Boeing announced the first flight of an upgraded UK Royal Air Force Ch-47 Chinook. It also confirmed that the entire current fleet of 46 UK Chinooks will receive the new cockpit displays and mission avionics, supplied by Thales from its TopDeck range, by 2016. The upgrade also includes more powerful Honeywell T55-l-714A engines, new defensive systems, nose-mounted FLIR and new secure communications.
Marshall Aerospace took steps to boost the future of its core business: C-130 Hercules maintenance and support. The Cambridge, UK-based company will partner with Lockheed Martin in the OEM’s offer to provide enhanced and performance-based sustainment solutions to the air forces of Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Marshall Aerospace has previously overhauled and modifies C-130s for these countries.
Eurocopter ended 2010 with a flurry of progress announcements, some of which related to previously delayed military programs in Europe. The first NH-90s in the Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) configuration for France and Spain both made their maiden flights at Marignane on December 17. The French machine, one of 34 TTHs to be handed over to the French army late this year, is now undergoing flight tests at Istres.
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.
Sixteen Harrier GR.7/9 V/STOL (vertical and/or short take-off and landing) jets flew over the UK Midlands Wednesday to mark the type’s retirement from British military service. The 70-strong Harrier force fell victim to the recent Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has since rushed to ground them in a vain attempt to stem criticism of the decision.
The Alsalam Aircraft Company delivered a Lockheed L-100 Hercules in VIP configuration to an undisclosed customer on Tuesday. The aircraft featured an interior designed by Saudi Arabian company.
In a ceremony held at RAAF Amberley, Queensland, the Royal Australian Air Force retired its General Dynamics F-111 fleet on December 2. Affectionately known as the “Pig,” the F-111 served the RAAF from 1973 in the long-range attack and reconnaissance roles. It has been replaced by the Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet, although the new fleet is not yet operational.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified a potential sale to Sweden of 15 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters. Estimated at a value of $546 million, the request also covers 34 General Electric T700-GE-701D turboshaft engines and 15 defensive aid sets, each comprising AAR-57(V)3 missile warning, APR-39 radar warning and AVR-2B laser warning systems.
The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) recently ordered five AKV cycle-counter systems from Dart Helicopter Services for installation on its five Bell UH-1 firefighting and utility helicopters.
Boeing has consolidated its military aircraft business into four divisions from six, as part of a rationalization process prompted by slowed defense spending. Two of the previous divisions are amalgamated into a single missiles and unmanned airborne systems division based in St. Charles, Mo., while the current rotorcraft division is split.