Leonardo to upgrade NATO AWACS aircraft

by Gareth Jennings

Leonardo is to upgrade a first Boeing E-3A Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) aircraft test aircraft as part of NATO's wider Final Lifetime Extension Programme (FLEP).

Leonardo is to upgrade one of NATO's 14 E-3 AWACS aircraft as a test for a wider modernisation of the fleet under the Final Lifetime Extension Programme. (NATO)

Leonardo is to upgrade one of NATO's 14 E-3 AWACS aircraft as a test for a wider modernisation of the fleet under the Final Lifetime Extension Programme. (NATO)

The Italian company announced on 21 May that it has been contracted by Boeing, as prime contractor for the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Programme Management, Agency to upgrade the first NATO E-3A test aircraft.

“The activity, to be completed within 2023, includes the installation and checkout of newly-developed hardware under the FLEP programme [and will be] accomplished by Leonardo's […] personnel of the Venice-Tessera plant in Italy,” the company said. “Leonardo will then provide support during the final test phase at the Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base [in Germany].”

Leonardo did not specify the nature of the hardware to be fitted to the test aircraft, nor when the upgrade is planned to be rolled out to the remaining 13 aircraft of the NATO E-3A Component.


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South Korea launches first domestically developed space launch vehicle

by Alessandra Giovanzanti & Gabriel Dominguez

South Korea launched its first-ever domestically developed space launch vehicle on 22 September, but the rocket failed to place a dummy satellite into orbit.

Called the ‘Nuri' or Korea Space Launch Vehicle II (KSLV-II), the three-stage rocket lifted off from Naro Space Center in South Jeolla Province's Goheung County at 1700 h local time in an event that was also attended by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The president referred to the development as an “excellent accomplishment for a first launch”, despite the mixed results. “It's not long before we'll be able to launch it exactly into the target trajectory,” said Moon in a speech broadcast on national TV, adding that “the ‘Korea Space Age' is approaching”.

Minister of Science and Technology Lim Hey-sook stated that, while the launch was somewhat disappointing, it is significant as it was “the first test of a launch vehicle independently developed in [South] Korea”. It was meaningful to confirm that “all major launch steps were carried out and [that the country] has secured this core technology”, he added.


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UK Typhoon fleet to get new networked simulators in 2022

by Tim Ripley

UK Eurofighter Typhoon pilots can begin using a new networked simulator system at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire from next August, as part of the first stage in a transformation of the Royal Air Force's (RAF's) approach to simulation and training.

The first of 10 new Typhoon simulators are slated to be up and running as part of a GBP220 million Typhoon Future Synthetic Training (TFST) programme being led by BAE Systems Air Sector.

Jez Milne, the company's head of Operational Training Delivery, told Janes in October that the new simulators would be an important part of the RAF's drive to migrate to an 80% synthetic, 20% live training mix.

The RAF's ambition is for the TFST sites at RAF Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth to feed into the service's Gladiator simulation network to enable personnel operating simulators representing different aircraft types, at different locations, to carry out joint training over secure communications links. TFST will be the first component to link into the Gladiator network, which is also known as the Defence Operational Training Capability (Air) (DOTC(A)).


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US Navy seeks new ‘Aggressor' training aircraft

by Gareth Jennings

Seen in USN colours as part of Boeing's pitch for the service's Undergraduate Jet Training System requirement, the T-7A Red Hawk is likely to be one of the candidate platforms put forward for the USN's recently released Tactical Surrogate Aircraft requirement. (Boeing)

The US Navy (USN) has issued a request for information (RFI) for a new Aggressor aircraft for ‘red air' combat training.

The Tactical Surrogate Aircraft (TSA) requirement released on 21 October would see a new aircraft type perform three primary pilot training missions, namely to augment flight time and training in front-line type model series aircraft, provide adversary air support, and to serve as a flight lead aircraft for fleet replacement squadrons.

“The aircraft needs to simulate and/or replicate current and future fighter aircraft systems by providing the training environment and relevant experience to build tactical skills, systems management skills, and decision-making skills required for weapon system employment actions. These actions will be influenced by environmental information, avionics outputs, sensor data, weapon-cueing, and manoeuvre elements,” the RFI said.


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Leonardo is to upgrade a first Boeing E-3A Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) aircraft test...

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