International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Barath » 22 Jun 2019 13:02

brar_w wrote:Here's Air Force magazine's coverage on the AIM-260 JATM -

Air Force Developing AMRAAM Replacement to Counter China

Some folks believe that this is different/distinct from another long range weapon that came out of shadows during development..

LREW ... et-442816/ ... ost-353945

LREW appears to be 2 stage missile.

The US had also been working for a long time on the shadowy T3 missile testing, whose concept seems to be ramjet to combine aim120D and anti radiation missile. It may have been canceled ... -missiles/

Perhaps more clarity will.emerge with time

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 22 Jun 2019 13:29

Barath wrote:The Navy fought tooth and nail to get their own stealth attack fighter A-12/flying dorito and rejected the naval atf f22-n. And the F18 E/f was the hurried replacement for that disaster.

That's not the point. The Navy had a strike bomber it wanted but that had nothing to do with the N-ATF. The US Navy's interest in the Naval ATF was something that was not US Navy driven but rather congressional and DOD driven. Towards the end of the cold war, the US Navy reluctantly agreed to come on board but the dying days of the cold-war and the state of the threat gave them a fairly easy out. Of course they finally drove the nail in the coffin after promising to upgrade the F-14 through the middle of the current decade which was supposed to be good enough for them because the threat that the CVN faced was projected to considerably reduce with the melting away of the Soviet Union. They never wanted the N-ATF because they have for a long time wanted to divest themselves of any need to support hte joint forces OCA mission, choosing to use its air-power for strike and at most carrier and fleet defense. N-ATF would have been an expensive option for and put OCA demands back on their plate something the Admirals probably feared would eat into their shipbuilding budgets. This mindset is still prevalent in the USN and one of the main reasons most doubt that an F-14 like capability will be fielded by the USN. No CNO was ever measured on the quality or quantity of the Air - Air roles it was willing to share or lead over the USAF. OCA is a very expensive mission which the USN prefers to leave to the USAF. Post cold-war base lining saw these competencies being farmed out. USAF controls Air Dominance (OCA/DCA) while US Navy controls tactical AEA via the VAQ squadrons. This was done to avoid duplicate capabilities which had previously existed with distinction AEA and Air Superiority program offices in both the services.

The F/A-18E/F replaced F-14 squadrons as they retired. Later deliveries replace early F/A-18 squadrons but those were just because the F-35C was 4-5 years late to the game. Though the F/A-18E/F was made a POR after the A-12 was shut down for good its need was rather to replace the F-14 Tomcat squadrons for the most part. The mission profile of those early Rhino's was also quite similar. Essentially the US Navy retired the F-14 and the A-6 without any formal direct capability for capability replacement. The F/A-18 lacked the legs of the A-6 in the strike profile, and lacked the speed, range and firepower of the F-14 in the fleet defense role. Within the sweet spot however it did what it had to do really well. It was a modern platform, carried a whole host of PGM's, had really capable advanced sensors and most importantly low airframe hours and a lower CPFH compared to the Tomcat. It was half a generation ahead of the Hornet and solves one of its most important shortcomings - combat radius. Yet, it still remained a medium ranged strike fighter at best and it won't be till the F-35C that the USN will get a 500-600 nm strike fighter back without resorting to buddy tanking or using USAF's deployed assets.

For the reasons listed above, USN loved it and bought hundreds more than it had originally envisioned..and continues to buy it today with its block III iteration in many ways as modern as any 4.5 gen fighter out there presently. But that aside, the proper way to look at it is that it works for the USN as the missions it has to serve now. It doesn't work if one looks through the lens of using it as a replacement for the F-14, or the A-6 or even the A-12 which was a survivable A-6 replacement about 2 decades ahead of its time. It probably also doesn't work that great for them in the coming decades, something they've realized hence they've initiated their FA-XX program which will likely field a family of long range manned or unmanned capability to start things off.

Aircraft do replace others on flight decks and in hangars, and to varied extent in missions.

