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International Aerospace Discussion

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 09 Jul 2017 02:31

-83 uses the third generation T/R modules while the ones on the block 60 -80s are no longer in production (those were NG 1st Gen. GaAs T/R Modules). There are processor differences with the -83 incorporating more technological advancements since it is a newer sensor. The primary and the most important difference is that the SABR has software commonality (its been mentioned that 95% of the software on the SABR is taken from the JSF developmental effort) with the F-35's, AN/APG-81 which allows them to utilize that software development program and port over capability as and when it matures. Big SAR will be something that will be brought into the fold in the near term and Electronic Attack likely too if there is enough cooling in there to support that. SABR is also scalable as its name suggests and there are two variants one smaller one for the F-16, and a larger Global Strike variant, with a larger antenna for the B-1B.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 09 Jul 2017 17:34

Good demonstration of production ramp up though still in Low Rate production - LRIP -9 57 Aircraft --> LRIP-10 - 90 Aircraft (current aircraft being delivered are from this production lot), and ---> LRIP-11 - 141 aircraft. The number will stabilize somewhat in Production Lots 12 and 13 with 147 aircraft and 156 aircraft produced. There is likely to be one more production ramp around Lot 15 when they move to 160-180 aircraft per year if not more.

Lockheed gets $5.6B for work on next batch of F-35s


WASHINGTON — The Defense Department has awarded Lockheed Martin a $5.6 billion undefinitized contract that will allow the company to continue work on the eleventh lot of F-35s.

The F-35 joint program office still intends wrap up negotiations on a final contract by the end of the year, but making an interim award was necessary because of “complex production lines and supply chain dynamics,” JPO spokesman Joe DellaVedova said in an emailed statement to reporters.

The award immediately obligates a combined $4.49 billion from the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps for work on 91 aircraft. A $2.28 billion payment to Lockheed from international customers is expected later this month for an additional 50 aircraft.

The JPO is also engaged in ongoing negotiations with Pratt & Whitney, which supplies the joint strike fighter’s F135 engine, and plans to finalize a deal by the end of the year. The program office regularly issues separate contracts for the F-35 airframes and engines.

“Final aircraft prices for each customer's variant will be determined upon final negotiations targeted for the end of this year. We are confident that the final negotiated Lot 11 aircraft unit prices will be less than Lot 10,” DellaVedova stated.

Lot 11 deliveries are anticipated to run from 2019 to 2020.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 09 Jul 2017 21:31

Thank you brar for explaining the differences between the two radar sets. The reason I asked is because the F-16 Block 62 lost out to the Gripen NG in the Brazilian fighter aircraft competition. I just wanted to know why, but I do not believe it has anything to do with the AN/APG-80.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 09 Jul 2017 21:51

The Gripen-E is a superior platform but then it also packs a bunch of untested technology and it itself has just begun its FTP which will take some years to finish. There is a cost to pay for all that technology and this will be reflected in its sticker price. The Block60 too did this during its development in the early 2000s but it was funded by the UAE and they were willing to take the risk on cost and schedule that comes from building a completely new radar set, and a completely new digital EW suite among other things. The F-16V/70/72 on the other hand packages basically stuff that has been developed for USAF upgrades and most of the other stuff on LMAs brochure is already operational.

As far as radar is concerned, I wouldn't be surprised if UAE opts to remove the AN/APG-80s and put in the SABRs close to their mid life upgrades. As I had mentioned in the other thread, the SABR has over 200 confirmed orders and all of those will be delivered well before 2022. Expect it to secure 100-200 more orders with the USAF and other export customers. Software commonality will alone save the UAE a ton of money in creating upgraded configurations and adding modes. All B-1s are likely to get it as well.

Below is the bigger version of it. This one like the PESA it replaces, could be gimbaled.

Image

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby abhik » 10 Jul 2017 00:09

Do we have any idea on how much the flyaway cost of a F-16V/70 could be?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 10 Jul 2017 00:17

$45 - $50 million just for the aircraft. I think srai came up with a different and higher number.

By the time you add simulators, weapons, spares, factory and repair facility....the unit cost will jump up significantly. But I do not see how that is an accurate cost, because if a follow on order comes...the unit price will be lower than the first order.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 10 Jul 2017 01:34

If I were to venture a guess, it would be b/w $70 Million and $100 Million Procurement Unit Cost (Aircraft, Sub-systems, Engine, MII investment, logistics and customizations) for the F-16V under MII. Weapons extra but then if you go for a US suite it will be nowhere near what one would pay for European ones. This with a decent production rate of between 24-36 aircraft a year at its peak. Under the MMRCA terms this would have been $10-$12 Billion for the 126 Aircraft or roughly half the PUC of the Rafale given that it is technologically more advanced, larger and more costly. Gripen-E could very easily be 30-50% more.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 10 Jul 2017 18:05

