Category Archives: Air

Flight control

For the first time in aviation history, an aircraft has been manoeuvred in flight using supersonically blown air, removing the need for complex movable flight control surfaces.

Successful demonstration of breakthrough blown-air flight technologies to revolutionise future aircraft design
Successful demonstration of breakthrough blown-air flight technologies to revolutionise future aircraft design

In a series of ground-breaking flight trials that took place in the skies above north-west Wales, the MAGMA Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) demonstrated two innovative flow control technologies which could revolutionise future aircraft design.

MAGMA, designed and developed by researchers at The University of Manchester in collaboration with engineers from BAE Systems, successfully trialled the two ‘flap-free’ technologies earlier this month at the Llanbedr Airfield.

The technologies have been designed to improve the control and performance of aircraft. By replacing moving surfaces with a simpler ‘blown air’ solution, the trials have paved the way for engineers to create better performing aircraft that are lighter, more reliable and cheaper to operate. The technologies could also improve an aircraft’s stealth as they reduce the number of gaps and edges that currently make aircraft more observable on radar.

Developing such technologies helps to ensure the UK has the right technologies and skills in place for the future and could be applied to the development of a Future Combat Air System. It is the latest technological breakthrough to come from a number of BAE Systems collaborations with academia and industry, that will help the UK to deliver more advanced capability, more quickly, and through shared investment.

Julia Sutcliffe, Chief Technologist, BAE Systems Air, said: «MAGMA is a great example of how collaborating with bright minds at British universities can deliver ground-breaking research and innovation. Our partnership with The University of Manchester has identified cutting-edge technology, in this case flap-free flight, and turned what began as a feasibility study into a proven capability in just a number of months. It demonstrates how Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) can be applied in the real-world and I hope the success of these trials inspires the next generation of much-needed engineers and scientists».

Bill Crowther, senior academic and leader of the MAGMA project at The University of Manchester, added: «We are excited to have been part of a long-standing effort to change the way in which aircraft can be controlled, going all the way back to the invention of wing warping by the Wright brothers. It’s been a great project for students to be part of, highlighting that real innovation in engineering is more about finding practical solutions to many hundreds of small technical challenges than having single moments of inspiration. The partnership with BAE Systems has allowed us the freedom as a university to focus on research adventure, with BAE Systems providing the pathway to industrial application. We made our first fluidic thrust vectoring nozzle from glued together bits of plastic and tested it on a hair drier fan nearly 20 years ago. Today BAE Systems is 3D printing our components out of titanium and we are flight testing them on the back of a jet engine in an aircraft designed and built by the project team. It doesn’t get much better than that».

The technologies demonstrated in the trials were:

  • Wing Circulation Control: Taking air from the aircraft engine and blowing it supersonically through narrow slots around a specially shaped wing tailing edge in order to control the aircraft.
  • Fluidic Thrust Vectoring: Controlling the aircraft by blowing air jets inside the nozzle to deflect the exhaust jet and generate a control force.

The trials form part of a long-term collaboration between BAE Systems, academia and the UK government to explore and develop flap-free flight technologies, and the data will be used to inform future research programmes. Other technologies to improve the aircraft performance are being explored in collaboration with NATO Science and Technology Organisation.

Indago UAS

Combating counterinsurgency, conducting reconnaissance, collecting information vital to national security, United States Special Forces conduct some of the most sensitive and critical missions.

Lockheed Martin’s latest Indago tethered variant is ready for the battlefield after completing successful flight testing
Lockheed Martin’s latest Indago tethered variant is ready for the battlefield after completing successful flight testing

The people and infrastructure required for these missions also require constant protection through reliable intelligence and surveillance. That’s why Lockheed Martin expanded its Indago portfolio to include a tethered option.

Without the tether, Indago 3 flies for 50-70 minutes and can be carried in a rucksack, leading the group 1 small Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) industry in endurance and transportability. For uninterrupted Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), special forces can quickly configure the tether, taking away the need for battery reliance.

