Initially delivered on May 29th 2012, Malaysia Airlines new A380 has received a new livery celebrating the carrier’s new Flagship official launch next week. The carrier which had accepted its first plane of the type from Airbus in Toulouse last week is feverishly awaiting the aircraft introductory flight on the Kuala Lumpur-London route on July 2nd.
Powered with four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, Malaysia Airlines A380 is fitted with a flat bed-equipped First and Business Class. Together with the Economy class, the aircraft would allow 494 passengers to travel in utmost comfort at ranges greater than 8,300 nautical miles (15,300 kilometres).
Operating in a neighborhood where Singapore Airlines A380 has endured in establishing highest standards of A380 Premium flight, Malaysia Airlines must also battle with Qantas much and its much publicized A380 interior design. The new A380 will primarily allow the carrier to offer Premium services on the highly competitive Kangaroo Route linking England to Australia.
RIA Novosti News Agency reported June 28th 2012 that a new longer range missile for Russia’s potent S-400 ‘Triumf’ Air Defense system was nearing service entry. Quoting Major General Andrei Dremin, head of the Russian Air and Missile Defense Command, the report indicated that the new missile which had already undergone trials was likely to appear with units already equipped with the highly capable S-400 platform. The S-400 Triumf Air Defense System is one of the world most capable system and Russia’s best. According to the article it is currently strategically deployed with four regiments guarding the Moscow’s sector, the Baltic approaches and the Eastern region.
Built by Almaz Antey Joint Military Concern, the S-400 Triumf (designated SA-21 Surface to Air Missile (SAM) consists of several highly mobile components deployed on 8-wheeled all terrain heavy vehicles. They consist primarily of a truck mounted main phased array acquisition radar, a command vehicle, missiles transporter/erector/launcher vehicles and optionally passive radar emission locating sensors. In fact with the option of at least 4 different radars and 4 missiles of various ranges, the S-400 can flexibly adapt to a variety of tactical scenario.
Highly resistant to ECM, the system can be used to defend against small, stealthy and very low flying targets such as newer generation cruise missiles. But increasingly it has been fitted to be used against AWACS. A combination of factor will soon put the AWACS and other such flying high value force multiplier critical sensor systems at a disadvantage; their lack of frequency-hoping radar capability (typically found on phased array radar antenna, unlike the AN/APY-2 AWACS radar using traditional antenna), their relative proximity to the battle field due to the range of the AN/APY-2 (250 miles/400 km) and massive radar signature.
With the typical 92N6E Grave Stone Active Electronically Scanned Array target tracking and acquisition radar, the new longer range 40N6 missile is described by expert Carlo Kopp as “equipped with an active and semi-active homing seeker, intended to kill AWACS, JSTARS and other high value assets, such as EA-6B/EA-18G support jammers”.
A MD-83 belonging to Nigeria’s carrier Dana Air conducting a domestic flight between Abuja and Lagos crashed Sunday afternoon while on approach to Lagos Murtala Mohammed International Airport. All 147 passengers and 6 crew on board the aircraft along with an as yet undetermined number of people on the ground were presumed dead. The crash took place in a densely populated of Lagos, the country’s largest city where about 15 million people live. According to various witnesses accounts, the plane crashed onto a 2-storied building after coming in very low with its engines screaming minutes before 4:00 pm local time. Citing Nigeria’s aviation minister, AFP reported a distress call had been issued by the aircraft’s pilot at about 3:43pm. The aircraft was at that time located 11 nautical miles inbound for Lagos airport before disappearing from air controller’s radar shortly thereafter. Dana Air, the carrier operating the doomed MD-83 was suspending all its flights scheduled for Monday June 4th 2012.
The crash site where charred debris of the MD-83 were visible through dense smoke appeared even more chaotic as soldiers attempted to disperse crowds of onlookers who had gathered amid the wreckage. This latest air disaster takes place less than 24 hours after a Allied Air Boeing 727 cargo that had departed Lagos on Saturday evening overshot the runway while landing at Accra’s Kotoko international airport in neighboring Ghana. The aircraft finally came to a full stop on a nearby highway, but only after striking a passing minivan killing 10 of its occupants. An additional 2 people were reported killed on the ground while the 4 crews on board the aircraft escaped unharmed.