No Stealthy McBombface Moniker for B-21 | Turkey’s Erdogan Announces Lofty Naval Ambitions | Spain Selects Thales Scorpion HMCS for HornetsMay 12, 2016 00:50 UTC
- The USAF has requested $165.7 million in the FY 2017 defense budget to convert the EC-37B (military designation for the G550) into an electronic attack platform. If selected, the C-37B will eventually replace the EC-130H currently used. According to the service, the selection of the C-37B was made uncompetitively as the aircraft did not require any further certification work.
- A naming contest for the B-21 bomber ended on May 5, with over 4,600 entries received by the USAF. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James announced that a name will be selected this fall. Luckily, the name wasn’t selected by public vote, so we can rule out a name like Stealthy McBombface.
- Software updates for the FA-18 and EA-18G have been validated by the US Navy after a series of flight tests between April 18-29. The first set of software: 27C, is designed for use in F/A-18A-D Hornets; H12 is for F/A-18F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers. Testing took place at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division-managed Point Mugu Sea Range which contains 36,000 square miles of controlled sea and airspace, allowing for testing in a real-world environment.
Middle East North Africa
- Turkey’s iron fist president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced his country’s ambitions for indigenously produced aircraft carriers and nuclear vessels just as its tentative production of its landing platform dock (LPD) began last month. The plans were announced among generous praise for Turkey’s domestic defense industry, which has moved from a 20-60 percent market share since his AKP party came to power in 2002. Zero dependency is expected by 2023. Ambitious indeed.
- Spain has selected the Thales Scorpion Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (HMCS) for its F/A-18 Hornet fleet. This is the first time the HMCS has been selected by a F/A-18 operator, and Thales said it “will be responsible for the viability study, testing phase, integration with test aircraft, qualification support, and integration in the fleet.” The system offers full color symbology (navigation, intelligence, combat, etc.) for both nighttime and daytime missions, in addition to target cueing in potentially degraded visual environments.
- Ski-jump tests of a naval version of India’s Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) have been successful. The tests involved the aircraft taking off under 200 meters with the aid of a ski-jump while carrying two R-73 air-to-air missiles. Next up for the two prototype LCAs will involve touch-and-go testing on a simulated deck at the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) in Goa. The navalized versions will be added to the INS Vikrant aircraft carrier after it is commissioned in 2018.
- Airbus Helicopters is being kept busy with its Australian customers as it rushes to complete specifications of NH Industries NH90, in which Airbus Helicopters is the largest shareholder. Requirements by the Australian government include a weapons system and fast-roping and rappelling capability, as well as limitations to maritime deployment. Australia is also looking to replace its fleet of Airbus Tiger helicopters which have not met service standards.
- “Our missile capabilities are not negotiable.” Iran unveils its new S-300 missile defense system: