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.
Russian Helicopters, the company that parents Russia’s two helicopter design bureaus and five helicopter-manufacturing plants, is moving forward with a new-generation helicopter that is intended to replace the hugely successful Mil Mi-8/17 series. The new project, dubbed Rachel (Russian advanced commercial helicopter), clearly has many military applications.
India may abandon plans to procure 197 light utility helicopter (LUHs) from abroad for the Indian air force (64) and army (133). Such a decision would favor government-owned defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), which is developing its own LUH design based on the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH). The government was already planning to order an additional 187 light utility helicopters to be produced under license by HAL. It is not clear what the time frame for delivery would be, as HAL would need to expand its current production facility, requiring government approval.
Lockheed Martin plans to upgrade the daylight television camera on U.S. Army AH-64D Apache helicopters with a high-definition color-capable camera with improved field of view. The modernized day sensor assembly (M-DSA) is the last component of the Apache’s nose-mounted target acquisition and designation system (TADS) to be upgraded.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is continuing to expand the capabilities of the Boeing AH-64D Apache Block III attack helicopter with sensor upgrades, a new weapon option and greater networking capabilities. The latter is being achieved through the Longbow unmanned aerial system tactical common data link assembly (UTA), a product of Longbow LLC (a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman).