AgustaWestland and Northrop Grumman have teamed to offer the three-engine AW101 for the U.S. Air Force Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) requirement, the successor program of the cancelled CSAR-X. The companies will offer the same type for the Navy’s VXX program to replace the U.S. presidential helicopter. That acquisition was originally awarded to AgustaWestland teamed with Lockheed Martin for the VH-71 Kestrel version of the AW101 but later cancelled.
Defense » Military Aircraft
News and issues relating to the defense aerospace business, with emphasis on current/in-use, in-development and prospective programs for manned military aircraft and unmanned combat aircraft vehicles (UCAVs).
South Africa’s government-owned Denel industrial group dominated the news at last week’s African Aerospace and Defence 2012 show, held at Waterkloof AFB near Pretoria. Just before the show’s opening Denel Aerostructures signed a renegotiated agreement with Airbus Military covering manufacture of top shells and wing/fuselage fairings for the A400M airlifter.
The South African Air Force (SAAF) received the final four of 26 Gripen fighters this month, as well as its ninth and tenth upgraded Rooivalk attack helicopters.
The first Sukhoi Su-30SM two-seat multirole fighter performed its maiden flight on September 21, followed four days later by the second Su-30SM. Sukhoi test pilot Sergei Kostin and navigator Pavel Malovechko served as the crew on both occasions. Flight durations were two hours and one hour 40 minutes, respectively, and both flights were uneventful. Both missions originated from the aerodrome of the Irkutsk Aviation Plant (IAZ) in Western Siberia. IAZ is the main manufacturing site for Irkut.
For a journalist, the best part of attending the annual EAA AirVenture extravaganza in Oshkosh, Wis., is that often serendipity reigns, and the result is an entirely unexpected bonus, in this case the opportunity to fly Embraer’s EMB-314 Super Tucano light attack turboprop.
Imagery emerged on the Internet last weekend showing China’s latest stealth fighter in prototype form. With fifth-generation characteristics, it bears a distinct resemblance to the Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor and F-35A/C Lightning II stealth fighter designs, and appears to be similar in size to the latter. Photos of the twin-engine aircraft on the ground at an unidentified airfield–possibly Xian-Yanliang airbase–were leaked the day before U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta started a three-day visit to Beijing. Could this be mere coincidence?
An Indian negotiating team is heading for Russia to finalize details of the country’s participation in development of the Sukhoi T-50, also known by the Russian acronym PAK FA and by India as the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). India is providing half of the expected $11 billion cost to develop the aircraft, and earlier signed a preliminary design contract worth $295 million.
Airbus Military says it hopes to resume, in November, the remaining 140 hours of function and reliability flight-testing that is required before its A400M airlifter can be granted a full type certificate. The flights with MSN6, the first production-representative aircraft, were suspended in July because of the repeated detection of metallic chips in the oil system of one of the TP400 engines.
EADS Cassidian reports positive results from a third flight-test campaign conducted recently from Goose Bay, Canada, with the second prototype Barracuda UAV. Five flights during June and July each lasted up to one hour and proved various new mission modes, including autonomous 4-D navigation and cooperative flying with a second UAV. Unlike the previous two campaigns in 2009 and 2010, the latest flights were funded entirely by the company.
At first glance, the proposed merger between EADS and BAE should not pose problems for competition regulators on either side of the Atlantic, from a defense perspective. There is very little overlap between the businesses. “It’s a great strategic fit,” one EADS official told AIN. However, that may not stop companies such as Finmeccanica or Thales from raising questions about the consolidation of first-tier defense contractors in Europe.