Tornado F.3s damaged by contractors

EIGHTEEN RAF TORNADO F.3s have been effectively grounded following the discovery of serious airframe damage after servicing by a private contractor. The MoD contracted out airframe modification work to increase the fatigue index of the RAF’s 97 Tornado F.3s and the first contract for 15 aircraft with BAe has already been satisfactorily completed.

The second contract for 18 aircraft was won by Airwork Services which undercut BAe’s bid of £11 million by £4 million.

The Mod has now cancelled the contract but it may cost up to £6 million per aircraft to rectify the damage.

Work on the aircraft was

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TOP 5 New launches


Q Acoustics Q-BT3 £400

Making your way in the world of consumer electronics is tough-going for a standard pair of desktop speakers. Why? Because of products like this. The new Q-BT3 speakers not only claim to deliver proper «hi-fi sound» as opposed to a «jazzed up iPod dock» but also feature the higher-quality aptX version of Bluetooth for wireless streaming from laptops, phones and tablets. There’s also an integrated DAC for connecting digital sources.


Meridian Director £450

We welcomed Meridian’s exploration of the more affordable end of the market with open arms — and a five-star review of

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Top 5 facts



ITALY, 1451-1506


Columbus displayed a keen interest in sailing and exploring from an early age, embarking on several voyages in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. However, his first Atlantic expedition in 1476 nearly ended in disaster, as his ship was attacked by French privateers off the coast of Portugal, forcing him to swim to safety.

02 Asia was the intended destination, not America

Financed by the Spanish monarchy, Columbus embarked on the first of four voyages towards

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The Woodpeckers Van

The Jowett Bradford was a respected light commercial in its day, but survivors are now thin on the ground. Bob Weir went to historic Glamis Castle in Angus to meet Barry Eddon, and his early example of this postwar classic.

Glamis is the historic home of the Bowes Lyon family, and the current Earl of Strath more can trace his roots all the way back to King Robert the Bruce. Childhood home of the late Queen Mother, the castle and its royal connections go hand in hand. It is one the most famous stately homes in Britain, and the Earl

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THIRTY YEARS ago this month, a red-and-white-painted Hawk took to the skies over Britain. Today this aircraft has become one of the most successful, and by far the most successful jet trainer. With nearly 850 orders and 1.5 million flying hours to its credit, the BAE Systems Hawk has continued to evolve and remains at the forefront of jet trainer technology. This is largely the reason it continues to flourish, with a constant stream of orders flowing in.

The Hawk is a proud symbol of technological and marketing achievement for BAE Systems, and for Britain as a whole. As the

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Testing for War

WHAT’S NEW IN the world of RAF attack aircraft? Squadrons may claim that their aircraft are to the latest operational standards, but by the time that a new piece of kit is fitted to a Tornado or Harrier it will be well familiar at Boscombe Down. Famous as the base of the MoD PE’s Aircraft & Armament Evaluation Establishment’, this Wiltshire aerodrome is also host to an RAF unit dedicated more to operational development than test flying and aircraft handling. The Central Tactics & Trials Organisation (CTTO) reports to HQ Strike Command at High Wycombe and directly controls its own

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Sony’s updated RX100 gets a boost in pixel size.

When we first tried out the Cyber-shot RX100, Sony’s first compact camera with a 1-inch sensor, we were amazed at the depth of field and sensitivity afforded by its relatively larger image. With the new RX100 II, Sony manages to get even more light out of the same real estate by switching to a back-side illuminated architecture (see Inside Tech at right).

While the new 20MP CMOS sensor should pull in more light than its predecessor, Sony also added a few other ancillary bells and whistles to this update. Built-in Wi-Fi

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Sri Lankas Air War

Alan Warnes returned to Sri Lanka during March to see how the SLAF is faring.

THE BLOODY CONFLICT in Sri Lanka continues (see Sri Lanka’s Unique Air Force, July 96, p47-55). It does not make the national papers regularly because the government restricts the passage of journalists, but it still rages on. Battles between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) — whose leader Vellupilli Prabhakaran is also wanted in India for the alleged LTTE slaying of Premier Rajiv Gandhi in 1989 — and government troops are seemingly a daily occurrence. Only last August, the Army camp at Mallaittivu (see

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Spanish Air Force Receives First SAR CN-235

THE FIRST CN-235 VIGMA (Vigilancia Maritima — Maritime Surveillance) for the Spanish Air Force, D.4-01/T.19B-12, to be operated by Ala 48’s Escuadron 803 at Cuatro Vientos, was handed over on February 11. Six are on order, with options on a further two. The firm order aircraft will be split equally between Escuadron 801 (Ala 15) at Son San Juan, Escuadron 802 (Ala 46) at Gando, Grand Canaria, and Escuadron 803, each unit having two aircraft each.

EADS CASA’s Military Transport Aircraft Division will deliver four aircraft this year, with the final two due to enter service in 2009.

Spain acquired

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The Monster Energy MX Nationals circus hit the Raymond Terrace MX Central facility in preparation for the 2013 season. It was a chance for teams to have a hit-out on the track that will host the first round of the 2013 season and for the media to see the teams in action. Promoter Kevin Williams officially introduced the 2013 series with a press conference before the teams took to the track for the first time. Monster Energy Kawasaki debuted its new-look machines as well as new rider Adam Monea. Jay

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