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[*] posted on 24-10-2019 at 10:42 AM


Reaction Engines Test Programme Fully Validates Precooler at Hypersonic Heat Conditions

(Source: BAE Systems; issued Oct 22, 2019)

Reaction Engines has successfully tested its innovative precooler at airflow temperature conditions representing Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, marking a significant milestone in the development of its SABRE engine and paving the way for a revolution in hypersonic flight and space access.

The precooler heat exchanger is a vital component of the revolutionary SABRE air-breathing rocket engine, on which Reaction Engines is working in collaboration with companies including BAE Systems, and is an enabling technology for other precooled propulsion systems and a range of commercial applications.

This ground-based test achieved the highest temperature objective of the Company’s HTX testing programme and took place at its specially constructed unique facility at the Colorado Air and Space Port, United States.

During the latest series of tests, Reaction Engines’ unique precooler successfully quenched airflow temperatures in excess of 1,000°C (~1,800°F) in less than 1/20th of a second. The tests demonstrated the precooler’s ability to successfully cool airflow at speeds significantly in excess of the operational limit of any jet-engine powered aircraft in history. Mach 5 is more than twice as fast as the cruising speed of Concorde and over 50% faster than the SR-71 Blackbird aircraft – the world’s fastest jet-engine powered aircraft.

This most recent test builds upon the success of previous HTX hot tests undertaken in April which saw the precooler successfully operate at temperatures of 420ᵒC (~788ᵒF) – matching the thermal conditions corresponding to Mach 3.3 flight.

Mark Thomas, Chief Executive, Reaction Engines, said: “This is a major moment in the development of a breakthrough aerospace technology which has seen Reaction Engines’ precooler tested at Mach 5 airflow temperature conditions, smashing through previous achievements at Mach 3.3 temperatures and paving the way for hypersonic flight. In addition to its use in our SABRE class of air breathing rocket engines, there are numerous exciting commercial applications for our precooler technology, which delivers world-leading heat transfer capabilities at low weight and compact size, and we are seeing significant interest from a range of potential customers and technology partners.”

Investment

Over the last four years Reaction Engines has raised over £100m from public and private sources and has secured investment from companies including BAE Systems.

In 2015, it was announced that BAE Systems had made a strategic investment in Reaction Engines and committed to a working collaboration to accelerate the development of the SABRE engine.

This partnership was designed to draw on BAE Systems’ extensive aerospace technology development and project management expertise to provide Reaction Engines with access to critical industrial, technical and capital resources to progress towards the demonstration of a ground-based engine – a key milestone in the development of the technology.

Phil Varty, Industrial Strategy Manager for BAE Systems Air, said: “Working together with Reaction Engines, we’re pushing technological boundaries to develop the SABRE air breathing rocket engine, an engine which could revolutionise hypersonic flight and space access. The precooler heat exchanger is an enabling technology that we also have a real interest in for a number of other defence and commercial applications, including future combat aircraft and maritime vessels.

“These latest trials demonstrate what can be achieved when we bring together the boldest and brightest minds from across the UK industry together. Our engineers have brought expertise in simulation, modelling and test & evaluation to the programme and we continue to work closely with Reaction Engines through the placement of graduates across both companies, exploiting the very best in small company thinking and large company experience.”

Reaction Engines’ patented precooler heat exchanger has the potential to be used in a wide range of commercial thermal management applications. These include the development of precooled systems that would significantly enhance the performance of existing jet engine technology, along with applications in automotive, aerospace, energy and industrial processes.

The HTX hot heat exchanger testing programme is a significant milestone on the roadmap to enabling transformational SABRE powered space access systems and has been keenly supported by the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and European Space Agency (ESA). In March, the two agencies reviewed and validated the preliminary design of the demonstrator engine core of SABRE, which Reaction Engines will use to undertake ground-based testing at its under-construction TF1 test facility at Westcott, Buckinghamshire, UK.

The HTX hot heat exchanger test programme was supported under a contract to the Company’s US subsidiary Reaction Engines Inc. by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The precooler test item was designed and constructed at Reaction Engines’ headquarters in the UK, before being shipped to the Company’s Colorado site for testing.

Following this significant testing milestone, the Company will embark on achieving the next steps of the SABRE programme while also pursuing nearer-term opportunities that will benefit from the addition of the Company’s heat exchanger technology.

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[*] posted on 25-10-2019 at 09:16 AM


KAI Begins Building KF-X Prototype For 2022 Flight

Oct 25, 2019

Bradley Perrett and Kim Minseok | Aviation Week & Space
Technology

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has begun building the first prototype for the KF-X fighter program, following completion of the critical design review in September. Development is running on schedule, a source close to the program says.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s defense technology organization and Hanwha have flight-tested a technology-demonstration fighter radar in cooperation with Elta Systems, while proceeding in parallel with full-scale development of the sensor for the KF-X.

