Textron Aviation Delivers 2,000th CJ 

Textron  Aircraft has delivered the 2,000th  Cessna  Citation CJ light jet, a Citation CJ3+. The aircraft was delivered to Marc Dulude, a longtime Cessna customer. The CJ family of aircraft, which currently includes the Citation M2, Citation CJ3+ and Citation CJ4, has reached nearly 5 million flight hours. The company has delivered more than 7,000 jets in all. Dulude has owned and operated several Textron Aviation aircraft, including a Citation Mustang and later a Citation M2. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Citation Jet Pilots Association. The CJ3+ is a natural transition from the M2, he said.  

Poland Declares Need for Fifth-Generation Fighters

Poland has declared a need for a fleet of fifth-generation fighter aircraft equipped with long-range precision weapons to act as a deterrent against an increasingly aggressive Russia. Warsaw also reiterated a need for attack helicopters, air and missile defense systems and advanced electronic warfare technologies, the country’s defense ministry stated in a strategic review published on May 23. To pay for the new capabilities, which will also include a new main battle tank developed through international cooperation, Warsaw plans to increase defense spending up to 2.2% of gross domestic product in 2020 and up to 2.5% in 2030. 

Philippines To Buy 12 Combat Jets, FA-50s Likely 

The Philippines is likely to order up to 12 more Korean Aerospace (KAI) FA-50 light attack aircraft, taking its air force closer to required numbers. President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to order more jets, using wording that implies but does not guarantee that they will be FA-50s. He has previously criticized the country’s use of the type, designated by the Philippine Air Force as FA-50PH. “By the time I leave office, you will have 24 jets,” he now says. “I will acquire 12 more jets soon.” Duterte’s six-year term expires in 2022 and cannot be extended. 

Elbit to Develop Panoramic Cockpit Displays for F-35 

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has awarded Elbit Systems of America a contract to develop a cockpit display replacement for the F-35 aircraft. The development contract is for the Technology Refresh 3, Panoramic Cockpit Display Unit. The award expands Elbit’s work on the F-35, which already includes power amplifiers, structures and sustainment work. In addition, Elbit, together with Rockwell Collins, supplies the F-35 Helmet-Mounted Display System, through their joint venture Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems.

German Heron TP Deal Clears Court 

The battle in Germany between the Israel Aerospace Industries Heron TP and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9B SkyGuardian appears to have been won by the Heron TP, but California-based General Atomics is not conceding defeat just yet. On May 31, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf rejected an appeal by General Atomics against the government selection of an Airbus-led leasing arrangement for the IAI Heron TP. The deal would replace an ongoing Airbus/IAI leasing contract for the unarmed, legacy Heron 1 remotely piloted aircraft, which is now supporting military operations in Mali and Afghanistan. However, General Atomics is not ready to surrender just yet because the contract with Airbus still needs parliamentary approval. 

Pratt Gets EASA Nod for PW1100G ETOPS 

Pratt & Whitney (Chalet 346) has secured EASA approval for 180-min. extended range operations for its PW1100G-JM geared turbofan engine, the manufacturer said here yesterday. The ETOPS certification sets the maximum allowed amount of single-engine flying time that an aircraft can be from the nearest suitable airport. “This is a significant milestone for both the Pratt & Whitney team and the PurePower engine family,” said Pratt commercial engines president Chris Calio. The PW1100G-JM powers the Airbus A320neo. U.S. FAA ETOPS approval for the PurePower GTF engine was granted in December.

Boeing Locks in Dutch Chinook Order 

Boeing has secured a US$541 million contract for 15 CH-47F Chinook rotorcraft for the Netherlands as it eyes other opportunities with Saudi Arabia, Israel and Germany. The Royal Netherlands Air Force operates the D-model Chinook and has already taken delivery of some CH-47Fs but is moving forward with plans to modernize its entire fleet. Boeing also says it has received a request for information from Israel for 18-24 aircraft and Saudi Arabia has moved forward with plans to buy 48 Chinooks. In Germany, Boeing will compete against the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion to meet a requirement for 40-60 medium heavy lift aircraft.

S7 Sea Launch Orders 12 Zenit Rockets 

S7 Sea Launch Ltd., a new operator of the Sea Launch project, has taken a first step toward restarting operations by ordering 12 Zenit carrier vehicles from Ukrainian manufacturer Yuzhmash. According to Yuzhmash, it is already assembling two rockets – Zenit-3SL and Zenit-3SLB – under this order. They are to be used for both sea and land launches. The liquid-propellant Zenit-3SL rocket can deliver 6,160 kg to the standard reference geosynchronous transfer orbit. The SLB variant is used for land launches and can carry up to a 5,000-kg payload. Neither S7 Sea Launch, nor its parent, S7 Group, provided official comments.

Supersonic X-Plane Takes Next Step to Reality 

NASA has issued a draft request for proposals for development of its Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) low-boom flight demonstrator, starting the clock ticking toward first fight of the new X-plane in early 2021. The program calls for the development, build and flight test of a clean-sheet X-plane that will be used to support the potential change in FAA regulations that will enable supersonic flight over land. The effort is targeted at demonstrating a sonic boom 60 dba lower than that produced by the Anglo-French Concorde or a typical military aircraft. 

General Atomics Pursues UAV-Borne Laser Demo 

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems plans to demonstrate an ultra-high-speed laser satellite communications terminal for the MQ-9 Reaper later this year. The company will test an MQ-9-compatible airborne laser terminal on a mountain in the Spanish Canary Islands, off the coast of Morocco. The terminal will link up via laser with Europe’s Alphasat, an advanced communication satellite positioned above Africa in geostationary orbit. If the test is successful, the next step will be flight trials on an MQ-9 Reaper next year. Laser-based communication would enable gigabytes-worth of encrypted imagery, video and other data to be exchanged every second in near-real-time.