Category: News

1st Eurofighter with PIRATE IRST Radar Delivered to Italian Air Force

1st Eurofighter with PIRATE IRST Radar Delivered to Italian Air ForceThe first Eurofighter Typhoon with on board the radar PIRATE- IRST designed and produced by Galileo Avionica, a Finmeccanica Company, was delivered to the Italian Aeronautica Militare.

The aircraft is part of the Tanche 1 batch 5 of the international programme Eurofighter and is operational at the Grosseto base, in Tuscany.

The PIRATE performs the same tasks of a radar, working in a passive mode, without electromagnetic radiations, detecting instead the heat of the different targets. A very important feature that increases the overall performances of a combat aircraft, offering the tactical superiority of a complete operability in Stealth (technologies allowing the aircraft to be undetectable).

Leveraging state-of-the-art technologies, the PIRATE (Passive Infra-Red Airborne Tracking Equipment) combines the functionalities of a IRST and the ones of a FLIR (Foward Looking Infra-Red). The PIRATE is compact enough to install the electronics inside the aircraft, while the searching head of the sensor emerges on the left nose in front of the windshield.

Galileo Avionica is prime contractor of the EuroFirst Consortium which features Thales in the UK and Tecnobit in Spain. In 2006, the Consortium was awarded with a contract to supply 200 PIRATE systems for the Tranche 2 of the Eurofighter in the various nations involved.

The value for Galileo Avionica of the programme, which includes Tranche 2 and Tranche 1, is around 200 million euros.

Combining its experience and leadership in electro-optical and firing systems, with the knowledge acquired in the development of the PIRATE, Galileo Avionica has developed a commercial version of the PIRATE, named IRST-C for other fighters requiring the same technologies for passive tracking of the targets.

Galileo Avionica has also developed a Naval version of the IRST which is the SASS (Silent Acquisition Surveillance System) installed for a session of trials on board the EURO Fregate and which will equip the unit of the Italian Navy, Cavour. SASS has also been selected for the Italian fregates in the frame of the Franco Italian programme FREMM.— ends —

Defense bill provides $100M for FALCON hypersonic cruise vehicle – UPDATED

The Washington Post reports on a $100 million budget request for development of the FACLON hypersonic cruise vehicle (HCV) as part of the $459 billion defense appropriations bill.

Goal of the “prompt global strike” program, as the FALCON program is also known, is to provide the ability to deliver a conventional, precision-guided warhead anywhere in the world within two hours.

Funds from both the Navy’s Trident ICBM program and the USAF Common Aero Vehicle were taken away to support the FALCON program.

A summary of the FY 2008 Defense Appropriations Bill can be downloaded here: (PDF). It includes a $4.1bn request for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter development program, $2.4bn for the procurement of 12 F-35’s (6 for the Air Force and 6 for the Marine Corps) and a $3.1bn bill for 20 F-22 Raptors.

UPDATE: Section of the appropriations bill addressing the FALCON/Promt Global Strike (PGS) budget request:

The budget request included a total of $175.4 million for the Conventional Trident Modification (CTM), with $126.4 million in hard and deeply buried target defeat systems, PE 64327N; $36.0 million in Trident II modifications, Weapons Procurement, Navy (WPN) line 1; and $13.0 million in strategic systems missile equipment, Other Procurement, Navy (OPN) line 108. The budget request also included $32.8 million for the Common Aero Vehicle, PE 64856F.

The committee believes that a coordinated look at a variety of kinetic non-nuclear concepts is necessary to address the feasibility of a prompt global strike (PGS) capability and to review, in a coordinated fashion, technologies that would be common to such a capacity, including thermal protection, guidance navigation, and control issues. The committee recommends that the funds identified above be transferred to technical studies, support, and analysis, PE 65104D8Z, to be used to establish an integrated PGS research program. Requirements for the program should be provided by the United States Strategic Command as informed by the ongoing analysis of alternatives for PGS and the PGS technology roadmap.

In addition to the research areas mentioned above, research should include advanced propulsion, payload delivery and dispensing mechanisms, weapon system command and control, and advanced non-nuclear, kinetic, and other enabling capabilities.

The committee is aware of several potential options for non-nuclear prompt global strike, including the Army’s advanced hypersonic weapon technology demonstrator program, which is included on the Chief of Staff of the Army’s unfunded priority list in the amount of $41.7 million. The committee recommends that of the funds provided for PGS, $41.7 million be provided to begin sounding rocket and flight vehicle tests, and to support booster development for the Army’s advanced hypersonic weapon.

Other service program elements, including PE 63216F, aerospace propulsion and power technology, also include research and development areas that could be applied to the PGS mission. Included in the propulsion research and development efforts is the versatile, affordable advanced turbine engine high speed turbine engine demonstrator (HiSTED). The budget request included $2.5 million for this effort. The committee recommends an additional $10.0 million to allow the PGS effort to coordinate research and development activities with the Air Force HiSTED project.

The committee continues to believe that it is essential to maintain a bright line between legacy nuclear capabilities and any future PGS capability, and therefore recommends no funds for the CTM or other similar capability that could raise any nuclear ambiguity issues. The committee believes that PGS should be clearly and unambiguously non-nuclear.

The committee directs the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Commander of the Strategic Command, to submit a research plan for PGS for fiscal year 2008, including a funding plan, prior to initiating any PGS research.

Boeing EA-18G Growlers Deployed by US Navy

Boeing EA-18G Growlers Deployed by US Navy

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 17, 2011 — Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced that EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack aircraft have been deployed for the first time by the U.S. Navy.

“The men and women of Boeing are honored to see this new capability directly benefit the nation’s brave servicemembers around the world,” said Kory Mathews, vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18 Programs for Boeing. “The airborne electronic attack capability that the EA-18G brings to the fight is in high demand, so we are committed to continuing to deliver these aircraft to the Navy on budget and on schedule, just as we have with every F/A-18E/F.”

The EA-18G is the only air combat platform that delivers full-spectrum airborne electronic attack (AEA) capability along with the targeting and self-defense capabilities derived from the Navy’s frontline fighter, the F/A-18E/F Block II Super Hornet. A derivative of the two-seat F/A-18F Block II, the EA-18G’s highly flexible design enables warfighters to operate either from the deck of an aircraft carrier or from land-based airfields. It is replacing the Navy’s current AEA platform, the EA-6B Prowler, which has been in service since 1971. The EA-18G joined the Navy’s aircraft fleet in 2008, when it was introduced to fleet training squadron VAQ-129.

Boeing, acting as the weapon system integrator and prime contractor, leads the EA-18G Growler industry team, which also includes Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Electric Aircraft Engines.