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[*] posted on 1-6-2019 at 01:18 PM


Aero Will Overhaul 16 L-159 Aircraft for the Czech Army for CZK 1.6 Billion

(Source: AERO Vodochody Aerospace; issued May 30, 2019)


Aero Vodochody has been awarded a contract to overhaul and modernize the Czech Air Force’s fleet of 16 single-seat L-159 lightweight fighters, which will also be upgraded with modernized avionics. (Aero photo)

AERO Vodochody Aerospace a.s. and Czech Ministry of Defence announced during the International Defence and Security Technologies Fair in Brno, Czech Republic contract for maintenance of 16 L-159 aircraft in four years. The total value of the so called PP16 contract - maintenance after 16 years of service – is CZK 1.6 billion.

The PP16 is a second regular maintenance check of single seat L-159s, the first check after eight years of service was performed by Aero in 2009–2013. The PP16 contract includes the renewal of the operating period for the next eight years. The maintenance work consists of inspection of all parts of the aircraft including all the equipment.

Besides the necessary maintenance, several upgrades are part of the contract. One of them is adjustment for use of NVG (night vision goggles): adaptation of the cockpit and installation of internal and external airplane lighting (positional, anti-collision and formation lights). Aero cooperates with the Czech army to make the whole L-159 fleet NVG compatible. All L-159T2 aircraft, which will come to the service of the Czech Air Force in following days, are prepared for training in night vision; adaptation for NVG is also part of upgrade of L-159T1 to T1+.

Another upgrade is installation of ESIS - Electronic Standby Instrument System, able to substitute several standby instruments and provide the pilot with attitude, airspeed, altitude, vertical speed and heading data in the event of a panel failure. Aero installed ESIS already to L-159T1 aircraft operated by the Czech Army.

“Aero is a long-term partner to the Czech Army. Together, we are working to ensure that the L-159 serving in the Czech Air Force meets the requirements for modern aircraft to perform military operations and advanced pilot training, and to allow the Czech military to meet its international obligations. Thanks to close cooperation with our most important customer, we can further improve and extend the capabilities of the L-159 aircraft,” said President of Aero Vodochody Dieter John.

Filip Říha,Deputy Minister for Armaments and Acquisitions, added: "The L-159 contract for the maintenance and modernization confirms that domestic companies play important role in building and maintaining our military capabilities."

Czech Air Force is currently operating 16 single seat L-159 aircraft and 5 two seat L-159T1 trainers. In following days, Aero will also deliver to the Czech Army three L-159T2. The new T2 two seat aircraft have newly built central and forward fuselage, several significant improvements, mostly in equipment of both cockpits and in the fuel system, and are fully NVG compatible.

Each cockpit is further equipped with two Multi Function Displays and upgraded version of an ejection seat VS-20. The aircraft is also adapted to offer a pressure refueling capability. The Grifo radar, commonly used in single seat version, is now integrated also into the two seat L-159T2 as well as the self-protection systems (countermeasures and radar warning receiver).

L-159 aircraft mates Aero’s long-term experience in development and production of military jet aircraft, in the category of which Aero represents historically the largest producer in the world, with latest advances in avionics, engine and aircraft systems technology. The L-159 is a light multi-role combat aircraft designed for a variety of air-to-air, air-to-ground and reconnaissance missions.

The aircraft is equipped with a state-of-the-art multi-mode radar for all-weather, day and night operations and can carry a wide range of NATO standards stores including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and laser guided bombs. The two-seat L-159 is a derivate of the single-seat L-159, primarily designed for Advanced and Operational/Lead-In Fighter Training. The L-159 configuration can also be tailored to customer specific requirements and adapted to needs of basic training as well as combat missions including air-to-ground, patrol and reconnaissance missions.

AERO Vodochody Aerospace a.s. focuses on the design and manufacturing of military and civil aircraft and is the largest aviation manufacturer in the Czech Republic and one of the oldest aerospace companies worldwide. With a huge existing fleet of L-39 and with a brand-new aircraft, L-39NG, Aero is positioning itself as a leader in the jet training market. In the field of civil aviation, Aero partners with many of the world's largest manufacturers in a diverse range of projects.

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[*] posted on 17-6-2019 at 07:18 PM


French Air Force’s DACAS declared operational on Rafale

Rupert Pengelley, London - Jane's International Defence Review

14 June 2019


A French Air Force Rafale B F3 takes on fuel from a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker when taking part in Operation Inherent Resolve in July 2017. France’s ALLIANCE DACAS system is now officially operational aboard this type of aircraft. Source: Copyright USAF/Staff Sgt Michael Battles

The French Air Force has officially achieved initial operating capability (IOC) with its digitally aided close air support (DACAS) system aboard its two-seat Rafale B F3 strike aircraft, according to Brigadier General Etienne Patry, Chief of Staff of Air Force Command for the French Air Force.

The French Air Force DACAS equipment suite - known as ALLIANCE (Applicatif Logiciel Interopérable d'Aide Numérique sur Calculateur Embarqué) - includes ground, air, and headquarters subsystems.

Speaking at the IQPC Close Air Support Summit held in London at the end of May, Brig Gen Patry told delegates that IOC had been achieved in February 2019, and that the corresponding training course for the DACAS ground element (ALLIANCE Sol) had since begun at the Franco-German Air-Ground Operation School, Nancy.

As previously reported by Jane's , French officials had been expecting ALLIANCE to have achieved IOC two years ago, the last elements nominally having been certified during Exercise 'Bold Quest 16.2', when the airborne component was formally evaluated aboard a Mirage 2000D in its Scarabée (Système de communication aéroterrestre de restitution, d'acquisition et de bibliothèque embarquée évolutif) kneepad configuration, designated ALLIANCE SCA.

Meanwhile, Rafale crews have been employing an alternative cockpit-integrated display known as DECALCO (ALLIANCE DEC). Although early versions of Scarabée were first into service in 2008 for use alongside coalition forces in Afghanistan, the Mirage 2000D will not officially achieve IOC with ALLIANCE until sometime "in the summer" (meaning June 2019 or later), according to Brig Gen Patry.

In Brig Gen Patry's view, there is a need to "stabilise" transatlantic DACAS system developments, these having been subjected to constant tweaking or "never-ending improvement" that has militated against commonality in training and consistency in interoperability standards.

(305 of 399 words)
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[*] posted on 19-6-2019 at 02:15 PM


Litening and RecceLite Gain SAR Capability

by David Donald - June 18, 2019, 5:30 AM


Rafael’s Litening and RecceLite targeting and reconnaissance pods have a free slot in their electronics bay for additional systems, here filled by an Elta synthetic aperture radar (in yellow), with the associated antenna mounted on the inside of the bay door, also in yellow. (Photo Mark Wagner)

Rafael is displaying the latest versions of its Litening targeting pod and related RecceLite ISR pod, both of which are being shown with an Elta synthetic aperture radar (SAR) added this week at the Paris Air Show. SAR can produce reconnaissance imagery in any weather, and can also be used to cue the pod’s highly sensitive electro-optical (EO) sensors.

The phased-array antenna for the SAR is mounted on the door to the pod’s avionics bay, while the associated electronics are located in an empty slot in the bay that has been created by the miniaturization of the pod’s existing systems. This empty space could also be used for alternative add-on systems, such as those for electronic intelligence-gathering or communications. The SAR and other systems can be incorporated into existing Litening 5 pods.

Its latest Litening 5 pod marks a move away from being a dedicated laser designation system to one that can also provide targeting from long standoff distances for GPS- and EO-guided weapons. This reflects the range limitations imposed on laser guidance caused by the growing diffusion of the laser designation spot as range increases.

Rafael (Static display A8) has developed advanced algorithms that can extract highly accurate coordinates from the pod’s electro-optic imagery to provide guidance to GPS weapons, and also for those—such as the company’s Spice 250—that use inertial midcourse guidance and EO guidance with automatic target recognition in the terminal phase. Recent combat experience in the Middle East has shown that GPS can no longer be relied upon for weapons guidance.

The Litening 5 can track and designate for multiple targets, and also introduces a color CCD camera in place of the earlier monochrome unit, a move that reflects the greater adoption of color cockpit displays in tactical aircraft. It also has a large-aperture forward-looking/shortwave infrared (FLIR/SWIR) sensor.

Using the same basic pod structure as the Litening, the RecceLite employs similar FLIR/SWIR optics as the targeting pod, but has a different day camera operating in both color (RGB) and near-infrared (NIR) channels, the latter offering better atmospheric performance and better discrimination between man-made and natural objects of similar visual color.

