First Upgraded Italian tornado on show

HAVING ONLY just delivered the first two upgraded Italian Air Force (AMI) Tornado IDS aircraft in the week before Famborough, Alenia Aeronautica displayed its first Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) aircraft, MM7063, at the show. Under a 35 million Euro contract signed in July 2002, a total of 18 AMI Tornado IDS aircraft will be upgraded, under a two-phase programme.

Work in the first phase will include a modernised avionics suite with new integrated navigation systems (laser inertial navigation system and embedded GPS). The upgrade will also include installation of two Marconi Selenia Communications digital V/UHF Have Quick I/II radios with a single HF tranceiver and Sicral national secure satellite communications terminal, plus new generation IFF transponder. A Lital secondary attitude and heading reference system, Thales Tacan receiver and Galileo Avionica radar altimeter will also be included in the MLU.

The initial MLU configuration will expand the range of smart weapons that the aircraft can carry. These now include 1,000lb (454kg) GPS-guided GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), Raytheon Enhanced Paveway III GPS/laser-guided bombs with Mk 84 and BLU-109 warheads and MBDA Storm Shadow long-range, stand-off, air-to-ground missile.

The first two aircraft are now undergoing trials with the AMI’s experimental and trials unit, 311° Gruppo Reparto Sperimente Volo (RSV), at Pratica di Mare AB, Italy. This should lead to initial operational clearance for the first phase of the MLU by the end of this year. A total of 12 aircraft are scheduled to be redelivered to the AMI by the end of this year, with the remaining six following by mid-2005. The AMI is expected to decide later this year if it will extend the MLU to cover all 57 Tornado aircraft currently in service.

A second phase, dubbed the ‘full MLU’, is being developed by Alenia and this will increase tactical capability, particularly for night-time missions. It will also add self-defence capability through integration of a new Defensive Aids Sub-System (DASS) and data transmission capability with integration of a Multi-function Information Distribution System (M1DS).

Thales Selected for UUatchkeeper Programme

ONE OF the major announcements at Farnborough came on July 20, when UK Secretary of State for Defence Geoff Hoon visited the SBAC Show and revealed that the UK MoD has selected Thales UK as the preferred bidder for the next phase of the £800 million Watchkeeper programme.

Watchkeeper will provide the UK with an essential Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability, based on a tactical unmanned air vehicle (TUAV) system, which is intended to remain in service for 30 years after service entry in 2006. Having now been selected, Thales will spend the next few months negotiating the full details of the contract, including precise specification and configuration, number of systems to be procured and so on, before contract signature, expected by the year-end.

In recent weeks, Thales was being widely tipped to win the contest in which it was bidding against Northrop Grumman ISS International Inc which had proposed the RUAG Ranger UAV and RQ-8 Fire Scout. Thales also proposed a two-tier system of TUAVs to meet the requirement, comprising the Watchkeeper WK180 and longer-range Watchkeeper WK450, which are variants of the Elbit/Silver Arrow Hermes 180 and Hermes 450, respectively.

Thales stated at Farnborough that the UAVs are particularly easy to assemble — a task that can be achieved by two NCOs after only 30 minutes’ training. Operationally, a full Watchkeeper system can be deployed to theatre using a single C-130 Hercules, and the air vehicles have a high endurance but low attrition rate.

In terms of acquisition costs, the ground-based elements of the Watchkeeper system comprise 60% of the equipment, whilst the UAVs make up only 40%. All of the ground-based equipment will be produced by UK companies. Where overseas suppliers are involved, primarily for the UAVs from Elbit technology has been transferred to the UK. A new joint venture company, the name of which has yet to be decided, will be set up in the UK by Thales and Elbit in order to manufacture the UAVs, which will be produced at a new factory that will be built alongside the existing Thales UK facility in Leicester. The new company will have UK design rights to the UAVs and will undertake flight-testing in Cardigan Bay, Wales. With the establishment of a UK production line, the joint venture company will also be looking at potential export customers for the system, becoming the only UK company so far able to compete globally in the tactical UAV market.

