AugustaWestland Tapped For TH-73A Production | Kuwaiti Eurofighter Makes Maiden Flight | Japan Dispatched P-3s To Middle East
AugustaWestland won a $176.5 million deal for the production and delivery of 32 TH-73A aircraft, initial spares, peculiar support equipment, flyaway kits, hoists, sling loads, data in excess of commercial form fit function/operations maintenance instructional training data as well as ancillary instructor pilot and maintenance personnel training. Work will take in Pennsylvania and Texas. Estimated completion date is in October 2021. The TH-73A is the Navy’s new training helicopter. The new helo will meet advanced rotary-wing and intermediate tiltrotor training requirements for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Airbus Helicopters won a $37.7 million firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. This contract provides performance-based logistics support to include ground and repair maintenance of five UH-72 aircraft, sustaining engineering required to maintain UH-72 Federal Aviation Administration certification, the incorporation of US Navy Test Pilot School specific modifications, and the support to provide ground and flight training for the UH-72/EC-145 aircraft. The UH-72 Lakota is the US Army’s multi-mission helicopter. It fulfills the Army’s requirements for speed, range and overall performance. The Lakota is a version of the H145 family multi-mission helicopter. Work will take place in Maryland and is expected to be completed by January 2025.
Middle East & Africa
The first Eurofighter combat aircraft configured for Kuwait made its maiden flight towards the end of 2019, the company announced. Instrumented Series Production Aircraft (ISPA 6), equipped with the Kuwait Air Force configuration, departed the Flight Test Centre of Leonardo Aircraft Division in Turin-Caselle on December 23, 2019. As written by Eurofighter, ISPA 6 is the most advanced iteration of the aircraft to date, and while other elements have previously been flight tested, this is the first time that all of the enhancements have been brought together. ISPA 6 is the first to fly the Captor E-Scan Radar with Phase Enhancement 3 b (P3Eb), for which Kuwait is to be the launch customer. Other enhancements for Kuwait include the Lockheed Martin Sniper advanced targeting pod, the introduction of the DRS-Cubic ACMI P5 combat training pod and an enhanced Very High Frequency (VHF) Omni-Directional Range navigation aid.
Japan has dispatched two P-3 maritime patrol aircraft to the Middle East from Naha Air Base on January 11. The aircraft will be used to patrol the Gulf of Aden, the northern Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. They are deployed at Djibouti. Defense Minister Taro Kono said at the base on the day: “In addition to antipiracy operations, you will engage in new missions. Peace and stability in the Middle East are extremely important for the international community. Do your duty with courage and pride.” The MSDF aircraft were dispatched based on the “survey and research” provision stipulated in the Defense Ministry Establishment Law.
Switzerland has issued a second request for proposal (RFP) for its Air2030 requirement to procure new combat aircraft and ground-based air defense (GBAD) systems. The supplementary solicitation, which came about 12 months after the first RFP, was issued by the country’s Armasuisse defense procurement agency on January 10. For the requirement to replace the Swiss Air Force’s current Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II and Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fleets, Air2030 is considering the Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Saab Gripen E, and Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). For the GBAD requirement, Air2030 is considering the Eurosam SAMP/T and Raytheon Patriot.
The South Korean Navy has allowed its AW-159 naval helicopters to resume flying this month after the fleet was grounded in November 2019. Steps were taken to ground the fleet after November 23 when one of the rotorcraft had an issue with its vibration damper. Investigations have determined that the cause was due to fatigue-based cracking in the part. Seven helicopters are cleared for flying except the mishap aircraft. The Navy planned to resume flights as of January 3, 2020, for all seven of the helicopters besides the one in which the problem was observed. The damper connects the helicopter’s blades with its body and serves to absorb vibrations to prevent shuddering of the fuselage.
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