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HEADLINES

China replaces
aviation chief

S Korea probes Lockheed deal

ivil Aviation Authority of


China chief Jiang Zhuping was replaced in late December, after a year in which
serious questions were posed
over the safety of air travel in
China, following a spate of
crashes and hijackings.
Jiang, who has been demoted
to deputy director, is replaced
by Chen Guang-yi. Chen is a
veteran member of the Communist Party's ruling central
committee, serving most recently as party chief in Fujian
Province. He is a specialist in
electric motors and apparently
has n o experience in aviation.
While no official explanation
has been given for Jiang's sudden demotion, it is rumoured
that he has been made the
scapegoat for the large number
of airliner crashes and hijackings over the past 18 months.
Four fatal crashes killed 69
people in 1993, while ten aircraft have been hijacked to
Taiwan since April 1993. The
previous year was the worst in
Chinese civil-aviation history,
with 295 people killed in four
accidents during the last five
months of 1992.
D

outh Korea's defence ministry is investigating the commission which was paid by
Lockheed to Daewoo in January 1992, following the $790
million sale of eight P-3C
Orion maritime-patrol aircraft
to the country's navy.
Former South Korean defence minister Choi Se-chang
and Daewoo managing director
Kim Sung-ki are among seven
people banned from leaving the
country while the ministry investigates
five
contracts
a w a r d e d u n d e r the Yulgok
arms-procurement programme.
The ministry is investigating
allegations that Daewoo had a
secret agreement with Lockheed to receive a $29.75 million commission for acting as
a marketing consultant on the
P-3 programme. The official
commission specified in the
contract was $4 million.
Both Daewoo and Lockheed
deny that there was any secret

agreement. The Korean company says that South Korea's


Board of Audit and Inspection
reviewed the P-3 project in
1993 and concluded that
Daewoo received the legal fee
of $4 million and that "...there
were no irregular contracts"
with Lockheed.
Lockheed says that the commission paid was the amount
legally allowed by South Korea
at the time the P-3 contract
was signed. The commission to
be paid to Daewoo was outlined in the contract signed by
South Korea's Government, the
company says.
Also under investigation are
the Korean Naval Tactical Data
System contract which was
awarded to Litton Korea and
Hankuk Trading; Rockwell International's contract to upgrade South Korea's McDonnell
Douglas F-4E Phantoms; and
warship-refit and militaryconstruction projects.

Rafale tests resume

assault will resume carrier-borne testing of the


maritime version of its Rafale
multi-role fighter on 23 January. The tests, aboard the carrier Foch, will last until 5
March and will involve both
prototypes in up to 55 flights.
In 1993, Dassault completed
a "100% successful" campaign
of ground-based catapult flight
tests on the single-seat Rafale
M at the US Navy base at
Lakehurst, New Jersey. The aircraft were operated at a take-off
weight of more than 18t, about
3t below the maximum.
The two prototype Rafale Ms
have had over 360 flights, most
carried out at Lakehurst. The
Foch tests, the first to include
flights with external stores, will
establish if more tests in the
USA are necessary.
The French Navy has ordered 8 6 Rafale Ms. Delivery of
the first is due in May 1997.D
6

Can Iran find the money to buy Ukraine's Backfires?

Ukraine shows off Backfires in Iran

w o U k r a i n i a n Tupolev
Tu-22M Backfire strategic
bombers were flown on a
demonstration tour to Iran in
the second half of 1993 as
part of Ukraine's bid to sell
the aircraft in the region.
Western intelligence indicates that, although Iran appears interested in the type,
which has an unrefuelled
c o m b a t r a d i u s of u p to
2,200km ( l , 2 0 0 n m ) , no funding is available for a purchase.
Israeli intelligence reported
in 1992 that Russia had of-

fered Iran 12 Tu-22Ms, but


Youly Kashtanov, deputy general-director at Tupolev, den i e d in 1 9 9 3 t h a t a n y
Backfires had been, or would
be, supplied to Iran.
The aircraft on offer appear
to be former Soviet aircraft
inherited by Ukraine after the
dissolution of the USSR. With
Backfire logistical s u p p o r t
being based in Russia, it is
unlikely that any Ukrainian
bid to market the aircraft
would be made without some
Russian involvement.

Daewoo says it welcomes the


investigation, which is the latest in a series involving South
Korea's recent arms purchases,
and which have resulted in the
arrest of two former defence
ministers, as well as several
defence-ministry officials and
military officers.

Leak blamed for


Observer loss

ASA believes a ruptured


fuel line is most likely to
have caused the loss of the
Mars Observer spacecraft on 21
August, only three days before
it was to enter orbit around
Mars after an 11-month trip
from Earth.
Dr Timothy Coffey, head of
the independent board investigating the spacecraft's disappearance, concedes that there is
n o conclusive explanation for
the loss of contact. "There was
no hard evidence to investigate," he says.
NASA controllers failed to restore contact with the spacecraft after sending commands to
pressurise the spacecraft's propulsion system ready for the
orbit-insertion burn.
"The pressurisation sequence
somehow triggered a single
malfunction in the spacecraft,
either hardware or software,
that very rapidly became catastrophic," resulting in a loss
of power, explosion or rapid,
uncontrollable,
spin,
the
board's report concludes.
Coffey says that the most
probable cause was "a massive
rupture of the pressurisation
system". The report suggests
that liquid nitrogen-textroxide
may have leaked and condensed where it could mix with
the spacecraft's monomethylhydrazine propellent, igniting
spontaneously and melting the
pressurisation-system plumbing.
NASA plans further attempts
to contact the spacecraft. Its
manufacturer, Martin Marietta,
has received $17 million of a
$21.3 million orbital-performance fee. NASA says that it will
review the payment.

FLIGHT INTERNATIONAL 12 - 18 January, 1994