Mar 23, 2018 04:54 UTC
The US Navy has tapped Rolls Royce to build and deliver 14 AE 1107C engines
for use in the V-22 Osprey
program. Valued at $31 million, the contract modification
will see 12 engines go to Ospreys used by the Navy while the remaining two will go to the Marine Corps. Work will take place at Roll's Indianapolis, Indiana plant with a scheduled completion date set for March 2019. In 2012, Rolls landed a $598 million contract for 268 engines destined for the USMC and Air Force. In 2013, it received an $84 million contract for 38 more AE 1107C engines for the two military branches.
In March 2008, the Bell Boeing Joint Project Office in Amarillo, TX received a $10.4 billion modification that converted the previous N00019-07-C-0001 advance acquisition contract to a fixed-price-incentive-fee, multi-year contract. The new contract rose to $10.92 billion, and was used to buy 143 MV-22 (for USMC) and 31 CV-22 (Air Force Special Operations) Osprey aircraft, plus associated manufacturing tooling to move the aircraft into full production. A follow-on MYP-II contract covered another 99 Ospreys (92 MV-22, 7 CV-22) for $6.524 billion. Totals: $17.444 billion for 235 MV-22s and 38 CV-22s, an average of $63.9 million each.
The V-22 tilt-rotor program has been beset by controversy throughout its 20-year development period. Despite these issues, and the emergence of competitive but more conventional compound helicopter technologies like Piasecki’s X-49 Speedhawk and Sikorsky’s X2, the V-22 program continues to move forward. This DID Spotlight article looks at the V-22’s multi-year purchase contract from 2008-12 and 2013-2017, plus associated contracts for key V-22 systems, program developments, and research sources.
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Mar 16, 2018 04:55 UTC
Qatar has signed a deal at its biennial defense expo, DIMDEX, with the NHI consortium—which includes Airbus’ and Leonardo’s helicopter divisions and Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker, which respectively hold 62.5 percent, 32 percent and 5.5 percent of the consortium—for the purchase of 28 NH90
and 16 H125
helicopters. A statement
by Airbus from Doha said that 16 of the NH90s are in the tactical transport (TTH) configuration while the remaining 12 NH90s are in naval (NFH) configuration. The H125s will be received by the Qatar Armed Forces Air Academy for training purposes. Work will be split between Airbus—who will assemble the NH90 TTH aircraft from its facility in Marignane, France—and Leonardo—who will be responsible for final assembly and delivery of the 12 NH90 NFH helicopters in Italy. The deal
is estimated to be worth at least $3.7 billion.
NH90: TTH & NFH
The NH90 emerged from a requirement that created a NATO helicopter development and procurement agency in 1992 and, at almost the same time, established NH Industries (62.5% EADS Eurocopter, 32.5% AgustaWestland, and 5% Stork Fokker) to build the hardware. The NATO Frigate Helicopter was originally developed to fit between light naval helicopters like AW’s Lynx or Eurocopter’s Panther, and medium-heavy naval helicopters like the European EH101. A quick look at the NFH design showed definite possibilities as a troop transport helicopter, however, and soon the NH90 project had branched into 2 versions, with more to follow.
The nearest equivalent would be Sikorsky’s popular H-60 Seahawk/ Black Hawk family, but the NH90 includes a set of innovative features that give it some distinguishing selling points. Its combination of corrosion-proofing, lower maintenance, greater troop or load capacity, and the flexibility offered by that rear ramp have made the NH90 a popular global competitor.
As many business people discover the hard way, however, success can be almost as dangerous as failure. NH Industries has had great difficulty ramping up production fast enough to meet promised deliveries, which has left several buyers upset. Certification and acceptance have also been slow, with very few NH90s in service over a decade after the first contracts were signed. Booked orders have actually been sliding backward over the last year, and currently stand at around 500 machines, on behalf of 14 nations.
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Mar 12, 2018 04:54 UTC
The three-day visit of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to the UK has seen the kingdom's heir sign
a memorandum of intent for the purchase of 48 Eurofighter Typhoon
fighter jets. While the accord stops short of committing to an order, manufacturer BAE Systems sees the sale
as a "positive step towards agreeing a contract for our valued partner." Before offsets are included, the sale could be worth as much as £8 billion. The visit
, which included meetings with the British cabinet and the Queen, was marred by protests by humanrights and anti-war campaigners critical of the kingdom's ongoing war in Yemen backed by British weaponry.
