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[*] posted on 31-3-2020 at 01:48 PM


USA approves new IFF, datalink for Korean F-16s

By Greg Waldron

31 March 2020

The US government has cleared a potential sale of Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) and the Link 16 tactical datalink to South Korea for its Lockheed Martin F-16s.

The deal is worth $194 million, and includes a range of services and equipment related to the acquisition, says the US State Department.


Source: Greg Waldron
A Lockheed Martin KF-16 at the Seoul ADEX show in October, 2017.


“The proposed sale will improve the Republic of Korea’s capability to meet current and future threats by increasing its interoperability with U.S. Air Force and other coalition forces through an improved datalink and Mode 5 IFF, producing a more effective Alliance for its F-16 fleet,” it says.

“The Republic of Korea will have no difficulty absorbing this upgrade into its armed forces.”

Lockheed is the main contractor for the deal.

Seoul is in the process of upgrading 134 F-16 C/Ds to the F-16V standard, with new avionics as well as an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, the Northrop Grumman APG-81.
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[*] posted on 27-4-2020 at 11:17 PM


Saab Flies New GaN Fighter Radar

by David Donald - April 24, 2020, 11:08 AM


Saab’s new AESA array, seen here installed in JAS 39D “800”, has just under 1,000 gallium nitride transmit/receive modules. (Photo: Saab)

Saab has flown its active electronically scanned array (AESA) X-band radar in a Gripen fighter for the first time, the company announced on April 24. The flight took place at Saab’s Linköping airfield on April 8. During the 90-minute sortie undertaken by a JAS 39D trials aircraft (serial 800), the radar was successfully tested against aerial targets of opportunity and a range of ground targets. Speaking to AIN, Anders Carp, senior vice president and head of Saab's Surveillance business area, noted that the radar demonstrated good capability and stability throughout the test mission.

“This is an important step in the development of our new fighter AESA radar,” said Carp in a company statement. “We see great possibilities for the radar, and its modular, adaptable and scalable design means it can also be used for a range of other applications.”

Under current plans, Saab expects to continue initial radar trials for around three to four months, with Gripen 800 due to fly around 15 times with the new sensor. As part of the evaluation, the radar will be employed against fighter targets.

Saab has been at the forefront of AESA radar design employing gallium nitride (GaN) technology, having pioneered the technology with its latest iterations of the Giraffe ground- and sea-based radars, electronic warfare equipment, and with the Erieye ER S-band radar employed in the GlobalEye surveillance aircraft.

The new AESA array is made up of hundreds of transmit/receive modules (TRMs), each one essentially a mini-electronically scanned radar. Radars made with GaN semiconductors have better performance—notably in terms of electronic counter-countermeasures, small target detection and wider bandwidth—than most current AESA sensors that employ gallium arsenide (GaAs) TRMs, while consuming less power and generating less heat.

What is currently known simply as the “Saab AESA fighter radar” comprises the GaN array married to the back end of the PS-05/A Mk 4 mechanically-scanned radar that is the current option for the Gripen C/D. Saab has built virtually all of the elements of the radar itself, including the TRMs that are manufactured in a foundry at the company’s primary radar design and production facility, the former Ericsson plant in Gothenburg. The company began ground-testing of the array well over a year ago.

In the Gripen installation, the array is fixed with Saab opting for this configuration due to its simplicity and reliability. The concept of using a repositioner was initially discarded as advanced digital processing can overcome most of the problems associated with radar performance at the outer edges of the scanning volume without adding the internal space required to accommodate a repositioning system. However, Carp commented that a repositioning system could be employed if trials showed that it was necessary.

The array is essentially the same as that which was ordered in late September 2018 for what Saab describes as an "undisclosed U.S. government customer". At the same time, however, the Pentagon announced the award of an $8.2 million contract to Saab USA for the research and development of an "active aperture array". The contracting agency was Naval Air Systems Command, with the array being intended for the Office of Naval Research and Office of the Secretary of Defense Foreign Comparative Testing Program. Saab has already flight-tested this array on another testbed in support of the U.S. program and delivered it to the customer earlier this year.

Saab claims that its new ITAR-free array is ready to go to market, and would take between 12 and 18 months to deliver given the need to complete development and testing, and to establish production. The radar has an obvious application as a retrofit for Gripen C/Ds, and could also be included as an option instead of the PS-05/A Mk 4 for new C/D sales, with the potential of revitalizing that aircraft’s sales prospects. Other opportunities include other fighter types, particularly as an upgrade option.

The company sees opportunities for the X-band radar beyond fighters, including installation in advanced trainer and aggressor aircraft. Moreover, the radar has been designed in a modular fashion, and is scalable. This opens up a wide range of applications, including scaled-up radars of almost Erieye ER size for X-band surveillance. Ship- and UAV-based opportunities are also being studied.

For now there are no plans to equip the new-generation Gripen E/F with the GaN radar as the GaAs-based Leonardo ES-05 Raven is fully integrated for that requirement, but it could be substituted if a customer specified it. Saab also points out that the work being performed by the company on an AESA radar for the KF-X fighter in collaboration with South Korean industry is a separate project.
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[*] posted on 28-4-2020 at 10:35 PM


Saab AESA trial offers Gripen C/D users new upgrade path

By Craig Hoyle

28 April 2020

Saab has begun promoting an active electronically scanned array (AESA) antenna for its PS-05/A fighter radar, offering an upgrade option for operators of its Gripen C/D, and other legacy types.

During a roughly 90min debut flight aboard a Gripen D test aircraft conducted from the Swedish company’s Linkoping site on 8 April, the AESA sensor “collected data while detecting and tracking objects”, Saab says.


Source: Saab
New array was installed on Gripen D test aircraft


Anders Carp, head of the company’s aeronautics business area, describes these as having been “targets of opportunity” such as general aviation aircraft, due to a lack of commercial airliner activity during the coronavirus crisis.

“We had a very successful first flight, both in terms of capability and stability,” Carp says.

Future tests, to be conducted following data validation from the sensor’s airborne debut, will be expanded to incorporate “fighter targets”, he notes. In all, around 15 flights are planned over a period of three to four months.

Integration of the AESA array – which features more than 500 gallium nitride transmit/receive modules – required no alteration to the Gripen’s power or cooling provision, Carp says. “We’re just changing the array itself, and using exactly the same back-end as the [PS-05/A] Mk4” with some software updates, he notes.

“We have the possibility now to get the full radar range to use [MBDA’s] Meteor or similar [air-to-air] missiles,” Carp notes of the enhancement.

