February's top stories: Egypt Rafale, Australia’s OneSKY programme

Dassault Aviation was selected by the Egyptian Government to supply Rafale fighters to the national air force, Airservices Australia signed an advanced work contracting arrangement with Thales Australia for development of a single civil-military ATM system, and Piaggio Aerospace conducted the maiden flight of the first P.1HH HammerHead UAS prototype in Italy. Airforce-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from January.


Rafale

Dassault to export Rafale fighters to Egyptian Air Force

Dassault Aviation was selected by the Egyptian Government to supply Rafale multi-role combat aircraft to the national air force.

French President Francois Hollande said in a statement: "The Rafale fighter jet has won its first export contract.

"The signing took place in Cairo on February 16. I have asked the defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, to sign on behalf of France."

Airservices partners with Thales for Australia's OneSKY programme

Airservices Australia signed an advanced work contracting arrangement with Thales Australia for development of a single civil-military air traffic management (ATM) system.

The OneSKY programme will be undertaken in collaboration with the Australian Department of Defence. It aims to develop a harmonised civil-military ATM system to help streamline infrastructure and processes between military and civilian air traffic controllers.

Combined, the civil and military elements of the future ATM system will support more than 200 operational air traffic control workstations deployed to multiple locations across Australia.

Piaggio Aerospace tests flights first P.1HH HammerHead UAS prototype

HammerHead

Piaggio Aerospace conducted the maiden flight of the first P.1HH HammerHead unmanned aerial system (UAS) prototype at the Trapani Birgi Air Base in Italy.

Undertaken after the completion of the P.1HH demonstration programme, the flight test marked the beginning of a comprehensive development and certification flight test campaign.

Representative of the UAS' final aerodynamic configuration including the new, extended span main wing and the control systems on board, the Prototype 001 successfully performed a shakedown flight over the Mediterranean Sea at a significant range of speed and altitude.

Korean Air and KAI submit bids for South Korea's KF-X project

Korean Air Line (KAL) and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), along with their partners, submitted proposals for South Korea's domestic fighter development project.

A South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) official was quoted by the Yonhap News Agency as saying: "Korean Air, in partnership with Airbus Defense and Space and KAI, which teamed up with Lockheed Martin of the US, made the bid that closed today.

"We plan to choose a preferred bidder next month before a final selection around July."

RAAF starts MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial system training in US

Reaper

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircrew and support staff began training on the US Air Force's (USAF) MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial system (UAS) operations in the US.

Around five RAAF personnel were trained to be MQ-9 air vehicle operators and payload operators at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, while a communication systems engineer is undergoing similar training at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.

The training came less than a week after the US unveiled a new policy for the export of armed military and commercial UAS to foreign countries under strict rules. This included adherence to international law, as well as a ban on using them for unlawful surveillance or to exert force against their citizens.

Indian Air Force receives first BrahMos integrated Su-30 MKI aircraft

The Indian Air Force (IAF) received the first BrahMos missile integrated Su-30 MKI multi-role combat aircraft from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

The aircraft was handed over at the ongoing Aero India 2015 exhibition at Air Force Station Yelahanka, Bengaluru.

HAL chairman T Suvarna Raju said: "The successful completion of the first Su 30 aircraft integrated with BrahMos missile shows the synergy between DRDO, HAL and IAF.

US approves export of Raytheon's GaN-based AESA Patriot sensor

Raytheon received approval from the US Government to export a gallium nitride (GaN) based active electronically scanned array (AESA) sensor to Patriot air and missile defence system' partner nations.

The GaN-based AESA technology is already used in the design of the US Navy's new air and missile defence radar and a number of US Air Force systems. It cuts operational costs, while enabling future capability upgrades.

Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems business integrated air and missile defense vice-president Ralph Acaba said: "GaN-based AESA technology can bring customers of the combat-proven Patriot optimised 360-degree coverage, while setting the stage for future capability improvements.

USAF's AEHF system completes multiservice operational evaluation programme

AEHF satellite

The US Air Force's (USAF) advanced extremely high-frequency (AEHF) system successfully completed a multiservice operational test and evaluation programme at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, US.

The six-month programme was conducted by the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center Detachment 4 (AFOTEC Det 4) and the 4th Space Operations Squadron (4th SOPS).

This programme was aimed at ensuring that the AEHF system performed its missions the way it was designed.

The Lockheed Martin-built AEHF system provides survivable, global, secure, protected, and jam-resistant communications for military ground, sea and, air assets.

US unveils new policy for export of military unmanned aerial systems

The US Department of State (DoS) unveiled a new policy for the sale of armed military and commercial unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to the foreign countries.

The export policy is part of a broader US UAS policy review. It aims to ensure that sales, transfers, and subsequent use of all US-origin drones supplements and builds upon the US Conventional Arms Transfer Policy and is consistent with the requirements of the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act.

In addition, the new guidelines supplement and build upon the Export Administration Regulations that govern all US commercial transfers.

Embraer conducts first test flight of KC-390 military transport aircraft

KC-390

Embraer conducted the maiden test flight of its KC-390 military transport and aerial refuelling aircraft at an undisclosed location.

The aircraft was piloted by Embraer test pilots Mozart Louzada and Marcos Salgado de Oliveira Lima. It flew for one hour and 25 minutes, successfully completing an evaluation of flying qualities and performance.

The crew performed manoeuvres to test its flight characteristics and also conducted a variety of systems tests, following an advanced campaign of simulations and extensive ground tests.