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Royal Navy to face surveillance, transport helicopter shortages

Royal Navy to face surveillance, transport helicopter shortages | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The UK Royal Navy will encounter a potential four-year gap in its ability to deliver organic airborne surveillance and control (ASaC) services late this decade, following the retirement in 2016 of its lastWestland Sea King helicopters, the government's National Audit Office (NAO) has warned.

Thirteen Sea King 7 ASaC aircraft are operated by the RN's Fleet Air Arm, with the type having provided airborne early warning cover from surface ships and also currently flying overland surveillance missions in support of operations in Afghanistan. Nicknamed "Baggers", the helicopters carry a Thales Searchwater radar.

 

In its annual Major Projects Report, published on 10 January, the NAO says the RN also faces the prospect of a two-year gap in its commando helicopter force capability, between the retirement of its Sea King HC4/4+ transports (one picture above) and the full availability of an upgraded fleet of Merlin HC3/3As, which are due to be transferred from Royal Air Force ownership in 2014-15.

"The department is examining alternative means of closing these capability gaps," the government's spending watchdog says. A replacement ASaC system would be available in time to coincide with the operational availability of the RN's first of a possible two 65,000t Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, according to its four-year estimate.

Meanwhile, the report also reveals that the Merlin HM2 upgrade programme encountered a four-month schedule slip during its 2011-12 study period. This was due to a suspension of about three months of non-operational flight activities involving the type from November 2011, plus new certification demands imposed by the UK Military Aviation Authority, it says.

The modified HM2 should now achieve in-service status in June 2014, and is expected to remain in operational use until 2029.

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Elbit Systems receives German DIRCM contract - Directed Infrared Counter Measure

Elbit Systems receives German DIRCM contract - Directed Infrared Counter Measure | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Elbit Systems’ J-MUSIC Multi-Spectral Directed Infrared Counter Measure (DIRCM) systems will equip the German Air Force’s new Airbus A400 aircraft under a new contract from DIEHL Defence announced on 17 November.

The system will be integrated into a multi-turret DIRCM system, to provide 360° self-protection for the aircraft against ground-to-air heat seeking man-portable missiles (MANPADS).

The contract is for the first phase of the German Air Force’s A400M Self-Protection programme and will be performed over a one-year period.

Bezhalel Machlis, president and CEO, Elbit Systems, said: ’We are proud of our cooperation with DIEHL Defence on DIRCM that has resulted in this initial contract for the protection of the German Air Force’s A400M aircraft. 

‘Our DIRCM systems provide effective protection to the growing threat of MANPADS, and we hope that additional customers will follow and select our systems as their preferred solution.’

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Bell 505 Jet Ranger X helicopter takes flight

Bell 505 Jet Ranger X helicopter takes flight | D-FENS | Scoop.it
The Bell 505 Jet Ranger X helicopter has completed its first flight from the Bell Helicopter Mirabel, Québec manufacturing facility.

According to Yann Lavalle, senior flight test pilot at Bell Helicopter, the aircraft performed ‘exactly as anticipated’ during the thirty minute flight.

Eric Emblin, senior flight test pilot at Bell Helicopter, added: ‘We hovered in the Bell 505, performed a low-speed controllability assessment and flew two laps in the local traffic pattern. Our top speed today was 60 knots, and the entire flight lasted approximately 30 minutes.’

Bell Helicopter unveiled the Jet Ranger X at HELI-Expo 2014 in February and has received more than 240 letters of intent for the new model.
 
The helicopter features a high visibility cockpit equipped with the Garmin G1000H Integrated Avionics Suite, and is powered by the Turbomeca Arrius 2R engine with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC). Additional safety features include a high inertia rotor system delivering advanced autorotation capabilities.
 
