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Navy moves ahead to replace presidential helicopters

Navy moves ahead to replace presidential helicopters | D-FENS | Scoop.it
The U.S. Navy is moving forward with a long-delayed effort to replace the aging fleet of Marine One helicopters that transport the U.S. president, with the first of the new aircraft slated to enter service in 2020.

This time, Lockheed Martin is paired with Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp, offering Sikorsky's S-92 helicopter.

Lockheed's partner on the previous program, Finmeccanica SpA unit AgustaWestland, has teamed up with Northrop Grumman Corp, to submit a possible bid based on AgustaWestland 101 helicopter.

Boeing Co said it is also studying a possible bid based on its H-47 Chinook helicopter or the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft that it builds with Textron Inc's Bell Helicopter unit.

The current presidential helicopters are VH-60N "Night Hawks" and VH-3D "Sea Kings," both built by Sikorsky. The fleet is operated by the Marine Corps, but the acquisition program is overseen by the Navy.
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@SpaceX Falcon 9 Reusable #F9R 1000m Fin Test Flight | Onboard Cam and Wide Shot

Video of Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) during a 1000m test flight at our rocket development facility in McGregor, TX.


This flight was our first test of a set of steerable fins that provide control of the rocket during the fly back portion of return. The fins deploy approximately a minute and 15 seconds into the flight, and return to their original position just prior to landing.


The F9R testing program is the next step towards reusability following completion of the Grasshopper program last year. Early flights of F9R will take off with legs fixed in the down position, however we will soon transition to liftoff with legs stowed against the side of the rocket with leg extension just before landing.


Future test flights of F9R at our New Mexico facility will include higher altitudes, allow us to prove unpowered guidance and to prove out landing cases that are more flight-like.

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@usairforce certifies @SpaceX Falcon 9 flights - Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Program - #EELV

@usairforce certifies @SpaceX Falcon 9 flights - Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Program - #EELV | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The Air Force has certified SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch system as having conducted three successful flights, a prerequisite for companies seeking to win business from the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Program.

Under Air Force standards, SpaceX is already qualified to compete for EELV missions, but SpaceX must also be certified by the Air Force before any contract can be awarded to the company. Meeting the criteria for successful flights is a key milestone in the certification process.

SpaceX expects to satisfy the remaining certification requirements later this year.

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#hotblade2014 Teaser Video

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'Flight Testing' the Bell 525 Relentless

'Flight Testing' the Bell 525 Relentless | D-FENS | Scoop.it
For a helicopter that hasn’t had its first actual flight, the Bell 525 Relentless sure is undergoing a lot of flight testing. Announced at Heli-Expo 2012, the “clean-sheet” 525 will employ of some of the most advanced systems ever incorporated into the first commercial fly-by-wire helicopter.
As a brief reminder, the 525 Relentless will be in the 20,000-pound gross weight class, and will be composed of a roughly equal combination of metal and composites. General Electric CT7-2F1 engines will be driving a five-bladed main rotor system. With a standard seating configuration for 16 passengers, plus two pilots, the 525 is expected to reach cruise speeds in the 155-knot-plus realm, and cruise distances of over 500 nautical miles. 
Bell invited Vertical to its headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, to see how the aircraft’s development was progressing first-hand. My visit began with a return to the 525 flight simulator to see what has changed since I flew in it for my last program update over 18 months ago. Bell 525 lead pilot, Troy Caudill, would be my guide through the “flight.” And as I observed during my first visit to the 525 sim, it rivals many of today’s non-motion sims in terms of clarity, field of view and realism of the flight scenario.
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Investigation blames birdstrike for HH-60 "Pave Hawk" crash -56th Rescue Squadron - 48th Fighter Wing - Royal Air Force Station Lakenheath

Investigation blames birdstrike for HH-60 "Pave Hawk" crash -56th Rescue Squadron - 48th Fighter Wing - Royal Air Force Station Lakenheath | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Geese penetrated the windscreen of an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter during evening training mission in January, disabling the pilot and co-pilot and leading to the crash that killed four Air Force crewmembers, a military investigation revealed Wednesday.


The helicopter crashed on the eastern coast of England while practicing nighttime rescue mission scenario for a downed F-16 pilot. The Pave Hawk was flying over grass-covered marshland near Cley next the Sea when geese, likely startled by the noise rose in flight and hit the helicopter flying at about 110 feet above ground level.


Investigators concluded that at least three geese hit the windscreen, disabling the pilot, co-pilot and the aerial gunner. All three were rendered unconscious. One goose also hit the nose of the aircraft, disabling the trim and flight path stabilization systems.


With both pilots unconscious, and stabilization systems disabled, the helicopter banked left to the point it had no vertical lift. It crashed about three seconds after being struck by the geese, investigators said.


The Pave Hawk was assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing and based at the Royal Air Force station in Lakenheath.