The availability of an ITAR-free AESA array offers a potential upgrade path for existing Gripen C/D operators, which in addition to the Swedish air force include the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa and Thailand.

As well as being a candidate for such updates, the new array will also be offered with Saab’s proposed Gripen Aggressor platform, which is intended to meet growing military demand for adversary training services.

“The Gripen is a fairly small aircraft compared to many of the competitors, which makes the size of the radar suitable for many other platforms,” Carp notes. This could potentially include advanced jet trainers, and even unmanned air vehicles, he suggests.

Carp points to the fighter AESA design as having drawn on Saab’s experience with developing other X-band sensors, including for the Giraffe 1X short-range ground-based air-defence radar. Its underlying technology could be scaled up to approaching an “Erieye-size” sensor for airborne ground surveillance tasks, he indicates.

“If there’s a customer that wants it now we’re ready to start production – we’re more or less ready to take orders,” Carp says.


Source: Peter Liander/Saab
Active electronically scanned array is ready for production orders


Saab has already delivered an array almost identical to the design flown in the Gripen to an undisclosed US military customer. The company last October announced its receipt of a contract to supply the system, but will not disclose the operator or platform type.

Saab’s AESA product will not compete with the Leonardo Raven ES-05 array installed on the airframer’s new-generation Gripen E, which is in production for Sweden and launch export buyer Brazil.
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[*] posted on 29-4-2020 at 08:37 PM


USAF releases M7.2+ upgrade to more than 600 F-16s

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's International Defence Review

28 April 2020


An OFP M7.2+ standard F-16 undergoing pre-release flight trials. The USAF plans to roll out the upgrade to more than 600 of its F-16 aircraft. Source: US Air Force

The US Air Force (USAF) has released the latest software and hardware upgrade planned for more than 600 of its Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft, the service disclosed on 28 April.

The Operational Flight Program (OFP) M-series 7.2+ upgrade, earmarked for retrofit to current Block 40/42/50/52 F-16s, was released in April following a USD455 million development programme led by the F-16 System Program Office (SPO) located at both Hill Air Force Base (AFB) in Utah and Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio.

As noted by the USAF, OFP M7.2+ adds 42 major capability enhancements onto older model F-16s, including the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar (deemed to be the top priority for Northern Command [USNORTHCOM]), the ability to employ the Lockheed Martin AGM-158B Joint Air-To-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) and latest variant Raytheon AIM-120D Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).

The F-16 SPO, the 309th Software Engineering Group (SWEG), the OFP Combined Test Force (CTF) including the Air Force Test Center Developmental Test, 53 Wing Operational Test, and the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Test Center are partnered to develop and field software capability upgrades, the air force said.

OFP M7.2+ has been a totally in-house development for the USAF, with the OFP CTF located at Eglin AFB in Florida conducting more than 4,200 sorties and 4,600 flight hours, including participation in the 2019 Northern Edge Exercise.

The OFP M7.2+ is part of a wider modernisation process planned for the USAF's F-16 that includes a service-life extension programme (SLEP) to extend the service lives of up to 841 Block 40-52 F-16C/D aircraft from the current 8,000 hours to nearly 14,000 hours.

(301 of 611 words)
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[*] posted on 1-5-2020 at 02:03 PM


CHAMMAL: The Versatility of Rafale in the Spotlight with "Flex" Missions

(Source: French Air Force; issued April 29, 2020)

(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)


A French Air Force Rafale single-seat fighter deployed to the forward air base in Jordan with the new RECO-NG reconnaissance pod fitted to its centerline pylon. This pod has been operational since the end of March. (French Defence Staff photo)

Since the end of March, the fighter detachment of the deployed air base (BAP) in the Levant has received a RECO-NG (new-generation reconnaissance) pod, which offers the possibility of diversifying its missions in Iraq and Syria as part of the fight against Daesh.

“Flex missions mean flexible: Two aircraft on patrol with the ability to achieve three complementary effects: ground support, air defense, and intelligence, "said Colonel Benjamin Souberbielle, commander of the BAP. "The novelty consists in the use of this sensor almost daily above the theater, while carrying out our usual missions of air defense and air support to ground troops," he adds.

With its 4.6 m length and weighing 1,100 kg, the RECO-NG pod is particularly noticeable. Positioned under the fuselage of the Rafale, it allows photography by day and night. This means weapons caches, tunnels, vehicles, training camps for Daesh combatants can be identified. "With the pod, the photos are of excellent quality. The meticulous tracking and the high-performance zoom allow clear identification," explains the unit's image interpreter. This system is also very agile: once in flight, the pilot can decide to modify the target according to the opportunities that arise during the mission.

“The RECO-NG pod represents an additional capacity brought to the Coalition and optimizes our capabilities already present in the theater. The Coalition’s Air Operations Command Center, based in Qatar, designates the points of interest for us to photograph," said the Rafale Detachment Commander. "These shots also provide us with national autonomy in assessing the situation, in addition to sharing information with the Coalition."

-end-
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[*] posted on 1-5-2020 at 10:14 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
Saab AESA trial offers Gripen C/D users new upgrade path

By Craig Hoyle

28 April 2020

Saab has begun promoting an active electronically scanned array (AESA) antenna for its PS-05/A fighter radar, offering an upgrade option for operators of its Gripen C/D, and other legacy types.

During a roughly 90min debut flight aboard a Gripen D test aircraft conducted from the Swedish company’s Linkoping site on 8 April, the AESA sensor “collected data while detecting and tracking objects”, Saab says.


Source: Saab
New array was installed on Gripen D test aircraft


Anders Carp, head of the company’s aeronautics business area, describes these as having been “targets of opportunity” such as general aviation aircraft, due to a lack of commercial airliner activity during the coronavirus crisis.

“We had a very successful first flight, both in terms of capability and stability,” Carp says.

Future tests, to be conducted following data validation from the sensor’s airborne debut, will be expanded to incorporate “fighter targets”, he notes. In all, around 15 flights are planned over a period of three to four months.

Integration of the AESA array – which features more than 500 gallium nitride transmit/receive modules – required no alteration to the Gripen’s power or cooling provision, Carp says. “We’re just changing the array itself, and using exactly the same back-end as the [PS-05/A] Mk4” with some software updates, he notes.

“We have the possibility now to get the full radar range to use [MBDA’s] Meteor or similar [air-to-air] missiles,” Carp notes of the enhancement.

The availability of an ITAR-free AESA array offers a potential upgrade path for existing Gripen C/D operators, which in addition to the Swedish air force include the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa and Thailand.

As well as being a candidate for such updates, the new array will also be offered with Saab’s proposed Gripen Aggressor platform, which is intended to meet growing military demand for adversary training services.

