AgustaWestland has won a 25-year deal to support the UK fleet of Merlin Mk1 maritime and Mk 3 transport helicopters. The integrated Merlin operational support (IMOS) contract will be worth €450 million ($832 million) in the first five years. It is typical of the new logistics partnering arrangements being introduced by the MoD in the UK, and beginning to be copied elsewhere.
The UK Ministry of Defence is spending more than $1.35 billion to upgrade the Merlin Mk 1 large maritime helicopter which has been operational for less than five years. The upgrade is necessary because the Merlin has been so long in development that its computer systems have become obsolete. It also signifies a determination to maintain helicopter systems engineering skills in the UK.
Marshall Aerospace (Hall 4 Stand A12) comes to the Farnborough airshow fresh from winning a £1.52 billion ($2.87 billion) contract to maintain 24 Lockheed C-130K and 25 C-130J Hercules transports flying with Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF).
Russian military aviation has a long history of fierce competition between the two major design bureaus–Mikoyan and Sukhoi–and their associated production centers. One consequence of this rivalry was that many of the major enterprises and research institutes associated with military aircraft production became primarily associated with one design bureau or the other.
After a slow start, the merits of Raytheon’s Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) are becoming apparent. In U.S. service since 1997, the cost of the JSOW has been reduced and Greece, Turkey and Poland have recently chosen it for their F-16s, and Singapore for its F-15s. It is a precision weapon, winged but unpowered, that can glide over 60 nm to reach its target after launch from a combat aircraft. It can carry three different payloads.
“Russians play chess and Americans play poker,” was the oft-repeated phrase used during the Cold War to describe how the two sides approached the development of their military establishments. Russian designers tended to look very long-term, building significant growth capacity into their platforms and anticipating that requirements would alter significantly over the 40 years that has become the average life span for a modern jet fighter.
Bob Fore works for AirScan, a contractor to the U.S. government supporting range activities in the Marshall Islands, a vast isolated archipelago sprinkled about 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii and 1,400 miles east of Guam. The company is based with the U.S. Army on Kwajalein Atoll, otherwise known as the Reagan Test Site (RTS).
French companies Turbomeca and Microturbo have built a new turbine engine manufacturing and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in the UK near Fareham, Hampshire, on England’s south coast. The new structure, built at a cost of $7.7 million, adds 50,000 sq ft of office and factory space, doubling the previous available area.
Columbia Helicopters is to acquire the type certificates for the Vertol 107-II and Boeing Vertol 234 Chinook helicopters from Boeing. Columbia, the only commercial operator of the heavy-lift types in the world, uses the Boeing models for logging, construction, firefighting and petroleum exploration operations. The official transfer will take place after engineering details are completed and following FAA approval.
By this time next year Sikorsky may be in a position to challenge the number one spot in commercial helicopter deliveries based on total revenue. That was the optimistic message from Jeff Pino, senior vice president, corporate strategy, marketing and commercial programs, at a Heli-Expo press conference yesterday.