«When it comes to unmanned systems and capability, size does matter», said Michael Carlson, Business Development manager for Indago. «We want to make something as important as force and facility protection as simple and effective as possible – the tethered Indago can do that».

Its payloads provide high resolution, daytime, electro-optical imagery capable of reading a license plate from a 1000-foot/305-meter standoff distance. For nighttime, it provides detailed thermal infrared that can identify a person, weapon, and other intelligence, such as warmth of vehicle tracks on the surface. This includes imagery in black hot, white hot, and ironbow, an orange and purple heatmap color scheme.

 

FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS

In addition to its compact folding design and quick setup time, the Indago quadrotor UAS features include:

  • Whisper quiet, rugged, all-weather capability;
  • Configurable failsafe behaviors;
  • Industry-leading image stabilization;
  • Proven Kestrel 3 autopilot;
  • Multiple hot-swappable payload options;
  • Up to 50 minutes flight time with 200-gram/7-ounce payload;
  • Line-of-sight range of 2.5 kilometer/1.55 miles;
  • More than 3-kilometer range using optional long-range antennae kit;
  • A ready to fly weight of 5 lbs. with payload included (2,268 grams);
  • UAV dimensions (L × W × H):
    • Open: 32 × 32 × 7;
    • Folded: 12 × 9 × 6;
  • Operating altitude of 10-500 feet/3-152 m Above Ground Level (AGL) (typical), 18,000 feet/5,486 m Median Sea Level (MSL).

Multirole Helicopter

Świdnik, 26 April, 2019 – Leonardo announced that it has signed a contract valued at approximately 380 million EUR (1.65 billion PLN) that will significantly enhance the Polish Navy’s helicopter capability. Through its fully owned Polish company and main industrial presence in the country, PZL-Świdnik, Leonardo will supply four AW101s and a comprehensive integrated logistics and training package to the Polish Ministry of National Defence (MoD).

Leonardo: 380 million EUR contract for maritime multirole helicopters with the Polish Ministry of National Defense
Leonardo: 380 million EUR contract for maritime multirole helicopters with the Polish Ministry of National Defense

PZL-Świdnik, acting as the prime contractor and responsible for the entire contract execution, was selected in a multi-stage process, meeting all the requirements of the Polish MoD, and will deliver and support the most capable maritime multirole helicopter available on the market today. The helicopter is already in service in some of the most important NATO nations among others. The Świdnik facility plays a significant role in the production of all the AW101s ordered worldwide.

With deliveries expected to be completed by 2022 the AW101 will perform a range of missions including Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR). This contract signing for the AW101s and the relevant support package follows the Offset Agreement, valued at approx. 400 million PLN (90 million EUR) recently announced.

The contract was signed today in the presence of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak and Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo, during a ceremony at Leonardo’s facility in Świdnik.

Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo CEO, said, «We are proud that the Polish MoD has confirmed its trust in Leonardo as one of its key partners to collaborate on national defence, to support the modernization of the Armed Forces and boost technological and industrial growth. We are committed to further reinforcing our presence and contribution to Poland, one of Leonardo’s home countries where we see significant collaboration opportunities in the future».

Australian Triton

Northrop Grumman Corporation welcomes the announcement last month by the Australian Government to purchase a second MQ-4C Triton aircraft. Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper identified the requirement for seven high altitude, long endurance Triton unmanned aircraft. Northrop Grumman will deliver the Triton through a cooperative program with the United States Navy.

Australia to purchase second Triton aircraft
Australia to purchase second Triton aircraft

«Northrop Grumman is excited to develop this unrivaled capability for the Royal Australian Air Force», said Doug Shaffer, vice president and program manager, Triton programs, Northrop Grumman. «MQ-4C Triton will provide the Australian Defence Force a high-altitude, long-endurance system for intelligence, reconnaissance and broad area surveillance missions to enhance the security of Australia’s borders».

Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne identified «people smuggling and the exploitation of our natural resources» as threats which Triton’s capabilities can help to address.

Minister for Defence Industry Linda Reynolds identified the opportunities this program will create for Australian industry and said that «there will be significant opportunity for Australian industry to share in billions of dollars of system maintenance and network management functions».

Northrop Grumman is committed to developing a sovereign defence capability for Australia through industrial partnership and participation, direct investment and technology transfer.

«We are proud of our partnership with the Australian Government and Australian industry, which we exemplified in the recent signing of the Australian Industry Capability Deed with the Minister for Defence Industry at the Avalon Airshow», said Chris Deeble, country executive, Northrop Grumman Australia. «To date we have partnered with several Australian entities to assist in the production and sustainment of the Triton unmanned aircraft system in Australia. Initiatives like this ensure local companies benefit from the investment in Australia’s security, and we take great pride in contributing to this».

 

Specifications

Wingspan 130.9 feet/39.9 m
Length 47.6 feet/14.5 m
Height 15.4 feet/4.6 m
Gross Take-Off Weight (GTOW) 32,250 lbs/14,628 kg
Maximum Internal Payload 3,200 lbs/1,452 kg
Maximum External Payload 2,400 lbs/1,089 kg
Self-Deploy 8,200 NM/9,436 miles/15,186 km
Maximum Altitude 56,500 feet/17,220 m
Maximum Velocity, TAS (True Air Speed) 331 knots/381 mph/613 km/h
Maximum Endurance 24 hours

 

24 Hawkeyes

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a multi-year contract modification to deliver an additional 24 E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft to the U.S. Navy. The fixed-price-incentive-firm contract is valued at $3.2 billion; the contract also includes an option for nine additional foreign military sales aircraft. Production of the 24 U.S. Navy aircraft funded by the five-year contract is expected to be complete in 2026.

Northrop Grumman awarded $3.2 billion for 24 E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes to provide advanced early warning capability to the U.S. Navy (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)
Northrop Grumman awarded $3.2 billion for 24 E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes to provide advanced early warning capability to the U.S. Navy (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)

The E-2D is the U.S. Navy’s airborne early warning and command and control aircraft system. The carrier-based aircraft provides expanded battlespace awareness for carrier strike groups. Its two-generation leap in radar technology allows the E-2D to work with ship-, air- and land-based combat systems to track and defeat air, ship and cruise missiles at extended range. The aircraft can also be used in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capacity for civilian emergency coordination.

«This aircraft continues to demonstrate its strategic value to our warfighters with early warning, command and control», said Jane Bishop, vice president and integrated product team leader, manned airborne surveillance programs, Northrop Grumman. «With this contract, we’ll continue production of these highly specialized aircraft while delivering innovative solutions that outpace advancing threats over the life of the fleet».

Under the current program of record Northrop Grumman has delivered 37 E-2D to the U.S. Navy to date, completing all major production milestones on time. In addition to the production and sustainment of the E-2D, Northrop Grumman will deliver a series of capability upgrades. The third upgrade is slated for release in fall 2019 and includes an aerial refueling capability to significantly extend the aircraft’s endurance.

 

General Characteristics

Wingspan 24.56 m/80 feet 7 in
Width, wings folded 8.94 m/29 feet 4 in
Length overall 17.60 m/57 feet 8.75 in
Height overall 5.58 m/18 feet 3.75 in
Diameter of rotodome 7.32 m/24 feet
Weight empty 19,536 kg/43,068 lbs
Internal fuel 5,624 kg/12,400 lbs
Takeoff gross weight 26,083 kg/57,500 lbs
Maximum level speed 648 km/h/350 knots/403 mph
Maximum cruise speed 602 km/h/325 knots/374 mph
Cruise speed 474 km/h/256 knots/295 mph
Approach speed 200 km/h/108 knots/124 mph
Service ceiling 10,576 m/34,700 feet
Minimum takeoff distance 410 m/1,346 feet ground roll
Minimum landing distance 537 m/1,764 feet ground roll
Ferry range 2,708 km/1,462 NM/1,683 miles
Crew Members 5
Power Plant 2 × Rolls-Royce T56-A-427A, rated at 5,100 eshp each
Unrefueled >6 hours
In-flight refueling 12 hours

