Warplanes: September 17, 2001



@ A B-2 bomber made history in July when it few two 21-hour missions (to a bombing range in England) in a period off only 45 hours and 30 minutes. The two missions were conducted by the same crew in the same aircraft; the aircraft was serviced at its home base in Missouri for only 3.5 hours between the two missions. The incident was intended to show any potential enemy that the B-2s can be expected to hit them again and again during the first days of any future war.

@ Boeing has won a $33.7 million contract to produce the first batch of Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing Systems. These will include nine sets for F-15s, 28 sets for F-16s, 39 sets for F-18s, and 55 sets for Greek F-16s. Australia has an option for six sets for its F-18s. This system allows a pilot to target a missile by simply looking at the target enemy aircraft. 

@ The US Air Force says it has fixed the software bug that caused a Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile to fail to arm during a test in August, and that a successful hit on a test at the end of September will clear the way for production.

@ New Zealand has taken 10 of its 14 UH-1 transport helicopters out of service after discovering that the blades of one of them were very near the point of catastrophic failure. The blades are being inspected to allow as many helicopters as possible to return to service. 

@ China is developing a new over-the-horizon backscatter radar and has one system in tests now. This type of radar has a very long range (800-3,000 kilometers) and can provide improved warning of enemy attacks. Assuming the tests go well, China could have a network of these radars protecting its eastern approaches by the end of the decade.--Stephen V Cole 




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