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18 Sep 08. A U.S. Air Force F-15C completed the first captive carry test of Raytheon Company’s AIM-9X Block II air-to-air missile. The infrared-guided AIM-9X Block II missile faced the same stressors — wind, vibration and altitude — that it would encounter during an operational mission. The test demonstrated that the AIM-9X Block II hardware and software could perform in combat-like conditions. The test also proved the missile could be successfully integrated on the F-15C Eagle.
16 Sep 08. Boeing has moved a step closer to linking military ground, air and space assets with the delivery of its next-generation Family of Advanced Beyond line-of-sight Terminals (FAB-T) prototype to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Mass. The delivery completes a key hardware and software risk reduction requirement for FAB-T Increment 2 under a program funded by the U.S. Air Force. Lincoln Laboratory will use the prototype to continue developing the DVB-S2 based waveform for airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance readout over Ka-band military satellite communications.
11 Sep 08. As part of the development of the HAD (support and destruction helicopter) version of the Tiger, Eurocopter successfully completed a firing campaign using the Spike air-to-ground missile. This campaign was conducted at the El Arenosillo firing range in Spain, which belongs to the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA). Spain is currently one of two customers for the HAD version of the Tiger: the Spanish armed forces have ordered 24 of these aircraft, and France has ordered 40 HAD version Tigers. For air-to-ground missions, the Spanish helicopters will be equipped with the fiber-optic guided Spike missile developed by the Israeli company Rafael. Seven missiles were fired in El Arenosillo.
19 Sep 08. QinetiQ North America’s new flight optimisation software saves fuel and mission time. A new software tool that allows pilots to easily adjust altitude settings based on a visual display of wind data is helping aviators to reduce fuel use and mission time. Called Vertical Visual Optimiser (VVO), the software was developed by QinetiQ North America’s Systems Engineering Group for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and works with U.S. Portable Flight Planning Software (PFPS). Applicable to both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, the pre-flight planning solution is now available to all U.S. military aviation platforms and those of allied nations. VVO retrieves wind data at user-defined altitudes from defence weather sites and other sources and then graphically displays head and tail wind speeds on a desktop, laptop or knee-board computer so that pilots can quickly adjust altitude settings that take advantage of favourable winds. The altitude adjustments and wind data can then be used in an aviator’s mission planning system, resulting in an immediate update to the mission plan.
17 Sep 08. Over the next 10 years, missile defense and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) will be the primary forces driving the almost $33.6bn Airborne and Space-Based EO market as defined in Forecast International’s annual review of the industry. At the present time, there are three major programs dedicated to supporting a U.S. defense capability against intercontinental and theater ballistic missiles. These three programs – the Boeing YAL-1A Airborne Laser (ABL), the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS), and the Space-Based Infrared System – High (SBIRS-High) – are forecast to be worth almost $17bn over the 2008-2017 timeframe. Also covered in Forecast International’s “The Market for Airborne and Space-Based Electro-Optical Systems” is the U.S. Army’s Aerial Common Sensor (ACS) program, which will seek to develop a replacement for the older U.S. Army Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL) platform. Meanwhil