“The Gripen is a fairly small aircraft compared to many of the competitors, which makes the size of the radar suitable for many other platforms,” Carp notes. This could potentially include advanced jet trainers, and even unmanned air vehicles, he suggests.

Carp points to the fighter AESA design as having drawn on Saab’s experience with developing other X-band sensors, including for the Giraffe 1X short-range ground-based air-defence radar. Its underlying technology could be scaled up to approaching an “Erieye-size” sensor for airborne ground surveillance tasks, he indicates.

“If there’s a customer that wants it now we’re ready to start production – we’re more or less ready to take orders,” Carp says.


Source: Peter Liander/Saab
Active electronically scanned array is ready for production orders


Saab has already delivered an array almost identical to the design flown in the Gripen to an undisclosed US military customer. The company last October announced its receipt of a contract to supply the system, but will not disclose the operator or platform type.

Saab’s AESA product will not compete with the Leonardo Raven ES-05 array installed on the airframer’s new-generation Gripen E, which is in production for Sweden and launch export buyer Brazil.


ITAR free? Wow, amazing... Oh, who makes the Gripen (all models) engines again? Oh that’s right... General Electric...

Yeah, not exactly as ‘ITAR free’ as SAAB’s marketeers would have you believe...




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 4-5-2020 at 05:41 PM


Northrop to prototype comms gateway for 5th gen fighters

By Greg Waldron

4 May 2020

Northrop Grumman will develop the prototype of a new system that enables improved communications among diverse platforms.

The company labels the system gatewayOne, and is undertaking the work under the US Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) effort, following a contract with the USAF Life Cycle Management Center.


F-22 and F-35A
Source: Greg Waldron
A USAF F-22 and F-35A at the Seoul ADEX defence show in October 2017.


“Northrop Grumman is providing engineering, management and technical assistance for the Air Force’s integration of net-centric 5th-to-5th generation aircraft communications capabilities and other platforms into a modular, open-architecture gateway,” says the company.

A flight representative configuration will take place in an integration laboratory, followed by an airborne demonstration after four months. The rapid pace of development is part of a USAF initiative to develop ABMS prototypes in short sprints. The company did not provide a contract value.

ABMS is envisaged as a communications network linking aircraft, satellites, ships, ground vehicles and command and control stations. It will allow the sharing of battlefield information directly and in real time, instead of relying on fractured communications systems that are specific to certain types of aircraft and armed forces.

The USAF operates two 5th generation types, the Lockheed Martin F-35 and F-22. Longer term ABMS is seen as linking these two types as well as a diverse range of other aircraft, naval assets, and ground units. The USAF hopes that ABMS becomes the sole network of all US military services, but the US Navy and US Army have yet to commit.

In addition, Northrop adds, the capability could help network proposed “attritable aircraft,” which will be affordable un-manned systems that accompany manned aircraft in challenging combat scenarios.

While ABMS holds great promise for networking diverse assets, it recently came in for criticism from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). In an April report, the GAO contended that the initiative in several areas such as an organisational structure, detailed plans, and overall cost estimates.
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[*] posted on 7-5-2020 at 09:47 AM


RAFAEL and Leonardo Will Supply the M-346FA with Rafael's Litening 5 and RecceLite Systems

(Source: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems; issued May 6, 2020)


Integration of two pods developed and widely sold by Israel’s Rafael – the Litening 5 targeting pod and the RecceLite ISR pod – will give the lightweight fighter variant of Leonardo’s M346 jet trainer substantially enhances capabilities. (Leonardo photo)

TEL AVIV --- RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems will supply 5th generation Litening-5 and RecceLite systems to equip Leonardo's M-346FA light combat aircraft. This is the first integration of 5th generation EO pods to Leonardo's M-346FA platform.

The M-346FA is the multi-role combat variant of the most advanced jet trainer that has been designed for a wide range of training capabilities, long-term reliability and cost-effective operations. The FA variant is also able to operate very effectively as a multi-role tactical aircraft, capable of air-to-surface, air-to-air and tactical reconnaissance missions.

Integrated with RAFAEL's pods, the jet will now have combat-proven, stand-off capabilities using the Litening 5 multi-spectral airborne targeting pod. The Litening 5 pod is in use by 27 air forces and carried by over 25 platforms globally. Litening 5 delivers real-time, forward-looking infrared (FLIR+SWIR) and day HD color camera imagery. Its high-resolution sensors and effective EO/IR design ensure reliable operation at significant stand-off ranges. Litening 5 allows the operation of all types of air-to-surface smart weaponry, such as laser-guided, GPS-guided and EO/IR imaging-guided munition. Litening pods have logged over 2 million flight hours, with more than two-thirds in contingency operations worldwide.

With the RecceLite ISR system, the light-attack aircraft will be able to perform target search, using advanced AI, ATR (Automatic Target Recognition) at the interpretation ground station, and other smart algorithms for efficient detection, tracking, and sensor-to-shooter closure. Using its advanced ISR, image processing, and artificial intelligence, the system achieves optimal data-exploitation at the ground station, of intelligence data relayed in real-time and mission execution in near-real-time. RecceLite has been delivered to 13 customers world-wide and integrated onto various aircraft, including the F-16, F-18, Jaguar, AMX, Tornado, Typhoon, Gripen, Heron TP, Reaper and others. It is used by air forces in Europe, the Far East and South America.

Guy Oren, VP, Head of RAFAEL's Electro-optical systems directorate: "This new cooperation with Leonardo opens new markets to integrate our advanced systems to additional light, cost-effective platforms, based on our vast experience and integration legacy in all domains."

Emanuele Merlo, Leonardo's Aircraft Division SVP Trainers: "We see a growing number of nations that have requirements for trainers that are also able to perform close-air support missions, and the addition of RAFAEL's globally combat-proven 5th gen. targeting and ISR pods is a significant, force-multiplying enhancement to our platform."

-ends-
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[*] posted on 29-5-2020 at 09:58 PM


Eurofighter: Flight Tests Continue with the E-SCAN Radar

(Source: Leonardo; issued May 29, 2020)


While the four Eurofighter partner nations paid over €1 billion to develop an AESA radar for the aircraft, none has yet ordered it. Flight-testing of the radar is currently proceeding for Kuwait and Qatar, which have both ordered it for their own Eurofighters. (Leonardo photo)

A Eurofighter flight test campaign dedicated to the configuration chosen by Kuwait, with E-SCAN radar and other important enhancements, is certainly demanding and complex. Mario Mutti, Head of Project Test Pilot Fighters and Standardization of Leonardo's Aircraft Division, tells us how it is proceeding.

