Back from the brink

We’re back, after a couple of crazy weeks on the show circuit which kept me too busy to post here – for which, my apologies. If you missed them, our reporting teams were covering the events at AUVSI, and then the clashing ILA Berlin air show and EBACE business aviation get-together last week.

So, where to start? How about the Swiss public referendum which shot down the nation’s planned buy of the Gripen E? A shame, but by no means a threat to the programme, says Saab, which remains confident of closing a bigger deal with Brazil before the year is out.

Staying in Brazil, Embraer at last released images of its first KC-390, which made us think that it’s going to have to do something pretty astonishing to get the jet airborne for the first time before 2014 comes to an end. That aside, the nation’s air force has approved its expected launch order for 28 of the versatile type (Embraer image below), which also looks certain to pick up at least some export business.

KC-390

Meanwhile, the US Air Force is clearly trying to up its stock while attempting to launch a JSTARS replacement programme, with the service having surprised us by releasing outline requirements following a closed-doors industry day last month. Apparently it meant big business jet when it talked about shrinking the package previously, as the proposed new system would carry perhaps between 10 and 13 operators: that’s BBJ or G650 country.

And in Europe, there’s been another industry push launched to encourage the militaries of France, Germany and Italy to work together to deliver an operational medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS, to enter use from 2020. Is this just another fresh batch of talk, or will something come of it this time?

2 Responses to Back from the brink

  1. Denis K 4 June, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    Gripen E shot down is a shame ? a second-rate aircraft (read Armasuisse technical evaluation) built by a manufacturer that spends MUCH MORE on marketing than on research and development (read Saab’s official income statements) … i’m glad we voted NO

    • Craig Hoyle 5 June, 2014 at 6:25 am #

      Ah yes; the leaked evaluation which was of a previous build standard, not the E. Will be interesting to see whether a second type can be bought, or if the Swiss will just have Hornets for the next 20 years.

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