A modified version of the better-known Black Hawks, the Pave Hawk is mostly used for combat search-and-rescue missions, such as recovering downed air crew members in hostile situations. They practice flying low, and have been deployed in military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

Christian Albrecht's insight:

UNITED STATES AIR FORCE AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT 

INVESTIGATION BOARD REPORT

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German Air Force - @SikorskyAircrft UH-60 "Blackhawk" Instructor Pilots - United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence #USAACE - Lowe Heliport - Ft. Rucker, AL, USA

Im „Army Aviation Center" in Fort Rucker im US-Bundesstaat Alabama bilden die US Streitkräfte eigene und ausländische Hubschrauber Besatzungen aus. Zurzeit unterrichten dort auch sieben Fluglehrer der Bundeswehr auf der Bell UH-60 -- Blackhawk. Für die deutschen Ausbilder bedeutet dies ein enormer Erfahrungsgewinn. Gleichzeitig werden durch ihren Einsatz sog. Credits erwirtschaftet, die wiederum für deutsche Flugschüler eingesetzt werden können. Pro Jahr nehmen rund 60 Bundeswehrsoldaten an Ausbildungen und Lehrgängen in Fort Rucker teil.
Christian Albrecht's insight:
Impressive! - EFB - Electronic Flight Bag ✓- 13 Cockpit Procedure Trainer ✓- 180 UH-60 available ✓- 7 German Instructor Pilots ✓- 60 German Students per year ✓- 600 helicopter/ 245.000FH per year for training only @USAACE ✓
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Exercise #HotBlade2014 - Overview - @EUDefenceAgency - Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP)/ Helicopter Training Programme (HTP)

Exercise #HotBlade2014 - Overview - @EUDefenceAgency - Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP)/ Helicopter Training Programme (HTP) | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The multinational helicopter exercise supported by the European Defence Agency will kick off on July 16th at Ovar airbase, Portugal. It will gather about 3.000 military personnel and more than twenty rotary-wing aircraft from six different countries in “hot, high and dusty” training conditions.

 

From 16 to 30 July 2014, Hot Blade 2014, the seventh exercise supported by EDA under the umbrella of the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP), will take place in Ovar, Portugal. Six countries are expected to participate (Austria, Beligium, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal, and UK) with 24 helicopters, 14 fixed wing aircraft and over 800 helicopter personnel. Observers from Italy, Sweden, and NSHQ will also attend and a total of 3000 military personnel will be directly involved.

 

Overview

 

HB14 will be delivered by the Portuguese Air Force. The HEP is part of the EDA Helicopter Training Programme (HTP) which is consisting of the HEP, HTC (Helicopter Tactics Course), HTIC (Helicopter Tactics Instructors Course), OELC (Operational English Language Course), DisSim CCD (Distributed Simulation Capability Concept Demonstrator) and the Basic Helicopter Flying Training (BHFT) projects/ programmes. The overall objective is to prove that at very low cost, immediate operational output can be achieved. HB14 will allow crews to practice operations in a hot, high and dusty environment replicating the challenges and dynamic conditions that participant forces are expected to encounter when deploying to a theater of operation. The exercise will also implement “Joint Interoperability Training” based on joint interoperability tasks including Air Assault (AA), Special Operations Aviation (SOA), Combat Service Support (CSS), Close Air Support (CAS) including Urban CAS and Emergency CAS, Convoy/helicopter escorts, Reconnaissance and Security (R&S) operations, Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Personnel Recovery (PR), Military/ Non Military extractions (NEO Ops), Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) and Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC). All missions will be launched from Ovar air base, functioning as a Deployable Operating Base (DOB), and the aircraft will return to the DOB each day. This model will maximize coordination and ensure a joint briefing and debriefing, where emphasis will be given to flight safety and lessons learned. As air operations will be developed largely in a TRA (Temporarily Restricted Airspace), a Helicopter Forward Operating Base (FOB) will be implemented in the civilian aerodrome of Seia. This option will increase operational flexibility and ensure the dynamics and realism of the scenario.

 

 

 

Christian Albrecht's insight:

Hot Blade 2014 Factsheet:


http://www.eda.europa.eu/docs/default-source/eda-factsheets/2014-06-24-factsheet_hb14_high


EDA Helicopter Initiatives:


http://www.eda.europa.eu/projects/projects-search/helicopter-initiatives

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Helicopter Air to Air Refueling (HAAR) - @LockheedMartin C-130J Super Hercules / @AirbusHC EC725 "Caracal" - Armée de l’Air Escadron d’hélicoptères 1/67 Pyrénées

