Tag Archives: Flight test

New images of Europe’s stealth combat drone nEUROn during operational testing

The nEUROn stealth combat drone as seen from a different point of view.

The first example of the nEUROn UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle), is conducting operational testing in the Perdasdefogu range, in Sardinia.

The photos in this article were taken by The Aviationist’s contributor Alessandro Caglieri as the full-scale technology demonstrator returned to Decimomannu airbase at the end of a test flight.

Noteworthy, these were shot from the left hand side of the drone with the extracted undercarriage, and they clearly show the text XAV-5A-003 on the landing gear door along with the flags of the nations that are taking part in the development of the nEUROn France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland and Greece.

After completing the testing campaign in Italy, the nEUROn will move to Visdel, Sweden, for weapons trials.

nEUROn left side top

Image credit: Alessandro Caglieri


Eurofighter Typhoon flies with Taurus 350 radar-evading cruise missiles

On Jan. 15, Airbus Defence and Space started the testing campaign of the Eurofighter Typhoon multirole combat plane with Taurus air-launched stand-off precision missiles.

The first flight took place at the Manching Military Air Systems Center, north of Munich, and involved Instrumented Production Aircraft 7 (IPA7), flown by Eurofighter Project Pilot Chris Worning.

Taurus KEPD 350 is a German/Swedish missile that is manufactured by Taurus Systems GmbH, a partnership between MBDA Germany and Saab Dynamics. The missile has a range of +500 kilometres (300 mi), a speed of Mach 0.8-0.9 and stealth features.

The first flight came after the successful ground tests and taxi tests; the flying activities, taking place within the Storm Shadow integration program, will focus on flutter tests, air data system large store interference assessment and aerodynamic data gathering.

According to Airbus Defense and Space (a newly formed division of Airbus Group combining the business activities of Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military) concurrent testing of the two similar missiles “optimises the Storm Shadow integration and facilitates the future airframe integration of Taurus.”

Image credit via Airbus


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Awesome video shows Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo third supersonic flight

On Jan. 10, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, completed its third rocket-powered test flight.

During the flight, the space plane “broke” the sound barrier and reached an altitude of 71,000 feet – the highest in a spate of recent test-runs.

The new video recorded during the last test flights lets you watch the launch from the “mothership” and the subsequent acceleration and climb from several points of view and to understand how the entire procedure develops.

Along with commercial space shuttles, Richard Branson is also working on a vehicle, dubbed LauncherOne, that could go around the world at 80,000 mph in 80 minutes and could be used to put a satellite into space at a cost under 10 million USD.

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Russian MiG-31 Foxhound jets grounded after one crashes near Vladivostok

On Dec. 14, a Russian Air Force MiG-31 Foxhound, possibly involved in a post-modernization test flight.crashed near Vladivostok on Dec. 14.

According to the Russian MoD, one of the engines failed but, until the exact reason of the failure will be found, all the 80 MiG-31 Foxhounds currently serving in the Russian Air Force were grounded.

Fortunately, both pilots survived and even managed to direct the plane towards an uninhabited area before ejecting.

Back in April a Foxhound from Kazakhstan also crashed – that time one of the crew members died and the other was wounded. The aircraft in Kazakhstan had undergone a general overhaul 4 months earlier.

Since the Foxhound is one of the cornerstones of the Russian Air Defense system the issue is quite serious.

Mig-31 are currently being modernized in a way to provide operational capability at least until 2028. As we reported months ago,  modernizing all of the Russian MiG-31s to BM standard, which includes new radar with a range of 320 km, new avionics and fire control system, would cost over 50 billion rubles.

Image Credit: Wiki

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist


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F-35 stealth jump jet has lost 4.5% of testing time due to grounding orders

A question posed in Britain’s Houses of Parliament on Mar. 20 by Scottish Politician Angus Robertson highlighted the amount of time the F-35 development program has been lost due to grounding orders for the jet.

The exact question which was posed to the Secretary of State for defense was as follows: “To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many days of flight testing have occurred and how many days of flight testing have been lost due to grounding of the aircraft since delivery of the first Joint Strike Fighter.”

The answer he got was very concise and quite surprising.

Philip Dunne said: “From the start of Flight Test on Jun. 11, 2008 to Feb. 27, 2013, there have been a total of 6,382 Development Flight Test days of F-35B Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft. Over this period, the equivalent of 285 days of Development Flight Test on F-35B aircraft did not take place while aircraft were grounded, or 4.5% of the maximum available flight days.”

The questions posed are done so in advance to give the British government chance to answer accurately; also known as Prime Minister’s question time this takes place on a weekly basis usually on a Wednesday in the Houses of Parliament in London.

After selecting the F-35C CV (Carrier Variant) British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Goverment reverted to the initial decision to order the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) version of the Joint Strike Fighter to equip UK’s future supercarriers.


Image credit: Lockheed Martin

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