The Obama administration delivered a proposed $496 billion base U.S. defense budget for Fiscal Year 2015 to the Congress on March 4. In a round of briefings at the Pentagon, service budget officials spoke of making difficult choices because of spending limits Congress imposed in the Budget Control Act of 2011, followed by deep “sequestration” budget cuts that took effect in FY2013.
Elan Head, recipient of the Helicopter Association International’s 2014 Excellence in Communications Award, had her first helicopter ride in a Bell JetRanger in 2004, while working on a story about a high-end fishing lodge in British Columbia. “It was hands-down the coolest thing I’d ever done,” she told AIN.
Rolls-Royce said the first T56 engine enhancement package it assembled and ground tested for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s WP-3D Orion weather reconnaissance aircraft demonstrated a 13-percent reduction in fuel consumption, beating the required 7.9 percent.
This week Bell redelivered the 37th and last AH-1W “Whiskey” Cobra light attack helicopter to be remanufactured to the new AH-1Z Viper, or “Zulu” configuration. From now on, all AH-1Z production will be completely new-build aircraft.
Rising military tension in north Asia sparked by China’s escalating defense spending and erratic posturing by North Korea is driving growth in Honeywell’s defense business. The need to maintain operational availability for the large installed base of U.S.-made aircraft operated by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan is spurring strong demand for spares and product support, according to Mark Burgess, senior director with Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific (Booth 23, Chalet CS42).
While the worldwide deepwater offshore energy boom fuels an increase in civil helicopter sales, that will translate into only modest sales gains within the U.S. market, research consulting firm Frost & Sullivan (F&S) predicts. In a recently released study, F&S predicts U.S. civil helicopter purchases will rise to $1.07 billion by 2020 from $890 million in 2012, accounting for approximately one-third of worldwide demand.
A U.S. Congressional panel has agreed to the Pentagon’s plan to quickly deliver six Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to Iraq. They will be delivered in the summer, and will be leased from the U.S. Army to allow training to begin with Iraqi army aviation. The helicopters are AH-64Ds upgraded to a partial AH-64E configuration. The notification to Congress was lodged on January 23, and was followed by another four days later covering the $4.8 billion purchase of 24 new-build AH-64E Apache Guardians to be delivered over a three-year period.
The Army also plans to upgrade analog UH-60L models to the same capability of M models rather than purchase all M models. Last summer, it formed the new UH-60L Digital Product Directorate to lead the effort.
The U.S. Navy declared operational readiness of the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and deployed the first Poseidons to the Asia Pacific region earlier this month.
Making its public debut at the Dubai Airshow is the Air Tractor AT-802i, an agricultural aircraft heavily modified for counter-insurgency/light attack/ISR missions. The aircraft were purchased by the UAE with a mission system integrated by Iomax, and it is believed that a batch of 24 is nearing the end of delivery after the first arrived at the end of 2010. The U.S.-based company has now migrated the mission system from the Air Tractor AT-802 to the outwardly similar Thrush 510P airframe and launched the aircraft as the ArchAngel at this year’s Paris Air Show.
- Page 1