- Production contract should come in 2024 for delivery in 2026
- Block 1 will have air-to-air capability only

Rollout of the first KF-X prototype is due in June 2021 and its first flight in May 2022, the source says, giving more precise timings than those that have been published.

Production of the first aircraft, a single-seater, is beginning with the forward fuselage. There will be four single-seat and two twin-seat prototypes. These aircraft will be built to the Block 1 standard, cleared for air-to-air missions only. The Block 2 will introduce air-to-surface capability. Although the KF-X is designed for eventual development of a stealthy version, the government has given no indication of when that may happen.

The first flight-test aircraft is following the strength-test airframe into manufacturing. KAI began building that static test structure in March.

South Korea requires 120 KF-Xs to replace Lockheed Martin F-16s. Indonesia is a junior partner in the program, with a reported requirement for 50 aircraft.


KAI displayed this full-scale mockup of the KF-X at the Seoul show. Credit: Bradley Perrett/AW&ST

The twin-engine fighter is powered by the General Electric F414-GE-400K turbofan generating 22,000 lb. thrust. Maximum speed will be 2,200 kph (1,370 mph), according to KAI, revealing the figure for the first time since exploratory development. Payload will be 7.7 metric tons (17,000 lb.) and ferry range 2,900 km (1,800 mi.), it says.

The air force is due in 2024 to review test results and, if satisfied, advise the defense ministry to issue a production contract, says the source. Manufacturing of delivery aircraft will then go ahead while flight testing proceeds to a targeted completion in June 2026, winding up Block 1 development about 10.5 years after program launch. Then deliveries are supposed to begin in late 2026.

KAI displayed a full-scale mockup at the Seoul Aerospace and Defense Exhibition, held on Oct. 15-19. The mockup shows no changes from the preliminary design that the air force approved in July 2018.

The KF-X is initially being designed to use the MBDA Meteor long-range and Diehl IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missiles.

Washington routinely withholds permission for integration of U.S. air-to-air missiles in the first few years of a foreign fighter program, so Seoul will seek approval for the work after the first flight, says a South Korean government source who is close to the program. The Raytheon AIM-120 medium-range and AIM-9 short-range weapons are presumably the desired weapons.

More than 1,000 engineers are working at KAI on the KF-X. One issue debated before program launch in late 2015 was whether KAI could find it had insufficient engineering resources to develop the aircraft, which has an empty weight of 12 metric tons. The first source says the problem has not arisen.

The radar demonstrator, mounted in Elta’s Boeing 737 testbed, was flown 10 times in Israel and six times in South Korea, says a researcher from the technology organization, the Agency for Defense Development (ADD).

The ADD is leading development of the radar. Officially, Hanwha is contracted for manufacturing, but officials close to this work say the company is also helping in development.

The radar program was committed to full-scale development before technology demonstration. The intended production radar passed its critical design review in May 2019. Development is due for completion in 2026, so it will be ready just as KF-X deliveries are due to begin.

The radar has an active, electronically scanned array (AESA). In 2014, before KF-X full-scale development began, the government’s Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute said it would use gallium-nitride semiconductors. It will have about 1,000 transmitter-receiver modules, local media say.

Building and testing the technology demonstrator is the first phase, which includes software for air targets. The second phase will produce software for ground and sea targets, Lee Bumseok, the head of the ADD division handling the project, said at a seminar ahead of the exhibition. This phase is due to be completed in October 2021. A prototype radar is due to be fitted in a KF-X prototype in 2023.

South Korea has not previously developed a fighter radar. It has built indigenous naval and ground radars, including some with AESAs, but its experience looked so limited that foreign companies expected one of them would provide the technological foundation for the program.

Instead, the ADD was authorized to create a fully South Korean radar. Elta is supposed to play a relatively minor supporting role, but it is clearly positioned to step up its involvement should the program run into trouble.
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[*] posted on 30-10-2019 at 09:36 AM


Defence Ministry to Seek Cabinet Nod for Prototype of Desi Stealth Jet (excerpt)

(Source: Times of India; published Oct 29, 2019)



NEW DELHI --- With the IAF now fully backing the indigenous development of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), it’s all systems go for the desi stealth jet. The defence establishment plans to seek the Cabinet Committee on Security’s approval for the detailed design and prototype development of the advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA) by early next year.