Sensor payloads for the UAVs, which will include electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR), laser target designator and synthetic aperture radar/ground moving target indicator (SAR/GMTI) sensors for day-night, all-weather operation, are still being evaluated.

Tamam, Thales Optronics/ElOp and Wescam are competing to provide the EO/IR sensor package, whilst the Elta F.L/M-2055 and General Atomics AN/APY-8 Lynx are contenders for the SAR/GMTI element. Through-life insertion studies will be undertaken to determine other uses for the UAV beyond the initial ISTAR requirement and more capabilities are likely to be added in the future.

First RoKAF Ka-32 Delivered

ISRAELI AIRCRAFT Industries (IAI) revealed at Farnborough on July 21 that the first Kamov Ka-32 helicopter to be equipped with an IAI Lahav Division avionics package was delivered by the LG International Corporation of Korea on June 22 to the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF). The SAR-configured helicopter, serial 001, was handed over in a ceremony at the RoKAF base at Cheongju, home of the 6th Search and Rescue Group. Despite the complexity of the programme -involving development, manufacture and integration across three countries -the first helicopter was delivered only 14 months after the contract was initiated.

The helicopter is the first of seven new Ka-32s being acquired by the RoKAF through LG International, which is customising and integrating the IAI avionics suite at its facility at Kimpo Airport following delivery from the Kumertau Aircraft Production Enterprise (KumAPE) factory in Bashkortostan, Russia. The remaining six helicopters will be delivered to the

RoKAF by mid-2005. Although more than 40 Ka-32s are already in service in Korea, operating with the Korean Forestry Commission, Maritime Police and Fire Brigade, these are the first examples for the RoKAF.

More milestones fortheC-130J

AT THE time of Farnborough, the worldwide C-130J fleet had just surpassed the 150,000 flight-hour milestone. The first of 60 C-130Js procured under a US Department of Defense multi-year acquisition programme is scheduled to roll off the production line at Marietta, Georgia, in October 2004. Interestingly, Lockheed Martin reported on the proven capability of a C-130J that had departed Ramstein AB, Germany, with a gross take-off weight of 165,0001b (74,840kg) and flew non-stop to the United States. One wonders if Lockheed Martin is trying to make a point here, as the RAF still complains that its C-130Js do not have the range it had anticipated. The problem is that a C-130J has to fly at around 37,000ft (11,278m) to fly non-stop to the USA but due to the amount of commercial jet traffic at this altitude, for safety reasons it must remain at lower altitude. As a result, it uses more fuel and has to stop to refuel en route.

Meanwhile, the 314th Airlift Wing, based at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, is scheduled to receive its second CC-130J in 2005. Within Air Education and Training Command, the 314th was the first unit in the active-duty air force to take delivery of the C-130J on March 19,2004. Lockheed Martin is currently delivering CC-130Js to the 143rd AW, Rhode Island ANG based at Quonset State Airport and the 146th AW, California ANG based at Channel Islands ANGS.

Having completed the Operational Evaluation, the US Marine Corps was expected to declare Initial Operating Capability (IOC) with the KC-130J within a ‘few weeks’ of Farnborough 2004 once the Operational Test and Evaluation of the Sergeant Fletcher air-refuelling pod had been completed.

Two HC-130Js of the US Coast Guard are now deployed with the 17th Coast Guard District at US Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, Alaska, flying routine operational missions.

Of those C-130Js intended for international customers, only two examples for the Italian Air Force remain undelivered. All 22 aircraft will be in service by the end of 2004. One of the few military aircraft orders announced at Farnborough 2004 was from the Royal Danish Air Force, which exercised a contract option for a fourth C-130J-30 for delivery in late 2007 to Eskadrille 721 at Alborg AB. The unit is expected to declare IOC with the type in the autumn.

Global Airtanker Service launched

DOMINATING THE northern end of the static park was former Japan Air Lines (JAL) McDonnell Douglas DC-10-40 N852V (c/n 47852) in the colours of Global Airtanker Service (GAS), a joint venture company that has recently been formed by Evergreen International Aviation and Omega Air. The aircraft is being converted to KDC-10 tanker configuration and, for display purposes only, it was shown with a refuelling boom and two underwing Flight Refuelling Mk 32-900 refuelling pods — this proposed configuration has not yet been cleared for flight.

