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27 Nov 14. At their Annual London Technology Event, Raytheon UK gave an update on the future upgrades for the Sentinel ISR aircraft. Phil Nettleship, Chief Engineer, Airborne Solutions told the Editor that the main sensor will remain as is and not be upgraded with an AESA radar whilst the main thrust will be on Signal Processing and Mission System enhancements, particularly in maritime capability. With new lighter computer systems installed Sentinel will now be able to accommodate more systems such as the ELOROP EO/IR camera which had to be dropped from the original aircraft. This increased maritime capability should enable the RAF to provide MPA-like capability for certain SAR and other roles protecting the UK coastline, thus requiring fewer MPA aircraft.
24 Nov 14. FLIR Systems, Inc. announced that the company and its subsidiary, Indigo Systems Corporation (now known as FLIR Commercial Systems Inc.), have received a favorable verdict in a previously disclosed lawsuit filed by Raytheon Corporation (“Plaintiff”). A jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas rejected Plaintiff’s allegations that Indigo, prior to its acquisition by FLIR in 2004, and FLIR misappropriated 31 trade secrets owned by the Plaintiff. The jury determined that 27 of the 31 alleged trade secrets were not in fact Plaintiff trade secrets and that neither FLIR nor Indigo misappropriated any of 31 trade secrets that were claimed. No damages were awarded against FLIR and Indigo. The court will decide whether or not to award FLIR and Indigo their attorney’s fees as the prevailing parties under the Texas Theft Liability Act.
“Today’s finding from the jury confirmed our belief that Raytheon’s lawsuit was wholly without merit,” said Andy Teich, President and CEO of FLIR. “We look forward to having this case behind us and continuing to create the world’s most innovative, high performance, affordable, and user-friendly sensor systems for a growing number of customers.”
23 Nov 14. Russia to develop A-100 AWACS based on upgraded Il-76MD-90A airlifter. Russia is to begin developing a prototype Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) aircraft based on the upgraded Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A (Il-476) airframe, it was announced on 21 November. Although plans to do so were first introduced in 2011, the first Il-76MD-90A airframe to be converted into an AWACS prototype arrived at the Taganrog-based Beriyev Aviation Scientific-Technical Complex (TANTK) on the shore of the Sea of Azov on the same day as the announcement, the TASS news agency reported. The Il-76MD-90A-based platform will be designated the A-100 (the current Il-76 based AWACS, of which there are 20 currently in service with the Russian Air Force [VVS], is designated the A-50 ‘Mainstay’). While few details pertaining to the A-100 have been released, it has been revealed that it will be built around an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, as opposed to the mechanically scanned radar of the A-50. IHS Jane’s has previously reported that this new AESA will likely be the JSC REC ‘Vega’ Premier radar that is scanned mechanically in azimuth and electronically in elevation. As with the A-50, the A-100’s radar antenna will be mounted in a rotating dorsal rotodome While the AESA radar will provide a dramatic improvement in the platform’s ability to detect and track both airborne and land-based targets, as well as making for a more reliable and easier to maintain solution, the move to the Il-76MD-90A airframe will bestow advantages from the new avionics (reduced crew workload), and improved fuel efficiency (cheaper to operate, and with increased time on station). According to TASS, once developed and fielded, the A-100 will replace the A-50 in VVS service, although no timelines were disclosed. The VVS currently has 39 Il-76MD-90A