The twin-engine AMCA will basically combine advanced stealth, supercruise (the capability to achieve supersonic cruise speeds without the use of afterburners), super-manoeuverability, data fusion and multi-sensor integration with AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars.

Development of a FGFA is an extremely complex and costly affair, with the American F/A-22 Raptors and F-35 Lightning-II Joint Strike Fighters being the only fully-operational ones around the globe at present. “Both the Chinese J-20 and the Russian Sukhoi PAK-FA do not have the requisite super-cruise and stealth capabilities,” said a senior IAF officer.

DRDO, in turn, rejects widespread concern the developmental saga of the “swing-role” AMCA may go the same way as the long-delayed Tejas light combat aircraft. “The design work on AMCA began in 2009. By 2014-2015, the fighter’s configuration, in tune with IAF requirements, had been worked out. But the problem was that there was no engine,” said a scientist.

Consequently, the decision has now been taken to go in for two squadrons of AMCA Mark-I with the “available” General Electric-414 afterburning turbofan engine in the 98 Kilonewton thrust class. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Times of India website.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/defence-ministry-t...

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[*] posted on 5-11-2019 at 09:19 AM


FCAS partners report good concept-study progress, expect demonstrator phase to begin shortly

Gareth Jennings, Munich - Jane's Defence Weekly

04 November 2019


A full-scale mock-up of the New Generation Fighter concept was showcased by Dassault on the opening day of the Paris Air Show. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

France, Germany, and Spain are progressing well with the Joint Concept Study (JCS) for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de Combat Aérien Futur (SCAF) programme, and are on track to launch the demonstrator phase in the coming weeks.

Speaking on the opening day of the Airbus Defence and Space (DS) Trade Media Briefing 2019 at the company's Donauworth facility near Munich, Bruno Fichefeux, the head of the FCAS programme for Airbus DS, said that the three partners are "well on the way" with the JCS that was began in January 2019, and that the demonstrator phase is on course to begin in early 2020.

"We are now well on the way with the Joint Concept Study in what is a new chapter for European air defence. Industry submitted its offers for the first phase of the Demonstrator Phase at the Paris Air Show [in June], and this will begin in January 2020," Fichefeux said, adding that the first phase of the demonstrator phase will cover the "first pillar" New Generation Fighter (NGF) aircraft, Remote Carrier (RC) unmanned wingmen and the networked Air Combat Cloud (ACC).

Fichefeux's comments were provided as part of a wider update on the FCAS programme that Airbus DS, Dassault, and lately Indra are developing on behalf of the German, French, and Spanish governments respectively.

"FCAS is all about answering the future threat environment," Fichefeux said on 4 November, adding, "The air-defence environment will be much higher in the future than it is today, and one 'super fighter' alone cannot answer that future threat.
"
As noted by Fichefeux, rather than focusing on developing a 'super fighter', the answer instead is to develop a system of systems with the NGF aircraft and supporting RC unmanned loyal-wingmen at its core.

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[*] posted on 6-11-2019 at 09:24 AM


Airbus reveals LOUT unmanned stealth testbed for Germany

Gareth Jennings, Manching, Germany - Jane's International Defence Review

05 November 2019


The LOUT had been in development since 2007 and was shown to reporters for the first time on 5 November. Source: Airbus

Airbus has revealed a stealth unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) demonstrator aircraft that it has been developing in secret for over a decade.

The Low Observable UAV Testbed (LOUT) was shown to reporters for the first time on 5 November during the company's annual Trade Media Briefing at Manching in southern Germany.

Speaking at the unveiling of what remains a classified programme for the German government, Mario Hertzog, German Low Observable (LO) Demonstrator Head, noted the secrecy of the project before providing as much detail as he was permitted.

"Nobody is aware of what we have been doing here - this is a classified project that was started as long ago as 2007. The development contract was awarded in 2010, and the LOUT has been developed in Manching and Bremen in a Skunk Works approach," Hertzog said.

Shown to reporters in an anechoic chamber, the LOUT is designed to be a subsonic diamond-shaped LO vehicle that measures 12 m x 12 m (approximately the same size as the BAE Systems Taranis UAV demonstrator from the UK) and weighs four tons. It is designed to offer visual, acoustic, radar, and infrared stealth against ground-based threats, indicating that a potential strike role for the technologies is being developed and tested.

The aircraft features an internal weapons bay and all-aspect stealth design features, including radar-absorbing materials, low-radar cross section (RCS) engine inlets, structural cooling technologies, minimised gaps between surfaces, and unspecified LO coatings. With the LOUT optimised to be stealthy against ground-based threats, the intakes are mounted on top of the aircraft.