Omega Air, which has already been operating a tanker-configured Boeing 707 for some time on military contracts, including leases to the US Navy, has entered a partnership with Evergreen for the new venture into the larger tanker market.

Evergreen began conversion work on the aircraft at its facility at Marana-Pinal Airpark, Arizona, in April and it should be finished by summer 2005; with test flying completed and service entry by mid-2006. Whether or not GAS gains a contract, the company intends to go ahead with the test flights, which will include US Navy trials at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, and US Air Force testing at Edwards AFB, California.

With the current delays in signing the contract for the UK’s Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) programme, GAS has offered an alternative of ten former JAL DC-10-40s converted to three-point tankers for FSTA. The company says it could deliver the first aircraft in 2006, but regardless of whether the UK government shows interest in the proposal as an FSTA alternative or not, GAS may well create a fleet of up to 20 KDC-lOs.

F-16 Prospects

CHILE WILL become the next country to receive the F-16 when it takes delivery of the first of ten Block 50M aircraft in early 2005. Lockheed Martin has nearly completed its engineering release on the programme and was 50% complete with the build of the first aircraft at the time of Farnborough 2004. Purchased under the US Government Foreign Military Sale (FMS) Peace Puma programme, Chile will receive six F-16Cs, four F-16Ds and support equipment. A two-seat F-16D will be delivered first and used for training and support. All ten aircraft will be delivered between early 2005 and mid 2006.

The Block 50M is characterised by its 50,0001b (22,679kg) Gross Take-off Weight and comes equipped with the APG-68(V9) radar, colour Multi-Function Displays and the Modular Mission Computer (MMC), a new core MMC-based avionics suite developed by the USAF under the CCIP programme, as signified by the M designator. All ten aircraft will be able to carry Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFTs), though CFTs do not form part of the current contract.

Following the first delivery to Chile, Lockheed Martin is scheduled to deliver the first Block 50M F-16 to the Omani Air Force in mid-2005. Under the Peace A’sama A’safiya (Blue Skies) FMS contract, the Omani Air Force will take delivery of eight F-16C and four F-16D aircraft through to the end of 2006. All 12 Omani aircraft will have the same systems fit (radar, MFDs, MMC, avionics) as the Chilean aircraft.

Both the Chilean and Omani aircraft will have an internal electronic warfare suite, with Radar Warning Receiver and jamming capabilities, a full (US Air Force equivalent) precision-strike capability, with as yet unnamed targeting pods, and provision for CFTs. The advanced Block SOM is capable of carrying weapons like the AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-120 AMRAAM, conventional Mk 82 and Mk 84 bombs, CBUs, precision weapons JDAM, JSSOW, WCMD and special weapons like the Maverick, Harpoon and HARM.

Production of all 22 aircraft (ten for Chile, 12 for Oman) will be undertaken at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, facility along with the initial training of Chilean and Omani Air Force maintenance technicians. Some of the training documentation is being put together by Lockheed Martin for both contracts. All pilot training will be undertaken by the US Air Force, at Luke AFB, Arizona, as part of individual government-to-government agreements.

Lockheed Martin reported that 102 new-build F-16s had been delivered to customers (Block 50/52 — USAF 8, RoKAF 18; Advanced Block 50/52 -HAF 60, IDF/AF 13 of 102; Block 60 -UAEAF 3 of 80) since the 2002 Farnborough.

In total, between 70 and 75 aircraft are likely to be delivered during 2004. The last F-16 built by Korean Aerospace Industries was due to be delivered to the Republic of Korea Air Force in August.

Three United Arab Emirates Air Force two-seat Block 60 F-16Fs were currently flying from Fort Worth and have collectively flown over 130 test flights since December 6, 2003. Two F-16Fs were scheduled to deploy to Holloman AFB, New Mexico, during July to commence the Integrated Weapons Test programme. The first single-seat Block 60 F-16E is expected to make its first flight in September.

Lockheed Martin reported that the Royal Jordanian Air Force had recently signed for the F-16 MLU (Mid-Life Upgrade) programme to enhance the capability of its fleet of 16 F-16A/Bs.

