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Czech L-159 talks with Iraq stall - IHS Jane's

Czech L-159 talks with Iraq stall - IHS Jane's | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Czech aircraft maker Aero Vodochody continues to negotiate with the Iraqi government over the potential sale of 28 L-159 light attack and training aircraft, worth approximately USD1 billion.

Senior management of Aero Vodochody has admitted, however, that talks with the Iraqi government have stalled due to fierce competition faced by the L-159 from the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) TA-50 Golden Eagle.

A deal for four surplus Army of the Czech Republic (ACR) L-159T1 two-seater trainers and 24 newly built L-159Bs was agreed in October 2012 after more than two years of negotiation. However, despite a political agreement being reached and signed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and then Czech Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra on 15 October for the buy, technical details have delayed the signing of an actual contract.

"The bid is moving along, but at the same time not making progress. There are active ongoing negotiations with us and with our [South] Korean competition. I am unaware of any progress made in the negotiations," Aero Vodochody President Ladislav Simek informed Czech media at the IDET defence exhibition in Brno on 22 May.


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Additive Manufacturing - the industrial version of 3-D printing

Additive Manufacturing - the industrial version of 3-D printing | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Prototypes of brackets for airplane engines show how additive manufacturing can produce complex, precisely designed shapes like the one above

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General Electric is making a radical departure from the way it has traditionally manufactured things. Its aviation division, the world’s largest supplier of jet engines, is preparing to produce a fuel nozzle for a new aircraft engine by printing the part with lasers rather than casting and welding the metal. The technique, known as additive manufacturing (because it builds an object by adding ultrathin layers of material one by one), could transform how GE designs and makes many of the complex parts that go into everything from gas turbines to ultrasound machines.

Additive manufacturing—the industrial version of 3-D printing—is already used to make some niche items, such as medical implants, and to produce plastic prototypes for engineers and designers. But the decision to mass-produce a critical metal-alloy part to be used in thousands of jet engines is a significant milestone for the technology. And while 3-D printing for consumers and small entrepreneurs has received a great deal of publicity, it is in manufacturing where the technology could have its most significant commercial impact (see “The Difference Between Makers and Manufacturers,” January/February 2013).

Last fall, GE purchased a pair of companies with know-how in automated precision manufacturing of metals and then folded the technology into the operations of GE Aviation. That group doesn’t have much time to demonstrate that its new technology can work at scale. CFM International, GE’s joint venture with France’s Snecma, will use the 3-D-printed nozzles in its LEAP jet engine, due to go into planes in late 2015 or early 2016 (CFM says it already has commitments of $22 billion). Each engine will use 10 to 20 nozzles; GE needs to make 25,000 of the nozzles annually within three years.

GE chose the additive process for manufacturing the nozzles because it uses less material than conventional techniques. That reduces GE’s production costs and, because it makes the parts lighter, yields significant fuel savings for airlines. Conventional techniques would require welding about 20 small pieces together, a labor-intensive process in which a high percentage of the material ends up being scrapped. Instead, the part will be built from a bed of cobalt-chromium powder. A computer-controlled laser shoots pinpoint beams onto the bed to melt the metal alloy in the desired areas, creating 20-micrometer-­thick layers one by one. The process is a faster way to make complex shapes because the machines can run around the clock. And additive manufacturing in general conserves material because the printer can handle shapes that eliminate unnecessary bulk and create them without the typical waste.

The rest of GE—together with its competitors—is watching closely. GE Power & Water, which makes large gas and wind turbines, has already identified parts it can make with the additive process, and GE Healthcare has developed a method to print transducers, the expensive ceramic probes used in ultrasound machines. “It’s really fundamentally changing the way we think about the company,” says Mark Little, GE’s chief technology officer.

Breaking with traditional manufacturing techniques, such as casting and machining material, gives GE product designers far greater flexibility. Additive manufacturing machines work directly from a computer model, so people can devise completely new shapes without regard for existing manufacturing ­limitations. “We can make configurations that we just couldn’t before,” Little says.

GE engineers are starting to explore how to use additive manufacturing with a wider range of metal alloys, including some materials specifically designed for 3-D printing. GE Aviation, for one, is looking to use titanium, aluminum, and nickel-chromium alloys. A single part could be made of multiple alloys, letting designers tailor its material characteristics in a way that’s not possible with casting. A blade for an engine or turbine, for example, could be made with different materials so that one end is optimized for strength and the other for heat resistance.

All that is still on paper—or rather, in the computerized designs of product engineers. For now, GE’s engine nozzle—a part small enough to fit in the palm of your hand—will be the first big test of whether additive manufacturing can revolutionize the way complex high-performance products are made.



Read more: http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/513716/additive-manufacturing?nopaging=1#ixzz2UFHdwEwu 
From MIT Technology Review 
Follow us: @techreview on Twitter | technologyreview on Facebook

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Additive Manufacturing - The Next Industrial Revolution

GE Aviation is revolutionizing the age-old rules of manufacturing and design. Learn how additive manufacturing, a 3D printing technology, frees engineers to design the perfect jet engine.


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Boeing will compete with MD in light attack market

Boeing will compete with MD in light attack market | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Boeing has conceded it will have to compete with MD Helicopters on the light scout/attack helicopter market after the latter’s recent development of a militarised version of its MD 500 family.

The two companies have been at loggerheads after MD Helicopters unveiled the MD 540F in April 2012 and actively promoted it as an option for the US Army’s Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) programme.

Sources within Boeing later revealed that the company was considering legal recourse to prevent MD Helicopters from pitching the new variant against Boeing’s own AH-6i light attack helicopter.

Boeing originally sold its light commercial helicopter product lines – including the MD 600N, the MD 900 Explorer and the MD 500 series – to MD in 1999 but retained the option to sell the AH-6 on the military market.