Physically they may do but that is most definitely not how fleet recapitalization decisions are made. You don't build a better previous gen. aircraft. You look at future requirements and design and build accordingly. And as I said quite clearly in my previous post, if you measure the Super Hornet through the lens of it being an F-14 Tomcat replacement, then it is subpar at best. That is obviously not the lens the operator looks at it because they need the SH for different roles and missions than what the previous generation of pilots needed the Tomcat for. Even though some squadrons and units may have physically transitioned from the Tomcat to the Rhino. In fact many voices calling for a 800-1000 nm strike figther in the US navy are some of the same voices that wanted the A-12 axed. It would fit into the current USN CVN and post 2030 air wing need perfectly. Of course now they wouldn't really have to make it manned but that is the type of aircraft or combined capability that is likely to replace USN Rhinos and Growlers.

The F14 had a bombcat variation see action

Yes a band aid solution, though one that could have been promising if properly backed with new tails, which in itself was an unsustainable given the limitations of the platform, its reliability and just the expense of operating that fleet. This was no F-15C to F-15E transition which proved out to be a more robust, better performing, more reliable and highly sought after strike fighter in US Air Force inventory and in fact was new built. The Bombcat on the other hand was something patched together because there was a need and there was no replacement. It was most certainly not the only primarily single role figther getting multi-role capability as mid to late 90s saw beefing up of strike capability on a number of platforms around the world. There were other higher end Tomcat based next gen. proposals which were never pursued but for all intents and purposes this was not the role the Rhino filled. As I said, until the arrival of the F-35C the US Navy won't really get a 600 nm combat radius strike figther without an insane number of compromises like EFT's, tanking etc etc.

But back again to the point, the F-18E/F would have made a very lousy F-14 replacement had those missions remained relevant to the US Navy. They went away with the collapse of the SU and other capability enhancement the way some of the others were performed. This allowed the USN to divest its Carrier Air Wing and make it much less diverse. In fact, as of now its all a Hornet/Super Hornet wing which with its short to medium ranged strike capability is a fraction of the capability the USN fielded back in the cold war though it is more than plenty to meet its current obligations especially with support.

The f14 was growing long in the tooth and swing wing was always a maintenance issue. But if the F18 E/f were inadequate, you would have seen new build F14-d and later variants continue.

I think I made it quite clear in my previous post** when I said that the F-18 is completely inadequate as an F-14 tomcat replacement. I mean I don't think that is even up for debate and one will be hard pressed to find someone familiar with both the aircraft that will doubt that. The point that I have been trying to make in my last two posts is that the US Navy divested itself of the missions for which it needed the Tomcat allowing them to replace a long range Air to Air interceptor, and patched up strike aircraft with a medium range fighter with very different flying characteristics and capabilities.

Of course the F-18 E/F is not inadequate for now. There is no significant threat to the CVN from the air that it when combined with the Hornet, E-2D, and EA-18G cannot handle and this will only get better with the arrival of the F-35C and the MQ-25. But that was not the point, the point was that looked at through the lens of the F-14 mission set, the Rhino is a super lousy replacement. But clearly they did not need to look through that lens as the world and requirements had moved on and demanded a different type of aircraft to fill the USN carrier decks.

**The original point was -

Barath wrote:As a newish multi-role it was good enough to replace the F14 of Top Gun fame and a couple of others.

As I said then and again in this post, this is not how the decision to field the Super Hornet was made. It was not evaluated against the F-14. After promising to upgrade the F-14 so that it was viable through 2015ish and using that excuse to get out of the NATF, the US Navy then finally killed the aircraft in the mid 2000s after systematically culling requirements that were farmed out to the F-14 community so that they got to a point where they could get the SH to fit into those squadrons. Same with the A-6. The A-6 to F/A-18E transition was again shedding a fair bit of strike radius. These were conscious decisions to better allign the modern US Navy CAW with the prevalent threat. The Super Hornet is a good medium range multi-role fighter and works for the USN. The block III in particular offers tremendous capability and is going to be very capable (I'll leave the EA-18G out because the platform has literally nothing to do with the capability of that aircraft) in its multi-role mission. But there should be no need to sugar coat and bend facts to somehow compare it to the F-14 because no comparison is possible given such large differences in roles. The fact that many tomcat squadrons transitioned doesn't in any way prove that the USN thinks they were comparable or equal for one to replace the latter. It merely states progression and change of mission type for those units.