More Details Emerge on Secretive Chinese Z-10

DESPITE CHINESE secrecy over its Z-10 helicopter project, Lord Corporation — the US specialist in helicopter noise and vibration damping equipment — was openly explaining at Farnborough that its equipment is fitted to the Z-10. The company also confirmed that it supplies the more well-known Z-ll, which is based on the Eurocopter AS 350B Ecureuil.

Although there are several Western partners providing technical assistance on the Z-10 project, including AgustaWestland (development of the transmission), Eurocopter (rotor system development) and Pratt & Whitney Canada (providing the two PT6C-67C powerplants), precise details of its configuration have not been confirmed.

Originally reported as being developed for military roles including tactical transport and attack, plus commercial transport, the Z-10, which China prefers to call the Chinese Medium Helicopter (CMH), now appears to be being developed purely as an attack helicopter in a similar class to the Agusta A129 and Rooivalk.

Despite reports that it was not expected to fly before 2006, at least two prototypes have already been built and the first of these reportedly made its first flight on April 29, 2003, with the second also now in flight test.

Configuration is believed to comprise a narrow fuselage with stepped, tandem cockpits housing a gunner in the front seat and pilot behind. A nose turret houses IRST, TV camera and laser designator, but few details are known of its weapon systems, although they are thought to include an undernose 30mm cannon and unspecified anti-tank guided missiles mounted on stub wings.

Although Pratt & Whitney Canada says it has already shipped ten РГ6С-67С engines to China’s AV1CII for the CMH programme, there are reports that an unspecified indigenous engine may be fitted to later batches of the helicopter.

The Z-10 was developed by the AV1C II subsidiary CHRDI (the Chinese Helicopter Research and Development Institute) which has overall design authority for all indigenous Chinese helicopter programmes.

Spanish FITS Orion Ready For Operational Trials

HAVING COMPLETED manufacturer’s trials of the first upgraded Spanish Air Force P-3M Orion, P.3-09 ’22-32′ from Ala 11/Grupo 22/221 Escuadron based at Moron, the aircraft will begin in-service trials with the Air Force after returning home from Farnborough, where it was on show in the static display. All five of the unit’s P-3Bs are scheduled to go through the upgrade process under a S 102.42 million contract signed in December 2000.

EADS CASA completed work on the upgrade at its Getafe facility in Spain last year and the aircraft was rolled out on May 8, 2003, and reflew on June 19. At the core of the upgrade is EADS CASA’s FITS (Fully Integrated Tactical System) maritime patrol mission tactical system, into which the new equipment integrates.

Work includes installation of new sensors, electronic warfare system, interrogator IFF, CIT, retractable FLIR turret, modern 360° search radar, new ESM, 32-channel acoustic system and Link 11 data link, upgrading of V/UHF and HF communications and INS/GPS navigation equipment and integrating the new systems with the FITS.

EADS CASA’s FITS is a flexible and modular system using largely commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components both for the workstations/mission consoles and tactical processors. It is designed for integration in a range of platforms, such as the CASA C-212 and CN-235, helicopters or larger aircraft such as the P-3 Orion. The system has already been selected by the United Arab Emirates for four C-295 MP/ASW aircraft it has on order, and has recently been fitted to the first two of eight Mexican Navy CASA C-212s which are being converted from transport to maritime patrol aircraft. In addition, it will be integrated into the EADS CASA HC-235 maritime surveillance aircraft for the US Coast Guard as part of the Deepwater programme and has been selected by Brazil for installation in nine surplus US Navy Orions that have been purchased. A total of 12 Orions have been acquired by Brazil from storage at the Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Center at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. Of these, EADS CASA will upgrade eight P-3Bs and one P-3A with FITS for service with the Brazilian Air Force, with the remaining three P-3As being used for spares.