Helicopter Air to Air Refueling (HAAR) - @LockheedMartin C-130J Super Hercules / @AirbusHC EC725 "Caracal" - Armée de l’Air Escadron d’hélicoptères 1/67 Pyrénées | D-FENS | Scoop.it
Two thousand feet above the Atlantic, not far from the west coast of France and the famous Bordeaux vineyards, two Airbus Helicopters EC725 Caracals refuel on a Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules fitted with wing pods. The helicopters belong to the French Air Force (Armée de l’Air) Escadron d’hélicoptères 1/67 Pyrénées and the tanker, sporting Italian roundels, comes from the Pisa-based 46a Brigata Aerea. 
To an outside observer, the operation looks straightforward and is performed seamlessly: the helicopters close in, plug in with the probe and drogue system and remain in station for a few seconds. Then they disconnect, move back a few dozen meters before starting the whole process again. Four pilots take turns at the controls of the two helicopters, and patiently accumulate “wet” and “dry” contacts (with and without fuel transfer). The docking manuever is repeated throughout the two-hour flight, interspersed with rapid U-turns on the refueling pattern established on a north-south axis, parallel to the coastline. 
The exercise is part of a training campaign the Pyrénées squadron tries to organize twice each year with the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (Italian Air Force), with the latter flying the C-130Js. 
After four days of intense training, the squadron recorded a total of 42 hours in flight, during which it made 320 contacts with the drogue — and 28 of those involved actual fuel transfer. The crews also took the opportunity to train on the rendezvous procedures, as detailed in the NATO ATP56 textbook.
“With two, two-hour flights per day, and two helicopters at a time, we have been able to fully train six pilots and offer some refresher courses to those previously qualified,” Lt.-Col. Gilles Malbos, commanding officer of the helicopter squadron, told Vertical 911. The crews practiced “head-on” and “overtake” techniques, as well as “toboggan” refueling, when the refueling is done in descent. “The toboggan has two main advantages,” explained Malbos. “We don’t go faster than the 110 knots recorded in horizontal [refueling], but the basket is more stable and, because we are descending, we enjoy a better power margin.”
Wakes and turbulences
Helicopter Air to Air Refueling (HAAR) is a very exclusive capability. The Pyrénées flies the HAAR-capable EC725; of the 14 aircraft in service under French colors, the squadron owns six, together with four sets of removable telescopic refueling probes. The 11-ton EC725s have been operational in the French Air Force since 2006, and have been heavily utilized in operations around the world — including in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Libya, Chad, Mali and Somalia. The French began experimenting with HAAR in 2008 with Air Force test pilots refueling on Italian C-130Js. The Pyrénées squadron then assumed the capability, and is now practicing on a regular basis. With 15 of its pilots (more than half of its crew complement) fully qualified on HAAR, the Pyrénées is ready to put its expertise to good use — should the operational need arise. 
To date, the Pyrénées has qualified three types of refueling aircraft: the C-130J, the C-130H and the MC-130P (the latter in December 2013, when they were able to complete some dry contact training with the U.S. Air Force during a brief stay in Djibouti). Despite the similarities between the Hercules, each different type needed to be carefully mated with the EC725 in order to establish tail and fuselage wake and propeller turbulences.
“[The] aerodynamic constraints are strong on the helicopter flying close behind the tanker,” said Malbos, “and we have to apply an ‘aging coefficient’ to the airframes.” Working with the different types of refueling pods is also a complex affair: the Sargent Fletcher MA-3 pod, fitted on the C-130J, has been the only one to allow wet contacts so far. The MA-2 pod, fitted on previous generation C-130s such as the C-130H or the MC-130P, is only used for dry contacts due to fuel pressure compatibility problems that the French Air Force hope will soon be solved. The two pods have the same characteristics, with a 56- to 76-foot refueling distance. When a helicopter moves closer than 56 feet, or further than 76 feet, the refueling automatically stops — and the basket disconnects. The future also belongs to the MA-4A pod, which is fitted with its own source of power. It provides a variable pumping rate and a slightly longer hose, which will require new compatibility testing with the EC725. 
“Our goal is to qualify the Caracal on the largest number of tankers and pods [to] get the best operational flexibility,” said Malbos.
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Two @AirbusHC EC725 "Caracal" refuel in flight.

Two @AirbusHC EC725 "Caracal" refuel in flight. | D-FENS | Scoop.it
Two @AirbusHC EC725 Caracals refuel in flight. Photo by Frédéric Lert from the new issue of Vertical 911. pic.twitter.com/dS5ydmaDr2
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Der Erde entgegen - Fernspäher trainieren den Freifall - Wings Field Airport 2TN2 - Tennessee, USA

Soldaten der Fernspählehrkompanie 200 schulten im US-Bundesstaat Tennessee ihre Fertigkeiten im Freifallspringen aus großer Höhe.

Die 20 Aufklärungsspezialisten übten unter anderem das Gleitfallschirmspringen mit voller Ausrüstung in der Nähe von Memphis.

Christian Albrecht's insight:

Mike's Super King Air is a B90 King Air that has been modified for jumping with an in-flight door, step, and handles. The original 550 hp PT6 turbine engines have been replaced with 750 hp PT6 turbine engines, high performance cowlings, and this aircraft will take 14 jumpers to 14,000' in 7 minutes under standard conditions.


http://www.skydivekingair.com

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Die amerikanische Ära des Flughafens Tempelhof - Tempelhof Central Airport (TCA)

Die amerikanische Ära des Flughafens Tempelhof - Tempelhof Central Airport (TCA) | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Einmal im Jahr veranstaltete die U.S.-Luftwaffe das "Tempelhof Open House". Die Luftaufnahme entstand am 11. Mai 1985. 



Das Tempelhofer Feld ist aktuell eines der beliebtesten Gelände für Freizeitaktivitäten. Im AlliiertenMuseum an der Clayallee laufen jetzt die Vorbereitungen einer neuen Sonderausstellung zur Vergangenheit dieses Areals.

"Die Ausstellung stellt erstmals die amerikanische Epoche des ehemaligen Berliner Zentralflughafens dar", erklärt Cecila Reible, Sprecherin des Museums. Sie umfasst den Zeitraum von der Übernahme des Airports durch die Amerikaner im Juli 1945 bis zur Übergabe an die Berliner Flughafengesellschaft 1993.

Zahlreiche Originalexponate sind schon im Museum gelandet: das große Drehfeuer vom Dach des Flughafens, Teile der Beleuchtung der Start- und Landebahn, Uniformen von Stewardessen und ein einarmiger Bandit aus dem Tempelhofer Offiziersclub. Nachbildungen des Towers und einer Gangway sollen die Atmosphäre des Airports mitten in Berlin wieder zum Leben erwecken.

Aber auch die Zeit vor 1945 spielt eine Rolle. Zum ersten Mal zu sehen sind Ausgrabungsfunde vom Tempelhofer Feld, die Archäologen erst vor Kurzem ausgegraben haben. Sie dokumentieren die NS-Vergangenheit des Areals als Rüstungsschmiede und Zwangsarbeiterlager.