However, speaking to reporters in St Louis on 21 May, Mark Ballew, Boeing director of business development for vertical lift, conceded that the MD 540F would now be a competitor in some of the markets the company has identified for the AH-6i.

‘We do think there will be areas where they will come in and say that this [the MD 540F] is something that they can offer. But I am not at liberty to go through the terms of that [1999] agreement,’ Ballew said.

MD Helicopters will still produce the AH-6i airframes for Boeing under a collaboration agreement following any production orders of the aircraft.

‘We are on contract for that, we have the relationship going with MD and that’s what is going to continue to happen, they are going to provide the aircraft. To meet Armed Aerial Scout and for countries around the world, we are on track to go ahead and do that. And that relationship is working,’ Ballew said.

Boeing sees a global market potential for approximately 700 light attack helicopters and has seen strong interest from Chile, Jordon, and South Korea, with the latter receiving a demonstration of the Unmanned Little Bird.

The launch customer for the AH-6i will likely be Saudi Arabia after 36 of the aircraft were included in a 2010 arms package – although a contract has yet to be formally signed.

Ballew noted that beyond Saudi Arabia, the company was confident a new customer for the AH-6i would be secured in the next 12 months.

While its commonality with the AH-64E Apache was one touted benefit of the AH-6i, Ballew argued that the aircraft’s baseline configuration provided many other benefits over the other competitors in the light attack sector.

‘Even if you don’t have the commonality with the Apache, there is functionality that the cockpit brings – the situational awareness, the targeting systems, and the capability for having the glass cockpit. 

‘And having the improved performance for the high altitude, high temperature 6K, 95, you won’t get with some of the other aircraft. You also get opportunity for growth, and there will be fewer obsolescence issues as we are going to still be making those mission systems for the Apache going forward. ‘

As Boeing prepares to end production of the D-model Apache later this year in favour of the new AH-64E variant, the company has identified potential additional sales of more than 900 AH-64E aircraft. Full-rate production of the AH-64E will commence in January 2014.

Meanwhile, the company is preparing to sign new five-year contracts in June for the CH-47F Chinook (165 aircraft and 60 options) and the V-22 tiltrotor (99 aircraft).

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MV-22 Osprey joins Presidential Helicopter Squadron - HMX-1

MV-22 Osprey joins Presidential Helicopter Squadron - HMX-1 | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Members of Presidential Helicopter Squadron (HMX) 1 pose with their newest aircraft, the MV-22B Osprey (far right), last month in Quantico, Va. The MV-22 Osprey was formally introduced to HMX-1 at a ceremony on May 4. The Osprey is built by Bell Boeing under direction from the V-22 Joint Program Office (PMA-275) Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md.

HMX-1 Ospreys will conduct presidential support missions, carrying presidential support staff and news media representatives traveling with the president. The mission does not include carrying the president of the United States. MV-22 Flight operations at HMX-1 began last month; however, flights carrying presidential support staff and news media representatives will not begin until later this year.

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Germany ends Eurohawk programme

Germany ends Eurohawk programme | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Germany plans to end the Eurohawk UAV programme due to problems relating to air space integration and airworthiness, it has emerged.

The German government informed the select defence committee of the German parliament on 15 May about its plans to shut down the programme, which had seen a single Eurohawk full scale demonstrator UAS involved in a series of trials in Germany since mid-2011. 

It was expected that four additional production systems would be purchased with Eurohawk reaching operational capability by 2019. 

However, problems in regard to air space integration and airworthiness certification are now cited as being too difficult to overcome. Concurrently, doubts have risen about future support now that the United States seems to be pulling back from Global Hawk. 

Col Jörg Dronia, branch chief of strategic planning for air, space, and cyberspace at the German MoD, revealed that Germany had ‘experienced several unexpected certification issues with Eurohawk’ at the Kooy UAS Symposium in Amsterdam, on 3 April.

Sources also indicate that during the integration trials in Germany, engineers manning the ground control station temporarily lost control of the Eurohawk test air vehicle during one of the first test flights.

To date, Germany has been the only country in Europe which has shown the ambition to introduce HALE UAV systems into service in the near future.

Based on Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4B Block 20 Global Hawk, Eurohawk was intended to provide the German armed forces with up to date signals intelligence capability.

The Eurohawk demonstrator aircraft first flew in June 2010 at Palmdale in the US. After a series of tests at Edwards Air Force Base, it was ferried to the EADS facilities at Manching in southern Germany in July 2011. 

The UAV conducted its first test flight with Cassidian’s Integrated Signals Intelligence System (ISIS) on 11 January 2013. By this time however, reports started to emerge in the German media that the Eurohawk programme was in danger, with alternatives being considered by the German MoD.

It is unclear how the latest decision by the German government will affect plans to acquire four imagery intelligence (IMINT) configured Block 40 Global Hawks.  According to the latest UAS roadmap of the German armed forces, these systems are expected to enter service from 2018 onwards as Germany’s national contribution to NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance programme.

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German Army orders additional Fox 1A8 vehicles

German Army orders additional Fox 1A8 vehicles | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Rheinmetall will modernise an additional 25 Fuchs/Fox armoured transport vehicles for the German Army to enhance protection levels under a new €36 million contract.

This contract will see Rheinmetall bring the vehicles up to the new 1A8 version. The upgrades make the vehicle the best-protected wheeled armoured vehicle in its weight class. The 1A8 enhancements provide greater protection from landmines and IEDs, which continue to pose a widespread threat in Afghanistan. It also offers better protection from ballistic fire. The infantry section vehicles are also equipped with an unmanned weapon station, giving them improved self-defence capabilities.

The 25 vehicles that form this order come in five different configurations, three of which the German Army is procuring for the first time: seven HRM communication vehicles equipped with high-frequency HRM radio systems; five command and fire control vehicles for indirect fire/joint operations tactical fire support; four combat weather section vehicles for indirect fire/joint operations tactical fire support (weather data collection and analysis); six armoured reconnaissance vehicles; and three EOD section vehicles. 