361st EATKS Predator Flies Final Combat Mission in CENTCOM


An MQ-1B Predator flew the aircraft’s final flight within the US Central Command area of responsibility on July 1. The 361st Expeditionary Attack Squadron flew the last mission and held a ceremony the next day for the RPA that ushered the US military into the era of unmanned aerial warfare. In the past 18 months, the 361st EATKS has flown the MQ-1 on more than 2,000 combat missions, covering 36,000 flight hours, and fired 358 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles in the counter-ISIS fight. “The predator has been a workhorse in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the fight against ISIS,” said Lt. Col. Douglas, 361st EATKS commander in a press release. “When you see the results everyday on the battlefield, it’s unfathomable at times.” The Air Force is working to retire the whole MQ-1 fleet by 2018. Stateside bases like Creech AFB, Nev., and Holloman AFB, N.M. have already ended their Predator missions. The platform is being replaced by the more capable MQ-9, which the Air Force has been flying for ten years. “The MQ-1 was a great capability, but the MQ-9 brings extra speed, weapons, and a better sensor package,” Douglas said

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 10 Jul 2017 20:35

While we often hear about the outcomes and events and milestones achieved from a safety perspective the Flight Test community absorbs a lot of risk as it opens up the envelope on a new supersonic fighter program. The video below illustrates some of this from the JSF FTD program which is essentially 3 flight-test programs rolled into one -


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 11 Jul 2017 15:23

Just a dozen dedicated Growlers for them but they have paid extra to wire their last 12 F-18Fs to support the Growler configuration so that they can be easily converted to EA-18Gs once they receive all of their F-35As.

Australia poised to join US on Next Generation Jammer



Australia is nearing an agreement to join the US Navy's (USN's) AN/ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer-Medium Band (NGJ-MB) programme as it seeks to 'future proof' its new EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack capability.

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) confirmed on 5 July that representatives from the Australian Department of Defence are negotiating with NAVAIR's Airborne Electronic Attack Systems and EA-6B Program Office (PMA-234) and the Navy International Programs Office (Navy IPO) to come on board with the NGC-MB development, previously known as NGJ Increment 1.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is acquiring 12 EA-18G Growler aircraft under Project Air 5349 Phase 3, with initial operating capability planned for mid-2018. The aircraft will enter service with the same AN/ALQ-99 tactical jamming system currently equipping the USN's EA-18G Growlers.

Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems was awarded a USD1 billion contract by PMA-234 in April 2016 for engineering and manufacturing development of the NGJ-MB electronic attack pod as a replacement for ALQ-99 from 2021. Intended to provide the EA-18G with enhanced airborne electronic attack (EA) capabilities to disrupt and degrade enemy air defence and ground communication systems, the system represents a step change from ALQ-99 in terms of its software-based digital architecture, and use of high power active electronically scanned arrays based on gallium nitride technology.

PMA-234 completed a Critical Design Review (CDR) for the NGJ-MB in late April 2017. The CDR confirmed the maturity of the design and approved the fabrication and assembly of test articles.

Australian defence minister Marise Payne announced in March that Australia would invest AUD250 million (USD190 million) to partner with the United States on NGJ development and future proof the Growler's capability.

"As this is a rapidly evolving area we will work in partnership with the United States Navy to develop the next-generation jamming capability, which will ensure that these aircraft remain at the technological forefront throughout their service life," said Payne.

According to NAVAIR, during a Cooperative Partnership week in mid-June the RAAF "had an opportunity to gain insight into the current status of the NGJ-MB programme, in anticipation of formally entering a co-operative project later this year". It added that the agreement "will solidify both governments' intent to establish the joint programme office and mature the electronic warfare capability together".

In a separate development, NAVAIR has revealed that what was NGJ Increment 2 - now termed NGJ-LB [Low Band] - is to be the subject of a competitive Demonstration of Existing Technologies (DET) phase for which a broad agency announcement is expected in late Fiscal Year (FY) 2017/early FY 2018.

NAVAIR plans to award up to three DET contracts to inform its understanding with regard to existing antenna and amplifier technologies. This is intended to support approval for the NGJ-LB programme to enter the acquisition cycle at Milestone B.

The RAAF expects to achieve Final Operational Capability with the EA-18G Growler in mid-2022. Australia's latest Defence White Paper, released in February 2016, said that the RAAF's EA-18G fleet would "be periodically upgraded over their operational lives to maintain commonality with the Growler fleet operated by the United States".


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 12 Jul 2017 00:56

Red Flag 17-3-

Image

Image

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Lisa » 12 Jul 2017 22:12

Deleted
Last edited by Lisa on 12 Jul 2017 23:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby neeraj » 12 Jul 2017 23:05

^^^^^^
We should not be giving them link love. Please delete the post

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 13 Jul 2017 00:29

brar: nice pics! what is the reason for the F-35 to not have a clear canopy like the F-16 and F-22?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 13 Jul 2017 02:33

Rakesh wrote:brar: nice pics! what is the reason for the F-35 to not have a clear canopy like the F-16 and F-22?