Für die West-Berliner bot der Flughafen Tempelhof in seiner amerikanischen Ära durch die Luftbrücke eine wichtige Hilfe zum Überleben, später wurde er das "Tor zur freien Welt". Hier hoben die Maschinen von PanAm, British Airways und Air France nach Frankfurt, Düsseldorf oder Hamburg ab. Zahlreiche Prominente und Politiker, darunter drei US-Präsidenten, schritten in Tempelhof über den roten Teppich. Alljährlich besuchten Hunderttausende Berliner den Tag der offenen Tür auf dem militärischen Teil des Airports.

Der Flughafen Tempelhof diente den Westmächten aber auch als Spähposten und Schutzschild im Kalten Krieg. Spektakulär war die Landung einer entführten polnischen Passagiermaschine 1978 in Tempelhof, in deren Folge zum einzigen Mal in der Berliner Nachkriegsgeschichte ein US-Gericht in der Stadt tagte.

Christian Albrecht's insight:

"Flughafen Tempelhof. Die amerikanische Geschichte" vom 9. Juli bis 19. April 2015, täglich von 10 bis 18 Uhr bei freiem Eintritt. AlliiertenMuseum, Clayallee 135,  81 81 99-0, Internet: www.alliiertenmuseum.de

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@SikorskyAircrft Awarded U.S. Air Force Contract to Develop New Combat Rescue Helicopter - CRH-60 - #CRH

@SikorskyAircrft Awarded U.S. Air Force Contract to Develop New Combat Rescue Helicopter - CRH-60 - #CRH | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Sikorsky Aircraft has been awarded a U.S. Air Force contract to develop new combat search and rescue helicopters. Sikorsky will develop a derivative of the UH-60M BLACK HAWK model for the Air Force’s rescue mission.


The award of an estimated $1.28 billion Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract includes development and integration of the rescue mission systems; delivery of four Combat Rescue Helicopters; as well as seven aircrew and maintainer training systems. Initial training of Air Force aircrew and maintainers and five Combat Rescue Helicopters are also expected to be delivered by 2020, once additional aircraft and training options are exercised. This contract is the first step in the eventual production and fielding of up to 112 aircraft with a potential value of approximately $7.9 billion. Eventual production quantities would be determined year-by-year over the life of the program, based on funding allocations set by Congress and the U.S. Department of Defense acquisition priorities.

“We are honored that the Air Force has selected Sikorsky to develop and build the new Combat Rescue Helicopter,” said Sikorsky President Mick Maurer. “Since 1943, Sikorsky has proudly provided the combat rescue helicopter platform to enable the Air Force to perform one of its most important and sacred missions – bringing our downed service members home safely. I’m tremendously pleased that we will continue to do so for years to come.”

The Air Force announced in 2010 that it would replace its aging HH-60G PAVE HAWK helicopters. Sikorsky, joined by Lockheed Martin as the major subsystems supplier, offered a UH-60M derivative to replace the venerable PAVE HAWK, also made by Sikorsky, as the Air Force’s new Combat Rescue Helicopter. The aircraft features increased internal fuel capability, compared with today’s HH-60G helicopter, thereby giving the CRH-60 the required range, while increasing its internal cabin space.

Like the UH-60M helicopter, the aircraft will feature T700-GE-701D engines, composite wide-chord main rotor blades, and fatigue- and corrosion-resistant machined aero-structures to sustain maneuverability at high density altitudes.

“We are proud to expand our long-standing relationship with the U.S. Air Force and Sikorsky, providing a new aircraft system capable of performing the vital personnel recovery missions, including combat rescue and casualty evacuation,” said Dale Bennett, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training business.

Sikorsky has produced more than 700 H-60M BLACK HAWK helicopters for the U.S. government and militaries worldwide, since production aircraft deliveries began in 2007.

Christian Albrecht's insight:
A Special Message from Sergei Sikorsky:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3X9jOQ1nq60


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'Operationally relevant' @SikorskyAircrft CH-148 "Cyclone" set for delivery - Royal Canadian Air Force - RCAF #CH148

