to reveal its existence, as it has been discussed publicly on a few occasions and only when specifically prompted by questions from journalists.

Details about the engine's configuration and some underlying technologies can be discerned from statements by company officials and documents, including recent patent applications.

Before Warren Boley, president of Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, left the company recently, he briefly described the PW9000 in February, when he defined the project as a combination between the F135 and the company's latest commercial engine, the PurePower PW1000 geared turbofan. "You can take an F135-style low-spool with the GTF core - we call that the PW9000 and people are very excited about that," Boley said. "Now you're talking about significant fuel-burn improvements."

A broad range of applications for the PW9000, which can be scaled down to the 10,000lb-thrust class, is also envisaged.

"There are hundreds of decisions down the line," Boley explained. "An unmanned bomber. A sixth-generation [tactical aircraft]. There is something that comes after the [Lockheed] F-22 for air dominance. The [US] Navy and all the airframers are looking what the sixth generation is."

The navy is seeking a next-generation air dominance fighter to replace the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet after 2025. The so-called F/A-XX fighter would be an attractive candidate for an engine in the PW9000-class between 20,000lb and 30,000lb thrust. Boeing has already displayed a model of a manned or optionally manned tailless fighter to replace the Super Hornet in about 15 years.

Winning a jet engine contract for such an aircraft would be a historic coup for P&W. The F/A-18E/F is powered by the GE F414, a turbo*fan a notch below the F135/F136 size class. One decade after witnessing the termination of the F136 alternate engine contract, P&W could drive GE out of the fighter engine business for good with a PW9000 powering the fighter that replaces the Super Hornet.

© Pratt & Whitney
Overall pressure ratio indicates a step change

P&W officials have always been coy about identifying the technologies embedded in the GTF core. Much of the public interest on the GTF has justly focused on the gear itself, but it is clear the engine core's performance relies on more than decoupling the speed of the fan and low-pressure turbine.

In late March, P&W officials revealed almost offhandedly that the overall pressure ratio (OPR) of the GTF core begins at 45:1, and rises to 50:1 in the Airbus A320neo application. By contrast, the OPR of the F135 powering the F-35 is reportedly around 30:1, indicating that P&W has achieved a step-change increase in fuel efficiency.

OPR is a key indicator of engine fuel efficiency. It compares the pressure of the air exiting the high-pressure compressor with the air entering the fan. As the ratio grows higher, specific fuel consumption generally declines. The trade-off with raising the pressure of the airflow is the need to manage hotter temperatures, especially as the air exits the combustion chamber at the rotor inlet.

P&W apparently believes it has solved this challenge with a technical breakthrough called microcircuit cooling and tip blowing. In a two-year-old patent, P&W engineers Francisco Cunha and Jason Albert claim that the microcircuit approach is "the most advanced cooling technology in existence today". In AFRL documents dated 2008, microcircuit cooling is credited as an outgrowth of the F135 programme.

The PW9000 is likely to benefit from both the higher OPR of the GTF compressor and the microcircuit cooling approach pioneered by the F135, among other critical improvements.

However, it is not clear how the PW9000 compares with the technologies in development by GE and Rolls-Royce for Advent and HEETE. Whereas the GTF is credited with a top OPR of 50:1, GE has claimed that the objective of its HEETE design is to achieve ratios up to 70:1.

Moreover, one of the key objectives of the Advent programme is to introduce a third duct for bypass air around the engine core. Increasing the ratio of air bypassing the engine core also reduces specific fuel consumption at high speeds. However, P&W officials have argued that the benefits of a third bypass stream have been over-hyped.

As government-funded research, data gathered during Advent and HEETE demonstrations by GE and Rolls-Royce would be made available to other bidders anyway, says P&W.

All three companies are now waiting for requests for proposals from the AFRL to launch the third phase of the Advent and HEETE programmes. These technology maturity contracts could be awarded to P&W, despite the company's losses in previous rounds of Advent and HEETE.

"It's the next evolution," Boley said in February. "You take the next technologies from Advent - the adaptive technologies from Advent - the compressor technologies from HEETE, and now you go to the next full-scale development phase.

"When the techmat [technology maturity] programme is let when those RfPs come out we will not have enjoyed the US government technology programmes of Advent and HEETE, but we will have done our own company-funded technology development that powers the geared turbofan," Boley added. "So beyond the focus of the fan and the gear there's a high-efficiency core that we would use to go to techmat."

01-06-11, 11:48 AM
BAE Systems confident Typhoon AESA will proceed

By Gareth Jennings


Government ministers have "assured [BAE Systems] of a clear way forward" in the development of an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, a senior company official said on 25 May.

Peter Anstiss, BAE Systems board member and business development director - Military and Air Information, told reporters during a press conference at the company's Warton site that "the E-Scan [electronic scan] radar programme is continuing". He said: "We have got engineers currently working to a programme that is supported by the four [Eurofighter partner] nations."

With Finmeccanica - which will lead the programme through its subsidiary Selex Galileo - and EADS, BAE Systems is part of a consortium that was launched at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2010 to develop an AESA/E-Scan capability for the Typhoon.

However, since the programme's launch there have been concerns it might fall victim to the current rounds of defence spending cuts, particularly in light of the fact that the UK's October 2010 Strategic Defence and Security review (SDSR) did not yield the required level of savings and that further follow-on cuts are expected.

179 of 359 words

03-06-11, 02:41 PM
Is stealth dead?

By Philip Ewing Friday, June 3rd, 2011 8:31 am

A.J.P. Taylor observed that few of the commanders in World War I understood its real strategic dynamics as it was going on. Taught almost exclusively to understand attack — attack, attack, attack — the armies on both sides ground to a bloody deadlock when their rivals always proved stronger in defense. This mystified all sides, but the explanation was simple, he wrote: The railroads meant defending armies could be reinforced and resupplied much faster than they were depleted by forces attacking on foot, through the mud — simply put, defense was mechanized, Taylor wrote, but attack was not.

Fast forward to the 21st century. According to one school of thought, as the U.S. has spent billions of dollars on a relative handful of stealth attack aircraft, potential adversaries can spend millions on sensors and other technology to defeat them by detecting them. Like Taylor’s defenders on the Western Front, the defenders have a theoretical advantage: With fixed ground stations, radar aerials can be as big as you want, consume as much energy as you need, and use as much computing power as required. An aircraft has to be able to fly, flight and maneuver, in addition to being stealthy.

Defense analyst Barry Watts takes up this debate in a new report published by his think tank, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, and his thoughtful analysis provides an excellent, detailed primer for stealth skeptics:

In recent years there has been speculation that ongoing advances in radar detection and tracking will, in the near future, obviate the ability of all-aspect, low-observable (LO) aircraft such as the B-2, F-22, and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) to survive inside denied airspace. Those taking this view emphasize at least two promising approaches to counter-LO, both of which are being pursued by the Russians, Czechs, and others.

One involves very high frequency (VHF) and ultra high frequency (UHF) radars, which use relatively long wavelengths of about 30 centimeters to six meters. The radar cross section (RCS) of an aircraft not only varies with the wavelength of the radar trying to detect the plane, but the aircraft’s RCS is larger for long-wavelength search radars compared to its RCS as seen by the shorter, X-band radars typically used by SAMs for fire-control. Radar physics, therefore, argues that VHF and UHF search radars offer greater potential to detect and track stealthy aircraft.

He continues:

The other promising approach to counter LO has been passive systems such as the Czech VERA-E, which uses radar, television, cellular phone and other available signals of opportunity reflected off stealthy aircraft to find and track them. The main limitation of such systems has been the enormous signal-processing power and memory required to analyze all these emissions, differentiate real targets from ghost signals, noise and clutter, and keep the false alarm rate to manageable levels.

One potential outcome, however, is that as long-wave radars transition to AESAs (and assuming computational power continues to double every two years or so in accordance with Gordon Moore’s “law”), information acquisition will overwhelm the capacity of aerospace engineers to reduce platform signatures. The balance between information acquisition and information denial will swing dramatically in favor of the former. Or, to put the point more bluntly, there will come a time in the not-too-distant future when the SAMs will almost always win against air-breathing penetrating platforms, rendering operations inside denied airspace too costly to bear.

So does this mean game over for the stealth era? Actually, no, Watts argues. (“there are substantial reasons to doubt this conclusion,” he writes.) It’s worth reading his report to get his full explanation, but to sum it up, he says advanced new features on the F-35 will enable it to continue enjoying stealth advantages on tomorrow’s battlefields: New electronic capabilities, the ability to attack in networked multi-ship groups, and others. This, of course, assumes they all work as advertised.

Watts also assumes tomorrow’s defenders get full points for technological rigor, even though they have many technical hurdles to jump before they reach the point where they can see and kill every stealth aircraft.

What do you think?

Read more: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2011/06/03/is-stealth-dead/#ixzz1ODShlTkM

03-06-11, 03:47 PM
Is stealth dead?

By Philip Ewing Friday, June 3rd, 2011 8:31 am

A.J.P. Taylor observed that few of the commanders in World War I understood its real strategic dynamics as it was going on. Taught almost exclusively to understand attack — attack, attack, attack — the armies on both sides ground to a bloody deadlock when their rivals always proved stronger in defense. This mystified all sides, but the explanation was simple, he wrote: The railroads meant defending armies could be reinforced and resupplied much faster than they were depleted by forces attacking on foot, through the mud — simply put, defense was mechanized, Taylor wrote, but attack was not.

Fast forward to the 21st century. According to one school of thought, as the U.S. has spent billions of dollars on a relative handful of stealth attack aircraft, potential adversaries can spend millions on sensors and other technology to defeat them by detecting them. Like Taylor’s defenders on the Western Front, the defenders have a theoretical advantage: With fixed ground stations, radar aerials can be as big as you want, consume as much energy as you need, and use as much computing power as required. An aircraft has to be able to fly, flight and maneuver, in addition to being stealthy.

Defense analyst Barry Watts takes up this debate in a new report published by his think tank, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, and his thoughtful analysis provides an excellent, detailed primer for stealth skeptics:

He continues:

So does this mean game over for the stealth era? Actually, no, Watts argues. (“there are substantial reasons to doubt this conclusion,” he writes.) It’s worth reading his report to get his full explanation, but to sum it up, he says advanced new features on the F-35 will enable it to continue enjoying stealth advantages on tomorrow’s battlefields: New electronic capabilities, the ability to attack in networked multi-ship groups, and others. This, of course, assumes they all work as advertised.

Watts also assumes tomorrow’s defenders get full points for technological rigor, even though they have many technical hurdles to jump before they reach the point where they can see and kill every stealth aircraft.

What do you think?

Read more: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2011/06/03/is-stealth-dead/#ixzz1ODShlTkM

Methinks we are reading work from a graduate of the 'Carlo Kopp school for the "gifted"...'

ie: a knob who thinks that home built computers equal the pinnacle of electrical engineering...

Interesting that it has come out only in the last 6 months or so that the F-35 uses a considerable amount of CNT technology in it's LO materials and all Kopp's "theorising" has been shown publicly, how rubbish it actually is when we are talking about "bleeding edge" LO technology...

03-06-11, 04:31 PM
With fixed ground stations, radar aerials can be as big as you want, consume as much energy as you need, and use as much computing power as required.

Yep, the key to defeating modern LO strike aircraft is giant, static ground installations. What could possibly go wrong.

04-06-11, 12:05 AM
With fixed ground stations, radar aerials can be as big as you want, consume as much energy as you need, and use as much computing power as required.

Yep, the key to defeating modern LO strike aircraft is giant, static ground installations. What could possibly go wrong.

Right. One of the key family of materials to use in defeating systems that use the electromagnetic medium for detection is nano carbons and other "ultra" electro-conductive structures. One, two, three missiles and it is game over.

Remember, the F-117 was 1970's technology and we knew how it could be defeated by existing systems by 1983. Otherwise why bother with the B-1? The fact that it kept it's edge until the mid-90's is remarkable.



04-06-11, 02:56 AM
With fixed ground stations, radar aerials can be as big as you want, consume as much energy as you need, and use as much computing power as required.

Yep, the key to defeating modern LO strike aircraft is giant, static ground installations. What could possibly go wrong.

I know. These bell-ends think that F-35's will be fighting in a vacuum. What tactical issue could possibly arise with a large static structure blasting out huge amounts of radiation?

A veritable storm of AARGM's that's what...

04-06-11, 11:34 AM
They are also ignoring the fact that MALD's are going to be common with the latest version offering Industrial Level Swarm tactics for mass MALD attacks/decoy utilising various payloads..............the idea that a small groups or single F-35's are going to be somehow sauntering around looking for targets is WW2 in its naivety.............

Work also continues on a new version of the decoy called the "MALD-V (truck)", which offers an empty payload compartment. The space can be used to install any sensor, data link or jammer that fits, transforming the decoy into a surveillance and reconnaissance system with 500nm range or 5h endurance.

07-06-11, 02:44 AM
Rafale Upgrade Ready in 2012

(Source: defense-aerospace.com; posted June 6, 2011)

By Giovanni de Briganti

The F3 04T upgrade package being tested for French air force and navy Rafales includes the ability to fire the laser-guided AASM precision-guided bomb, seen here during a recent test launch. (DGA photo)

CAZAUX, France --- The French defense procurement agency, DGA, is carrying out the final development tests of an upgrade package for the Rafale combat aircraft, including an AESA radar and improved electronics, that should be ordered next year by the French ministry of defense.

The package, designated F3 04T because it is an off-shoot of the aircraft’s latest F3 standard, also includes a new-generation Radar Warning Receiver (DDM-NG) and an improved version of the OSF (Optique Secteur Frontal) electro-optical sensor. Upgraded Rafales will also be able to fire an improved, laser-guided version of the AASM precision-guided bomb developed by Sagem and currently being flight-tested by DGA at its facility at this air base in south-western France.

Major Gen. Stéphane Rebb, the Rafale program manager at DGA, says that with these improvements Rafale’s systems architecture and airframe will remain competitive until about 2025, when it is due for a mid-life upgrade.

Rebb spoke to reporters at the Villacoublay air base near Paris, at the beginning of a two-day press tour which also included Solenzara air base, in Corsica, from where Rafales and Mirage F-1CRs operate to enforce the Libyan No-Fly Zone. The trip was sponsored by DGA and the Rafale industry team.

Development of the upgrade, Rebb said, is “part of a continuous process to maintain Rafale’s performance and interoperability” which will also include additional modes for the AESA radar and the acquisition of a new, low collateral-effect weapon as a more effective substitute for the concrete-filled bombs France has sometimes used in Libya to ensure civilian bystanders are not injured by bomb explosions.

These improvements are part of the “enhanced capability package roadmap” agreed in October 2006, and whose development is funded by reducing the Tranche 3 order by two aircraft, and shifting those funds to pay for the upgrade.

Rafale pilots are already able to measure the distance between their intended target and bystanders thanks to the imagery provided by their Damoclès laser designator pod, and can thus see whether there is a risk of collateral damage before firing. This is not enough, however, and a joint defense staff/DGA working group is looking at alternatives, one of which is the off-the-shelf procurement of the Brimstone guided missile (a much-modified variant of the Hellfire) developed and produced by MBDA.

M-88 Engines: to Uprate or Not to Uprate?

An engine upgrade, however, is not on the cards for the Rafales operated by the French forces, which consider that the Snecma M-88’s current 7.5-tonne power rating is enough.

Given Rafale’s two engines, available power is 15 tonnes, which given the aircraft’s empty of 10 tonnes translates into a power-to-weight ratio of 1:1 with 50% fuel and 2.5 tonnes of weapons. Admittedly, this ratio degrades quickly if the aircraft is loaded to its maximum take-off weight of 25 tonnes, (including 5 tonnes of internal fuel and 10 tonnes of weapons), but then again this is not a typical configuration for air-to-air combat.

French air force pilots interviewed at Solenzara say that the current engine power allows them to fly all of their missions without limitations, and that on a seven-hour mission to Libya they can cruise at Mach 0.9 on a 50% power setting with a full ordnance load. They also say that operations in the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan or other high-temperature areas have not shown a real need for more power, although they all agree that it would be nice to have.

One Rafale pilot at Solenzara who has flown in the UAE remarked that one reason they want a more powerful engine is that its pilots are now used to the latest F-16 Block 60, which is essentially a small airframe built around a very big engine, and so find the Rafale underpowered by comparison.

Another reason for a 9-tonne engine, a source said June 6, is that the UAE want to carry three Black Shahine cruise missiles and three 2,000 liter drop tanks, where the French air force carries only two similar Scalp-ER missiles, each of which weighs 1,300 kg. “It’s clear that, when taking off with such a payload in very hot weather” – and in the Emirates temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius – “it’s better to take off with 18 tonnes of thrust than 15.”

While the 9-tonne engine is mooted for export, DGA’s Rebb said that “no decision has been taken on a more powerful engine for France,” adding that the ultimate decision “will depend in great part on costs.”

Work on an improved M-88-2E4 engine is well advanced at Snecma, but the goal is not to increase power but to lower the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by extending service life and time between inspections. The -2E4 will also reduce fuel burn by 2 to 4%, Snecma says.

The improvements included in the -2E4 engine will form “a large part” of the future 9-tonne engine. However, notes a Dassault Aviation executive, there’s a big stumbling block: “we need an order and a signature to launch the 9-tonne engine.”

Meanwhile, the M-88-2E4 is due to complete its flight test program this month and to be delivered for production aircraft from next November. Main improvements include a new high-pressure turbine and a new three-stage HP compressor, with the goal of improving HP turbine life by 30%.

The approach selected for the -2E4 development means that new parts can be added to existing engines, independently of each other, as old ones need replacing, so implementing the TCO upgrade will be a gradual and low-cost process.

AESA Radar Ready for Production

Separately, DGA is flight-testing further improvements to the Rafale, says Lt. Col. Olivier Bordes, director of Rafale flight testing at the agency’s facility at Cazaux air base. “Now, we are focusing on the Link 16 and AESA radar integration, and their test and evaluation phase is being carried out in June and July.” Final qualification of the RBE-2 AESA radar will be the major development milestone for this year, Bordes said.

This radar will equip all 60 aircraft of the 4th production batch, ordered in December 2009 and comprising 10 Rafale M carrier fighters and 25 Rafale C single-seaters and 25 Rafale B two-seaters for the air force. Deliveries are scheduled from mid-2013 to end 2019. The current production rate is of 11 aircraft per year, a remarkably low figure that nonetheless allows the program to remain economically viable, and Dassault Aviation to turn a profit, despite the lack of export orders.

The AESA radar will improve detection range and the ability to detect targets with small radar cross-section, and will be compatible with the future Meteor air-to-air missile of which France ordered an initial batch in December 2010 for delivery in 2018. Flight-testing is carried out with a modified Falcon 20 business jet and a hybrid test-bed which combines a Mirage 2000B two-seat airframe fitted with the Rafale’s nose and AESA radar. The aircraft sports DGA markings and a ghost-grey color scheme.

Weapons, Avionics Also to Be Upgraded

In addition to engine and radar, the Rafale upgrade package also includes a new missile warning receiver, the DDM-NG developed by MBDA, which features a new passive infrared detector array with two fish-eye sensors providing spherical fields of view around the aircraft. It improves detection range, reduces false alarm rate and provides an angular discrimination capability compatible with future directional IR countermeasures (DIRCM). DDG-NG has also been ordered for, and will be fitted to, aircraft of the 4th production batch.

Finally, DGA is also completing in-flight evaluation of the latest, laser-guided version of the Armement Air-Sol Modulaire (AASM, or “Hammer”) developed by Sagem. Integration onto the Rafale has been completed, and three test firings, including one against a target moving at a speed of 80 km/h (50 mph), have successfully completed the development phase. In this case, the AASM was fired at an off-axis angle of 90 degrees against a fast-moving laser spot generated by a ground-based illuminator, but DGA has scheduled another three test firings against representative targets in 2012 before the weapon enters service. Full-scale production of the laser-guided AASM is due to begin in late 2012.

The ROVER (Remotely-Operated Video Enhanced Receiver) real-time video system will be fitted to all F3-04T aircraft, and also will be retrofitted to 30 aircraft already in service. The F3-04T upgrade package also includes improvements to the OSF electro-optical IRST sensor, but neither DGA nor the manufacturers involved were willing to provide details of any significance.

Other points that emerged during the Rafale press tour include:

-- New capabilities that might be incorporated into the Rafale’s mid-life update in around 2025 could include operating unmanned aerial vehicles, thrust vectoring for improved maneuverability, and conformal radar antenna arrays located all around the airframe.