The contract has been issued by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw). This will bring the total number of Fox 1 vehicles upgraded by Rheinmetall under BAAINBw contracts to 177. Approximately 123 of these vehicles have been delivered to date.

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V-22s delivered to USMC’s presidential squadron - HMX-1

V-22s delivered to USMC’s presidential squadron - HMX-1 | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The helicopter squadron responsible for carrying the President of the United States and his staff, Marine Helicopter Squadron One, received its first of 12 MV-22 Ospreys to be assigned to its fleet, April 5, at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.

The Ospreys will conduct presidential support missions, which means these aircraft will carry presidential support staff and news media representatives traveling with the president. The Osprey mission at HMX-1 does not include carrying the President of the United States.

Flight operations at HMX-1 began April 26, but flights carrying presidential support staff and news media representatives in the Ospreys assigned to HMX-1 will not begin until later this year

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Erfolgreicher Eurocopter EC135 in Bückeburg - 70.000 erfolgreich absolvierte Flugstunden

Erfolgreicher Eurocopter EC135 in Bückeburg - 70.000 erfolgreich absolvierte Flugstunden | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Im April feierten die Piloten der Heeresfliegerwaffenschule in Bückeburg mit ihrer EC135-Schulungshubschrauberflotte 70.000 erfolgreich absolvierte Flugstunden. Dabei setzt die Bundeswehr beim Betrieb der Hubschrauber seit mehr als einem Jahrzehnt auf ein spezifisches Betreuungsmodell von Eurocopter.

Der Service durch den Hubschrauberhersteller erfolgt direkt am Standort Bückeburg. Er reicht von der Vorflugkontrolle über Betankungen und Störbehebung bis hin zu allen planmäßigen Wartungen sowie Inspektionen. Dadurch stehen die 14 Schulungshubschrauber (SHS) des Typs EC135 mit einer sehr hohen Verfügbarkeitsrate für das Heer im In- und Ausland bereit. Darüber hinaus bietet Eurocopter auch umfassende Betreuung bei Ausbildungseinsätzen wie zum Beispiel Gebirgsfluglehrgängen in Österreich oder Frankreich. Die Depotinstandsetzung der Hubschrauber wird am Eurocopter-Standort in Kassel-Calden durchgeführt. Hier wird seit Jahren der technisch-logistische Support für internationale militärische und zivile Kunden geleistet. „Die EC135 der Heereswaffenfliegerschule sind eine Erfolgsgeschichte. Die Schulungshubschrauber überzeugen durch ihre Verlässlichkeit und sehr hohe Verfügbarkeit. Zudem eignen sie sich optimal zur Vorbereitung unserer künftigen Piloten für die modernen Waffensysteme“, sagte Oberst Grathwol, Leiter der Lehre und Ausbildung sowie stellvertretender Kommandeur der Heeresfliegerwaffenschule. Das Ausbildungskonzept mit den Schulungshubschraubern stellt die erste vollständige Systembetreuung in der Geschichte der Bundeswehr dar. Die Piloten werden an hochmoderner Flugsteuerungs- und Cockpit-Systemarchitektur für ihre spätere Einsatzflugausbildung auf den Hubschraubermustern CH53, MK41, MK88 sowie NH90 und Tiger vorbereitet. Zum kooperativen Modell zwischen Militär und Industrie zählt auch der Betrieb von acht EC135- Simulatoren, auf denen die zukünftigen Hubschrauberpiloten 60 Prozent ihrer erforderlichen Flugstunden absolvieren. Jährlich erlernen zukünftige Piloten von Heer, Luftwaffe sowie der Marine in mehreren Lehrgängen das Fliegen unter fordernden Bedingungen bei Tag und Nacht, im Geländetiefflug, im Gebirge sowie nach Instrumentenflugregeln (IFR). Die Heeresfliegerwaffenschule bietet die Ausbildung auch für befreundete Nationen als Dienstleistung an. In der Vergangenheit nutzten dies unter anderem Schweden, Spanien, Estland, Australien und Neuseeland.
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Eurocopter eröffnet neues Entwicklungszentrum in Donauwörth

Eurocopter eröffnet neues Entwicklungszentrum in Donauwörth | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Bei Eurocopter in Donauwörth werden Hubschrauber künftig unter einem Dach entwickelt und gefertigt. Der Hubschrauberhersteller hat am 14. Mai 2013 mit dem bayerischen Ministerpräsidenten Horst Seehofer sein neues Entwicklungszentrum mit rund 900 Arbeitsplätzen eingeweiht.

 