While Litening is essentially a video-based system operated by the pilot, RecceLite is a “step and stare” system recording fixed frames at up to 120 Hz. In normal operation, the pod is programmed before flight to perform a variety of missions simultaneously, ranging from standoff reconnaissance to tactical missions. The pod performs its missions autonomously, requiring no input from the pilot, although onboard control is available if needed in certain operational scenarios.

RecceLite has a dual-band datalink antenna underneath, which transmits gathered imagery in real-time to a ground station for exploitation. The system includes advanced stitching capability that can build wide-area images from a mosaic of individual frames.

A Ku-band link transmits over ranges of several hundreds of kilometers, while a C-band link can transmit tactical imagery down to forces on the ground. The two-way links allow the pod’s mission to be reprogrammed from the ground station while in flight.
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[*] posted on 19-6-2019 at 02:27 PM


Marshall, Stratasys Print Certified Parts For C-130

by Mike Farish - June 18, 2019, 3:14 AM


The Stratasys Fortus 450mc 3D printer

Marshall Aerospace and Defence, based in Cambridge, England, has started to use additive manufacturing—also known as 3D printing—to make aerospace components certified for in-flight aircraft interior applications. The components are manufactured on a Stratasys (Hall 4 Stand D192) Fortus 450mc machine using a tough resin material called ULTEM 9085 that meets flame, smoke, and toxicity requirements.

Parts made so far include ductwork for what the company will only identify as a special missions aircraft, and an emergency knife-holder and thumb switch fitted to the control column to operate chaff and flare defensive measures for a Lockheed C-130 Hercules of the Royal Air Force.

The machine employs a process known as fused deposition modeling (FDM) in which the resin is heated to more than 200 deg C and then extruded in molten form to manufacture parts layer-by-layer without any requirement for a mold to be machined beforehand. As a result, not only are lead-times cut from what might otherwise be weeks or months to just a few days, but so are costs. Part cost is also independent of the numbers involved so there is no financial penalty for the low-volume production requirements associated with aircraft maintenance, repair, or modification.

According to engineering director Stuart Hossack the company received approval from EASA in February last year to use the machine to make parts for in-flight use. He confirmed that the first flight-certified additively manufactured part made by the company—which was in fact the thumb switch—took to the air in May 2018. By the same time this year, he said the company had used the process to make a total of 14 different part types for in-flight use, with the actual number of individual parts numbering more than 20. All the parts involved have been designed by Marshall Aerospace.

Speed of design iteration is another important factor. In the case of the thumb switch, for instance, the company reported that after alterations to an initial configuration were requested, the whole process of amending the design and printing out a new approved part was completed within a single day.

Marshall’s use of additive techniques also extends to making parts for on-ground operations and development prototyping applications. These can involve the use of a second Stratasys FDM machine at the site—an F370 3D printer—which, though not certified to produce parts for in-flight use, is again described as making a significant contribution to streamlining design and development procedures.

One example in which the 450mc machine was used led to a complete material replacement in the final part. This was for the production of a prototype ducting adapter used to provide cooling air to an aircraft’s avionics while it is on the ground.

The initial intention had been to print a prototype in a thermoplastic material to validate the design before machining the final part in aluminum. But according to Marshall Aerospace additive manufacturing engineer Chris Botting, the prototype worked so well that the final part was instead 3D printed in a nylon material. As well as providing a significant cost reduction compared to machining the part out of aluminum, he said the new part also provided a 63 percent reduction in overall weight.

Elsewhere, 3D printing has also been used as a prototyping tool even where material replacement has not been an option. It was used, for instance, to create a full-size model of a housing for a missile warning sensor being fitted as a modification to the front fuselage of a Hercules.

That model was used to test the form and fit of the final part, which necessarily had to be machined from aluminum. The company said that this exercise successfully derisked the manufacture of the housing, which then fitted exactly, first time, with no need for further machining.
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[*] posted on 19-6-2019 at 06:48 PM


PARIS: Elettronica prepares to test new electonic warfare system

19 June, 2019 SOURCE: Flight Daily News BY: Grant Turnbull Paris

Italian electronic warfare specialist Elettronica – which provides key systems for platforms such as the Eurofighter Typhoon as part of the EuroDASS consortium – is displaying its new SISPROS family of interception, analysis and intelligence systems at the show.

The SISPROS (SIGINT and Self Protection System) family includes the lightweight ELT/162 radar warning receiver, which will be able to provide a protection functionality for airborne platforms, as well as an electronic support measures/electronic intelligence capability. With the latter, the RWR can be configured to provide detailed parameters of a specific transmitter.

Daniela Pistoia, corporate chief scientist at Elettronica, says fight testing of the ELT/162’s RWR mode will be conducted later this year, while the ESM mode will undergo the same process during 2020. The new system will supersede the company's existing ELT/160 unit, introducing new technologies such as direct sampling and artificial intelligence.

The RWR system performs in the 2-40GHz bandwidth range, while the ESM capability operates in the C-band.

Pistoia notes that unlike legacy systems, the new RWR takes full advantage of digital technologies, meaning it is highly resistant to interference and adaptive to the electromagnetic environment. Being software- rather than hardware-based, the system is reconfigurable either to new platforms or threats via updates.

In the future, this will allow users to perform a variety of functions without changing the hardware itself, similar to the app approach on mobile phones today. "In this system, we have the radar warning function which can be isolated by downloading just the radar warning 'application' on the same processor," Pistoia notes.

Elettronica is also working on its EDGE jamming pod, to counter emerging and complex radar frequency threats. The equipment will give a host platform an electronic-attack functionality for missions such as suppression of enemy air defences, providing protection for strike packages. EDGE can also perform ELINT tasks, acquiring detailed information on enemy radar systems.

"It is one of the technologies that we are proposing for the mid-life upgrade for the Eurofighter Typhoon," Pistoia says.
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[*] posted on 20-6-2019 at 12:22 AM


Translated from Italian.


Quote:
Eurofighter Typhoon 4.0
Made a first important step along the road to the modernization of the Eurofighter TYPHOON. The NETMA Agency has granted the Eurofighter Consortium a contract for a feasibility study relative to the Long Term Evolution (LTE) of the TYPHOON. The contract has a duration of 19 months for the part of the platform and 9 months for the part motor, for a total value of 53 million euro.

In detail, the contract provides for the assessment of the feasibility of a series of radical changes, including: adoption of a new cockpit with the clear display, increase of 15% of the power of the engine, EJ-200, adoption of a High Speed Data Network, and an Enhanced Target Data Management, and modernization of the system of self-protection electronics DAS.

Regarding this last aspect, the Consortium of the Euro-DASS – format from Leonardo and Electronics, as design authority, Hensoldt, and Indra, has already received its order in which it will be conducted a study which must take account in particular of the new threats – sophisticated bubbles A2/AD – and of the optimization of the functionality of the DAS with the radar to AESA CAPTOR-E.

The LTE, in addition to ensure maintenance of the relevance of the TYPHOON until after 2040, you must allow the de-risking of some of the technologies is then placed on the future TEMPEST and FCAS.



https://www.portaledifesa.it/index~phppag,3_id,3107.html




Paddywhackery not included.
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[*] posted on 20-6-2019 at 10:01 AM


Go to the Leonardo thread in the Defence Industry thread and you'll see more on it.
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[*] posted on 20-6-2019 at 11:44 AM


A bit more on this...……..

Paris Air Show 2019: Eurofighter launches long-term development plan for Typhoon

Gareth Jennings, Paris - Jane's Defence Weekly

19 June 2019

Eurofighter has agreed with the NATO Eurofighter & Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), on behalf of the partner countries, on a long-term capability development plan for the Typhoon combat aircraft that will span the coming decades.


Eurofighter has launched a study to look at improving the capabilities of the Typhoon beyond the current round of performance enhancement packages. (Eurofighter)

Announced at the Paris Air Show on 19 June, which is being held from 17 to 23 June, the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) plan aims to take the Typhoon’s capabilities out to beyond the performance enhancement (PE) packages that are being rolled out across the partner countries of Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK.

An initial EUR53.7 million (USD60.2 million) study contract will comprise 19 months for the aircraft and 9 months for the Eurojet EJ200 powerplant.

(111 of 497 words)
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[*] posted on 22-6-2019 at 02:24 PM


PARIS: Eurofighter launches long-term enhancement programme

21 June, 2019 SOURCE: Flight Daily News BY: Grant Turnbull Paris

The long-serving Eurofighter Typhoon could soon see additional enhancements as part of a Long Term Evolution (LTE) effort, which aims to boost the platform’s capabilities until next-generation assets – such as the Franco-German New Generation Fighter revealed earlier this week – are brought into service.