Leonardo ISPA 6 (Instrumented Series Production Aircraft) is the most advanced Eurofighter Typhoon test aircraft with E-SCAN radar and it recently joined the other EF Typhoon test aircraft after the successful completion of an important lay-up in November last year.

"The testing campaign for the new radar is particularly demanding - Mario Mutti, Head of Project Test Pilot Fighters and Standardization of Leonardo's Aircraft Division tells - there is a need for very large and dedicated work areas, the support of other aircraft that act as "smart" targets, an extremely accurate post-flight data analysis that involves multiple sites (in Italy and partner Countries) and optimizes the "set-ups" of the next flight. A very complex flight test system.

“The Italian Air Force contributes in a fundamental way: the aircraft available in support of test flights are always on time and offer a very consistent capability both quantitative and in terms of skill. The complex scenarios planned in flight are possible only thanks to the experience of the military pilots and our two-seater prototype that allows for synergy, even in the cockpit, between test pilot and flight test engineer."

This challenging programme was completed as planned notwithstanding the difficulties created by the pandemic conditions under which the teams were operating; all flight test points were tested and all the required evidences obtained to provide final clearance on Kuwait’s Typhoon. The tactical advantage given by the radar’s Antenna Repositioner – allows a field of regard 50 per cent wider than conventional E-SCAN fixed plate systems - was clearly evident since the early stages of development.

"The COVID emergency did not stop us, on the contrary, it strengthened us! - Mutti continues - Very stringent procedures, always in line with national and corporate protocols allowed us to operate with a motivated team that has challenged adversity with great dedication and sense of responsibility. International sharing is actually more difficult and efforts are being made to restore it to maximum effectiveness."

With the above flights, ISPA6 has completed the overall P3Eb Flight Test campaign, which represent a significant step forward to allow the delivery of the Eurofighter to the Kuwait Air Force.

"The Eurofighter is always an excellent platform – Mutti comments with satisfaction - and demonstrates its extensive development capability already foreseen in the design phase. Ergonomics are even more optimized and the new radar is perfectly integrated into a general growth of capabilities that includes sensors, weapons and increasingly advanced and performing functions”.

The Eurofighter Typhoon ISPA 6

ISPA 6 is one of the three EF Typhoon test aircraft equipped with the Electronic Scan Radar made by the EuroRadar Consortium, led by Leonardo UK in Edinburgh, and it’s currently allocated to the EF/NETMA P3Eb (Eurofighter Consortium/NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency - Phase 3 Enhancements Package b) development programme to perform E-SCAN Entry Into Service flight tests and provide final clearance to the Kuwait customer.

After its first flight in the current configuration, at the end of last year, on the 3rd of March ISPA 6 started the so-called “E-SCAN XCR#1” flight test campaign and performed several sorties successfully concluded on the 27th of March. The first sorties were performed in cooperation with Leonardo’s IPA2 (Instrumented Production Aircraft) test aircraft and the last ones were conducted in cooperation with Eurofighter Typhoons of the Italian Air Force.

Recently ISPA 6 has flown to refine ECCM (Electronic Counter-Countermeasures) Radar capabilities, while in the next months will perform final E-SCAN software release certification flights; then will progress flying to test further E-SCAN software capabilities by the end of the year.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 1-6-2020 at 11:00 PM


Romania to upgrade IAR-99 trainer fleet

By Dominic Perry1 June 2020

Romania is to modernise its 10 remaining IAR-99 Standard trainers, having invited the jets’ original manufacturer Avioane Craiova to perform the upgrade work.

Under the procurement, the Craiova-based manufacturer must now submit a suitable offer to the defence ministry in order for the contract to proceed.


Romanian_Air_Force_IAR-99
Source: Catalin Cocirla/Wikimedia Commons


No details of the modernisation programme have been released by the Romanian defence ministry, but it says the effort to raise the aircraft to the SM standard is to enable “advanced pilot training”, bridging to the Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters operated by its air force.

In addition, SM-level aircraft will be able to conduct close-air support missions and to interdict low-speed aerial targets, says the defence ministry.

Bucharest hopes the contract, worth a reported $100 million, will be signed within a month, enabling the work to take place over the 2020-2024 period.

Powered by a single Rolls-Royce Viper engine – licence-built by local firm Turbomecanica – the IAR-99 first flew in 1985. Cirium fleets data shows the Romanian air force as operating 10 Standard aircraft, all built in the late 1980s, plus 11 C-variant examples, dating from a previous upgrade of the design in the late 1990s which also included new-build jets.
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[*] posted on 19-6-2020 at 11:27 AM


Germany picks Hensoldt for Eurofighter AESA radar integration

By Craig Hoyle

18 June 2020

Berlin has approved a contract for sensor house Hensoldt to complete development, production and integration work on an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for its air force fleet of Eurofighter combat aircraft.

“With this decision, Germany is taking on a pioneering role in the field of key technology for the Eurofighter for the first time,” says Hensoldt chief executive Thomas Mueller.


German Eurofighter
Source: Bundeswehr
Combat aircraft will gain Mk1 AESA sensor via German programme


Announced by the German government’s budget committee on 17 June, the deal for Mk1 AESA sensors is worth more than €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) to Hensoldt. “In contrast to the development of the radar to date in a consortium under British leadership”, the company notes that it will assume full design authority for the system.

“This will create high-tech jobs in Germany and give the Bundeswehr the equipment it needs to respond to new threats,” Mueller says. ”In addition, it is a signal for Europe that Germany is investing in a technology that is of crucial importance for European defence cooperation.”

Hensoldt expects the business to create another 400 jobs at its Ulm site in Bavaria. Meanwhile, Airbus Defence & Space will be responsible for equipment design supporting the installation.

Speaking the day before the confirmation, Airbus Defence & Space chief executive Dirk Hoke hinted at the step.

“On the German side, we see strong support to accelerate the project of the electronic radar for Eurofighter,” he said during a lecture webcast by the Royal Aeronautical Society. Hoke also hopes that Berlin will place a Project Quadriga contract before year-end to supply the Luftwaffe with another 38 of the aircraft.

Germany’s commitment makes it the first of the four core Eurofighter partner nations – also including Italy, Spain and the UK – to fund AESA production and integration for its fleet. Export customers Kuwait and Qatar are also acquiring AESA technology, with their Typhoons to have Captor-E sensors developed by the Leonardo UK-led Euroradar consortium.

