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Airbus’ successful ILA Berlin air show, A major Eurofighter order and new sustainability agreements.

Airbus' successful ILA Berlin air show, A major Eurofighter order and new sustainability agreements.
Airbus’ made headlines during this week’s ILA Berlin with key developments spanning the company’s military, civil, air mobility and cybersecurity businesses – led by a landmark contract for Spain’s acquisition of 20 latest-generation Eurofighter combat aircraft.

ILA Berlin was the first significant European air show since 2019, Airbus giving the opportunity to expose how it leads the field in sustainable aerospace for a peaceful and safe planet. At the interior exhibits and flight demonstrations at the Berlin Expo Center Airport, it featured a wide variety of aircraft.
Spain’s order for a fleet of Eurofighters fitted with E-Scan radar to replace F-18s deployed by the Spanish Air Force from Gando Air Base on the Canary Islands covered the news from ILA Berlin. Deliveries of these new single- and twin-seat combat aircraft, which will start in 2026, will bring the Spanish Air Force’s total inventory to 90 Eurofighters, placing it among NATO allies with the most advanced fighter jet developed in Europe.

Initiatives, partnerships for sustainability and mobility

Six further announcements made at ILA Berlin highlighted Airbus’ efforts to promote the aviation industry’s objectives for aviation sustainability and enhanced air mobility. The company is launching to grow variety of initiatives and forming important alliances.

Airbus and MAI expand advanced air mobility partnership to provide global coverage(Opens in a new browser tab)

This includes  Airbus’ support for the German Air Force’s start of upcoming flight tests utilizing A400M multipurpose airlifters powered by up to 50% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Looking further into the upcoming years, the objective is to make it possible for the German Air Force’s entire fleet of Airbus-built aircraft, from fighter jets to airlifters and VIP transports, to operate on SAF, which has proven alternative fuel that can reduce life-cycle CO2 emissions by up to 85% when it compared to conventional fuel. Airbus has started on a long-term path to achieve 100 percent SAF readiness and certification for the different countries operating A400Ms in addition to supporting such near-term initiatives at the national level.

A world’s first helicopter flight with sustainable aviation fuel

Another innovation revealed at ILA Berlin was the first helicopter flight ever made with both Safran Makila 2 engines powered entirely by SAF on an H225 rotorcraft. The trials are expected to retain on alternative fuel and engine architectures in other helicopter types with the goal of validating the usage of 100 percent SAF by 2030.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Airbus and the industrial gases and engineering company Linde to provide hydrogen infrastructure at airports throughout the world. As they evaluate the possibilities of Power-to-Liquid fuels, a type of SAF created from the synthetically manufactured liquid hydrocarbon through the conversion of renewable electricity, they will define and launch pilot projects at various airports starting in early 2023.

Driving the sustainable deployment of advanced air mobility solutions

Also at ILA Berlin, Airbus and Munich Airport International signed a (MoU) to start marketing turnkey solutions for cities and regions interested in building advanced air mobility (AAM) ecosystems globally. The successful integration of several AAM components, including Airbus’ City. Airbus NextGen(eVTOL) aircraft, requires good partnership between international and local stakeholders that combine important competences, including partners like Munich Airport.

In addition, Airbus announced a collaboration with KLK Motorsport and Modell- und Formenbau Blasius Gerg GmbH to design, create, and produce the rear structure for City Airbus NextGen. Utilizing each other’s capabilities in design engineering and manufacturing techniques, they will collaborate to create an ultra-lightweight rear fuselage based on premium composite components and solutions.

An A321LR delivery to the German armed forces

The first of two A321LR (Long Range) aircraft for the German armed forces was delivered during a ceremony at ILA Berlin. For flexible troop and passenger transport on short-, medium-, and long-haul routes as well as parliamentary flight operations, Lufthansa Technik AG upgraded it from the commercial version. The aircraft’s medical evacuation mission, which will expand its range of operations to cover the transport of sick, injured, and wounded passengers as a flying intensive care unit, was also prepared for by Lufthansa Technik.

Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus, said, “We have worked to ensure that the aircraft meets all expectations with our partner Lufthansa Technik. The A321LR not only flies longer trips but it also reduces CO2 emissions by 20% when compared to earlier aircraft and is approved to run on 50% sustainable aviation fuels, which can further reduce emissions

An innovation hub for cybersecurity and artificial intelligence

At ILA Berlin, Airbus signed a (MoU) with the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security, representing a major development in its strategy to continue enhancing its cybersecurity capabilities and expertise. This arrangement will result in the establishment of a cybersecurity and reliable artificial intelligence centre in Saarland, Germany.

The “CISPA-Airbus Digital Innovation Hub” will begin operations in 2022 and based in the CISPA Innovation Campus. With the following three years, it plans to increase its operation to about 100 experts, eventually reaching more than 500 experts.

He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

Aerospace

Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan is embarking on an ambitious endeavor to bolster its air defense capabilities with the acquisition and potential local production of the Chinese FC-31 stealth fighter jet.

Talks are reportedly underway between the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, the developer of the FC-31, signaling a significant leap forward for Pakistan’s military aviation prowess.

The FC-31, a mid-sized, twin-engine fifth-generation fighter, promises advanced air combat capabilities, including stealth technology that surpasses anything currently in the PAF‘s fleet. With plans to retire the JF-17 production line by 2030, the FC-31 could emerge as the new flagship aircraft, offering unmatched performance and versatility.

Experts speculate that Pakistan’s interest in the FC-31 could also signal broader implications for the international market. As China develops both land and carrier versions of the FC-31, analysts foresee it becoming a cost-effective alternative to pricier options like the F-35, potentially challenging the dominance of the US aerospace industry and reshaping global strategic rivalries.

Adding complexity to the deal is China’s push for the WS-13 engine, previously rejected for the JF-17 but now under consideration for both the FC-31 and future JF-17 variants. Engine standardization could streamline logistical and maintenance processes for the PAF, further enhancing the appeal of the FC-31.

While negotiations continue, the success of the FC-31 acquisition and local production hinges on several factors, including the outcome of the WS-13 engine discussions. Pakistan’s pursuit of the FC-31 comes amidst its eagerness to replace its aging fleet, with previous attempts to upgrade its F-16s by the United States due to geopolitical pressures.

Amidst these developments, Pakistan previous interest in the Turkish-made Kaan fifth-generation fighter underscores its eagerness to replace its aging fleet. Despite previous attempts to secure upgrades for its F-16s from the United States, Pakistan’s quest for advanced aerial capabilities has led it to explore alternative avenues, with the FC-31 emerging as a promising contender in its pursuit of air superiority.

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Aerospace

Airbus presents new Wingman concept at ILA Berlin Airshow

Airbus presents new Wingman concept at ILA Berlin Airshow

At the prestigious ILA aerospace trade show in Berlin, Airbus Defence and Space made waves by introducing its pioneering Wingman concept, marking a significant leap forward in military aviation technology.

Teaming up with Helsing, Europe’s leading defense AI and software company, Airbus showcased a framework cooperation agreement aimed at revolutionizing the realm of artificial intelligence (AI) in defense.

Airbus Wingman

The Wingman concept represents a paradigm shift in aerial warfare, introducing unmanned platforms equipped with advanced AI capabilities to augment the capabilities of manned combat aircraft. Pilots in command aircraft such as the Eurofighter command these autonomous drones, positioning them to undertake high-risk mission tasks that would traditionally pose a significant threat to manned-only aircraft.

Central to the Wingman concept is Manned-Unmanned Teaming, wherein manned aircraft serve as “command fighters,” retaining ultimate control over mission decisions while delegating tactical tasks to unmanned systems. This synergistic collaboration promises to enhance mission flexibility, increase combat mass, and minimize risk exposure for pilots, thereby bolstering overall operational effectiveness.

The capabilities of the Wingman extend across a diverse spectrum of mission profiles, ranging from reconnaissance and target jamming to precision strikes against both ground and aerial targets. Equipped with advanced sensors, connectivity solutions, and a diverse array of armaments, the Wingman stands poised to redefine the operational landscape of modern air forces.

While the Wingman model showcased at ILA Berlin represents the pinnacle of current technological innovation, it also serves as a catalyst for future design iterations. As with any pioneering concept, refinement and evolution are inevitable, with each generation of the Wingman poised to push the boundaries of aerial warfare even further.

MQ-28 Ghost Bat

Boeing introduced the MQ-28 Ghost Bat, an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), which made its maiden flight in February 2021. Developed by Boeing Australia, the MQ-28 leverages artificial intelligence to serve as a force multiplier for manned fighter jets.

The Ghost Bat is engineered to operate in tandem with existing military aircraft, enhancing and extending the capabilities of airborne missions. This cost-effective UCAV is designed to work as an intelligent teammate, complementing and amplifying the effectiveness of manned operations in various mission profiles.

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Aerospace

Take First Glimpse of USAF B-21 Raider, Latest Nuclear Stealth Bomber

Take First Glimpse of USAF B-21 Raider, Latest Nuclear Stealth Bomber
Image:USAF

The United States Air Force (USAF) has unveiled the first photographs of the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider bomber in flight.

These images were captured during test flights conducted by the B-21 Combined Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base, marking a significant milestone in the development of this sixth-generation aircraft.

Currently undergoing flight tests in California, the B-21 Raider represents the next generation of stealth bombers. With an estimated cost of around $700 million per aircraft, the B-21 Raider is poised to become a crucial component of the USAF’s arsenal for conventional Long Range Strike missions.

According to Air Force briefings, the B-21 Raider will form part of a comprehensive family of systems, encompassing Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance capabilities, electronic warfare, communication systems, and more. Notably, the bomber will be nuclear-capable and adaptable for both manned and unmanned operations.

It boasts the flexibility to deploy a wide array of stand-off and direct-attack munitions, ensuring versatility in various combat scenarios. One of the B-21’s distinguishing features is its extensive integration of digital technology, as highlighted in discussions held during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Designed with an open systems architecture, the B-21 Raider is built to swiftly incorporate emerging technologies, ensuring its effectiveness against evolving threats over time. The B-21 Raider is slated to replace the aging B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers, bolstering US national security objectives and providing reassurance to allies and partners worldwide.

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