Das neue Entwicklungszentrum ermöglicht Eurocopter in Deutschland den vollständigen Lebenszyklus von Hubschraubern an einem Standort zu gestalten: von Forschung, Entwicklung und Prototypenbau über die Fertigung und Endmontage bis hin zu Training, Wartung und Produktverbesserung. Rund 900 Mitarbeiter wechseln hierzu vom Firmensitz Ottobrunn nach Donauwörth. Die Anzahl der Beschäftigten am Standort Donauwörth wächst auf rund 6.500 an. „Die heutige Einweihung des Systemhauses ist ein entscheidender Baustein der industriellen Strategie von Eurocopter. Mit der vollen Systemfähigkeit zur Entwicklung, Produktion und Wartung von Hubschraubern an unserem deutschen Standort in Donauwörth schaffen wir erhebliche Vorteile für unsere Produkt- und Technologiezyklen“, sagte Eurocopter-CEO Guillaume Faury. „Von dieser nachhaltigen Investition und ihren weitreichenden Auswirkungen werden sowohl unsere Kunden und als auch unsere Wettbewerbsfähigkeit profitieren.“ Ministerpräsident Seehofer erklärte hierzu in Donauwörth: „Mit der Konzentration von Entwicklung, Fertigung und Wartung in Donauwörth stärkt Eurocopter die eigene Kompetenz und Leistungsfähigkeit und zugleich die gesamte bayerische Luftfahrtindustrie. Beim Wettlauf um die Zukunft müssen wir immer einen Schritt innovativer und eine Stufe besser sein. Eurocopter zeigt, wie es geht: Das neue Systemhaus von Eurocopter ist High-Tech und Innovation pur, es ist ein Aushängeschild für den Luftfahrtstandort Bayern." „Das Systemhaus in Donauwörth gehört in die Reihe wichtiger Investitionsvorhaben, die EADS in Deutschland, speziell in Bayern, aufgesetzt hat. Premium AEROTEC hat in Augsburg ein neues Engineering Center eingeweiht. Astrium in Ottobrunn errichtet eine neue Anlage zum Bau von Triebwerken. Der geplante Forschungscampus in Ottobrunn nimmt ebenfalls Gestalt an. Das sind gute Nachrichten für die Regionen und für EADS: Wir stärken den traditionsreichen Luft- und Raumfahrtstandort Deutschland und schaffen optimale Voraussetzungen, um die Markposition des Konzerns weiter auszubauen“, sagte EADS-CEO Tom Enders. In dem Neubau sind neben Büros auch modernste Test- und Forschungsanlagen untergebracht; unter anderem Simulatoren, Avionik-Trainer, Labore, Testzentren und der Prototypenshop. Zudem ist das Systemunterstützungszentrum (SUZ) für die Hubschrauberflotte der Bundeswehr, wie die Transporthubschrauber NH90, CH-53 oder den Kampfhubschrauber Tiger, Bestandteil der Innovationsschmiede. Durch die räumliche Nähe von Design und Produktion ist nunmehr eine deutlich engere Vernetzung der einzelnen Fachbereiche möglich. Kürzere Kommunikationswege entlang Lichthöfen, Galerien und zentralen Besprechungsräumen fördern den persönlichen Austausch und reduzieren so die Reaktionszeiten. Auf dem Weg zum neuen Hubschrauberentwicklungsprogramm X9, das schwerpunktmäßig am Standort Donauwörth realisiert werden soll, ist das eine wichtige Voraussetzung. Seit Baubeginn im Juli 2011 hat Eurocopter rund 100 Mio. Euro in das Projekt Entwicklungszentrum investiert. Mit einer Gesamtfläche von 30.000 Quadratmetern war das Gebäude das größte Bauvorhaben der Region. Um der wachsenden Anzahl an Mitarbeitern auf dem Eurocopter-Gelände in Donauwörth gerecht zu werden, ist im Rahmen der Erweiterungsmaßnahmen auch eine neue Kantine entstanden. Darüber hinaus wird in unmittelbarer Nähe des Werks eine Kindertagesstätte mit rund 50 Betreuungsplätzen errichtet. Durch den Bau eines werksinternen Blockheizkraftwerks deckt Eurocopter in Donauwörth künftig knapp die Hälfte seines Energiebedarfs. Ein mit dem Systemhaus vergleichbares Projekt ist am südfranzösischen Standort Marignane nahe Marseille im Entstehen. Auch dort wird im Zuge der nachhaltigen Innovations- und Technologiestrategie von Eurocopter ein neues Entwicklungszentrum errichtet.

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Meet Boeing’s Phantom Badger light tactical vehicle - V22 Internally Transportable Vehicle

Meet Boeing’s Phantom Badger light tactical vehicle - V22 Internally Transportable Vehicle | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The V22 Internally Transportable Vehicle, as the official nomenclature goes, has been developed with the help of MSI Defense Solutions,  reportedly employing NASCAR racing technologies with the vehicle.

It's Boeing's proposal for a vehicle able to be internally transported inside a V-22 Osprey tilt rotor, but is more capable and more sturdily built than an ATV.

Finished in the correct tan hue, it looks like a narrowed-down-version of the original HMMWV. It's been tested at Fort Bragg and the Nevada Automotive Testing Center, to make sure it stands up to the job it's applying for. It has four-wheel steering, enhanced shock absorbers, and is claimed to be "relatively comfortable" for what it is, something that an ATV would have a hard time to match. The Phantom Badger also features mission-specific modules behind the front seats, so it can be quickly modified depending of the task at hand.

 

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First F-35B Vertical Takeoff Test

An F-35B test aircraft completes the first-ever vertical takeoff (VTO) at NAS Patuxent River, Md., on May 10, 2013. While not a capability used in combat, VTOs are required for repositioning of the STOVL in environments where a jet could not perform a short takeoff. In these cases, the jet, with a limited amount of fuel, would execute a VTO to travel a short distance.

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Airbus Aims at Huge Export Market for A400M

Airbus Aims at Huge Export Market for A400M | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Now that its A400M has won its European certification, and with the first production aircraft due to be delivered to the French air force later this month, Airbus Military is ready to begin to seriously market the aircraft world-wide.