For affordability reasons they did not bother designing a different canopy and escape systems for the USAF and the DON beyond minor adjustments to the same basic concept. The latter wanted quick and rapid ejection for STOVL and CV ops (plus under water), so wanted a detonation cord which meant a two piece canopy with different material properties. The front piece is stronger to survive bird-strikes. The F-16, and F-22 have thick single piece canopies that are jettisoned upon engaging the ejection sequence. The Navy also wanted to be able to remove the ejection seat on a ship without removing the canopy which meant that the canopy opens the opposite way. Since it was much simpler and lower cost for the USAF to accommodate DON requirements they stuck to a common design.

Image


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 14 Jul 2017 01:30

France and Germany to develop new joint fighter jet
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/art ... 579918.cms

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 14 Jul 2017 01:39

They could do well with this if they play the technology card right. With the USAF PCA looking increasingly like a 30000 kg empty weight aircraft its export prospects would be practically nil beyond a handful of nations. If they can get a 5.5 gen aircraft out by 2035 they can look at the broader typhoon and rafale market plus as a complementary aircraft for F35 partners.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Viv S » 14 Jul 2017 03:57

brar_w wrote:They could do well with this if they play the technology card right. With the USAF PCA looking increasingly like a 30000 kg empty weight aircraft its export prospects would be practically nil beyond a handful of nations. If they can get a 5.5 gen aircraft out by 2035 they can look at the broader typhoon and rafale market plus as a complementary aircraft for F35 partners.

Doubt it. Everyone and their aunt has already signed up to the F-35 and most F-35 operators don't have space in their inventory for a second type. Turkey, India & South Korea have their own program running in the same time-frame.

That leaves the Middle Eastern states which are unlikely to remain the kind of captive market that France enjoyed in the past. The program will need to fight off competition from the Russians (PAK FA), Chinese (J-20, J-31) & Americans (F-35X) without the cost advantage of scale. The Koreans (KF-X) & Japanese (F-3) could further complicate the equation.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 14 Jul 2017 04:06

I was speaking specifically of the Typhoon and Rafale market and the Joint Typhoon and F-35 operators for starters. How many of them wish to have a capable air-force in the 2030s remains to be seen but the French and German air-forces are a good start for a program. Between them the Typhoon and the Rafale managed to sell more than 500 aircraft (delivered or on order) in Europe. This is a market that could be 300-400 aircraft if the two air-forces want to retain a fighter capability and replenish their 4+ generation fleets. Then it is up to Italy, the UK etc that may look for complementary aircraft. Of course this is not a commercial venture, but a strategic one and Europe needs a large aerospace program for the 2020s and the FCAS does not appear to be it. This could well be the program they are looking for, although talking was never their problem, but agreeing on work share and other domestic industry considerations were so this is far from certain.

There are multiple 5th generation aircraft programs out there..I am aware of that but I don't expect all to come through as intended. There will be opportunities..Many European nations would still need fighters and many fairly significant European air-forces would still want a highly advanced aerospace project next decade to keep their industry capable of such activities. If they wish to retain the high end R&D and production base for future capability they have to invest into a multi-billion long term program for their A&D sector. The Rafale and Typhoon are essentially upgrade programs for the 2020s..they aren't going to be advancing the needle when it comes to either of those areas.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Singha » 14 Jul 2017 08:03

yes I was wondering why france and germany did not start this strategic proj earlier . messing around with a neuron ucav isnt going to preserve all their industry.

UK seems happy with some jsf workshare and making part of airbus. and it retains the key in the lock - the prized hot section of any euro powerplant via rolls royce :twisted: UK always keeps these well placed 'levers' - diego garcia, aden, singapore, HK, TSP, akitori cyprus ...

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 14 Jul 2017 15:31

I don't think RR will automatically get a seat at the table unless the UK joins the program in which case there will be further dilution in industrial partnership amongst these three partners likely stressing the program much the same way they parted ways during the Eurocanard programs. UK has an extremely good arrangement on the F-35. BAE is making tens of billions worth of components for the aircraft and all for a $2 Billion UK R&D investment. If one looks at per unit industrial benefit factoring in UK R&D contribution the JSF to them has proven to be a far better deal than the Typhoon given that they aren't just making components for their own aircraft but for ALL JSFs produced.

Going forward I expect the UK to replace their Tornados with the F-35A. They will most likely convert their orders to F-35A once they buy 48-60 F-35Bs for their two carriers. They could also look to join a future US or European project but the USAF PCA aircraft is increasingly looking like it will be too big for them or nearly anyone not interested in fighting wars over great distances.

France and Germany have to play the technology card right. This, much like the Rafale and Typhoon (vs the F-16) needs to be a 5+ generation aircraft with a $25-$30 Billion developmental budget (or $60-$75 Million development cost per unit for a production of 400 aircraft) but it needs to be operational before 2035. They can't chase a generational leap in technology as that will likely take them much longer and cost them significantly more than this. The US industrial base has been essentially working on one high end program after another ever since the F-117 (B-2 --> F22 --> F35 --> B-21 --> PCA) while the Europeans have had some Science and Technology activity but their major projects have not pushed the boundaries. At the very high end of capability in design, development and production you need continuity and cannot simply pick up and embark on a rapid 6th generation aircraft program without the long lead time to let the R&D base prepare and industry to set up for the demanding nature of the work.