The multi-national Eurofighter Typhoon has been described as the aerodynamic apotheosis of lessons learned from the twin engine “teen series” fighters that began with the F-14 and F-15, continued with the emergence of the F/A-18 Hornet, and extended through to the most recent F/A-18 Super Hornet variants. Aerodynamically, it’s a half generation ahead of all of these examples, and planned evolutions will place the Eurofighter near or beyond parity in electronic systems and weapons.
The 1998 production agreement among its 4 member countries involved 620 aircraft, built with progressively improved capabilities over 3 contract “tranches”. By the end of Tranche 2, however, welfare state programs and debt burdens had made it difficult to afford the 236 fighters remaining in the 4-nation Eurofighter agreement. A 2009 compromise was found in the EUR 9 billion “Tranche 3A” buy, and the program has renewed its efforts to secure serious export sales. Their success will affect the platform’s production line in the near term, and its modernization plans beyond that.
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Mar 06, 2018 04:55 UTC
Sikorsky has selected German engine manufacturer MTU to be its engine maintenance partner
as the US helicopter firm builds up local partners to help its bid to supply CH-53K
heavy-lift helicopter to the German Air Force. The agreement tasks MTU with providing maintenance, repair and overhaul services for the helicopter's GE Aviation T408-GE-400 engines should Berlin order the King Stallion as the replacement for its ageing fleet of CH-53G/GA/GS helicopters. At present, MTU already have an 18 percent share of the T408's engine program, producing its power turbine, exhaust casing and output shaft. Also included on the team for Sikorsky's German bid is Rheinmetall.
The U.S. Marines have a problem. They rely on their CH-53E Super Stallion medium-heavy lift helicopters to move troops, vehicles, and supplies off of their ships. But the helicopters are wearing out. Fast. The pace demanded by the Global War on Terror is relentless, and usage rates are 3 times normal. Attrition is taking its toll. Over the past few years, CH-53s have been recalled from “boneyard” storage at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ, in order to maintain fleet numbers in the face of recent losses and forced retirements. Now, there are no flyable spares left.
Enter the Heavy Lift Replacement (HLR) program, now known as the CH-53K. It aims to offer notable performance improvements over the CH-53E, in a similar airframe. The question is whether its service entry delay to 2018-2019 will come too late to offset a serious decline in Marine aviation.
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Feb 26, 2018 04:50 UTC
Issues concerning the 30mm GAU-23/A cannon on the AC-130J Ghostrider
gunship have been put down to software issues, after testers identified problems such as recentering the cannon after being fired last month. Speaking to reporters, the head of US Air Force Special Operations Command, Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, said he was confident
that the problems could be fixed with software patches. "Do we have software issues we need to address? Sure, but the testing continues forward," he said, adding that news surrounding the snafu has been largely overblown.
RAAF C-130J-30, flares
The C-130 Hercules remains one of the longest-running aerospace manufacturing programs of all time. Since 1956, over 40 models and variants have served as the tactical airlift backbone for over 50 nations. The C-130J looks similar, but the number of changes almost makes it a new aircraft. Those changes also created issues; the program has been the focus of a great deal of controversy in America – and even of a full program restructuring in 2006. Some early concerns from critics were put to rest when the C-130J demonstrated in-theater performance on the front lines that was a major improvement over its C-130E/H predecessors. A valid follow-on question might be: does it break the bottleneck limitations that have hobbled a number of multi-billion dollar US Army vehicle development programs?
C-130J customers now include Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, India, Israel, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Tunisia, and the United States. American C-130J purchases are taking place under both annual budgets and supplemental wartime funding, in order to replace tactical transport and special forces fleets that are flying old aircraft and in dire need of major repairs. This DID FOCUS Article describes the C-130J, examines the bottleneck issue, covers global developments for the C-130J program, and looks at present and emerging competitors.