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Request for proposals issued in VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program

Request for proposals issued in VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program | D-FENS | Scoop.it
The race is on — again — to select the next helicopter for the President of the United States. On May 3, the U.S. Navy issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program, officially launching the latest competition to replace the aging fleet of VH-3D Sea King and VH-60N White Hawk helicopters operated by Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1). Proposals are due in 90 days with a goal to award a fixed-price incentive engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract, with production options, by mid-calendar year 2014. “Our acquisition approach includes a full and open competition to select a prime contractor that can best integrate mature subsystems into an air vehicle currently in production for an affordable solution that meets mission requirements,” stated Captain Dean Peters, the program manager charged with development of the replacement aircraft, in a Naval Air Systems Command Press Release. “We’re seeking a technically viable, cost-effective vertical lift aircraft to replace the current fleet as these reach the end of their useful service life. The Department of the Navy is committed to deliver a safe and reliable new Presidential Helicopter fleet, while maintaining the In-Service Fleet until that replacement is fielded.” The Marine Corps currently operates 11 VH-3D and eight VH-60N helicopters. Both aircraft are well past their original 20-year service life expectations: the VH-3Ds were originally placed in service in 1974 and 1975, while the VH-60s entered service in the 1980s. But the VH-71 program that was intended to replace the fleet with a platform based on the AgustaWestland EH101 (now AW101) was cancelled in 2009 after four years of skyrocketing development costs that were projected to hit $13 billion, double the initial budget for the project. (The Canadian Department of National Defence later purchased nine VH-71 airframes in various stages of completion for $164 million Cdn.; although they were originally purchased for spare parts, the Canadian government is now reportedly investigating whether they can be made operational.) The Navy is anxious to avoid a repeat of the VH-71 experience. In a draft RFP issued in November 2012, the Navy encouraged prospective bidders to propose an existing, in-production helicopter platform for the VXX program. “It is the government's desire to hold development to an absolute minimum on the VXX program and focus the program effort on integration of mature subsystems on a mature platform,” the draft RFP stated. But the bidders this time around may not look too different from last time. On April 30, AgustaWestland North America CEO R. Scott Rettig told media, including Vertical, that he sees the VXX program as a “two-horse race” between a platform based on the AW101 and one based on the Sikorsky S-92. “Having won the initial VXX competition the first time with the AW101, against even tougher requirements, we are excited to be teamed with Northrop Grumman to evaluate the opportunity to win again,” he said. “The AW101 is a combat-proven aircraft with the inherent safety features and design that are ideal for the Marine One mission.” Meantime, AgustaWestland’s original partner on the VH-71 program, Lockheed Martin, has partnered with Sikorsky to offer an S-92 platform for the Marine One helicopter fleet. In a statement issued on May 3, Sikorsky said, “Sikorsky brings unmatched experience, having flown every commander in chief since President Eisenhower. When combined with Lockheed Martin’s systems integration expertise, our team provides unparalleled knowledge of Presidential helicopter transport.” Boeing previously indicated that it would consider submitting a proposal based on the CH-47 Chinook or the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, but it has not confirmed its entry into the competition. According to the Navy, during the EMD phase of the VXX program, the selected contractor will provide six test aircraft, four of which will become operational aircraft. During the production phase, the RFP calls for 17 operational aircraft (four in low-rate initial production (LRIP) 1, five in LRIP 2 and eight in full-rate production), for a fleet total of 21 aircraft. The scope of the RFP also includes associated support equipment for the aircraft, integration of mature, government-defined mission systems into an existing aircraft, development of a training system, including a flight training device and a maintenance training device; logistics, engineering and test and evaluation support; and the appropriate security environment. In other Navy procurement news, the Navy is holding an industry day this week for the MH-XX Maritime Capabilities Assessment (CBA), which seeks to “ascertain capability gaps incurred with aging and expected retirement of the MH-60 Seahawk helicopters beginning in the 2028 timeframe.” The Navy issued a request for information for the CBA last month; responses are due on May 21.
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OH-58F Kiowa first flight

OH-58F Kiowa first flight | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The “cockpit and sensor upgrade program,” called CASUP, converts OH-58D Kiowa Warriors into OH-58F models. The CASUP program is “designed to address obsolescence in the aircraft as well as the capabilities of the sensor,” said Col. Robert Grigsby, project manager, Armed Scout Helicopters.
Perhaps the biggest change to the aircraft is that the familiar sensor ball, which is mast-mounted above the rotor in older models, has been moved down to the front of the aircraft. The nose-mounted common sensor payload includes improved optics, an infra-red sensor, laser pointer and laser spot tracker.

Cockpit And Sensor Upgrade Program (CASUP) will address additional capabilities, safety enhancements and obsolescence issues to allow the aircraft to safely serve as the Army’s day/night, armed-reconnaissance, aviation platform until 2025 or when replaced/retired. The CASUP will convert the OH-58D to the OH-58F configuration. Efforts include upgrading to Control Display Subsystem version 5 (CDS 5), adding a second AN/ARC-231 SATCOM radio, adding a third multifunction display (MFD), + armament enhancements. Further, the CASUP will replace the mast mounted sight with an advanced nose-mounted sensor, and other weight and obsolescence reduction upgrades. The new sensor, the Raytheon AN/AAS-53 Common Sensor Payload, includes cutting-edge sensing technologies such as an advanced infrared camera, a color Electro-Optical camera and an image intensifier.

Not bad for a helo that was first used by the Army in 1969.

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Flugbetrieb über Celle wird zunehmen - MBB Bo105 - Heeresfliegerausbildungszentrum C

Flugbetrieb über Celle wird zunehmen - MBB Bo105 - Heeresfliegerausbildungszentrum C | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Oberstleutnant Hermann Grube, Leiter des Heeresfliegerausbildungszentrums C in Wietzenbruch, verweist im Rahmen der Lärmschutzkommission vor Politikern aus dem Celler Land darauf, dass der Standort Celle von dem Umstand profitiere, dass die neuen Hubschrauber vom Typ NH-90 und „Tiger“ verspätet an die Truppe ausgeliefert würden. Die dadurch entstandene Lücke schließe derzeit der betagte Helikopter vom Typ BO-105, so Grube. Wietzenbruch werde letztes Refugium der BO seni, die eigentlich schon längst hätte ausgemustert sein sollen: „Jetzt kommen alle BO-105 der Bundeswehr hierher nach Celle.“ Entweder würden sie für den Flugbetrieb genutzt, als Ersatzteillager „kannibalisiert“ oder für den Verkauf fertig gemacht. 