The UK, meanwhile, continues to work on a development of Captor-E for future integration with some of the Royal Air Force’s Typhoons.
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[*] posted on 20-6-2020 at 02:43 PM


18 JUNE 2020 00:00 GMT+0

South Korea's ADD to study possible upgrades for FA-50 light attack aircraft

by Dae Young Kim

South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD) is aiming to enhance the range and combat capabilities of Korea Aerospace Industries’ (KAI’s) FA-50 Fighting Eagle light combat aircraft, 60 units of which are currently in service with the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF).


South Korea’s ADD is aiming to improve the combat capabilities of the KAI FA-50 light combat aircraft, 60 units of which are currently in RoKAF service. (KAI)

As its ageing F-5E/F and F-4E combat aircraft are gradually decommissioned, the RoKAF would like the twin-seat, single-engined FA-50, which was originally developed to provide close air support, to play a bigger role in the force, a military official told Janes on 18 June.

As a result the ADD will conduct a study from July to December to examine how to expand the aircraft’s capabilities in several areas, including the possibility of it carrying conformal fuel tanks for extended range, as well as targeting pods and new weapons systems, including beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAMs).

The FA-50 Fighting Eagle is the light-strike variant of the T-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainer. Developed along similar lines to the Yak-130 and M-346, the FA-50 has an internal General Dynamics M197 20 mm three-barrel Gatling-gun (modified M61A2) and seven external stations (one on centreline, two under each wing, and an air-to-air missile [AAM] rail on each wingtip) for AAMs and air-to-surface missiles (ASMs), rocket pods, bombs, munition dispensers, practice bombs or equipment, and training targets.
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[*] posted on 24-6-2020 at 09:35 AM


Certification paves way for September delivery of first five-bladed H145 helicopter

By Dominic Perry23 June 2020

Airbus Helicopters will by end-September begin deliveries of its H145 medium-twin with a new five-bladed main rotor following recent European certification of the modification.

Announced in 2019, the upgrade sees the H145 gain an additional 150kg (330lb) of useful load from the higher performance of the new bearingless main rotor.


H145 five-blade
Source: Anthony Pecchi/Airbus Helicopters


The improved rotor helps lift maximum take-off weight by 100kg, to 3.8t. Although the extra blade adds weight, savings elsewhere enabled by its performance result in a net reduction of the helicopter’s empty weight by 50kg.

Approval from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency for the new variant was announced on 19 June; US certification will follow later this year, with validation of the H145M military variant due in 2020, says the airframer.

Assembly of the new standard – known as the D3 – is already under way at the airframer’s Donauworth facility in Germany. First to receive the variant will be Norwegian emergency medical services operator Norsk Luftambulanse.

Production of the current four-bladed model will continue until around year-end, says Airbus Helicopters.

“Offers for the four-bladed H145 will be decided on a case-by-case basis to satisfy existing contracts and fleet customers,” says the manufacturer.

Airbus Helicopters is also offering the upgraded main rotor as a retrofit option, with around 80 kits ordered to date; work on the initial helicopter to gain the modification will begin in the fourth quarter.

Certification of the five-bladed rotor covers the full range of capabilities, including single-pilot, single-engine, and instrument flight rules operations, along with night-vision goggle capability. Airbus Helicopters accumulated 550 flight hours with two test aircraft during the campaign.
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[*] posted on 27-6-2020 at 11:57 AM


26 JUNE 2020 00:00 GMT+0

Airbus to provide E-Scan radars for German and Spanish Eurofighters

by Gareth Jennings

Airbus has been contracted to develop, deliver, and integrate electronically-scanned (E-Scan) radar sets for German and Spanish Eurofighter combat aircraft.


A Eurofighter with a Captor-E radar displayed in the open nose. Airbus has been contracted to develop and integrate an upgraded version for the German and Spanish air forces. (Hensoldt)

The contract, announced on 26 June, covers 110 of the radar sets for the Luftwaffe and an initial five sets for the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire Español: EdAE) from 2023. The value of the award made by the German and Spanish governments was not disclosed, although German sensor-house Hensoldt recently said it would receive EUR1.5 billion (USD1.7 billion) as lead for the project.

“The new sensor will equip Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 Eurofighters as well as new aircraft,” Airbus Defence and Space said, with division CEO Dirk Hoke adding, “The contract for the Captor-E radar is a main achievement to equip Eurofighter with sensors that ensure todays dominance of the aircraft also in the threat scenarios of tomorrow. With Eurofighter, Germany and Spain are investing in a strong backbone of European air defence and in the leading project of the European defence industry.”

News of the award came days after the governments of both nations approved funding to develop, build, and integrate a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system for their Eurofighter combat aircraft fleet.

Airbus will now subcontract the work to Germany’s Hensoldt as the lead contractor, with support from Spain’s Indra.
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[*] posted on 1-7-2020 at 10:24 PM


01 JULY 2020

GE awarded F-15EX engine contract ahead of potential competition

by Gareth Jennings

General Electric (GE) has been awarded USD101.3 million to launch engine production for the Boeing F-15EX Advanced Eagle combat aircraft, ahead of the US Air Force (USAF) potentially opening the requirement up to competition.


The General Electric F110-GE-129 engine will power the F-15EX at least through to the end of Lot 1 production in November 2022, after which time the USAF may or may not open up the requirement to other powerplant providers. (General Electric)

The firm-fixed-price contract announced on 30 June covers Lot 1 production of the F110-GE-129 engine through to 30 November 2022.

The USAF had always intended to sole-source GE for production of the F-15EX engine claiming that, with the F110-GE-129 already certified for installation, any competition could add up to three-years to the programme. However, following a protest from rival provider Pratt & Whitney, the service issued a sources sought notification on 15 May in which it asked for bids to build up 461 engines to power 144 aircraft (plus spares). Responses to that request were due to have been submitted in early June, with any request for proposals to follow after. Should the USAF decide it does require a second supplier, these alternate engines could potentially be introduced from Lot 2 onwards.
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[*] posted on 2-7-2020 at 12:56 PM


01 JULY 2020

Colombian Air Force completes Tucano modernisation

by Roberto Jose Garcia Hernandez

The Colombian Air Force (FAC) has received back into the service the last of 14 Embraer EMB-312 (AT-27M in national service) Tucano turboprop trainer and light-attack aircraft.


Colombia has 14 AT-27M Tucanos which have now all been through a modernisation programme. (Roberto José García Hernández)

The Colombian Aeronautic Industry Corporation (CIAC) delivered the final aircraft on 30 June, following a six-year upgrade effort across the fleet.

Designed to extend the type’s lifespan by 15 years, the retrofit programme involved the installation of new and strengthened wings and landing gear. A new avionics suite provided by Rockwell Collins (now Collins Aerospace) and a ‘glass’ cockpit from Cobham replaced the old analogue cockpit with modern systems and two large multifunction electronic displays.