'Operationally relevant' @SikorskyAircrft CH-148 "Cyclone" set for delivery - Royal Canadian Air Force - RCAF #CH148 | D-FENS | Scoop.it
The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) evidently is back on track, albeit decades behind schedule, to replace its 50-year-old Sikorsky CH-124 Sea Kings with CH-148 Cyclones, a version of Sikorsky’s H-92 Superhawk. Announced June 18, the development was made possible by amendments to the $1.9-billion capital acquisition contract and the $5.7-billion long-term in-service support contract, which has been extended by 10 years to 2038.
Sikorsky’s parent company, United Technologies Corp., and the Canadian government issued terse statements to the effect that the RCAF would begin taking delivery of 28 “operationally relevant” Cyclones. According to a Sikorsky spokesperson, this means the RCAF will have helicopters capable of conducting the training and missions required of them. For example, Block 1 aircraft will be suitable for release to operational service, including search and rescue and utility transport. In early 2016, the spokesperson said, as enhancements are completed, the aircraft will be suitable for limited anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions such as those requiring the use of weapons in a threat environment.
“In its final configuration, the CH-148 Cyclone will be one of the most capable maritime helicopters in the world, and at the forefront of modern technology,” PWGSC and DND said in their statement. “It will be capable of a full range of search and rescue and utility missions in challenging environments.” It also would be “fully interoperable in a modern battle space, and will be able to concurrently conduct a full spectrum of anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare in hostile, high-threat environments.”
The need for Sea King replacement was initially identified in the early 1980s, setting the stage for a New Shipborne Aircraft (NSA) project announced in 1986. The 35 helicopters were to be the “eyes and ears” of the navy’s 12 new frigates. However, in 1991, the NSA project was merged with a requirement for 15 search-and-rescue helicopters.
That led to the selection of the AgustaWestland EH-101 at a cost of $5.8 billion but the Progressive Conservative government, faced with widespread criticism, reduced the total buy to 43 aircraft and the budget to $4.8 billion. That administration was unseated by the Liberals in 1993 and the new prime minister, Jean Chretien, cancelled the program, dismissing the EH-101 as “a Cadillac-type helicopter that is not needed because it is not based on the new reality of the Cold War being over.”
A 1994 Defence White Paper resurrected the need for new shipborne and SAR helicopters and the latter need was eventually filled in 1998 when the government opted, ironically, for the EH-101, now operating as the RCAF’s CH-149 Cormorants.
The government rebadged the NSA as the Maritime Helicopter Project and, in the process, senior DND officials indicated that they wanted a reduced combat capability. In 2000, then-Defence Minister Art Eggleton said DND would get “helicopters that are more suited to the post-Cold War era where the majority of missions are expected to be along the coast” rather than a deep-water anti-submarine role.  
Eventually contracted to Sikorsky, the MHP contract has since been fraught with problems, mainly due to the government refining the mission requirements on what was supposed to be an “off the shelf” helicopter. There also were issues with, among other things, engine power, vibration and mission systems.
The upshot was that Sikorsky eventually supplied several “interim” Cyclones, which remained the company’s property even as the RCAF at its base in Shearwater, N.S., used them mainly for non-flying training. In December, Public Works and Government Services Minister Diane Finley confirmed that the government was “in discussions with Sikorsky” to determine “if we can put together a plan to go forward.”
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@SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket - Summary Video

Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by SpaceX for the reliable and safe transport of satellites and the Dragon spacecraft into orbit.

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Capable of landing with the precision of a helicopter!

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Updated list of participants for #HotBlade2014

Updated list of participants for #HotBlade2014 | D-FENS | Scoop.it
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One week to go until Exercise #HotBlade2014 - Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP)

One week to go until Exercise #HotBlade2014 - Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP) | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The multinational helicopter exercise supported by the European Defence Agency will kick off on July 16th at Ovar airbase, Portugal. It will gather about 3.000 military personnel and more than twenty rotary-wing aircraft from six different countries in “hot, high and dusty” training conditions.

 

Located just 40 kilometers south of Porto, the military airbase in Ovar will soon beat to the rhythm of European rotors. Only a week from today, on July 16th, participants from six different countries will gather for two weeks in the Portuguese airfield for the seventh exercise supported by the European Defence Agency under the umbrella of the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP): Hot Blade 2014.

 

Multi-role training

Six Member States will join the event with their aircraft and crews. The exercise will not only involve light, medium and heavy transport helicopters, but also tactical transport aircraft; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets in the form of a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft; and up to ten F-16 fighter aircraft from the Portuguese Air Force.

Aimed at increasing interoperability among participants, the exercise will also facilitate the training of crews in an environment similar to that of a possible theatre of operations. Increasingly complex missions will be flown, with tactical scenarios ranging from Special Operations Aviation or Urban Close Air Support to Combat Search & Rescue and Medical Evacuation.

Christian Albrecht's insight:

Pictures of Hot Blade 2013

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SOCOM advances SOF rotary wing modernisation - US Special Operations Command

SOCOM advances SOF rotary wing modernisation - US Special Operations Command | D-FENS | Scoop.it

US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is moving ahead with key upgrades to its MH-60M,MH-47G, and A/MH-6M combat helicopters, including the Block III version of the Little Bird.

With the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme heading toward down-select at the end of July, SOCOM is also looking to ‘inject’ its requirements into the initial development and design efforts of the FVL programme, in order to minimise the need for any subsequent ‘SOF-specific’ modifications. 

In its fiscal year 2015 budget submission to the US DoD in March, SOCOM defined a series of modifications and upgrades to enhance the capabilities of its existing Special Operations Forces (SOF) helicopters, and ensure they can be effectively integrated with future rotary platforms.

As part of the SOF modernisation effort, the A/MH-6 Mission Enhanced Little Bird (MELB) is undergoing a Block III upgrade that will see modifications to the platform’s airframe and rotors, as well as engine control and cockpit upgrades.

The chassis will be restored and reinforced in order to wind back a decade’s worth of battle damage. In addition, the main and tail rotor blades will be replaced with commercially available and competitively selected alternatives. 

The A/MH-6M’s cockpit avionics architecture will be redesigned to incorporate a fully integrated digital Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS), with the intention of optimising platform interoperability and enhancing battlefield situational awareness.  

SOCOM is also looking to source a mission-configurable missile warning system (MWS) and infra-red countermeasures capability (IRCM) for the MELB, which does not currently exist at a suitable weight for the platform. 

As part of an effort to increase the survivability of MH-60 and MH-47 platforms flying in degraded visual environments (DVE), SOCOM is conducting a competitive source selection to procure synthetic vision systems capable of providing real-time ‘see through’ imagery, and heads-up display visual cueing for obstacle avoidance and landing zone assistance. 

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@AirbusHC EC175 Full Flight Simulator construction - Helisim Training Academy

The first Level D full-flight simulator for Airbus Helicopters’ EC175 rotorcraft has received airworthiness certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), enabling launch pilots to be trained with this high-fidelity system.

