The Air Force has received its 12th JSTARS aircraft, which uses a powerful side-scanning radar to track armored vehicles and other ground targets. This is the first of the new Block-20 aircraft which use commercial "off the shelf" computers.
Japan is looking for replacements for its P-3C Orion patrol planes and C-1 transports, and wants bidders for replacements to use some common wing components to save money. Kawasaki is expected to win (and its assembly lines are about to run out of work on T-4 trainers and CH-47J helicopters. Mitsubishi is bidding only on the transport, but has plenty of work on the huge F-2 close support fighter and has little experience with large airframes. Fuji isn't even offering to design an aircraft; it's bid suggests that all three contractors share in the work on both aircraft. The Maritime Patrol aircraft is to fly in 2006 and have four turbofan engines. The C-X transport is to fly in 2007 with two turbofan engines. General Atomics is due to deliver the first of the six Predator recon drones that the Italian Air Force has on order in May of next year. --Stephen V Cole
MILITARY AVIATION NEWS- The Canadian company CAE was selected to build the ASTA training simulator system for the Eurofighter Typhoon.