-- In September, France will take delivery of its 100th Rafale, out of the 294 that it plans to buy. The aircraft has logged over 64,000 flight hours since it entered service in June 2004. The 94 aircraft delivered as of May 2011 include 36 two-seaters and 27 single-seaters for the French air force, and 31 single-seaters for the navy, in addition to four development aircraft.

-- The French navy air arm, Aéronavale, will stand up its second operational Rafale squadron this month, seven years after the first was formed in 2004.

-- Replacement of a Rafale’s wing and vertical fin requires “half a day,” while an engine can be replaced in about 90 minutes and, once replaced, does not require any tests or bench checks before resuming flight.


10-06-11, 09:11 PM
Industry Fronts Money for Typhoon Radar R&D


Published: 10 Jun 2011 13:55

Industry is funding development of the Captor-E active electronically scanned array radar destined for the Eurofighter Typhoon because the four governments in the fighter program don't have the money available at this stage.

Selex Galileo chief executive Fabrizio Giuliani told reporters June 8 that members of the Euroradar consortium and Eurofighter would provide "pre-funding, not self-funding."

The Italian executive said that by the expected signing of a letter of intent backing the AESA program at the Paris Air Show later this month the governments of Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain are "committed to pay back Eurofighter and Euroradar what we anticipate [spending]."

Euroradar, which is led by Selex, also involves EADS and Indra. Eurofighter is the Typhoon management organization operated by BAE Systems, EADS and Finmeccanica.

Bob Mason, the executive vice president for sensors and airborne systems at Selex Galileo, said finance was not an issue. The important thing was to get the Eurofighter nations officially committed to the program through the letter of intent, Mason said.

"We understand the financial constraints. Finance is not the issue; that is being made available by Eurofighter and Euroradar for full-scale development. The issue is the backing of the governments and that's what the letter of intent will give us. Export customers like India and Japan will be more comfortable with the backing of the Eurofighter governments," he said.

The four nations "will join at the appropriate time when they have the budgets available," he said.

The availability of an AESA radar was a key requirement for the multi-billion dollar competition being run by the Indian government to equip the air force with a multi-role medium weight fighter. Typhoon was downselected recently alongside the Dassault Rafale for the final stages of the competition.

Talks over the releasability of the AESA technology to India is still under debate and depends on the final solution and final negotiations, Mason said.

"We are looking at the manufacturer of certain subsystems in India software transition in terms of modes and bringing new modes into the radar as well," he said.

Mason said they had agreed a "large amount of funding" from the Eurofighter governments through to the first production standard radars scheduled for completion in 2014 for aircraft production the following year.

The executive said Euroradar now had a huge team working on the development at Selex's main development plant in Edinburgh and elsewhere.

Aside from the Captor-E, Selex is also working in the combat aircraft field on a similar AESA radar for the Saab Gripen NG, and is involved in separate technology demonstrator programs funded by the British and Italian governments.

23-06-11, 01:41 AM
Eurofighter Partners To Continue Developing AESA Radar

Posted by Bradley Peniston | June 22nd, 2011 | Paris Air Show 2011

The Eurofighter chalet at 2011 Paris Air Show / Defense News photo by Bradley Peniston

By ANDREW CHUTER • PARIS — The Eurofighter partner nations have signed a letter of intent to continue full-scale development of an e-scan radar for the Typhoon fighter.

The agreement, signed by the British, German, Italian and Spanish governments during the Le Bourget air show in Paris, calls for a 2015 entry into service with the new radar, officials with Eurofighter and Euroradar said in a June 22 statement.

Called Captor-E, the new active electronically scanned array radar is a crucial part of a drive to win export orders for Typhoon in India, Japan and elsewhere. The radar will also eventually be taken up by the cash-strapped Eurofighter nation air forces.

Full development of Captor-E has been underway since July last year.

The work has been funded by industry, the joint statement said.

The two industry organizations gave no word on the new funding arrangement.

However, Selex Galileo chief executive Fabrizio Giuliani told reporters June 8 that members of the Euroradar consortium and Eurofighter would provide funding for the program.

Giuliani described the new funding arrangement as “pre-funding, not self-funding. “ At the same briefing, Bob Mason, the executive vice president for sensors and airborne systems at Selex Galileo, said finance was not an issue.

The important thing was to get the Eurofighter nations officially committed to the program through the letter of intent, Mason said.

“We understand the financial constraints. Finance is not the issue; that is being made available by Eurofighter and Euroradar for full-scale development. The issue is the backing of the governments and that’s what the letter of intent will give us. Export customers like India and Japan will be more comfortable with the backing of the Eurofighter governments, “ he said.

The four nations “will join at the appropriate time when they have the budgets available, “ he said earlier this month.

Euroradar is a Selex Galileo-led consortium responsible for radar developments on the Typhoon. Other companies involved are EADS and Indra.

Eurofighter manages the Typhoon program on behalf of Alenia Aeronautica, BAE and EADS.

The new radar will marry the key features of the existing Typhoon Captor-M mechanically scanned radar with new AESA arrays on the front.

Eurofighter and Euroradar said the new radar will allow customers to retrofit their existing Typhoons when required.

Alluding to opportunities for export customers to participate industrially, the two consortia said, “The radar will have significant growth potential and both existing and new customers will be able to participate in tailoring the radar to meet their individual operational requirements. “

Saudi Arabia and Austria have already purchased the aircraft.

30-06-11, 03:56 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

First flight of Japanese ATD-X likely in 2014

By Greg Waldron

Tokyo has reaffirmed its plan for a 2014 first flight of its experimental Mitsubishi ATD-X Shinshin stealth demonstrator, while it also considers three fighters for its F-X requirement.

"The first flight of the ATD-X is scheduled in Japan fiscal year 2014," said Japan's defence ministry.

"The ATD-X is a trial product of a high-manoeuvrability stealth aircraft adopting various state-of-the-art technologies that may be applied to future fighters, and confirm and verify the practicality and operational effectiveness of systems under various flight conditions," said the ministry. "It is also intended for the study of air defence against stealth fighters that might be deployed in the neighbouring region in the future."

© Flightglobal/Tim Bicheno-Brown

Japan unveiled the first full-sized mock-up of the ATD-X at Japan Aerospace 2008. Many observers, noting the immense costs and risks in developing an indigenous fighter, have speculated that the project was a bargaining chip to help Tokyo gain access to the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, which Washington steadfastly refused to sell to its Pacific ally.

Meanwhile, the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed F-35A Lightning II are vying for the F-X requirement to replace Japan's McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms. Tokyo issued a long-awaited request for proposals for the deal in April.

According to Tokyo's mid-term defence programme for the years 2011-15, the Japan Air Self-Defence Force has initial plans to procure 12 aircraft, with the final number yet to be determined. At a media briefing at the Paris air show, however, Boeing said the F-X requirement is for 42 aircraft.

Boeing added that it elected to offer the Super Hornet as opposed to a variant of the F-15 because Japan seeks a diversity of fighter types. The country operates a large force of F-15Js, but was concerned about readiness in the event of a problem with a specific type of aircraft.

Under F-X, substantial parts of the aircraft selected will be produced in Japan. Both Boeing and Lockheed have a long history of industrial co-operation with Japan on fighter programmes, while Eurofighter is a newcomer. The strong diplomatic ties between the USA and Japan, and the possibility that they may one day face common threats in the form of North Korea or China, would appear to favour the US aircraft over their European rival.

Tokyo expects proposals to be submitted by the end of September. The defence ministry said it will request that funds for the F-X purchase be appropriated for FY2012, with the aim of inducting the aircraft in 2016.

06-07-11, 04:32 PM
Real U.S. Stealth-Tech Advantage: Its Assembly Lines

By David Axe July 6, 2011 | 7:00 am

For more than 20 years, the U.S. Air Force had a world monopoly on radar-evading technology — and with it, a huge advantage over any rival. Several generations of stealth fighters and bombers, from the earliest F-117s to the 1990s-vintage B-2s and today’s F-22s, have helped win wars, take down regimes and exert U.S. influence across the globe.

Then something happened. In an eventful two years, the United States has apparently lost its stealth monopoly to Russia, China and several other countries that have already flown their own stealth-fighter prototypes — or might soon. U.S. stealth planes are still better and far more numerous than any other country’s, and will be for a long time. But they’re no longer alone.

The implications could be enormous, for the United States and the world.

Or not. There’s evidence that most countries are merely bluffing with their stealth-fighter plans. In that case, U.S. stealth dominance could continue … only slightly diminished.

The first challenger to U.S. radar-evading warplanes was the Russian T-50, debuting in January 2010. The Chinese J-20, pictured, followed 11 months later. Spurred on by the T-50 and J-20, several Asian nations announced their own stealth-fighter schemes. India signed on for a version of the T-50. Japan and South Korea began designing stealth warplanes of their own.

The stealth race shows no outward sign of slowing. Rumors abound of a second Chinese stealth jet that could begin testing any day now.

But it’s not clear how many of these new stealth fighters will ever enter full-rate production. Indeed, it’s possible some are not even meant for front-line service.

That’s the hidden irony of the stealth arms race. While it might appear that the United States has lost its lead in the design and manufacture of “invisible” warplanes, the escalating global demand for stealth could end up working in the United States’ favor, by creating a market for the latest fighters that didn’t exist before — and one only the United States can really afford to exploit.

The key is scale.

It’s one thing to design a viable stealth plane, and even to show off a prototype or two. It’s entirely another thing to mass-produce combat-ready stealth fighters at a price the world’s air forces can afford. “Talk is cheap,” my old boss (and Danger Room co-founder) Sharon Weinberger used to say. “Military aircraft are expensive.”

It’s possible only the United States has the industrial capacity and domestic market sufficient to make its stealth planes economical on the world market. That’s the whole rationale behind the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the fourth (but not last) U.S. stealth warplane.

The U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marines could buy as many as 3,000 F-35s over the next 30 years. No other country even possesses that many fighters, much less plans to replace them all with stealth models. “It [the F-35] is a versatile aircraft, less than half the total cost of the F-22, and can be produced in quantity with all the advantages produced by economies of scale,” former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said two years ago.

Gates was on to something (even if the JSF turned out to be not as cheap as he hoped). With development costs mostly paid for by Washington, and Lockheed’s investment protected by the promise of huge domestic orders, the F-35 is positioned to be the United States’ — and the world’s — first relatively affordable, exportable stealth fighter. A number of countries have already placed orders, and more should follow.

Some might question whether a plane priced at $100 million per copy before development and support expenses is truly economical. And they’re right to be skeptical. But China’s J-20 could end up costing even more than the F-35, if it enters full-scale production at all. Japan pays more than $100 million for each of its current, non-radar-evading F-2 warplanes — and would probably have to shell out double that per copy for its planned “ATD-X” stealth fighter.

Foreign governments are aware of the high cost of developing and buying homemade stealth fighters. And that’s why most of them probably don’t intend on following through with indigenous warplane programs. Instead, many countries are working on stealth technology as a political bargaining chip, and as practice for their aerospace industries. Their goal is to team up with other countries on stealth.

Take Japan, for example. No one seriously believes Tokyo is prepared to devote a full 5 percent of its annual defense budget to purchase a handful of homemade ATD-X stealth fighters. The Pentagon will probably end up spending just 3 percent of its budget for a proportionally much larger fleet of F-35s. Producing its own stealth fighters could bankrupt the Japanese military.

More likely, the Japanese government is budgeting a few hundred million dollars to refining basic stealth technology, with the real goal of proving to Lockheed that Japanese industry deserves to participate in the production of F-35s, if and when Tokyo formally decides to acquire the type. Same goes for South Korea, which could also acquire the F-35 and hopes to make parts for the jet. It’s worth keeping an eye on where these countries’ stealth components wind up. But neither Japan nor South Korea is about to build a fleet of rivals to stealthy U.S. warbirds.

Russia, for its part, may also be more of a maker of stealth parts than a stealth jets. Moscow perhaps always intended India to help pay for the stealth T-50 fighter’s development, as Russia probably couldn’t afford the T-50 all on its own.

That leaves China. While there is speculation that Beijing might try to sell radar-evading fighters to Pakistan, so far China is going it alone on stealth. Whether the Chinese can afford large numbers of stealth planes remains to be seen. Double-digit GDP growth can’t last forever.

Once the dilettantes are factored out, there are really only three countries making viable stealth fighters, and only two — the United States and China — capable of making them on their own. If there exists a market for 4,000 stealth warplanes over the next three decades, probably 3,500 will be U.S. models.

That’s not a monopoly, but it’s pretty close. The U.S. radar-evading advantage might not be as overwhelming as it once was, but it could still endure for decades — thanks mostly to the incredibly high cost of stealth.

Photo: Chinese Internet

07-07-11, 03:15 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

Austria nears acceptance of first upgraded Typhoon

By Luca Peruzzi

Austria is set to reintroduce its first of 15 Eurofighter Typhoons to have received an upgrade that will enhance the type's communications equipment, add identification friend-or-foe systems and address obsolescence issues.

"The first upgraded aircraft is expected to be handed over by the Eurofighter consortium in the coming days, while the complete fleet is planned to be reworked by the end of 2012," said Brig Gen Rupert Stadlhofer, commander of air surveillance command.

Delivered between 2007 and 2009 and operated from Zeltweg air base, Austria's Tranche 1-standard Typhoons have so far logged a combined 3,200 flying hours.

© Geoffrey Lee/Eurofighter

Budget constraints mean the fleet is restricted to 1,200-1,300h annually, although Stadlhofer said this is to rise to 1,500h by 2015. Each of Austria's 14 Typhoon pilots flies an average of 70-80h per year, while another two are being trained.

Despite the effects of the modernisation programme, the air force makes five Typhoons available each day to meet training requirements as well as to provide quick-reaction alert cover. Aircraft typically take off within 7min of an alarm being raised, with the nation's airspace having been violated 170 times last year.

Austria's defence ministry has signed a new in-service support deal with Eurofighter, which includes a 30% cost reduction by 2016. It has an option to extend the contract by a further two years.

Separately, Stadlhofer said Austria will send its first students to Lecce air base in Italy late this year to undergo lead-in fighter training on the Alenia Aermacchi MB-339CD. Its personnel previously received instruction via the NATO Flying Training in Canada scheme.

03-08-11, 01:45 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

South Korea, Indonesia to establish KF-X research centre

By Greg Waldron

South Korea and Indonesia have established a research centre to study the proposed KF-X indigenous fighter aircraft.

The centre will be located in Daejeon, 160km (99 miles) south of Seoul, said South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

Approximately 100 Korean and 30 Indonesian researchers will work at the centre.

Korea Aerospace Industries and Indonesia's National Defense Research Institute will both contribute personnel to the project, which will look at the design and other core technologies of the proposed stealth aircraft.

DAPA's announcement indicates the long-discussed aircraft programme may finally be getting of the ground.

On 14 July, a story carried by Indonesia's Antara official news agency said the country had confirmed it would participate in the programme, contributing 20% of the development costs.

Antara quoted the secretary general of Indonesia's defence ministry, Erris Heriyanto, as saying development of the KF-X would take place in three stages: technological development over the next two years, engineering and manufacturing and finally production.

The two partners have agreed to produce 150-200 units, of which Indonesia would get 50.

These would be sufficient to equip three combat squadrons, he said.

An Indonesian source told Flightglobal that Jakarta expects KF-X to be ready by 2018.

Jakarta originally signed a memorandum of understanding to participate in KF-X at the 2010 Farnborough air show.

Seoul, apparently interested in reducing its share of the estimated $8 billion in development costs, has also spoken to Turkey. Ankara, however, announced plans for its own indigenous fighter in December 2010.

04-08-11, 03:00 AM
08-03-2011 19:18

Korea awaits new partner for $5 bil. fighter program

By Lee Tae-hoon

The door is open for another country or foreign firm to participate in Seoul’s initiative to develop a new combat aircraft with a budget of $5 billion, defense officials here said.

“Many countries, including the United Arab Emirates, have shown interest in investing in the project,” Noh Dae-rae, head of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration Commissioner, said Tuesday.

“We are planning to allow another country with the most attractive offer to join the KF-X program.”

The KF-X program refers to the multirole fighter development program that Seoul has pursued since 2000 to replace its aging F-4/5 fighter jets.

Indonesia pledged last year to invest $1 billion in the project and buy 50 KF-X fighters for allowing its researchers to participate in development.

Noh made the remarks at the kickoff ceremony of the KF-X project’s feasibility study to be jointly conducted with Jakarta, which will also shoulder 20 percent of the $50 million initial study costs.

Thirty-five Indonesian researchers will team up with 137 Korean experts for the exploration stage which is scheduled for completion with the selection of a prototype at the end of 2012.

Noh noted that he expects another KF-X partner to share up to 29 percent of the development costs and purchase some 150 new fighters in return for joining the consortium.

“The global trend is clearly moving toward joint development as the risk for the development of an advanced fighter is high despite the limited market,” he said.

Industry sources say Poland and Turkey have also expressed an interest in forging a partnership with Korea for the program.

American defense giant Lockheed Martin, which invested 13 percent in Korea’s development of T-50 supersonic trainer jets, is also apparently considering participating in the Seoul-led fighter jet development program.

“We’d be honored to be a partner in the KF-X program,” Stephen O’Bryan, a vice president of Lockheed Martin, said last month.

Lee Dae-yeorl, program director of the Combined Research and Development Center for the KF-X, said he would welcome industry participation from the world’s leading aerospace firms.

“We believe defense firms, such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) can help us reduce the technology gap,” he said.

He said Seoul aims to develop an indigenous aircraft with limited stealth capabilities and a locally developed active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system.

“We’ll develop a whole new fighter never seen anywhere else in the world,” Lee said.

He noted that the cost per KF-X jet is estimated at $55 million and its production aircraft is expected to be deployed from 2020.

Critics, however, say the future of the KF-X program remains uncertain as Korea plans to drop the $5 billion plan if it fails to attract foreign investment of 40 percent or above.


11-08-11, 03:02 AM

SOURCE:Flight International

MiG-29 production enters transformation

By Vladimir Karnozov

RSK MiG is beginning to wind down production of its "classic" MiG-29 design, as it completes a final batch of the aircraft for Myanmar.

The company's plants in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Lukhovitsy will shift to producing the newer MiG-29K/KUB/M1/M2/35 unified platform.

The manufacturer showed 24 classic airframes in the final assembly shop at its Moscow factory during a 3 August visit.

The majority were incomplete examples for Myanmar, while two were Indian air force fighters undergoing modernisation to the MiG-29upg configuration.

RSK MiG says three aircraft have been delivered to Myanmar, with three more being shipped to the customer and the last due to arrive in 2012.

The nation ordered "about 20 classics, chiefly MiG-29SE single-seaters and a few MiG-29UBs," said Vladimir Barkovsky, chief of the company's engineering centre.

The company's production process has been modernised to meet this delivery schedule, with several innovations having cut the lead time to one year.

"We will continue to innovate in our manufacturing methods to increase the [annual] output [of the Moscow plant] from 12 to 24", said general designer - general director Sergey Korotkov.

The company's current backlog for the type is five years, he added, noting that some customers "do not want to wait that long for their new airplanes".

RSK MiG is also performing upgrades for four countries including India and Peru, with the former project covering roughly 60 interceptors.

Six of these will be modified in Russia, with the remainder to be completed in India.

Two single-seat and one twin-seat aircraft are already undergoing flight tests at the Zkukovsky aerodrome near Moscow.

The upgraded MiG-29upg features a new radar, believed to be the Phazotron Zhuk-ME, plus replacement cockpit displays, a larger ventral fuel tank and the ability to use modern air-launched weapons.

Korotkov said 11 MiG-29K/KUB shipborne fighters have been delivered to the Indian navy, with the remaining aircraft from a 16-aircraft launch order to be handed over by the end of this year.

A follow-on contract for 29 more aircraft was signed earlier this year, with these to be delivered from 2012.

Korotkov said India is "completely satisfied" with the performance of its MiG-29K/KUBs, after racking up more than 1,000 flight hours during operational trials over a one-year period.

The Russian navy has also shown interest in the K/KUB model, he said, with an initial order for 12-14 aircraft potentially being signed during this month's MAKS air show in Moscow.

19-08-11, 10:44 AM
English translation: MoJ charges Mitsubishi Heavy Industries with development of airframe as part of Advanced Technology Demonstrator fighter plane project

Thanks to @_niten for providing the translation on the article regarding the development of the Shinshin stealth fighter.

As part of the Advanced Technology Demonstrator (ATD-X or “Shinshin”) project that will help develop fighter planes twenty years from now, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) plans to commission Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to development the airframe to as soon as within this financial year. In addition, funds for spare parts and maintenance materials totally approximately JPY 9 billion (roughly USD 117 million) look to be included in the draft requests for the FY 2012 budget which come out at the end of September. This effort will evaluate the operational effectiveness of each technological component, and will help make the successor to the F2 fighter plane a domestic effort.