The Bell 505 Jet Ranger X is a five-seat, single-engine, turbine helicopter with a cruise speed of 125+ knots, range of over 360 nautical miles and useful load of 1,500 pounds. Designed as a multi-mission helicopter, the aircraft has a fully flat floor, increased cabin volume and clam shell doors to enhance configuration flexibility.
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Hauptaufgabe Evakuierung: Bundeswehr plant europäischen Hubschrauber-Verband

Hauptaufgabe Evakuierung: Bundeswehr plant europäischen Hubschrauber-Verband | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Die Bundeswehr bemüht sich nach Angaben aus Parlamentskreisen um die Aufstellung eines europäischen Hubschrauber-Verbandes, dessen Hauptaufgabe die Evakuierung Verletzter und Verwundeter sein soll. Die Armee werbe derzeit um Partnernationen, die sich daran beteiligten, sagte hieß es am Dienstag in den Kreisen. Erwogen werde dazu die Beschaffung von 22 Transport-Hubschraubern des Typs NH90 von Airbus, für die die Bundeswehr noch eine Option habe.

Angedacht sei, dass die Partner diese Helikopter jeweils im Doppelpack kauften. Die sogenannten Medevac-Hubschrauber sind auch im Einsatz stets zu zweit unterwegs: Eine Maschine ist mit Medizintechnik ausgestattet, die zweite fliegt bewaffnet zu ihrem Schutz mit.


Unklar blieb zunächst, ob die Bundeswehr sich am Kauf der Hubschrauber beteiligt oder Helikopter aus ihrer bestehenden NH90-Flotte einbringt. Komme der neue Verband zustande, solle er voraussichtlich in Deutschland stationiert werden, hieß es in den Parlamentskreisen. Die Bundeswehr wolle die Infrastruktur stellen, während die Partnernationen Hubschrauber und Piloten beisteuern sollten. Die Niederlande hätten bereits Interesse angemeldet.

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The Sikorsky S-97 RAIDER Unveiled - "THE NEXT BIG THING IN ARMY AVIATION"

From the rollout ceremony at our West Palm Beach, Florida facility. The moment the next big thing in Army aviation is introduced. The Sikorsky S-97 RAIDER

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Elbit Systems’ SkyVis tested on AW109SP helicopter

Elbit Systems’ SkyVis tested on AW109SP helicopter | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The capabilities of Elbit Systems’ new SkyVis Day/Night Head Mounted Display (HMD) have been demonstrated during flight tests onboard a Rega AW109SP helicopter.

SkyVis is designed to allow pilots to safely execute missions during adverse weather and in limited visibility conditions. 

The flight tests saw pilots demonstrate the system’s ‘out of the window’ display concept to land in difficult conditions, such as on a helipad on a hospital rooftop. During some of the landing tests the pilots used only the guidance of the system while the cockpit window was covered, with a safety pilot serving as the captain of the aircraft for safety purposes. Flight and navigation data overlaying the real world was presented by using two and three dimensional symbols, enhanced degraded visual landing applications and head tracking capabilities.

The flight tests were performed in both day time and night to test the system in different flight conditions.

Rega is a Swiss air rescue company. The two companies will work together to integrate SkyVis into Rega’s future platforms.

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Sikorsky Unveils S-97 RAIDER Helicopter

Sikorsky Unveils S-97 RAIDER Helicopter | D-FENS | Scoop.it

 Sikorsky Aircraft unveiled the first of two S-97 RAIDER™ helicopter prototypes, signaling the start of activities in the program’s test flight phase and a major step toward demonstrating the new – and first – armed reconnaissance rotorcraft featuring X2™ Technology designed for military missions.


“Today, Sikorsky unveiled the next generation of military rotorcraft, with capabilities and performance never seen before in our industry,” said Sikorsky President Mick Maurer. “Just four years ago, we announced plans to build the S-97 RAIDER and teamed with some of the best companies in the industry, understanding the need to ensure aircraft development would not falter as government defense budgets shrank in response to economic pressures. Sikorsky is proud of its leadership in this area, and of the leadership the S-97 RAIDER represents among the world’s military rotorcraft.”


Based on Sikorsky’s rigid X2™ rotor coaxial design, the S-97 RAIDER helicopter features next-generation technologies in a multi-mission configuration (armed aerial scout or light assault), capable of carrying six troops and external weapons. The coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and pusher propeller provide cruise speeds up to 220 knots (253 mph), more than double the speed of conventional helicopters. Sikorsky will offer the RAIDER™ aircraft as a replacement for the U.S. Army’s OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter fleet based on the Army’s future operational and financial priorities, and for the special operations platform.


