Japan’s Ministry of Defense has selected Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to supply 40 license-built Sikorsky UH-60J+ helicopters for the Japan Air Self Defence Force’s search-and-rescue fleet. The deal is worth around $2.3 billion, and includes 20 years of logistics support. The selection was the first result of a new bid evaluation process the Japanese government introduced to increase transparency in defense procurement.
At the SOFEX special forces exhibition held at Amman in May, Jordan signed a letter of intent (LOI) to purchase the Boeing AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopter, a modernized version of the tried and trusted Little Bird helicopter. Boeing has been showing off its demonstrator throughout the Middle and Far East since the type's first flight on September 16 and airshow debut at Dubai in November last year.
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The debut of the Boeing AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopter at the Dubai Airshow this month was just the latest iteration in this aircraft’s long and complicated history. The design first flew in the 1960s as the Hughes Model 300. It was adopted by the U.S. Army as the OH-6A and further developed for civilian customers as the Models 500 and 530.
The largest helicopter ever built by a Western manufacturer and the world’s largest tandem-rotor helicopter never flew, but it dominated the outdoor collection at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum in Fort Rucker for almost 20 years after its program was canceled in 1975. But by October 2005, the sole prototype of the Boeing XCH-62 Heavy Lift Helicopter had deteriorated so much that the museum decided it could no longer maintain it.
The program to provide new VIP helicopters for the U.S. president has taken a step forward with first flight of an “operational pilot-production example” of the Lockheed Martin VH-71. The three-engine helicopter, which is based on the AgustaWestland AW101 (born as the European Helicopter Industries EH 101), had its maiden flight at the AgustaWestland factory in Yeovil, England, on September 23.
Since the dramatic cancellation of the stealthy Comanche attack helicopter in 2004, U.S. Army aviation has used the released funds to embark on a major rejuvenation by modernizing and augmenting the existing AH-64, UH-60 and CH-47 fleets, as well as procuring two new types.
While small piston helicopters continue to dominate the initial training scene with their relatively simple designs and low cost of operation, pilots seeking recurrent or advanced training in larger and more expensive turbine helicopters are more likely than ever to be flying a simulator instead of the real thing, according to industry experts.
Just two days before submitting its February 7 bid for the U.S. Army’s new armed reconnaissance helicopter (ARH) based on a variant of the MD 500, aerospace giant Boeing signed an agreement to make a multimillion-dollar cash investment in MD Helicopters (MDHI). Although MDHI CEO Henk Schaeken would not disclose the exact value of the investment during an interview at last month’s Heli-Expo, he did indicate that it is not contingent
Charles Vehlow, newly appointed president of MD Helicopters, hopes to become the strong link in a broken supply chain that has plagued the Mesa, Ariz.-based manufacturer.
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