The French Army is expected to confirm an option for 34 more Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) versions of the NH Industries NH-90 helicopter, when the 2013 French defense spending program is published shortly. The French have already bought 34 TTHs, as well as 27 NATO Frigate Helicopters (NFHs).
AgustaWestland has chosen Thales’s Flash Compact range of dipping sonars to equip Lynx helicopters for export markets. According to Thales, the lightweight sonars, featuring a fully electric reeling machine, allow smaller helicopters to have high-performance sonar capability for anti-submarine warfare.
The first NH-90 Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) in final operational configuration was delivered to the French Army on January 30. “This is the culmination of the most important helicopter program ever launched in Europe,” said Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling. Earlier deliveries of the TTH version to Australia, Germany and Sweden attracted criticism in those countries for various deficiencies. But Eurocopter said that the final configuration includes field-tested avionics that enable the helicopter to carry out its missions night and day with no major restrictions.
Budget cuts to the German Armed Forces will force the renegotiation of contracts with two divisions of EADS for the A400M transport, and for NH90 and Tiger helicopters.
Eurocopter ended 2010 with a flurry of progress announcements, some of which related to previously delayed military programs in Europe. The first NH-90s in the Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) configuration for France and Spain both made their maiden flights at Marignane on December 17. The French machine, one of 34 TTHs to be handed over to the French army late this year, is now undergoing flight tests at Istres.
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.
The FAA, EASA and Transport Canada approved Goodrich's rotor-blade ice-protection system (Rips) for the AgustaWestland AW139 medium twin, the Charlotte, N.C.-based aircraft systems supplier announced yesterday. Rips is a key part of the full ice-protection system and bestows all-weather capability on the AW139, making it the first helicopter in its category certified for flight into known-icing conditions.
Eurocopter was eyeing new German military requirements at the ILA Berlin Air Show earlier this month, even as it defended its delivery performance on the German Army’s Tiger attack helicopter program. The company displayed a Forward Air Medical Evacuation (medevac) configuration of the NH-90, and its concept for the Marinehubschrauber 90-Neue Generation (MH90-NG), that would replace the German Navy’s Sea King and Lynx fleets.
Eurocopter is beefing up Shape, the reorganization plan it unveiled last October. Reacting to sluggish demand, the company has increased spending on research and development, closed one site, redefined executive responsibilities and planned job cuts.
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