“Military rotorcraft fleets need maximum performance and increased capabilities to achieve their objectives,” Maurer added. “The RAIDER delivers on that with its greatly improved maneuverability and speed, significantly improved high/hot hover performance, and greater range and endurance.”


The single-engine RAIDER features a composite airframe and a maximum gross weight of slightly more than 11,000 lbs. The aircraft will be capable of carrying an array of weapons and sensors, necessary for the mission. The cockpit will fit two pilots, seated side-by-side. The flexible cabin space will carry up to six combat-equipped troops, or additional fuel and ammunition for extended missions.


“RAIDER marks the first unveiling of a new relevant rotorcraft configuration in 30 years,” said Mark Miller, Vice President of Research & Engineering. “With the RAIDER program, Sikorsky has brought innovation to every aspect of the process, rethinking the way we design, build, test and support the product. We’ve kept a close eye on lowering development, production and support costs while increasing productivity and quality, and we are confident that the RAIDER is the solution for the future warfighter. We are looking forward to getting air under its tires and expanding the envelope in flight test in the coming months.”

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Elon Musk - Starting a Business -

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, SpaceX and more successfull startups, gives his top three points of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. 

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Igor Sikorsky's VS-300 Helicopter Transformed Aviation 75 Years Ago

Igor Sikorsky's VS-300 Helicopter Transformed Aviation 75 Years Ago | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Sikorsky Aircraft will mark 75 years of modern helicopter flight that began September 14, 1939, when 50-year-old chief designer and chief test pilot Igor Sikorsky lifted off the ground to tabletop height in an experimental helicopter designated the VS-300. The first flight event began a four-year test program that proved the efficiency of Sikorsky's single rotor design, gave birth to a global helicopter industry, and forever changed the course of aviation history.


The 1,325-pound (601 kg) max. gross weight VS-300 helicopter consisted of a welded steel tube frame with an undercarriage of three wheels. A 75-horsepower engine, transmission belts and gears drove the three-blade main rotor and single-blade counterbalanced wooden tail rotor. In flight, the main rotor turned at approximately 255 RPM.

On September 14, 1939, outside the Stratford, Connecticut, factory, Igor sat in the open VS-300 cockpit wearing his trademark overcoat and fedora, the engine vibrating the aircraft. He pulled up on the collective control lever at his left side. The VS-300 cleared the ground for a few seconds to the height of its short tether ropes. Many more such 'hops' over the ensuing days and weeks proved the aircraft could be controlled. Sikorsky and other pilots then flew different variations of the VS-300 aircraft for a total of 102 hours and 35 minutes into 1943.

Reflecting on his achievement years later, Igor Sikorsky said, "If a man is in need of rescue, an airplane can come and throw flowers on him. But a direct lift aircraft could come in and save his life."


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Extending the Reach of the Warfighter - K-MAX® unmanned helicopter / Squad Mission Support System Unmanned Ground Vehicle - Lockheed Martin

Extending the Reach of the Warfighter - K-MAX® unmanned helicopter / Squad Mission Support System Unmanned Ground Vehicle - Lockheed Martin | D-FENS | Scoop.it

ERWR Demonstration, Ft. Benning, GA, August 7, 2014


The Lockheed Martin Squad Mission Support System Unmanned Ground Vehicle equipped with a Gyrocam 9-inch mid-wave, surveillance sensor was flown by sling load into the “hostile” area using a Lockheed Martin K-MAX® unmanned helicopter, and a tactical resupply and surveillance mission was conducted in autonomous and tele-operated modes.

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Airbus Helicopters EC145 T2 first delivery to DRF Luftrettung

As Airbus Helicopters delivers the first of its new EC145 T2, the company is already looking at an additional low-cost, high-powered variant.

German air rescue operator DRF Luftrettung accepted its first EC145 T2 at Airbus Helicopters’ Donauwörth facility on 31 July.

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ESA's dropship quadcopter concept may offer precise, safe landings for future Mars rovers

ESA's dropship quadcopter concept may offer precise, safe landings for future Mars rovers | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The ESA has tested a novel system that may allow the agency to safely land rovers on Mars using a quadcopter-like dropship. A fully automated, proof of concept Skycrane prototype was created over the course of eight months under the ESA's StarTiger program, with the system's hardware largely derived from commercially available quadcopter components.