25 Hubschrauber seien 2012 in der Immelmann-Kaserne stationiert gewesen, so Grube. Diese Zahl werde sich 2013 verdoppeln und 2014 auf 60 anwachsen. Gleichzeitig werde die Zahl der Flugstunden von 3750 im vergangenen Jahr über 4500 in 2013 auf 5000 im Jahr 2014 ansteigen. Grube: „Es könnte sein, dass wir 2014 für kurze Zeit der größte fliegende Verband der Bundeswehr sind.“ Unklar sei, ob 2015 neue Hubschrauber einträfen oder ob es „neue Ideen“ zum fliegerischen Auftrag gebe, so der Standortälteste. Geplant seien derzeit für 2015 rund 6200 Flugstunden. Eine Zahl, die sich im Jahr 2016 auf 3000 verringern sollte.

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EADS North America/American Eurocopter delivers 250th on-time, on-budget UH-72A Lakota helicopter to U.S. Army

EADS North America/American Eurocopter delivers 250th on-time, on-budget UH-72A Lakota helicopter to U.S. Army | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Combined Lakota fleet passes 150,000 flight hours, maintains 90% availability

 

The U.S. Army has fielded the 250th UH-72A Lakota helicopter delivered to Army and National Guard units by EADS North America since 2006. Every Lakota – including an additional five produced for the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School – has been delivered on time and on budget, by an American workforce that is more than 50 percent U.S. military veterans.

The combined Lakota fleet’s operations have now exceeded 150,000 flight hours, while maintaining greater than 90 percent availability. The Lakota is the Army’s newest helicopter, with the lowest cost to fly, own and operate of any U.S. military helicopter in production.

The Lakota is manufactured at EADS North America’s American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Miss.

“In today’s budget environment, the Pentagon needs programs that deliver what’s been promised, and we’re proud to have worked with the Army to field this capability unfailingly on schedule and on cost,” said Sean O’Keefe, EADS North America Chairman and CEO.

Army Lt. Col. David Cheney, the UH-72A Product Manager, stated, “The UH-72A Lakota helicopter program continues on schedule, within budget and is serving the Soldier very well. The success of this aircraft and program is a testament to EADS North America's team's determination to provide the best support for the Army and homeland security missions.”

The 250th Army Lakota will be operated out of Oklahoma City by the Oklahoma National Guard. It is the latest of 54 Lakotas delivered with the Security and Support (S&S) Battalion mission equipment package, which expands the Lakota’s capabilities for missions ranging from disaster response to border security operations.

The S&S configuration includes a moving map, EO/IR sensor, digital video recording capability, digital and analog downlink, and a searchlight. Army National Guard units across the country currently operate Lakotas equipped with the S&S Battalion MEP, including extensive operations along the U.S. southwest border for border security and drug interdiction.

A combination of full contractor logistics support (CLS) for the active Army and hybrid CLS for the Army National Guard enables the units to operate the Lakota in accordance with their flying hour plan. The Army program office, military units, and the industry team of EADS North America, American Eurocopter and Helicopter Support International has provided tailored program logistics to the Army and Army National Guard since 2006.

The Lakota fleet has averaged an operational availability rate greater than 90 percent for locations with full contractor logistics support, encompassing 21 different military units. Spare parts fill rate under the hybrid CLS concept supporting 33 units has averaged 97 percent.

The UH-72A is a Defense Acquisition Category (ACAT) I major defense acquisition program, and was one of the most rapid introductions of a new aircraft in the U.S. Army’s history. Deliveries of the aircraft to National Guard units allow aging OH-58 and UH-1 rotary-wing aircraft to be retired, while UH-72As assigned to the active component of the U.S. Army free up UH-60 Black Hawks for assignment to combat missions.

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US confirms V-22 Osprey sale to Israel

US confirms V-22 Osprey sale to Israel | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The US has confirmed its intention to sell the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor to Israel as part of a comprehensive defence package, in what will be the first international export of the aircraft, it has been confirmed.

Speaking at a press conference in Tel Aviv on 22 April, US defence secretary Chuck Hagel revealed that the new defence package for Israel includes an unconfirmed number of V-22 Ospreys as well as KC-135 refuelling aircraft and new anti-radiation missiles and radars.

‘The new radar and anti-radiation missiles, along with Israel's participation in the Joint Strike Fighter programme, ensures that Israel will maintain air superiority for the next generation.  The introduction of the V-22 into the Israeli Air Force will give the Israeli Air Force long-range, high-speed, maritime search-and-rescue capabilities to deal with a number of threats and contingencies,’ Hagel stated.

He noted that despite the current financial constraints, the US administration had ensured that Israel will receive a record $3.1 billion in foreign military financing this year and was working on a new multi-year memorandum of understanding to extend funding beyond 2017.

Hagel also stated that the Department of Defense had requested another $220 million in the fiscal year 2014 defence budget request for Israel to acquire additional Iron Dome batteries.  

Confirmation of Israel’s potential purchase of the V-22 is a significant boost to the Bell-Boeing team behind the development of the tiltrotor, which has until now only been able to highlight several government-to-government exchanges about the capabilities of the Osprey without any FMS materialising.

Bell-Boeing is also currently trying to convince the US Navy that the Osprey would be a suitable replacement for the current C-2 cargo transport aircraft for the carrier onboard delivery role.

In December 2011, the impressions of two Israeli Air Force (IAF) helicopter pilots who test flew the V-22 Osprey at MCAS New River, North Carolina earlier that year were revealed. The pilots were quoted on the IAF’s website as saying that the V-22 would need to find a new role within the air arm rather than replace another aircraft.

'We realised that the plane will absolutely change the name of the game. It will be able to carry out operations that we never imagined that one of our planes could execute. If we purchase the plane, our ranges of activity will dramatically change and we'll be able to reach points we've never even dreamed of,' one pilot was quoted as saying.

While the evaluation team recognised the V-22’s long-range capabilities, they also felt that the aircraft offered only a few advantages over traditional helicopters.