The ATD-X will not be deployed to units, but is a plane that will verify both the stealth ability to not be picked up on enemy radar, and the high kinetic performance which allows quick turns when traveling at low speed. No mission avionics or weapon systems such as missiles will be installed. Forecasts see a maiden flight in FY 2014, and flight tests in FY 2015-2016.

From 2009 the MoD had charged Mitsubishi Heavy Industries with developing the manufacturing design, and as this has been completed the move is now to construction of the airframe.

23-08-11, 07:57 AM
Turkey holding rival talks on aircraft with Koreans, Swedes

Monday, August 22, 2011


ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News

Besides an ongoing plan to develop a fighter jet program with the US or Europe, Turkey is seeking to broaden its fleet with a second option. South Korea’s KAI and Sweden’s Saab are the two possible partners, according to a Turkish procurement official. Turkey is supposed to take part in the design of the possible project

A Swedish Air Force JAS-39 Gripen fighter aircraft arrives at the Graf Ignatievo Air Base in Bulgaria in this file photo. Turkey is considering to design, develop and produce a new fighter plane with Sweden’s Saab.

Turkey recently had held separate talks with aeronautical officials from South Korea and Sweden for possible cooperation in the design, development and production of a new fighter aircraft in the next decade, a senior procurement official said at the weekend.

“The companies are South Korea’s Korea Aerospace Industries [KAI] and Sweden’s Saab,” the official said.

KAI is the manufacturer of several military and civilian aircraft and satellites and is planning to produce the fighter aircraft KF-X. Saab is the maker of the multi-role fighter JAS 39 Gripen.

Turkey, whose present fighter fleet is made up of U.S.-made aircraft, also plans to buy the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II planes, a next-generation, multinational program also led by the United States.

But Turkish officials privately say they want another future jet fighter to be developed with a country or countries other than the United States, in an effort to reduce the country’s dependence on Washington.

Most of Turkey’s present fleet of F-16 fighters, being modernized by U.S. firm Lockheed Martin, and the planned future F-35s are open to U.S. influence. Only its older F-4 aircraft, modernized by Israel, and its oldest F-16s, being modernized by Turkey itself, technologically are free from this influence, the officials said. But these older aircraft are expected to be decommissioned around 2020.

“Turkey wants part of its fighter aircraft fleet to remain outside the technological and other influence of the United States. It believes this scheme would better fit its national interests,” said one Turkish defense analyst.

So as part of efforts to select a new fighter for the Turkish Air Force, Turkish Aerospace Industries, or TAI, has been tasked with determining the specifications of the new fighter. It has until the end of next year to finish the process.

Turkey in the past has assembled and jointly manufactured some military aircraft, but this is the first time the country’s developing defense industry fully will be involved in the design of a complex weapons system, such as a jet fighter.

The country last year held an initial round of talks with South Korea’s KAI on the matter. But the South Koreans then offered only a 20 percent share of the project to Turkey, with another 20 percent going to Indonesia, opting for 60 percent of the program for themselves. Turkey wants an equal share in the development of a new plane and was quick to reject the offer.

“Now the South Koreans are coming much closer to the idea of equal ownership, and this is positive,” said the Turkish procurement official. “But there are still many more things to be discussed with them.”

In the meantime, Turkey continues to be interested in rival programs, and the recent talks with Saab officials reflect this situation, the procurement official said. “Sweden also is a potential partner for us.”

In addition to KAI and Saab, a consortium of European companies, also continues efforts to include Turkey in its program for the Eurofighter Typhoon project. This consortium is Eurofighter, whose members include Italian, German, British and Spanish firms.

Italy’s deputy defense minister said in May that the pan-European Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft was the only viable alternative to U.S. planes in this category, urging Turkey to join the ambitious European-led defense program.

“The Eurofighter is the only alternative to U.S. aircraft, and provides a great relief to world countries,” Guido Crosetto said in Istanbul on the sidelines of the International Defense Industry Fair 2011.

02-09-11, 12:26 PM

SOURCE:Flight International

Japan may invest Y7.9bn in ATD-X project

By Greg Waldron

Japan plans to allocate around yen (Y) 7.9 billion ($102.8 million) in the current fiscal year for research to the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) ATD-X experimental aircraft programme.

The contract will cover research to develop the aircraft as well as one flying airframe, said Japan's Ministry of Defense (MOD). It added that the Y7.9 billion figure "is yet to be determined."

The MOD also confirmed that the experimental aircraft will be powered by two Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI) XF5-1 engines.

The ministry reiterated its target of 2014 for a first flight, which will be conducted by MHI. The manufacturer will hand the aircraft to the MOD's Technical Research and Development Institute in the fiscal year ending 31 March 2017.

"The airframe will be designed and manufactured for the purpose of making the flight test on the high-manoeuvrability and stealth technologies, which are the aim of this research project," said the MOD.

In keeping with the project's experimental nature, the aircraft will have no advanced sensors or weapons.

"The aircraft will not be a fighter plane but an experimental one intended for flight tests," said the MOD.

However, the findings and experience from the ATD-X programme could be used in the future to develop an indigenous stealth aircraft for the Japan Air Self Defense Force.

Separately, bids for Japan's F-X requirement are due this month. Aircraft in the running include the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.

08-09-11, 08:42 AM
Poland Signs $44.5M Deal To Modernize MiG-29s


Published: 7 Sep 2011 10:39

I would assume that these are the Ex Luftwaffe ones left over from Unification, 22 aircraft were transferred to Poland and one put in a museum..................this Upgrade should give them another 5-10 years service?

WARSAW - Poland's Ministry of Defense has inked a $44.5 million deal with local defense company Wojskowe Zaklady Lotnicze 2 to modernize 16 Soviet-built MiG-29 fighter jets, the ministry's Armament Inspectorate said.

The aircraft include 13 jets in the single-seat combat variant and three aircraft in the two-seat MiG-29UB-12 training version. The upgrade, which is intended to keep the jets operational until at least 2030, will increase their combat capabilities and their compatibility with the Polish Air Force's F-16 fighters, according to a ministry document.

"WZL 2 is the only facility in Poland which performs repairs and modernizations ... of the MiG-29 fighter jets," the Armament Inspectorate said in a statement. "The plant has the necessary know-how, experience and technical potential for the completion of the contract."

Under the deal, the aircraft will be fitted with new avionics, including mission computers, Mil 1553 data bus systems and SAASM GPS modules. The new gear is to be supplied by an unnamed U.S. manufacturer, the Armament Inspectorate said.

WZL 2 is a state-owned aircraft repair plant located in Bydgoszcz, in the country's northwest. In 2010, the defense business posted revenues of 120.6 million zloty ($40.13 million), up a robust 274 percent over a year earlier, and a net profit of 11.5 million zloty, a tenfold increase over 2009. The company has more than 600 employees.

19-09-11, 05:16 PM

A Defense Technology Blog

Saab's UK Plans - Boost Gripen In Brazil

Posted by Bill Sweetman at 9/19/2011 5:05 AM CDT

I think they are wasting time, money and energy here but there you go, no telling some people...............

Saab announced just before last week's Defense & Security Equipment International show in London that it was establishing a new, bigger office in the UK -- including a design team for a carrier-based version of the Gripen NG fighter.

So far, says new Saab UK chairman Rustan Nicander, this does not represent a move to unseat the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter as the selected aircraft for the Royal Navy's new carriers. Even if the F-35C runs into trouble, Sea Typhoon is probably next in line. However, the UK has experience with sea-based aircraft through the Sea Harrier force, and Saab is looking to hire people with that knowledge.

So far, the main targets for the Sea Gripen are Brazil -- which, as well as running a landbased fighter competition, is just completing a major upgrade on the carrier Sao Paulo, originally the French Foch -- and India.

Since Typhoon is not in play in Brazil, Saab sees UK involvement in Sea Gripen as a way to add more of Britain's industrial leverage to its Gripen campaign in Brazil -- on top of the substantial UK content already involved in the fighter's Selex Galileo radar.

There's a tendency, based on US experience, to dismiss the adaptation of land-based aircraft to carrier operations -- when the US Navy has tried it the result has almost invariably been a completely new aircraft. But because the Gripen was designed for 800 m Swedish road bases, Saab notes, the jet already meets one mandatory carrier requirement (a low approach speed) and the structure is designed for limited-flare landings. The Gripen's wingspan is less than the wings-folded span of the Super Hornet or F-35.

Saab's new UK office will also pursue other business. The company already has substantial contracts with the UK MoD (such as counter-IED technology and training) and believes that tight budgets will favor its commercial-off-the-shelf technology and turnkey services.

One example -- which may seem a long shot today, although Libya may have changed things -- is a joint study with Selex Galileo and Ultra of a maritime surveillance aircraft based on the Saab 2000 regional aircraft.

Saab has already produced an airborne early warning version of the 2000 and marketed a maritime reconnaissance version to India, while the UK MoD may revisit its decision to terminate the entire UK maritime ISR capability. Selex would provide the radar and ESM systems, with acoustics from Ultra, and Saab is talking about commercial turnkey support.

One comment worth posting................

JJ wrote:

Here 's some extra info on the Sea Gripen;

Am I correct that this plane needs the F414 EPE engine with tvc to take off at a weight of 16t after a 240m run?I take it that is with some sort of ski jump?


20-09-11, 02:13 AM
Boeing’s Latest Fighter Concept

Check out this beast that’s featured in Boeing’s display at this year’s Air Force Association conference in National Harbor, Md. It may or may not be a refined version of the F/A-XX sixth-gen naval fighter concept (Shown below) that the company unveiled last year. Come back tomorrow for more details on the bird shown above (notice the new P-shaped Phantom Works logo on the rear fuselage).

Read more: http://defensetech.org/2011/09/19/boeings-latest-fighter-concept/#ixzz1YRlhYZyp

22-10-11, 03:29 AM
Eurofighter forecasts new Brazil-Turkey fighter in 2025

By Stephen Trimble on October 21, 2011 10:44 PM

As part of its KF-X presentation at the Seoul Air Show on 21 October, Eurofighter representative Cassidian displayed a fascinating chart with a fighter market forecast. Click on the chart to download a high-resolution version.

There are some questionable assertions, as one might expect of a manufacturer-driven forecast. Eurofighter, of course, predicts the Dassault Rafale loses in the United Arab Emirates and India. The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet production line joins the Lockheed Martin F-22 and Boeing F-15E in the history books by 2017, according to Eurofighter. Interestingly, Eurofighter accepts that all 3,100 Lockheed F-35s are purchased, although the chart closes the production line five years early in 2030.

But most fascinating of all is what Eurofighter thinks will happen in Brazil and Turkey. (See dark blue stripe in bottom-left of chart). These two countries join forces to introduce a new fighter in 2025, joining a growing list of indigenous projects already started in China, India, Japan and South Korea, Eurofighter forecasts.

This assertion may have come as a shock to the South Koreans in the room. They are counting on Turkey to join KF-X and contribute 20% of the development costs, splitting 40% of the bill with Indonesia.

Brazil and Turkey have both expressed desire to break free of dependence on foreign suppliers of fighters, but we were not aware of a possible joint programme. If Brazil and Turkey do intend to introduce a new fighter by 2025, they will likely start working on the project within the next few years.

31-10-11, 01:19 PM
Turkey to rewrite software source codes of 204 F-16 fighters

30 October 2011, Sunday / LALE KEMAL, ANKARA

The US administration agreed in principle almost two months ago for the transfer of information over software source codes of US Lockheed Martin-made F-16 fighters to Turkey.

Once the agreement is completed, and if approved by the US Congress, Turkey will have the capability to automatically modify the software source codes of the fighters’ weapons systems with national software source codes, said US sources who asked not to be named.Turkey will become the first nation among 26 to have the F-16s in their inventories and have the ability to receive information on the F-16 fighters’ software source codes -- primarily their weapons systems -- thereby enabling it to replace them with national software source codes whenever necessary.

Once Turkey and the US complete around 50 pages of technical details over the nature of the US transfer of technology, an agreement should be signed, pending US congressional approval.

The US Congress has long prevented arms transfers to NATO member Turkey, mainly in reaction to its strained ties with Israel.

However, the US administration has as of late sought US congressional authorization for the sale of three AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters to Turkey. This indicates a softening on the part of the congress toward Turkey.

Turkey has a long-standing request for Super Cobras. It has a shortage of these helicopters, required in its ongoing fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists, who have increased their violent attacks as of late.

Meanwhile, it is not clear whether the US administration will seek US congressional authorization for another long-standing Turkish request for the sale of four Predator unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and two armed Reaper UAVs.

However, some of the weapons, including Predators that the US reportedly pledged to transfer to Turkey as it withdraws from Iraq in December of this year, are said to not be subject to the approval of the US Congress. These are weapons the US used during its war in Iraq.

Missile defense link

US sources stated that Washington has agreed in principle to transfer the information mainly concerning the weapon systems of the F-16s so that Turkey can integrate by itself the national software source codes because Turkey has pursued a very persistent policy on the matter.

However, Turkey’s approval to deploy a radar system of the US-supported NATO Missile Defense System on its soil is understood to have played an important role in Washington’s agreement to in principle transfer the software source codes of mainly the weapons systems of the F-16s to Turkey. Turkey agreed last month to host a powerful US-supplied radar system to act as advanced eyes for a layered shield against ballistic missiles coming from outside Europe.

The AN/TPY-2 surveillance radar in Turkey will boost the shield’s capability against Iran, which Washington alleges is seeking to build nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

“By agreeing to transfer information on F-16 weapon systems so that Turkey could automatically integrate them with national software source codes, the US sought to ease tensions with its NATO ally, which is important in safeguarding US interests in the Middle East. The US also puts strong emphasis on seeing Turkish-Israeli relations normalize,” said the US source.

50 weapons systems on each F-16

Lockheed Martin this year began supplying Turkey with 14 F-16C variants and 16 F-16Ds under a deal signed in May 2007. The total cost of 30 additional F-16s to Turkey is $1.78 billion.

Under a separate agreement signed in April 2005 between Turkey and the US, 213 Turkish F-16s are being upgraded at a cost of $1.1 billion at the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in Ankara. Turkey will be able to change the software source codes of the weapons systems on a total of 204 F-16s with national software source codes if a final agreement is reached with the US.

There are 50 different types of weapons systems on each F-16 that are classified.

08-12-11, 01:25 AM
France Warns of Rafale's Production End


Published: 7 Dec 2011 12:48

PARIS - France warned Dec. 7 that defense giant Dassault would halt production of its Rafale multi-role fighter jet if it remains unable to sell any abroad.

French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said that if Dassault doesn't sell any Rafales abroad, the aircraft's production line will be stopped after current orders are delivered. (DASSAULT)

"If Dassault doesn't sell any Rafales abroad, the production line... will be stopped" once France has received the 180 aircraft it has ordered, Defense Minister Gerard Longuet told a small group of journalists including AFP.

France considers the twin-motor delta-wing Rafale a state-of-the-art warplane but has struggled to find any foreign buyers to support the project that has so far cost more than 40 billion euros ($53 billion).

Longuet said maintenance arrangements would continue for all completed aircraft and that French Rafale orders alone would keep the production line going until at least 2018.

Then "it will be over for the manufacturer, not for the user," he said of the plane that has been deployed in NATO operations in Afghanistan and Libya.

He later clarified his comments to say production of the fighter would not in any case end before 2030.

"Production destined for the French military will not stop before 2030," he told AFP. "Deliveries to militaries will continue substantially past 2020. In parallel the plane will evolve between 2020 and 2030."

The Rafale is mainly built by Dassault, electronics company Thales and motor manufacturer Snecma, part of the Safran group. A total of more than 1,500 French companies are also involved in the program.

Longuet insisted that the Rafale remained in competition with European manufacturer EADS' Eurofighter Typhoon for a large Indian contract and that "we are in tough negotiations with the United Arab Emirates."

However, Emirati officials, who were said to be in final talks with France to buy 60 Rafales, said last month that the French offer was unworkable and uncompetitive.

A U.S. cable leaked by WikiLeaks in 2010 quoted King Hamad of Bahrain as mocking the Rafale as "yesterday's technology."

Opting for the Swedish-made Saab Gripen to replace its aging fleet, Switzerland in November became the latest country to choose another fighter over the Rafale.

The Rafale and Typhoon are in the final stage of a massive duel to meet India's 126-unit medium multirole combat aircraft requirement. Final bids were opened earlier last month, with a decision possible within weeks.

Asked why Dassault was having trouble selling the plane abroad, Longuet said the multirole jet was "more expensive than American planes, which are produced in much greater numbers."

"While we order 200 Rafales for a 10-15 year program, the Americans make 3,000 aircraft," he said.

"However, for top-level missions of high military value, the Rafale is undeniably well-positioned."

Analyst Olivier Zajec with the CEIS think tank said it was unlikely production of the Rafale would end soon, as the French Air Force has a target of obtaining 286 of the planes, meaning another 17 years of production.

"I do not think they can close the production line so quickly because the Air Force has made the choice of the Rafale," he said.

Development of the Rafale began in the 1980s, and the first prototype was built in 1991. The first plane for delivery to the French military rolled off the production line in 1998.

Its multirole capabilities mean it can carry out air-ground or air-sea attacks, reconnaissance, aerial interception or nuclear strike missions.

It is made from composite materials that ensure it has a low radar profile.

It was designed to replace seven French planes, including the Mirage 2000 multirole fighter and Super Etendard carrier-borne strike fighter, both also manufactured by Dassault.

08-12-11, 12:37 PM
Asked why Dassault was having trouble selling the plane abroad, Longuet said the multirole jet was "more expensive than American planes, which are produced in much greater numbers."

And overheard off camera from Defence Minister Longuet, "et il est chié"

(and it is shit)...


08-12-11, 02:41 PM
Dear Defmin Longuet, here are a couple of thoughts I had about why you can't sell the Rafale. Perhaps the adoption of some or all of them might assist in this quest?

Issue 1: It's a 4th Gen fighter that is struggling to gain the capability extant in most other 4th Gen fighters, yet for some reason you price it like the F-22... Advice: Maybe it's a tad over-priced and under-performing?

Issue 2: Your Dassault Exe's are a bunch of arrogant, self important little bitches who treat their intended customers like it's a gift from heaven that they are even being given the chance to buy the bloody thing. Advice: Maybe it's not the most marvellous defence opportunity ever presented to a nation and is simply one of many choices and your approach to them should reflect this?

Issue 3: If you should happen to lose a contest, perhaps instead of publicly hurling abuse at those ungrateful "morons" who rejected your "chariot of the gods", you should politely and gratefully thank the nation for the opportunity to participate in their fighter contest and continue to offer further options and support designed to meet their defence requirements? Advice: Be ferging decent people and offer a ferging decent product and people will buy it!

Just a couple of things off the top of my head...

09-12-11, 01:13 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

Rafale: Now Drawing Fire At Home

Posted by Robert Wall at 12/8/2011 5:19 AM CST

It is certainly Rafale's time in the crosshairs.

The French government is adding to the already huge pressure on Dassault to secure an export deal, warning the long-term prospects of the twin-engine fighter program may be at risk.

Speaking to the French press, defense minister Gerard Longuet warns that if there are no export orders, France could cease buying the aircraft as well. The discourse here.

France has maintained Rafale at a minimum production rate, effectively accepting a higher unit cost to keep the production line open and buy time for an export order to emerge (it also has helped keep the country's annual outlays low).

The defense minister's pronouncement comes after the United Arab Emirates already recently lashed out at Dassault for its stance in trying to negotiate the sale of 60 Rafales and days after Switzerland opted for the Gripen -- Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon were the losing contenders there.

For Paris, the failure to sell is, in part, so embarrassing because president Nicolas Sarkozy has made it his mission to secure the first export order for the only fourth-generation western fighter still waiting for an export deal. Brazil and India are both expected to make fighter decisions before France holds presidential elections, so all is not lost, yet.


A Defense Technology Blog

Misunderstanding on Rafale

Posted by Christina Mackenzie at 12/8/2011 11:51 AM CST

Following up on the Rafale news...

The French defense ministry has “clarified” its boss' words and said there is no possibility that France would cancel the Rafale program.

The firm order for 180 aircraft was signed in 2009 and the target in the 2008 Defense White Paper is for 286 aircraft. Gen. Philippe Pontiès, the defense ministry spokesman said at the weekly press briefing this morning that this meant “the French Rafale program is here for quite a time, even a very long time.”

He said the program would continue until “beyond 2020” and that given the “modernization and progressive updates of the platform, Dassault's activities linked to the French Rafale program will last until 2030.”

