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27 Jun 12. Boeing has completed wind tunnel testing on the conformal weapons bay (CWB) of the F-15 Silent Eagle (SE) aircraft, in order to evaluate its aerodynamics performance at its facility in St. Louis, US.
During the tests, conducted as part of the South Korean Air Force’s F-X III fighter competition, Boeing used a scale model of the aircraft to determine the effects of various air speeds and flight angles, and assess enhancements made to the initial CWB design, in addition to confirming the team’s modelling analysis. Boeing has teamed up with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for the design, development and manufacture of the CWB.
Boeing F-15 programme vice president, Roger Besancenez, explained that Boeing is currently testing production-representative hardware as part of continued efforts to validate its affordable and low-risk design. Additional tests focusing on determining aerodynamic effects of multiple weapons loads, as well as opening and closing the upper and lower CWB doors, are being planned for late 2012. Boeing has already completed the final phase of radar cross section (RCS) reduction tests, aimed at evaluating the aircraft’s production configuration, earlier this year. (Source: airforcetechnology.com)

28 Jun 12. Airbus is close to finalising plans for its first aircraft factory in the US, in a move that would dramatically ramp up its battle with Boeing. The European aircraft maker is considering adding to its single aisle aircraft factories in France, Germany and China by locating one in Mobile, Alabama. The move could involve an investment of several hundred million dollars, and underline how Airbus is keen to improve its sales in Boeing’s home market, where airlines are placing large aircraft orders to replace their ageing fleets. (Source: FT.com)

MARITIME

27 Jun 12. HMS PROTECTOR: Returns Home. The MoD recorded the return of HMS PROTECTOR to Portsmouth on 27 Jun 12, from her maiden deployment. The 5,000 tonne ice-breaker spent most of her seven months away surveying and patrolling the Antarctic Peninsula. During her time away, HMS PROTECTOR conducted three separate intensive work periods in the ice and provided hydrographic charting and imagery for the UK Hydrographic Office. HMS PROTECTOR is expected to re-deploy South again in September 2012.
Comment: HMS PROTECTOR is replacing HMS ENDURANCE under a three-year lease. ENDURANCE suffered an engine room flooding on 16 Dec 08 and is now berthed in Portsmouth Naval Base. No work is being undertaken on ENDURANCE and a decision on her future is expected “later in 2012”.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/26, 02 July 12)

27 June 12. Royal Navy helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious has been undertaking air warfare training alongside the French Navy in the Bay of Biscay. The Portsmouth-based warship spent 18 hours taking part in ten exercises, practising a range of anti-surface operations against French naval vessel FS Lieutenant de Vaisseau Lavallée, an Exocet-armed corvette, and demonstrating anti-air warfare against Rafale and Super Etendard fighter aircraft. As well as the war-fighting the new NH90 Caiman helicopter, which has only recently entered service with the French Navy, landed on a British warship for the first time. (Source: ASD Network)

AIR

27 June 12. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has confirmed plans to acquire a new jet trainer aircraft to replace its existing fleet of BAE Systems-built CT-155 Hawk aircraft. The air force is currently seeking information on existing and future training jets that can be integrated as fighter lead-in training concept, in the wake of planned purchase of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, Flight Global reported, citing an RCAF source. According to RCAF, BAE Systems’ Hawk 128, Alenia Aeronautica’s M-346 Master and Korean Aerospace International’s (KAI) T-50 Golden Eagle are being assessed for the contract. The training system will feature a

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