The primary challenge for the Dropter project development team revolved around creating a system that could successfully detect and navigate hazardous terrain without the aide of real-time human input. This is a vital feature for any potential rover delivery system, as it is impossible to create a directly controllable sky crane due to the distance between the operator and the vehicle that creates a time lag between command and execution.


Therefore the new rover delivery method had to be designed around an autonomous navigation system. Initially the dropship navigates to the pre determined deployment zone using GPS and inertia control. Once in the vicinity of the target zone, the lander switches to vision-based navigation, utilizing laser ranging and barometers to allow it to detect a safe, flat area upon which to set down its precious cargo.


Once such a site is identified, the lander drops to a height of 10 m (33 ft) above the surface and lowers the rover with the use of a bridle, gradually descending until the rover gently touches down on the planet's surface.


The culmination of eight months of development took place at Airbus’s Trauen site, located in northern Germany, where the concept dropship was put through its paces in a 40 m (131 ft) by 40 m (131 ft) recreation of the Martian surface. During the test, the lander managed to successfully use its navigation systems to safely transport a mock rover to the chosen target zone, whereupon the delivery vehicle assessed and selected a flat, safe landing site, and deployed the rover using the 5 m (16 ft) bridle.


Now, with the concept a proven success, the agency and its partners can focus on further developing the dropship for heavier, more realistic payloads.


The video below displays footage of the prototype dropship during the test at Airbus’s Trauen facility.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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AgustaWestland/Kongsberg sign co-operation agreement - Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul - NH90 / AW101 "NAWSARH"

AgustaWestland/Kongsberg sign co-operation agreement - Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul - NH90 / AW101 "NAWSARH" | D-FENS | Scoop.it

AgustaWestland has made moves to expand cooperation with Kongsberg for the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) of dynamic components for a range of AgustaWestland helicopters, including the NH90 helicopter.

The companies have signed a protocol for an overarching agreement outlining intentions to make Kongsberg a Centre of Excellence for MRO of dynamic components in Northern Europe.
 

The agreement also relates to transfer of technology that includes the establishment of advanced test equipment that will enable the full functional testing of gear boxes at Kongsberg in Norway.

The newly-signed agreement will enable AgustaWestland to satisfy its industrial participation requirements in Norway and the other Nordic countries for NH90. It will also be  a major part of its support solution for the 16 AW101 Norwegian All-Weather SAR Helicopters (NAWSARH) the company is contracted to supply to the Norwegian government. 

Harald Ånnestad, president, Kongsberg Defence Systems, said: ’We are excited that we can grow our helicopter MRO business together with AgustaWestland as a valued partner and we will establish gear box testing capabilities in Kongsberg.’

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Kommandowechsel an der Heeresfliegerwaffenschule Bückeburg

Kommandowechsel an der Heeresfliegerwaffenschule Bückeburg | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Die von tief greifenden, strukturellen, materiellen, personellen und quantitativen Veränderungen gebeutelten Heeresflieger haben einen neuen General und die Heeresfliegerwaffenschule einen neuen Kommandeur. Im Rahmen eines feierlichen Appells wurde Freitagmorgen auf dem Heeresflugplatz Achum Oberst Uwe Klein mit der Aufgabe des Schulkommandeurs und Generals der Heeresflieger betraut und Brigadegeneral Alfons Mais nach nur eineinhalbjähriger Standzeit in Bückeburg seines Kommandos entbunden. Er ist bereits Chef des Stabes des Kommando Heer in Strausberg. Die Übergabe erfolgte durch den Kommandeur des Ausbildungskommandos, Generalmajor Walter Spindler. Er übernahm die Truppenfahne der Heeresflieger von General Mais und gab sie an Oberst Klein weiter. Oberst Klein meldete Vollzug: „Die Heeresfliegerwaffenschule hört auf mein Kommando.“ Anschließend ertönte ndie französische und die deutsche Nationalhymne. Dann marschierte der Ehrenzug mit Heeresmusikkorps Kassel an der Spitze und den Klängen des „Alexandermarsch“ aus der Halle 5 aus. Der Halle, in der vor dem Fähigkeitstransfer zur Luftwaffe die CH-53 gewartet worden ist. Mehrere hundert Ehrengäste mit Landrat Jörg Farr und Bürgermeister Reiner Brombach an der Spitze verfolgten den Appell. „Ein Zeichen ihrer Unterstützung für die Bundeswehr im Allgemeinen und ein Zeichen der Wertschätzung gegenüber der Heeresfliegerwaffenschule im Besonderen“, so der scheidende Kommandeur Alfons Mais in seiner Ansprache. Sowohl er als auch Generalmajor Spindler gingen in ihren Ansprachen auf das Thema Einsatzbereitschaft der neuen Hubschraubertypen ein, die in den vergangenen Wochen in ganz erheblichem Maße die Medienlandschaft beherrscht hätten.