Barath wrote:
Some folks believe that this is different/distinct from another long range weapon that came out of shadows during development..

LREW ... et-442816/

Based on what is publicly known, the LREW was a trade/R&D study not a POR. AIM-260 is a POR which was competed and won by Lockheed Martin a couple of years ago. There are literally scores of USAF or USN funded long range weapon programs related S&T and R&D work funded to keep the design teams busy. Not all of it makes into a POR until the right time.

Could the LREW be a distinct POR that they just don't want to talk about. It is possible though quite unlikely because if it were classified then so would have been its trade studies. Between JATM, SACM, MSDM, and ErWN they probably have their plates full.

Barath wrote:The US had also been working for a long time on the shadowy T3 missile testing, whose concept seems to be ramjet to combine aim120D and anti radiation missile.

The US is not still working on the T3. The T3 program has long since concluded after conducting its flight test phase. It was a DARPA run program to demonstrate a common missile for Air to Air, Air to Ground (ARM) and Anti Cruise Missile (CMD) mission. I think those flight tests happened back in 2014 or maybe 2015. Boeing even did a big press PR thing (see below) with their concepts though Raytheon was quiet about theirs though all one needed to go and do was check out Aerojet's website and their annual report to see that their variant with the VFDR flew successfully to support that program. I've provided most of that info here over the years. DARPA's job is to demonstrate tactical capability (T3 came out of their TT Office) that can rapidly transition into operational use but they transition these programs to an appropriate service. Clearly the USAF (ACC is the decision authority on the JATM) felt that they had better proposals then to field the T3 tech. Lockheed has been working on some pretty neat and innovative missile solutions on the ballistic and cruise missile defense role and has been presenting concepts, and even test flying some, that leverage some of the direct work on these programs. It isn't surprising that they managed to best out both Boeing and Raytheon to win this program given that the AIM-260 is unlikely to share the T-3's mission requirement (three targets) instead probably focusing on the technologies and target sets highlighted in the slide posted in my previous post.

Boeing Phantom Works May Unveil New Projects

Davis also disclosed that the Phantoms had conducted four flight tests under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Triple Target Terminator (T3) program. The test vehicles, about the size of an AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, flew "faster and farther" than an Amraam, Davis said, but he did not provide any other details.

Barath wrote: It may have been canceled

T3 was a completely open and transparent program with all of its materials published in DARPA"s official unclassified budgets. The only thing they did not do was release photos of videos which would have generated media buzz had that happened. Yet, as I said companies were free to disclose their participation, the contract awards were all out in the open, and the companies were also allowed to share their successful completion of these milestones. The program concluded with its flight test phase in 2014/15 IIRC, as I said earlier. These are technology related programs that act as a proof of concept and allow a potential service to validate before committing to a POR. In this case, the AIM-260 awards probably logically flow from the T-3 and describes a shift in direction from a more conventional long range multi-role BVRAAM to a hyper-agile, BVRAAM with a different target set..At least that is the currently stated end goal...As I opined earlier in my prior post to Indraanil, it seems the 5th gen operator community seems to have won out..This seems to be a change in direction towards a more optimized missile for 5th and 6th gen fighters assuming it incorporates some of the characteristics of an Air Dominance weapon the USAF has been wanting for nearly half a decade now (which it should given its their next AD weapon). This is logical given the USAF and USN would probably field 1000+ 5th gen aircraft by the time the JATM enters full rate production and it is also quite likely that TD's for the next gen. airframes would also have flown. The T3 in contrast was basically a putting together of all the stuff and capability (longer range, Ramjet propulsion, new seeker) that the missile design teams had been promoting since the 1990s when the USAF began funding demonstrations on ARC's VFDR motors and Raytheon proposing a whole host of missiles for the UK etc.
Last edited by brar_w on 22 Jun 2019 21:18, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby chola » 22 Jun 2019 16:31

Turkey reveals the TFX 5th Gen Stealth Fighter in Paris! Obviously a full-sized mockup.

