Special Report: Cobham awarded over $72m in Long-term Contracts for Specialised Military Antennas

On the face of it, an average headline. However, for the No. 3 UK-based aerospace company, antenna systems represent a small market of the company’s forte. A change like this represents how important data link systems have become in the aerospace industry. As UAVs stretch further and further away, in more and more hostile environments, antenna systems represent big business.

Cobham has been awarded two contracts totaling more than US $72 million during the next six years through its newly-acquired Trivec-Avant business, which has become part of the Antenna Systems Strategic Business Unit. Cobham specialises in meeting the insatiable demand for data, connectivity and bandwidth in defence, security and commercial environments. Offering a technically diverse and innovative range of technologies and services, the Group protects lives and livelihoods,responding to customer needs with agility that differentiates it.

Couple this with the recent news that a new chief executive is soon to head the company, a familiar name since Sir Alan Cobham founded the company’s subsidiary in 1934, after Andy Stevens is due to leave from a back injury. For the future, Cobham Plc is definitely one to watch.

Image courtesy of defenceprocurementnews.com


Indian Air Force poised to receive bids: Rafale, Typhoon or (surprise!) F-35?

Update:

“”Negotiations with the firms will start after opening the bids on November 4,” Air Marshal D. Kukreja said. “Whatever is beneficial to the country, we will choose.” India in April pulled a surprise by cutting out U.S. bidders Boeing and Lockheed Martin, much to Washington’s disappointment, as well as dropping Sweden’s Saab AB and the Russian makers of the MiG 35 from the race. Lockheed still are hoping for a reversed decision. “The final outcome will not be known immediately except perhaps an indication of whom we may prefer,” retired Gen. Afsir Karim, an expert on Indian arms procurement, said Nov. 3.

“A price negotiation committee will finally determine the winner,” he said.

Dassault’s Rafale plane and the Eurofighter Typhoon have both been in action over Libya in recent months during the international operation to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civilians from Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.””

When the Indian Air Force announces the winner of the medium multi-role combat aircraft contract on 4 November, there will be only two options: A (Dassault Rafale) or B (Eurofighter Typhoon).

But the US government apparently still hopes the Indians will pick option C: the Lockheed Martin F-35.

Months ago, I wrote a piece on Hilary Clinton’s Pitch to India back at the beginning of the year. More to follow…


What the Dreamliner can do for you?

Boeing 787 - A big step for aviation, but how does it affect you?

This Wednesday the revolutionary Boeing Dreamliner will fly its very first commercial flight. “The flight is a coming-out party for a jet that reflects the biggest change in aircraft construction since metal replaced wooden biplanes,” USA Today’s Charisse Jones writes. I’d incline to agree with her. After two years in delays almost two years after its first test run, the latest update to the Boeing series will cart 264 passengers from Tokyo to Hong Kong. The jet will supposedly revolutionize the flying experience with comfier interiors, recycled plane parts, and a lighter, more fuel efficient body.

But how can all this radness positively affect your flying life?

Lower prices: First off, the Dreamliner claims a 20 percent jump in fuel efficiency over other similar planes. It’s built with General Electric and Rolls-Royce engines, which are just more efficient, claims Boeing on its site.  “Advances in engine technology are the biggest contributor to overall fuel efficiency improvements,” explains Boeing. “The new engines represent nearly a two-generation jump in technology for the middle of the market.”

The plans is also apparently 30 percent cheaper to maintain, reports Jones. “The Dreamliner’s unique makeup also won’t corrode as easily as other jets,” she writes. “The payoff for airlines is the ability to fly long-distance trips without burning as much increasingly costly jet fuel as other similar-size planes.” Sadly, the airlines might not share that wealth with passengers, though. Yet, there is another way you could save money. A midsize plane, The Dreamliner might open up new routes that otherwise would’ve been hard and expensive to get to. “It could pave the way for airlines to have new, direct flights between far-away cities on routes that otherwise wouldn’t have profitably supported non-stop trips on a bigger jet burning more fuel with so few passengers,” continues Jones.

It's only Economy, but does the 787 provide an experience that is a class of its own?

Comfy insides: After ponying up big bucks, perks like nice seats and in-flight entertainment matter. The Dreamliner is at least trying to up its game. The interior looks comfortable, if a bit futuristic. There’s also an actual bar in the main cabin and the in-flight entertainment, which each set has, is all Android operated touch screens, as CNET reported.