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Mi-17V-5 helicopter deliveries to Afghanistan complete

Mi-17V-5 helicopter deliveries to Afghanistan complete | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Deliveries of Mi-17V-5 military-transport helicopters to the Afghan National Army are now complete, with a total of 63 helicopters produced and delivered under the Russian-US cooperation agreement signed in May 2011.

The helicopters have been produced at Kazan Helicopters, part of Russian Helicopters, and supplied by Rosoboronexport on behalf of the Russian Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation (FSVTS Russia). 

The helicopters were ordered by the US Army Forces Command under three contracts to equip the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) with transport helicopters capable of performing in the harsh Afghanistan climate and mountainous terrain.

The Mi-17V5, known as the Mi-8MTV-5 in Russia, is a military transport helicopter developed from the Mi-17 (Mi-8MT) medium multirole helicopter. It can transport up to 4,000kg of various kinds of cargo either inside the cabin or on an external sling.

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First new-build MH-47G Chinook delivered - US Army Special Operations Aviation Command - ARSOAC

First new-build MH-47G Chinook delivered - US Army Special Operations Aviation Command - ARSOAC | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The first new-build MH-47G configured Chinook helicopter has been delivered to the US Army Special Operations Aviation Command by Boeing, the company announced on 1 October.

The new build MH-47G configuration incorporates a number of production improvements to include the digital advanced flight control system, more robust, improved monolithic machined-frames, and improved air transportability.

This first delivery has taken place one month ahead of schedule. The programme, which is valued at $300 million, will see eight further aircraft delivered through 2015. 

Steve Parker, vice president, cargo helicopters and H-47 program manager, Boeing, said: ‘It is an honour to be trusted to design, produce and deliver this advanced capability for the Army Special Operations customer.

‘The advanced technology inherent in the new-build MH-47G ensures that the users and operators will have the superior mission capability that they require. This delivery also begins a new chapter that will carry the Chinook forward for many more decades and is the latest demonstration of Boeing and the wider team Chinook’s commitment to delivering upon promises made.’

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Royal Air Force Merlins Mk3/3A transfered to the Royal Navy - AW101 - "Helicopter Capabilities Transfer"

Royal Air Force Merlins Mk3/3A transfered to the Royal Navy - AW101 - "Helicopter Capabilities Transfer" | D-FENS | Scoop.it
The Royal Air Force officially hand over the Merlin HC Mk3 and Mk3A helicopters to the Royal Navy. The official ceremony will also see the disbandment of 78 Squadron Royal Air Force and the standing up of 846 Naval Air Squadron of the Commando Helicopter Force.
 
As part of the planned transition of the Merlin helicopter from the Royal Air Force to the Commando Helicopter Force of the Royal Navy, 78 Squadron will formally disband and 846 Naval Air Squadron will stand up in a full ceremonial parade with Royal Reviewing Officers.
 
The official handover of Senior Duty Holder will be marked with the attendance of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, and the 1st Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sir George Zambellas.

The formal Royal parade marked the next stage in the transition of the Merlin helicopter from the Support Helicopter Force to the Commando Helicopter Force, a move that was introduced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Since 2012, aircrew and engineers from the Commando Helicopter Force of the Royal Navy have been integrated into the Merlin Force at RAF Benson; working alongside their Royal Air Force counterparts to absorb over a decade of experience of operating and maintaining the technologically advanced aircraft.

