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The Scorpion’s wind of change

Well done to Textron AirLand, which has completed the first flight of its (let’s be kind) “unique-looking” Scorpion light strike aircraft. Stephen Trimble’s report into the design’s 12 December debut reveals an expected unit cost of less than $20 million, discussions with at least two potential military customers, and the possibility of producing the aircraft […]

Is Scotland asking for the right fighter?

Our recent and admittedly parochial look at the Scottish National Party’s vision of what an independent Scottish air force might look like (I’m not sure that we’d do the same if Quebec launched a breakaway campaign) drew some interesting reader feedback in the latest issue of Flight International. “Extreme political bias”, and “vitriolic and rather […]

Fighter rivals join forces for T-X

So it’s official. After persistent rumours which first surfaced earlier this year, Boeing and Saab have confirmed teaming up to pursue the US Air Force’s elusive T-X trainer requirement. But no, this isn’t some half-hearted rehash of the Swedish manufacturer’s Gripen, but an all-new, clean-sheet design. Why would they do this, you might ask? Boeing […]

Free download: World Air Forces directory 2014

As promised, the new issue of Flight International features our annual World Air Forces directory, with the 20-page listings section showing you the active inventories and purchase plans of 160 nations. You won’t be surprised to find out that the US armed forces continues to dominate each of our six equipment categories (US Air Force […]

Coming soon: download our World Air Forces directory

I received a complaint a couple of weeks ago about the volume of material appearing on The DEW Line having tailed off a bit of late – we don’t write, send flowers, all that sort of thing. You’ll have noticed that fifth-gen fighter specialist Dave Majumdar has moved on to pastures new, so we’ve no […]

Nations hold firm on A400M numbers

“Build it and they will come”, the old maxim states. It’s a phrase that European airframer Airbus Military also hopes will ring true in the tactical/strategic transport sector, because export buyers are urgently needed for its recently-delivered A400M. An earlier contractual crisis saw the company’s confirmed order book for the type trimmed from 180 to […]

Why no fighter buy in Dubai?

The DEW Line has been a bit quiet of late. That’s not because there’s been nothing going on news-wise, but because Flightglobal’s defence team was flat-out preparing for and then covering last week’s Dubai air show. If you didn’t catch the headlines from there then please check out our dedicated landing page, which includes stories, […]

Make way for the RJ

Today saw the arrival of the UK’s first RC-135 Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. Thanks to AirSpace regular Sunshine Band for swiftly uploading this cracking shot of it, resplendent in its 51 Sqn markings. With the RAF’s last Nimrod R1 having been retired in June 2011, ZZ664?s introduction to service during […]

Who will win Qatar’s fighter battle?

It’s been mentioned as a potential new fighter customer off and on for the last couple of years, but it looks like Qatar is making the first formal steps towards launching a contest to replace its Mirage 2000-5s. The Dubai air show won’t kick off for just over a week, but with the UK government […]

Air show ban – what air show ban?

We’ve reported previously on one of the weird knock-on effects of Congressional sequestration – namely the US DoD’s inability to commit aircraft to appear at the last several major international air shows, due to budget constraints. It was too wet to have got outside to see them in Paris anyway, but odd nonetheless to not view […]

Trouble and strafe for Dutch F-16 pilot

Spare perhaps just a little sympathy for the hapless Dutch F-16 pilot who found that hitting the right target was a little bit beyond him during a training flight on 4 November. As detailed in Anno Gravemaker’s report for Flightglobal’s defence news channel, the F-16AM pilot was supposed to be strafing a ground target at […]

Lockheed’s SR-72: the need for speed

Lockheed Martin’s ever-secretive Skunk Works unit has broken cover, revealing its concept for a Mach 6-capable successor to the US Air Force’s long-retired SR-71 Blackbird, and claiming “speed is the new stealth”. Potentially to be ready to enter service by 2030, the proposed hypersonic – and unmanned – SR-72 “is the counter to counter-stealth”, Skunk […]

Taranis flies! Er, probably

The UK Ministry of Defence has been more than a touch conservative when it comes to discussing operations with its unmanned/remotely piloted air systems for a considerable time, in no small part due to widespread negative reporting about the use of dreaded “drones” from the general media. Main Building’s reticence has mostly surrounded the Royal […]

‘We are not drones’: USAF RPA crews fight back

The US Air Force has come out with some great coverage this week about its remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) operations, as the use of its General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper has broken through the 2 million flight hour barrier. First came an eye-catching article from official USAF magazine Airman, with the […]

Stranded Sea King hitches a lift

Thanks to the UK Ministry of Defence for providing another item for the “not something you see every day” files, and for proving why the Royal Air Force calls the Chinook a “support helicopter”. A Sea King search and rescue crew from the Royal Navy’s HMS Gannet unit – located at Glasgow Prestwick airport – […]

South Korea’s dogfight continues

Flick through the pages of this week’s Flight International and you’d be mistaken for thinking that there’s still a fighter competition to be pursued in South Korea. Seoul’s recent decision to not award an F-X III deal to apparent front-runner Boeing for the F-15 Silent Eagle has been viewed by many as indicating a future […]

The future of army aviation?

Bell has released this image of a full-scale mock-up of its V-280 Valor tiltrotor, which will be on display at the AUSA show in Washington DC next week. We can expect the company to say a bit more about its offering there, although it has already confirmed that GE Aviation is to supply the proposed transport’s engines. […]

NH90 variants: a surprise total

We know how to have fun here on The DEW Line, so to prove it, I spent yesterday at a military airworthiness conference in London, with lots of safety-minded types. Between the lengthy and detailed discussions about the certification hurdles faced by companies and operators while bringing equipment like the A400M and A330 Voyager into […]

PICTURE: Brothers in arms

The UK Ministry of Defence has released a series of stunning Crown Copyright images from an ongoing air exercise involving the Royal Air Force and its French counterpart. Being staged as part of the multinational ‘Joint Warrior’ event, the allies’ Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Mirage 2000N communities have got together, for a ‘Capable Eagle’ series […]

VIDEO: Lockheed YF-12 Blackbird

Check out this NASA video about the Mach 3+ Lockheed YF-12 Blackbird interceptor, which was developed from the Central Intelligence Agency’s A-12 reconnaissance aircraft. Though ultimately it would not go into production, the three pre-production aircraft did find success as research planes for NASA. The YF-12 was developed after the cancellation of the North American […]

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