The LOUT also featured a canopy, although Hertzog noted that this was to test the LO properties of the transparency itself for sensor and other applications, rather than to indicate any manned capability for the aircraft.

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[*] posted on 6-11-2019 at 09:41 AM


PICTURES: Airbus reveals classified LOUT stealth testbed

05 November, 2019 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Craig Hoyle

Airbus Defence & Space has revealed a more than decade-long research and demonstration effort into very low observable (LO) technologies, conducted as a classified effort for the German defence ministry.

Showing its LO UAV testbed – or LOUT – platform at Manching on 4 November, Airbus future combat air system (FCAS) programme manager Mario Hertzog said the company began initial concept work in 2007. This led to a contract award in 2010 to refine configuration and material choices, and the production of a diamond planform demonstrator was completed in 2014.


Airbus

Pointing to the company’s long involvement with LO reseach, Hertzog says: “Bringing all our experience into one programme was a logical conclusion.”

The chosen configuration used for aerodynamic and anechoic chamber testing since 2014 has a roughly 12m (39.3ft) wingspan and similar length, and is described as a 4t-class vehicle. The subsonic design would use a conventional engine concealed behind a diverterless inlet, and has twin intakes blended into its upper fuselage. A cockpit transparency and sensor apertures also formed part of the testing.

The aircraft's exhaust nozzle also is shielded from beneath, with Hertzog noting that such a vehicle would be optimised for use against ground-based air-defence systems. This mission requirement also led the company to hone LO techniques for the vehicle’s landing gear doors and centerline internal weapons bay, Hertzog notes.


Airbus

Focus areas have included testing LO materials, including a radar absorbent structure for engine intake ducts, and on assessing radar frequency and infrared signature performance. Modelling work has also been conducted to analyse the likely acoustic characteristics of such a design.

Airbus confirms that it has completed contracted work on LOUT, but says additional activities could be conducted. However, Hertzog declines to say whether Berlin could seek a flight-test campaign with such a system.

Lessons learned from the LOUT programme will be available for potential adaptation during a long-term evolution activity on the Eurofighter Typhoon, and on a proposed French-German-Spanish FCAS development, Hertzog says.

"Stealth is and will remain an enabler for survivability," he notes.


Airbus
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[*] posted on 6-11-2019 at 11:52 AM


Low Observable UAV Testbed (LOUT) prototype page at 'The Drive'.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/30845/airbuss-secret-s...
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[*] posted on 7-11-2019 at 10:45 PM


Japan to launch Future Fighter Development Office

Jon Grevatt, Bangkok - Jane's Defence Weekly

07 November 2019

Japan’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) has confirmed plans to establish in the next few months a dedication division to support the development of a next-generation fighter aircraft.

A spokesperson from ATLA – an agency under the Ministry of Defense (MoD) – told Jane’s the Future Fighter Development Office will be formed from April 2020 and will be responsible for “specific duties related to the development of future fighter aircraft”.

These include, he said, technical investigations, budget execution, information security issues, and the control of intellectual property. The spokesperson also confirmed that the new office will be focused on supporting a Japan-led fighter aircraft project with foreign participation.

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[*] posted on 13-11-2019 at 09:11 AM


FCAS partners defining concepts and capabilities ahead of demo phase

Gareth Jennings, Berlin - Jane's International Defence Review

12 November 2019


A full-scale mock-up of the New Generation Fighter concept was showcased by Dassault on the opening day of the Paris Air Show. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

France, Germany, and Spain are looking to define the nature of the first tranche of capabilities and platforms to be developed for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de Combat Aérien Futur (SCAF) programme as they prepare to launch the demonstrator phase in the coming weeks.

Speaking at the IQPC International Fighter Conference in Berlin on 12 November, Major General Jean-Pascal Breton, French programme lead FCAS/SCAF, said that with the first tranche (or first pillar, as it is also known) of the upcoming demonstrator phase covering the New Generation Fighter (NGF) aircraft, Remote Carrier (RC) unmanned wingmen, and the networked Air Combat Cloud (ACC), the partners are evaluating a number of potential configurations for the manned fighter and its accompanying 'loyal wingmen'.

"We have three NGF and as many as 10 RC concepts that we are looking at," Gen Breton said, adding that the issues being explored cover questions of a single- or twin-seat for the manned fighter, down to the roles and capabilities of the RCs.

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[*] posted on 14-11-2019 at 09:28 AM


Korea's 4.5-Generation Fighter KF-X Targets Southeast Asian Market (excerpt)

(Source: Korea Times; published Nov. 12, 2019)

By Jung Da-min

SACHEON, South Korea --- A joint fighter jet development project between South Korea and Indonesia, widely known as the KF-X or Korean Fighter eXperimental aircraft project, has a great potential in the Southeast Asian market with its low price.