Image

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 14 Jul 2017 17:56

India should start similar efforts on an LCA as an experimental platform. The plane is doing very well and should be used as a base to try various technologies. Start right now.

Paris 2017 And The Future Of Additive Manufacturing

Four years ago, I had an epiphany at the 2013 Paris Air Show that additive manufacturing (AM) would disrupt the aerospace industry (AW&ST July 29, 2013, p. 10). At this year’s show at Le Bourget, it was clear that AM developments are already doing so.

General Electric, a leader in the field, last year purchased key European metal AM equipment suppliers Arcam and Concept Laser and this year stood up GE Additive, a new business focused on third-party equipment and services that it hopes will become its ninth major business unit. To demonstrate its independence, GE Additive had its own chalet in Paris. GE Aviation’s facility in Auburn, Alabama, now has 28 machines working around the clock to 3D-print its famous Leap fuel nozzles, with much more to come. An astounding 35% of its new Advanced Turboprop Engine for the Cessna Denali will be 3D-printed. Moreover, last month GE announced it is developing the world’s largest laser-powered 3D printer capable of handling parts within a 1-m2 (10.8-ft.2) envelope—ideal for large-engine structural parts.

Germany, meanwhile, boasts several well-organized AM clusters with active involvement from industry, government and academia. Why? According to Klaus Mueller, an executive with Bionic Production GmbH, “Germany leads because of our two-tier education system, which produces motivated engineers and highly skilled, self-thinking technicians.” German suppliers—including EOS, SLM Solutions, Trumpf and Concept Laser—control approximately 70% of the metal AM equipment market. And local aerospace manufacturers such as Airbus, MTU and Liebherr are aggressively pursuing the technology. New AM developments from all of these companies were on display in Paris. AM is now a mainstay with German medical equipment suppliers and is gaining momentum in the country’s large automotive sector.

While the early focus of AM was on powder-bed processes and small, complex and static parts, the technique has moved into large structural parts. The motivation is to attack large “buy-to-fly” ratios—often in the double digits—for parts made from expensive materials like titanium. A 20-lb. finished part, for example, might require 200-300 lb. of titanium, which creates $4,000 or more of scrap titanium per part

Image
Credit: Concept Laser


Norsk Titanium developed a process in which wire is melted in a cloud of argon gas and rapidly built up in layers to a near-net-shape part that requires very little machine finishing, resulting in overall savings of up to 30% due to decreased waste and energy input. Norsk just qualified its first part for the Boeing 787 and has dozens more in development. The company is nearing completion of a large AM facility in Plattsburgh, New York, to complement its facilities in Norway.

Another recent development is the emergence of “bionic design”—using designs found in nature. Bird bones and lily pads, for example, have impressive strength-to-weight ratios and cannot be made by traditional subtractive manufacturing techniques. Airbus thinks bionic design could someday reduce aerostructure weight 20-30% or more. It has evaluated applying bionic design to thousands of parts and printed more than 100 demonstrators.

The additive-bionic combination, which was not on the radar at Paris in 2013, is analogous to the introduction of composites four decades ago. Early composite aerostructure designs, dubbed “black aluminum,” looked like metallic aircraft. It took several decades for designs to catch up to the unique properties of composites. “The mental mindset of engineers is one of the biggest obstacles for AM—particularly with bionic design taking hold,” says Mueller. “OEMs need to educate their engineers now if they plan to use bionics—especially if they are going to compete for future programs like the [Boeing] 797 in the next decade.”

AM economics are moving in the right direction. Titanium powder was more than $500/lb. four years ago; it is now 60-80% cheaper, as volumes increase. Processing rates are also increasing: AM fabrication machines featured one laser several years ago; next-generation machines with six lasers are on the horizon.

Despite all the good news, economics and regulation remain major barriers to more widespread AM adoption. Recertifying parts for existing aircraft is particularly challenging, which is why clean-sheet aircraft such as the much-anticipated 797 are so important. Its likely 2025-26 service-entry date will provide a window for suppliers to unveil new AM-empowered designs. Suppliers that ignore this wave do so at their peril.

The progress of additive manufacturing since Paris 2013 is impressive. As Mueller reminds us, “For 3,000 years, we have gained trust in molded and casted parts. We are 25 years into additive manufacturing, and just five years into taking it seriously.”