At the show, Eurofighter, Eurojet Turbo and the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), announced the signing of study contracts worth €53.7 million ($60.1 million) that will support the future development of the Typhoon platform.


Eurofighter

“We look forward to working with our core nations to determine what this aircraft needs to be doing in the next couple of decades,” said Herman Claesen, Eurofighter chief executive, at the show. “And of course this will complement the ongoing drumbeat of phased enhancements [to the Typhoon].”

These include the UK Royal Air Force’s Centurion project, which has seen the capabilities of the now-retired Panavia Tornado GR4 transition to the Typhoon. Elements included integration of the MBDA Brimstone 2 and Storm Shadow air-to-surface weapons, and Meteor air-to-air missile. This has now been completed and is in operational service.

“That capability is quite exceptional, and already proven in theatre with good feedback,” says Claesen.

The contracts will span 19 months for the aircraft itself, and nine months for the engine elements. “This will result in a clear costed roadmap into the future, to give our customers the capabilities they want for the next decade beyond the current enhancement programmes,” says Raffael Klaschka, head of marketing for Eurofighter.

“It is a very strong signal from our core partner nations in the confidence and commitment to further develop and enhance an already fantastic aircraft,” he adds. “It will also make sure that we steer the focus of development in the right direction – and the only right direction is to fulfil the operational needs of today, tomorrow and the future.”

Areas for the LTE study to consider will be operational flexibility, including enhanced EJ200 engine performance that could improve thrust, range and persistence, as well as “adaptive power and cooling techniques”.

Human-machine interface improvements could include a new large area display as well as enhancements to the pilot’s helmet display. A key area will also be improving the Typhoon’s mission system architecture, introducing aspects such as high-speed data networks and enhanced target data management.

The latter is seen as particularly important in future combat, as more digital data is generated, transmitted and utilised both from the platform itself via multispectral sensors, and via “discreet” high-speed data links, including unmanned “loyal wingmen”.

“This will maintain Eurofighter’s leading-edge capability by ensuring it has the electronic warfare suite that will be required in this highly contested and congested future operating environment,” says Klaschka.

The threats to aircraft have “never been so hostile”, notes Mark Hewer, vice-president of integrated mission solutions at Leonardo, because many are now agile, programmable and updatable. “Threats such as the SA-21 [S-400] and SA-22 [Pantsir S1] – these high-end, long-range and short-range systems are becoming integrated, and that allows the threat environment to be even more lethal.”

The LTE study will also look at enhancing the Praetorian Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS), which is supplied by the EuroDASS consortium, led by Leonardo and also involving Elettronica, Hensoldt and Indra.

Hewer says that the technologies that make up the Praetorian DASS – soon to also include Leonardo's BriteCloud expendable decoy – provide the Typhoon with “digital stealth” technologies.

The LTE study is likely to look at physical stealth improvements also, although this will probably be limited to special coatings rather than an airframe redesign. “Stealth is important, but counter-stealth technologies are developing,” says Hewer.

The study is additional to the ongoing E-Scan radar effort, which aims to upgrade the Eurofighter's current mechanically-scanned radar with a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) system. The first AESA-equipped Typhoon will be delivered to the Kuwaiti air force, although it remains unclear when partner nations Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK will adopt this capability.
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[*] posted on 28-6-2019 at 12:25 PM


Upgrades for the CF-18 to Be Operational Until 2032

(Source: Canadian Department of National Defence; issued June 26, 2019)


Responding to a report by the Auditor-General, the Canadian Department of National Defence has revealed that the first phase upgrade of its fleet of CF-118 Hornet fighters will “begin in summer 2019, with upgrades completed by 2025.” (RCAF photo)

In the report released in fall 2018, the Auditor General found that, other than some weapons upgrades in 2011, National Defence had not significantly upgraded the CF-18 for combat since 2008. The Auditor General concluded that the CF-18’s capabilities are not up to date with most modern combat aircraft and air defence systems and that the problem would get worse with time.

As such, the Auditor General requested that National Defence analyze the upgrades required for CF-18 fighter aircraft to be operationally relevant until 2032 and to seek approval for those which were achievable.

The Department of National Defence agreed to the Auditor General’s recommendation. The Department’s response highlighted plans to seek approval on regulatory and interoperability upgrades to continue flying the CF-18 until 2032. In addition, the Department stated that the Royal Canadian Air Force is conducting an analysis of required combat system upgrades. The Management Action Plan provided further information on the timelines for these commitments.

Progress Update

As committed to in the Department’s response to the Auditor General’s report, the Royal Canadian Air Force is moving forward with seeking approval for a number of enhancements and upgrades to extend the life of the CF-18 fleet until transition to the permanent replacement fleet.

These enhancements and upgrades are to be delivered under one project in two phases.

-- Phase 1: This phase will provide upgrades to address CF-18 interoperability and regulatory deficiencies to address new and changing standards. These upgrades will maintain CF-18 compliance with both evolving aviation regulatory requirements, and updated allied interoperability standards, until the permanent replacement aircraft is in place, expected in 2032.

Phase 1 of the project is expected to begin in summer 2019, with upgrades completed by 2025.

-- Phase 2: This phase will aim to provide combat enhancements to the aircraft that are both operationally effective and technically feasible, through to 2032. The Royal Canadian Air Force’s analysis is underway to confirm combat systems upgrades.

National Defence has a robust process to determine the required upgrades. This includes the work of the Fighter Capability Office, which continually assesses fleet readiness and capability.

The CAF also uses multi-national training exercises, such as exercise Maple Flag, to assess the capability of Canada’s fighter fleet in comparison to Canada’s allies, as well as against modern air and ground threat systems.

The above is excerpted from the Canadian Government’s response to the autumn 2018 report by the Auditor-General of Canada on “Canada’s Fighter Force.” Click here for the full response (7 PDF pages) on the Canada House of Commons website.

https://www.ourcommons.ca/content/Committee/421/PACP/GovResp...

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[*] posted on 29-6-2019 at 12:17 AM


So they will basically add an AESA radar dish, a new EO/IR pod, new EWSP systems and weapons and hey presto! A ‘new’ fighter for the next decade and beyond...



In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 4-7-2019 at 01:53 PM


Serbia outlines Orao modernisation programme

03 July, 2019 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Igor Salinger Belgrade

Serbia's defence ministry has detailed a major upgrade programme being performed on its Soko J-22 Orao combat aircraft and NJ-22 trainers, which will significantly enhance the type's operational capabilities.

Speaking at the Partner 2019 exhibition in Belgrade in late June, Nenad Miloradovic, the defence ministry's assistant for defence technologies, confirmed that the modernisation activity – unofficially dubbed Orao 2.0 – will be conducted in two phases.


Igor Salinger

Work to be completed by the end of this year includes incorporating new navigation and targeting systems in the rear cockpit of the two-seat NJ-22. Miloradovic says Belgrade has purchased Safran's Sigma 95 inertial navigation system, which sources indicate will be integrated with a mission computer and multifunctional displays developed by local manufacturer Teleoptik-Ziroskopi.

The first phase of work will also integrate new weapons. This process will enable the NJ-22 to be flown with a weapons system officer in the rear cockpit, so that the type can serve as a dedicated ground-attack asset.

Miloradovic says the second phase of modernisation work will include "complete digitalisation" of the aircraft's cockpit, without revealing further details.

Serbia signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus in 2016 linked to "technological support in modernisation of training and light combat aircraft", as part of a wider partnership linked to Belgrade's purchase of H145M and H215 helicopters.

The Rolls-Royce Viper-engined Orao is currently capable of carrying unguided weapons including 57mm and 128mm rockets and "dumb" bombs, plus Raytheon AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles.

The defence ministry says it will gain new ground-attack weapons with a range of up to 22nm (40km) and "beyond visual range" performance, along with a laser-guided rocket update.

Other additions could include integrating the infrared-guided Vympel R-60MK short-range air-to-air missile and countermeasures equipment.

Serbia currently has about 10 J-22 and NJ-22 Oraos in an airworthy condition, plus a number of stored airframes, including in the IJ and INJ reconnaissance variants. The platform's expected service life was initially set at 24 years, but structural inspections have indicated that some examples could have this doubled or be approved for a further 1,000 flight hours following overhaul.
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[*] posted on 22-7-2019 at 09:57 PM


RIAT: How Typhoon updates put Centurion on guard for UK

20 July, 2019 SOURCE: Flight International BY: Craig Hoyle London

The past 12 months have seen a ­momentous shift in the UK’s combat aircraft balance, with Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4s having received new ground-attack weapons, its last Panavia Tornado GR4s retiring and the type’s successor – the Lockheed Martin F-35B – conducting its first operational missions in the Middle East.

