Boeing’s F-15 Eagle has racked up an enviable 104-0 combat record, as one of the world’s top-flight air-superiority and air-to-ground assault fighters. Although the Eagle made its first flight 36 years ago, the latest U.S. Air Force plan says it won’t be leaving its inventory any time soon. Current considerations call for the F-15C/D to remain in service for another 17 years, and the F-15E for another 27.
Philadelphia-based Agusta Aerospace recently completed a 15-month project by delivering the last two of eight A109E Power commercial helicopters ordered by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Modified with specialized military equipment to support the service’s interdiction mission, the Agusta helicopters bear the Coast Guard designation MH-68 Mako.
Production of the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules has been assured for many years to come, thanks to the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (SOC). The unit has ordered a new version, designated HC/MC-130J, to replace its existing fleet of HC-130s and MC-130s used for combat search and rescue and special forces operations. Last week, Lockheed Martin received a contract for the first six aircraft, with another eight to follow soon.
The Airbus A400M military airlifter will be ceremonially rolled out on June 26, but the plan to make a first flight by “the end of the summer” seems overly optimistic, unless rapid progress can be made with the TP400 engine testbed, which has not yet flown. About 50 hours are scheduled for this modified C-130, carrying one of the four big turboprops that will power the A400M.
In a development that speaks volumes about the ongoing state of new helicopter technology development in America today, Boeing on July 12 revealed the 13th iteration of its much modified, through many variants and sub-variants, military CH-47 Chinook, ironically unveiling the new helicopter on the 40th anniversary year of the first flight of the number-one Chinook prototype.
“If you haven’t flown a search-and-rescue (SAR) mission, it is difficult to appreciate just how hard it is to find an aircraft on the ground,” John Desmarais, emergency services plans officer at the national headquarters of the Civil Air Patrol, told AIN.
Nobody beats the Russians when it comes to rotorcraft “bigness.” Mil unveiled the Mi-12 in 1971 and later hoisted a record-setting 44 tons to more than 7,000 ft with the massive (115-ton mtow) twin-rotor helo.
More recently, since its introduction in 1981, the Russian-made Mil Mi-26 has reigned supreme as the heaviest cargo-lifting production rotorcraft, routinely hoisting loads weighing up to 22 tons.
When it comes to selling helicopters for one of the leading helo makers, it’s difficult to find a job that Jeff Pino hasn’t done. In his 17 years with Bell, he was vice president of sales and marketing, executive director for Europe, director for Latin America and regional manager for South America.
LOCKHEED C-130A, WALKER, CALIF., JUNE 17, 2002–Engaged in a firefighting mission near Walker, the four-engine turboprop broke apart during a low-altitude run to deliver its fire-retardant load. All three crewmembers were killed and the aircraft was destroyed.
Trade and marketing consultants Garsol Management Innovators of Makati City, the Philippines, have announced plans for the formation of an international flying school at Clark Field. This former U.S. Air Force base was abandoned some 10 years ago following the eruption of nearby Mount Pinatubo, which deposited large quantities of volcanic ash on the field.