Rus­sian air­craft take to French skies in the ab­sence of US mil­i­tary air­craft

SP's MAI - - AEROSPACE - [ By R. Chan­drakanth ]

One ex­pected the 50th Paris Air Show (Golden Ju­bilee Year) held at Le Bour­get from June 17 to 23 to be an ex­cep­tional event, but it was not to be so. There were no earth-shak­ing deals. How­ever, the fu­ture of avi­a­tion was on show, par­tic­u­larly in the realm of de­fence. Though the sheen was miss­ing with Amer­i­can mil­i­tary jets skip­ping the bi­en­nial event due to fed­eral bud­get cuts known as se­ques­tra­tion, there were oth­ers who grabbed the op­por­tu­nity to show­case their prod­ucts and cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies. The US De­fense Depart­ment has scaled back its pres­ence at air shows every­where and Paris is no ex­cep­tion.

The ab­sence of US mil­i­tary air­craft opened up space for Rus­sians and the host coun­try France to show­case their lat­est planes, helicopters and drones. Also this year the no­table themes were elec­tric and hy­brid-elec­tric planes, as well as car­bon-graphite con­struc­tion—im­prove­ments aimed at cre­at­ing light, strong, sus­tain­able planes in the face of high fuel prices.

The cyno­sure of all eyes was the Rus­sian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter as it was fly­ing first time in French skies, while the other Euro­pean air­craft have done the rounds here. The Su-35 show­cased its prow­ess do­ing var­i­ous ma­noeu­vres, in­clud­ing the fa­mous Pu­gachev Co­bra where a plane flies straight up and then seems to curl back in on it­self. Rus­sia, like the US and Euro­pean com­pa­nies, is keen on wooing the in­ter­na­tional buyer, not just from the Mid­dle East and Asia (In­dia hav­ing been one of its ma­jor buy­ers).

The de­fence mar­ket is quite fluid with sev­eral de­vel­oped na­tions slash­ing de­fence bud­gets. How­ever, there is a grow­ing trend for un­manned air­craft along with manned air­craft.

Le Bour­get gave a peek into the de­vel­op­ment. Fore­most was the Pi­ag­gio Aero Ham­mer­Head which has been trans­formed from a busi­ness jet into a drone, with sur­veil­lance equip­ment and re­mote fly­ing sys­tems. Pi­ag­gio Aero’s Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Al­berto Galassi said the Ham­mer­Head is an “in­sight into what an ad­vanced un­manned aerial sys­tem of the fu­ture will look like.” Pi­ag­gio in­tends to get ap­provals of the same for use by 2014.

Else­where at the venue Io­max’s Ar­chAngel, a bor­der patrol air­craft de­signed to pro­vide ‘air­borne sur­veil­lance for in­tel­li­gence and se­cu­rity’ was show­cased. The air­craft was orig­i­nally de­signed as an agri­cul­tural crop-duster, thus re­flect­ing how the in­dus­try is rein­vent­ing it­self due to eco­nomic pres­sures.

Here are some of the an­nounce­ments at Le Bour­get from a wide spec­trum of de­fence op­er­a­tions.

Elet­tron­ica un­veil self-pro­tec­tion suite

Elet­tron­ica, the lead­ing elec­tronic war­fare (EW) so­lu­tion house, un­veiled the self-pro­tec­tion suite for com­bat search and res­cue helicopters. All the key Elet­tron­ica’s tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs and ad­vanced so­lu­tions were show­cased: Virgilius, the in­te­grated EW-ar­chi­tec­ture sys­tem and ELT/572 DIRCM the win­ning re­sponse to MANPADS threats in the E/O spec­trum. Other core so­lu­tions in­cluded the DASS POD of the Eurofighter Typhoon and the ELT/568 sys­tem with a spe­cific Es­cort Sup­port Jam­mer so­lu­tion ALQ-703.

Elet­tron­ica also signed a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MoU) with PSATRI from Saudi Ara­bia. The MoU is for re­search and de­vel­op­ment of new so­lu­tions in the field of elec­tronic war­fare.

