UK Wants Litening Pod for typhoons

THE UK is looking to equip its Eurofighter Typhoon with the Rafael Litening III target designation pod, according to RAF sources. Moves to buy the Israeli-made pod are the result of the RAF’s emerging requirement to field multi-role capabilities on Typhoon as soon as possible.

«It’s not a done deal yet,» commented a senior RAF officer involved in the Typhoon project. «We want them to equip the final aircraft of our Tranche 1 Typhoon buy in the 2007 time scale. Then we will retro-fit the earlier aircraft so we don’t have a fleet within a fleet.”

The final decision on

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SLS chief engineer Garry Lyles

We spoke to the chief engineer on NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket about how development is progressing

What is your role as chief engineer?

My job is to manage the design of SLS from a technical point of view, so day-to-day I make decisions on any design changes that need to be made to the launch vehicle. At the end of July we’ll hold a review board and basically make a decision as to whether we’re ready to proceed on to Critical Design Review in about 18 months or so.

Is everything on track for the first scheduled flight in December

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Seasprites Under Threat Again

AUSTRALIA’S TROUBLED Kaman SH-2G(A) Super Seasprite helicopter programme could be under threat of cancellation once again. Minister for Defence, the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP, made the revelation during an ABC Television interview after the government had announced on February 18 that it was launching a review of air combat capability (see p27). Fitzgibbon believes that Australia’s recently elected Labour government, has been passed a procurement mess, saying, «What I see horrifies me, I’ve inherited an absolute nightmare.»

He said the government was not ruling out any possibilities regarding the Seasprite project, including cancellation, but admitted that it would be a

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Massive Cost Cutting To Hit UK Helicopter Force

AS A result of the massive overspend on the Astute submarine and Nimrod MRA.4 programmes, and with the costs of the war in Iraq, the Treasury has reportedly demanded major savings in the Defence Budget. This is placing the Ministry of Defence’s Equipment Plan (EP) in serious difficulties. In response, MoD teams, colloquially known as ‘work strands’, put forward a series of cost-cutting measures, which were intended to reduce the deficit.

AFM understands that work strand 13, led by Air Commodore Kevin Leeson, was tasked with reducing helicopter support costs and with taking CI billion out of the future rotorcraft

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Inevitable demise

THE DEMISE OF the last flying Avro Vulcan B.2 bomber was a sad but inevitable event — if not now, then certainly in ten or 12 years time. Having been ‘a total aviation person’, man and boy, for 30 years, I understand well the emotion and reaction of your correspondents.

However, let us pause for a moment and consider the state of the RAF today. Its master is Her Majesty’s Government (of whatever persuasion) and that master is elected by you, the electorate. Rightly or wrongly, the government has entered a period of contraction in defence capability, in which the

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Harrier GR.9 Enters Service

JOINT FORCE Harrier and BAE Systems rolled out the Harrier GR.9 at RAF Cottesmore, Rutland, on October 11, in a ceremony marking the type’s front-line service entry with 1 (F) Squadron.

The £500 million improvement programme involves upgrading all 60 Harrier GR.7s and nine T.lOs to GR.9 and T.12 standard respectively, extending the Harrier’s effectiveness until the F-35 Lightning II enters service, currently planned for 2018.

Conversion work is being undertaken by BAE Systems on the Joint Update and Maintenance Programme (JUMP) line at Cottesmore. On October 11, 24 single-seat GR.9s and one two-seat T.12 were in RAF service. The

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RAF 16 (Reserve) Squadron Jaquar GR.3A XZ392 ‘PF’ departs RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, on July 19 after this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo (see pages 78-82). As part of the newly-announced defence cuts, the entire RAF Jaquar fleet will have been withdrawn by October 2007.

DETAILS OF the long-expected UK defence cuts were finally officially revealed in Parliament on July 21 by Secretary of State for Defence Geoff Hoon, when he presented a new Defence Command Paper, CM6269, entitled Delivering Security in a Changing World: Future Capabilities. Unlike the last Defence White Paper (see A New Vision?, February,


Air Combat Capability Review

AUSTRALIA’S MINISTER for Defence, the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP, announced details on February 18 of the new government’s intention to review the adequacy of current planning for Australia’s air combat capability through to 2045. The first stage will assess air combat capability requirements from 2010 to 2015. It will also examine the feasibility of retaining the F-lll in service beyond its scheduled retirement date of 2010. A comparative analysis will be undertaken of aircraft available to fill the gap that may be left by the withdrawal of the F-lll, and the status of plans to acquire the F/A-18F Super Hornet

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