Besides the new equipment, the CIAC also performed a complete overhaul to the airframes to deliver the aircraft in a zero-hours condition. These works included structural inspection of the aircraft using non-destructive inspection techniques, manufacture, and replacement of certain structural components, an overhaul of the hydraulic power units, painting, and corrosion control.
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[*] posted on 2-7-2020 at 10:47 PM


Hensoldt Leads New Radar Consortium: Billion-Euro Orders for New Eurofighter Radar Signed - Partner Spain

(Source: Hensoldt; issued July 01, 2020)


Hensoldt has been contracted by Airbus to design, develop and supply 130 ECRS Mk 1 electronic scanning radars which will be fitted to German and Spanish Eurofighter combat aircraft in a deal valued at 1.5 billion euros. (Hensoldt photo)

TAUFKIRCHEN, Germany --- Sensor system supplier Hensoldt has been awarded a contract by Airbus Defence and Space to develop and produce a new AESA (Active Electronic Scanning Array) radar for the German and Spanish Eurofighter fleets.

The project is jointly financed by the Eurofighter partner nations Spain and Germany, who will also be the first users of the radar in their fleets. Following budget approval by the Spanish government and most recently by the German Bundestag in mid-June, the contracts worth over 1.5 billion euros have now been signed.

"The fact that Germany and Spain are taking a pioneering role in the modernization of the Eurofighter is a signal of confidence in European defense cooperation," said Hensoldt CEO Thomas Müller. "This decision ensures that our armed forces will continue to be able to fulfill their mission in the future while being protected in the best possible way."

The contracts cover the German-Spanish new development of core components of the Eurofighter radar – including a digital multi-channel receiver and transmitter/receiver modules of the antenna – and the equipping of approximately 130 Eurofighter aircraft of tranches two and three. The development is being carried out by a Spanish-German industrial consortium under German leadership with the support of the Eurofighter nations Great Britain and Italy.

Hensoldt has already been involved in the development and production of the Eurofighter sensor technology currently in use. At its radar centre in Ulm, Hensoldt currently employs 2,200 people, and in the Eurofighter radar sector alone, the company expects to create 400 highly qualified jobs over the entire programme period. The sensor specialist is also investing around 15 million euros in the necessary capacity expansion, primarily at the Ulm site.

Hensoldt is a pioneer of technology and innovation in the field of defence and security electronics. Based in Taufkirchen near Munich, the company is a German Champion with strategic leadership positions in the field of sensor solutions for defence and non-defence applications. With approximately 5,500 employees, Hensoldt generated revenues of 1.14 billion euros in 2019.

(ends)
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[*] posted on 23-7-2020 at 06:13 PM


Typhoon’s E-scan Radar Introduction Months Away

by Jon Lake - July 21, 2020, 8:00 AM


Typhoon trials aircraft IPA5 with the Captor-E radar undergoes tests in an anechoic chamber. (Photo: Eurofighter)

The Eurofighter Typhoon has lagged behind some of its competitors in fielding an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA, or E-scan) radar, but the service introduction of the Captor-E AESA radar on the aircraft is now just months away. Captor-E is currently in production for Kuwait, which will receive its first aircraft this year, and under contract for Qatar. Airbus Defence and Space and sensor system supplier Hensoldt has also signed a contract for an AESA radar for retrofit to the German Tranche 2 and 3 and Spanish Tranche 3 Eurofighter fleets.

The effort to produce an AESA radar for Typhoon began in 1993, with the Anglo/French/German AMSAR (Airborne Multi-Mode Solid-State Active-Array Radar) research and development program. Captor-E, as it is known today, owes its origins to the 2002 British and German industry CECAR (Captor E-sCAn Risk reduction) project, which began as a strand of AMSAR. The project team aimed to develop an AESA derivative of the existing Captor, while adding a new AESA antenna to the existing Captor-D "back end," retaining all features and capabilities of the original system.

A CAESAR (Captor AESA Radar) demonstrator flew aboard a UK MoD-operated BAC One-Eleven on February 24, 2006, and later on Eurofighter Development Aircraft DA5 starting May 8, 2007. The Euroradar consortium offered to provide a CAESAR-based AESA solution for the Eurofighter, but it became clear that a fixed antenna would be handicapped by a more limited scan in azimuth, and by reduced range at the edges of azimuth coverage. To overcome the deficiency, Euroradar explored a number of "moving AESA" designs, using a single or double swashplate repositioner to provide much wider scan limits, and developed CAPTOR-E using just such a system.

Plans originally called for the incorporation of an AESA radar on all Tranche 3 Eurofighters, and they were built with structural provision for a heavier AESA antenna, together with improved cooling and increased electrical power. The Eurofighter E-scan program was not accorded a high priority, however, not least because the mechanically scanned (M-scan) Captor demonstrated such impressive operational capabilities.

Competing visions of a Typhoon AESA led to further delay, but in 2012 Eurofighter GmbH established an AESA radar roadmap, with several versions of the basic Captor-E to meet different customer requirements. Work on Captor-E began using industry funding, and an initial radar was fitted to the UK Typhoon test aircraft, IPA5 (ZJ700) in time to be shown on static display at the 2014 Farnborough air show.

Eurofighter GmbH and the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) signed a €1 billion contract to develop the electronically scanned Captor-E radar on November 19, 2014, and work accelerated after Eurofighter and Finmeccanica (now Leonardo) signed an $8.7 billion contract with Kuwait for the delivery of 28 AESA-equipped aircraft in April 2016, with Qatar then signing a contract with the UK for 24 aircraft in December 2017.

Leonardo led the development of Captor-E within the four-nation Euroradar consortium (Leonardo in the UK and Italy, Hensoldt in Germany, and Indra in Spain) and acted as the design authority for the radar, while BAE Systems took equipment design responsibility, integrating the radar onto the Typhoon aircraft. The AESA radar, in Radar 1+ (now known as Mk0) form, is being introduced to the Typhoon as part of the Phase 3B Enhancements (P3Eb) program.

Flight trials began on July 8, 2016, using IPA5 and, from September 2016, IPA8—a German Tranche 3 Eurofighter. From December 23, 2019, the two aircraft were joined by the first Typhoon in Kuwait Air Force configuration—Instrumented Series Production Aircraft 6. Between March 3 and 27 ISPA6 conducted the so-called “E-scan XCR#1” flight test campaign using other Typhoons as radar targets. That completed E-scan entry-into-service flight tests and the overall P3Eb flight test campaign, readying the way for deliveries to Kuwait.