Raytheon Upgrades the T-6

RAYTHEON DISPLAYED the T-6B at Farnborough for the first time. This is an upgraded version of the original T-6A featuring the AUP (Avionics Upgrade Programme) cockpit, with a Head-Up Display (HUD) and three colour Multi-Functional Displays (MFDs). Raytheon told AFM that the original avionics suite fitted in the T-6A is: «Now out of sync with contemporary avionics systems. We have changed the avionics suite to include a HUD, because that allows the student pilot to start learning HUD skills at a much earlier stage, which is much more cost-effective than learning in a fast jet. This has expanded the footprint of capability from 0 to nominally 180 hours of useful training in the T-6B (depending on the AF).»

Having delivered the final 20 Hellenic Air Force T-6As with underwing weapon hardpoints, all T-6Bs will be built with hardpoints and weapons capability certified in accordance with US Air Force test procedures. The HUD and MFDs allow the aircraft to undertake a no-drop bomb-scoring capability.

Raytheon is scheduled to take the T-6B on a world tour between 2004-2005, visiting the UK, Spain, Turkey, Israel, UAE, Singapore, Australia, Chile, the Dominican Republic and Columbia. Many of these countries have requested information or a proposal, with a view to potential T-6 acquisition. Raytheon perceives it is possible that the UK MFFS programme will require a replacement for the RAF Tucano T.l and see potential for the T-6 within that role.

Hawkeye Update

THE FIFTH Taiwanese Air Force E-2 configured to Hawkeye 2000 standard was due to be rolled out from Northrop Grumman’s St Augustine, Florida production line on August 10. The sixth aircraft will follow in 2005. Taiwan’s first four E-2s are scheduled for upgrade to Hawkeye 2000 standard between 2006-2007.

A second E-2 aircraft modified to Hawkeye 2000 configuration was due to be delivered to the Egyptian Air Force in late July. Four more aircraft are due to follow. During the week leading up to Farnborough 2004, KHI in Japan flew the first Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) modified Hawkeye 2000 aircraft. The JASDF is planning to upgrade all 13 of its Hawkeye fleet within the next five years.

Further to the delivery of the first two E-2Cs to the Mexican Navy (see Mexican Navу Hawkeyes, August p66-67), Northrop Grumman told AFM that the aircraft had arrived in Mexico and the third should follow in August. The US Navy, in partnership with Northrop Grumman, is in talks with the Mexican Navy to determine its longterm support requirements.

Northrop Grumman confirmed to AFM that the Chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) had visited the company at Farnborough as part of its bid for the RMAF’s AEW requirement.

The company is working with the Spanish Government on its requirement for a national AEW system. Following the March 11 terrorist attack in Madrid, the Spanish Government is focussing on its need for a surveillance system such as Hawkeye.

Northrop Grumman is preparing information for the requirements of India’s Navy and Pakistan’s Air Force. The US Government is involved with both and is providing programme availability information. The Indian Navy has a carrier requirement and consequently needs new-build aircraft with a full carrier life. In contrast, the Pakistan Air Force will probably opt for upgraded aircraft.

Lastly, Northrop Grumman continues to keep lines of communication open with the United Arab Emirates for the acquisition of E-2s. Despite optimism at the Dubai Show last December (see UAEAF Hawkeye Deal, February, pi 9) that a deal for five Hawkeyes would be signed within months, negotiations have stalled over issues of technology transfer. Deliveries were expected to begin in early 2006 and continue until late-2008.

Boeing’s P-8A Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft

DURING THE show, AFM spoke with members of Boeing’s winning Multimission Maritime Aircraft team based on the Boeing 737-800ERX model. Boeing representatives confirmed that a designation had been sought for the 737 MMA aircraft and that it was likely to be the P-8A, but has yet to be authorised by the US Department of Defense.

The P-8A will have the capability to fly 1,200 miles (1,930km) from its point of departure, spend four hours on station and recover to base for its principal Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) role. Boeing said transitioning the ASW role to a jet aircraft with a 100 knot speed increase and a 12,000ft (3,657m) higher ceiling (both in comparison to the current P-3) offers significant advantages in terms of aircraft survivability. Crucial to the P-8A is the open architecture mission system, which features a genuine plug-and-play capability for all of the aircraft’s applications and sensors.

