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11 Jun 07. An SR-72 Lockheed Martin’s New Mach-6 Spy Plane. Ten years after the U.S. Air Force retired the SR-71 spy plane, Lockheed Martin’s legendary Skunk Works appears back at work developing a new Mach-6 reconnaissance plane, sources said. The Air Force has awarded Lockheed’s Advanced Development Projects arm a top-secret contract to develop a stealthy 4,000-mph plane capable of flying to altitudes of about 100,000 feet, with transcontinental range. The plan is to debut the craft around 2020. The new jet — being referred to by some as the SR-72 — is likely to be unmanned and, while intended for reconnaissance, it could eventually trade its sensors for weapons. The Air Force is working on several programs to improve its global intelligence-gathering. Satellites offer global coverage, but the ones with the highest resolution operate on largely predictable orbits, and many countries have mastered the art of hiding from them. Moreover, China’s successful anti-satellite missile test in January hinted that U.S. satellites might become vulnerable. The new aircraft would offer a combination of speed, altitude and stealth that could make it virtually impervious to ground-based missiles, sources said. Even the SR-71 is said to have evaded hundreds of missiles fired at it during its long career, although some aircraft sustained minor damage. But experts say enormous challenges remain. First, the SR-71’s top speed was about 2,200 mph. Pushing a plane at twice the speed in the thin air of the upper stratosphere would require exceptionally powerful engines. Second, friction at high speeds could reduce stealth. (Source: Defense News)
13 Jun 07. Boeing Company has begun flight testing the mission system aboard the first 737 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for Australia’s Project Wedgetail. During an initial four-hour flight from Boeing Field in Seattle on June 6, the crew conducted a series of functional tests as part of a program to measure the mission system’s impact on the aircraft’s power generation capability and environmental controls, such as the liquid and air cooling systems. The mission system includes the radar, navigation, communications and computing subsystems. Boeing will flight test the aircraft several days a week for the next month over land and water, while the mission system is used in a manner similar to an AEW&C operational mission. The next phase of the flight test program aboard aircraft No. 1 is scheduled for later this year when it joins aircraft No. 2 as a test bed for system-level developmental testing. Australia has purchased six 737 airborne early warning and control aircraft. Delivery of the first two aircraft is scheduled for March 2009. The remaining four aircraft will be delivered later that year.
11 Jun 07. Rockwell Collins has announced the introduction of its new Software Defined Radio Software Communications Architecture Waveform Development System (SCA WDS). The offering is made possible through a strategic relationship with PrismTech. Under the terms of the agreement, Rockwell Collins will bundle its FlexNet Four Radio with PrismTech’s Spectra Software Defined Radio (SDR) development products. This allows international customers and SDR users to develop their own SCA-compliant waveforms, either new or reformatted legacy, on SCA -compliant military specified radios. “As a leader in developing Software Defined Radio solutions, we continue to look for ways to broaden our offerings and bring greater capabilities to our customers,” said Bruce King, vice president and general manager of Communications Systems for Rockwell Collins. “This relationship with PrismTech enables us to offer unparalleled capability in the development of SCA compliant SDR waveforms.” The Rockwell Collins SDR WDS includes the FlexNet 2MHz to 2GHz multi-channel SDR. The FlexNet Four offers enhanced capacities to significan