Flight testing confirmed the tactical advantage conferred by the radar’s repositioner, which gives a field of regard 50 percent wider than that provided by conventional fixed E-scan antenna systems. ISPA6 has continued flight testing to refine the radar’s ECCM (electronic counter-countermeasures) capabilities and to conduct final E-scan software release certification flights.

Plans originally called for the “four-nation” version of Captor-E for the original partners to use the same hardware as the export standard Radar 1+, but with additional documentation and performance data to satisfy the four-nation requirements set down by NETMA. However, when Hensoldt recently announced that it had won a contract to develop and produce a new AESA radar for retrofit to the in-service German and Spanish Eurofighter fleets, it revealed that plans had changed.

The aircraft will initially be fitted with the same Mk0 radar as that supplied to Kuwait and Qatar, but the radars will subsequently be upgraded to Mk1 standards with a new digital multi-channel receiver and new transmitter/receiver modules (TRMs), which will be developed under the new €1.5 billion contract. Hensoldt will be the design authority for the new German Mk1 E-scan radar, while Airbus will carry equipment design responsibility. Leonardo will provide the necessary support to enable Hensoldt to assume its role and will continue to provide the processor for the new German radar, which will be assembled at Ulm in Germany, rather than at Leonardo’s Crewe Toll factory in Edinburgh.

No decision has come on which radar will be fitted to the 38 new-build Eurofighters sought under Germany’s Quadriga program, nor for any additional aircraft acquired to replace German Tornados. Germany has previously indicated an interest in the so-called Radar 2 version of Captor-E under development for the UK Royal Air Force and whose features include an expanded and enhanced electronic attack capability, and which Leonardo is developing for service from around the mid-2020s.

Radar Two is expected to be an incrementally improved version of Captor-E, almost certainly with a different antenna. The new antenna will still incorporate a repositioner, but might not have embedded IFF, which could make it harder to use the array as a means of communicating with other aircraft. Radar 2 would have maximum commonality with Radar 1+ in its other hardware and operating interfaces.

Euroradar has said very little about Radar 2, or the EAP and Bright Adder demonstrator programs that preceded it, partly due to secrecy surrounding the British-led program and Hensoldt’s sensitivities (Ulm is developing the Mk1 radar) as well as to avoid denting sales of the current Radar 1+. Although Radar 2 remains some years away from service, it is, according to one program insider, “a real thing, happening very soon, and it’s going to be transformational for Typhoon.”
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[*] posted on 23-7-2020 at 10:14 PM


Eurofighter ready to deliver long-term enhancement ‘menu’ to operators

By Craig Hoyle

23 July 2020

The Eurofighter industry consortium remains on course to deliver a broad-ranging “menu” of capability options to its core partner nations before year-end to inform their decisions on the type’s long-term evolution (LTE) path.

“We have done a lot of technical definition work with the customers, giving them a range of options,” Paul Smith, Typhoon operational requirements manager for Eurofighter partner company BAE Systems Air, tells FlightGlobal. These range from performing a technical refresh of the Typhoon’s current capabilities to a full update, replacing the type’s entire avionics and system architecture.


Typhoon
Source: BAE Systems
Eurofighter platform is set to receive fresh package of capability enhancements


Smith says industry expects programme partners Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK to instead opt for a middle option. “The gist is a very large-area display, with no HUD [head-up display], fully utilising the [BAE] Striker II helmet, and refreshing the communications and data storage and high-speed data networks, improving the ability to share and move data rapidly.”

Engine and flight-control system enhancements could seek to boost the fuel-efficiency of the type’s Eurojet EJ200 turbofans, in conjunction with the use of an aerodynamic modification kit.

Additionally, the use of one- or two-dimensional thrust-vectoring nozzles could deliver handling benefits while carrying asymmetric heavy stores and during high angle-of-attack flight, and also improve short-field take-off and landing while reducing wear for operators in hot environments. Typhoon export customers include Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Other benefits of the LTE package will include increased flexibility in weapons release sequencing, as a result of flight-control software updates, and the ability to more rapidly integrate new stores. Planned future additions include the Anglo-French MBDA future cruise/anti-ship weapon and the same company’s Spear-EW electronic-attack missile, and what Smith refers to as other “novel effectors”.

Eurofighter was awarded a roughly 18-month study-phase contract for the LTE activity in mid-2018, and is due to deliver its proposals within the coming months.

“We are getting a better feel for what the nations want, and are looking for a decision gate by the end of the year to downselect the core capabilities that are going to be front and centre in LTE,” says Smith. Some aspects – such as any thrust-vectoring control enhancement – could be an option adopted by only one or two users, he notes.

Embodiment of the LTE updates on in-service aircraft is expected to start in the 2026-2027 timeframe, Smith says. The partner companies are already exploring whether such modifications could be performed as Eurofighter nations conduct other scheduled work, such as integrating active electronically scanned array radars as part of broader enhancements to the type.

“What we’re trying to do is maximise the availability of the aircraft and rationalise any future return-to-works programme,” Smith says.

He adds that in addition to updating Typhoon’s capabilities, such enhancements are also “A means to prove a lot of the underpinning technologies” for the UK’s BAE-led Tempest future combat air system project, including areas such as the use of an open mission systems architecture.


Source: BAE Systems
Developmental Tempest platform will draw an technologies employed during Eurofighter upgrade
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[*] posted on 24-7-2020 at 12:09 PM


Chile OK’d for F-16 upgrades

By: Aaron Mehta   2 hours ago


Chile looks to update its F-16 fighters. (Tech. Sgt. Gregory Brook/Air Force)

Updated at 6:35 PM EST to include information on the number of planes being upgraded.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department has cleared Chile to purchase modernization upgrades for its F-16 fleet, with a potential $634.70 million price tag.

Chile currently operates 44 F-16s. That includes 10 Block 50 models purchased in the early 2000s, as well as 36 older models bought second-hand from the Netherlands. Reports that Chile would look to upgrade their existing F-16 fleet first emerged in 2017, but final details had not been made public. Analysts have also speculated that Chile may look to buy a small number of new F-16s to supplement its fleet.

The upgrades included in this potential sale include 19 Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS); six inert MK-82 (500LB) general purpose bomb bodies; two MXU-650KB Air Foil Groups (AFG); 44 LN-260 Embedded GPS/INS (EGI) and 49 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radios (MIDS JTRS).

Also included are avionics equipment and software upgrades, new radios, upgraded IFF transponders, secure communications equipment and other parts. The upgrades are expected to go across the 44 plane fleet.