“Safety and support are of the utmost importance to Airbus Helicopters. Our introduction of these training systems responds to customers’ needs and expectations ahead of the first EC175 deliveries later this year,” said Matthieu LouvotHead of Airbus Helicopters’ Support & Services.  “Our investment in such resources will enable a rapid and smooth service entry for the EC175, followed by its successful operation for years to come.”


Located at the Helisim Training Academy adjacent to Airbus Helicopters' headquarters and production facility in Marignane, France, the motion-based EC175 full-flight simulator incorporates a state-of-the-art visual projection system with a 210-deg. by 80-deg. continuous field of view. 

The simulator was built by global technology firm Indra in close cooperation with Airbus Helicopters in its role as the EC175 manufacturer, and is equipped with the same data pack, avionics suite and automatic flight control system as the actual EC175 rotorcraft. 


Utilizing a motion system, computer-generated visual scenes and accurate representations of cockpit instrumentation, the simulator allows specific mission scenarios to be “flown,” including landings on off-shore platforms for oil and gas operations – enabling the most realistic flight conditions for immersive training.

Initial EC175 simulator sessions with EC175 customers have already begun using a fixed-base Flight Navigation Procedures Trainer (FNPT III), which will also be used for Oil & Gas training modules. Courses for mechanics and avionic technicians are also offered on a Practical Maintenance Training Device – which represents the full-scale aircraft.

In addition to the Europe-based training systems at Helisim, another EC175 Level D full-flight simulator will be located in the United States to serve the offshore oil and gas industry throughout the Americas. 

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Exercise #HotBlade2014 - Participants- @EUDefenceAgency - Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP)/ Helicopter Training Programme (HTP)

Exercise #HotBlade2014 - Participants- @EUDefenceAgency - Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP)/ Helicopter Training Programme (HTP) | D-FENS | Scoop.it
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„Search and Rescue“ – SAR Jahresbericht 2013

„Search and Rescue“ – SAR Jahresbericht 2013 | D-FENS | Scoop.it

SAR – diese drei Buchstaben stehen für „Suchen und Retten“ (Search and Rescue) aus der Luft. Bereits 50 Jahre lang leistet die Bundeswehr hochprofessionelle Arbeit im Bereich der Luftrettung. Die „Rettungsflieger“ sind in der Öffentlichkeit bekannt und anerkannt. Tag und Nacht sind sie zur Stelle und haben unzählige Menschenleben gerettet. Der SAR-Jahresbericht gibt nun einen Überblick über den Aufbau und den Stand des SAR-Dienstes der Bundeswehr.

Im Rahmen der Neuausrichtung der Bundeswehr hat das Heer mit dem „Fähigkeitstransfer Hubschrauber“ im Jahr 2013 den Aufgabenbereich des Such- und Rettungsdienstes der Bundeswehr von der Luftwaffe übernommen. In insgesamt 370 Einsätzen mit über 600 Flugstunden konnte der Such- und Rettungsdienst der Bundeswehr im vergangenen Jahr 340 Menschen lebensrettende Hilfe bringen oder sie vor weiteren gesundheitlichen Schäden bewahren. Die Einsätze erfolgten bei Tag und Nacht, unter teilweise widrigsten Umweltbedingungen.

Der Kommandeur Einsatz und stellvertretender Inspekteur des Heeres blickt auf ein Einsatzjahr des SAR-Dienstes der Bundeswehr zurück. „Die Erfolgsgeschichte des über zehn Jahre unfallfreien Such- und Rettungsdienstes der Bundeswehr hält an. Das soll so bleiben! Hierzu wünsche ich allen Beteiligten, vor allem aber unseren fliegenden Besatzungen im Such- und Rettungsdienst, das nötige Quäntchen Fliegerglück."

Christian Albrecht's insight:

Jahresbericht: 2013:


http://www.deutschesheer.de/resource/resource/MzEzNTM4MmUzMzMyMmUzMTM1MzMyZTM2MzIzMDMwMzAzMDMwMzAzMDY4Nzg2NDMwNjMzNTY2NmYyMDIwMjAyMDIw/SAR%20Jahresbericht%202013.pdf

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Helicopter Air to Air Refueling (HAAR) - Future Training - Night Vision Flight Tests - Armée de l’Air Escadron d’hélicoptères 1/67 Pyrénées