'While some of the operations would have changed completely with its help, there are some that would not have been altered at all. For example, in the situation in which we needed to bring back forces from Lebanon, I suspect that the [V-22] had no real advantages. It's safe to assume that when evacuating injured people inside Israel, the plane would be a less efficient choice, but when rescuing from far away land, using the plane would make a significant difference.'

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NAVAIR poised to issue final RfP for presidential helicopter - VXX Programme

NAVAIR poised to issue final RfP for presidential helicopter - VXX Programme | D-FENS | Scoop.it

US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has signaled its intent to enter the final phase of a strategy to source a new presidential helicopter. 

In a pre-solicitation notice issued on 18 April, NAVAIR confirmed plans to release a final Request for Proposal (RfP) to conduct a ‘full and open competition’ for the Presidential Helicopter Replacement Programme (VXX). 

The VXX aircraft will replace the existing fleet of ageing VH-3D and VH-60N aircraft currently used to support presidential missions.

NAVAIR’s announcement follows a report released earlier in April by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) endorsing the navy’s revised business case, confirming the VXX programme had made ‘progress in the rational balance between requirements, costs and schedule’.  

The navy’s original fleet replacement programme, designated VH-71, was terminated in June 2009 due to runaway costs, schedule delays and a projected shortfall in system performance.  

At the time of termination, VH-71 programme costs had ballooned from $6.5 billion to an estimated $13 billion; as a consequence the follow-on programme has been subject to an annual review by the GAO.  

In 2011 the navy produced an analysis of alternatives (AoA), vetting options on how to proceed with the procurement of new presidential helicopters. However the report failed to establish a ‘cost effective solution’ causing delays to the programme while it was revised. 

The finalised AoA was ratified in 2012, and promoted an acquisition approach leveraging mature technologies that will be developed from outside of the VXX programme before fitting them to an in-production airframe. 

This approach would allow the programme to begin in the engineering and manufacturing phase of the Department of Defense’s acquisition process.

According to the study, this approach would save $1.5 billion (19.7%), and reduce the overall schedule by about 18 months when compared to 2010 estimates.

The April GAO report identified several key areas of the VXX programme that would need to be prudently managed to avoid previous errors being repeated, and underscored the importance of avoiding significant deviations throughout the acquisition process: 

‘Subsequent requirement changes will need to be considered carefully in the context of their implications for cost, schedule, risk and performance and the programme will need to effectively manage technology maturation and integration to achieve success,’ the report cautioned. 

As an example, the report pointed to weight growth of the platform during the development phase as a possible catalyst for modifications that could require a flight recertification.  

‘Having a weight margin [..] will place the programme in a better position in future to more readily enhance the platform over its anticipated 40-year life service,’ it added.

NAVAIR issued a draft RfP to industry in November 2012 inviting input on a range of technical areas, including feedback on the VXX performance based specifications (PBS) requirements, airworthiness, C-17 transportability and mission system integration. 

Included in the draft RfP was an explicit requirement for manufacturers to propose an ‘existing, in-production platform’ that has already been certified by the FAA. 

‘It is the government’s desire to hold development to an absolute minimum on the VXX programme, and focus the programme effort on integration of mature subsystems on a mature platform,’ the RfP said. 

‘While minor changes to the platform to accommodate integration of subsystems are inevitable, change to major components such as drive train, rotors, engines and basic structure is highly discouraged. In keeping with this approach, offerers will be encouraged not to propose any design elements that contain immature technology elements.’ 

A concurrent programme is being run between the Presidential Helicopters Program Office (PMA-274) and the Naval Air Warfare Center – Aircraft Division to assemble an executive communications suite using off-the-shelf components for the VXX aircraft. 

The system will use analogue radio terminals and a digital, Internet Protocol-based network architecture using currently available hardware. 

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Rolls-Royce sells helicopter engine share to Safran

Rolls-Royce sells helicopter engine share to Safran | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Safran has reached an agreement with Rolls-Royce to acquire its 50% share in their joint RTM322 helicopter engine programme, the company announced on 23 April.

The €293 million transaction will give Turbomeca, Safran’s helicopter engine business, global responsibility for the design, production, product support and services for the RTM 322 engine, a 2,100-2,600 shp engine family equipping the Apache, AW101 and NH90 helicopters. The agreement also includes the aftermarket business opportunity for the existing fleet.

The transaction further covers the intellectual property rights as well as Rolls-Royce’s 50% share in the RRTM (Rolls-Royce-Turbomeca) joint venture. It is expected that the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, will close before the end of the year.

In a statement Safran said that the RTM322 is a ‘priority programme’ for Turbomeca and the company is committed to its continued technical and commercial development. The transaction also enables Turbomeca to further innovate and develop new engines in the more powerful 3,000 shp+ helicopter engine segment.

‘In the next 15 years, Turbomeca aims to supply about 3,500 engines, on existing military platforms as well as future civilian and military platforms in the 8-13 tons range, with continuous requirement for higher engine power,’ the statement said.

The Rolls-Royce share of RTM322 generates an annual revenue of approximately €85 million, of which services account for the major part.

During the transition phase, in which Rolls-Royce will provide full support to transfer all activities, Turobomeca will streamline all organisation and processes. Benefits resulting from the consolidation and new commercial opportunities are expected by Safran to represent an additional contribution of €30 million to its annual operating income.

Safran also stated that the Adour engine programme cooperation between Rolls-Royce and Turbomeca, which powers the Hawk and Jaquar aircraft, is unaffected by this transaction.

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Eurocopter reveals optionally piloted EC145 - OPV - optionally piloted vehicle

Eurocopter reveals optionally piloted EC145 - OPV - optionally piloted vehicle | D-FENS | Scoop.it

Eurocopter has validated its EC145 helicopter in an optionally piloted vehicle (OPV) role following a successful series of flight tests using its testbed demonstrator.