Longuet's comments in an interview on the National Assembly's TV station LCP could be misconstrued. One of the journalist's asked “once we have bought all the aircraft we need, will the production be stopped?” This is when Longuet said: “if Dassault does not sell the aircraft abroad, then, indeed, the production line will be stopped but the aircraft naturally will be maintained.” So, only after French needs have been met.

Longuet specified that the Rafale “is an excellent aircraft ... it's strength is that it is totally omnirole.” He conceded that its weakness was that it is more expensive than the “American plane whose costs are spread over much greater numbers. When we order 200 Rafales over a 10- or 15-year period, the Americans make 3,000 aircraft.”

He said contacts with India and the United Arab Emirates “who are negotiating hard” were “extremely advanced.”

20-12-11, 05:48 AM
Norway extends F-16 life

Published on Monday, 19th December, 2011 at 09:41

by Lyndsey Smith .

The Norwegian military is continuing its F-16 life extension programme and replacing wings on all of its planes.

F-16 taking off from Souda Bay
Photo: Forsvarets mediesenter/Lars Magne Hovtun

Although the cost if the new parts is to remain a secret, the planes are to receive the modification in order to enable them to stay in use. These new wings will increase the lifespan of the planes by 10 years.

The 57 F-16s are expected to be grounded in 2023 with the arrival of the new F-35 aircraft. These will not be delivered until 2018.

“We have already changed the wings on 20-25 of the planes and need to replace the wings on the rest. We do this in order to take better care of the fuselage”, Lieutenant Colonel Jørn Hoelsæther explained to Aftenposten.

This is not the first time that the F-16’s have received an upgrade. The engines were replaced in the 1990’s. Most of the instruments have also been modernised.

“We’ve got a bit of a worn out Golf, a serviceable engine, and the best stereo system,” said the Lt. Col.

04-01-12, 02:06 AM
Boeing’s iron Eagles, part 2

By Philip Ewing Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 12:53 pm

In Paris last year, Boeing’s top leaders raised the possibility that it could keep building F-15s all the way into the 2020s — quite a landmark for a fighter that first flew when Richard Nixon was president.

Today, having locked down the deal with Saudi Arabia that was still in the works last summer, Boeing’s ambitions now look realistic. If it can sell South Korea on its wham-o-dyne new Eagles or Silent Eagles — elbowing out Lockheed Martin and its F-35 — Boeing could wind up with a total run of around 144 new airplanes and years worth of work.

At the same time as company officials are salivating over that potential deal, get a load of this: As our eminent colleague John Reed writes over at Defense Tech, Boeing also is doing its utmost to sell its other flagship fighter, the F/A-18 Super Hornet. Who cares that it first flew in 1978 — today’s new-model jets are “stealth killers,” a top Boeing official told Reed, setting them up as a smart shopper’s alternative to certain other combat aircraft, and one that can defeat those other airplanes’ advantages anyway.

Wrote Reed:

Basically, the Super Hornet’s active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar — and it’s ability to jam enemy radars and electronic countermeasures — combined with the jet’s infrared search and track (IRST) system will allow it to compete with low-observable jets, said Phil Mills, director of Boeing’s F-X program in an interview just days before Boeing lost that contest to Lockheed Martin’s stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The radars and infrared sensors on today’s airplanes can combine to help crews spot “stealthy” red air, Mills told Reed. So if you’re the Republic of Korea Air Force and you’re worried about theoretical incursions by Chinese J-20s, no need to spend all that money on F-35s, Boeing might say — our jets do the job, cost less, and we’re rolling them out today like Ford F-150s.

Lockheed would probably roll its eyes that this kind of pitch — clearly Japan didn’t buy it, the company would say, and the South Koreans or Brazilians shouldn’t either. But as a business question, Boeing has proven that its 1970s-vintage warplanes can stand toe-to-toe with newer model jets, and it’s not going to give up on that strategy.

Here we come to an area of pure speculation, informed by one kernel of potential fact. In their story Tuesday about Secretary Panetta’s planned budget and strategy rollout, the New York Times’ Elisabeth Bumiller and Thom Shanker wrote this:

The chief target for weapons cuts is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, one of the most expensive weapons programs in history. The Pentagon has plans to spend nearly $400 billion to buy 2,500 of the stealth jets through 2035, but reductions are expected.

“Reductions are expected?” No way to know what that actually means — whether the DoD officials who gave this read-ahead said that or whether our reporters are drawing their own (reasonable) conclusions. But let’s say they’re right. As we’ve talked about many times, one plausible scenario for the end of the F-35 is the death spiral: Program cancellations increase the unit cost, which leads to more cancellations, and so on. The house of cards falls apart. What are the services that were counting on the F-35 — especially the Air Force — supposed to do?

What Boeing might hope is that they swallow their pride, and their declarations that they’ll never again buy “fourth-generation” aircraft, and pick up some bargain basement F-15s. Boeing has used this strategy to great success with the U.S. Navy, locking the government into multi-year deals for its full program because, c’mon, we’re churnin’ these babies out and you’re getting a heckuva deal!

Boeing has also convinced Australia to buy new Super Hornets as a stopgap for its behind-schedule F-35s. If the F-35 continues to take longer than originally planned, the Aussies could well order more Super Hornets. At very least, Boeing could make clear to Congress and the U.S. Air Force that it’s going to keep on building new F-15s — which the U.S. officials who announced the Saudi deal called some of the best airplanes in the world — and it’s ready to deal.

Lockheed might have something to say to its friends in Congress about all this, too.

Read more: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2012/01/03/boeings-iron-eagles-part-2/#ixzz1iRmusOQD

05-01-12, 01:34 AM
Lockheed reveals bold technology plans with 6th-gen fighter concept

By: Stephen Trimble Washington DC

3 hours ago

Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works division has revealed a conceptual next-generation fighter design that offers the first hints of an ambitious, long-term technology strategy for the new class of tactical aircraft that will emerge after 2030.

The concept - published in a 2012 calendar distributed to journalists - indicates the company will continue to seek new breakthroughs in performance despite the risk-averse culture of today's weapons buyers in the US military.

Featuring an F-22-like nose, an unusually contoured wing and nearly flat canted tails, the concept suggests a new level of speed and agility.


Lockheed also seemed to take a thinly-veiled shot at a next generation fighter concept released in September by Boeing, which showed a manned and optionally manned, tailless fighter with a conventional wing.

"Simply removing the pilot from an aircraft or introducing incremental improvements in signature and range does not constitute a generational leap in capability," Lockheed said in response to Flightglobal's questions.

"These improvements are already being looked att for our fifth generation fighters," the company added.

Instead, possible technologies for a next-generation fighter should include "greatly increased speed", more range and new features like self-healing structures and multi-spectral stealth, the company said.

Such capabilities must be supported by new breakthroughs in propulsion, materials, power generation and weapons, Lockheed said, adding some of these are "yet to be fully imagined".

Lockheed acknowledged that breakthrough performance will not come cheap.

"This will require another significant investment in research and development from a standpoint of time and money," the company said.

So far, USAF leaders have not been committal about plans for a sixth-generation fighter to replace the F-22 after 2030. The air force is instead focused on buying 1,763 F-35As to replace the F-16 and A-10 fleets. New development funding is largely devoted to fielding a next generation bomber by the end of the decade.

Meanwhile, the USAF has initiated the first steps towards working on a next generation fighter. In November 2010, the Air Combat Command asked companies to submit ideas for the technologies and performance for a new fighter that would appear in 20 years. The Air Force Research Laboratory also is funding research on basic technologies that could feed into a sixth generation fighter programme.

23-01-12, 03:52 PM
Project to Revitalize Brazil's AMX Fighter Fleet Underway

An AMX ground-attack aircraft of the Brazilian Air Force.

10:05 GMT, January 23, 2012 NEWTOWN, Conn. | In January 2011, the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) signed a contract with local aircraft manufacturer Embraer for the overhaul of 43 AMX jet fighters. The program is slated to cost BRL 2 billion ($1.12 billion), with BRL 840 million ($471.84 million) already disbursed. The balance is expected to be paid in two installments - one in 2012 and one in 2017.

Embraer is working with Israel's Elbit on the program. The contract covers a structural overhaul as well as the repair and substitution of other outdated equipment. The aircraft will also have the ability to refuel mid-flight.

The modernized version is to be equipped with a sophisticated multimode SCP-01 radar, developed by Mectron of Sao Jose dos Campos and capable of operating in air-to-air, air-to-ground, and air-to-sea modes. Integrated with a combat mission computer, it can coordinate the use of 3.8 tons of weapons - smart bombs, missiles which reach beyond the horizon, rockets, and in another aspect, accessories for electronic reconnaissance. The two original 30mm cannons will be retained.

The maiden flight of the modernized single-seat prototype is planned for early 2012, when the flight testing of the systems will begin. The first delivery was expected by the end of 2012, but officials now expect it to occur between 2013 and 2014. The final delivery should take place in 2017.

Although the existing contract only covers 43 aircraft, the Air Force High Command may extend it to cover the entire fleet of 53. Once completed, the aircraft will be designated the A-1M. The work is expected to keep the AMXs in service until 2032.


R Barrett Edwards, Latin America Analyst
Forecast International

15-02-12, 11:25 PM
SINGAPORE: Lockheed Martin announces F-16V development

By: Greg Waldron Singapore

6 hours ago

Lockheed Martin has announced a new variant of the F-16 fighter, which will include an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, new mission computer and other cockpit improvements.

The F-16V configuration will be available as an upgrade for most F-16s as well as new production jets, said George Standridge, vice-president of business development at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. The "V" in the aircraft's name stands for "Viper", the nickname given to the type by US Air Force pilots.

During a presentation at the Singapore Airshow, Standridge noted that most legacy F-16s can be upgraded to the F-16V standard, which is roughly equivalent to the F-16 Block 60.

Nearly 4,500 F-16s have been delivered since the 1970s and the aircraft is operated by 26 countries globally.

Standridge did not specify the radar type that would be used. In the Taiwan and South Korean F-16 upgrade competitions, Northrop Grumman has proposed its Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) against the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR).

The F-16 Block 60s operated by the United Arab Emirates are equipped with Northrop's APG-80 AESA radar.

© Lockheed Martin
South Korea is currently seeking avionics improvements for its F-16 fleet

The first company to win an AESA competition will have a very strong first-mover advantage in the F-16 radar upgrade market. The USAF is also very interested in the outcome of the South Korean and Taiwanese competitions, because it could have a bearing on the radar that is eventually integrated into its own F-16s.

Standridge also mentioned proposed new variants of the C-130J Hercules, the C-130XJ and C-130 Sea Hercules. The C-130XJ would be 10-15% less expensive than the existing C-130J, as previously reported by Flightglobal. Lockheed would achieve the savings by removing the C-130J's electronic warfare suite, defensive countermeasures and freight handling system.

The Sea Hercules would incorporate P-3C Orion capabilities into a C-130 airframe and be optimised for maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare duties.

01-03-12, 05:37 AM
Inside a Gripen fighter jet. Photo: Katsuhiko Tokunaga, Försvarsmakten

Armed Forces: 60-80 new fighter jets needed

Sweden | 2012-02-29 Sweden needs 60-80 new fighter jets of the Swedish-developed Gripen model for the period from 2020 to 2030. This is the opinion of Sverker Göranson, Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, according to news agency TT.

It is necessary in order to satisfy the operational requirements on the Armed Forces, according to the Supreme Commander, who submitted this proposal to the government today.

These new fighter jets should be of a rebuilt and modified Gripen model with a larger airframe, a more powerful engine, and a better warning and radar system. Göranson would not want to mention the cost of all of this, but an amount that has been mentioned earlier is about SEK 30 billion.

According to Göranson, it is a prerequisite for the funding that at least one "strategic partner country" is involved.

In plain language this means that Sweden must be able to export this new generation of fighter jets for it not to be too expensive.

Sten Tolgfors, Minister for Defence, told public broadcaster SVT that he shares the Supreme Commander’s views on the need for a new generation of Gripen fighter jets.

Today, the Supreme Commander also handed over the budget proposal for the Armed Forces to the government. According to Supreme Commander, the Armed Forces will reach a balanced budget until 2015, provided that appropriation and structural savings are realized.

David Jonasson

06-03-12, 12:03 PM
German Aerospace Centre testing poor visibility landing system

06 March 2012 - 10:52 by Tony Osborne in London

The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) is testing a helmet-mounted display system to assist pilots with poor visibility landings.

The display, currently in test on a flight simulator, displays critical flight information such as altitude, speed, course and attitude in the pilot's field of view removing the need for them to look into the cockpit. The system also displays information about nearby obstacles such as electricity pylons.

The DLR also says the display eliminates the need for the pilot to keep changing focus between the relatively close display panel and the more distant world outside, reducing eyestrain, which in turn increases safety.

'The swirling clouds of dust or snow that are stirred up during landings on unpaved surfaces pose a substantial risk for emergency flights by mountain rescue teams or for missions in desert regions,' explained Helmut Többen from the DLR Institute of Flight Guidance. 'These can greatly reduce visibility, especially during the last 20 to 30 metres of the descent.'

The system has been taken through a series of practical tests by pilots serving in the German Armed Forces, the Federal Police and ADAC, the German Automobile Association.

The pilots flew with the helmet in the simulator and rated the results. The DLR says this data is now being processed allowing real flight-testing to take place using DLR's BO105 and EC135 research helicopters later this year.

The display was acquired with financial support from the German Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement (Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung; BWB). The DLR says that once testing is complete the system could be a potential solution for any flight operations carried out in conditions of poor visibility.

13-03-12, 11:48 PM
Germany Boosts Multirole Capability of Shrinking Tornado Fleet

Mar. 13, 2012 - 12:12PM


BONN — The German Air Force is pushing ahead with an upgrade of its Panavia Tornadoes even though a plan to nearly halve the fleet is being significantly speeded up.

The company leading the upgrade effort, EADS’s defense and security subsidiary, Cassidian, said its first production aircraft with the new capability standard ASSTA 3.0 (Avionics System Software Tornado Ada) performed its maiden flight from its Manching site last month.

If the testing runs as scheduled, delivery of the first upgraded Tornado to the German Air Force is planned for mid-2012, said Germany’s biggest defense contractor. The Air Force expects the outfitting of all planes to be finished by mid-2015.

The testing milestone comes in the wake of the country’s military restructuring effort, which includes a cut in the number of Tornado fighter jets from 185 to 85 planes. That process has been sped up and is supposed to be finished by the end of this year.

The remaining aircraft get the technical upgrade, which could keep them multirole combat-ready beyond 2025.

ASSTA 3.0 includes the integration of NATO’s Multifunctional Information Distribution System, (MIDS) Link 16 communication standard, as well as outfitting them with a new radio and a digital video and data recorder.

Besides their improved communication with NATO installations and aircraft, the upgraded Tornadoes will also be able to deliver Laser Joint Direct Attack Munitions (LJDAM), which can be guided to its target by satellite navigation or laser designator. Currently, German Tornadoes are only able to deliver the laser-guided GBU-24 Paveway II, and in the future the laser- or GPS-guided GBU-54 LJDAM.

According to the German Air Force, the development and procurement of the ASSTA 3.0 upgrade will cost about 760 million euros ($997 million).

The two sides have already signed a development contract for a possible ASSTA 3.1 follow-up upgrade. It includes replacing the Tornado’s monochrome displays with color ones.

Also, a MIDS Basic Package with full mission control/situation display and the video images from the laser designator pod and the RecceLite pod will be integrated.

According to the German Air Force, there are 339 million euros included in the budget for this measure, and the remaining 85 jets could be upgraded to the ASSTA 3.1 standard by 2018.

Besides this digitally aided close-air support capability, the German Air Force reckons the upgrade will provide greater flexibility for its shrinking Tornado fleet.

Since its introduction in 1980, the country has operated two versions of the jet: the fighter bomber IDS (Interdiction Strike), which is also used for reconnaissance missions, and the electronic warfare ECR (Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance).

According to the Air Force, the upgrade will allow either version to fulfill any mission.

However, some basic components, which were not needed in specific versions in the past, such as the onboard cannon in the Tornado ECR, won’t be part of this modernization process.

“Overall, the whole Tornado fleet will become significantly more flexible for possible mission needs,” the German Air Force stated on its website.

“With ASSTA 3, Cassidian makes an important contribution to the capability extension of the German Tornado fleet,” said Erik Jensen, head of Cassidian’s business line Air Services. “With it, the Air Force is able to operate the warplane beyond the year 2025.”

According to Cassidian, it has also used lessons from the development of the newer Eurofighter Typhoon to help develop the Tornado upgrade.

15-03-12, 02:22 PM
Northrop receives F-16 radar contract

By: Greg Waldron Singapore

1 hours ago


Northrop Grumman has won an $87.8 million contract to provide 43 APG-68(V)9 pulse-Doppler radar sets for Iraq, Oman and Thailand.

A contract announcement by the US Department of Defense says Iraq will receive 22 units, Oman 15 and Thailand six. All work related to the contract is expected to be completed by 31 March 2015.

The APG-68(V)9 is designed to replace the APG-66 radar found on the Lockheed Martin F-16.

According to Northrop, the new radar is lighter, has 33% greater range in the air-to-air mode, and lower support costs than the radar it replaces. It can be fitted to an aircraft in approximately two days.

15-03-12, 03:05 PM
The Swedish Armed Forces Want to Upgrade Gripen

(Source: Swedish Defence Force; issued March 12, 2012)

JAS Gripen will satisfy the Swedish Armed Forces' operational needs at least until 2040 and the system should constitute the core of Swedish air defences. Sweden needs at least 60-80 aircraft.

This is the conclusion of the Armed Forces' analysis which is to be submitted to the Government today (Feb 29). In the work of developing alternatives, different configurations – models – of Gripen have been tested in extensive simulations and operative games – both against known and projected threat scenarios.

The capabilities enhancement of Sweden's combat aircraft system should commence in 2020 and it is estimated that it will take ten years. A prerequisite to be able to manage its financing is that it is carried out with at least one strategic partner country.
“Discussions will soon be initiated regarding costs. It would therefore be wrong to discuss openly how much we have planned that it should cost,” says Sverker Göranson, the Supreme Commander.

The upgraded JAS 39 Gripen will have a larger hull and a more powerful engine. This is to allow more weapons and more fuel, which in turn will provide greater power and endurance. The analysis also suggests a more qualified radar system and an enhanced warning and counter-measure systems.

The upgrade of JAS Gripen is necessary in order to be operationally relevant and to ensure that our air defences in the long term maintain their position relative to the outside world.

In 2011 and so far this year, extensive planning work has been carried out, for instance the work associated with capabilities enhancement and the defence structure inquiry. With the results of these analyses at hand, work is now underway to put together a proposal for the Armed Forces' long-term financial requirements; support documentation which the Armed Forces intends to report on by 2 May.

A separate paper to the Government reports on which logistical areas – in accordance with the defence structure investigation's proposals – will be presented to Försvarets materielverk (Defence Materiel Administration – FMV). The operations affected are essentially purchasing, administrative support, supply and engineering services. In total approximately 1500 employees in the Armed Forces will be affected. The purpose of the transfer is to save money which can be used in operational activities.

The proposal submitted is a joint proposal from the Armed Forces and FMV. The Armed Forces' support documentation shows that in this major change, as with others, there are obvious uncertainties as to when these savings will actually materialise and how large they will finally be.

The transformation of the Armed Forces which is called restructuring has now been started. In essence, this means that all employees will leave their positions and their skills will be tested in terms of operational defence force requirements. Most employees will keep their jobs and will remain working where they work today, but if there are surpluses in terms of skills in any particular location, it may lead to a new placing at another location in Sweden.

From a financial point of view, the Armed Forces are in balance until 2015, provided that grant allocations are utilised and that the savings associated with the defence structure inquiry are realized. In periods when the number of assigned soldiers and sailors is being reduced, money needs to be transferred from the fund for international operations to allow for necessary exercises and manoeuvres.

The planning is based therefore on SEK 300 million being transferred from the grant allocation for international operations to the grant allocation for unit activities for the years 2014 and 2015.


28-03-12, 02:16 PM
MHI Begins Assembly of Full-scale Model for Advanced Technology Demonstrator Aircraft Project

(Source: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.; issued March 28, 2012)

TOKYO --- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) today began assembly of a full-scale structural-testing model of an Advanced Technology Demonstrator (ATD). The ATD, which MHI is building under the contract with the Japan Ministry of Defense, will be used to prove the airworthiness of advanced technologies, including stealth capabilities and high maneuverability, for future Japanese fighters.

With the commencement of assembly, the ATD project has now moved into the production phase.