 

Maiden Flight

According to Defense-Aerospace.com, Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for the Royal Navy’s Crowsnest airborne early warning variant of the AW101 Merlin helicopter, has provided some information about the program, which made its maiden flight on March 28.

Merlin Crowsnest AEW helicopter makes maiden flight
Merlin Crowsnest AEW helicopter makes maiden flight

Crowsnest, the Lockheed Martin-led programme which will provide the Royal Navy with its Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASaC) platform via a role fit Mission System solution onto the Merlin Mk2, achieved a key milestone on 28 March.

The designated trials aircraft took off from the Leonardo Helicopters facility in Yeovil, at midday, to commence Aero-Mechanical flight trials. This milestone is key to assessing the flight envelope and handling qualities of the aircraft with the external role equipment fitted, and marks the start of a series of flight trials which will take place throughout 2019.

In fact, the aircraft had actually made its first flight several days earlier, and had made several before the official one on March 28. This was still three days earlier than the contractual deadline for first flight, which was March 31.

Lockheed Martin worked closely with industry partners and Ministry of Defence (MOD) to ensure that essential design requirements were met prior to first flight on 28 March 2019. The first flight enables an extended flight test period to expand the flight envelope of the helicopter with the CROWSNEST role equipment installed.

The next key phase of the programme is Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) testing.

Lockheed Martin is committed to delivering the CROWSNEST capability with its industry partners; dedicated management teams and resources are in place to ensure the programme is delivered successfully.

The next program milestone, set for September 30, is the conclusion of Flight Trial Activity required to support initial Aircrew Training, according to the SRO letter, with aircrew training due to begin by October 10 and the delivery of the Airborne Surveillance & Control Mission Trainer by November 14.

Multi-Mission Helicopters

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to India of twenty-four (24) MH-60R Multi-Mission helicopters for an estimated cost of $2.6 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on April 2, 2019.

MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopters
MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopters

The Government of India has requested to buy twenty-four (24) MH-60R Multi-Mission helicopters, equipped with the following:

  • thirty (30) APS-153(V) Multi-Mode radars (24 installed, 6 spares);
  • sixty (60) T700-GE-401C engines (48 installed and 12 spares);
  • twenty-four (24) Airborne Low Frequency System (ALFS) (20 installed, 4 spares);
  • thirty (30) AN/AAS-44C(V) Multi-Spectral Targeting System (24 installed, 6 spares);
  • fifty-four (54) Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems (EGI) with Selective Availability/Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) (48 installed, 6 spares);
  • one thousand (1,000) AN/SSQ-36/53/62 sonobuoys;
  • ten (10) AGM-114 Hellfire missiles;
  • five (5) AGM-114 M36-E9 Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM);
  • four (4) AGM-114Q Hellfire Training missiles;
  • thirty-eight (38) Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) rockets;
  • thirty (30) MK 54 torpedoes;
  • twelve (12) M-240D Crew Served guns;
  • twelve (12) GAU-21 Crew Served guns;
  • two (2) Naval Strike Missile Emulators;
  • four (4) Naval Strike Missile Captive Inert Training missiles;
  • one (1) MH-60B/R Excess Defense Article (EDA) USN legacy aircraft.

Also included are:

  • seventy (70) AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Devices;
  • fifty-four (54) AN/ARC-210 RT-1990A(C) radios with COMSEC (48 installed, 6 spares);
  • thirty (30) AN/ARC-220 High Frequency radios (24 installed, 6 spares);
  • thirty (30) AN/APX-123 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponders (24 installed, 6 spares);
  • spare engine containers;
  • facilities study, design, and construction; spare and repair parts; support and test equipment; communication equipment; ferry support; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

The total estimated cost is $2.6 billion.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.