To carry out both the ASW and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) roles, the P-8A will be capable of carrying the AGM-84 Harpoon and SLAM-ER missiles. There are two weapons stations on each wing, two on the underside of the fuselage forward of the wing and an 11ft 11 in (3.63m) long bomb bay aft of the wing. It is the most extensive variation of the baseline Boeing 737 model. The P-8A can carry six stores in the bomb bay and six on the outside stations. Smith Industries is developing a digital stores management system that will facilitate use of future ASW and ASuW weapons.

A standard P-8A crew will be dependent on the pilot loading requirement for a long mission. A ‘standard’ crew will comprise two pilots, two naval flight officers (tactical coordinators) and three sensor operators (two acoustic, one nonacoustic) who will all be crossed-trained for work share. There will also be a system administrator (currently called an in-flight technician on the P-3).

The US Navy requirement is for five workstations (standard fit) but there is floor-space available for more, depending on, for example, the amount of UAV control functions that might be required. Each workstation will feature universal MFDs.

For the ASW mission, the P-8A will have an enhanced mission system, with capabilities described by Boeing as ‘beyond that of Nimrod MRA.4’ which the company is also involved with. Auto-detect and decision-aid features will be included to enhance the probability of detection supported by a database of known hits/signals. The decision aids will reduce the operator’s workload on the tactical side and will help the tactical co-ordinator complete his tactical analysis. Operators will no longer search all the time for targets but will analyse what the system thinks is important.

Under a logistics support and training concept, the US Navy and Boeing are putting together a training package for the initial cadre of P-8A pilots and crew. The initial cadre will form a training squadron with the initial LRIP (Low Rate Initial Production) aircraft. Training and syllabus development is expected to take up to two years to complete, the first training course is expected to last for six months. Boeing’s proposal gives the US Navy an IOC (Initial Operating Capability) with its first operational squadron in 2012.

Of the five development P-8A aircraft, three are flight test articles and two are for ground testing, the first flight is scheduled for 2009. Boeing has specified numbers of LRIP aircraft in four lots. Once full-rate production is reached, Boeing expects to deliver between 15 and 18 aircraft per year. The US Navy has a minimum requirement for 108 aircraft, the total number is governed by how many Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) UAVs will be purchased, something that has yet to be decided.

Final AAC Apache Handed Over

IN A ceremony at the show on July 21, the last of 67 Apache AH.Is for the Army Air Corps (AAC), ZJ233, was formally handed over by AgustaWestland. Despite a number of delays, primarily with aircrew training, the type is now becoming established in AAC service, with 9 Regiment’s 656 and 664 Squadrons at Dishforth, North Yorkshire, having fully transitioned to the type; each unit having eight helicopters. Training on the Apache is provided by 673 Squadron, based at the Army Air Corps Centre at Middle Wallop, Hampshire.

AgustaWestland had its largest ever presence at the show, with a static display comprising no less than eight helicopters and two mock-ups. These included the Apache, Italian Navy utility EH101 Mk 410 MM81492/’2-13’; Royal Danish Air Force SAR/utility EH 101 Mk 112 (M-501 )/ZJ990; Royal Air Force of Oman Super Lynx 300 762/ZJ976, and Royal Malaysian Navy Super Lynx 300 M501-3/ZJ906. Also on show were a civilian A119 Koala and A109 Power, together with mock-ups of the AB139 and new A109 Grand.

New Generation Hawk Has High Hopes

BAE SYSTEM’S Hawk Sales Manager, Dave Potter, gave an extensive overview of the market opportunities of the BAE Hawk at Farnborough. The aircraft having just celebrated the 30th anniversary of its first flight in August 1974 (The Hawk Reaches 30, page 24-30), he believes there are still further sales to be gained, to add to the 19 customers who already fly or have the aircraft on order. BAE’s market research has determined that there is a market for approximately 1,300 jet trainers over the next 10-15 years, and the company believes that Hawk could capture orders of 300 aircraft or 22% of the market place over that time frame. Marketing opportunities exist in Finland, Poland, Greece, Thailand, and within the Canadian Snowbirds acrobatic team and the NATO Flying Training in Canada, and these could be captured in the next three to five years. The Hawk will take advantage of advances in the latest technologies in order to fight off competition from aircraft such as the Aermacchi M346, KAI/Lockheed Martin T-50I, Aero L-159B and MAKO HEAT (High Energy Advanced Trainer), all of which are under development. BAE Systems has funded the development of the Hawk New Generation Trainer for two years. The key advances that BAE hopes will draw the sting from the emerging competitors are the new, powerful Adour Mk 951 and the provision of on-board simulation which allows pilots to train with a ‘virtual radar’.