Helicopter Air to Air Refueling (HAAR) - Future Training - Night Vision Flight Tests - Armée de l’Air Escadron d’hélicoptères 1/67 Pyrénées | D-FENS | Scoop.it
HAAR Enhanced
The next step for the Pyrénées is to qualify for nighttime HAAR through the use of night vision goggles. Although most of the French expertise in the field of HAAR is found within the squadron itself, the first tests in night HAAR will be completed by the – Essais en Vol, a unit belonging to the French Direction Générale de l’Armement (the national procurement agency), which runs flight-testing activities. Originally planned for 2013, the DGA Essais en Vol night HAAR campaign has been postponed several times and is now expected for this fall. 
The lack of a suitable French tanker to provide HAAR is another challenge the unit hopes will be addressed in the future. 
“We do not rule out any solution yet,” said Lt.-Col. Matthieu Mignot, helicopter program manager at the French Air Force headquarters. “[Airbus] A-400M, C-130 and even Casa CN-235 — the different transport aircraft in service within the Armée de l’Air offer us a wide range of possibilities.” 
The Air Force is said to favor the option of fitting some Sargent Fletcher MA-3 pods on its C-130Hs. The MA-3s are already qualified and commercially available on the shelf and the British company Marshall Aerospace has offered to equip them on the aircraft during their next scheduled heavy maintenance. Without additional tanks in the cargo, a C-130H would be able to deliver up to nine tons of fuel to a flight of two Caracals. This solution could translate quickly into operational capability, but it is a matter over which the Pyrénées has little control.
American Experience
Lt.-Col. Guillaume Vernet is the 1/67 Pyrénées deputy commander. From 2007 to 2010, he flew the Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk as an exchange officer within the U.S. Air Force (USAF) 41st Rescue Squadron. He logged 600 hours on the Pave Hawk, including two tours of operation in Afghanistan, and was fully qualified on air to air refueling with the helicopter.
“Procedures are Nato standard and very similar to the ones we use in France,” said Vernet. “On the other hand, HAAR is a common practice within the USAF, and pilots tend to qualify during their HH-60G conversion. All the Pave Hawk operational pilots are HAAR qualified and can refuel on the complete C-130 family, from the H to P and J models. The Pave Hawk is a great aircraft for this exercise — it’s a very stable helicopter and the available room between the fully extended probe and the rotor disc is roughly the same as [with] the EC725 Caracal. One difference between both aircraft is the power margin — you quickly reach the max power limitation on the Pave Hawk, which is not the case with the [Turbomeca] Makila 2A-powered Caracal.”
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NATO Tiger Meet 2014 - Schleswig-Jagel Airbase - #NTM14

2014 NATO Tiger Meet in HD, held at Jagel-Schleswig, Germany.

This video features F16 fighter jets, F18 Hornets, SAAB Grippen, Eurofighter Typhoon, Bavarian Tiger, Dassault Rafale, Panavia Tornado IDS and ECR as well as a host of painted tiger jets from many European Nations. 

NTM-2014 Host Unit: Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 51
Location: Schleswig - Jagel, Germany
16/06/2014 - 27/06/2014

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@ElbitSystemsLtd unveils Helicopter Skylens - Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS)

@ElbitSystemsLtd unveils Helicopter Skylens - Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Elbit Systems has developed a helicopter version of its Skylens wearable head-up display for Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) applications, it announced on 8 July.

Helicopter Skylens provides helicopter aircrew with ‘out of the cockpit’ view, displaying flight symbology for day and night operation in severe weather conditions. Its wide field of regard display gives pilots a ‘real-world’ view of the terrain, allowing them to fly ‘eyes out’ and see and avoid obstacles within their flight path even when visibility outside the aircraft is limited.

The system is a lightweight device displaying high-resolution symbology and video on a transparent visor. Worn much like a pair of sunglasses, it provides head-up information and minimising aircrew dependency on airport instrumentation.

Elbit Systems expects medium size civil rotorcraft, often used on offshore operations supporting oil and gas platforms, to be the first platforms to qualify for the Helicopter Skylens.

Christian Albrecht's insight:

http://www.rotor.com/rotornews/May14/ElbitSystemslaunchesSkylens.pdf

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Canada's New @BoeingDefense CH-147F Chinook Helicopter - Royal Canadian Air Force - 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron - CFB Petawawa

Canada's New @BoeingDefense CH-147F Chinook Helicopter - Royal Canadian Air Force - 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron - CFB Petawawa | D-FENS | Scoop.it

As part of the Government’s commitment to strengthening the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the Department of National Defence has acquired 15 advanced, multi-mission, medium to heavy-lift helicopters, or more specifically the Canadian version of the F-model Chinook (also known as CH-147F). The delivery of Canada’s final aircraft was marked with a ceremony held at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario, on July 3.


Supporting Operations


The Canada First Defence Strategy represents a commitment by the Government of Canada to provide the CAF with the right equipment, therefore enabling CAF personnel to perform their mission of defending Canada and Canadian interests today and well into the future. New Chinook helicopters are an important part of that commitment.


Domestic Operations


Domestic roles for the Chinook helicopters focus on the provision of logistical or mobility support to Canadian Army and Special Operations Forces, other Government departments, law enforcement agencies, and other civil authorities. The Chinook is also ideally suited for fast and effective response to humanitarian emergencies such as fires, floods, and earthquakes. The versatility, impressive capacity, and long range of this helicopter make the new Chinook ideal for operations in Canada’s vast territory and demanding environment.


Foreign Operations


The value of the Chinook helicopter was highlighted by the CAF’s operational experience in Afghanistan, with the six D-model versions employed there as part of Canada’s Air Wing in Kandahar. This workhorse helicopter saved lives, and contributed significantly to mission success by rapidly transporting troops and equipment to locations that would be more dangerous or impossible to reach by ground. Today, Chinook helicopters are in high demand across the entire spectrum of contemporary military operations, from humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping, to high-tempo combat operations. Forces conducting these operations must train continuously and be prepared to deploy on short notice. Aircraft and aircrew must be available and prepared in advance to support the high levels of readiness and responsiveness required of the CAF. These Chinook helicopters are needed today to prepare for and sustain operations in the future.

When the CAF are asked to operate abroad, they can face chaotic and complex environments involving improvised explosive devices, mines, small arms fire, and other dangerous weapons. Helicopter forces are vital to supporting adaptable military operations in these environments and must be prepared to assist ground-borne forces and ensure their own continued operations under increased threats. The CH-147F has the right performance and equipment to successfully carry out this demanding mission.