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 14 Jul 2017 18:14

Elon Musk unveiling the Dragon V2. About 45 seconds into this vid, he introduces the Super Drako engines, with 16,000 lbs of thrust. But, more importantly, @10:50 or so, he goes on to mention that this engine is teh first
fully printed engine
"first time a printed rocket engine to see flight

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 14 Jul 2017 20:05


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 14 Jul 2017 21:03

PORTUGAL BUYS FIVE EMBRAER KC-390 AIRCRAFT

The Portuguese Government has decided to proceed with the purchase of five Embraer KC-390 aircraft to replace the current C-130 fleet.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby nam » 15 Jul 2017 00:34

Question. Can a stealth aircraft be photographed on the ground by a SAR?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Viv S » 15 Jul 2017 03:17

brar_w wrote:I was speaking specifically of the Typhoon and Rafale market and the Joint Typhoon and F-35 operators for starters. How many of them wish to have a capable air-force in the 2030s remains to be seen but the French and German air-forces are a good start for a program. Between them the Typhoon and the Rafale managed to sell more than 500 aircraft (delivered or on order) in Europe.

Trouble is, three-fourths of the Eurofighter consortium has already signed up to buy the F-35.

- Italy already has both variants on order; STOVL & CTOL.
- Spain will buy Bs to replace its AV-8Bs but the Spanish Air Force is also looking a F-35A purchase to replace its retiring Hornets.
http://www.janes.com/article/65514/spai ... t-fighters
https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/06/05/in ... 78384.html
- UK is committed to its objective of 138 fighters but hasn't ruled out a mixed fleet.
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... le-427136/

+ Poland's going the same way.
http://www.defensenews.com/articles/pol ... round-2025

Unlikely that they'll invest a brand new design instead of just expanding the existing fleet and maintaining commonality. Nobody left in Europe. Middle East.. maybe, not a surity though.

As far as the Germans are concerned, they will start losing Tornados in 2025, with the new fighter still at least 10-15 years off. By 2030, the Luftwaffe will be down to 110 fighters unless a Tornado replacement is ordered around 2022.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 15 Jul 2017 05:15

Again, you are looking at this from a business perspective. This isn't about that. A trade range of 350-500 should make the 5+ generation project viable and between France, Germany (one would assume Germany will buy it if they are interested in developing it), Italy, Spain, UK (not all will buy but are prospective customers given the Typhoon legacy) and Middle East customers (both Typhoon and Rafale operators in the region) they could very well sell that or even more. Again, this is not about a pure business case, this is about preserving the capability to develop and deliver a large high end project to the A&D sectors and to their militaries. Something has to come after the Typhoon and the Rafale and they will not be an all UCAV air-force.

If they can't get this set up and agree to develop it, they can kiss their capability to put out a future fighter out there goodbye. France won't be able to afford another large fighter development project and neither will Germany, Italy or the UK. Together they could work to find a common ground where industrial capacity to design and build a high end aircraft could be developed. IMHO the sweet spot is an R&D project of around $25-30 Billion and a 12-15 year cycle.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 15 Jul 2017 07:33

The New Crop Of Low-Cost ISR Or Attack Aircraft

gricultural aircraft have made their own impact in counterinsurgency operations over the years. In Colombia and Central America, the crop sprayers have been used for just that, directly targeting drug crops with chemicals.

Increasingly, agricultural aircraft such as the Air Tractor AT-802, Thrush 710P and Thrush 510G are taking on a greater role as low-cost, long-endurance platforms kitted out with surveillance systems and a wide range of precision-guided weaponry. Platform integrators are touting the difference in cost compared with other light fighters and business-jet derivatives as they target customers in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere for border security, light strike and surveillance missions.

LOW-COST, LONG-ENDURANCE
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
U.S. State Department uses AT-802 in counterdrug missions
L-3 Longsword offers plenty of firepower
Will the UAE buy more Iomax Archangels?
Bulgaria’s T-Bird already operating in Africa
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Air Tractor AT-802U

Air Tractor, which builds the AT-802 firefighting platform, already produces its own in-house intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) strike platform, and the company has displayed the aircraft at a number of international air shows. But solid sales remain elusive. Marketed as the Aerial Escort Aircraft, Air Tractor did offer the aircraft to Lebanon in 2015.

Air Tractor says the AT-802U provides 6-8 wing hardpoints for weapons, as well as three fuselage hardpoints; dedicated gun stations are located on the inner wing hardpoints. Ammunition for guns mounted here is fed from a magazine mounted in the nose, just forward of the cockpit. The company was also studying the development of a steerable 30-mm cannon for fitment on the centerline.

Air Tractor advertises that the AT-802 is combat-proven in counterdrug operations run by the U.S. State Department. The department’s Air Wing aircraft have taken 200 bullet strikes, yet the fleet has maintained a 100% safety record with no loss of life or injury, according to the company’s literature.

L3 Technologies Longsword


L3’s Longsword uses the AT-802 platform but has maximized it for extended range and payload. To increase the range, L3 converted the agricultural aircraft’s bays for carrying pesticides or fire retardants into self-healing fuel tanks.
As an ISR platform, the aircraft can fly for up to 10 hr. at up to 22,500 ft. In that capacity, the Longsword carries the L3 Wescam MX-15D high-definition electro-optical infrared sensor, an L3 ForceX Widow MMS mission software system, the Thales Scorpion helmet-mounted display and a full-motion video display. It can defend itself with an armored cockpit, the AN/AAR-47 infrared warning receiver and an AN/ALE-47 electronic warfare countermeasures dispenser system.