One of the RAF’s most crucial requirements of recent times has been to ensure a seamless handover of duties between the Tornado and Typhoon, via a £425 million ($540 million) activity called Project Centurion.


Crown Copyright

Key additions required to ensure that the Eurofighter could pick up the precision strike duties of its predecessor included incorporating MBDA’s Brimstone 2 air-to-surface weapon and Storm Shadow cruise missile. These have added to an offensive mix that already included Raytheon UK’s Paveway IV precision-guided bomb.

At last year’s Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), the RAF announced that initial multirole capability enhancements delivered under “Phase 0” of Project Centurion had been used for the first time during the UK’s Operation Shader contribution to multinational duties over Iraq and Syria.

This was followed by a Phase 1 update – also referred to as P2EA enhancements for the broader Eurofighter programme – which also added MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual-range air-to-air missile and an initial capability with Storm Shadow. A subsequent P3EA/Phase 2 update enabled full utility of the cruise missile, along with availability of Brimstone – the RAF’s preferred all-weather precision strike weapon for operations in the Middle East.

KEY MILESTONE

On 18 December 2018, the RAF approved release to service for the full Typhoon evolution package: some three months ahead of its planned last use of the venerable Tornado. In addition to providing operational continuity for the coalition campaign against Islamic State militants, the declaration also marked the culmination of an intense period of almost four years of planning, development and testing for an industry and Ministry of Defence/RAF team.

“The scale of what we had to deliver was incredible, integrating three major new weapons onto an aircraft at the same time, bringing together work divided into 70 different contracts, and doing it all in just 47 months,” says Andy Flynn, Eurofighter and Centurion capability director at BAE Systems Air. With the carefully planned run-down of the Tornado GR4 force allowing no option of an operational extension, he adds: “The consequences of not delivering on time were huge.”

To ensure that the activity was ultimately completed ahead of schedule, the joint UK test team was able to call on input from elsewhere within the four-nation Eurofighter consortium during key phases, such as weapons testing. This included having Italian test aircraft perform flight trials with the Storm Shadow and Spanish assets assist with Meteor testing.


Crown Copyright

With the trio of new weapon types now successfully fielded by the RAF (Meteor-armed example, above, on quick reaction alert duty), the Typhoon is also set to receive a wide range of further enhancements over the coming years for core Eurofighter nations Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, and also for international customers.

“Project Centurion showed we are able to work together to keep Typhoon at the forefront of military technology, and do it in an agile way,” says Flynn. “This pipeline of innovation will continue to allow us to unleash the full potential of Typhoon – there is a lot more to come.”

Kuwait will be the first to introduce Typhoons equipped with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar developed by the Euroradar consortium, in place of the mechanically scanned Captor M. Qatar will also receive aircraft with the new sensor.

An AESA update has long been viewed as potentially also on the cards for the programme’s European partner nations, but none have yet signed contracts to integrate the technology with their fleets.

Meanwhile, the EuroDaSS electronic warfare consortium that provides the platform’s Praetorian self-protection system is working towards integrating Leonardo’s BriteCloud expendable active decoy with UK examples. The same system previously protected the RAF’s Tornado GR4s while operating over Iraq and Syria.

At last month’s Paris air show, the Eurofighter consortium – formed of Airbus Defence & Space, BAE and Leonardo – announced new study contracts worth €53 million ($60 million) concluding by early 2021, which will explore a package of further updates for the multirole type.

FUTURE UPGRADES

Key aspects of a proposed “long-term evolution” plan include cockpit enhancements, potentially including a wide-area display, expanded electronic warfare capabilities and new weapons. Its Eurojet EJ200 turbofan engines, meanwhile, could gain an increase in thrust, range and persistence, and what Eurofighter refers to as “adaptive power and cooling techniques”.

Notably, proposed high-speed data ­networks and an enhanced target data ­management capability could assist during future operations, potentially including so-called unmanned loyal wingman or remote carrier vehicles.

Describing the mid-life update as “a clear, costed roadmap into the future”, Eurofighter marketing manager Raffael Klaschka says: “It is a very strong signal from our core partner nations in the confidence and commitment to further develop and enhance an already fantastic aircraft.”

“We look forward to working with our core nations to determine what this aircraft needs to be doing in the next couple of decades,” Eurofighter chief executive Herman Claesen said at Le Bourget. “This will complement the ongoing drumbeat of phased enhancements.”

The consortium also believes its product is the ideal platform to receive emerging technologies that might in time equip future European combat assets, such as the UK’s Tempest and a New Generation Fighter being studied by France, Germany and Spain.

By mid-June, Eurofighter had delivered 558 production aircraft.

Of this total, Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer shows that 504 are currently in frontline service, with another 11 supporting development and test activities by Airbus, BAE and Leonardo. In addition to the four partner nations, other users are Austria, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Fleets Analyzer data also shows that the firm order backlog for the Typhoon stands at 62 units, including remaining examples for the launch nations and a combined 52 for Kuwait and Qatar.

This suggests the consortium needs to secure additional deals before too long, if it is to avoid a costly break in production.
Dean McCumiskey, BAE’s sales director air, identifies several short-term sales opportunities for the Typhoon.

“We have prospects in Germany, Spain and Switzerland, which are being led by Airbus on behalf of the consortium, and in Finland, where the campaign is being led by BAE Systems,” he says.

For the Finnish contest, BAE is pitching a swing-role Typhoon “able to perform the full spectrum of air-to-air, air-to-ground, electronic warfare and intelligence-gathering missions”, McCumiskey says, along with “the widest range of weapons in the HX competition”, including deep strike and anti-ship missiles. Helsinki will also consider proposals based on the F-35, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, Dassault Rafale and Saab Gripen E/F.

While the programme’s current production rate safeguards deliveries “until the early 2020s”, he notes: “The German requirements to replace its Tranche 1 Eurofighters and Tornado fleet are the next potential orders, with Spain also looking to add to its fleet. We believe Typhoon to be an attractive offer in each of these competitions.

“With these opportunities, I believe we will see Typhoon in production into the 2030s and beyond,” McCumiskey says.

Noting that the aircraft “is designed to ­continuously evolve”, he adds: “The announcement at the Paris air show underpins this and highlights the partners’ combined commitment to maintaining Typhoon’s position at the forefront of combat air capability for decades to come.” This, he contends, makes the type “a compelling proposition for any air force”.
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[*] posted on 23-7-2019 at 06:39 PM


Pratt & Whitney wins $254m to remanufacture foreign F100 engines

22 July, 2019 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Garrett Reim Los Angeles

Pratt & Whitney (P&W) Military Engines won a $254 million contract to remanufacture an undisclosed number of F100 engines for Foreign Military Sales customers of the USA.

The F100 engine family is used by 22 nations allied with the USA to power Boeing F-15E Eagles and Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcons. The recent remanufacturing contract will support engines in Chile, Indonesia, Taiwan, Poland, Greece, Iraq, Pakistan, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Thailand and Morocco, according to a Department of Defense notice online.


Boeing F-15
Boeing

The contract will support the overhaul of a wide variety of F100 variants, including the newest type, the F100-PW-229 Engine Enhancement Package (EEP). The -229 EEP lengthens the powerplant’s maintenance interval from 4,300 to 6,000 total accumulated cycles, which P&W claims extends the typical depot interval from seven to 10 years and provides a 30% reduction in life-cycle costs.

Work will be performed at P&W’s facilities in East Hartford, Connecticut, Midland, Georgia, and Midwest City, Oklahoma.

The work is expected to be completed by 30 July 2024.

The F100 provides up to 29,160lb-thrust (130kN). The F-16C/D lightweight fighter is powered by one F100, while the F-15E air superiority fighter is propelled by two.
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[*] posted on 23-7-2019 at 07:00 PM


Strained Russia, Ukraine ties slow India AN-32 upgrades

23 July, 2019 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com

The upgrade of Indian air force Antonov AN−32 tactical transports is well behind schedule and is only likely to be completed by 2025 - an eight year delay from the original plan.

India’s Minister of State for Defence, Shripad Nayak, has informed parliament that a total of 55 aircraft have been upgraded to the AN-32RE (re-equipped) standard.

“Upgradation of the remaining aircraft is planned in a phased manner depending upon the supply of [modification] kits by Ukraine,” he says.