“The proposed sale will improve Chile’s capability to meet current and future threats by modernizing its F-16 fleet, which will allow Chile to maintain sovereignty and homeland defense, increase interoperability with the United States and other partners, and deter potential adversaries,” per a statement on the website of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

Lockheed Martin, which produces the F-16, will be the prime contractor on the deal, should it go through. All DSCA announcements must be cleared by Congress, at which point negotiations begin; quantities and dollar values often change in the final agreement.

Although this is the first FMS case ok’d for Chile since the start of fiscal 2017, the F-16 has proven to be a reliable sales vehicle for Lockheed abroad, with 14 F-16 related FMS requests cleared by DSCA during this time period.
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[*] posted on 30-7-2020 at 10:53 PM


Another Stage In E-99 Modernization Project Concluded

(Source: Brazilian Air Force; issued July 29, 2020)

(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)


The first E-99 airborne early warning aircraft upgraded by Embraer for the Brazilian Air Force shown just after going through the pain shop at the company’s facility in Sao Paolo. (BR AF photo)

The Modernization Project of the E-99 aircraft concluded, last Friday (24), at the Embraer facilities in São José dos Campos, in São Paulo (SP) state, with the painting process of the first unit that will be delivered to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB).

The completion of this stage is a milestone for the project and confirms yet another step towards the technological update of the vectors of the Force.

The E-99M project was started in 2012 and is carried out by the Combat Aircraft Program Coordinating Committee (COPAC) with Embraer and international suppliers such as SAAB, AeroElectronica International (AELI) and Rohde & Schwarz. In addition to modernization and updating of mission systems and related subsystems, the project also has technology transfer agreements that will enable technological advances of Brazilian defense industry.

The project manager, Lieutenant Colonel Aviator Fabio Pires Vieira, clarified the importance of completing another stage of the project. "The conclusion of this stage is an important indication that, despite all the adversities faced due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the aircraft will be delivered for operational use this year, as planned," he said.

The use of AEW & C aircraft is indispensable in a scenario of aerial operations, given the flexibility of positioning the aircraft together with the ability to detect traffic at low altitude, allowing radar coverage of the areas of interest of the Air Force Command (COMAER) , in addition to aircraft control, regardless of the Command and Control structure on the ground.

The modernization of the E-99's airborne sensors will allow the Brazilian Air Force to expand its capability to carry out Flight Control and Alarm missions and Electronic Reconnaissance, among others.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 15-8-2020 at 06:15 PM


Spain’s Indra gets a key role in new Eurofighter radar development

Sebastian Sprenger

21 hours ago


A German Eurofighter Typhoon takes off during the Blue Flag multinational aerial exercise at the Ovda air force base, north of the Israeli city of Eilat, on Nov. 11, 2019. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images)

COLOGNE, Germany — Spanish defense contractor Indra is joining Germany’s Hensoldt as a co-lead in the development of a new radar for the Eurofighter warplane, the company announced.

The news comes after the German parliament in June approved a contract award to aircraft manufacturer Airbus worth almost $3 billion for a new version of the active electronically scanned array radar, dubbed Captor-E. More than half of that investment will go to sensor specialist Hensoldt, a former Airbus subsidiary. The contract is aimed at retrofitting roughly 130 German and Spanish aircraft in the mid-2020s, according to Hensoldt.

Officials in Europe have billed the radar upgrade as a key prerequisite for keeping the Eurofighter relevant for future missions and possible sales — including ongoing acquisition decisions in Finland and Switzerland.

Indra becoming the co-lead for the Captor-E’s follow-on generation, dubbed Eurofighter Common Radar System Mk1, represents a boost to the company’s prospects when it comes to developing a new generation of air warfare equipment.

“The contract will allow Indra to create long-term highly-skilled jobs, in addition to reinforcing its technological expertise and role as a key supplier in the field of airborne sensors, as well as the leader of the Sensors technological pillar within the FCAS program,” the company wrote in a statement, referring to the German-French-Spanish Future Combat Air System program.

The pairing of Hensoldt and Indra for the fully digitized Mk1 version of the radar represents something of a fork in the road for the aircraft’s radar developments. To date, the “Euroradar” consortium — made up of Leonardo’s British and Italian arms as well as Hensoldt and Indra — has overseen technology development for the multinational fighter program through the Captor-E, or Mk0, version.

Kuwait and Qatar also purchased Mk0 upgrades for their respective Eurofighter fleets, though the Mk1 version is slated to go only into Spanish and German planes.

The British military has said it wants its own sensor for the fleet of Royal Air Force Typhoons, reportedly with more specialized performance in the areas of air-to-ground and electronic warfare, as well as with an eye on connectivity to the American-made F-35 fighter jet.

Italy has yet to declare which way it wants to go, meaning Leonardo stands to lose a lead role in the Mk1 development.

The ongoing industrial teaming arrangements for the Eurofighter radar, complete with hedging and betting on political developments, can be seen as a precursor for a similar dynamic in Europe’s race for a next-generation air weapon. The United Kingdom is spearheading the development of the Tempest fighter jet as a competition to the mainland’s FCAS proposal.

For Airbus, a co-lead in the project with France’s Dassault, the Eurofighter is something of a test bed and bridging technology on the way toward more futuristic weaponry.
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[*] posted on 20-8-2020 at 10:17 PM


20 AUGUST 2020

USAF to launch ARES modernisation plan for F-22 fighter

by Gareth Jennings

The US Air Force (USAF) is to launch its latest modernisation drive for the Lockheed Martin F-22 combat aircraft, dubbed Advanced Raptor Enhancement and Sustainment (ARES).


The proposed ARES modernisation plan for the F-22 will follow on from the REDI II effort and will potentially run for 10 years. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

A pre-solicitation synopsis placed on the beta.sam.gov government procurement website by the F-22 Program Office (AFLCMC/WAU) on 19 August noted that the service intends to award Lockheed Martin a sole-source contract for future upgrades to the ‘fifth-generation’ fighter.

“The proposed contract is a follow-on effort to the Raptor Enhancement, Development, and Integration II (REDI II) contract, and will satisfy future modernisation requirements, enterprise management, and select sustainment requirements to improve efficiencies within the F-22 programme,” the synopsis said. Also adding it is contemplated that the indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract will be awarded by June 2021 with a base ordering period of five years and a five year option.

The USAF did not note what specific modernisation plans are to be included in the ARES effort, nor did it say what its value could be.

As noted by Janes World Air Forces , since its introduction into service in 2003 the F-22 has been subject to a rolling upgrade path that has included improved avionics, updated life support systems, and new air-to-air and air‐to‐ground weapons.
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