Oct 29, 2014 16:04 UTC
Latest updates[?]: Beginning of F-22 integration; multinational spares contract.
AIM-9X test, F-18C
(click for close-up)
Raytheon’s AIM-9X Block II would have made Top Gun a very short movie. It’s the USA’s most advanced short range air-air missile, capable of using its datalink, thrust vectoring maneuverability, and advanced imaging infrared seeker to hit targets behind the launching fighter. Unlike previous AIM-9 models, the AIM-9X can even be used against targets on the ground.
These changes will help keep it competitive against foreign missiles like MBDA UK’s AIM-132 ASRAAM, RAFAEL of Israel’s Python 5, the multinational German-led IRIS-T, and Russia’s R73/ AA-11 Archer. So far, only American fighter types can use AIM-9X missiles, but that hasn’t stopped a slew of export requests and sales, especially in the Middle East.
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Jun 01, 2014 15:30 UTC
Latest updates[?]: Portugal's 2 submarines almost ready to use Block II; Brazil's maritime patrol order; Super Hornet testing; Minor export orders.
Harpoon in flight
The sub-sonic, wave-skimming GM-84 Harpoon is the US Navy’s sole anti-shipping missile, with the minor exception of small helicopter-borne AGM-119B Penguin missiles. The Harpoon has been adapted into several variants, and exported to many navies around the world. At present, the Harpoon family includes AGM-84 air, RGM-84 sea/land, and UGM-84 submarine-launched versions. Variants such as the Joint Standoff Land Attack Missiles and the upgraded AGM-84K SLAM – Expanded Response will also be covered in this DID FOCUS Article. It describes the missiles themselves, and covers global contracts involving this family.
The Harpoon family’s best known competitor is the French/MBDA M38/39/40 Exocet, but recent years have witnessed a growing competitive roster at both the subsonic (Israel’s >Gabriel family, Russia’s SS-N-27 Klub family, Saab’s RBS15, Kongsberg’s stealthy NSM, China’s YJ-82/C-802 used by Hezbollah in Lebanon), and supersonic (Russia’s SS-N-22 Sunburn/Moskit, SS-N-26 Yakhont, and some SS-N-27 Klub variants, India’s SS-N-26 derived PJ-10 BrahMos) tiers.
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Mar 23, 2014 16:40 UTC
Latest updates[?]: US begins T-X program; Israeli rollout.
Tornado refuels M346
Alenia’s Aermacchi’s M-346 advanced jet trainer began life in 1993, as a collaboration with Russia. It was also something of a breakthrough for Alenia Aermacchi, confirming that the Finmeccanica subsidiary could design and manufacture advanced aircraft with full authority quadriplex fly-by-wire controls. Those controls, the aircraft’s design for vortex lift aerodynamics, and a thrust:weight ratio of nearly 1:1, allow it to remain fully controllable even at angles of attack over 35 degrees. This is useful for simulating the capabilities of advanced 4+ generation fighters like the F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter, and Rafale. Not to mention Sukhoi’s SU-30 family, which has made a name for itself at international air shows with remarkable nose-high maneuvers.
The Russian collaboration did not last. For a while, it looked like the Italian jet might not last, either. It did though, and has become a regular contender for advanced jet trainer trainer contracts around the world. Its biggest potential opportunity is in the USA. For now, however, its biggest customer is Israel.
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Sep 17, 2013 15:36 UTC
Singapore’s Minister for Defence Dr. Ng Eng Hen has confirmed that they’ve picked MBDA’s SAMP/T Aster-30 missile system as their upper-tier air defense system on land. Singapore already uses the missiles at sea, aboard its Formidable Class frigates, so the land-based buy will draw on an existing support network. It isn’t entirely clear whether or not a contract has been signed, which isn’t unusual for Singapore.
MBDA’s Aster-30s will replace Raytheon’s MIM-23 I-Hawk missiles as Singapore’s upper tier air defense on land, offering Singapore the ability to intercept short range ballistic missiles as well as aircraft, cruise missiles, etc. It’s the latest step in a series of interlocking improvements. One tier down, SAMP/T will be complemented by new RAFAEL Spyder mobile air defense systems, whose short to medium range coverage will supplement older Rapier missile systems from Britain. In the air, Singapore’s new IAI Gulfstream G550 CAEW jets offer Singapore greater endurance and warning distance than the RSAF’s retired E-2C Hawkeyes, and can coordinate responses from ground systems and RSAF fighters. Sources: Singapore MINDEF, “Reply by Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen to Parliamentary Question on Relocation of Paya Lebar Air Base”.