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Dubai Airshow 2017: Orbital focus the Eliminator in Middle East

8th November 2017 - 10:11 GMT | by Gerrard Cowan in Belfast


The latest version of Orbital ATK’s AC-208 Armed Caravan will take centre stage for the US company at the Dubai Airshow, with the Middle East seen as a major potential market for the aircraft.

The AC-208 Eliminator is the newest version of the Orbital ATK Armed Caravan. The Eliminator is an evolution of the Orbital ATK Armed Caravan; it has an upgraded avionics systems, mission computers, and can allow customers to choose between 2.75in guided rockets and/or AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, depending on mission requirements.


The Middle East is seen as being a major potential market for the latest Armed Caravan, a spokesperson for the company’s Defense Electronic Systems division. Orbital ATK has sold legacy Armed Caravans into the region and will soon deliver the first Eliminators.  


A company spokesperson highlighted two other products that the Defense Electronic Systems division will be marketing at the show. The first is the Palletized Weapon System (PaWS), a roll-on/roll-off 30mm gun system and sensors suite that can be installed onto C-130, C-27J, and other cargo aircraft to give them ISR and/or Gunship mission capability. 


‘Many customers have an operational need for armed ISR, but also want to be able to perform other mission sets with their aircraft.  PaWS is a very cost-effective way to give the customer the desired kinetic capability as the mission requires, yet still allow the cargo aircraft to do various other missions,' the spokesperson explained. 


The spokesperson also pointed to the company’s Gunships.  Orbital ATK has exported the AC-235 Gunship to Jordan, with AGM-114 missile, the M230 link-fed 30mm chain gun, missile warning and defence systems, and other capabilities. 


In addition, the spokesperson highlighted the company’s aircraft survivability products: the AN/AAR-47 missile warning system and the ShotFinder acoustic hostile fire detection systems


Another system being displayed is the advanced anti-radiation guided missile (AARGM), or the AGM-88E, a supersonic, air-launched tactical missile system, which upgrades legacy AGM-88 HARM systems, according to the company. AARGM is a US Navy and Italian Air Force programme, with the former as executive agent. Orbital ATK leads a team industry team including MBDA Italy. 


‘AARGM provides the ability to counter Integrated Air Defense Systems [IADS] around the world, including in this region. IADS take away the much needed freedom of manoeuver. Freedom of manoeuver is a key strategic capability to adjust forces accordingly to meet and defeat the enemy safely,’ the spokesperson said. ‘I see that being of significant interest in the Middle East.’

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