Selex ES sys­tems on­board V-22 Osprey

Selex ES, a Fin­mec­ca­nica com­pany, an­nounced that Boe­ing De­fense, Space & Se­cu­rity had se­lected it to sup­ply its SRT-200 high-fre­quency ra­dio com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems to the V-22 Osprey Pro­gramme. The SRT-200 sys­tem is the lat­est light­weight and com­pact out­come of a re­search and de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­ity car­ried out by the com­pany within the high-fre­quency sec­tor. It pro­vides voice/data ra­dio com­mu­ni­ca­tions for avionic ap­pli­ca­tions with ALE2 tech­nol­ogy.

Selex ES also an­nounced that it had bagged a con­tract worth €5 mil­lion (£4.2 mil­lion) by Ger­many’s Fed­eral Min­istry of De­fence to sup­ply a num­ber of Ti­tan 385ES-HD tur­rets for Ger­man Navy (Deutsche Marine) Sea Lynx Mk88A helicopters. The Ti­tan 385ESHD (en­hanced sta­bil­ity-high def­i­ni­tion) tur­rets will al­low Ger­man Navy pi­lots to see their en­vi­ron­ment clearly while nav­i­gat­ing and per­form­ing sur­veil­lance mis­sions at night and in con­di­tions of poor vis­i­bil­ity.

MBDA’s fu­tur­is­tic so­lu­tion to re­shape sur­face com­bat

MBDA un­veiled the CVS302 HOPLITE that is de­signed to sup­ply an in­di­rect pre­ci­sion at­tack ca­pa­bil­ity for land and naval ar­tillery in 2035 and be­yond. This rep­re­sents the fourth and lat­est of MBDA’s an­nual Con­cept Vi­sions projects, demon­strat­ing once again the com­pany’s po­si­tion as a thought leader in en­vis­ag­ing how in­no­va­tion in mis­sile sys­tems could dom­i­nate the fu­ture bat­tle­field.

The HOPLITE sys­tem con­sists of a mis­sion con­trol sys­tem, and two mis­sile vari­ants, HOPLITE-S and HOPLITE-L, both of which can fly 70 km in un­der two min­utes at low al­ti­tude or up to 160 km at high al­ti­tude in un­der four min­utes when the way is clear. HOPLITE’s one shot one kill pre­ci­sion im­pli­fies op­er­a­tions while re­duc­ing col­lat­eral dam­age risk and mis­sion cost.

A400M on static dis­play

The A400M which is be­ing de­liv­ered this sum­mer to the French Air Force (FAF) and the first FAF A400M were on static dis­play. The abil­ity of the A400M to carry C-17 type loads to the point of at­tack, as does the C-130, will be a sig­nif­i­cant game changer for the air­lift mar­ket. The other el­e­ment of a global fleet built around Air­bus Mil­i­tary air­craft is the A330MRTT.

The plane is built on the foun­da­tion of the very suc­cess­ful A330 com­mer­cial air­craft, which is used widely and glob­ally. When the A330 MRTT was built, Air­bus Mil­i­tary went back and re­designed the plane around new com­puter-based de­signed tools and a new and even more ro­bust plane emerged crafted for the tank­ing mis­sion.

HAL or­ders nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems kits from Sagem

In­dian air­craft man­u­fac­turer, the Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Ltd (HAL), has or­dered 107 Sigma 95 nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems kits from Sagem (Safran) for the In­dian Air Force’s com­bat air­craft. De­vel­oped and pro­duced by Sagem, Sigma 95 is an au­ton­o­mous hy­brid in­er­tial nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem com­bin­ing laser gy­ros and GPS/Glonass satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion. It en­sures high-pre­ci­sion nav­i­ga­tion and broad op­er­a­tional flex­i­bil­ity for both com­bat and spe­cial-mis­sion air­craft.

Two-thirds of the sys­tems in this or­der will be man­u­fac­tured in In­dia by HAL, fur­ther ce­ment­ing the part­ner­ship agreee­ment on nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems signed by Sagem and HAL.

Beechcraft presents light at­tack air­craft

Beechcraft De­fense Com­pany said that it ex­pects the growth in in­ter­na­tional de­fence bud­gets to lead to de­mand for its trainer and light at­tack air­craft. Al­though most Western na­tions saw de­fence cuts in 2012, mil­i­tary spend­ing rose by 7.8 per cent in North Africa, 8.4 per cent in the Mid­dle East and 4.2 per cent in Latin Amer­ica.

