The A-6E carrier-borne attack aircraft is being withdrawn from service. A limited upgrade of USN A-6Es added missile-approach warning, towed active decoys, satellite navigation and other improvements. Boeing-built composite wings were retrofitted to 172 A-6s. The last new A-6E was delivered in February 1992.
Northrop Grumman was unsuccessful in its proposal to build a further 20 B-2 stealth bombers for $12 billion.
The 20 B-2s planned will equip two eight-aircraft squadrons. The first operational aircraft was delivered to the USAF in December 1994. Aircraft are being delivered in three production blocks with increasing capability, with delivery of definitive Block 30 aircraft beginning in 1997. All 20 B-2s will be upgraded to Block 30 standard by the year 2000.
USN EA-6Bs are to replace USAF EF-111s in the tactical jamming role by 1999. Plans call for the USN to retain 120 EA-6Bs in service, of which 20 will be dedicated to supporting the USAF.
Deliveries of the E-2C airborne early-warning aircraft to the USN are to resume in 1997, with four that year, against a planned requirement for 36. Northrop Grumman delivered four E-2Ts to Taiwan in 1995. France has ordered two E-2Cs for delivery in 1997, and is expected to order two more.
The latest Group II E-2C incorporates a production Lockheed Martin APS-145 radar subsystem with fully automatic overwater and overland detection and tracking, an enhanced high-speed processor and IFF.
The first production-configured E-8C J-STARS (Surveillance Target Attack Radar System) prototype had its first system test flight in March 1994, joining two E-8A prototypes used in the development programme. The USAF plans to buy 18 E-8C battlefield-surveillance aircraft and to upgrade the two E-8A prototypes to E-8C standard. The E-8s are based on ex-airline Boeing 707-300 airframes.
Retirement of USAF EF-111A electronic-warfare aircraft has been delayed by two years to late 1999.
F-5 TIGER II
Northrop Grumman began flight tests of its F-5E Tiger IV avionics upgrade in April 1995 and the aircraft was presented to F-5 operators in late October. The upgrade consists of a Westinghouse APG-66 pulse-Doppler radar, replacing the non-coherent APQ-159 and new head-up and head-down displays modelled on those used in the Lockheed Martin F-16. The upgraded F-5E is being promoted as a lead-in trainer for the F-16.
Customers (original deliveries): F-5E/F - Bahrain 12, Brazil 36, Chile 18, Honduras 12, Indonesia 16, Iran 169, Jordan 69, Kenya 14, Malaysia 21, Mexico 12, Morocco 20, North Yemen 12, Saudi Arabia 99, Singapore 44, South Korea 214, Sudan 2, Switzerland 110, Taiwan 316, Thailand 38, Tunisia 12, USA 130, Vietnam 75-plus. RF-5E - Malaysia 2, Saudi Arabia 10.
McDonnell Douglas has been selected to implement a T-38 modernisation programme covering 425 aircraft for the USAF. Some 1,200 T-38s were manufactured.
The USN has purchased 75 Lockheed Martin LANTIRN navigation and targeting pod systems to give some F-14s ground-attack capability. GEC has been awarded a contract to provide a DFCS for the aircraft to improve handling characteristics. Re-engineing of F-14As with the GE F110scontinues with the modified aircraft redesignated F-14Bs.
Source: Flight International