The proposed sale will provide India the capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions along with the ability to perform secondary missions including vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and communications relay. India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense. India will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, Owego, New York. The purchaser typically requests offsets. Any offset agreement will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 20-30 U.S. Government and/or contractor representatives to India.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

Combat King II

Lockheed Martin delivered the first of four HC-130J Combat King II aircraft on March 21, 2019, to representatives from the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing (RQW).

The first HC-130J Commando II assigned to the N.Y. Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing departs Lockheed Martin’s facility in Marietta, Georgia, where all C-130s are built (Lockheed Martin photo by Todd R. McQueen)
The first HC-130J Commando II assigned to the N.Y. Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing departs Lockheed Martin’s facility in Marietta, Georgia, where all C-130s are built (Lockheed Martin photo by Todd R. McQueen)

This HC-130J Combat King II will be operated by the 102nd Rescue Squadron (RQS) at Francis S. Grabreski Air National Guard Base, New York. The 102nd RQS, which is part of the 106th Rescue Wing (RQW), currently operates a legacy fleet of HC-130P/N variant Combat King I aircraft, which will be replaced by four new HC-130Js. The squadron will use its HC-130Js to refuel the New York Air National Guard’s 101st RQS HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, which were manufactured by Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky business in Stratford, Connecticut.

Like others in the U.S. Air Force Rescue community, the 106th RQW lives by the motto, «That Others May Live», which reflects its mission of supporting combat search and rescue anywhere in the world. Crews from the 106th RQW rely on HC-130s to extend the range of combat search and rescue helicopters by providing air refueling in hostile or contested airspace. Other mission capabilities include performing tactical delivery of pararescue teams, small bundles, zodiac watercraft or four-wheel drive all-terrain vehicles; and providing direct assistance to survivors in advance of a recovery vehicle.

«The HC-130 Hercules aircraft has been an essential part of the 106th’s Rescue Wing’s fleet for many decades, supporting these brave Airmen in meeting their mission requirements time and time again», said Ray Burick, vice president of Domestic Programs for Lockheed Martin’s Air Mobility & Maritime Missions line of business. «The Lockheed Martin team is proud to provide the N.Y. Air National Guard with new HC-130Js that deliver increased power, capability and performance to support their crews in doing what they do best: saving lives and protecting the people they serve».

The HC-130J is the only dedicated fixed-wing personnel recovery platform in the Air Force and Air National Guard. The HC-130J supports missions in adverse weather and geographic environments, including reaching austere locations. The HC-130J is also tasked for airdrop, airland, and helicopter air-to-air refueling and forward-area ground refueling missions. It also supports humanitarian aid operations, disaster response, security cooperation/aviation advisory, emergency aeromedical evacuation and noncombatant evacuation operations.

The HC-130J is one of eight production variants of the C-130J Super Hercules, the current production model of the legendary C-130 Hercules aircraft. With 400+ aircraft delivered, the C-130J is the airlifter of choice for 20 nations. The global Super Hercules fleet has more than 1.9 million flight hours of experience supporting almost any mission requirement — any time, any place.

The U.S. government operates the largest C-130J Super Hercules fleet in the world. This delivery continues the U.S. government’s transition to the C-130J as the common platform across Air Mobility Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Combat Command, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Marine Corps. The Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command currently operate a mixed fleet of C-130J and older Hercules aircraft.

First Flight

The Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant helicopter achieved first flight on March 21, 2019, at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, Florida site. This revolutionary aircraft, developed by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, and Boeing, will help inform the next generation of military helicopters as part of the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift program.

Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant Helicopter Achieves First Flight
Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant Helicopter Achieves First Flight

«Defiant is designed to fly at nearly twice the speed and has twice the range of conventional helicopters while retaining the very best, if not better low-speed and hover performance of conventional helicopters», said Dan Spoor, vice president, Sikorsky Future Vertical Lift. «This design provides for exceptional performance in the objective area, where potential enemy activity places a premium on maneuverability, survivability and flexibility. We are thrilled with the results of today’s flight and look forward to an exciting flight test program».

With its two coaxial main rotors and rear-mounted pusher propulsor, SB>1 Defiant is unlike production rotorcraft available today. It represents a leap forward in technology to achieve the U.S. government’s desire for vast increases in speed and range, while improving maneuverability and survivability in a cost-effective way. SB>1 Defiant aircraft’s use of X2 Technology will allow the Army to penetrate from strategic standoff and exploit gaps created in complex Anti-Access Area Denial systems against near-peer adversaries.

«The design and development of Defiant has revealed the capability advancement that is truly possible for Future Vertical Lift», said David Koopersmith, vice president and general manager, Boeing Vertical Lift. «Clearly, the performance, speed, and agility of Defiant will be a game changer on the battlefield and we look forward to demonstrating for the U.S. Army the tremendous capabilities of this aircraft».

The helicopter is participating in the Army’s Joint Multi-Role-Medium Technology Demonstrator program. Data from SB>1 Defiant will help the Army develop requirements for new utility helicopters expected to enter service in the early 2030s. This flight marks a key milestone for the Sikorsky-Boeing team, and is the culmination of significant design, simulation and test activity to further demonstrate the capability of the X2 Technology.

X2 Technology is scalable to a variety of military missions such as attack and assault, long-range transportation, infiltration and resupply. SB>1 Defiant is the third X2 aircraft in less than 10 years.

The Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant helicopter completed its first flight on March 21, 2019

Meteor and Spear

A team of BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and MBDA engineers enhancing the capability of the UK’s fleet of F-35 Lightning II aircraft by commencing work on the integration of next generation weapons.

Work starts integrating next generation Meteor and Spear onto UK F-35 Fleet
Work starts integrating next generation Meteor and Spear onto UK F-35 Fleet

BAE Systems has received an initial funding award from Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the F-35 Lightning II programme, to start integration efforts for MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and SPEAR precision surface attack missile.

Under this initial package of work BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin will also complete further integration work with MBDA on Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) and with Raytheon on Paveway IV, initially integrated in support of delivering Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the UK.

Tom Fillingham, Senior Vice-President – U.S. Programmes of BAE Systems, said: «BAE Systems engineers played a crucial role in supporting the UK to achieve Initial Operating Capability for its F-35 fleet. Now, working alongside our partners including Lockheed Martin and MBDA, we are using our expertise to take that capability even further with advanced weapons systems such as Meteor and SPEAR. We are extremely proud of the critical contribution UK engineers are playing for both the UK and the global F-35 fleet through the development, production and sustainment of the aircraft».

Cliff Waldwyn, Head of Combat Air, Group Business Development of MBDA, said: «This is a significant milestone for the UK Combat Air’s capability. This initial package of work officially commences the integration of Meteor and SPEAR and will enhance the operational capability of the UK’s Lightning Force in the future; it is also a positive step for the wider F-35 enterprise as it adds additional capability choice for international customers. MBDA’s integration team have worked well with our BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin colleagues and we plan to build on this excellent foundation into the future on this follow-on modernisation work».

Last year, a pilot from 17 Squadron, the RAF’s F-35 Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California took to the skies for the first time with UK weapons, including ASRAAM and Paveway IV.

This followed work carried out during the F-35 Lightning II programme’s System Development and Demonstration (SDD) initial testing phase to develop and certify weapons capabilities by an integrated test team. This team includes Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Raytheon and MBDA, working alongside the UK Air Warfare Centre to clear weapons for Operational Testing by Royal Air Force/Royal Navy (RAF/RN) pilots.