The KF-X fighter jet is a 4.5-generation fighter jet whose "stealth" technologies fall behind those of fifth-generation fighters like the U.S.' F-35s or F-22s. The KF-X, however, has a great price advantage with 65 percent of its parts localized.

The project is going smoothly, an official with the Korean Aerospace Industries said Tuesday, during a presentation of the project review for reporters visiting the company headquarters in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province. The South Korean government contracted the KAI in December 2015 to complete the development of KF-X by 2028.

If successfully developed, the KF-X would be a platform targeting the Southeast Asian markets, industry watchers say, as the operating expenses for a KF-X jet are around half of those of the U.S. F-35A.

The KF-X project is the biggest project since the foundation of the South Korean military with its total budget being about 8.8 trillion won ($7.56 billion). The South Korean and Indonesian governments cover 60 percent and 20 percent of the budget, respectively, while South Korean defense companies make 20 percent of contribution.

The 14-year project that began in 2015 is divided into two phases, with the systems development for the basic flight performance and air-to-air combat capability to be completed by 2026, followed by additional armaments for air-to-surface combat capabilities by 2028.

With the critical design review for the KF-X conducted September this year, following the preliminary design review in June 2018, the first KF-X fighter jet prototype is set to be rolled out in the first half of 2021. The first test flight will be conducted a year later. After 2,100 test flights set to be completed by the first half of 2026, the KAI will produce six of the first KF-X fighter jets that year.

The South Korean government unveiled a full-sized mock-up of the KF-X during the International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX), the country's biennial defense exhibition held Oct. 15 to 20. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Korea Times website.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2019/11/205_278613.ht...

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[*] posted on 15-11-2019 at 01:09 PM


Germany scrambles to secure funding for next-gen fighter research contracts

By: Sebastian Sprenger   5 hours ago

Money for the next phase of the FCAS program is due in January — about $83 million each from Germany, France and Spain. (Benoit Tessier/AFP via Getty Images)

BERLIN — German defense officials are scrambling to line up parliamentary approval for the next wave of research contracts in the tri-national Future Combat Air System program.

The next phase is slated to begin in January, but German officials said they are still working to finalize contracts with an industry consortium led by Airbus and Dassault. Given that the proposed deals will have to be cleared by the Defence and Budget committees of the Bundestag, that could make for some dicey timing.

“We’ll be cutting it close,” Col. Jörg Rauber, branch chief of the FCAS planning office at the Defence Ministry, told Defense News at the International Fighter Conference in Berlin on Tuesday. He said the plan is to submit the proposal to lawmakers for consideration shortly before Christmas.

Berlin owes €75 million (U.S. $83 million) for the upcoming studies, with the same amounts coming each from France and Spain. The €225 million total package is slated to fund work on the airframe and cockpit design of the next-generation fighter, which is the manned aircraft at the center of the futuristic program. Additional analyses are devoted to the aircraft’s engine, a communications architecture for connecting all elements of the program, very low observability, remote carriers and sensors.

Officials have pumped the brakes on two of the study areas for now — very low observability and sensors — pending the conclusion of a two-year joint concept study, signed in February 2019. That is because officials want to first see sensor integration efforts play out on a European level, and because there are differing opinions regarding the application of very low observability, or a high degree of stealth, in the program, Rauber said.

For example, it might be possible to focus stealth efforts on a particular type of remote carrier, or drone, rather than aiming to make the manned aircraft as stealthy as possible, he explained.

For the French, however, the stealth calculus entails the potential development of a separate, larger combat drone. If the FCAS main fighter is stealthy enough, Paris might forgo the development of such a platform, Maj. Gen. Jean-Pascal Breton, the program lead for the French Air Force, told reporters.

Awarding two research contracts at a later time, rather than along with the January 2020 batch, would still keep the schedule of producing a flyable demonstrator by 2026 on track, according to Rauber.

The FCAS weapon, envisioned as a collection of aircraft, drones, sensors, data links and a “combat cloud” tying it all together, is the designated replacement for Germany's Eurofighter and France's Rafale fleets. Slated to fly by 2040, officials at the conference here presented the image of a program that is just now starting to come together conceptually.

“It’s still, in a way, crystal ball-looking,” said Bruno Fichefeux, the program lead at Airbus.

French and German officials — there was no Spanish representative at the conference — stressed the need for connectivity between the different program elements. If connectivity can be engineered into the program to a sufficient degree, then that would somehow avoid having to fork the design early on to accommodate partner nations’ diverging requirements, the thinking goes.

