The first KC-46A Pegasus tanker test aircraft - EMD-1, a Boeing 767-2C – has arrived at Edwards AFB, California, for two weeks of flight tests. Fuel onload fatigue testing will characterize aircraft interaction flying behind KC-10 and KC-135 tankers. Ground effects testing with gather aerodynamic data to update the KC-46A flight simulator.
Finland’s defense ministry been given the green light to launch the HX program to replace its Boeing F/A-18C/D fighters. A request for information is expected in early 2016, tenders in early 2019, and a contract in early 2021. Initial operating capability could be declared in 2025-26, and full capability in 2029-31. Read more (subscribers)
Lockheed Martin/Randy Crites
Lockheed Martin flew the upgraded F-16V, equipped with Northrop Grumman’s APG-63 active electronically scanned array radar, for the first time on Oct. 21. The V configuration is being developed to upgrade Taiwan’s A/Bs and F-16s operated by other nations.
Lockheed Martin/Artist's concept
Lockheed Martin has won a $784 million U.S. Missile Defense Agency contract to develop and operate the S-band active-array Long-Range Discrimination Radar, to be operational at Clear AFB, Alaska, by 2020 to increase interceptor capacity and address potential countermeasures.
After a surprise victory over the ruling Conservatives in Canada’s Oct. 19 federal election, the Liberal party is expected to act on its campaign promise to end the country’s partnership in the Lockheed Martin F-35 program and launch a competition to replace its 65 Boeing F/A-18A/Bs. Read more
Israel Aerospace Industries is in advanced development of a small communications satellite platform, AMOS-E, using electric propulsion to reach geostationary orbit. At 1,500-2,000 kg, and with up to 5 kW of power, AMOS-E will be about half the weight of conventional communications satellites. Read more (subscribers)
SpaceX says the return-to-flight mission of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle, after the failure in June, will lift 11 second-generation machine-to-machine communications satellites to low Earth orbit for Orbcomm, rather than the previously planned SES-9 satellite to geostationary orbit. Read more (subscribers)
NASA has completed the critical design review process for the Space Launch System, which will be the most powerful rocket yet built. The CDR examined the first of three planned SLS configurations – Block 1, with twin boosters, four RS-25 rocket engines and a minimum 77-ton lift capability. First flight is expected in 2018.
Lockheed Martin and Kaman have flown the unmanned K-Max helicopter in wildland firefighting scenarios, conducting cargo drops, single-target water drops and progressive line building with a bucket at a demonstration in Idaho for the U.S. Interior Department and Forest Service.
Norwegian has finalized an order for 19 Boeing 787-9s valued at more than $5 billion at current list prices. The order includes options for 10 more aircraft and is the largest single order for 787-9s from a European airline, Boeing says. Norwegian operates eight 787-8s and previously ordered 11 -9s through lease agreements.
Mitsubishi Aircraft has slipped the first flight of the MRJ regional jet to the week beginning Nov. 9, from the week of Oct. 26, because of the need to repair a rudder pedal. The pre-flight review board will meet early next week. Following flight approval, high-speed taxi tests will be performed in preparation for first flight.
United Airlines’ parent company named Brett Hart, its executive vice president and general counsel, as acting CEO after Oscar Munoz had a heart attack on Oct. 15. Long-time board member Muniz stepped in as CEO on Sept.8 when United forced Jeff Smisek to step down. Read more (subscribers)
The first of nine Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk maritime helicopters for the Royal Danish Air Force has been handed over by prime contractor Lockheed Martin. The aircraft was delivered to the U.S. Navy, which manages the foreign military sale, for testing of the Danish configuration. The MH-60Rs will be delivered to Denmark between second-quarter 2016 and 2018.
Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.