Greener body: For the environmentally conscious: It’s body is made of 50 percent composites, which should quell guilt about burning massive amounts of fuel whilst jet-setting. And believe me, when I say greener, take a look inside. No question, this is aerofutures.

References courtesy of The Atlantic Wire


FAA probes News Corp’s ‘The Daily’ Aerial Drone

News Corp's Alleged UAV used for intelligence gathering for 'The Daily'

 

The US military has drones, lots of them if the daily reports coming in from Afghanistan and Pakistan are any indication. And a handful of law enforcement groups – though less than would like -have a drone or two at their disposal. But on the domestic, non-security front, drones live a in a regulatory gray area. Hobbyists can use them, but commercial entities are not supposed to employ drones for any kind of monetary gain, says the FAA.

Nonetheless News Corp’s The Daily has a news gathering drone aircraft that it’s been flying around, and the FAA is investigating that use to ensure that it complies with all of the nebulous FAA regulations that kind of exist regarding private drone usage.

The Daily has used its drone to capture aerial footage of storm-struck Alabama earlier this year as well as the flooding in South Dakota, Forbes has said. Their hardware: a MicroDrone md4-1000, a micro aerial vehicle that can be fitted with various imagery or sensor payloads (Google has one like it, purportedly to augment its aerial map data).

The question for the FAA, then, is whether or not new gathering (or aerial cartography, for that matter) is considered a commercial exercise. Seems like it would be, but given that the FAA is reportedly considering loosening its drone aircraft restrictions later this year anyhow, The Daily may just get the green light anyhow, opening up a potentially really cool new high-tech means of reporting the daily news.

That would be great news for The Daily, which happens to belong to the same media family as the News of the World which recently collapsed under shady phone hacking allegations. Of course, all of this information is unrelated, because it’s not like you can use a drone to hack a cell phone… Right?

Credit Popular Science for Content


Clinton’s ‘Unbelievable’ Pitch to India

Lockheed's Fourth Generation Stealthy F-35 Lightning

An unprecedented step by the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has been made in India following her trip to New Delhi last week, a report from Eurasia.net states. She has stated the US’ willingness to offer the state-of-the-art F-35 warplanes to India at the bargain price of $65 Million each.

Compare this to the $85 Million an Dassault Rafale would cost, or the $125 Million that a Eurofighter Typhoon was offered at, its clear to see how big a step this is. Analysts will obviously suggest that the US are trying to establish a stronger level of military sales in the area, but why is yet to be seen. The recent failure by American companies to procure a $10.4 Billion contract for the Indian Air Force could be partially to blame, but also the transition of F-35 to a production model of late means that it has only just become eligible for the IAF proposal that was originally laid out. Not to mention the offer yesterday China made to Pakistan to give an entire squadron of brand new J-10B’s recently put into production. Maybe this is a fore planned counter move by the US? Either way, expect more on this as the proposal develops.

 


X-37 Sighting on the I-15 Interstate

"Something" travelling down the I-15 Interstate through Las Vegas

See what has been seen rolling through Las Vegas this week? Seems that the not-completely-secret launches of Boeing’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicles have been accompanied by another twist. Although many explanations may exist, the plainest of which being that this is in fact the X-37A, the predecessor for approach and landing tests feel free to make your own explanations as more unfolds.


US Consider Removing Tactical Nukes From Europe

Nato Headquarters, Brussels -- The scene of US/NATO talks held today over the potential removing of TNMs is Europe

Today the influential Asahi Shimbun – a Japanese Newspaper- has said that the United States is in talks with NATO to remove U.S. tactical nuclear weapons from Europe in a push toward a nuclear-weapons-free world and to cut costs.

Washington is talking with other NATO member nations about the withdrawal of all shorter-range, tactical nuclear weapons that have been deployed in Europe since the Cold War era, the influential Asahi Shimbun said.

In-depth discussions will take place in coming months, and the talks should conclude by the time Chicago hosts a NATO summit next May, the liberal daily said, citing a senior U.S. official tasked with nuclear disarmament policies.

The talks are being held as part of NATO’s Defense and Deterrence Posture Review, said the report filed from the paper’s Washington bureau.

The move came as U.S. President Barack Obama wants to negotiate with Russia about reducing tactical nuclear weapons and nuclear stockpiles, following the ratification this year of the US-Russia New START disarmament treaty, it said.

A complete abolition coupled with President Obama’s decision to ditch the European element of the new Missile Defence System which was proposed back in 2009,  it could give impetus to U.S.-Russia nuclear disarmament talks.


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