To mark the beginning of assembly work, the "first rivet" ceremony was held earlier today at the Tobishima Plant of MHI's Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works in Aichi Prefecture. Among those attendees were Yoshitaka Akiyama, Director General of the Technical Research & Development Institute, the Japan Ministry of Defense; Haruhiko Kataoka, Japan Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff; and Takashi Kobayashi, Representative Director, Executive Vice President and Head of MHI's Aerospace Systems.

During the ceremony, an equipment mounting bracket was riveted to the bulkhead separating the fuel tank from the forward equipment bay in the mid fuselage, which houses electronic equipments. It marks the first step in the assembly of the ATD aircraft. This riveting was conducted for the full-scale static structural test model to be used to obtain strength data of the aircraft’s basic structural elements and to verify the design of the ATD.

The ATD prototype project was launched in Japanese fiscal year 2009 (April 2009-March 2010) in the situation of next-generation fighter development programs in neighboring countries. Through flight tests of advanced technologies relating to stealth and high maneuverability, the project aims at the empirical research of the advanced fighter technologies and air defense systems that are capable of coping with the stealth fighters that may soon be deployed around Japan.

With the assembly of the full-scale static structural test model as the first step, the ATD project is on track to produce a flight test model that is expected to make its first flight in 2014. The project is slated for completion by the end of March 2017.

MHI is committed to playing a major role in Japanese defense industry going forward and will make every effort to see the ATD project through to a successful completion.


31-03-12, 03:12 AM
First Rafale To Be Equipped With AESA This Summer

Mar. 30, 2012 - 10:34AM


PARIS — Thales delivered in February a first series-production RBE2 active electronically scanned array radar to Dassault Aviation for the Rafale fighter jet, the electronics company said in a March 29 statement.

“In February, Thales delivered the first series-produced RBE2 radar with active electronically scanned array (AESA) to the Dassault Aviation facility in Mérignac, France,” the company said.

An active scanned radar is considered to be essential to selling a modern combat aircraft in export markets.

“The radar will now be installed on the Rafale C137, the first Rafale with this new capability, which is scheduled for delivery to the French defense procurement agency (DGA) this summer,” Thales said.

“The Rafale will be the only European combat aircraft under full-scale production with an active-array radar,” the company said.

France in the last decade diverted money from ordering Rafales to spend on the development of the AESA radar, which will be fitted as standard on the fourth tranche of 60 Dassault aircraft ordered in 2009.

A Thales executive estimated in July 2010 that the entry into production of AESA radars was the fruit of more than 10 years’ work and 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) of government and company investment.

A first delivery of initial low-rate production radars began in 2010.

The RBE2 radar is intended to boost the Rafale’s range, interception capabilities, its tracking abilities in a multithreat environment, and to improve its countermeasures.

The radar’s other benefits include allowing the Rafale to be armed with the MBDA Meteor long-range missile, which is still under development, along with its high reliability and greater resistance to jamming.

31-03-12, 09:53 AM
Thales delivers first production RBE2 AESA radar to Dassault Aviation

30 March 2012

Neuilly-sur-Seine – In February, Thales delivered the first series-produced RBE2 radar with active electronically scanned array (AESA) to the Dassault Aviation facility in Mérignac, France. The radar will now be installed on Rafale C137, the first Rafale with this new capability, which is scheduled for delivery to the French defence procurement agency (DGA) this summer. A comprehensive three-month flight test programme conducted with the first production RBE2 AESA radar at the Istres air base demonstrated the qualities of the radar and confirmed the expected levels of performance prior to delivery to Dassault Aviation.

The RBE2 AESA radar was delivered in line with the contract schedule, demonstrating the new radar’s technological maturity and further consolidating Thales’s European leadership in radars for combat aircraft.

The RBE2 AESA will give the Rafale a number of key advantages:

•Extended range for full compatibility with the latest-generation long-range missiles, such as the Meteor, combined with the ability to detect low-observable targets

•Higher reliability for reduced cost of ownership (no major maintenance is required on the active array for 10 years)

•Waveform agility for high-resolution synthetic aperture (SAR) imagery and increased resistance to jamming

The Rafale will be the only European combat aircraft under full-scale production with an active-array radar. The operational superiority of this omnirole combat aircraft, which was demonstrated most recently during Operation Harmattan in Libya, is now further assured for the full spectrum of French Air Force and Navy missions relying on the new technology.

01-04-12, 01:19 AM
I suppose this could be called the De-Fighter Development.............? :dunno

PICTURES: Start-up developing four-seat variant of F-16A

By: Washington DC

15 minutes ago


A Tuscon, Arizona-based start-up is developing a four-seat variant of the venerable Lockheed Martin F-16A using ex-US Air Force stocks parked in permanent storage at Davis-Monthan AFB.

The Fun Falcon company, founded by retired aerospace engineer Barry Billaker, intends to offer the demilitarised and heavily redesigned fighter for joy rides and private transport.

The concept targets the same wealthy clientele once courted by the Bede BD-10 and ATG Javelin projects, which failed during development.

Unlike these attempts, Billaker notes, the Fun Falcon relies on a proven and already popular airframe. Although the design changes appear substantial, Billaker describes them as only "minor tweaks".

The canopy and cockpit is modified to accomodate four passengers seated two-abreast in two rows. This striking change to the outer mould-line incorporates both longitudinal and lateral plugs, Billaker says.

Billaker describes the effect as evoking the tandem-seat Sukhoi Su-34 and the curvalinear design shaping pioneered by the Northrop Tacit Blue experimental aircraft. The latter allows the Fun Falcon improved aerodynamic performance, Billaker says, resulting in no detectable drag penalty compared to the original F-16A.

Fun Falcon has acquired the first F-16A from the Davis-Monthan "boneyard", and modifications have already begun, Billaker says.

US export clearance was cleared on grounds that sales of the demilitarised Fun Falcon would be applied to fund several needed upgrades of operational F-16s, he adds.

Billaker refuses to identify his investors specifically, but notes they are a diverse group representing very wealthy individuals in the US, Europe and China.

30-04-12, 11:47 PM
Embraer hopes to fly first modernised AMX before July

By: Dave Majumdar Washington DC

3 hours ago


Embraer hopes to have its first modernized Brazilian air force AMX jet flying before July, the company says in its first quarter earnings report.

Two flight test aircraft and eight production jets are already at the airframer's facilities awaiting their upgrades. Embraer says a total of 43 aircraft will be modernised under the programme. The AMX jets were originally co-produced with Italy.

The modernisation adds glass cockpit displays, new electronic countermeasures, and other items.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian navy's modernisation programme for its 12 Boeing A-4 Skyhawk attack aircraft is continuing on track. The jets are locally designated as AF-1s.

"Two of them are already in our facility in Gavião Peixoto," Embraer says. "The configuration phase was already concluded in 2011 and the detailing of modifications and modernisation is now underway."

Additionally, the company's A-29 Tucano is doing well despite the recent setback due to the cancellation US Air Force light air support (LAS) programme. But the company expects the USAF to award a new LAS contract in 2013. Embraer intends to compete against Hawker Beechcraft for the award, but is wary of bidding if the USAF changes the requirements.

In the last quarter, Brazil also secured contracts with Bukina Faso, Angola, and Mauritania for the light counter-insurgency turboprop. The total value of the African contracts is about $180 million.

Meanwhile, Embraer's KC-390 programme continues having selected all of its major suppliers.

05-05-12, 04:44 AM

4 May 2012, in News

Under clear blue skies, a team of test pilots and flight test engineers from the Swiss Air Force and the Swiss federal defence procurement agency, Armasuisse, visited Saab in Linköping in Sweden to perform test flights with the Gripen E/F test aircraft.

On 30 November last year the Federal Council selected Gripen E/F as the preferred candidate to replace the Swiss Air Force's ageing fleet of Northrop F-5E/F Tiger. The Swiss Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports (DDPS) was commissioned to start discussions with Saab and the Swedish Government to optimize Saab's offer. The negotiations continue according to plan and the test flights in Sweden are part of the on-going process.

The three day programme, conducted between 2-4 May, included simulator training and four test flights. The test flights focused on air defense and air policing mission profiles with different weapon configurations, which included IRIS-T as well as both METEOR and AMRAAM.

“We tested the flight performance simulating an operational air defense mission profile.The flight was packed with test points. We were able to perform them all. A successful flight”, Lt Col Fabio Antognini, Swiss Air Force

“We performed flight performance tests using an air policing scenario. We simulated a quick reaction alert and a maximum performance intercept to high altitude and supersonic speed. We tested the engine in the entire envelope and are pleased with the results.” says Bernhard Berset, Chief Test Pilot at Armasuisse.

The Gripen E/F test programme is running according to plan. In the upcoming fourth phase of testing, Saab continues to integrate new leading-edge technologies which includes further enhancement of the avionics and displays. The radar system will also be further enhanced through the re-installation of a newer version of the AESA radar. The previous test phases have focused on areas such as flight handling, aerodynamics, performance improvements including the new GE F414G engine and increased weapon loads as well as the introduction of new sensors and new avionics in the aircraft.

“The co-operation between the two teams has been truly fantastic. We conducted four test flights with the Gripen E/F test aircraft, which performed, as ever, perfectly. We have really shown the growing capabilities of this aircraft and we demonstrated everything requested, including increased performance, handling and endurance,” says Richard Ljungberg, Chief Test Pilot, Saab.

Link to the Swiss Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports (DDPS) press release:


16-05-12, 01:50 PM
Saudi Arabian Typhoons to get capability boost

By: Craig Hoyle London

18 minutes ago


BAE Systems will deliver the remaining 48 Eurofighter Typhoons on order for Saudi Arabia over the next five years, with the first examples now in final assembly at the company's Warton site in Lancashire.

A contract modification to Riyadh's 72-aircraft Project Al Salam deal was signed earlier this year, with the nation seeking to introduce additional capability to the European type. BAE says it resumed assembly work in January, as the revised deal was still being finalised.

The Royal Saudi Air Force's remaining Tranche 2 aircraft will be completed in the UK at a rate of between eight and 10 per year, and will be "future-proofed" to receive planned enhancements. Airframe modifications would enable them to carry an active electronically scanned array radar and potentially range-extending conformal fuel tanks.

© BAE Systems

Saudi Arabia already has 24 Typhoons operational at its Taif air base, and is seeking to integrate national-specific equipment such as a French- or US-sourced targeting pod and precision-guided bombs in the short term. However, the bulk of its equipment requirements are in alignment with the development path now being defined for the four Eurofighter partner nations via a phase one enhancement process, sources say.

"The core nations can only benefit from work beyond the core programme," one source says, referring to the Saudi commitment as "a critical mass to hook into for exports".

BAE Systems Saudi Arabia employs about 5,300 people, including approximately 3,500 Saudi nationals. An in-service support capability for the Typhoon fleet is to be established in the country, with Riyadh also to receive significant technology transfer under the terms of its revised contract.

22-05-12, 12:44 PM
Selex nears AESA radar delivery for Gripen

By: Craig Hoyle Edinburgh

2 hours ago


Selex Galileo is within weeks of delivering a new version of its Raven ES-05 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for integration with Saab's two-seat demonstrator for the next-generation Gripen E/F.

Now in the final stages of testing at the Finmeccanica company's Edinburgh site in Scotland, the sensor will be displayed along with the Gripen at July's Farnborough air show.

© Armasuisse

"We will begin developmental test flights after Farnborough," says Bob Mason, Selex Galileo's senior vice-president marketing and sales, radar and advanced targeting. The equipment will also support evaluation of the latest AESA standard by pilots from Switzerland's air force and Armasuisse procurement agency later this year. The nation is negotiating a planned 22-aircraft order for the Gripen E/F, following a selection decision taken in November 2011.

Mason says the radar developer has a strong business case linked to the Raven, as Sweden is also expected to acquire the sensor as part of future Gripen purchases or during upgrades to its in-service examples. "It will be much more substantial than the 22 aircraft for the Swiss," he adds.

© Selex Galileo

Another element of the Swedish fighter's next evolution is also currently in the advanced stages of development, with the first Skyward-G infrared search and track sensor due to be delivered for testing at the end of this year or in early 2013. Selex also plans to offer pod-housed versions of the equipment for integration with additional aircraft types.

Meanwhile, work on the Euroradar Captor-E AESA for the Eurofighter Typhoon is also proceeding, with EADS company Cassidian acting as design authority for the new array.

"We are cracking on, with hardware coming together," Mason says. The first test radar should be delivered early in the second quarter of 2013, and flown by Eurofighter partner company BAE Systems on a Typhoon before the end of that year.

The design retains an upgraded processor and receiver from the mechanically-scanned Captor-M, but adds a new array and an electrically-steered repositioner which will increase the sensor's field of regard by +/-100˚.

"The gain in performance is well worth any minor degradation in mean-time between failure," Mason says. The AESA will deliver enhanced detection performance in air-to-air and air-to-ground modes, plus a synthetic aperture radar mapping function.

Mason says discussions with the four core Eurofighter partner nations are continuing, and believes that "those that have money will join the [AESA] programme in the near future". A production contract could come by mid-2013, with deliveries to commence from around 2015.

The Captor-E will be available as an option for Tranche 3A aircraft to be built for Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, and as a retrofit option for their Tranche 2 aircraft, along with those of Saudi Arabia. The enhancement is also being offered to other potential export customers for the Typhoon, including Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.

20-06-12, 06:04 AM

At: Press Releases


​São Paulo, June 19, 2012 – Embraer successfully performed the first flight of the A-1M prototype at its manufacturing plant in Gavião Peixoto, in outstate São Paulo, during a ceremony attended by the Aeronautics Commander, Air Force General Juniti Saito, and officers from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) High Command. The aircraft’s flight test campaign will soon begin. The A-1M program provides for refurbishing and upgrading 43 FAB AMX subsonic fighters. Ten aircraft are already at the Company’s facilities and the first deliveries are planned for 2013.

The event also marked the delivery of the 99th, and last, A-29 Super Tucano light attack turboprop to the FAB, as well as the last two upgraded F-5M fighters from the first group. Via the AL-X program, the FAB became the launch customer for the Super Tucano, in December 2003. The aircraft is currently used for advanced pilot training and carries out important functions in the Amazon Surveillance System (SIVAM). The A-29 Super Tucano has been chosen by ten customers in Africa, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

The F-5M program covers the refurbishing and upgrading of 46 supersonic fighters. Each aircraft received new navigation systems, weaponry, computers, and multimodal radar. This equipment, as well as structural repairs, increase the operational capability of the fighters for at least fifteen more years. In December 2010, a new contract was signed to upgrade 11 additional F-5 aircraft, with the work beginning on the first jet in October 2012. The first deliveries of this second group are planned for 2013.

“The A-1Ms are receiving modern systems that are similar to those already found on the F-5M and A-29 aircraft. All of the upgrades and acquisitions are aligned with the objectives of the Aeronautics Strategic Military Planning (PEMAER)—which positions the FAB, via medium- and long-term studies—based on the National Defense Policy (PND) and on the National Defense Strategy (END). One premise of this process is the pursuit of commercial, industrial, and technological returns for developing defense materiel and strengthening the Nation’s industry,” said Aeronautics Commander, Air Force General Juniti Saito. “Therefore, our equipment makes the most of the similarity between the avionics of these aircraft, which helps with the adaptation of our pilots, and provides a level of standardization that comes with numerous operational advantages, such as improving the employment doctrine of the FAB and a better yield in terms of flight hours. Embraer’s technical capability for meeting our needs strengthens the Air Force and, consequently, strengthens Brazil, making us ready to respond promptly to any threat to the sovereignty of our air space.”

“These achievements reinforce the commitment of Embraer Defense and Security, as a strategic partner of Brazil and, especially, of the Brazilian Air Force, and contributes to its reequipping process and the upgrading of its material resources,” said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, President of Embraer Defense and Security. “The Super Tucano gives continuity to our tradition of developing aircraft that meet Air Force requirements and, at the same time, are capable of enjoying commercial success on the foreign market, while the upgrading of the A-1 and F-5 shows our ability to develop integrated solutions, in complex systems, for our customers.”

20-06-12, 12:04 PM
Upgraded AMX A-1M Marks First Flight in Brazil

Tamir Eshel June 19, 2012 17:28

Second A-1M prototype undergoing refurbishing at Embraer's AMX upgrading line. Photo: Silva Lopes

The prototype of the upgraded AMX, designated A-1M flew today for the first time. The first flight was the kickoff mark for the aircraft’s flight test campaign. The A-1M program provides for refurbishing and upgrading of 43 FAB AMX subsonic fighters. Ten aircraft are already at the Company’s facilities, the first of two prototypes has already been completed and the company plans the first deliveries for 2013. Brazil’s Aeronautics Commander, Air Force General Juniti Saito, and senior officers from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) attended the first flight at Embraer’s manufacturing plant in Gavião Peixoto, in outstate São Paulo, Brazil.

AIL is providing the avionics used in the cockpit of the modernized A-1M. These systems reflect high commonality with other modernized FAB fighters, including the F-5M and A-29. Photo: Silva Lopes, FAB

“The A-1Ms are receiving modern systems that are similar to those already found on the F-5M and A-29 aircraft. All of the upgrades and acquisitions are aligned with the objectives of the Aeronautics Strategic Military Planning (PEMAER)” said Aeronautics Commander, Air Force General Juniti Saito. PEMAER positions the FAB’s future growth based on medium- and long-term studies – aligned with Brazil’s National Defense Policy (PND) and National Defense Strategy (END) highlighting benefit for the nation’s industry and technology base. To offer the highest benefit, upgrade programs are sharing common avionics, contributing to better commonality in instrument orientation and pilots training. “This commonality is providing a level of standardization that comes with numerous operational advantages, such as improving the employment doctrine of the FAB and a better yield in terms of flight hours.” General Saito added.

The first flight of the A-1M coincided with the delivery of the delivery of the 99th and final A-29 Super Tucano light attack turboprop to the FAB. In December 2003 the FAB became the launch customer for Embraer’s Super Tucano, under the AL-X program. The aircraft is currently used for advanced pilot training and carries out important functions in the Amazon Surveillance System (SIVAM). The A-29 Super Tucano has been chosen by ten customers in Africa, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

The first A-1M prototype completed, awaiting the first flight. Photo: Silva Lopes, FAB

Embraer has also delivered the last two F-5M fighters, concluding the first batch modernization of FAB F-5 fighters to be delivered to the Air Force. The F-5M program covers the refurbishing and upgrading of 46 supersonic fighters. In December 2010, a new contract was signed to upgrade 11 additional F-5 aircraft, with the work beginning on the first jet in October 2012. The first deliveries of this second group are planned for 2013. Each F-5E/F aircraft receive new navigation systems, weaponry, computers, and multimodal radar. This equipment, as well as structural repairs, increases the operational capability of the fighters for at least fifteen more years.

The A-1M upgrading line at Embraer's manufacturing plant in Gavião Peixoto near Sao Paolo, Brazil. Photo: Silva Lopes, FAB

22-06-12, 12:18 AM
Sweden to Pay for New JAS Gripen Jets

(Source: Radio Sweden; published June 20, 2012)

Sweden will foot the bill for a fleet of new JAS Gripen fighter jets, despite a previous parliamentary decision not to fund the project without foreign involvement, according to a coalition party spokesman.

The Swedish military faces the prospect of major cutbacks to fund the JAS Gripen ‘Next Generation’ jets, also known as the 'Super JAS'.

The air force estimates it needs about 80 new planes – at an estimated cost of around US$8 billion. Sweden's two main political parties have agreed to buy the planes from Swedish-based Saab.

‘Too expensive’

But until now that consensus was based on a condition that Sweden finds another foreign buyer to share the multi-billion dollar development costs.

“It is very important for Sweden to have an export client for the Next Generation Gripen,” says Pieter Wezeman, an expert on arms sales at the Stockholm-based think tank SIPRI. “Otherwise it will just become too expensive for Sweden to produce its own combat aircraft.”

New political mood

Switzerland agreed last year to buy about 20 planes. But since then a powerful lobby has emerged in the country against the purchase.

But there may be a change in the political mood here which will make the country less dependent on foreign sales of the aircraft.

“We hope that several countries will buy Gripen. But until Switzerland or Croatia or other countries have done that Sweden will upgrade Gripen on its own,” says Staffan Danielsson, defence spokesperson Centre Party, part of the government coalition.

“There will be a proposal from the government quite soon. It’s obvious that we need a good air defense. Will the present Gripen be good enough to match aircraft from other countries such as Russia in 2030, 2040? No.”

A government working group will report in the coming months on cutbacks to the military which could help fund the air force upgrade.