Looks similar to the AMCA renderings.


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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Mollick.R » 23 Jun 2019 22:29

Airbus product line formation flight: 50-year anniversary

Nice Video

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby Prem » 25 Jun 2019 02:30 ... ot-killed/
Two Eurofighter fighter jets collided collided midair over Germany
Footage shows one of two Eurofighter jets involved in a mid-air crash hurtling to earth in northern Germany.Lewis Hipperson works as a greenkeeper at Fleesensee Golf & Country Club in the Muritz region and filmed the disaster unfolding in the sky nearby.
One pilot was killed and another managed to parachute to safety after two unarmed German Eurofighter jets collided.Lewis told Mirror Online the collision had left him 'shocked'.He said: "Most of the jets fly around this area everyday and I don’t think anyone would expect an accident like this was on the cards.The mid-air collision happened as three Eurofighter Typhoons were taking part in an air combat exercise shortly after 14:00 (12:00 GMT). The third pilot witnessed the collision over the Fleesensee and reported seeing two parachutes."

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby mridulmm » 26 Jun 2019 08:25

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby MeshaVishwas » 27 Jun 2019 08:07

Informative report.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 02 Jul 2019 19:32

40% additional fuel should give it 20-25% additional range. The current CTOL/A variant has a combat radius (2 x 2000 lb bombs and 2 AIM-120's with full internal fuel) of 669 nautical miles according to the official 2019 SAR. A 25% increase in combat radius would give it a combat radius in excess of 1500 km in the strike mission (and probably closer to 2000 km with a lighter load / A2A configuration).

Lockheed Martin Proposes 40% Fuel Capacity Upgrade for F-35A

Lockheed confirms that it is now engaged in a study about the option for a 600-gal. fuel tank and a wing pylon that can be jettisoned. The tank is designed to be integrated on the inboard stations—3 and 9—on each wing, the company says. Although the pilot can restore the F-35A’s stealth signature to radar by jettisoning the tank and pylon, it is not clear how the radar cross-section is affected with the equipment attached to the wing.
Given that the 18,500-lb. internal fuel capacity of the F-35A is equivalent to 3,000 gal., adding two 600-gal. external tanks on an F-35A would raise overall fuel volume onboard to 4,200 gal., or 25,700 lb. That still falls short of the 35,500-lb. capacity for an F-15E configured for a ferry flight, but should dramatically increase the single-engine fighter’s endurance.
“While exact ranges depend on mission profiles, our studies show a significant increase in both range and loiter time—or mission persistence,” a Lockheed spokesman says.
So far, the company has completed feasibility studies and conducted initial analysis, as well as early design of the range-extension upgrades. The industry-funded work was done in advance of an approved customer requirement, but Lockheed plans to present the range extension as a candidate upgrade through the Continuous Capability, Development and Delivery framework for the F-35’s follow-on modernization program, also known as Block 4.
The remaining work required includes detailed design and qualification of the fuel tank and pylon, as well as software integration, flight testing and airworthiness certification, Lockheed says.


It also appears, that the AIM-260 could be coming to the F-35, much sooner than expected. New facilities at Hill Air Force Base Utah to house the semi-classified weapon are expected to be completed by March 2022. Hill houses the F-35A's and will have more than 70 permanently based there. While the 2022 IOC candidates for the AIM-260 are the F-22A and F/A-18E/F the F-35 may just be a year or two behind especially since its a
strong possibility, if not a guarantee, that the AIM-260 will be the first UAI compliant AIM missile making integration much easier into the block 4 F-35 (which gains UAI compatibility). Also another tidbit from Steve Trimble over at Aviation Week that points to the test range requirements for the AIM-260 to be about double those of the AMRAAM, the D version of which probably goes a good 50% farther than the pre plug C variants and prior versions. Interesting to see how apart the AIM-120D, Meteor and AIM-260 introduction into the F-35 are. Right now it is slated to get the AIM-120D around 2021, Meteor around 2023-2024, and possibly the AIM-260 around 2023-2024 or perhaps a little earlier. Unless the AIM-260 JATM is export controlled I see it severely undercutting the Meteor prospects with F-35 customers given its advantages in compressed carriage and the AMRAAM like form factor allowing 6 to be carried in an F-35 with expanded carriage.

