Three of the four Sukhoi T-50 prototypes now flying came together in formation over the Moscow Air Show at Zhukovsky this week. According to the organizers of MAKS 2013, one-third of the more than 1,000 exhibiting companies were from abroad.
More than 8,000 Russian rotorcraft are in operation in more than hundred countries around the world–twenty types and around forty variants with major upgrades. Their manufacturer, Russian Helicopters (Hall 2a, Stand C198), which claims it has 14 percent of the world’s fleet, reported a profit of Roubles 9.4 billion ($300 million) in 2012–and a hefty 21 percent rise in revenues, to RUB125.7 billion.
The U.S. Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate selected Bell Helicopter Textron, a Boeing-Sikorsky team and AVX Aircraft among contractors invited to participate in the joint multi-role technology demonstrator (JMR-TD) program with new rotorcraft designs, the companies confirmed. They expect the Army will award JMR-TD contracts by September. The first demonstrator flights are planned in 2017.
During a press conference at last week’s Heli-Expo convention in Las Vegas, Kamov general designer Sergei Mikheyev dropped something of a bombshell when he revealed that the Kamov Design Bureau had produced the initial conceptual design for China’s Changhe (CAIC) Z-10 attack helicopter. Having made its public debut at last year’s Zhuhai airshow, the Z-10 is in the early stages of production and has entered service with at least one Chinese army unit.
As the first new model introduced since Lynn Tilton’s Patriarch Partners bought MD Helicopters (MDHI) in 2005–and rescued the manufacturer from the brink of collapse–the MD 540F armed scout helicopter not only marks the continued evolution of a storied platform that traces its lineage back to the Hughes 500D. It also symbolizes renewed hope for the company’s future.
Bell Helicopter delivered the 100th copy of a planned total of 349 H-1 helicopters during a ceremony at its Amarillo Assembly Center earlier this year. The U.S. Marine Corps H-1 helicopter program comprises both the UH-1Y utility helicopter and the AH-1Z attack helicopters.
Neelam Mathews and Vladimir Karnozov contributed to this report.
Helicopters were much in the news at the Aero India show this week. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) showed the armed version of its advanced light helicopter (ALH) called “Rudra.” The company’s light combat helicopter (LCH) was also on show, and so was an armed Mil-17V5. The Indian Navy’s new multi-role helicopter (MRH) requirement also attracted attention.
Following Indian defense minister A.K Antony’s revelation to AIN yesterday that the country’s defense budget will be cut for the next fiscal year beginning in April, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne has laid out the Indian Air Force priorities for procurement.
The U.S. Army gave the go-ahead for full-rate production of the Block III version of the Boeing Apache attack helicopter, which has been redesignated AH-64E. Potential export orders could add as many as 100 new airframes in the next few years. The AH-64E offers several improvements, including greater power, composite main rotor blades, net-centric communications, defensive system enhancements, modernized target acquisition designation sight (M-TADS), automated target detection and classification, and the ability to control UAVs.
Three contenders for the U.S. Army’s as-yet-undefined armed aerial scout (AAS) requirement–Bell Helicopter, Boeing and EADS North America–have just completed a series of flight demonstrations for Army evaluators who are studying alternatives to the aging OH-58D Kiowa Warrior for manned reconnaissance. They reported the results at the Association of the U.S.