“There is shortage of certain spares [of Russian origin] due to strained relations between Russia and Ukraine.”


The AN-32E
Spets Techno

The air force received 110 AN-32s from the former Soviet Union between 1984 and 1991.

A $400 million Total Technical Life Extension, overhaul and upgrade contract for 105 of the type was inked with Ukrainian state enterprise Spets Techno Export in June 2009. All were to have been upgraded to the AN-32RE standard by March 2017.

Plant 410 of Civil Aviation and Antonov in Kyiv, Ukraine, completed the modernisation of the first 40 AN-32REs, with the first delivered in 2011 and the last in November 2015.

Since then, the air force’s No.1 Base Repair Depot in Kanpur has upgraded 15 examples in India. The air force is now down to a mixed fleet of 98 AN32RE/AN-32 aircraft.

In addition to a longer Total Technical Life and new Motor Sich Ai-20 engines, the AN-32RE includes a new radar, ground proximity warning system, collision avoidance system, satellite navigation system, distance measuring equipment and upgraded radio altimeters. The cockpit features improved crew seats, a new oxygen system and two MFDs.

Eleven of these systems are of western origin, with nine sourced from the USA and one each from France and Switzerland.

As per India’s ministry of defence, there have been 15 accidents involving the AN-32 since the type was inducted into service 35 years ago. The most recent being the loss of an AN-32 in June with no survivors, which occurred in the North Eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
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[*] posted on 12-8-2019 at 11:40 AM


Precooler Technology Could Bring Advantages To Fighter Engines

Aug 12, 2019

Tony Osborne | Aviation Week & Space Technology

Technology developed by Britain’s Reaction Engines for its SABRE (Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine) hypersonic powerplant is to be fitted on the Eurojet EJ200 engine from a Eurofighter Typhoon to understand if the technology can help transform the powerplant’s operating envelope.

The £10 million ($12 million) project announced by the Royal Air Force (RAF) Rapid Capability Office (RCO) in July will see BAE Systems, Reaction Engines and Rolls-Royce engineers work to better comprehend Reaction’s precooler technology and how it could be integrated for use on a jet engine—perhaps even the powerplant for Britain’s future combat aircraft, the Tempest.

- Two-year project will scope integration to better understand precooler potential benefits
- Heat exchanger is an enabler for Reaction Engines’ SABRE technology
- The trials represent the first acknowledged application of the precooler technology

At high speed, jet engines struggle with a thermal challenge as air entering the intake becomes too hot, reducing thrust and limiting the ability to reach speeds beyond Mach 3. Reaction’s precooler, essentially a highly efficient heat exchanger, already has proven its ability to quench megawatts of heat energy from the incoming air. Trials in the U.S. have shown the precooler technology to cool intake airflow from more than 800F (426C) to around 212F in just 1/20th of a second, helping to maximize performance.

Applied to a fighter engine, the precooler could allow it to work more efficiently at high speeds but also enable manufacturers to be less reliant on exotic, expensive and heat-resistant materials such as titanium. This could lead to lower costs in terms of purchase and maintenance, which are both key focuses of Britain’s Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative (FCAS TI). The goal of the FCAS TI is to research and develop new technologies that can be spiraled into Britain’s Eurofighter Typhoons and Lockheed Martin F-35s, but also potentially featured in a combat aircraft to replace the Typhoon in the 2030s.


Installation of Reaction Engines’ precooler to the Eurojet EJ200, which normally powers the Eurofighter Typhoon, represents the first acknowledged use of the technology on a jet engine. Credit: Tony Osborne/AW&ST

“This is Phase 1 of something more,” Air Vice Marshal, Simon “Rocky” Rochelle, chief of staff for capability and the brainchild behind the RAF’s RCO, said at the Royal International Air Tattoo, where the contract was signed. “There is something here that needs to be explored, investigated, tested and tried.”

Over the next two years, engineers will study how the precooler can be integrated onto the EJ200. Once this is established, the engine and precooler will be ground-tested together.

“This isn’t about a new market for EJ200. We are using existing assets to try and address that heat challenge,” Conrad Banks, Rolls-Royce’s chief engineer for future defense programs, tells Aviation Week.

“If you can cool the intake air down, suddenly you can expand the flight envelope of your gas turbine and it introduces some exciting supersonic and hypersonic applications.”

There is no suggestion the UK is looking for a hypersonic fighter, especially with the high costs associated with the airframe alone. Nonetheless, the technology could enable higher supercruise performance—sustained supersonic flight without the use of afterburner, or more simply better fuel economy.

“What we will do on the testbed is assess the drop in temperature and then see how that affects the core of the engine, that then validates our model. . . . This is not about massively changing the engine,” Banks explains.

How the precooler could be fitted to the engine is also part of the scope of the study. One option could be a donut-like configuration around the intake, Banks suggests. The work also will consider how the introduction of a precooler affects the rest of the airframe and whether such an installation is affordable.

The precooler fitted to the EJ200 will be “designed and scaled to the engine to match its performance,” says Banks.

As Banks describes it, the technology will not change the low-observability aspects of the platform such as the engine’s infrared signature, pointing out that will depend on what is done on the back end of the engine. However, officials note such a heat exchanger also could be mounted to the rear of the engine.

For Reaction Engines, the trials build on its lightweight heat exchanger (HTX) experiments, which were conducted in Colorado and used a J79 engine from an F-4 Phantom to feed the precooler. The technology is key to the company’s SABRE concept, which is targeted at air-breathing hypersonic and space access vehicles. In this role, the engine is designed to efficiently extract oxygen from the atmosphere for rocket combustion. In the fully integrated SABRE, the chilled air will be passed from the HTX to a turbo-compressor and into the rocket thrust chamber, where it will be burned with sub-cooled liquid hydrogen fuel.

Reaction Engines has raised over £100 million in the last three years from public and private sources. In addition, the UK government in 2013 announced a £60 million commitment to assist with the demonstrator engines. Strategic investments also have been made at BAE Systems in 2015 and more recently in 2018 by Rolls-Royce and by Boeing’s capital venture arm, HorizonX.
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[*] posted on 29-8-2019 at 09:10 PM


L3 Taps Collins For C-130H Avionics Upgrade

Aug 28, 2019

Bill Carey | Aerospace Daily & Defense Report


The Collins Aerospace Flight2 avionics system is depicted on a C-130H: Collins Aerospace

L3Harris Technologies has selected Collins Aerospace to provide avionics for the U.S. Air Force’s C-130H Avionics Modernization Program Increment 2 (AMP INC 2) upgrade of 176 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Hercules turboprops.

Collins will supply its Flight2 integrated avionics system to replace more than 100 analog instruments in the current C-130H cockpit with seven multifunctional displays, three control display units and a new digital autopilot, the company said Aug. 28.

The avionics system will support Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out functionality on the C-130Hs, though ADS-B is not part of the Collins project scope, said Marc Ayala, Collins Aerospace director of Air Force sales and business development.

The FAA has mandated that all aircraft flying in most U.S.-controlled airspace report their position by ADS-B Out as of January. But the agency has made allowances to accommodate military aircraft that are not equipped by the compliance date.

The Air Force announced its selection of L3 for the AMP INC 2 contract on June 4, awarding the company a $499.5 million fixed-price incentive contract for the fleet upgrade, plus training and logistics requirements. Work will be concentrated at L3’s facility in Waco, Texas, with an expected completion date of Sept. 30, 2029.

Earlier this year, Collins announced a subcontract from Portuguese aerostructures company OGMA to supply the Flight2 upgrade for four C-130Hs operated by Portugal’s air force.

“Prior to our selection for the AMP INC 2 program, 190 C-130 aircraft already have been modified, or are on contract to be modified, with our proven Flight2 avionics,” said Dave Schreck, Collins vice president and general manager for military avionics.

“These aircraft are important to national security, and by working with L3Harris, our integrated avionics system will support the extension of the life of the planes for another 20 years,” Schreck added.
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[*] posted on 5-9-2019 at 09:22 AM


Eurofighter Typhoon DASS enhancement study contract awarded

Richard Scott, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

04 September 2019

The four-nation European defensive aids subsystem (EuroDASS) industry consortium has been contracted to explore potential upgrades for the Praetorian DASS equipping the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, Eurofighter announced in a press release on 4 September.

Lasting 18 months, the Praetorian Long Term Evolution (LTE) study activity will characterise the future threat environment and identify technologies and techniques intended to enhance the survivability of Typhoon out to 2050 in the face of these evolving threats.