Bahrain (six Mk 129 aircraft), India (66 Mk 115Y aircraft) and the RAF (20 Mk 128s) have all ordered the new generation Hawk within the past two years. BAE Systems was awarded a contract to set up a training school for the Royal Bahrain Air Force in 2002, this to include the supply of six Hawk Mkl29s and three Slingsby T67M260 Firefly aircraft, plus a comprehensive training and support package. The six Hawks are now in production at BAE Brough, with the first aircraft due for delivery in late 2006. Bahrain pilots earmarked for fast jets are currently trained by the UAE and Saudi Arabia on their Hawks.

The five former Indonesian Air Force Hawk Mk53s bought by BAE Systems, as part of a barter for Hawk spares in 1999, will be used solely for ground training at BAE Warton.

BAE Hind Makes Debut

MAKING ITS public debut at an airshow was the BAE Systems’ upgraded Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter. BAE Systems has now been putting funds into the upgrade for a couple of years and acquired the helicopter in early 2003. It was unveiled in its corporate livery last July at BAE’s Avionics Group facility at its Rochester plant. The former Warsaw Pact helicopter, equipped with a glass cockpit, has been upgraded with a BAE Titan 385 multisensor turret mounted under the nose, and rear-fuselage flare dispensers linked with the Sky Guardian radar warning receiver. The company had been selected as systems integrator for the production of two NATO-interoperable Mi-24s (see BAE Systems Gains Polish Mi-24 Contract, April, p8). However, the deal was cancelled in mid-July as the Polish Government believed that funding for the project would be better allocated to another programme.

ShinMaywa Looks At Fire-Fighter Market

SHINMAYWA INDUSTRIES Ltd was among Japanese companies present in Hall 2, and was keen to discuss the conversion of the US-1 A Kai into a firefighting aircraft (see First US-1A Kai Handed Over, May, p5). Development of the US-1A Kai, based on the US-1A search and rescue amphibian aircraft operated by the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF), began in 1996. The first aircraft, serialled 9901, made its maiden flight on December 18, 2003, and was delivered to the JMSDF the following March to allow further development. Delivery of the first operational aircraft is scheduled for 2007. A second aircraft, 9902, made its first flight in March this year and this will be the second development aircraft.

A fly-by-wire system, pressurised cabin, four new 4,400shp (3356kW) Rolls-Royce AE2100 engines with Dowty R414 six-bladed propellers, and a glass cockpit have been installed on the upgraded US-1A. Conversion to a fire-fighter has meant fitting the two development aircraft with a 15-ton water tank allowing them to scoop water from the sea, or from lakes and rivers. The aircraft will be capable of flying for six hours with water loaded. ShinMaywa believes there is a market for 200 amphibian aircraft over the next ten years — not just for search and rescue and fire-fighting, but also for passenger transport, freight transport and what it terms ‘ocean observation’.

Swedish Cuts

ON THE eve of the Farnborough show, the Swedish Air Force (SwAF) commander, Major General Jan Andersson, announced that his air arm is to be cut back to just three front-line squadrons by December 2007 with three active air bases.

The difficult decision will be which air base to close down and the choice appears to lie between Ostersund-Froson, home of F 4 Wing, or LuleA-Kallax, where F 21 is based. Both are part of the Northern Command. The other operational bases are F 16 at Upsalla and F 17 at Ronneby. A fourth base is the training base at Satenas, where F 7 Wing is located.

Royal Air Force of Oman Lynx In Static

AGUSTAWESTLAND made its appearance at a major airshow for the first time since the British Government agreed to sell its stake in the helicopter company, in late-May. The company always makes an impressive contribution to Farnborough and this year was no exception.