The transition programme saw 78 Squadron RAF disband and 846 Naval Air Squadron stand up. 846 NAS will remain at RAF Benson until Spring next year when they and several of the Merlin aircraft will return to the home of the Commando Helicopter Force, Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in Somerset. 


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UK RAF begin transferring Merlin helicopters to RN - AW101 - Commando Helicopter Force

UK RAF begin transferring Merlin helicopters to RN - AW101 - Commando Helicopter Force | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The United Kingdom's (UK's) Fleet Air Arm's 846 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) was stood up at RAF Benson on 30 September with the AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin, while the Royal Air Force's (RAF's) 78 Squadron was disbanded.

As part of the UK's 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the Merlin utility helicopters are migrating from the RAF's Support Helicopter Force to the Royal Navy's (RN's) Fleet Air Arm's Commando Helicopter Force.

The Commando Helicopter Force has, for 35 years, operated the Sea King HC.4, which is due to be retired in March 2016 when the Merlin takes over its role. The Sea King HC.4 is used primarily to transport the Royal Marines from ship to shore.

During his speech at the 78 Sqn Disbandment/846 NAS Standing Up Ceremony, RAF Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford said: "squadron disbandment these days are rare, but the handover of an aircraft type from one service to another is unheard of".

(ref.: http://sco.lt/6S6wXR)


Since 2012, 320 RN aircrew and engineers have been trained at RAF Benson on the Merlin, and the culmination of this is the standing up of 846 NAS. It will now work alongside 28 (AC) Sqn, the remaining RAF Merlin unit, until it relocates to the Royal Naval Air Service base at Yeovilton in early 2015. The second Fleet Air Arm unit, 845 NAS will stand up on the Merlin in 2015, and 28 (AC) Sqn will be disbanded.

All 25 of the ex-RAF helicopters will now also undergo a GBP455 million (USD737 million) Merlin Life Sustainment Programme by AgustaWestland to prepare them for maritime operations.

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SpaceX supply ship takes off with animals, critical cargo | Spaceflight Now

SpaceX supply ship takes off with animals, critical cargo | Spaceflight Now | D-FENS | Scoop.it


SpaceX launched a Dragon supply ship packed with mice, an experimental 3D printer, a hurricane research instrument, and a bundle of crew provisions on a two-day pursuit of the International Space Station with a thunderous middle-of-the-night sendoff from Cape Canaveral on Sunday aboard a Falcon 9 rocket booster.

Running a day late after Cape Canaveral was inundated with rain showers early Saturday, the experiment-laden Dragon spaceship lifted off at 1:52 a.m. EDT (0552 GMT) after late night clouds dissipated, clearing a route for the 208-foot-tall Falcon 9 launcher to fly into orbit.


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Airbus A400M "ATLAS" airlifter refuels F/A-18 Hornet in flight - air-to-air refuelling tests - AAR

Airbus A400M "ATLAS" airlifter refuels F/A-18 Hornet in flight - air-to-air refuelling tests - AAR | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Airbus Defence and Space has reported that the A400M airlifter has performed successful air-to-air refuelling (AAR) tests with an F/A-18 Hornet jet.

The test campaign saw 18.6 tonnes of fuel dispensed to an F/A-18 Hornet during five flights and 35 wet contacts. Thirty-three dry contacts were also made.

The A400M has full provisions for AAR operations already installed as standard and only requires the rapid installation of the optional AAR kit to become a tanker. As a tanker, the aircraft has a basic fuel capacity of 50.8 tonnes which can be increased by the use of extra cargo hold tanks.

This is the latest in AAR refuelling developments for the A400M. In July, a refuelling operation was conducted between a company-owned A400M and a UK RAF Voyager variant of the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport

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USS Theodore Roosevelt Conducts Combined Manned, Unmanned Operations - CVN71 - X-47B

The Navy's unmanned X-47B conducts flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). The aircraft completed a series of tests demonstrating its ability to operate safely and seamlessly with manned aircraft.

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Northrop Grumman to upgrade US Army Sikorsky UH-60L Blackhawk cockpit

Northrop Grumman to upgrade US Army Sikorsky UH-60L Blackhawk cockpit | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Northrop Grumman will conduct work to modernise the cockpit of the US Army’s UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters under a contract announced on 15 August.