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L3’s Longsword has plenty of wing space to cover precision munitions, with 11 hardpoints that can carry guns, guided and unguided bombs as well as rockets and missiles. Credit: L3 Technologies

If firepower is needed, the aircraft can be outfitted as a bomb truck, carrying Hellfire missiles to Gatling guns, Mk. 82 bombs and M260 rocket launchers on up to 11 hardpoints. Even with a full load of weapons, it can operate for longer than 6 hr., company officials say, adding that other light fighters may fly faster or higher, but they do not carry more payload or stay on station as long.“Think of this more like an Apache with very long legs,” says Joseph Siniscalchi, an L3 senior vice president for business development.

In January, the U.S. State Department approved the potential sale of up to 14 of the aircraft to Kenya, but the transaction has been challenged. The late Ron Howard, as CEO of Iomax, had argued that its counterinsurgency aircraft, Archangel, was unfairly overlooked by the African nation. In an interview not long before his untimely death, Howard suggested that Kenya was being sold an uncertified and still-developmental platform.

The Longsword is certified for the ISR mission, and L3 is working with the U.S. Air Force Seek Eagle office to certify some weapons. Kenya has also asked L-3 for weather radar and communications systems, but Siniscalchi says the country would have to cover the cost of certifying the add-ons.

For now, Kenya has asked to extend its current letter of agreement through the middle of September, Siniscalchi says. At that point, the two governments could decide to extend the deal, or Kenya could search for another aircraft.

Patrick Penland, vice president for transport programs, is adamant that the Air Force did not select the Longsword. “The Kenyans chose the AT-802 Longsword. That was based on having come to Waco, Texas,” where L3’s platform integration office is based, Penland says. “Their deputy chief of air force came and saw the ISR configuration.”

Iomax Archangel

Perhaps the biggest success story has been the development of the Iomax Archangel in association with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Archangel’s success in Yemen and, on a less high-profile scale, in Libya has certainly increased the public and industry perception of the agricultural aircraft as an alternative platform to the numerous trainers-turned light attack turboprops that have sold well in Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region.

North Carolina-based Iomax’s association with the UAE began in 2009 when the Middle Eastern nation opted for a Border Patrol Aircraft (BPA) based on the standard Air Tractor AT-802 crop sprayer. Iomax delivered a podded electro-optical camera and added hardpoints to the wings in expectation of the fitment of weapons. In 2011, a further 14 were ordered.

However, to realize the full potential of the aircraft, in 2012 Iomax changed suppliers to Thrush, because Air Tractor was at the time unwilling to make the structural modifications to the aircraft that Iomax needed.

As Aviation Week reported (AW&ST April 17-30, p. 40), when test pilot Joe Edwards flew the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67F-powered Archangel, the pilot’s cockpit was moved forward 48 in. to improve visibility over the nose, while the mission operator’s position occupies the real estate where the pilot would have sat.

Inside, the aircraft is equipped with a CMC avionics suite that in the front cockpit features three multifunction displays and a centrally fitted head-up display. The rear cockpit contains two multifunction displays and a single 17-in. large-area display that feeds the image from the electro-optical camera. Other design features include a five-blade propeller that helps reduce the noise of the aircraft when operating at altitudes of around 15,000 ft.

Iomax has already carried out an extensive program of weapons integration work for both the AT-802 and the Archangel. Weapons regularly fitted to the UAE aircraft include Roketsan Cirit lightweight missiles—reportedly highly effective against moving targets—the GBU-58 Paveway II 250-lb. laser-guided bomb and the Hellfire missile. The aircraft have also recently been upgraded to use the Raytheon Talon laser-guided rocket.

The original batch of AT-802-derived BPAs have now been largely been replaced with Archangels; the AT-802s have been handed to other regional air forces—at least six were gifted to Jordan while 12 are now with the Egyptian Air Force. Iomax told Aviation Week in February that negotiations were underway to sell a further 12 Archangels to the UAE to allow the formation of a second squadron. The company is also working on development of a Block 2 version featuring a number of avionics, performance and weapon upgrades. The installation of a lightweight Martin-Baker ejection seat has also been discussed.

LASA T-Bird

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The Bulgarian company Light Armed Surveillance Aircraft Engineering has already sold its T-Bird aircraft, based on the Thrush 510G, in Africa. Credit: LASA

Bulgaria’s Light Armed Surveillance Aircraft Engineering’s (LASA) T-Bird made an unannounced debut at the recent Paris Air Show. As the only non-U.S. company now offering a light-attack capability on an agricultural aircraft, it seems the company has enjoyed some limited success. Its prototype T-Bird is already in operation in Africa, apparently working for a private contractor on ISR duties, according to company executives.

The T-Bird is being touted as being a “unique combination” of a high-payload light aircraft with an “advanced Western technology ISR suite,” and a “proven, powerful ex-Warsaw Pact” counterinsurgency package.

