The stealth drone demonstrator « nEUROn » designed by Dassault Aviation, performed her maiden flight this morning at Istres Dassault Flight Test Center.
Dassault along with DGA – French Defense Procurement Agency, and nEUROn customer – successfully conducted this first flight test of the European UCAV (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle).
The nEUROn project FCAS (Future European fighter Combat Air System) , launched in 2005, involves France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Greece and Switzerland. Some parts or elements of this aircraft – flight controls maybe – would come from the Dassault Falcon 7X.
This is what the next Airbus aircraft should be in the 40 years to come. The new Airbus concept is to match the passengers’ demand.
According to a consultation with the customers, 96% of them want more environmentally sustainable aeroplanes. The aircraft of the future will have to be fully recyclable, more sustainable ie eco-efficient, and less stressful:
Now, the leading aircraft manufacturer is using the feedback to paint its vision of sustainable aviation in 2050.
There is a need among the passengers to reduce the time spent in airports. The new Airbus concept cabin will integrate an additional door for faster boarding, and exit. This airliner of the future will reduce its noise, and carbon emmissions. It will use the latest technologies – bionic structure, blended airframe, enhanced laminar flow and noise reduction; blended U-tail, biomorphing seats able to collect the passenger’s body energy, cutting-edge relaxation systems, human body thermal recycling, dramatic panoramic view, World Wide Web access, round of golf, etc. Watch the video:
The British Harriers were to be replaced by the F-35Cs. Do you remember? You may have learnt from the recent news that the carrier variant of the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Joint Strike Fighter – CV JSF (Carrier Vessel variant’s Joint Strike Fighter) – F-35C was unable to catch the wire onboard the aircraft carrier during the latest landing tests.
Strange as it may seem, the F-35C’s designers may have not forecast what would unfold during a test flight while landing on an aircraft carrier:
The arresting hook (tailhook) never engaged the arresting wire as the clearance between the tail hook and the main landing gear’s tyre tread is too short for such a speed. An F-35C Lightning II missing her carrier landing has been reported even though some U.S. officials would have dismissed such information which might result from simulated tests.
Added to that is a software bug which had grounded the CV JSF for 6 days a few month earlier for the fifth-generation fighter aircraft might have encountered wing-folding input while flying!
As a result, the British Ministry of Defence might find a Plan-B solution as these design flaws, and some others which date back to November 2011 are deemed unacceptable for such an expensive fighter aircraft – $139.5 million for the F-35C (CATOBAR – Catapult Assisted Take Off But Arrested Recovery), and $150 million for the F-35B (STOVL – Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing). The latter can land on carriers but she is more expensive, and the JSF program costs have already increased several times.
Moreover, the JSF would not be able to fire AMRAAM air-to-air missiles as reported in this video:
And there’s even more: according to a Pentagon study team report, 13 areas of concern that remained to be addressed in the F-35 would have been identified. For instance, the Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) would not work properly…
The British MoD is therefore considering the purchase of either F/A-18E Super Hornets or RAFALEs for the RAF. The French Dassault which has already lost the Swiss NAC tender due to replace the Swiss Air Force’s F-5s, would be proposing a new offer with 18 RAFALEs at a cost deemed lower than the 22 SAAB Gripens’ one according to the Swiss press.
The RAFALE is still in competition with the Eurofighter in the Indian MMRCA tender. the Indian officials are expected to make a decision this week. To be continued… ==> We have just learnt (on January 31, 2012) that the RAFALE has won the MMRCA tender… 🙂
11/30/2011 – The news broke today : The Swiss Air Force is to acquire 22 Sweedish SAAB GRIPEN fighter aircraft. The Swiss government had warned that they were compelled to squeeze their budget for this $3.36 billion bid as they could not afford to purchase the 33 fighter aircraft planned for the replacement of their F-5 Tiger fleet.
In spite of its outstanding performance during the tests as well as over the battlefields in Afghanistan, and in Libya, the Dassault Rafale was not chosen. Moreover, like the EADS Eurofighter/Typhoon, it was deemed too expensive for Switzerland could not buy as many aircraft within the budget allocated.
The Gripen is a good option for Switzerland since it is the cheapest one. The version to be delivered – JAS 39E/F or Gripen Demo/NG – is believed to be an excellent one – IRST (InfraRed Search and Track); ES-05 Raven AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar & SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar); Electronic Warfare (EW) systems; Helmet Mounted Sight and Display (HMSD)…
However, this new-generation Gripen NG is a single engine fighter aircraft. It was tactically outperformed by its opponents, and last but not least, it has not yet been produced. As a matter of fact, the Swiss should be involved in the R&D works.
According to the comments of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the French Dassault RAFALE multirole fighter aircraft might be rejected as he was paying a visit to the 12th Dubai International Airshow.
About the Rafale deal, he said that Dassault seemed unaware that all the diplomatic and political will in the world could not overcome uncompetitive and unworkable commercial terms.
Dassault was deemed to race ahead in this $10-billion sale to the United Arab Emirates. The contest has taken a dramatic turn as EADS Eurofighter/Typhoon seems to receive a decisive momentum, and the Boeing F-15 and F-18 programmes would be back on track in this competition.
The Rafale performances in Libya were thought to have outclassed the other allied fighter aircraft, and it clearly headed above the competition indeed. However, some commercial negotiations would have failed. To be continued…