Developed by the Leonardo-led EuroDASS consortium - also comprising Elettronica, Indra, and Hensoldt - the Praetorian DASS is designed to provide Typhoon with threat detection, evaluation, and countermeasures against both air-to-air and surface-to-air threats. The system includes electronic support measures, an active missile approach warner, electronic countermeasures, towed decoys, and initiation of chaff/flares.

(151 of 444 words)
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[*] posted on 5-9-2019 at 02:25 PM


Fourth-Generation Fighters Experiencing Rebirth

9/3/2019

By Jon Harper


F/A-18 Super Hornet
Photo: Defense Dept.

PARIS — Fifth- and sixth-generation aircraft have been grabbing headlines of late. But far from being yesterday’s news, fourth-generation fighters are being upgraded with new technology to keep them flying and operationally relevant for decades to come.

In March, the Navy awarded Boeing a three-year contract valued at approximately $4 billion for 78 new Block 3
F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. The company will also begin converting legacy Block 2 Super Hornets to Block 3 in the early 2020s.

The new configuration includes a number of upgrades. Some observers have described it as a “4.5-gen” aircraft to suggest that it will be superior to legacy fourth-generation planes.

“This is not an old capability,” Thom Breckenridge, Boeing’s vice president of international sales for strike, surveillance and mobility, said during a briefing at this year’s Paris Air Show. “The U.S. Navy is making these significant investments [and] making it a next-generation capability.”

Conformal fuel tanks are expected to extend the range of the plane about 120 nautical miles.

The use of conformal rather than external fuel tanks opens up space for additional weapons stations, he said. “There are lots of possibilities about what future things they can carry.”

The aircraft will have a lower radar cross section than previous configurations, making them less observable to enemy radar.

It also features an advanced cockpit system, as well as a distributed targeting process network and an advanced tactical data link.

“This is the thing that’s allowing the data-sharing that’s becoming so important between the platform itself, other aircraft in the fleet as well as other assets … in the joint force that are operating together,” Breckenridge said.

Additionally, the fighter’s service life will be extended from 6,000 hours to 10,000 flight hours.

The new configuration is expected to be a long-term business generator for Boeing.

“That combination of the new-build Super Hornet production line, as well as the upgradation of the existing fleet into Block 3s is going to take … our ability to deliver this capability into 2033,” Breckenridge said.

The company is in discussions with a number of foreign customers about the Block 3 platform, and it plans to compete for contracts in Canada, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, and with the Indian navy and air force, he said.

Boeing is also upgrading another older platform, the F-15. The new variant, known as the F-15EX, represents “a huge capability leap” from previous iterations, Boeing test pilot Matt “Phat” Giese told reporters.

It includes an advanced radar and cockpit display, electronic warfare system and expanded weapons capacity. The platform can carry up to 22 air-to-air-missiles depending on the configuration, he added.

Boeing Vice President for Global Sales and Marketing Jeff Shockey said the platform was designed to be able to carry hypersonic weapons — cutting edge missiles that can travel at speeds of Mach 5 or faster and are highly maneuverable — once they are fielded.

Other enhancements include a digital fly-by-wire flight control system to aid pilots, and an advanced display core processor II mission computer which can process “billions and billions of instructions per second,” Giese said.

The aircraft’s service life will extend well beyond 10,000 flight hours, he noted.

Shockey said he would describe the F-15EX as “at least 4.75[-gen]” because of its advanced capabilities.

While the F-15EX won’t be stealthy like the fifth-generation F-35, it would still be useful in high-end fights against advanced adversaries, Giese said. “At the end of the day you have to service the targets, and you do that with precision-guided munitions” that could be launched from the platform.

The Pentagon intends to procure 80 F-15EXs over the next five years at an estimated procurement cost of about $7.9 billion, and a total of 144 aircraft over the long term.

Shockey said Boeing could deliver the first two units to the Air Force by late next year.

He declined to identify potential international customers, but noted that the F-15EX has “piqued people’s interest.”

“It’s a really attractive package when you look at the purchase price [and] sustainment,” he added.

Boeing isn’t the only U.S. aerospace giant enhancing fourth-generation fighters. Lockheed Martin is upgrading the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Legacy platforms are being turned into F-16Vs, also referred to as a Viper upgrade.

“We’re doing that … right now for four countries [and are] in discussions with several more,” Randall Howard, Lockheed’s F-16 business development director, told National Defense. “We’ve got a little more than 400 of those on contract, and I can see another 400 or 500 more over the next five to seven [to] eight years.”

The U.S. Air Force is upgrading about 70 of its F-16s with Viper capabilities, and the intent is to eventually upgrade at least 300, he said.

The improvements include a new avionics suite and Northrop Grumman’s APG-83 scalable agile beam radar. The system shares almost 95 percent software commonality and about 70 percent hardware commonality with the radar on the Lockheed Martin-built F-35, he noted. It also has a new mission computer with higher speeds, more processing capability and a new data bus management system.

“We’re able to take fifth-gen technologies because we have them and, in many cases, roll those back into our fourth-generation aircraft,” Howard said.

New production units with F-16V capabilities are known as Block 70/72. “We call the new aircraft Block 70 or 72, but it shares the avionics infrastructure and systems with Viper, … so many of our customers call them both Vipers,” he explained.

The service life of the aircraft has been increased from 8,000 to 12,000-plus flight hours, he noted.

Bahrain is the initial overseas customer for the new-build units. Lockheed was awarded a $1.1 billion contract for 16 aircraft. “That program is off and running and we’ve opened up a new production facility in Greenville, South Carolina,” he said.

The State Department has approved the sale of 25 new F-16s to Morocco and 23 Viper upgrades with a total estimated value of $4.8 billion. Slovakia has signed an agreement for 14 new aircraft that could be worth up to $1.3 billion. Additionally, the State Department has approved the sale of eight F-16s to Bulgaria with an estimated value of $1.7 billion.

“We see an increased interest across Central and Eastern Europe because their former Soviet-era MiG aircraft are running out of serviceable life,” Hudson said. “That’s all happening at a very tense time from a national security perspective for each of those countries, and so there’s a great interest in replacing those aircraft with Western aircraft.”

On the other side of the globe, Lockheed is in discussions with several Southeast Asia nations, Howard said, which could lead to deals for another 100 or so new aircraft in the “very near term.” The company is also offering the platform to India.

Meanwhile, European countries are working on improvements to their own fourth-generation systems.

Saab’s Gripen E features a number of new capabilities, noted Jerker Ahlqvist, vice president of business area aeronautics.
“It’s an entirely new airframe and inside the airframe … we introduced a completely new avionics system and avionic structure,” he said in an interview. “We’ve managed to separate the flight critical systems from the tactical systems … which means that for the operator they don’t have to wait years and years before they have an increased capability on the aircraft. It can be done very quickly.”

The plane has enhanced range and weapons stations. To increase performance, the company put in a new engine, which gives the platform super-cruise capability.

The jet can operate from short runways, Ahlqvist noted, and only needs about 800 meters of space for takeoff and landing. Sweden has a requirement to be able to operate from public roadways in the event that enemy attacks on its airbases render their runways unusable, he explained.

The platform has a new active electronically scanned array radar, electronic warfare system and advanced data links to connect the platform with other military assets. The computer hardware can also be updated when improvements become available, he noted.

The avionics structure will be able to incorporate artificial intelligence capabilities in the future, Ahlqvist said.

“We’re looking to see how can we use AI in the aircraft … because we know that the battlefield in the future will be a very tough environment with a lot of information coming in which the pilot will not be able to handle himself,” he said.

Ahlqvist said he wouldn’t describe the aircraft as a fourth-generation fighter. “Because it’s so quick to upgrade, … [the concept of] generations doesn’t really apply to Gripen in that way.”

Saab was awarded a $6 billion contract in 2013 to develop the Gripen E. The company is under contract to provide 60 platforms to Sweden, with the first expected to be delivered later this year.

Brazil is on contract to buy 36 aircraft — including eight Gripen Fs, the dual-seat version of the Gripen E — for an estimated total value of about $4 billion. Delivery will begin in 2021, Ahlqvist said. Saab is also targeting Finland, India, Colombia, Switzerland and Canada as potential buyers.

Additionally, the company is pondering a maritime version of the Gripen E. “We’ve done the concept study, we know pretty much what it would be, but the full-blown design work … won’t start until we have a customer for it,” he said.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Eurofighter consortium — which includes the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy — plans to add a slew of new capabilities to its fourth-generation Typhoon beyond the current phased enhancements programs.