For example, Breton and Rauber said the French requirement for carrier-based operations, which Germany does not need, can be managed under a common umbrella as long as key elements like propulsion and landing gear are designed to be interchangeable depending on the mission at hand.

According to Rauber, Germany isn’t altogether opposed to having carrier-capable versions of the future plane in its own ranks. Given the bilateral pledge to deepen military cooperation, there is a possibility that German planes could one day be stationed on French ships, he told Defense News.
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[*] posted on 23-11-2019 at 10:38 AM


South Korea to integrate MBDA’s Meteor missile onto KF-X fighter aircraft

Posted On Friday, 22 November 2019 14:33

MBDA has been awarded a contract from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for the integration of the Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile onto the KF-X future Korean fighter aircraft.


KF-X mock-up showcased at ADEX 2019 (Picture source: Chen Chuanren)

The KAI KF-X, also known as IA IF-X in Indonesia, is a joint South Korean and Indonesian fighter aircraft development program, intending to develop an advanced multirole fighter for the Republic of Korea Air Force and Indonesian Air Force. The initial operational requirements for the KF-X/IF-X program as stated by South Korea's Agency for Defence Development were to develop a single-seat, twin-engine jet with stealth capabilities beyond both the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon, but not as stealthy as the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.

Powered by two GE Aviation F414 engines, the KF-X will conduct its debut sortie in the first half of 2022, with operational deployment planned for 2026.

Meteor is the world's most advanced air-to-air missile and has a unique ramjet propulsion system that allows it to fly further and faster than any other air-to-air missile allowing it to defeat manoeuvring targets even at extreme ranges.

The contract includes integration support to KAI, transfer of know-how and manufacture of test equipment for the KF-X integration and trials campaign.


Meteor air-to-air missile (Picture source: MBDA)

Éric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, said: “We’re very pleased to mark this next and important step in our partnership with KAI and the Korean Defence Acquisition Program Administration. South Korea is a strategic market for MBDA, and we’re proud that Meteor will be providing KF-X with the world’s most potent air-to-air capability.”
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[*] posted on 26-11-2019 at 06:32 PM


​PICTURE: MBDA contracted to integrate Meteor on KF-X

26 November, 2019 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Greg Waldron Singapore

Korea Aerospace Industries has awarded MBDA a contract to integrate the Meteor air-to-air missile on the developmental KF-X fighter.

The contract includes integration support of the beyond visual range (BVR) weapon, test equipment, knowledge transfer, and a trial campaign, says MBDA. It gave no amount for the contract, and did not disclose the time period the contract covers.

Éric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, said: “We’re very pleased to mark this next and important step in our partnership with KAI and the Korean Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA),” says MBDA chief executive Eric Beranger.


An artist impression of KF-X with four Meteors across the jet's belly stations.
KAI

“South Korea is a strategic market for MBDA, and we’re proud that Meteor will be providing KF-X with the world’s most potent air-to-air capability.”

Production of the first KF-X prototype is planned to commence in 2021 with a first flight planned in 2022.
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[*] posted on 30-11-2019 at 04:22 PM


Japan Could Pick And Choose Components From Tempest

Nov 29, 2019

Bradley Perrett | Aviation Week & Space Technology

Japan says it wants international collaboration in developing its Future Fighter for the 2030s, but it wants to lead the project despite limited experience in fighter development. And it aims at a fighter much larger than any operated by a western European country ; the U.S. is not offering a possible joint project.

That seems to leave only the choice of indigenous development, perhaps with help from a foreign technical partner.

- Program flexibility offers a path to Japanese participation
- Even the airframe could be different

Nevertheless, participation in the UK’s Tempest program may also be feasible. The Tempest project—which includes the Royal Air Force, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and MBDA—has a cooperation concept that leaves scope for Japan and other partners to use their own systems, weapons, propulsion and even airframes, says Air Commodore Daniel Storr, head of combat aircraft acquisition at the UK Defense Ministry.

The model described by Storr gives Japan the flexibility to choose the size of its own fighter. Though evidently not an objective, this mix-and-match approach also creates an opportunity for Japan to continue to claim development leadership—but also to save money by sharing systems.

The policy goal of running its own fighter program, stated in 2018, has looked like a big obstacle to Japan’s participation in the Tempest or the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) project initiated by France and Germany. But if the Future Fighter shared only some features with Tempest, Japan could reasonably say it was leading its own program.

BAE Systems promoted the Tempest program at the DSEI Japan exhibition held in Tokyo fromNov. 18-20. Prospective FCAS prime contractors, such as Airbus, did not show their concept. Storr outlined the flexible model of cooperative development at an exhibition conference, but Japanese speakers at that event did not comment on the prospect of Japan joining Tempest.

