Thai T-50s hit bad weather, welcoming ceremony postponed | Airbus announce Taiwan payout, German one on the cards | New Belgian NH90s need radar fix
- Boeing revealed Wednesday, a new unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) cargo air vehicle prototype. Powered by an environmentally-friendly electric propulsion system with eight counter rotating blades allowing for vertical flight, the vehicle is designed to transport a payload up to 500 pounds and will aid in future cargo and logistic applications. The prototype was assembled in under three months and has already undergone flight testing at Boeing’s Research & Technology’s Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri. Going forward, it will be used as a flying test bed to mature the building blocks of autonomous technology for future applications.
- Raytheon received Friday a $641 million to perform Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) test related activities for multiple radar platforms. Awarded by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the agreement include planning, executing, and analyzing sensor performance in BMDS flight tests and ground tests for each test event defined in the BMDS integrated master test plan. It also includes sensors modeling and simulation activities to include Open Systems Architecture Sensor Model (OSM) and Open Systems Architecture Signal Injector (OSI) development and maintenance, integration of OSI with hardware-in-the-loop radar representation, integration of OSI and OSM with the simulation framework, verification and validation support, and stakeholder/event support. Work will be performed at both Huntsville, Alabama and Colorado Springs, Colorado. The ordering period is from January 12, 2018, through January 11, 2023, with a one year option period provided in the contract.
Middle East-North Africa
- Saudi Arabia will receive 17 unique UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters following the award of a $193.8 million US Army contract to manufacturer Sikorsky last Thursday. Under the terms of the agreement, eight UH-60Ms will be delivered to the Saudi Arabian National Guard, while the other nine will go to the Royal Saudi Land Forces Airborne Special Security Forces. Work will take place at Stratford, Conn., with a scheduled completion time of December 2022. Fiscal 2018 foreign military sales funds in the amount of $11,163,000 were obligated at the time of the award.
- Five more Super Mushshak trainer aircraft have been delivered to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), bringing to ten the total number now operated by theservice. The Pakistani-made trainers touched down in an Il-76 airlifter on January 14 at Kaduna air base with Chief of Logistics at NAF Headquarters, Air Vice Marshal Bello Garba, meeting the aircraft alongside a team of NAF and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) personnel, who were on hand to offload the aircraft and spare parts. The aircraft will now be assembled by PAF and NAF technicians prior to testing and formal induction in service at the NAF’s 401 Flying Training School.
- Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper has reported that Airbus has offered to pay between €70 million and 80 million settlement ($85 million to $98 million) in order to stop an investigation by German prosecutors into its 2003 sale of 15 Eurofighter Typhoon fighters to Austria. While the firm refused to comment on the reported figure, the settlement would end one probe into the sale, while the Austrian government still investigates fraud allegations in relation to offsets attached to the agreement that never materialised. The newspaper report followed an Airbus statement on Saturday in which the company said it was talking to Munich prosecutors about “the potential termination of the investigation”.
- Three of the four NH90 NATO frigate helicopter (NFH) delivered to Belgium have reported defective radars, the Belgian Air Force has revealed. Purchased in 2015 at a cost of €35 million each, the helicopters were scheduled to replace the older Sea King helicopters for sea-rescue operations once the Sea Kings went out of service in 2019. The replacement of the defective radars is expected to take between three and six months, however, some reports suggest that each helicopter could be out for as long as 18 months, leaving only one model operational for four helicopter teams.
- Airbus confirmed at the weekend that its subsidiary Matra Défense SAS has been ordered to pay $126 million to Taiwan as part of an arbitration payment in relation to a long-running contract dispute that has spanned 25 years. The payment is the latest in a series of fines thrown at French firms embroiled in the scandal—Dassault, Thales and Safran have so far been found guilty and ordered to pay $276.80 million in fines over the incorrect use of commissions in the sale of 60 Mirage fighters to the island—and is one in a series of cases that underpinned accusations of widespread corruption during the final years of late French president Francois Mitterrand. Airbus’ statement said that Matra was now “reviewing the award before evaluating the next steps to take,” and a company spokesperson maintained that the fines were part of “a commercial dispute and not a corruption allegation.”
- Following their delivery flight to Thailand last week, two T-50THs will undergo thorough ground-checks after the advanced trainer aircraft hit turbulent weather during their ferry flight across South China Sea from South Korea. As a result of the bad weather, the pair of jets were forced to land at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Kuantan and upon post-flight inspection, the air and ground crew found abnormalities that warranted detailed inspections. As a result, a planned welcoming ceremony originally scheduled for last Friday at Takhli airbase in Nakhon Sawan province was postponed. Manufacturer KAI have been notified about the incident and the Korean firm have responded by saying that delivery of the aircraft will be delayed to allow for inspection to ensure full safety before being handed over to the RTAF.
- Boeing’s unmanned cargo air vehicle prototype:
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