Eurofighter and Eurojet were recently awarded a $60 million contract via the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency to conduct a long-term evolution study for the Typhoon.

The 19-month review will result in a clear roadmap for introducing new capabilities, said Raffael Klaschka, head of marketing for Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH.

“It’s a very strong signal from our core partner nations of their confidence and commitment to further develop and enhance an already fantastic aircraft,” he said during a media briefing. “This would be the biggest and most ambitious capability upgrade” that the platform has undergone, he noted.

Enhanced engine performance, new adaptive power and cooling techniques, human-machine interfaces to include the cockpit and pilot helmet, and a new mission systems architecture with a high-speed data network and enhanced target data management, are some of the improvements to be examined.

An upgraded mission system architecture that enables greater processing power, more memory capacity and mission data options will be a “big game-changer,” Klaschka said.

“This will support the generation, transmission and utilization of the ever-increasing amounts of digital data both onboard via ... multi-spectral sensors and offboard via high performance discrete tactical data links.”

An electronic warfare suite that will enable the aircraft to operate in highly contested environments is a top priority, he said. The Typhoon is expected to possess a high level of “digital stealth.”

“Physical stealth is one way to allow this freedom of movement in a contested airspace, but that will become more challenging as the [enemy] sensors … develop,” Klaschka said. “Increasingly it is a digital environment that will play a part in how you can … hide or move.”

Systems that could enable digital stealth include towed decoys, flare and chaff dispensers, front and rear missile warning antenna, and wing tip-mounted electronic support measure/electronic countermeasures pods, according to Eurofighter presentation slides.

New technologies to be developed for the Typhoon are expected to feed into sixth-generation fighters that a number of European nations are pursuing, to include manned-unmanned teaming, Klaschka noted. Plans call for adding automation and machine learning capabilities to the platform.

“We’re paving the path to stay relevant for the next decades to come,” he said.
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[*] posted on 5-9-2019 at 02:50 PM


Israeli Firm Reportedly in Talks to Modernize Ukrainian MiG-29s

(Source: Forecast International; issued Sept 03, 2019)

An Israeli defense firm is said to be in talks with the Ukrainian defense industry over a contract to modernize the Ukrainian Air Force’s MiG-29 fighter jets.

The Defense Industry Courier, a Ukrainian website, reported on August 30 that Elbit Systems is looking to participate in modernization of the Ukrainian Air Force’s MiG-29s. The website quoted a source in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry as saying the MiG-29s “will receive fundamentally new capabilities and the latest weapons for airborne warfare” as part of a modernization contract that is being discussed with Israel’s Elbit Systems.

According to the report, up to 11 MiG-29s could be modernized under the effort. The expected cost of the overhaul will be $40 million per plane, or about $440 million if all 11 undergo modernization.

The source indicated to Defense Industry Courier that a contract has not yet been signed. There is no confirmation of the source’s information and neither side has publicly commented on the report.

The reported negotiations could plausibly be related to Ukraine’s planned “MU2″ upgrade program that has been in effect for the last few years. That overhaul program calls for the integration of new air-launched armaments as well as updated onboard electronics. Ukrainian media have previously suggested that ”foreign partners” could be involved in the process, without specifying further.

One aircraft – serving as a prototype for the upgrade program – has already been overhauled, and Ukraine aims to begin modernizing more of its fleet next year.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 5-9-2019 at 03:05 PM


Leonardo and the Polish Armaments Group Unveil Next Generation W-3 Helicopter Concept at MSPO 2019

(Source: Leonardo; issued September 03, 2019)


Aiming to compete for the Polish military’s requirement for a battlefield support helicopter, Leonardo and PGZ have designed a major update for the Polish-designed and produced W-3 Sokol helicopter which includes this all-glass cockpit. (Leonardo photo)

KIELCE, Poland --- Leonardo, through its industrial pillar in the Polish helicopter sector PZL-Świdnik, and the Polish Armaments Group, jointly with the Polish aviation industry and R&D centres, present a next generation multirole military helicopter concept based on a legacy W-3 Sokół platform at MSPO 2019.

The new concept comprises state-of-the-art technologies offered by the Polish aviation industry. In the future this solution could meet the requirements of the Polish Armed Forces for a new generation of Battlefield Support helicopters. The collaborative project oversees a major modification of the W-3 platform which is the basis of the helicopter fleet of the Polish Armed Forces.

Only the latest and already tested technologies available on the market have been used for the new concept, without compromising the Polish military needs through the guarantee of shorter delivery times, high level of reliability and savings in terms of the acquisition and operating costs.

The helicopter will be equipped with new blades and main rotor and a fully digital avionics system, covering a glass cockpit, Flight Management System (FMS), Synthetic Vision System (SVS), digital maps and Terrain Avoidance Warning System (TAWS), as well as a 4-axis digital autopilot, new communication system, an Engine FADEC and Health & Usage Monitoring System (HUMS).

All of this, combined with mission equipment and additional 200 kg of useful load (owing to an increase from 6400 kg to 6600 kg MTOW) will offer remarkable improvement in terms of performance and the operational capability of the helicopter.

On display at MSPO 2019 there will be a mock-up of the new generation W-3 concept helicopter’s cockpit. This concept further highlights the stringent global standard capabilities of the Polish aviation industry and how it can meet the battlefield demands of the Polish Armed Forces as well as the mission needs of the Polish military end-users.

The type will meet latest requirements of NATO countries to remain in service for another 30 years and overcome a design generation gap between previous and latest generation systems. The venture will also see a significant technology transfer from Leonardo to PZL-Świdnik which, in turn, will enable the Polish aviation industry to further consolidate its growth domestically.

Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters MD said: “A key significance in the development of the new generation W-3 concept helicopter is through the transfer of technology with a view to guarantee to clients the operational autonomy and the broadest possible involvement of Polish industry. Particularly, the major role of our long-term partner, i.e. the Polish Armaments Group and companies belonging to it, which will be involved to a high degree in all phases of the project starting with the design, through to development, and the production which will support the helicopter into the future.”

Sebastian Chwałek, Vice President of the Polish Armaments Group said: “Companies of our Group bring into the modernization project several state-of-art solutions and competencies, including among others weapon systems equipped with guided and unguided missiles and firearms. Integration of those solutions on W-3 helicopter will allow this rotorcraft to support effectively soldiers in deployment of the tasks set on them, at the same time guaranteeing to the Armed Forces permanent access to munitions that can be used also by other armies of the NATO.”

The next generation W-3 helicopter will provide the Polish Armed Forces with advanced battlefield support capabilities through a wide range of mission equipment, covering fully integrated armaments system [Air-to-Air missiles, Anti-tank missiles, 70mm rocket pods, cannon pods (12.7/20 mm), machine gun installed in a cabin] and an Integrated Defensive Aids System, an Electro Optical Surveillance System, NVG Compatibility and Head Up Display.

The helicopter will be able to perform a wide range of missions: troop transport, Special Forces insertion/extraction, CSAR, Intelligence, Surveillance and Armed Reconnaissance, MEDEVAC/CASEVAC.

Leonardo’s industrial presence in Poland is mainly through its subsidiary PZL-Świdnik, a Polish helicopter manufacturer which can boast over 65 years of experience in the industry gathered during manufacturing of over 7400 helicopters for customers in over 40 countries. Owing to this, Poland is one of few countries with the capability to design, develop, manufacture and service helicopters on their own.

PZL-Świdnik is a core partner of the Polish Ministry for National Defence: almost 160 PZL-Świdnik-made helicopters are in service with the Polish Armed Forces of which approximately 70 W-3 units. Almost 80% of all helicopters delivered to the Polish Armed Forces in recent years have been designed in Świdnik (SW-4 Puszczyk, W-3PL Głuszec and W-3WA Sokół, including VIP configuration for transportation of top-ranking state officials).

PZL-Świdnik currently has approximately 3000 employees, including more than 650 engineers, and cooperates with over 800 Polish enterprises. Leonardo is also present in many other major military programs in Poland; this concerns M-346 Bielik trainer for the Polish Air Force or Rosomak program for the Polish Army implemented in cooperation with PGZ.

Leonardo has also supplied several defence and security systems, such as the ground segment of the Italian observation satellites, COSMO-SkyMed, early warning radars and coastal surveillance systems, which greatly improve Poland’s security.

Polish Armaments Group (Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa, PGZ) is one of the largest defence corporations in Europe. It brings together more than 50 companies of key importance to the Polish defence industry: factories, maintenance facilities, and research centres. It employs more than 18 000 people and generates more than 5.5 billion PLN of annual revenue. PGZ manufactures innovative systems and solutions used by the Polish Armed Forces and allied formations.