Demonstrated to a media briefing at Istres AFB in France on 25 April, the aircraft flew in both a piloted and unmanned mode, which was the third unmanned flight for the technology demonstrator although some 28 flights of the platform have been flown to date.

‘This OPV is a very basic and simple concept,’ Jean-Brice Dumont, executive VP of engineering at Eurocopter, said. ‘We consider this a real success; a technological success because we achieved what we wanted to achieve.’

Acknowledging that in rotary programmes targets are not always achieved, he said the company aimed to have the concept validated in time for the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget this June, and also said that the programme was meeting cost targets.

‘It shows after a programme like X-Cube our ability to innovate,’ Dumont explained. ‘It also shows an excellent relationship with the authorities…this is not a standard or normal flight.’

He said the concept simply requires ‘an extra box’, while the real effort comes from ensuring that it is safe to fly.

Meanwhile, Roland Gassenmayer, project manager for innovation at Eurocopter, said that the hushed programme was thought up in September 2011, and it took a ‘small team of engaged people’ for it to come to fruition.  

‘This was the first unmanned flight of a helicopter for Eurocopter; we had to integrate secure data flow into the ground systems and autopilot.’

The company will eventually apply this concept to other aircraft in its family when it has matured further, with Dumont describing it as ‘platform agnostic’. The EC145 was chosen because of its popularity, and customer discussions will lead to a decision of whether to apply this to a heavier or lighter aircraft next.

The military market is expected to be the first adopters of Eurocopter’s OPV concept as they have ‘the clearest means’ towards this type of operation.

Dumont also admitted that Eurocopter is ‘running a race’ with other OEMs that are adopting their platforms to this technology type, but said the company is simply working to ensure that the system is reliable enough to meet requirements at the moment.

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NAVAIR looks to future Seahawk replacement - Sikorsky MH-60

NAVAIR looks to future Seahawk replacement - Sikorsky MH-60 | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The US Navy is starting to look at replacement options for its MH-60 Seahawk helicopters, with fleet retirement expected to commence in 2028.

The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) issued a formal request for information (RfI) on 18 April to canvas industry feedback regarding ship-based, maritime helicopter key capabilities over the next 12 years.   

The RfI was issued in response to a request from the Director for Air Warfare (OPNAV N98) that NAVAIR Warfare Analysis and Integration Department (AIR-4.10) conduct a capabilities based assessment (CBA) of the Seahawk in the 2028 timeframe to ascertain possible performance shortfalls incurred with age.

The RfI said that the research is being conducted within the context of ‘an increasingly sophisticated near-peer threat’, and evaluates MH-60 supported mission areas across a broad range of scenarios.

Specifically, eight representative tactical situations (TACSITs) were defined and assessed for capability gaps, encompassing elements of surface warfare, deep and shallow water anti-submarine warfare, mine warfare, and navy special warfare.  Combat search and rescue, logistics support, medical evacuation and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief capabilities were also evaluated. 

Also as part of the CBA, AIR-4.10 is seeking industry feedback regarding technical or systems based solutions to identified gaps in MH-60 supported mission areas, with a specific focus on potential game-changing capabilities and timelines for development programs. 

A classified industry day will be held on 7 May at Avian Engineering in Lexington Park, MD during which additional information will be provided detailing the expected operational environment, as well as top level maritime-centric capability gaps and critical insights from the on-going CBA.  

The cut-off date for submissions of technologies or systems is 21 May 2013.

The Seahawk fleet is made up of the MH-60R Romeo, and the MH-60S Sierra. The MH-60R is an anti-submarine (ASW)/anti-surface warfare (ASuW) multi-mission helicopter, and is deployed globally within the US navy fleet. 

The MH-60 S is configured for SAR and MEDEVAC, and is also utilised for utility and vertical replenishment missions, maritime security and counter-drug operations.  

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First A400M "ATLAS" nears IOC status

First A400M "ATLAS" nears IOC status | D-FENS | Scoop.it

The first production A400M is expected to be delivered to the French Air Force and achieve military initial operation capability (IOC) in the second quarter of 2013.

Known as MSN-7, the first aircraft flew on 6 March and is undergoing final testing at the Airbus Military facility in Seville.

Damien Allard, marketing development manager at Airbus Military, told Shephard that it will be delivered after it achieves military certification from France.

The first French Air Force mechanics and pilots completed their training courses in February and the first qualified A400M crew was ready in April following the initial flight.

Two more aircraft (MSN-8 and MSN-10) will be delivered to the French Air Force with a single aircraft (MSN-9) destined for the Turkish Air Force this year. Production is expected to ramp up from 2014 to achieve a rate of 2.5 aircraft per month from 2015.

Parts of the A400M aircraft are manufactured in the UK, Germany, and France and are sent to Seville for final assembly and integration. In hall H1.1 the parts are brought together to create a structurally complete aircraft, although without the engines and some inner linings and panels.

The aircraft then moves to hall H1.2 to complete ground testing and installation. This is where all the systems from hydraulics and pneumatics to electrical and flight systems are checked apart from radio and fuel systems – which have to be completed outside for safety reasons.

MSN-8, the second French aircraft, is currently on the tarmac completing the radio and fuel tests to prepare for its first flight. The first Turkish aircraft, MSN-9, and the third French aircraft, MSN-10, are in hall H1.2 and the fourth French aircraft, MSN-11, is undergoing assembly in hall H1.1.

There are eight initial customers for the A400M. France wants 50 aircraft; Turkey ten; Germany will begin to receive the first of its 53 aircraft along with the first of 22 for the UK from 2014.

Malaysia will begin to receive the first of four aircraft from 2015 and Spain will see the first of its order of 27 from 2016. Belgium has orders for seven and Luxembourg has an order for one aircraft which will enter production in 2019.

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