LASA has developed the T-Bird in a way that skirts U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations. The company is using the Thrush 510G airframe that is powered by the General Electric H80 turboprop. Underneath the fuselage is an Airborne Technologies of Austria-developed pod that carries both an electro-optical camera and a data link for data transfer. The cockpit has been modified with night-vision-goggle-compatible digital instrumentation provided by Aspen Avionics and Getac-made rugged tablets that allow the rear crewman to use the electro-optical camera. Ballistic protection for the engine and cockpit has also been fitted.

The wing-structure has been modified for three hardpoints, and so far the company has carried out integration of Russian-made weapons only. At Paris, the aircraft carried pairs of distinctive UB16/32 and UB16/57 Russian-made unguided rocket launchers and a pair of UPK23/250 gun pods.

LASA says the aircraft costs several times less to operate than other surveillance platforms such as a Beechcraft King Air or derivative and “tens of times” less compared to specialist strike aircraft and helicopters.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Singha » 15 Jul 2017 07:54

AT802 is impressive with 11 pylons. the kind of a/c HAL should make for FAC and tank/bunker busting role. could be a useful supplement to the gunship fleet of the IA due to its far longer endurance.

Even with a full load of weapons, it can operate for longer than 6 hr., company officials say, adding that other light fighters may fly faster or higher, but they do not carry more payload or stay on station as long.“Think of this more like an Apache with very long legs,” says Joseph Siniscalchi, an L3 senior vice president for business development.

rather than a fancy MRMP I wonder if some old gold like the PBY catalina, de havilland mosquito or bristol beaufighter of RAF coastal command could do the job with modern sensors. I am sure we could get TOT and page by page assembly book free from UK as a friendly gesture if HAL wants that too :lol:

i believe the catalina did operate from east coast of india in WW2 and landed in bellandur lake behind HAL to come in for servicing. it had massive low and slow endurance of4500km which at its low speed meant a lot of hours up. kills the US2 problem also. two modern turboprops and modern materials will only enhance it further...instead of wasting billions chasing the US2, why not build ourself 100s of these?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Singha » 15 Jul 2017 13:18

if the syrians had 300 of these L3 planes they could prowl all day over the desert and make life very tough for ISIS. cheap opex too.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 17 Jul 2017 14:55

Construction Site for the Space Fence (S-band GaN) ( September last year) -

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The bigger, wider structure at the bottom will house the 86,000 element Receiver Array while the smaller structure north of it will house the 36,000 element (2.7 MW Peak Power) transmit array. This is the largest S band Array in the world and should begin transmitting by this time next year.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 20 Jul 2017 14:54

International Partners To Attend USAF Light Attack Demo



Several foreign nations will be sending representatives to watch the U.S. Air Force’s light attack experiment, which will pit Sierra Nevada and Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano against Textron’s Scorpion jet and AT-6 Wolverine turboprop.

Heidi Grant, the Air Force’s deputy undersecretary for international affairs, told Aviation Week that multiple international partners will attend the “OA-X” demonstration, set to take place at Holloman AFB, New Mexico, this summer. Their intent is to better understand the capabilities that the participating companies have to offer for the critical light-attack mission in the Middle East.

Air Force Chief of Staff David Goldfein will also attend the demonstration, which will inform the service’s decision on potentially procuring a low-cost, light-attack aircraft to fight terrorists, he told Aviation Week during a wide-ranging interview July 16. The OA-X would not be a replacement for the A-10 Warthog, the Air Force’s close-air support (CAS) workhorse, he stressed, but instead is intended to augment the capability the U.S. already has in the Middle East.

It would also serve to ease the burden on the high-end fighters currently doing CAS, such as the F-16 and F-15, freeing those platforms up for other missions.

“Does this light attack capability contribute in new ways … that allow me to start improving readiness on the high-end part of my fleet to be able to ensure that we are even more ready and more lethal against the China, the Russia, the Iran, the North Korea?” Goldfein said.

For international partners, the experiment—and a potential U.S. program of record—could present an opportunity to procure a new capability more affordably.

“Does this open up some opportunities for [an] increased number of allies and partners who might be able to get into a weapons system that is less expensive not only to procure but also to fly?” Goldfein said.

An Air Force spokeswoman declined to say which specific nations would participate in the experiment.

Goldfein stressed that the effort is in the experimentation phase, and no program of record has been initiated. The next phase, if the Air Force chooses to move forward, would be a combat demonstration. Goldfein compared it to the U.S. special operations “Combat Dragon” series that evaluated the North American OV-10 Bronco light combat aircraft, with the aim of demonstrating that a small turboprop could be effective in missions encountered in the Middle East.

But moving into a program of record will be contingent not only on the outcome of the demonstration, but also getting additional funding from Congress, Goldfein said. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has advocated giving the Air Force $1.2 billion to begin buying a new OA-X, but it remains to be seen whether lawmakers will appropriate those funds in a bipartisan spending bill for fiscal 2018.