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[*] posted on 9-9-2019 at 01:38 PM


U.S. Air Force B-52 Upgrades Kick Off With Focus On Strong Early Start

Sep 9, 2019

Steve Trimble | Aviation Week & Space Technology

A clear sign of the revived fortunes for the B-52H fleet is a sudden scheduling dilemma. As the U.S. Air Force juggles reengining, radar replacement and the integration of a host of advanced new weapons on the 60-year-old strategic bomber, finding enough aircraft to support flight testing and operational requirements has become an unexpected problem.

Prime contractor Boeing is trying to help the Air Force find a creative solution. A traditional approach would call for dedicating at least two B-52Hs to each upgrade project, but that would deprive operational squadrons of too many aircraft. The solution may be to combine tests from multiple projects on a single flight, but that requires orchestrating multiple technologies in development on different timelines and contracts, says Scot Oathout, Boeing’s bombers program director.

- Source selection for new engines to open around year-end
- Future defensive upgrades are considering crew size reduction

It is a scheduling challenge that would have seemed quite unlikely a few years ago. The Rand Corp. think tank in 2015 called for retiring the B-52H fleet as a cost-saving measure. But the Air Force moved in a different direction in 2018, choosing to retire the younger B-1 and B-2 fleets by 2040 and organize the bomber mission around future B-21s and B-52Hs.

The new commitment to operate the B-52H fleet through 2060 implied a heavy price for modernization. The B-52H’s age was underscored in June with a photo released by the Air Force of the captive-carry test of the Lockheed Martin AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), a hypersonic boost-glide weapon. Fifty years ago, the same B-52H launched the Lockheed D-21, a Mach 3.2 surveillance drone operated by the CIA until 1972.

So now the Air Force is catching up for lost time. Over the next decade, the B-52H fleet will be transformed with new sensors, engines and weapons. More upgrades are still under evaluation, including an avionics and defensive systems refresh that could further reduce the crew size to four from the current five. But the focus within the program is just getting through the next few years with so many overlapping upgrade schedules on the books.

“We have two rather larger programs going on, as we look to make sure we get those started and going well before adding too many more big programs at this time,” Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, program executive officer for fighters and bombers, told reporters recently. “We have to get this right. We do have a workforce that is not infinite.”


The availability of the B-52 fleet is under pressure as the Air Force seeks to modernize the aging platform. Credit: U.S. Air Force

The spotlight is on the B-52 reengining program. Boeing is on contract with three engine companies to complete a conceptual design for replacing all eight 1950s-era TF33s on each B-52H with turbofan engines, such as the GE Aviation CF34-10 or Passport, Pratt & Whitney Canada PW800 or Rolls-Royce BR725.

The conceptual designs explore solutions to the complications of grafting a modern propulsion system onto a 1950s airframe.

The complexities include the problem of shifting from a 1950s philosophy of mounting the engine to the wing pylon at the engine core, to the modern approach of attaching the engine at the fan section, says James Kroening, Boeing’s B-52 modernization program manager.

All three engine companies will complete the concept designs by around November, Kroening says. Once the design baselines are fully understood, Boeing will open the source selection process by year-end or in early 2020 for a single contractor to supply at least 608 engines.

Boeing selected Raytheon in July to replace the original Westinghouse APQ-166 radar with an active, electronically scanned array (AESA) derived from the antenna of the Boeing F/A-18E/F’s APG-79 and the processor for the F-15SA’s APG-82.

The program is in a pre-engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase through early 2021, then will transition into EMD until a scheduled initial operational capability milestone in early 2026, says Michael Riggs, B-52 radar modernization program manager. All 76 B-52Hs now in service will be upgraded with the more reliable and powerful AESA radars by 2030, he says.

At the same time, the Air Force plans to integrate several new weapons on the B-52H for prototyping demonstrations and as future munitions. The testing includes launching of the AGM-183A, the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon and the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept. The Air Force also plans to integrate the nuclear Long-Range Standoff Weapon, which remains in source selection.
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[*] posted on 17-9-2019 at 08:58 AM


AFA 2019: General Electric qualifies F110-129 engine for F-15EX

Pat Host, Washington, DC - Jane's Defence Weekly

16 September 2019

General Electric (GE) Aviation's F110-129 engine is fully qualified for the Boeing F-15EX fighter that the US Air Force (USAF) intends to buy, according to a company statement.

GE Aviation spokesman David Wilson said on 12 September ahead of the Air Force Association's (AFA's) conference that, in addition, the F110-129 is the only qualified engine for the F-15EX. He said the latest Boeing F-15 Eagle with its digital fly-by-wire control was qualified with the F110-129 engine to approve the foreign military sale (FMS) sale of this configuration to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Recent sales of the engine, Wilson added, have included as part of recent Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon international sales.

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[*] posted on 19-9-2019 at 12:04 PM


DSEI 2019: SEAD indecision puts pressure on USAF F-16 fleet

12th September 2019 - 14:00 GMT | by Tim Martin in London

The USAF is still unsure of which trade offs it will have to make as part of an overdue F-16 modernisation programme – the basis of which is underpinned by a need to strengthen Suppression of Enemy Air Defence [SEAD] mission capabilities.

Despite $7 billion of DoD expenditure spent on funding a number of currently running F-16 programmes, such as flight testing with the Northrop Grumman made APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, high-speed data network integration and the addition of high definition flight displays, a decision on whether to introduce a digital EW suite to future improvements is yet to be taken.

‘We're not sure exactly which direction we're going to go on that stuff’ Lt Col Matt Russell, chief of F-16 flight testing,’ USAF told Shephard, but did confirm that integration of the JASSAM ER Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range variant will be part of the modernisation plan.

In the time since a last modernisation effort was undertaken in 2005, a more complex picture of lethal air defence threats has emerged, including a need to counter increasingly long-range and high-altitude systems, passive detection, passive targeting and directed energy issues, he made clear.

‘All high value assets have to stay out further from the fight [because of more capable air defence threats] which becomes a problem when talking about battle management, communication nodes in the air have to be further out too,’ he said.

The need for greater F-16 capabilities to be finalised and continue with SEAD sorties is also pivotal because of the USAF F-35 fleet, ‘barely starting to deploy,’ Russell added.

‘If anything kicks off, we’re going to be limited,’ he warned.

The likelihood of enhancing the F-16 to a similar level of capability as the F-35 is all but insurmountable and impractical, with Russell making clear that a modernisation of that kind would be too difficult and too expense.

‘I don't know how many antennas the F-35 has on it, just for radar warning, they are all over the airframe, to put that on the F-16 you’d have to pull skins, pull panels, and run wires throughout the whole body [of the jet],’ he explained.

‘We haven’t made a decision on how we are going to handle that problem but we have to make a decision at some point.’
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[*] posted on 24-9-2019 at 07:58 PM


Hot Weather Trials Campaign for the Rafale F3-R

(Source: French Air Force; issued Sept. 16, 2019)

(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)


During the first half of July, the French Air Force deployed two two-seat Rafale B combat aircraft to Al Dhafra, France’s air base in the UAE, to flight-test the aircraft’s latest F-3R capability standard. (French AF photo)

From July 1 to 17, 2019, a team from the French Air Force Test & Evaluation Center (Centre des Expérimentations Aériennes Militaires, CEAM) conducted a series of Rafale F3-R at trials at air base 104 at Al Dahfra, in the United Arab Emirates.

The trials focused on three areas: the Talios laser designation pod, the effectiveness of the terrain monitoring radar in a desert and sandy environment and the thermal protections of the Rafale cockpit. In addition to these evaluations, the forces pre-positioned at air base 104 attended transformation and information sessions.

The experimental team was made up of specialists from the CEAM as well as crews and technical teams from the Practical Experiments and Reception Center for Naval Aeronautics, the French Navy’s counterpart of CEAM, DGA Flight Tests and technical staff from Thalès Laser and Dassault Aviation.

During thirty missions, taking advantage of the thermal constraints of the environment, the experimenters pushed these different equipment items to their performance limits, in conditions close to those of the theaters of operations in which the Air Force operates. The goal was to verify that the equipment that the forces will be shortly operating is both in line with expectations, and adapted to their needs.

Created in 1933 in Reims, and relocated in 1945 to the air base 118 at Mont-de-Marsan and officially recognized as an Air Warfare Center, the CEAM is the arm of the air staff which defines the capabilities of the Air Force. It contributes to their development, prepares their integration and supports their operational use.

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