Jun 16, 2013 13:28 UTC
Latest updates[?]: JHMCS II market launch at 50th Paris Air Show; Content & formatting improvements - click the bullet points button to see how it makes a difference.
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In the 1970s, fighter aircraft began to appear with Head-Up Displays (HUD) that projected key information, targeting crosshairs etc. onto a seemingly clear piece of glass. HUDs allowed pilots to keep their eyes in the sky, instead of looking down at their instruments. In the 1990s, another innovation appeared: helmet-mounted displays (HMDs) put the HUD inside the pilot’s helmet, providing this information even when the pilot wasn’t looking straight ahead. The Israelis were already pioneering a system called DASH (Display And Sight Helmet) when a set of former East German MiG-29s, equipped with Soviet HMDs, slaughtered USAF F-16s in NATO exercises. Suddenly, helmet-mounted displays became must-haves for modern fighters – and a key partnership positioned Elbit to take DASH to the next level.
This DID Spotlight article offers insights into the rocky past, successful present, and competitive future of a program that has experienced its share of snags and controversy – but went on to become the #1 helmet-mounted sight in the world. It also details the game-changing effects of Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems on air combat, its production sets and known customers, and all contracts since full-rate production began.
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Mar 26, 2013 17:27 UTC
Latest updates[?]: Is Singapore about to buy F-35Bs - or more F-15s?; Britain picks its base; Rolls Royce having problems with engine parts.
F-35B: off probation
The $382 billion F-35 Joint Strike fighter program may well be the largest single global defense program in history. This major multinational program is intended to produce an “affordably stealthy” multi-role fighter that will have 3 variants: the F-35A conventional version for the US Air Force et. al.; the F-35B Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing for the US Marines, British Royal Navy, et. al.; and the F-35C conventional carrier-launched version for the US Navy. The aircraft is named after Lockheed’s famous WW2 P-38 Lightning, and the Mach 2, stacked-engine English Electric (now BAE) Lightning jet. Lightning II system development partners included The USA & Britain (Tier 1), Italy and the Netherlands (Tier 2), and Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey (Tier 3), with Singapore and Israel as “Security Cooperation Partners,” and Japan as the 1st export customer.
The big question for Lockheed Martin is whether, and when, many of these partner countries will begin placing purchase orders. This updated article has expanded to feature more detail regarding the F-35 program, including contracts, sub-contracts, and notable events and reports during 2012-2013.
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Mar 18, 2013 17:35 UTC
Colombian K-767 MMTT
Brazil may be dithering about its future fighter fleet, but they’re taking steps to modernize another important air force capability. On March 14/13, Brazil’s FAB announces that they’ve picked Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to provide 2 Boeing 767-300ER aerial refueling and transport aircraft, in order to replace the FAB’s 4 KC-137s. Those Boeing 707 derivatives were built in the 1960s, and Brazil took delivery of their KC-137s in 1986. In 2008, Brazil’s air force general staff (EMAER) launched the KC-X2 program to replace them. IAI says that they beat “many international companies” for KC-X2, and their cost-effective solution is already flying with Brazil’s neighbor Colombia, in a smaller and shorter-range 767-200 aircraft.
Instead of ordering new aircraft, IAI Bedek uses its commercial conversion expertise to find suitable used 767 airframes at low cost, then performs a cargo conversion. That saves a lot of money, while improving the aircraft’s capabilities as Brazil’s long-range troop and cargo airlifter. Next comes installation of the aerial refueling equipment, which can be used for fighters, or to extend the reach of aircraft like their forthcoming KC-390 jet transports. IAI has developed a flying boom for the centerline, and has designed and manufactured its own wing pods for hose-and-drogue refueling. A final contract must still be signed with the FAB, which will include industrial participation from Brazilian firms. FAB [in Portuguese] | IAI.