Key to a decision on buying a new light-attack fleet will be affordability, Goldfein stressed.

“What I’ve told industry is I’m not interested in a single dollar for research and development,” he said. “This is: what do you have that’s shovel-ready, that I could put into this fight.”

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby VishalJ » 21 Jul 2017 16:02


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 26 Jul 2017 03:57




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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 26 Jul 2017 15:21

Bell V-280 Entering Ground Testing Ahead Of First Flight


Bell Helicopter is about to begin tethered ground tests of its V-280 Valor tiltrotor ahead of first flight in September.
Meanwhile, the Sikorsky/Boeing SB-1 Defiant lift-offset coaxial rotorcraft powered up its electrical systems on July 18, with first flight anticipated in the first half of 2018.


Both aircraft are under construction for the U.S. Army’s Joint-Multirole Technology Demonstration (JMR-TD) program, a precursor to Future Vertical Lift (FVL).

First flight of the rival demonstrator aircraft has long been planned for September 2017, but the Sikorsky/Boeing team is trailing Bell by about 6-9 months.

Keith Flail, Bell’s vice president of advanced tiltrotor systems, says final assembly of the V-280 in Amarillo, Texas, has been hitting its marks and the aircraft remains on track for first flight “by the end of September.”

Bell and Sikorsky/Boeing both say they will take a steady, methodical approach to achieving first flight. Each side has just one flying demonstrator and no backup option in the event of a crash or serious misstep. Their performance will inform an ongoing analysis of alternatives for the first multi-service FVL acquisition.

“Over five years ago, we put September 2017 on the calendar and we’re right there on the ragged edge of that goal,” Flail said after an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on July 25. “We’re not going to do anything unsafe. We’re going to do this right. We’ve got just one demonstrator.”

Bell has constructed a ground test stand at its rotorcraft production facility in Amarillo for restrained ground trials. The V-280 will be rigged up to the test stand and powered up for restrained and unrestrained ground runs. The Amarillo site is where Bell completes assembly of the military Bell H-1-series Venom and Viper, Bell-BoeingV-22 Osprey, and civil medium-twin 525 Relentless.

The V-280 is powered by two 5,000-shp GE Aviation T64-419 turboshaft engines. The ground runs are designed to fully wring out the engines, gearboxes, transmission, drives, and rotors before the V-280’s wheels ever leave the ground. The aircraft is heavily instrumented, and all the data from ground testing must be processed and analyzed prior to first flight. Once in the air, the tiltrotor will move through a series of hover tests before transitioning from hover to forward flight with rotors forward.

Richard Koucheravy, Sikorsky’s director of business development for FVL, says the next big milestone for the SB-1 Defiant team is powering up the Propulsion System Test Bed (PSTB) at West Palm Beach, Florida. The team has four Honeywell T55 engines on hand: two for the PSTB and two for the demonstrator aircraft.

Team Defiant has produced three sets of just about every dynamic component: one for component-level testing, one for the propulsion testbed and one for the flying SB-1.

“We’ll have engines in there within the next month or two,” Koucheravy says. “We’re going to use the [PSTB] to prove out our entire power train system, everything from the engines to transmissions and drive and rotor systems.”

The team has already performed an initial wind tunnel test of the SB-1 configuration using a one-fifth-scale powered model, and Koucheravy says those test results validated the configuration.

The company has also logged hundreds of hours in a hardware-in-the-loop software integration laboratory and non-motion flight simulator set up at Sikorsky’s plant in Connecticut.

The fourth component of the Sikorsky/Boeing risk-reduction effort is flight testing of the S-97 Raider, a Sikorsky-funded concept demonstrator based on similar X-2 technology. The demonstrator is slowly being pushed up to its maximum designed flight speed of 220 kt. with pusher-prop engaged at West Palm Beach.

Koucheravy says single-demonstrator flight test programs are inherently risky, but the four-pronged approach to risk reduction should speed things up once the SB-1 Defiant gets airborne.

“We’re confident we will have pulled a significant amount of risk off the aircraft,” he says. “We believe our test program will be fairly efficient. We’ll be able to meet all of the Army’s requirements.”


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Singha » 26 Jul 2017 16:00

french SF are testing this for sahel ops. but very exposed and no armour
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Singha » 28 Jul 2017 08:56

video - iran launches 250kg satellite into space
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/ir ... ace-video/

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby brar_w » 29 Jul 2017 15:50

LRIP-11 UCA now covers 50 export jets as well. Total production for the block now stands at 141 aircraft -


One Big F-35 Contract: $2.8B Of $3.7B For Foreign Planes


What’s in play here?

Most of the money, $2.2 billion, goes to buy one British F-35B, one Italian F-35A, eight Australian F-35As, eight Dutch F-35As, four Turkish F-35As, six Norwegian F-35As aircraft, and 22 F-35As for Foreign Military Sales customers.

Separately, Lockheed won an interim payment of $5.6 billion in early July to help pay for the 91 American F-35s jets in LRIP 11.


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