AgustaWestland is promoting three of its civil helicopters for proposed U.S. Department of Defense programs. Two of the three, the AW119 single and the AW139 medium twin, are built at the company’s Philadelphia plant.
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).
After four years of flight tests, the first upgraded Lockheed Martin C-5M Super Galaxy was redelivered to the U.S. Air Force late last month. The most significant of the more than 70 changes in the reliability enhancement and re-engining program is the replacement of the four GE TF39 turbofans with modern GE CF6-80C2 engines that deliver 22 percent more thrust, improved fuel consumption and lower noise.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified a potential sale to Sweden of 15 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters. Estimated at a value of $546 million, the request also covers 34 General Electric T700-GE-701D turboshaft engines and 15 defensive aid sets, each comprising AAR-57(V)3 missile warning, APR-39 radar warning and AVR-2B laser warning systems.
Saab sprung a major surprise earlier this month by announcing an order worth some $680 million for its Erieye AEW&C (airborne early warning and control) system from an unidentified customer. The number of Saab 2000 platforms was also unspecified. Saab said the contract covers ground equipment, logistics and support, and will run for approximately 4.5 years.
The first Airbus A330 future strategic tanker aircraft (FSTA) for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) made its first flight after conversion on September 13. Three days later, the British legislature published a report that heavily criticized the $16 billion-plus procurement of the RAF’s new tankers via a private finance initiative (PFI).
Last week Denel Aviation delivered the first fully upgraded Rooivalk back to the South African Air Force (SAAF). After testing, the indigenous attack helicopter will finally get its type certificate and be inducted into the SAAF as the Rooivalk Mk 1. The SAAF’s No. 16 Squadron has been semi-operational on the type for a number of years, but the fleet has suffered problems.
Airlift manufacturers were prominent at last month’s African Aerospace and Defence show in Cape Town, highlighting the need of the South African Air Force (SAAF) to renew its air transport fleet.
The EADS Barracuda UCAV technology demonstrator performed a new flight-test campaign at Goose Bay, Canada. The company flew four missions focusing on sense-and-avoid capabilities; auto-taxi systems; flight-testing of a structurally integrated antenna; and the exercising of an image exploitation chain, including an automatic target detection system. The UCAV was carrying an EO/IR sensor provided by Zeiss.
Singapore last week confirmed its choice of the Alenia Aermacchi M346 advanced jet trainer to replace the aging TA-4S Skyhawks its air force operates. Deliveries will begin in 2012. Prime contractor ST Aerospace will manage the $412 million deal to supply 12 aircraft plus spares, and a ground-based training system (GBTS).
Starting next month, Canada’s government will take delivery of six interim CH-148 Cyclone multi-mission, ship-based helicopters ahead of 2012 deliveries of the finished version. The interim version will have partially compliant mission system software and slightly lower performance specs than the finished version. The fly-by-wire CH-148 derives from the civil S-92 medium twin.