The company’s static exhibition showed off two Lynx. The Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) Mk 120, serialled ZJ976/762, is the sixth aircraft, which had made its first flight only the week before the show. RAFO has 16 Lynx Mk 120s on order: three have so far been delivered, and the first two are being used for development work at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility. A second Lynx, a Mk 100 for the Royal Malaysian Navy, serialled M501-3, was parked alongside: it will be the last aircraft delivered to 501 Sqn when it is shipped to Malaysia next month following completion of its SeaSkua trials.

As part of Westland Agusta’s collaboration with EH Industries, two EH 101s could be seen. One was the first Danish Air Force Search and Rescue derivative, wearing MOD serial, ZJ990: one of 14 on order, it made its first flight in December 2003. The second EH 101 was an Italian Navy utility and amphibious support variant, MM81492/’2-13′, one of four ordered in 2002 to augment eight Anti-Submarine Warfare/Anti-Surface Vessel (ASW/ASV) versions and another four tasked with Airborne Early Warning (AEW).

Gripen Looks To The Future

ACCORDING TO Gripen International’s Managing Director Ian McNamee, the last couple of years have been successful ones for the aircraft. Contracts have been secured with South Africa for 28 Tranche 3 JAS 39C/Ds, and with Hungary for a ten-year lease/purchase deal for 14 JAS 39C/Ds aircraft. As recently as June 2004, a 10 year-lease contract was signed with the Czech Republic for 14 JAS 39C/D Gripens (see Czech Sign Gripen Deal, August, p8). This latter deal calls for the delivery of the first aircraft in April 2005, and for deliveries to be completed in August. The first two aircraft are already on the production line.

There can be no doubt that the Czech purchase not only provided the Gripen team with an order from a second NATO country, but also added the impetus and confidence to take them into the eastern European arena. At his press conference on July 19, McNamee went on to discuss the Gripen’s prospects in the world markets, which provided an insight into the operational requirements of several countries. «We are focussing much of our effort on former Warsaw Pact countries as they evolve into NATO countries, and believe we are well placed to do this, with extremely flexible financial and offset agreements,» he said.

The Hungarian Air Force expects to phase out the MiG-29 by 2009, and will have a further ‘top-up’ of another ten fighters to boost its combat fleet to 24 aircraft. The Czech Republic would like to increase its own fighter fleet from 14 to 24 by 2009, and Gripen is now well placed to meet these needs.

Bulgaria is likely to be the next eastern European country to buy a new fighter. Its 2004 Strategic Review showed that it is to replace its MiG-29s with 12-20 fighters to meet an in-service date of 2007. Gripen International pulled off a major marketing coup last year when the Swedish Air Force sent eight aircraft to the 2003 co-operative key exercise at Graf Ignatievo in Bulgaria, where Bulgarian Air Force aircrews were impressed by its capabilities.

In 2001 the Government of Slovakia approved the replacement of the Slovak Air Force’s MiG-29s, and although the need had originally been for 18 aircraft, it has since been downsized to 10-14. A decision is expected in 2007 to meet an in-service date of 2010. Romania’s MiG-21 Lancer fleet is expected to be phased out around 2010, introducing a requirement of approximately 40 aircraft.

Another European air arm looking for a new fighter is Switzerland, which must replace its existing F-5 fleet by around 2010. A formal selection process should begin in 2006 for what is expected to be between 20-30 aircraft. With Eurofighter also confident of its chances in Switzerland, both Saab and BAE Systems, part of the Eurofighter consortium, have agreed to reorientate their roles in the Gripen International collaboration. BAE Systems will take a step back from sales and marketing of the Gripen because of the conflicts of interest which may ensue in programmes like Switzerland’s.

The company confirmed it had held discussions with the Pakistan Air Force over the purchase of the Gripen (believed to be for around 60). However, the sanctions situation in that country has to be carefully addressed before any deal can be finalised. Earlier MacNamee expressed interest in India’s requirement for 120 new generation aircraft to replace the MiG-23BN fleet, this also being a country affected by sanctions (like Pakistan, imposed following its nuclear tests in 1999). A Request For Information is expected within the next 12 months, to meet a 2010 In Service Date.

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