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The Smurfs and Art Nouveau finalists for the 5th Belgian Icon

Belgian Icon

Thursday, September 14, 2017 — In a search for its 5th Belgian icon, Brussels Airlines turned to its customers to ask them which Belgian idea or person they wish to see soaring through the skies on an Airbus A320. Out of the more than 1400 ideas, a jury has chosen two finalists, which will now be put to a public vote. Everyone can cast their vote until 24 September. The winning design will be turned into a special livery plane to be unveiled next March.

At the beginning of August, Brussels Airlines called on its customers and fans to design the 5thBelgian icon in its series of special planes dedicated to famous Belgians or Belgian culture. The airline received an overwhelming number of ideas and designs. In total 1415 entries were submitted – all of which represent what Belgium truly stands for.No idea is too crazy in the land of surrealism: designs of dancing chicory and the hair of Belgian Red Devil Fellaini were just some of the more eccentric ideas. The most popular ideas were however related to Belgian comics (the Smurfs, Marsupilami, Lucky Luke, Le Chat,..), music (Toots Thielemans, the Saxophone, Jacques Brel,…) and food (chocolate, fries, waffles,…). Ideas were submitted not only by Belgians, but also by fans from France, Germany, Uganda and even Lebanon and Colombia.

 

The jury, consisting of Tomorrowland General Manager Dave Sips, Olympic champion Olivia Borlée, CEO of Pairi Daiza Eric Domb, CEO and artistic director of BOZAR Paul Dujardin, producer and musician Netsky and Belgian Star Chef Yves Mattagne had anything but an easy task to select two finalists out of all the entries, but on Monday night they reached a decision, together with Brussels Airlines representatives, including CEO Bernard Gustin. The Smurfs by Marta Mascellani and Art Nouveau/Horta by Ahmet Sefer will now compete for a spot on the Airbus A320! The jury considered, among other criteria, the international character, the uniqueness of the designs and if the icon is a good ambassador for Belgium.

“I’m happy to see that we have two such different ideas competing for first place. It was not an easy choice because there were so many good ideas and designs and Belgium has many icons that deserve to be honored. Both the Smurfs and Art Nouveau are known worldwide and help put Belgium on the map. I am very curious to see what the public will choose!”

— Bernard Gustin, Brussels Airlines CEO

From today until 24 September everybody can vote for his or her favorite design on brusselsairlines.com/belgianicon. Next to eternal fame, the winner gets to follow the entire design process and the creation of the Belgian Icon behind the scenes. Furthermore, he or she will be on the front row during the big reveal event and will fly on its maiden voyage. The plane will be presented to the public in March 2018.

Brussels Airlines is a proud ambassador of Belgium and really carries ‘belgitude’ in its heart. Tintin, Magritte, the Belgian Red Devils and Tomorrowland each fly proudly on an Airbus A320 as Belgian Icons. Also on board Brussels Airlines does whatever it takes to immerse her passengers in the Belgian culture: from chocolates, beers and menus made by Belgian Star Chefs to cabin crew uniforms designed by Belgian designers.

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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