PARIS--For the next six days, the aviation world--and its fans--are converging on Le Bourget, the old airport here, for the Paris Air Show, the world's biggest celebration of airplanes and everything about them. The show is a mixture of the latest and greatest in both commercial/civilian and military aviation, as well as a showcase for some of the most successful aircraft in the industry.
In this gallery, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman focuses on the military side of things.
This is the RAF Hawk TMK 2, from BAE Systems. The plane is used by the British Royal Air Force for, among other things, training its pilots to "transition to handling current and future-generation military jets such as the Typhoon and F-35 Lightning II."
The plane is outfitted with OC2--which provides simulated radar and sensor functions that include defensive aids, a radar warning receiver, and "an enhanced weapons suite."
This is the Omnirole fighter, built by a consortium of Dassault Aviation, the Safran Group, and Thales. The plane is configured for a wide variety of missions, including air-to-air, attack-at-sea, air-to-ground, reconnaissance, and nuclear.
This is Airbus' A400M, a military cargo plane that is built to carry very large cargo loads, both by volume and weight. It flies at high altitude and at high speeds, and is built to land on soft and short airfields, meaning that it can deliver cargo wherever it is needed.
This is ETOP, "a pure electric power airborne tethered observation platform," from IAI, as seen at the Paris Air Show. It features: low maintenance, full automation, low noise, unlimited hovering, single-click operation, "deployment to full operation and recovery to basic status within seconds," and more. It has a maximum payload of 44 pounds, and can carry multiple sensors. It can fly up to 328 feet high.
This is the AH-1Z from Bell Helicopter, as seen at the Paris Air Show. Used for attack and close air support operations, as well as aerial reconnaissance, armed escorting, control of supporting arms, and night and adverse weather operations, it weighs about 18,500 pounds. It can carry up to 6,733 pounds of payload, and has two T-700-GE-401 engines.
It can fly up to a radius of 125 nautical miles, cruising at 3,000 feet. Its maximum endurance is 3.3 hours, and it has a maximum airspeed of 200 knots.
The AH-1Z features 6 wing weapon stations, and 4 universal and 16 PGM weapon stations. It carries up to 16 Hellfire missiles, as well as 2 AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, as well as a 20mm gun, and 76 2.75-inch rocket pods.
This is the Blackhawk S-70i, from Sikorsky. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 22,000 pounds, can cruise at a maximum speed of 149 knots, has a range of 272 nautical miles, and can carry 11 soldiers plus two crew chiefs.
This is the Flying Robot, a "soft wing UAV." It can carry a payload of up to 250 kilograms, and reach up to 80 kilometers an hour. It can fly for up to 20 hours autonomously, and cover more than 1,200 kilometers. It is a fully automatic unmanned aerial vehicle that can be optionally manned.
This is the Italian C-27J Spartan, used by seven countries, including the U.S., "the only true, modern, and effective tactical airlifter available anywhere in the world," according to the manufacturer.
This is the NH-90 NATO frigate helicopter, operated by the Italian Navy. "Designed to operate from surface vessels, a highly integrated mission system allows autonomous and net-centric antisubmarine warfare, antisurface warfare, and surface-to-air roles without role change," according to the manufacturer.
This is the RQ-7 tactical unmanned aerial system, from AIA--Aerospace Industries Association. It is known as Shadow, and it's used by the U.S. Army and Marines. It can travel up to 90 knots for cruising, and 60 knots for "loitering."
On the left is the Talarion, a UAV from Cassidian that is a "long-endurance aerial drone system designed for surveillance, reconnaissance, and target acquisition." On the right is a very small unmanned drone from Cassidian and EADS Innovation Works.
This is the Watchkeeper, from Thales, an unmanned air system that "delivers accurate and timely combat ISR--intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance--information to decision makers at all levels of command right down to the soldier on the battlefield."
This is the UH-1Y from Bell Helicopter. It is used for, among other things, airborne command and control, assault transport, search and rescue, night and adverse weather operations, aerial reconnaissance, control of supporting arms, aeromedical missions, and more. It can carry up to 6,797 pounds, and travel with a radius of as much as 130 nautical miles. Its top cruising speed is 150 knots. It carries 2.75-inch rocket pods.