International sale ‘a pretext’

But any military cutbacks will be politically unpopular due to job losses in the areas surrounding military bases. Equally unpopular though would be the job losses caused by Saab stopping production of the new Gripen jets, set to get underway next year.
And the close partnership between Sweden’s government, military and arms industry may save the project without a Swiss cash injection, says Anna Dahlberg, leader writer at Sweden’s Expressen newspaper.

“There is a strong symbiosis between the state and the weapons industry in Sweden. For 20 years we’ve heard that Gripen is on the verge of an international brealthrough,” she says.

“But why would the Swiss want to share the development costs of the plane. They can buy a new plane on the market if they want. The whole international scenario has been a pretext to go along with this project.”


26-06-12, 06:18 AM
Boeing Completes Wind Tunnel Tests on Silent Eagle Conformal Weapons Bay

F-15 Program test milestone validates CWB design

Fighter jet development proceeding on schedule

ST. LOUIS, June 25, 2012 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] recently completed wind tunnel tests on the Silent Eagle Conformal Weapons Bay (CWB). The tests, conducted at the company's St. Louis facility, validated the aerodynamics of the CWB design. CWBs are integral to the adaptable configuration and balanced survivability of the Silent Eagle.

"Boeing and its partners have advanced to the next phase in the development of the Silent Eagle, an evolved derivative of the combat-proven F-15 family of aircraft," said Roger Besancenez, F-15 Program vice president for Boeing. "We are now testing production-representative hardware as we continue to validate our affordable and low-risk design."

Boeing is partnering with Korea Aerospace Industries to design, develop and manufacture the CWB. The Silent Eagle is Boeing's offer in the F-X competition for the Republic of Korea's multirole fighter aircraft.

The wind tunnel tests used a scale model of the Silent Eagle to determine the effect of various air speeds and flight angles. The tests assessed enhancements made to the initial CWB design and confirmed the team's modeling analysis.

More detailed tests later this year will focus on the aerodynamic effects of multiple weapons loads, as well as opening and closing the upper and lower CWB doors.

Boeing this year also completed the final phase of Radar Cross Section (RCS) reduction tests to validate the aircraft's production configuration.

The Silent Eagle is designed with advanced technologies that provide an unprecedented balance of survivability and lethality to meet warfighters' needs in all phases of air combat. The CWBs can be reconfigured to Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFTs) to optimize the aircraft for longer ranges and increased weapons loading, making the Silent Eagle a flexible platform with unmatched range, speed, payload and persistence. The reconfigurable CWB-CFT concept is unique in the fighter aircraft world and contributes to the overall RCS reduction package while the aircraft maintains both air-to-air and air-to-surface capabilities.

The Silent Eagle also features enhanced avionics such as an integrated Active Electronically Scanned Array radar and Digital Electronic Warfare Suite that provide the aircrew with increased lethality and exceptional situational awareness.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $32 billion business with 61,000 employees worldwide. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.

09-07-12, 01:59 PM
Eurofighter Nations Signal Go-Ahead For AESA Radar

Posted by Andrew Chuter | July 9th, 2012 | Uncategorized

The Eurofighter nations hope that adding an AESA radar to the Typhoon will make the aircraft more attractive to potential foreign buyers // AFP

The four nations behind the Typhoon program have asked the Eurofighter consortium for firm proposals to develop an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to be ready for fielding on the combat jet by 2015.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron formally announced the initiative on the opening day of the Farnborough International Airshow July 9.

The NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), the group responsible for overseeing the program for the British, German, Italian and Spanish governments, issued a request for proposals (RfP) to Eurofighter last week.

Development of an AESA radar is deemed critical to Typhoon’s ability to compete against export rivals from the U.S., France and Sweden, all of whom either have the capability in service or are committed to gaining it. Officials are also looking at integrating a new air-to-air missile, among other improvements.

One executive said the RfP for the AESA radar “covers an agreed specification from the four partner nations for the AESA requirement.”

If the program stays on schedule, the governments and industry could be under contract to develop the radar early next year.

Eurofighter and Euroradar, the Selex Galileo-led consortium tasked with supplying radars for the Typhoon, signed a letter of intent with the nations to develop an AESA radar in mid-2011.

The arrangement, though, was funded by industry rather than the governments. This time around, the nations are committing their own funds to a development plan, with radar specifications agreed on by all four partners.

The AESA move is one of several steps underway to help address some of the capability issues that dogged the jet when it lost a multibillion-dollar face-off with Dassault Aviation’s Rafale for a large Indian order earlier this year.

Euroradar already produces the mechanically scanned Captor radar used on the jet and has been working on an AESA system marrying the processing capabilities of the existing unit to an actively scanned front end.

Separately, Selex is well advanced in the development of an AESA radar for the Saab Gripen and continues to work with the British on progressing aspects of the technology.

Details on the RfP are scarce, but executives said they expect the in-service target date for the radar to be 2015, the same timeline as requested by the Indians during the competition with Rafale. Potential export customer requirements remain the driver for the moment. Malaysia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates are among a list of potential new buyers for Typhoon. Saudi Arabia will likely buy a second batch of aircraft on top of the 72 already ordered.

One drawback, though, remains the reluctance of the four cash-strapped European partners to commit to series production at this stage.

But industry executives see the nations’ decision to fund the program and specify their detailed technical requirements as a strong statement of intent.

“They may not have given a date to fit the radar in their own aircraft, but they wouldn’t be spending scarce cash resources unless they were firmly committed,” one executive said.
New Missile, Other Upgrades

In another move to hike capability, the Typhoon partners have agreed to the first test-firing of the new MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile from a BAE Systems test aircraft in the final quarter of this year, said Bob Smith, BAE Systems combat air engineering director. No missile integration contract yet exists, and Smith said that will be part of the debate after delivery next year of the second of two upgrades to Typhoon being carried out under the Phase 1 Enhancement (P1E) program.

P1E is the biggest boost to the aircraft’s operational capability since it entered service. The first enhancement, known as P1Ea, is due to be delivered to NETMA this month and should be cleared for service by next spring.

The work integrates the Litening III laser designator pod with the Paveway IV and EGBU-16 precision-guided bombs with improved man/machine interface and an expanded communications fit.

The second P1E phase is scheduled to be delivered next year and will allow the aircraft to undertake simultaneous air-to-air and air-to-ground engagements, and other improvements.

Previously, Typhoon had been limited to the use of Enhanced Paveway II in the air-to-ground role. The aircraft made its combat debut in Libya last year and received a further boost in June with the performance of Luftwaffe Typhoon pilots in the exacting Red Flag Alaska exercise.

A Eurofighter spokesman said the “P1E program, the E-Scan radar and the Meteor are important milestones on the way for further enhancements of the Typhoon’s operational capabilities.”

The Eurofighter consortium consists of BAE Systems, EADS and Finmeccanica for the four governments. Smith said the Eurofighter firms are assessing what more they could do to improve Typhoon’s export credentials outside of technology insertions wanted by the four partner nations.

“There is some small amount of industry funding to look at equipment we would like to investigate for the export market. What we are saying is, do the partner nations want this [capability]? If they do, it can be part of a common program; if not, should industry be putting the money in to cover it?” he said.

Rafale gained the nod from India earlier this year to conduct final negotiations for the Asian nation’s multirole combat aircraft requirement after it beat Typhoon on price. Those price negotiations remain ongoing, leaving Eurofighter on the sidelines awaiting the opportunity to enter a new bid if Dassault fails to seal the deal.

Industry executives here said the sort of deals won by Rafale are never secured on price alone; other factors are normally involved.

Speaking to the Italian parliament in February, Italian procurement secretary Gen. Claudio Debertolis was downbeat about the Eurofighter program, stating, “Unfortunately, India has shown that the cost of the aircraft — the competition was lost above all on cost — as well as the air-to-ground capabilities, are factors in making the aircraft uncompetitive.”

Since the Indian decision, the Typhoon nations and industry have been doingmore than just licking their wounds. The governments and industry have been moving to sharpen their act on price, process, political co-coordination, technology growth commitments and other issues.

Speaking to reporters in June, Brian Burridge, vice president for strategic marketing at Finmeccanica UK, said having the AESA radar on contract and having weapon systems integrated on an earlier timescale, particularly Meteor, would have made a difference in India.

Now the nations are starting to address some of the growth shortcomings.

For some in industry, though, it’s much later than it should have been.

“It’s great, but it’s two years too late. Eurofighter is nearly the best multirole fighter in the world, and it’s the ‘nearly’ bit that’s been the problem,” one executive said.

Doug Barrie, the senior air analyst at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London, said the partners had remained focused on the original interceptor capabilities of Typhoon longer than they should have once it became apparent requirements were changing and there were substantial export opportunities available.

“They haven’t got there quickly enough. There remain a number of missile types that need to be added.

“The long pole in the tent, though, is the AESA radar. It needs to be integrated as quickly as possible. The Captor mechanically scanned radar they currently use has great capability, but AESA will give you more performance and at a lower through-life cost.”
Tom Kington contributed to this report.

10-07-12, 02:36 PM
Rolls-Royce Bids For Future Fighter Engine

By Guy Norris guy_norris@aviationweek.com

Source: AWIN First

July 10, 2012

Rolls-Royce confirms it is throwing its hat into the ring for the U.S. Air Force’s Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) program, which aims to demonstrate potential fuel-saving features for sixth-generation fighters as well as future bombers and other tactical aircraft.

“We did put in a bid for the adaptive engine technology program, and this is currently in source selection with the Air Force,” says Mark Wilson, chief operating officer of Rolls-Royce’s Liberty Works advanced development organization in Indianapolis.

The AETD will build on advances in the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Advent (Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology) program, and take it to a pre-full-scale engineering manufacturing development level.

Even though the Air Force has pointed out that the technology program is aimed at future platforms, the fuel-saving potential of the initiative, added to the larger size of the proposed demonstrator, has sparked some concern in political circles that it could form the basis for a competing engine for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The sole engine for the F-35 is the F135 produced by Pratt & Whitney, which is also competing for AETD. General Electric, which was formerly in partnership with Rolls on the canceled F136 – the alternate F-35 engine – also is bidding for AETD.

Advent is being used to develop a suite of technologies for variable-cycle architectures to reduce fuel consumption by up to 25% and increase range by 30%. In addition to standard high- and low-pressure flows, Advent architectures add a third stream of cooler air flow that will be used for high power extraction and better thermal management, as well as reducing installed drag and improving inlet recovery.

AETD is expected to go beyond Advent in terms of efficiency and power, and unlike the smaller cores used in the initial effort, will be based around a larger core sized more for future projects such as the U.S. Navy’s F/A-XX and the Air Force’s F-X sixth-generation fighters. The fact that this size requirement also matches that of the F-35 is why AETD recently triggered questions in Congress.

Responses to AFRL’s request for proposals were due May 31, and Phase 1 contracts for two rival engines are expected to be awarded in August. The outline milestones will include initial concept evaluations by February 2013, compressor rig tests in 2014, fan and core tests by mid-2015 and full engine tests as early as 2016.

AETD’s close links to Advent make progress with the original fuel-saving initiative even more important, according to the contestants. On Advent, Rolls is “getting ready to test the core this year,” Wilson says. The engine-maker completed fan rig tests at AFRL in late 2010 and has completed more than 250 hours of operability and other tests on the fan. A full engine test, combining the low- and high-pressure spools, is set for 2013. All hardware for the core is “in place, and in the process of installation and assembly,” he adds.

Rolls and GE are also competing on the closely linked Highly Efficient Embedded Turbine Engine (Heete) program, which is demonstrating extreme high-pressure-ratio core technology aimed at lowering fuel burn by up to 35% compared to current engines. Geared more toward future mobility, reconnaissance and transport platforms, Heete is an adjunct to Advent and part of the Air Force’s Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engine program. “We have a compressor rig which will be tested this year, and we will get data from that this year,” Wilson says.

11-07-12, 06:31 AM
Executive Calls for Typhoon Upgrade After Radar Announcement

Posted by Tom Kington | July 10th, 2012 | Eurofighter, Fixed wing

The Eurofighter nations believe the AESA radar would make the Typhoon more attractive to potential foreign buyers // staff

Moves to add the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to the Eurofighter have prompted fresh calls from industry to upgrade the aircraft’s nozzles to add maneuverability.

The NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency issued a request for proposals for an AESA radar for the Eurofighter on the eve of the Farnborough International Airshow.

That in turn has prompted an official at a member company of the consortium that builds the Typhoon aircraft’s engine to suggest partners take a fresh look at introducing thrust vectoring nozzles at the rear of the aircraft.

The nozzles, which change position, can improve thrust and direct thrust, granting greater maneuverability to the aircraft.

The two upgrades are linked, said the official, Salvatore Miglietta, head of military programs at Italian propulsion firm Avio, which is part of the Eurojet consortium that builds the EJ2000 engine for the Eurofighter.

“Placing an [AESA] radar in the nose of the aircraft will add weight to the front of the aircraft,” he said. “The center of gravity of the aircraft moves forward and to counterbalance this you can either put dead weight further back, or a clever weight.”

The need for weight at the rear of the aircraft represents an opportunity to install tilting nozzles that produce vectored thrust, he added.

Eurojet has already developed a thrust vectoring nozzle (TVN) that it argues would add maneuverability to enhance the aircraft’s air-to-ground credentials, increasing thrust, decreasing fuel consumption, reducing take-off distance, reducing landing speed and improving roll rate.

“Thrust vectoring would allow the aircraft to get closer to targets and maneuver faster,” said Miglietta, who added that thrust vectoring helps prolong engine life.

The Eurojet consortium comprises Italy’s Avio, Germany’s MTU, Spain’s ITP and the UK’s Roll-Royce.

11-07-12, 06:34 AM
New Gripen to Cost At Least 10% Less Than Predecessor

Posted by Tom Kington | July 10th, 2012 | Fixed wing, Saab, Sweden

The Saab Gripen E/F is expected to have a 25 percent increase in capability compared to the C/D model // Saab

Buyers of the new Gripen E/F will get a “double digit” percent price saving against the cost of the aircraft’s predecessor, the Gripen C/D, the CEO of Saab said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Farnborough International Airshow, Hakan Buskhe said the new fighter will also offer a 25 percent increase in capabilities.

The price drop and capability hike was a Saab specialty, he said, since the Gripen C/D had cost less than its own predecessor, the Gripen A/B, while offering a 20 percent hike in capabilities.

Explaining the price drop, Buskhe said, “You do that with cars, why not with fighters?”

The Swedish government intends to buy 80 Gripen E/F aircraft, previously referred to as the Gripen NG by Saab. Switzerland has also downselected it for a possible purchase of 22 aircraft.

Buskhe linked Saab’s pricing policy to its need to compete globally, adding that only 20 percent of the firm’s order backlog was in Sweden. Saab employs 3,000 engineers outside Sweden, he added.

Saab is now setting up a Gripen weapons training school in South Africa, he said.

In an apparent reference to firms that can rely on generous procurements from home governments, Buskhe said, “It is not difficult to build something if you have a ton of money.” Saab, he added, expected to see a slight increase in sales in 2012 on 2011.

Bushke said Saab’s value-for-money principle affected its view of the European alliances now being mulled for the design of new UAVs. Italy and Germany have reacted angrily to Anglo-French plans to form a bilateral UAV alliance, which they plan to open up to other partners at a later date.

But Bushke appeared unruffled at the prospect of Sweden following an Anglo-French lead. “As long as the cooperation gives a high quality product which is affordable,” he said. “We don’t do endless discussions. In all other businesses you start by asking what the customer wants.”

13-07-12, 06:14 AM
FARNBOROUGH: Raytheon expects major AESA decision in coming months

by: Greg Waldron Farnborough 23 hours ago

Raytheon expects one of the world's major Lockheed Martin F-16 operators to make a decision about its choice of active electronic scanned array (AESA) radars in the coming months.

The US Air Force, Taiwan and South Korea are all in the "active acquisition stage" of choosing between the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR) and Northrop Grumman's Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR), says Jim Hvizd, Raytheon's vice-president of international strategy and business development.

"In the coming months, we'll see some significant decisions regarding AESA," says Hvizd, speaking with Flightglobal at Raytheon's Farnborough chalet.

Hvizd declined to comment further on which country he feels will be the first mover.

An industry source familiar with the global F-16 upgrade market, however, tells Flightglobal that the first mover is likely to be Seoul.

It has been nearly one year since Seoul's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) issued a request for proposals to Raytheon and Northrop with regard to AESA upgrades for 132 F-16s.

The RFP called on both bidders to offer a full suite of AESA radar modes, including the interleaving of air-to-air tracking and air-to-ground mapping. More advanced capabilities, such as electronic attack and electronic protection, could be added by South Korea in the future.

A key requirement for South Korea is an offset package worth 50% of the value of the contract. After the RFP, Raytheon says it would transfer some hardware production to the nation.

Hvizd reaffirmed this commitment at Farnborough. "A big percentage of our products can be made overseas. We are always looking for global suppliers."

And although rival Northrop was the provider of the mechanically scanned radars that have traditionally equipped the F-16, Hvizd feels this is a non-issue for Raytheon's RACR campaign.

Hvizd notes that Raytheon has successfully retro-fitted AESA radars in older fighter types such as the C and E variants of the Boeing F-15 operated by the USAF.

14-07-12, 02:53 AM

A Defense Technology Blog

If You Did It, It's Not Bragging

Posted byBill Sweetman12:19 AM on Jul 13, 2012

Collaboration between Sweden and Switzerland on the new JAS 39E/F version of the Saab Gripen is expected to firm up in August with the signature of a framework agreement between Swiss defense procurement agency Armasuisse and Sweden’s defense export organization. That follows the signature of a ministerial-level letter of intent in Switzerland on June 29.

On the same day, Saab hosted a business-to-business meeting to start the process of placing offset work in Switzerland, in advance of a formal development contract that is expected in 2014.

Saab's head of Gripen export, Eddy de la Motte, said at Farnborough that customer interest in Gripen has never been higher. This is not surprising, for a few reasons.

First, the JAS 39E/F looks increasingly real, although a Swiss referendum precedes a full development contract. The initial operational capability date is set for 2018 by a customer and contractor with a strong record of meeting such targets.

The Gripen Demo's appearance at Farnborough with its new radar installed is an indicator of solid progress, and Saab has just been awarded a contract (fixed price) to support continued development work.

Second, the new Gripen is breaking Ernie Fitzgerald's Law, which states that the first things you hear about a new program are also the best things you will ever hear. The Farnborough presentation added a widescreen cockpit to the jet, and Saab has also started to talk about upgrade packages for JAS 39C/Ds.

Third (and most important) is that all air forces are finally realizing that operating costs are more important than acquisition costs. The debate over JSF costs - from the Navair leaks of 2010, through program director VAdm Dave Venlet's "it makes their knees go weak" quote in April 2011 to Lockheed Martin's recent assaults on the competence of Pentagon accountants - revolves around operating costs, and that is a fight that Gripen wins.

Saab says that the E/F will cost under $5,000 per flight hour - one-third to one-quarter of its estimates for Eurofighter, Rafale or JSF (Saab uses Australian numbers for the latter, which are lower than some).

The more conservative Swiss estimate was half the cost per flight hour of the European twins - which may reflect Dassault or Eurofighter guarantees or different assumptions. Either way, the margins are huge.

Saab is not in a position to trumpet blue-sky estimates - because for a potential customer, the costs of a C/D are not hard to check, and because there is not that much all-new hardware on the JAS 39E/F. Airframe, systems, accessibility and design-for-maintenance are similar to the C/D. The engine has been in service for a decade and 1,000 of them are flying, and Selex Galileo radar modules are in full production.

The full Farnborough presentation is here:


09-08-12, 06:52 AM
Sukhoi Tests New Radar Array for 5th-Generation Fighter

T-50 fighter jet
© RIA Novosti. Alexei Druzhinin16:47 08/08/2012MOSCOW, August 8 (RIA Novosti)

Russia’s Sukhoi aircraft maker has started tests of a new onboard radar system for its 5th generation T-50 fighter jet, the company said on Wednesday.

The new X-band active phased array radar has been installed on the third prototype of the T-50 fighter and showed a stable and effective performance comparable with the most advanced existing radar systems.

© RIA Novosti.
Russian Fith-Generation t-50 Fighter Jet

The radar has been developed by the Moscow-based Tikhomirov Scientific Research Institute of Instrument Design using elements of nanotechnology.

It has an extended target acquisition range, works simultaneously in “air-to-air” and “air-to-ground” modes, allows attacking multiple targets, and provides electronic countermeasures capabilities.

The T-50, also known as project PAK-FA, first flew in January 2010 and was first publicly revealed at the Moscow Air Show in 2011.

At present, three T-50 prototypes are being tested under a PAK-FA test and development program while a fourth plane is expected to join the program this year.