The contract will see Northrop Grumman supply and integrate a scalable mission avionics equipment package for a digital cockpit upgrade on 700 to 900 aircraft in the army’s fleet; and replace older analogue gauges with digital electronic instrument displays.

The new designation for this upgraded aircraft will be UH-60V. The system virtually replicates the newer UH-60M pilot-vehicle interface, providing a common training environment. 

Northrop Grumman's solution features a centralised processor with a partitioned, modular operational flight programme with an integrated architecture that enables new capabilities through software-only solutions rather than hardware additions. The system is smaller in size, lower in weight and requires less power than legacy processing systems. 

The avionics system is aligned with the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) standard and supports integration of off-the-shelf software and hardware, allowing the system to keep pace with new capability requirements.

The solution has already undergone flight test demonstrations on a UH-60L helicopter.

Ike Song, vice president, situational awareness systems, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, said: ‘We are committed to this critical upgrade programme that will prolong the life of the UH-60 while keeping warfighters safer by enhancing their situational awareness. Our integrated mission avionics solution is built on mature, proven technology and an open architecture approach for superior performance, affordability, growth potential and reliability.’

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Colbert Report: Elon Musk Interview

The Colbert Report - Elon Musk Interview - July 24, 2014 

Tesla Patents, SpaceX Rockets, Harrier Jump Jet, Ducted Fan Propulsion, Electric Aircraft Design
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Unusual post for this site, but definitely worth to watch!


"If you can explain it to Stephen Colbert, you definitely understand what you are talking about"


Enjoy!


Share the "bucket design" - great analogy!

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@LockheedMartin K-MAX unmanned aircraft system (UAS) ends Afghanistan deployment

@LockheedMartin K-MAX unmanned aircraft system (UAS) ends Afghanistan deployment | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The US Marine Corps (USMC) has concluded a two-and-a-half year deployment to Afghanistan of two K-MAX unmanned cargo helicopters but have no immediate plans to begin a cargo unmanned aircraft system (UAS) programme of record, officials said on 24 July.


Captain Patrick Smith, the US Navy's (USN's) Cargo UAS programme manager, praised the performance of the aircraft and its operators. They "excelled beyond anything I thought possible," he said during a teleconference with reporters.


The Lockheed Martin Kaman K-MAX helicopters were deployed to south-central Afghanistan in December 2011. Since then, they have flown nearly 2,000 sorties during the course of more than 2,150 flight hours and have delivered more than 4.5 million lb (2.04 million kg) of cargo. The final sorties were flown on 30 May before the systems were returned to a Lockheed Martin facility in Owego, New York for storage.


According to Capt Smith, the USN wants to conduct additional K-MAX demonstrations next year in order to help the USMC as it develops concepts of operations for a UAS cargo system programme of record. He added that the effort is continuing through a formal requirements process so that "a concise and achievable set of requirements can go forward".


Capt Smith said an unmanned cargo asset will allow the USMC's heavy-lift helicopter, the Sikorsky CH-53, to "focus on different priorities".

Marine Major Kyle O'Connor, the officer who led the K-MAX efforts in Afghanistan with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron One, said the aircraft were flown primarily at night with their lights out to avoid any potential kinetic threat. He said he was less concerned about more sophisticated threats such as electronic warfare or cyber attacks on data links.


K-MAX and other systems are participating in exploratory efforts such as the Office of Naval Research's Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System (AACUS) and the army's Autonomous Technologies for Unmanned Air Systems (ATUAS) programmes.


Another serious contender for the Pentagon's unmanned rotorcraft dollars is Sikorsky with its autonomous Black Hawk. The company, a division of United Technologies, announced recently that it plans to develop retired UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters into multirole optionally piloted systems based on its Matrix autonomous technology. It is also working with Carnegie Mellon's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) and the US Army to demonstrate an optionally manned UH-60MU, fitted with Matrix technology, to fly the NREC's Land Tamer unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) into a 'contaminated threat environment', deploy the UGV so it can map out the area, and then co-ordinate its extraction by the Black Hawk.


Lockheed Martin similarly worked with the army to demonstrate reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition missions with K-MAX delivering its Squad Mission Support System UGV into a threatening environment.

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