Farnborough Air Show 2018 at a glance: military aviation


Here is a roundup of military aviation news from the Farnborough Air Show that took place between 16 and 22 July in the United Kingdom.

Though Raytheon came to Farnborough with hopes to find new export prospects for the GBU-53/B small diameter bomb II or “StormBreaker” bomb, eventual timing of delivery is still unknown as it will depend on still awaited US government decisions relative to an upgrade package known as continuous capability, development and demonstration (C2D2) phase on the F-35 fighter. There are several F-35 operators queuing for StormBreaker integration before they clear their F-35s for service.

Greg Ulmer, vice-president and general management for the F-35 program, said in a press conference that Lockheed Martin estimates it can reduce the industrial component of the aircraft’s operations and maintenance costs by 38% over the next 10 years. The company is also willing to improve the availability rate of the F35 by analyzing the causes of part failures.

According to FlightGlobal, the proposed Boeing/Embraer joint venture could include collaborating on potential upgrades and modifications of the KC-390 airlifter. Details of the final agreement remain under negotiations.

FlightGlobal reports that Sierra Nevada and IAI have signed a collaboration agreement develop a new tactical vertical take-off and landing unmanned air vehicle for the US market. Sierra Nevada will be the prime contractor, responsible for the overall system integration.

Saab’s head of business area Aeronautics, Jonas Hjelm, said the development of the Gripen-E fighter for Brazil and Sweden was underway. Three aircraft are now in the test flight program, one of which has flown with Iris-T air-to-air missiles.

Aero Vodochody has been awarded orders for 34 L-39 training aircraft from US firm RSW and Portugal-based SkyTech. RSW has ordered 12 new-built L-39NGs and 6 L-39CWs, and SkyTech 12 L39NGs with an option for 6 additional.

Aero Vodochody has unveiled a new version of the L-159 advanced and light attack jet trainer as the F/A-259 Striker and pitched it with IAI to the US Air Force as part of the OA-X close air support competition.

The head of Aeronautics, Jonas Hjelm, said that Saab is open to collaboration on any future fighter project as long as the aircraft technology of the Gripen-E is included.

As a response to the Franco-German European fighter program, the UK Defense Minister has unveiled a new fighter project, called Tempest, which brings together the Royal Air Force’s Rapid Capability Office alongside BAE, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo and MBDA under the Future Combat Air Strategy Technology Initiative. With a $2.7bn budget, the new aircraft is expected to be operational by 2030 to eventually replace Typhoon. Under the UK’s 2015 Strategic defense and Security Review, Team Tempest will explore new capabilities such as laser-directed weapons and optionally piloted design concepts. The team is also looking for partners, such as Sweden or Italy which may be interested. Norman Bone, chairman and managing director of Leonardo told Defense News that conversations have begun with Italy and others. Following this announcement, Airbus defense chief, Dirk Hoke, told Reuters that all European industries should join forces on future fighter.

Written by ADIT – The Bulletin and republished with permission.