“Probably the most complex airborne weapon that MBDA has ever done”. That’s how the chief engineer of the SPEAR 3 described this new British air-surface missile in a presentation to the Royal Aeronautical Society in London last week. As Stephen Temple described the ongoing development, I marveled at how his team are meeting a very … Continue reading THE SPEAR 3 MISSILE – IS THE HUGE EFFORT JUSTIFIED?
Fifteen years after it entered service, the Eurofighter Typhoon has finally achieved true multirole capability. Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) says that a three-year effort to add the long-range Storm Shadow cruise missile and the shorter-range Brimstone ground attack missile has been completed. The Typhoon was already capable of dropping Paveway ‘smart’ bombs. BAE Systems, … Continue reading AT LAST, THE EUROFIGHTER IS A TRUE MULTIROLE AIRCRAFT
For many years now, the prospect of a huge and revolutionary new form of aerial transport has been looming. The hybrid airship gains 60% of its lift from helium, but the other 40% is gained aerodynamically. There are many potential applications, such as long-endurance surveillance, airlift into remote locations without runways, and luxury tourism. Operating … Continue reading HYBRID AIRSHIPS: THE PROMISE NOT YET FULFILLED
Did you notice that when the US Secretaries of State and Defense called for a ceasefire in Yemen this week, they emphasised the harm caused by airstrikes on urban areas? The air forces of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and supporting states have targeted population centres throughout their three-year campaign to defeat Shia Houthi rebels backed … Continue reading YEMEN – OPERATION DESTROYING HOPE
Congratulations to the Perlan II mission team, that has now flown this pressurized two-seat glider to a record-breaking 76,124 feet, by exploiting stratospheric mountain waves that are found only over southern South America at this time of the year, when they combine with the Polar Vortex. And congratulations to Airbus ceo Tom Enders, who agreed … Continue reading PERLAN II – SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS
At the recent Farnborough Airshow, my personal highlight was a visit to the Airbus Zephyr production facility (above), in the nearby Science Park. I wrote about this for AIN here and, as predicted, this fascinating solar-powered design has since claimed a new endurance record for an aircraft - more than 25 days. The Zephyr project … Continue reading HIGH-ALTITUDE PSEUDO-SATELLITES (HAPS) – A QUICK REVIEW
The Malaysian-led team investigating the disappearance of flight MH370 for ICAO has issued a new 450-page report into what has become the greatest aviation mystery of all time. There’s not much new, except for the first official release of data found by the Royal Malaysian Police on the flight simulator that Captain Zahari kept at … Continue reading LATEST MH370 REPORT AVOIDS THE OBVIOUS