The Russian Defense Ministry is planning to purchase the first 10 evaluation example aircraft after 2012 and then 60 production standard aircraft after 2015.

16-08-12, 09:22 PM
Sukhoi starts testing new AESA radar on PAK-FA

By Dave Majumdar

on August 14, 2012 10:49 PM

The United States doesn't have a monopoly (anymore) on developing fifth-generation fighters, Russia seems to be making good progress on its next-generation Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA stealth fighter--a version of which will also serve with the Indian Air Force. PAK-FA apparently stands for Perspektivny Aviatsionny Kompleks-Frontovoy Aviatsii--if anyone cares. It is amazing that the Russians managed to preserve so many of the skill-sets needed to develop an advanced fighter aircraft (and other parts of the defense industrial base) even as their entire society basically disintegrated around them after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Sukhoi Photo

My colleague Valdimir Karnozov in Moscow is reporting that Sukhoi has started flight testing a new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar on the third flying prototype for the PAK-FA. The Russian AESA, from what Sukhoi says, seems to feature most of the same modes that one might expect from a US-developed set. That includes simultaneous operations of air-to-air and air-to-surface modes among other features. The Russians are also testing what they call "optical channels" on the aircraft--which sounds like it might be some sort of electro-optical or infrared camera system. I suspect something is being lost in the translation.

Read Valdimir's story here


Sukhoi Photo

Sukhoi is apparently gearing up to fly the fourth PAK-FA prototype in the near future. I will say that the PAK-FA, like a lot of Russian and Soviet aircraft that have come before it, is one sharp looking jet. But, up close, these aircraft don't have the fit and finish that one might find on a Western aircraft. While there remains little doubt that Sukhoi can design a fifth-generation fighter, whether they can manufacture one is yet to be proven. Extremely precise manufacturing is a key tenet of building a stealth aircraft... so we'll see.

Sukhoi Photo

Meanwhile, the Russians have not given up on fourth-generation fighters. The new Su-35 Flanker-E is scheduled to enter full production in 2013. It's already in limited production with six aircraft scheduled to be delivered to the Russian Federation Air Force this year. And, according the Russia's United Aircraft Corporation boss Mikhail Pogosyan, Russia will continue to build Su-35s alongside the T-50 for the export market.

Sukhoi Photo

They might also retrofit the PAK-FA AESA onto the Su-35... It currently has a passive electronically scanned array installed.

Sukhoi Photo

17-08-12, 03:49 AM
Sea Gripen's Phase One Design Work Completed

by Neha Bareja on 8/16/2012 2:25 PM

​IHS Jane’s​ ​reports that Saab has completed feasibility and phase one design work on an aircraft carrier-capable version of its Gripen NG multirole fighter aircraft.

Tony Ogilvy, Saab’s Aeronautics UK General Manager and Head of the Sea Gripen Design Centre, told IHS Jane’s that after years of preliminary design and pre-feasibility work, plans for a carrier based version of the platform would be brought to fruition by a team of Swedish and UK engineers by the end of August.

“Our job was to take the design to a point where we could say ‘yes, Saab can build a marine variant’, and we have achieved that “ he said.

The Gripen needed a number of changes to make it carrier compatible, according to Saab.These included strengthened landing gear, an arrestor hook, an attachment mechanism for the aircraft to the catapult launch shuttle, as well as making sure the aircraft is marinised to prevent salt water erosion.

According to Saab, the Sea Gripen will be configured to operate from both CATOBAR (catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery) and STOBAR (short take-off, but arrested recovery) ships. In a CATOBAR launch, Gripen will be capable of getting airborne at its maximum take off weight. In both CATOBAR and STOBAR recovery into the arrestor wires, Sea Gripen will have a very respectable fuel and unexpended weapons load capability.

Potential customers include India and Brazil. Saab responded to a request for information from India in 2009, and remain engaged with the Indian Navy staff in Delhi and Goa.

22-08-12, 02:49 PM
Typhoon Leads from the Front

(Source: BAE Systems; issued Aug. 21, 2012)

The first Typhoon tranche 3 front fuselage unit has rolled off the production line at our Samlesbury site.

Under the Tranche 3A contract signed in 2009, a total of 112 aircraft have been ordered for the four European partner nations, with 40 aircraft bound for the Royal Air Force. Deliveries of Tranche 3 aircraft are expected to start in 2013.

Building on the success of the Typhoons already proven in service, as demonstrated during Libyan Operations, Tranche 3 aircraft will be even more capable.

The Tranche 3 front fuselage, part of the British single seat aircraft number 116, includes over 350 modified parts designed, engineered and assembled ready to incorporate the most advanced capability enhancements.

Those enhancements include provision for conformal fuel tanks and a fuel dump system which will enable Typhoon to fly further and stay on mission longer. Also included are extra electrical power and cooling to cater for an E-Scan radar which will enhance performance, reliability and availability whilst delivering lower support costs for Typhoon customers. Extra computing power and high speed data network systems will give the aircraft capacity for even more capability in the future.


02-09-12, 03:15 AM
Will Gripen-NG Project Bring More Defense Cuts for Sweden?

Sep. 1, 2012 - 11:42AM


Swiss pilots fly Gripen E/F test aircraft in Sweden. (Stefan Kalm / Saab)

HELSINKI — Fears are growing in Sweden that the government’s plan to develop a next-generation (NG) “super” Gripen will further drain a largely static defense budget and force the Swedish armed forces into more cuts to core operations.

The government has put the total cost of acquisition for the planned 60 to 80 aircraft, including development costs, at $13.5 billion. The Swedish Air Force is expected to take delivery of the first JAS Gripen E/F aircraft in 2023.

The decision to develop a Gripen-NG E/F has split Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldts’ center-right coalition of Moderate, Liberal, Christian Democrat and Center parties.

The Moderates and Christian Democrats support the plan, but the issue has divided Center Party members. The Liberals oppose the project, which they fear will divert funding from core defense areas.

The government remains defiant. Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, a Moderate, on Aug. 29 described the ”super Gripen” project, which is tied to the sale of 22 aircraft to Switzerland, as an important step toward generating large-scale exports beyond the Swiss deal.

Under the agreement between the governments, signed Aug. 24, Switzerland will pay $3.25 billion for 22 JAS Gripen E/Fs. Sweden hopes to finalize contracts in 2013 and start first deliveries in 2018.

“This decision will make the JAS Gripen easier to sell globally,” Bildt said. “We will achieve the development and production of an advanced E/F version and hopefully find new buyers. This is a step in the right direction.”

The scale of the project, and the absence of a final cost, raises serious questions about how the program will affect core military spending and Sweden’s ability to protect and build on its present defense capability, said Allan Widman, the Liberal Party’s defense spokesman.

“The deal to sell 22 Gripens to Switzerland was agreed at a fixed price. This is a good deal for Switzerland, but leaves Sweden to carry the can for any budget overruns in development or production,” Widman said.

The Gripen upgrade report delivered by defense chief Gen. Sverker Göranson to the Ministry of Defense in March contained a project cost estimate, Widman said.

“This segment of that report remains classified. Not even the Parliamentary Defense Committee has seen it,” Widman said. “We still do not know what this program will cost, or if funding to finance it will come from the core defense budget.”

Reinfeldt defended the decision, saying the fighter sale and cost-sharing partnership with Switzerland forms part of a broader vision to grow Sweden’s reputation as a producer of high-end combat aircraft.

“The decision is necessary for our defense capability, but it is also positive for Swedish industry, job creation, exports, and research and development,” he said. “The defense industry employs over 100,000 people in Sweden. The fighter’s development leads to continuous technology creation and innovation.”

The Swiss alliance will enable Sweden to procure a high-capability fighter at a lower cost than if it funded the project alone, he said.

However, the government’s planned defense budget increase will be modest. Under the proposal, $45 million will be added to the defense budgets for 2013 and 2014 to cover JAS Gripen-NG related development costs. An additional $30 million will be included in defense budgets after 2014, Reinfeldt said.

The MoD has estimated development costs for the JAS Gripen-NG program at $5 billion.

The real cost may be higher, said Siemon Wezeman, a defense analyst with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

“We don’t know what the final cost will be,” he said. “The big problem with programs like this is that it is very difficult to know at the outset what the final cost will be.”

Technical hurdles, exchange rate fluctuations, problems with sourcing parts from foreign suppliers, and problems in the development and testing stages could all add to costs, Wezeman said.

“The Gripen E/F will be an almost completely rebuilt and unproven version,” he said. “This is not just an upgrade of the existing Gripen; it is a complete redesign, and essentially a new aircraft. Because of the small number to be built, the R&D costs per unit are likely to be very high.”

The upgraded Gripen would grow in length from 14.1 to 14.9 meters, it would have a slightly wider wingspan, and its maximum takeoff weight would increase from 14 to 16.5 tons. The number of onboard weapon stations would rise from eight to 10, engine power would increase by 22 percent, and range would expand from 3,500 to 4,075 kilometers.

Sweden’s agreement with Switzerland comprises three parts: the acquisition of the upgraded Gripen; cooperation in maintaining and upgrading the Gripen during its lifecycle, up to 2042; and a linked agreement that will see the Swiss Air Force lease Gripen C/D version fighters between 2016-2021.

The military has found itself in a difficult position, said Peter Rådberg, a Green Party member of the Parliamentary Defense Committee.

“The military wants this Gripen-NG upgrade program,” Rådberg said. “They see it as improving Sweden’s overall defense capability while raising the country’s ability to better protect the skies in the High North and the Baltic Sea area. The jury is still out on what this will mean for funding in the core branches of defense which are already underfunded.”

The military’s March report noted that personnel will cost an additional $180 million annually by 2019, and an extra $300 million a year will be needed beginning in 2015 to cover projected equipment procurement needs.

Speaking to the Almedalsveckan Politics and Society conference in Gotland on July 1, Göranson said the military may be forced to mothball parts of the Navy, Air Force and Land Forces if forced to absorb funding for the Gripen-NG program.

All existing concerns over the adequacy of defense spending will be discussed with opposition parties in coming months, Defense Minister Karin Enström said.

“There will be enough money in future budgets for defense,” she said. “The details can be worked out later.”

10-09-12, 02:49 PM
Wow, just wow. Our nationalists are jumping all over this insane proposal

Will legendary Avro Arrow make Lazarus-like return?


Published Sunday, Sep. 09 2012, 7:02 PM EDT

The federal government is being urged to reach back in history for a made-in-Canada solution to its fighter jet woes by resurrecting the legendary but aborted Avro Arrow interceptor to serve as this country’s next war plane.

It may seem a far-fetched idea but backers – including retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie – insist that a revised version of the 1950s jet, with an upgraded engine, would outperform Ottawa’s preferred choice on several important counts.

The revive-the-Avro campaign is the latest bizarre twist in a military purchase that’s gone awry on the Harper government’s watch.

The Conservatives, embarrassed by the rising costs of the U.S.-designed F-35 Lightning jets that the Royal Canadian Air Force sorely wants to purchase, are currently rethinking options for a next generation fighter.

Mr. MacKenzie and a group of design, engineering and logistics experts are pressing Ottawa to consider the long-discarded CF-105 plane.

The Diefenbaker government famously cancelled the Avro Arrow project in 1959, ending work on a Canadian aerospace marvel that supporters called the most advanced aircraft of its time.

Many in the Canadian aviation community never forgave Ottawa for scrapping the sleek, white plane, particularly after the government went on to buy U.S.-made Voodoo jets instead.

Proponents of reviving the Arrow are shopping a proposal around Ottawa that promises 120 planes for $9-billion, a number that just happens to be the government’s original cost estimate for the increasingly expensive F-35 jets.

Each new CF-105, they say, would cost $73-million to produce – a homegrown solution that would also create a domestic supersonic jet manufacturing capacity.

It’s hard to imagine a 53-year-old plane could outperform Lockheed Martin’s costly new F-35 fighter-bomber, but those behind a new CF-105 say their jet would pack a 21st-century punch.

Mr. MacKenzie said the proposal he’s put before the Harper government is for a made-in-Canada plane that could fly twice as fast as the F-35 and up to 20,000 feet higher. It would feature an updated Mark III engine and its range would be two to three times that of the F-35.

The former soldier, an unpaid supporter of the project, has run the pitch by Defence Minister Peter MacKay, senior defence officials as well as the Prime Minister’s Office and Julian Fantino when he was associate defence minister in charge of procurement.

Mr. MacKenzie said he’s met resistance in Ottawa, where officials insist they want the stealth capabilities that the F-35 can provide. Supporters of bringing back the CF-105, however, say the updated Arrow’s capabilities would make up for this because it could fly so much higher and faster.

One senior government source who’s reviewed the Avro backers’ pitch expressed deep skepticism about their business plan.

“[It] didn’t make a lot of sense to me,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Marc Bourdeau, a former Canadian public servant spearheading the CF-105 proposal, rejects the notion this is a pipe dream.

“This is not an exercise in nostalgia. This is an exercise in defence and industrial policy for Canada.”

Mr. MacKenzie said the new CF-105 would look like its predecessor but comparisons would end there.

“We are talking about a basic design that was tested and proven .… It will be recognizable in shape but it won’t be recognizable beyond that, given new technology and materials.”

Mr. MacKenzie, who is disappointed by the F-35, and in particular its capacity to intercept threats, said backers are taking their proposal to Canadians to see if there’s public pressure that can be brought to bear on the Harper government.


10-09-12, 03:26 PM
One wonders exactly how much crack you would have to smoke before that would seem like a good idea...

Gubler, A.
11-09-12, 04:53 AM
One wonders exactly how much crack you would have to smoke before that would seem like a good idea...

Probably a bit less than needed to greenlight this:

11-09-12, 06:23 AM
Oh I don't know............:jerkit

On second thoughts yes I do..............:rofl :rofl

Gubler, A.
11-09-12, 06:31 AM
Turns out that the guy behind this Uber-Arrow proposal's previous claim to fame was a failed attempt to take over the Alain Prost F1 racing team...


Canadian Deal Falls Through for Prost

Friday September 22nd, 2000

The Canadian Vector Motorsports Group Inc. has given up its attempt to take over the Prost Grand Prix team after failing to find the necessary funding, according to the National Post of Canada newspaper.

Marc Bourdeau, head of Vector, confirmed they had reached an agreement earlier this year with team owner Alain Prost, and added that the company had assurances of funding by a group that claimed control of a US$100-million instrument.

"I met with Alain several times over the weekend of the Canadian Grand Prix, and we very quickly came to an agreement on a transaction," said Bourdeau. "But deliberately or accidentally, they did not deliver the financial instrument and we could not get them to do it."

With the deadline past last Monday, Bourdeau hoped that another of their backers, the Quebec government, would save the deal, but Vector said Quebec's offer was too low so the deal fell through.

Bourdeau, however, refused to rule out a future move into Formula One.

"In Formula One, it's never really over. There are still possibilities to do business out there - even with Prost Grand Prix."

The French team has struggled this season, not having scored a single point with three races to go, and rumours about Alain Prost quitting at the end of the year have been constant for a few months.

Now the deal with Vector is over, the Frenchman looks set to stay for another season.

Reported by John Marchesan, TSN

11-09-12, 10:34 PM
Northrop Grumman to pitch new AESA radar to export customers

By: Dave Majumdar Washington DC

1 hours ago


Northrop Grumman plans to offer a new radar based on the antenna of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's (JSF) APG-81 active electronically scanned array (AESA) combined with the receiver, exciter and processors (REP) of its Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) to potential foreign upgrade customers.

Northrop has already test flown the new radar on its British Aircraft Corporation BAC 111 test-bed aircraft, says Patrick Antkowiak, vice president of the company's advanced concepts and technologies division.

"We put it on there in literally weeks and flew it on May 9th," Antkowiak says.

©Northrop Grumman

The new system would have the power and performance of the APG-81, but at much lower cost.

The SABR REP cannot be retrofitted back into the F-35 because APG-81 does not have a "backend" as such, instead most of the processing for the radar is performed in the JSF's core processors, says Joe Ensor, Northrop's vice president for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and targeting systems.

Antkowiak says that though the new radar will be offered to both foreign and domestic customers, the radar is most likely to be offered for export to customers flying the Boeing F-15, F/A-18 or Lockheed F-16. That is because US F-15s and F/A-18s are already being upgraded with Raytheon-built AESA radar sets.

One of the advantages of using the APG-81 antenna is that it is already cleared for export, Ensor says. Therefore, it should not be difficult to get the new radar cleared for sale to foreign allies.

12-09-12, 11:42 PM
ILA: German Tornado upgrade on track as laser JDAM tests near

By: Craig Hoyle Berlin

8 hours ago


The German air force is exhibiting one of its newly upgraded Panavia Tornado strike aircraft at the show, with the type to remain in frontline use until at least 2025.

One of three aircraft to have been returned to Luftwaffe use in late June following the completion of ASSTA 3.0 modernisation work led by Cassidian, the Tornado is assigned to the Büchel-based Fighter Bomber Wing 33.

A total of 85 aircraft are due to be modified under the ASSTA programme, with the last of these to be completed in 2018. Five have been handed over so far, with deliveries running at a rate of one per month.

Credit: BillyPix

Work conducted under the upgrade includes adding a Saab radar warning receiver below the forward fuselage, a digital moving map sourced from the Eurofighter Typhoon programme, a digital video and data recorder, and a Saturn radio.

A new display also enables the pilot to see imagery from the aircraft's targeting pod for the first time. Crucially, it also introduces the hardware and basic software for the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS)/Link 16 datalink.

"What the air force will see is a huge leap forward in technology," says Thomas Beck, programme manager for the ASSTA effort.

Another key enhancement is the integration of Boeing's GBU-54 laser-guided JDAM. Five of the 226kg (500lb) weapons will be released over Sweden's Vidsel test range next month as part of an operational test and evaluation activity involving four aircraft.

Full integration of the MIDS equipment will come with a subsequent ASSTA 3.1 phase in 2015. This will also replace obsolete displays in the rear cockpit and introduce new chaff and flare dispensers to further boost self-protection.

12-09-12, 11:47 PM
Lockheed would support restarting F-22 production line if Romney wins election

By: Dave Majumdar Washington DC

4 hours ago


I'm sure Lockheed would support this stupidity............ker-ching! The cash registers ring! :jerkit

Lockheed Martin would support restarting the F-22 Raptor production line if Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney were to be elected and followed through with a pledge to buy more of the stealthy fifth-generation fighters.

"Lockheed Martin will support the US government should the decision be made that more F-22 Raptors are needed to defend our nation and our allies," the company says.

Earlier in the week, Romney had told a Virginia television station that he not only opposed the Congressional sequestration budget cutting maneuver set to go into effect on 2 January, but that he would increase the size of the US military.

"I would also add F-22s to our air force fleet," Romney says.

The so-called sequestration maneuver would cut the defence budget by a further $500 billion over the next ten years.


Production of the twin-engined F-22 came to an end earlier this year with the last of 187 aircraft ordered being delivered to the US Air Force on 2 May. But the tooling and techniques to build the Raptor are being preserved at the Sierra Army Depot in California.

The USAF had originally wanted some 750 Raptors, but due to the post-Cold War drawdown had reduced its requirements. But, prior to then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates truncating the programme, the USAF maintained that it needed a minimum of 381 Raptors to fill 10 operational squadrons consisting of 24 primary authorized aircraft and two back up jets. The remaining F-22s would fill out training and test units.

Analysts are skeptical about Romney's plans.

"Romney has big if vague plans, but very little guidance on how to pay for it," says analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group. "If he wants to keep taxes and the deficit at a constant or lower level, it's hard to imagine cuts elsewhere providing the cash."

Loren Thompson, chief operating officer at the Lexington Institute and a Lockheed consultant, says restarting the production line would be very expensive. "I think it would be more than a billion dollars, frankly," he says.

"You can't just go back and see if the suppliers are still available," Thompson says. "They all have to be recertified. The workers will have been moved on to other activities for the most part, they will have to be recertified, and in some cases, retrained."

Nor is it likely that if the production line were to be reconstituted that the new Raptors would match the configuration of the surviving 185 F-22s in service with the USAF today. While the Raptor's kinematic performance and stealth are unmatched, compared to the leading edge of technology that industry can build today, the Raptor's avionics architecture and sensors are dated, Thompson says. The USAF would likely need to invest in some significant upgrades for those new production jets, should they materialize.

Moreover, the USAF may not be willing to jeopardize the tri-service Lockheed F-35 programme in order to buy only a limited number of extra Raptors. "If the air force thought that the proposal to buy a hundred more F-22s would in anyway slow down the F-35 programme, they would not support it," Thompson says.