Equipped for Modern Battlefield


These new Canadian F-model Chinooks are dramatically improved compared to the old C-models operated by the CAF in the 1970s and 1980s. They are equipped with a full range of leading-edge systems, allowing them to operate effectively in a modern theatre of operations that has also changed dramatically since the Cold War era.


  • With the extended-range fuel tanks, they have more than twice the range of other F-model and previous Chinook variants.
  • To defeat anti-aircraft missiles, the new Chinooks are equipped with a laser-based active missile counter-measure system, as well as a chaff and flare dispensing system.
  • A radar and laser warning system alert the crew if they are being targeted, and a full armour kit provides crew and passengers with ballistic protection from small arms fire.
  • The Chinook is equipped with three defensive machine guns: two forward door guns and one on the aft ramp.
  • A state-of-the-art Electro-Optical/Infra-Red sensor allows the helicopter to operate effectively in very low light or reduced visibility conditions.

In addition to robust self-defence equipment, additional tactical procedures are followed to further mitigate threats that may be encountered. For example, the Chinooks can be flown with armed escort aircraft, and can use deception techniques in a wide range of day or night operations, all of which make this Chinook an ideal helicopter in a broad spectrum of demanding theatres.


When comparing the lift capabilities of the Chinook with the one of the CH-146 Griffon helicopter: With a lifting capability of 20,000 lbs, the Chinook actually has the ability to carry (or sling) the entire weight of a Griffon. The Chinook will carry 33 fully equipped combat troops and its crew, or 11,363 kilograms of cargo. The Griffon on the other hand, is a light utility/reconnaissance platform that will normally carry less than 10 people including its crew. These two aircraft will complement each other in a balanced aviation team on future missions and operations; the Chinook brings a whole new rotary wing capability to the CAF.


Infrastructure Improvements at Garrison Petawawa


In support of the new fleet of Chinook aircraft, Garrison Petawawa has benefitted from infrastructure projects to construct a new hangar for maintenance, operational storage, and logistics. Also included is the construction of a new ramp and taxiway, new utility services and roads, aviation petroleum, oil and lubricant facility (AVPOL), and a fenced-in parking area. This construction is currently complete with secondary roads and back-up utilities scheduled to be completed by spring 2016.

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Canada sets deadline for @SikorskyAircrft CH-148 "Cyclone" delivery-Royal Canadian Air Force-RCAF #CH148

Canada sets deadline for @SikorskyAircrft CH-148 "Cyclone" delivery-Royal Canadian Air Force-RCAF #CH148 | D-FENS | Scoop.it
Canada has set a deadline of “no later than June 2015” for Sikorsky to begin delivering its first block of CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Deliveries of the second block will begin in 2018 and the fleet is set to be deemed “fully capable” in 2021. However, even then, the RCAF won’t be getting everything it wanted.This is according to the Department of National Defence (DND) in the aftermath of a joint announcement with the government’s procurement arm, Public Works and Government Services Canada, that they had amended their contract with Sikorsky. The capital acquisition cost of 28 aircraft is unchanged at $1.9 billion, and while the value of the $5.7 billion in-service support contract is unchanged, its term has been extended by 10 years, to 2038.When the government and Sikorsky announced the changes June 18, they said that Sikorsky’s first export sale of the Cyclone, a variant of the H-92 Superhawk, would be “operationally relevant” for the RCAF. Sikorsky spokesman Paul Jackson explained to Vertical that this means the helicopters would be “capable of conducting the training and missions required of them.”Block 1 aircraft will initially be limited mainly to search and rescue (SAR) and utility transport roles. However, in early 2016 “as enhancements are completed,” Jackson added, “the aircraft will be suitable for limited anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions such as those requiring the use of weapons in a threat environment.”The RCAF is accepting that it will not be getting what DND initially described as “a small number of capabilities and/or requirements.” DND told Vertical that the Cyclones’ main gearbox run-dry capability will be “in line with all other RCAF aircraft.” Sikorsky designed the gearbox “to ensure that the possibility of a total loss of lubrication is very remote” and that “through extensive testing, proper operating procedures will be established to satisfy the required airworthiness regulations, including the civil run dry requirement, to ensure the safety of the crew and aircraft.” Despite that, and the deletion of some “crew comfort” concessions, as well as the loss of autonomous self-start at low temperatures — the aircraft’s operating range is -60 to +120 Fahrenheit (-51 to +49 degrees Celsius) – DND said the RCAF had been involved in negotiating the changes and insisted that the “final configuration [. . .] will be at the forefront of modern technology and one of the most capable maritime helicopters.”When deemed fully capable, the Cyclones will be able to operate in up to Sea State 6, which the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization defines as “very rough,” with waves 13 to 20 feet (four to six metres) high. However, another concession in the amended capital acquisition contract is that the Cyclones will not have automatic life-raft deployment.Contracted to Sikorsky after a competitive bidding process, the Maritime Helicopter Program has since been fraught with problems, mainly due to the government refining the helicopter’s mission requirements. There also were issues with, among other things, engine power and mission systems.The upshot was that Sikorsky eventually supplied several “interim” Cyclones, which “lack a functioning mission system” and remained the company’s property even as the RCAF used them for evaluation and training purposes in Shearwater, N.S. DND told Vertical that those aircraft are to be returned to Sikorsky for retrofitting during the Block 1 delivery period, and will be returned to Canada as part of Block 2.
Christian Albrecht's insight:
Sea King replacements: $7.6B Cyclone maritime helicopters lack key safety requirement:http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/sea-king-replacements-7-6b-cyclone-maritime-helicopters-lack-key-safety-requirement-1.2684036
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