Since de­liv­er­ies of its T-6 mil­i­tary trainer be­gan in 2000 to the US Air Force and Navy, Beechcraft has ex­panded into in­ter­na­tional mar­kets, with cus­tomers in­clud­ing NATO Fly­ing Train­ing, Canada, the Hel­lenic Air Force of Greece, the Is­raeli Air Force, the Iraqi Air Force, the Royal Moroc­can Air Force and the Mex­i­can Air Force.

“We are see­ing grow­ing in­ter­est in the T-6 and AT-6 from de­fence de­part­ments around the world who are look­ing for proven re­li­a­bil­ity and cost-ef­fec­tive so­lu­tions,” said Russ Bartlett, Pres­i­dent, Beechcraft De­fense Com­pany. “The ca­pa­bil­i­ties of th­ese air­craft are sec­ond to none, and al­low pi­lots to be trained to the high­est stan­dards, and for air forces to op­er­ate highly flex­i­ble, light at­tack air­craft.”

The AT-6 is an af­ford­able and ca­pa­ble multi-role, multi-mis­sion air­craft sys­tem tai­lored for ini­tial pilot train­ing, weapons train­ing, op­er­a­tional net-cen­tric ISR and light at­tack ca­pa­bil­i­ties for ir­reg­u­lar war­fare. The AT-6 leads the light at­tack mar­ket with pur­pose-built ca­pa­bil­ity, af­ford­abil­ity, sus­tain­abil­ity and in­ter­op­er­abil­ity for the most de­mand­ing of sce­nar­ios.

Ale­nia Aer­ma­c­chi ties up with Ital­ian De­fence

Ale­nia Aer­ma­c­chi and the Sec­re­tariat Gen­eral of De­fence/National Ar­ma­ments Direc­torate of the Ital­ian Min­istry of De­fence signed an agree­ment to jointly define the op­er­a­tional spec­i­fi­ca­tions and col­lab­o­rate on the de­vel­op­ment of a new ba­sic-ad­vanced trainer, the M-345 high ef­fi­ciency trainer (HET) and ex­pected to en­ter ser­vice be­tween 2017 and 2020.

The new HET will be a fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of the M-345 jet trainer, the lat­est so­lu­tion pro­posed by Ale­nia Aer­ma­c­chi for the ba­sic ad­vanced phase of mil­i­tary pilot train­ing.

Rus­sian Helicopters’ Ka-52 Al­li­ga­tor

Rus­sian Helicopters, a sub­sidiary of Oboron­prom, part of State Cor­po­ra­tion Rostec and a lead­ing global de­signer and man­u­fac­turer of helicopters, and Rosoboronex­port show­cased the lat­est Ka-52 Al­li­ga­tor com­bat he­li­copter. The he­li­copter made its in­ter­na­tional de­but on the first day of Le Bour­get with a spec­tac­u­lar dis­play full of aer­o­batic ma­noeu­vres.

The Ka-52 Al­li­ga­tor is an all-weather, day-night com­bat he­li­copter. It is de­signed to de­stroy ar­moured and un­ar­moured ground tar­gets, low-speed aerial tar­gets and en­emy front line and tac­ti­cal re­serve troops, and to un­der­take re­con­nais­sance mis­sions and co­or­di­na­tion of groups of mil­i­tary helicopters. The Al­li­ga­tor is equipped with stealth tech­nolo­gies and ac­tive IR and elec­tronic jam­mers, and is de­signed to Rus­sian and in­ter­na­tional stan­dards for com­bat helicopters and their op­er­a­tion.

De­spite the ab­sence of big mil­i­tary air­craft con­tracts, the Paris Air Show con­tin­ues to hold on to its mar­quee sta­tus. What if the mar­kets are down, they are sure to bounce back.

Rus­sian Helicopters’ Ka-52 Al­li­ga­tor at­tack he­li­copter

Das­sault Mil­i­tary stall with

nEU­ROn UCAV on dis­play

A Beechcraft Spe­cial Mis­sion 350ER

Air­bus Mil­i­tary’s A400M on static dis­play

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