July's top stories: QinetiQ and partners to bid for ASDOT programme, USAF's restored B-29 bomber conducts first flight

QinetiQ, Thales and Textron AirLand have collaborated to bid for UK MoD's £1.2bn ASDOT programme, US Air Force's (USAF) restored B-29 Superfortress bomber aircraft has made its first flight. Airforce-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from July 2016.


QinetiQ, Thales and Textron to bid for UK MoD's £1.2bn ASDOT programme

QinetiQ, Thales and Textron AirLand collaborated to submit a bid for the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) upcoming air support to defence operational training (ASDOT) programme.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to this effect has been signed between the three companies.

Valued at around £1.2bn, the 15-year ASDOT contract will be awarded in September 2018 with a service delivery start in January 2020.

USAF's restored B-29 Superfortress bomber conducts first flight

The US Air Force's (USAF) B-29 Superfortress bomber aircraft made its first flight since 1956 on 17 July, following a 16-year restoration programme.

Work under the refurbishment programme included the installation of modern avionics technologies while trying to maintain the aircraft's originality.

Known as Doc, the aircraft that served as a ballistic target at a navy weapons range has been stationed at the McConnell Air Force Base.

Tejas light combat aircraft inducted into Indian Air Force

The Indian Ministry of Defence inducted a fourth plus generation light combat aircraft (LCA) named 'Tejas' into its air force.

The Indian Air Force's (IAF) No. 45 Squadron will deploy the indigenously developed aircraft in place of a MiG-21 supersonic jet fighter aircraft.

Said to be the first advance fly-by-wire (FBW) fighter aircraft, Tejas has been designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

BAE Systems wins £2.1bn deal to support RAF's Typhoon fleet

BAE Systems secured a £2.1bn deal from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to support the Royal Air Force's (RAF) fleet of Typhoon multi-role fighters.

The ten-year deal is expected to reduce current support and maintenance costs by more than £500m, which could be reinvested to upgrade the aircraft.

The savings, generated through the Typhoon Total Availability eNterprise (TyTAN) agreement, will ensure that the aircraft continues to provide world-class air power capability for the RAF, the MoD said in a statement.

Brimstone 2 missile enters service with UK RAF Tornado aircraft

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that the new Brimstone 2 missile has entered into service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado GR4 aircraft.

The MBDA-built Brimstone 2 longer range missile, with an improved version of the dual mode semi-active laser / millimetric wave seeker and an autopilot, can engage a wide range of stationary and moving threats launched from bunkers and fast-travelling armoured vehicles.

It has the same heavyweight attack as its predecessor but can be launched from approximately twice as far away, the MoD said in a statement.

Human rights groups ask US-led coalition forces to prevent civilian deaths in Syria

Several human rights groups are calling on US-led coalition forces to take measures to prevent civilian deaths while conducting military operations in Syria.

Nearly 104 civilians, including women and children were killed in suspected coalition attacks on the Manbij area of northern Syria since June.

Figures released by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights show that 21 civilians were killed by the latest bombing by warplanes on the city of Manbij and its surroundings on 18 July and 15 more people were killed in the airstrikes in the northern outskirts of al-Hazwanah neighbourhood in Manbij city.

Swedish Air Force’s Gripen integrated with Meteor missile enters service

Saab, the Swedish Air Force and Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration integrated MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) onto the Gripen fighter.

The upgrade, known as MS20, is the latest step in Gripen’s process of constant capability expansion, Saab said in a statement.

The Gripen fighter with the latest operational upgrade and combat enhancement has been certified, approved and accepted into service.

Israeli Air Force's F-35 Lightning II variant Adir completes maiden flight

The Israeli Air Force's (IAF) first Adir (F-35I) completed its maiden test flight ahead of its delivery to the country on 12 December this year.

A pilot from Lockheed Martin carried out the flight test at the company's facility to validate the plane's airworthiness.

Adir, fitted with advanced information systems, is Israel's variant of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

USAF to study effects of noise exposure on health

The US Air Force (USAF) is set to begin the Total Exposure Health initiative with the goal of improving warfighters' health by preventing them from being exposed to noise.

As part of the initiative, the USAF will measure all forms of noise that the soldiers are exposed to throughout their day, including sources outside of work.

The two-week-long study also explores the potential benefits of using earmuffs, basic hearing protection and custom form-fitted hearing protection to reduce noise related health issues.

Pratt & Whitney wins $1.5bn LRIP contract for F135 propulsion systems

Pratt & Whitney secured a $1.5bn contract from the US Department of Defense (DoD) for the production of the tenth low-rate initial production (LRIP) batch of F135 propulsion systems.

Under the contract, the company will supply 99 propulsion systems in total to power all three variants of the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter.

The F135 is the derivative of the F119-PW-100 engine advanced turbofan engine that powers the USAF's F-22 Raptor.