New AIM-260 Missiles Are So Secretive They Will Require A Custom Storage Bunker At Hill AFB

Because of the highly sensitive nature of this new weapon, which will have far greater range than the latest AIM-120D variant of the AMRAAM and could feature advanced capabilities, like a dual-mode seeker, it may remain more heavily classified than its predecessor even after it enters operational service. With this in mind, storing full-up live rounds in highly secure and purpose-built vault-like facilities at a handful of key bases may make some sense as opposed to dispersing them to fighter wings all over the U.S., and the planet, for that matter.

Also of importance is the timeline stated in this document. This large storage facility is slated to be under construction now and finished by March of 2022. This fits perfectly with the present official timeline for fielding the weapon. The Air Force has stated that it hopes the missile will reach initial operational capability that year after beginning flight testing no later than 2021. Air Force F-22 Raptors and Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets are set to be the first to carry the missiles, with all variants of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as well as potentially other platforms, following thereafter. In addition to likely testing at Hill AFB, there are also reports that JATM flight and potentially live-fire testing will also occur at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. This is not surprising given that Eglin is home to Air Force's main Armament Directorate, the service's central manager for the development of new aerial weapons, as well as the Air Force Research Laboratory's Munitions Directorate. Details about the testing requirements also give a general sense about the AIM-260's capabilities over the AMRAAM.

"We've seen charts for the Air Force range requirements for Eglin Air Force Base showing circles for the test area for AMRAAM and the test area for the JATM," Steve Trimble, Aviation Week's Defense Editor and good friend of the War Zone, said on the Check 6 Podcast on June 27, 2019. "The AIM-260 missile has a range circle that's roughly double the size of the AMRAAM circle."

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 03 Jul 2019 19:26

Boeing begins EMD flight trials for T-X trainer

Boeing has begun engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) flight trials of the T-X trainer aircraft it has developed with partner Saab for the US Air Force (USAF).

The first EMD sortie, which was announced by the company on 1 July, involved Boeing T-X (BTX) aircraft N381TX flying out of the company’s St Louis facility in Missouri.

No details were disclosed as to the nature or duration of the flight test, although Boeing’s Chief T-X Test Pilot, Steve ‘Bull’ Schmidt, noted, “[It] went extremely well. She flew just superb [during the] first flight [of the] EMD test programme. [The] first test points went off without a hitch.”
With two EMD aircraft so far built (Boeing has been keen to stress that these are not prototypes, in the traditional sense of the word, but fully configured platforms), 71 test flights were flown between December 2016 and December 2018. Since then, Boeing and Saab have been analysing the data ahead of the commencement of EMD flight trials.

The BTX features a single General Electric Aviation GE 404 engine, a large-area display (LAD) cockpit, and open-architecture system. The USAF is due to receive 350 aircraft to replace the Northrop T-38 Talon that has been in service since the 1960s.

With the first aircraft set to be delivered to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, in 2023, initial operational capability (IOC) is scheduled for 2024. Production at the newly established facility in Indiana will be set at approximately 60 aircraft per year.

Speaking to Jane’s and other defence media in June, Boeing explained that the BTX has been built specifically for the USAF requirement, with Ted Torgerson, programme head for the T-X Advanced Pilot Training Program (ATP), noting; “It is a flexible open-architecture system that will do the things it needs to do as the air force determines its future pilot training requirements. It is a fighter – it flies like a fighter and is manoeuvrable like a fighter. It provides the air force with something different from the T-38, which was designed for the Century-series aircraft [of the 1960s]. It is more than just an aircraft, it is a fully integrated training system through which we can tie all of our training together via LVC [live, virtual, and constructive].”

Further to its fighter-like performance, Torgerson highlighted the BTX’s efficiency and the reliability that is to be built into the aircraft to enable the USAF to fly it as and when it wants to. “It has a low cost per flying hour, is easy to maintain, and can be turned around many times a day like an airliner,” he said.