In a Nov. 1 interview with The Financial Times, newly appointed Defense Minister Taro Kono seemed to play down the possibility of participation in a European program, saying Japan should explore all possibilities but needed to maintain interoperability with U.S. forces. Storr addressed that point, emphasizing that working with the U.S. was a high priority for the UK too.

Japan’s alternative to international cooperation is developing a fighter by itself with the technical help of a foreign company. Lockheed Martin is supporting the Korea Aerospace Industries KF-X and BAE is helping the Turkish Aerospace Industries TF-X in such an arrangement.

By working with Lockheed Martin, Boeing or Northrop Grumman, Tokyo would partially compensate the U.S. for its expenditures in defending Japan. But the U.S. would gain little from technical support fees, and Japan is already committed to buying 147 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightnings as the aircraft to precede the Future Fighters.

The defense ministry has asked for the development of the Future Fighter to be launched in the fiscal year beginning April 2020. It is not clear whether that means mobilizing resources to commence full-scale development or taking some lesser step to firm up the commitment to create the aircraft.


BAE Systems exhibited this Tempest model at DSEI Japan. Credit: Bradley Perrett/AW&ST

For the past year, the government’s policy has been to launch no later than March 2024. However, Japanese companies, especially fighter builder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), are pushing for a launch as soon as possible. They want to transfer knowledge to young engineers from the older generation that developed Japan’s last fighter, the MHI F-2, which the Future Fighter will replace.

The UK does not want to commit to launching full-scale development of the Tempest before 2025, but its date for entry into service in 2035 meets Japan’s objective, which is sometime in the 2030s. Meanwhile, the FCAS program is aiming at 2040.

Sweden and Italy are cooperating with the UK during the current early stage of Tempest research, while Spain has joined France and Germany for FCAS work.

Like Storr, BAE has stressed the advantages of partners taking only as much of the Tempest as they want. “There is a range of different partnership models that can be considered,” says Andy Latham, who is working on the program. “Japan has some great technology that any partner can benefit from. Their avionics industry is pretty effective.”

The cooperation concept replaces the standard model, one in which partners spend years negotiating and compromising to define a design that all of them must accept. Instead, according to Storr, they can save time and money by agreeing to disagree—to the extent that each is willing to pay the extra cost of independent development and manufacturing of design elements.

The Japanese defense ministry’s studies point to a need for a very big fighter with an empty weight well above 20 metric tons (40,000 lb.), larger than the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. Superior endurance and internal weapon capacity are the key factors behind this choice.

No western European country has operated a fighter more than about two-thirds as big, but Storr said a large configuration for the Tempest cannot be ruled out. The mockup exhibited at the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow was bigger than the F-22.

Still, the UK and other European partners might want a much smaller fighter; concept designs that have not been shown are not as big as the mockup. But the concept for cooperation would allow for Japan to devise its own airframe while, for example, using the same engine and some weapons, software and avionics as other partners. The architecture of the software is intended to be open, accepting different programs easily.

Tempest researchers will consider which systems and capabilities will go into the fighter and which will be incorporated into the ammunition or an accompanying drone, which could be fully reusable or optionally expendable, Storr says. The FCAS program is taking a similar approach.

The Tempest will need great capacity for generating electricity, he says, and the weapon bay should be regarded as a payload bay, perhaps for holding additional fuel that would extend endurance on surveillance missions.

The Japanese finance ministry is insisting upon private investment in the Future Fighter program, in part to ensure contractors are fully incentivized to prevent failure. Contractors will be able to make money in civil programs from technology developed for the fighter, says the ministry, which is highly influential but does not have a final say.

“Judging from past program examples, it is clear that the Future Fighter program would bring a risk of a budget overrun and schedule slippage, but would also benefit the private sector,” the finance ministry said in an October presentation to the Council on Fiscal Policy, an advisory body.

“The government and private sector should invest funds and resources to build a failure-proof framework.”

Noting that MHI used technology from the F-2 program in its development and manufacturing of the outer wing boxes of the Boeing 787, the ministry says contractors can expect to gain similar opportunities for civil applications of technology from the Future Fighter program—so they should invest in it.
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[*] posted on 4-12-2019 at 12:33 PM


Safran, MTU agree framework for future fighter engine

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

03 December 2019

Safran and MTU have agreed details on the development of a next-generation aircraft engine to power the New Generation Fighter (NGF) for France, Germany and Spain.