The F-35 is set to become the mainstay of the USAF tactical fighter force. The USAF hopes a future force of 1763 F-35s will eventually replace its Lockheed F-16 and Fairchild Republic A-10 fleets.

Gubler, A.
13-09-12, 03:26 AM
I'm sure Lockheed would support this stupidity............ker-ching! The cash registers ring! :jerkit.

If it ever got of the ground I'm sure between the effort needed to restart the production line and USAF that the second block F-22 would emerge rather a lot like the FB-22... Two seats, bigger weapons bay, F-35 avionics, F-35 skin tech, etc. May not be supercruising at M1.7 or very cheap but it would be a good plane!

16-09-12, 02:58 AM
There are 3 new stories on the Gripen Blog which might be of interest to some members. Here is the link if you are keen enough.

18-09-12, 10:48 PM

A Defense Technology Blog

6th Gen Engines -- Pratt In, Rolls Out, GE Stays On

Posted byGraham Warwick1:53 PM on Sep 17, 2012

In 2007, Rolls-Royce shook up the US fighter engine business when it, and not Pratt & Whitney, was selected to demonstrate the next leap in combat-aircraft powerplant capability under the Air Force Research Laboratory's Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology (ADVENT) program.

Today, it's Pratt's turn to fight back, and the company has been selected over Rolls for AFRL's follow-on Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) program. General Electric, the other winner back in 2007, gets to stay on for AETD, which will take the variable-cycle technology being developed under ADVENT to the next level of maturity.

ADVENT core (Photo: GE Aviation)

In the intervening years, a GE/Rolls team fought and lost a bitter battle to provide a competitive alternative to Pratt's F135 engine powering the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. And for a while it looked like Pratt's supporters in Congress might kill the AETD program to prevent it becoming another competitor to the F135. It will, but not for many more years.

Pratt seems more comfortable with competition to power the F-35 when it is years away, and when it has a place at the table through AETD. But the real prize will be powering whatever the US Air Force and Navy decide they want as "sixth-generation" fighters. The Navy is looking at entry into service in 2028, and the Air Force at 2032, but risk reduction has to start now so that engine development can begin around 2020 to ensure it will be ready.

ADVENT is demonstrating high pressure-ratio core and adaptive-fan "third stream" low-pressure system technology that will enable thrust specific fuel consumption to be reduced 25% while military (dry) power is increased 5% and maximum (reheat) thrust 10% over the F135 -- all in an engine that can fit in an F-35 "with only modest modification".

The GE and Rolls ADVENT engines demonstrators will run next year. AETD will take the variable-bypass fan and three-stream flow architecture and add highly integrated controls and a stealthy serpentine exhaust system (not part of ADVENT) and mature it to technology readiness and manufacturing readiness levels of 6 by 2017, ready to enter engineering and manufacturing development when required.

22-09-12, 12:17 AM
PICTURES: Irkut launches Su-30SM test campaign

By: Vladimir Karnozov Moscow

6 hours ago


Russia's Sukhoi Su-30SM multirole fighter performed its maiden flight on 21 September, with Sukhoi test pilots Sergei Kostin and Pavel Malovechko at the controls.

Described as "flawless", the 2h sortie originated from the aerodrome of the IAZ plant near Irkutsk; the main manufacturing site for the Irkut Corporation.


A further evolution of the Su-30MK line and designed for use by domestic units, the SM differs from earlier export models in having radar, communications and friend-or-foe systems and other onboard equipment, including new ejection seats "designed in accordance with the requirements of the Russian air force", Irkut says.


The new model will also be able to carry advanced weapons, including the Onix supersonic anti-ship and land attack missile - an all-Russian version of the BrahMos weapon being jointly developed with India.

Irkut received a contract in March 2012 to deliver 30 Su-30SMs to the Russian air force by 2015. The first examples are due to be handed over late this year.

24-09-12, 10:27 PM
AFRL Backs New Type Of Combat-Aircraft Engine

By Graham Warwick

Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

September 24, 2012

Graham Warwick Washington

It has been almost three decades since the U.S. last set out to develop an all-new combat-aircraft engine, but more than 50 years since the turbojet gave way to the turbofan. Now the U.S. is embarking on development of a new generation of fighter engine with an architecture it considers as fundamental an advance as the turbofan was over the turbojet.

Being part of a research effort that could produce the dominant combat-aircraft engine of coming decades is critical for industry. So General Electric and Pratt & Whitney are breathing easier after being selected by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for the Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) program to mature fuel-efficient, high-thrust powerplants for post-2020 upgrades to the Lockheed Martin F-35 and future “sixth-generation” combat aircraft.

AETD is a follow-on to AFRL's $524 million Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology (Advent) program under which GE Aviation and Rolls-Royce North American Technologies will demonstrate engines in 2013. Selection for AETD is a coup for Pratt, which in 2007 lost out to GE and Rolls in the Advent competition, but a blow for Rolls, which did not receive the nod for the follow-on program.

“When we were not selected for Advent, we did a lot of our own rig work,” says Jim Reed, Pratt & Whitney's director of advanced engine programs. “But that only mattered if we were selected for AETD. We had to build a strong proposal.” At stake is the potential development of fuel-efficient engines to upgrade the F-35 after 2020 and to power future Air Force and Navy air-dominance fighters that could enter service around 2030.

The last time the U.S. embarked on development of an all-new combat engine was in the early 1980s with the launch of the Joint Technology Demonstrator Engine (JTDE) program, which led to Pratt & Whitney powering both the Lockheed Martin F-22 with the F119 and the F-35 with a further development of that engine, the F135.

Having succeeded in killing the GE/Rolls-Royce F136 alternative engine for the F-35, Pratt's supporters in Congress threatened to cut funding for AETD, fearing it was a backdoor maneuver to a competitive engine. But Air Force reassurances that its goal is to mature technology and not to develop an engine—coupled with the selection of Pratt over Rolls—should defuse criticism of AETD.

“We will not produce a prototype engine, but run core engines,” says Tim Lewis of AFRL's Propulsion Directorate. “All three proposals were technically acceptable, but funding drove us to select two of the three,” he says. Rolls states that it is “disappointed by this decision but . . . continues to work with the Air Force Research Laboratory on important programs such as Advent and HEETE [Highly Energy-Efficient Turbine Engine].”

Where Advent is demonstrating high-pressure-ratio core and adaptive-fan, variable-bypass, low-pressure system technology to reduce combat-engine specific fuel consumption (SFC) by 25%, AETD will fully mature adaptive engines for possible early entry into engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) after 2020. As with Advent, there will be “significant” cost sharing by the contractors, says Lewis.

Advent and AETD are developing and maturing technology for engines with a “three stream” architecture. In addition to the high-pressure core and lower-pressure bypass streams of a conventional turbofan there is a third, outer flowpath that can be opened and closed. For takeoff, the third stream is closed off to reduce the bypass ratio and route more of the airflow through the core to increase thrust. In cruise, the third stream is opened to increase the bypass ratio and reduce fuel consumption.

The third stream can cool the cooling air used for thermal management of the engine hot section, the fuel used as a heat sink for aircraft systems, and the walls of the augmentor and nozzle. The architecture can also reduce aircraft drag. Inlets are sized for maximum airflow on takeoff, but capture more air than the engine needs in cruise, resulting in spillage. The third stream can bypass the extra air, reducing spillage drag, and the additional flow can be used to fill in the aircraft boat-tail, reducing base drag.

AFRL calculates adaptive technology will improve engine fuel efficiency by 25% over the F135 powering the F-35, increasing aircraft combat radius by 25-30% and persistence by 30-40%. The engine could also help address the anti-access/area-denial challenges posed by a potential conflict with an near-peer adversary such as China, says AFRL. This could be achieved via increasing supersonic-cruise radius by 50% and reducing the aerial-refueling tanker burden by 30-74%.

Under the 48-month AETD program, GE and Pratt will design engines with 25% lower SFC, but 5% more military (dry) power and 10% higher maximum (reheat) thrust than the F135. “We will take that engine through preliminary design review,” says Reed. The engine must be sized to fit the F-35 with “only modest modifications,” he says.

AETD will take adaptive engines to “robust” technology and manufacturing readiness levels (TRL/MRL 6) in wait for a future EMD program, says Lewis. “Engines lead airframe development by several years and we need to be ready if and when they launch the next aircraft EMD,” he says.

“The time is now for sixth gen,” Reed says. “We may be 15 years away from needing an engine, but we have to start reducing risk now, because come 2020 we will need to begin an EMD program.”

Manufacturers expect future fighters to require more thrust, better fuel economy and thermal management, and more electrical power generation. “But we don't know exactly what the transformational requirement will be for sixth gen, says Reed. “Adapatability may be the missing piece.”

Phase 1 of the AETD program, which runs through mid-fiscal 2015, includes preliminary design of the engine and testing of annular-combustor and high-pressure compressor rigs. Phase 2, which will conclude in fiscal 2016, consists of fan-rig testing and an engine core test, allowing for a notional first full engine test as early as 2017.

“There will be additional focus on augmentor and exhaust technology that is not part of Advent,” says Lewis. This will include developing an exhaust system that enables the low-pressure third stream to mix effectively with the higher-velocity core and bypass flows. “We will integrate an exhaust that produces thrust from the third stream,” he says.

In parallel, studies with the airframers will identify potential applications of the common core beyond 2020. “We will conduct quantitative assessments of AETD-derived propulsion systems,” says AFRL's Lewis.

GE, meanwhile, will begin high-pressure core tests this week under the Advent program. Rolls-Royce's LibertyWorks will begin testing its core in late November/early December, says Matt Meininger, AFRL's Advent program manager. GE's full engine is “75%-plus” complete and will go to test in July 2013, he says, while Rolls's engine is 90% complete and scheduled to begin tests in October next year. Pratt will deliver an adaptive-fan test rig—developed largely with company funds—to AFRL in February/March “to jump-start us [on AETD],” says Reed. Although Pratt lost the Advent competition, Meininger says AFRL was able to come up with more funding to help it modify an existing rig by adding a third stream to a two-stage fan, putting the company on a “fast track” to compete for AETD.

For Rolls, there was some consolation this week when it began tests of a high-pressure-ratio compressor demonstrator under AFRL's HEETE program, which aims to demonstrate technology to reduce specific fuel consumption by 35% for embedded engines in future subsonic transports and unmanned aircraft. GE has also delivered a HEETE compressor rig to AFRL, with testing expected next year.

Demonstration of a high-pressure core—compressor, combustor and turbine—is planned for 2016 under HEETE, with tests of a highly efficient turbine engine planned for 2019. Reducing SFC by 35% would increase transport-aircraft range by 50% and payload by 25%, and double the loiter time of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance UAVs, estimates AFRL.

Although funds are not available, the Air Force Research Lab would like to find a way to keep Rolls working on adaptive engine technology. “Each of the three companies has a unique architecture concept for the third stream,” says Jeff Stricker, AFRL Propulsion Directorate chief engineer. “They have three approaches to adaptive fans and how to vary the third stream with the two main flows.”

“We believe three-stream is the architecture for the next generation of aircraft,” says Lewis. “Of course we would like to keep all three approaches available to us.”

01-10-12, 01:38 AM
Will Exit Clause Doom ‘Super’ Gripen?

Sep. 30, 2012 - 12:44PM


A Swiss Air Force pilot flies a Gripen E/F test aircraft in Sweden. An exit clause in Sweden's agreement to share development costs could mean trouble for the "super" Gripen if the Swiss deal fails. (Saab)

STOCKHOLM — A pending deal for Sweden and Switzerland to acquire Gripen-NG fighters is on shaky ground after Sweden said that if Switzerland pulls out of the deal — and no other international partner can be found to take its place — Sweden will no longer fund the project either.

The move prompted French firm Dassault to resubmit an offer to sell its Rafale fighter jets to the Swiss in lieu of the Gripens.

Switzerland had planned to acquire 22 aircraft from Saab, while the Swedish government was on board to buy 60 to 80 aircraft from the company as part of an agreed fighter development and cost-sharing partnership arrangement.

But the Swedish government last month confirmed the existence of an “exit clause” that gives it the right to halt funding to the “super” JAS Gripen-NG E/F program if Switzerland withdraws from the project and an alternative foreign partner cannot be found to share development and production costs.

The revelation, which dilutes the government’s original position and commitment to the project, is contained in the Defense Ministry’s Defense Budget Proposition for 2013, which was presented to the Swedish parliament Sept. 22.

The budget proposition for the first time establishes a clear and direct link between the need to find a formal international partner for the Gripen-NG and a government commitment to fund the project.

Defense Minister Karin Enström confirmed that the government has added a clause to the preliminary partnership agreement with Switzerland. This, she said, gives the government the right to cancel the purchase of 60 to 80 Gripen-NG aircraft for the Swedish Air Force in 2014 if Switzerland rescinds its order and no replacement partner is found.

The clause adds further pressure on securing a legally binding partnership agreement covering development of the Gripen-NG with Switzerland, said Peter Rådberg, the Green Party’s representative on the Parliamentary Committee on Defense (PCD).

“On the one hand, the government states in the budget proposition that the JAS Gripen is an essential requirement if we want to have a strong defense capability, while on the other hand, it says the project will be canceled if Switzerland withdraws as a partner and leaves no other foreign backer. This leaves the project out on a limb,” Rådberg said.

He added that Sweden’s security policy, and the future of its defense capability, must not rely on funding when it comes to financing fundamental military programs.

“The global reality demands that Sweden [have] a defense capability and readiness that has the capacity to both protect its sovereign territories and participate in international operations,” Rådberg said. “The next-generation Gripen project, as it stands, would collapse if Switzerland says no. This is double-dealing by the government, and it’s a serious matter.”

Sweden’s preliminary partnership agreement with Switzerland covers the delivery of 22 JAS Gripen E/F aircraft to Switzerland, valued at 3.1 billion euros ($3.9 billion).

However, the planned purchase remains controversial in Switzerland. Opposition parties that have been vocal in their criticism of the choice of aircraft and the price agreed with Sweden are calling for a referendum on the issue to be held by the end of 2014.

An Opening for Dassault? The controversy has provided an opportunity for Dassault, which has resubmitted an offer comprising four separate price options based on the delivery of 12 to 22 Rafale fighters.

“We have received an offer communication from Dassault, and it is being circulated according to our normal procedures,” Swiss government spokesman Andre Simonazzi said.

Dassault resubmitted its offer when a report covering the cost segment of the preliminary agreement with Sweden was presented to the Swiss federal parliament on Aug. 28.

“After learning of the Swiss parliamentary report, the Rafale team sent to the Swiss political authorities proposals in conformity with the competition,” Eric Trappier, Dassault senior vice president, said in a statement.

Dassault’s revised offer comprises four price-of-delivery options:

• 22 Rafales for $3.3 billion.

• 18 aircraft for $3.1 billion, including all capabilities requested by Switzerland.

• 18 Rafales, excluding air-ground and reconnaissance capability, and simulators.

• 12 aircraft for $2.34 billion, offering full capabilities and simulators with an operational efficiency that Dassault claims is comparable to 22 Gripen aircraft.

The resubmitted deal is another thorn in the side of Sweden as it pursues a final contract settlement against a backdrop of the running political controversy and opposition to the deal, said Ulf Frings, an industry analyst in Berlin.

In August, the Swedish government said funding would be made available to acquire 60 to 80 JAS Gripen E/F multirole aircraft to replace the Air Force’s existing JAS C/Ds, which are due to reach the end of their lifespan by 2025, said Cecilia Widegren, a ruling Moderate Party MP and deputy chairperson of the PCD.

“The premise for the government’s thinking is that a new JAS Gripen-NG project should be run with a strategic international partner,” she said. “This is a view shared by the military. The clause in the agreement clarifies the overall position. The project needs a strategic partner to share costs. It can be Switzerland or another party.”

The government’s decision to add the “get-out” clause reflects sound economic sense, Enström said. “We want to run this project with at least one other country.”

The defense minister said the government has a rising expectation that other countries will show an interest in the Gripen-NG.

Saab echoed the MoD’s confidence. Eddy de la Motte, the company’s export manager for JAS Gripen, said Sept. 26 that there are growing indications Brazil will choose the Gripen over other candidate aircraft.

“I believe it will happen,” de la Motte said, according to Reuters. “We have the best price, both in terms of purchase cost and operating costs.”

However, Saab’s confidence in securing the estimated $4 billion contract to deliver 36 aircraft to Brazil is grossly premature, Frings said.

“It would be difficult to be confident about picking favorites at this stage, especially since the decision has been delayed by the Brazilian government, again, to 2013,” Frings said. “There is more evidence to suggest that Dassault’s Rafale or the Boeing-Embraer partnership group’s EMB 314 Super Tucano fighter offering are more highly thought of than Gripen.”

Saab has stayed out of the political wrangling in Sweden and Switzerland. The group’s CEO, Håkan Buskhe, insists that the company has set its sights on an ambitious mass-production program that anticipates the export of up to 300 E/F Gripen-NGs.

Moreover, Buskhe said Saab believes it can recoup its costs and return a profit on a minimum production-scale of 80 aircraft.

“One must accept that it can sometimes take a long time to obtain political decisions,” Buskhe said in a statement.

Dassault’s revised offer, he said, has not interfered with the company’s relationship with Switzerland.

The Swedish government’s apparent diluting of its commitment to the Gripen-NG project could be a temporary and unconvincing device to protect political interests should the Swiss say “no,” Frings said.

“The history behind the development of the Gripen has had less to do with the politics of defense and more to do with the needs of the country’s industrial base. It is improbable that any Swedish government, present or future, would allow the ‘super’ Gripen project to fail just on the simple basis that it lacked a foreign partner,” Frings said.

01-10-12, 08:43 AM
Should the Swedes end up with no International partner for the NG project it will be interesting to see just what upgrades will go into the C/D in the future. AESA - maybe ? GE414 - not likely? other electronic upgrades ? does the electrical power generated at present support more devices etc - dunno?. There will certainly be no changes to the undercarriage and no extra fuel.
IMO as a wouldbe grandstandard aeronautical engineering expert I probably would have looked at the idea of CFTs to overcome the non drop tank fuel shortage instead of reinventing the undercarriage and internal fuel tanks.1000 to 1200lbs in each tank would do ,however I expect this would have been looked into and given the thumbs down for good reasons that I dont know.

01-10-12, 02:37 PM
Eurofighter Typhoon Continues Phase 1 Enhancements Testing

(Source: Eurofighter GmbH; issued Oct. 1, 2012)

HALLBERGMOOS, Germany --- The Eurofighter Typhoon development fleet has begun flight testing the final part of the Phase 1 Enhancements (P1Eb) programme with completion and delivery to the customers scheduled by the end of 2013. This final step of the First Batch of Enhancements Contract introduces a host of important improvements to the Eurofighter Typhoon capabilities.

These improvements include full Air-to-Surface integration on Eurofighter Typhoon (including Laser Designator Pod), full smart bomb integration, modern secure Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) known as Mode 5, improved Radios and Direct Voice Input, Air-to-Surface Helmet Mounted Sight System, improved Air-to-Air capabilities including digital integration of Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles and updated MIDS datalink functionalities for enhanced interoperability with Coalition Forces.

P1E(b) will also see the introduction of many aspects from the UK Radar and Drop programmes which delivered improvements to the Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoon - the latest standard of which has recently been delivered and is currently being evaluated by the RAF.

Cassidian flew the first P1E(b) flight in Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) 7 in Germany on 27th August 2012. BAE Systems, Cassidian in Spain and Alenia Aermacchi followed with flights in IPA6, IPA2 and IPA4 respectively. After those flights it was confirmed that P1E(b) will deliver a robust simultaneous multirole capability to the Nations’ Air Forces which will provide a significant leap in Eurofighter’s operational capabilities.

The Phase 1 Enhancements cover the design, development, qualification and clearance of the first major upgrade after the Main Development Contract (MDC) which will be achieved via two separate software releases (SRP 10 with P1Ea and SRP 12 with P1Eb). The P1E programme is a major milestone in the development of Eurofighter Typhoon giving to the weapon system seamless air-to-ground integration and forming the baseline for future enhancements such as AESA radar and METEOR.

Eurofighter Typhoon is the world's most advanced new generation real multi-role/swing-role combat aircraft available on the market and has been ordered by six nations (Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Austria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). With 707 aircraft on contract and 559 aircraft ordered, it is Europe’s largest military collaborative programme and delivers leading-edge technology, strengthening Europe’s aerospace industry in the global market.

More than 100,000 jobs across 400 companies are secured by the programme. Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH manages the programme on behalf of the Eurofighter Partner Companies: Alenia Aermacchi/Finmeccanica, BAE Systems, EADS CASA and EADS Deutschland, Europe’s foremost aerospace companies with a total turnover of approx. EUR123.2 billion (2011).