While developed as a trainer aircraft, the BTX is already being marked out for a potential future career as a potential Aggressor and light attack fighter.

“There is certainly growth for light attack and Aggressor development, with all the power and cooling requirements already designed into the airframe,” Torgerson recently told Jane’s and other defence media, adding that locations for underwing hardpoints have been identified and that the necessary structures are already in place (although the wiring and plumbing is not).

Torgerson did not name potential future customers for the BTX, but he did note that it will be the combination of low cost and high capability that will draw them in. “Other light attack and trainer aircraft won’t be able to touch us on cost – either procurement or through-life support. We will have all of the capability, but without the expense,” he said, adding, “A lot of countries need an inexpensive [light attack] aircraft, and now the United States has one to offer.”

Boeing and Saab envision a global market of up to 2,600 BTX aircraft over the coming years, including the 350 aircraft earmarked for the USAF. Although the potential for light attack and Aggressor sales is there, Torgerson said, Boeing will not begin serious development in this direction until a customer requests it, noting, “We don’t know when light attack development will begin. We have studied it, but we are not going to commit to it without a [customer] requirement to do so first.”

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion - Jan 2018

Postby brar_w » 04 Jul 2019 20:10

While there are plenty of positives to come out of it, but having sunk >$50 Billion on the Rafale with a sub-200/250 aircraft production run (they've been at it since the late 90's as far as production is concerned) has had other consequences and one of this has been a complete absence in the UAV/UCAV market for most of Europe including French firms. There appears to be some trouble with the Euro-MALE (arguably tackling the cheaper end of the MALE/HALE - survivability matrix), a program that will at best field a Mk1 aircraft in the late 2020's a cool couple of decades behind their competition that now has a growing portfolio of products in this space. If they don't sort this out then the future of Euro HALE, or Euro LO/UCAV looks sketchy as well...speaking nothing of more ambitious and technically challenging (and more expensive) programs like the SCAF.

‘Obese’ EuroMALE Prompts French Export Concerns

The future of the pan-European EuroMALE (medium altitude, long-endurance) unmanned air system has become hazy after French government officials described the platform as “obese” because of German requirements.

Giving evidence in a French senate hearing about Franco-German defense cooperation on June 26, Christian Cambon, president of the French committee on foreign affairs, defense and the armed forces, said: “With two engines and a weight of 10 tons, this drone will be too heavy, too expensive and therefore difficult to export.”

He blamed the weight issues on German requirements for a twin-engine configuration so it can operate in nonsegregated airspace over German cities.

Cambon said the French asked for a review of the requirements, despite the nations agreeing on the configuration in 2017.

Cambon’s comments come as more details have emerged about the specifications for the EuroMALE platform, which is being developed jointly by Airbus, Dassault Aviation and Leonardo with support from the governments of France, Germany, Italy and Spain. European armaments agency OCCAR released a picture showing some of the basic specifications for the platform—a maximum takeoff weight of around 11 metric tons, a payload capability of 2,300 kg and a maximum speed of 270 kt. The specifications put the EuroMALE at twice the weight of the U.S. General Atomics Reaper and Israel Aerospace Industries’ Heron TP platforms, but with only a marginally higher payload.

Disagreements between the partner nations at this stage could interrupt plans for them to sign a global contract for the development and production of the platform by year’s end. Airbus, the prime contractor, submitted a formal offer for the global contract at the end of May on behalf of its partners. The aim is to bring the first platforms to frontline service in 2025.

“We need this drone in Mali ... the Germans want to do urban surveillance over their territory,” Cambon told the hearing. “They want two engines for safety reasons so the drone cannot crash into a city,” he said.

The EuroMALE was born out of European industry’s growing frustration about not being able to get a foothold in the MALE UAV market being dominated by U.S. and Israeli products. In 2014 Airbus, Dassault and Leonardo joined to put pressure on their domestic governments, securing a two-year definition study in 2015. They have since completed a series of system requirements and design reviews.

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