A model of the Next European Fighter Engine / New European Engine being developed by Safran and MTU for the FCAS / SCAF New Generation Fighter displayed at the Paris Air Show 2019. (Jane's/Gareth Jennings)

The agreement, announced on 3 December, sees Safran Aircraft Engines of France and MTU Aero Engines of Germany settle the details of the engine development programme for the NGF component of the wider Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/ Système de Combat Aérien Futur (SCAF). This builds on the letter of intent (LOI) signed between the two companies in February 2019, which specified that Safran would take the lead in engine design and integration, with MTU leading engine services.

“In the framework of the contractual scheme defined by France and Germany, Safran Aircraft Engines will be the prime contractor and MTU Aero Engines the main partner for the first phase of Research and Technology (Phase 1A),” the companies said, adding that the two partners had also agreed on the foundation of a 50/50 joint venture that will be incorporated by the end of 2021 to manage the development, production, and the after-sales support activities of the new engine to power the NGF.

Known as both the Next European Fighter Engine (NEFE) and the New European Engine (NEE), the NGF powerplant is one of a number of core FCAS/SCAF elements to be covered in the first demonstration phase that is set to be launched in January 2020. The NEFE/NEE powerplant is included in the NGF itself, with the two other core elements comprising the Remote Carrier (RC) loyal wingmen and the Air Combat Cloud (ACC). This first phase should see an NGF demonstrator flying in concert with an RC (the combination of which is known as the Next-Generation Weapon System [NGWS]) while networked together in the ACC by the end of 2026.

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[*] posted on 5-12-2019 at 09:03 AM


Saab flies first series-production Gripen E for Sweden

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

04 December 2019


The first series-production Gripen E for Sweden, aircraft 6002, flew in a new splinter tri-tone grey camouflage pattern reminiscent of the Swedish Air Force’s green and brown scheme from the Cold War. Source: Saab/Marcus Wandt

Saab has flown the first series-production Gripen E aircraft for Sweden, the company announced on 3 December.

An image of aircraft 6002 flying in a new splinter tri-tone grey camouflage pattern reminiscent of the Swedish Air Force's (SwAF's) green and brown scheme from the Cold War was released by the company.

While 6002 was shown with SwAF roundels, a Saab representative was unable to say if it is the first aircraft that will be delivered to the service. This particular airframe might go to the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for testing, and might remain with the organisation rather than being subsequently handed over to the SwAF. Saab also has three flying Gripen E prototypes in aircraft 39-8, 39-9 and 39-10, and it is unclear if some or all of these will remain Saab assets or if they will be refurbished and delivered to the SwAF/FMV ahead of 6002.

Sweden is due to receive the first of 60 Gripen Es before the end of the year, with deliveries running through to 2026. The only international customer to date, Brazil, has ordered an initial batch of 28 Gripen Es and eight twin-seat Gripen Fs to be delivered between 2021 and 2024. Both countries have left open the option for further procurements.

In terms of the wider production programme, manufacture of the first serial-standard aircraft began at Linköping in January. While similar concurrent testing and production has caused problems for other programmes, Eddy De La Motte, vice-president and head of Gripen E/F, said in June that he was not concerned that the Gripen E/F effort would encounter the same issues. "We have de-risked that element of the programme," he said. The line at Linköping is geared to turn out 24 aircraft per year.

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[*] posted on 10-12-2019 at 06:48 PM


Russia’s Su-57 Fifth-Generation Fighter Performs 16 Test Flights with New 2nd Stage Engine

(Source: TASS; published Dec. 06, 2019)

RYBINSK, Russia --- Russia’s state hi-tech corporation Rostec has conducted 16 flights of the fifth-generation Su-57 fighter jet to test its new 2nd stage engine, Rostec Aviation Cluster Industrial Director Anatoly Serdyukov said on Friday.

"Currently, the engineering bench tests of the advanced engine continue and the item is being tested on a flying laboratory. In October, another flight was performed to check the item’s characteristics in various flight modes, specifically, the operation of the vectoring jet nozzle and the oil system at negative overloads. Overall, 16 flights on a flying laboratory were performed," Serdyukov reported.

The Su-57 with the second stage engine known as Item 30 performed its debut flight in December 2017. The engine will get a fully electronic automatic control system and ensure the fighter’s super-maneuverability, thrust-to-weight ratio, stealth characteristics and the ability to perform cruising flights at supersonic speed.

The fifth-generation Su-57 fighter is designated to destroy all types of air, ground and naval targets. The aircraft develops supersonic cruising speed, carries armament inside its fuselage, features stealth coating and the latest onboard equipment.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 11-12-2019 at 12:01 AM


Huh. Thought the first engine was already perfect?



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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