Boeing said that it recently flew its AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopter for the first time in production configuration. Flight status moves the program “another step closer to full-scale production,” the manufacturer said on May 1.
Kaman Aerospace has begun production flight-testing of the first of 10 refurbished SH-2G(I) Super Seasprites that were previously delivered to Australia, but have now been bought by the Royal New Zealand Navy. The milestone opens another chapter in the story of a design that made its first flight (as the HU2K-1) on July 2, 1959, and which became a stalwart of the U.S. Navy’s shipborne helicopter fleet until retired in 2001.
The U.S. Navy is fitting Sikorsky MH-60 Seahawk helicopters with a new digital rocket launcher, for the first time enabling them to carry a variety of weapons. The “smart” launcher will be integrated on the MH-60S as part of a rapid deployment capability, and later added to the MH-60R and potentially other platforms, the service said.
Qatar has announced a raft of orders for new equipment worth around $23 billion, covering vehicles, vessels and aircraft, plus associated systems and weaponry. The announcements were made on March 27, which was the last day of the Dimdex show in Qatar’s capital Doha.
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.