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Jan 10, 2018 04:58 UTC
Nigerian budget documents for 2018 show that three JF-17 Thunder
fighter aircraft will be procured
from the Chengdu Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, making it the first export purchaser of the fighter to be publicly named. $36 million has been earmarked as partial payment for the purchase, and will also include support equipment and spares. While no official announcement has been names, a Pakistani air force official told FlightGlobal at last year's Paris Air Show that a "contract had been signed" with an Asian country, and Chinese social media have shown a JF-17 in Myanmar air force markings, and the junta are expected to add 16 models to their inventory. Nigeria is also expected to buy two AgustaWestland AW109 helicopters in 2018, as well as undergoing depot maintenance for two Dassault Alpha Jets and a Lockheed Martin C-130H.
FC-1/ JF-17, armed
The FC-1/ JF-17 Thunder is a joint Chinese-Pakistani project that aimed to reduce Pakistan’s dependence on western firms for advanced fighters, by fielding a low-cost multi-role lightweight fighter that can host modern electronics and precision-guided weapons. It isn’t a top-tier competitor, but it represents a clear step up from Pakistan’s Chinese MiG-19/21 derivatives and French Mirage III/V fighters. This positioning addresses a budget-conscious, “good enough” performance market segment that the West once dominated, but has nearly abandoned in recent decades.
Pakistan has fielded JF-17s in squadron strength, with more on order and a Block II R&D program nearing completion. India’s competing Tejas fighter is overcoming project delays by looking to foreign component sources, but Pakistan and China remain out front with their offering, even though they began their project much later than India did. Pakistan and China have even set up a joint JF-17 marketing agency to promote export sales, which hasn’t paid off as quickly as they had hoped, but it would be unwise to count them out just yet…
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Dec 28, 2017 04:55 UTC
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) has received
a request for proposals (RFP) for 83 Tejas Mk-1A light combat aircraft (LCA
)for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The RFP comes following the November 2016 clearance for funds for the program by India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), with firm orders expected to be placed in late 2018. The Mk-1A variant offers a significantly modified version of the initial Tejas Mk-1 aircraft, and will come equipped with the Israeli Elta 2052 AESA radar, podded Electronic Warfare (EW) suite and Cobham in-flight refuelling probe. Also in the mix are the addition of new air-to-air missiles and precision munitions, in addition to the R-73 and Rafael Derby BVRAAM, already integrated on Tejas Mk-1 aircraft.
India’s Light Combat Aircraft program is meant to boost its aviation industry, but it must also solve a pressing military problem. The IAF’s fighter strength has been declining as the MiG-21s that form the bulk of its fleet are lost in crashes, or retired due to age and wear. Most of India’s other Cold War vintage aircraft face similar problems.
In response, some MiG-21s have been modernized to MiG-21 ‘Bison’ configuration, and other current fighter types are undergoing modernization programs of their own. The IAF’s hope is that they can maintain an adequate force until the multi-billion dollar 126+ plane MMRCA competition delivers replacements, and more SU-30MKIs arrive from HAL. Which still leaves India without an affordable fighter solution. MMRCA can replace some of India’s mid-range fighters, but what about the MiG-21s? The MiG-21 Bison program adds years of life to those airframes, but even so, they’re likely to be gone by 2020.
That’s why India’s own Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project is so important to the IAF’s future prospects. It’s also why India’s rigid domestic-only policies are gradually being relaxed, in order to field an operational and competitive aircraft. Even with that help, the program’s delays are a growing problem for the IAF. Meanwhile, the west’s near-abandonment of the global lightweight fighter market opens a global opportunity, if India can seize it with a compelling and timely product.
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Dec 27, 2017 04:58 UTC
Lockheed Martin landed a $7 billion contract
to provide F-22 Raptor
sustainment services. The agreement has a five-year base ordering period calling for comprehensive F-22 air vehicle sustainment—to be completed by December 31 2027—with work to be carried out at five operational US Air Force (USAF) and joint service bases and five US military installation support bases across the USA, as well as some undisclosed overseas locations. The deal follows last week's $6.7 billion award to United Technologies for sustainment activities on the Raptor's Pratt and Whitney F-119 engine.
Into that good night
The 5th-generation F-22A Raptor fighter program has been the subject of fierce controversy, with advocates and detractors aplenty. On the one hand, the aircraft offers full stealth, revolutionary radar and sensor capabilities, dual air-air and air-ground SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) excellence, the ability to cruise above Mach 1 without afterburners, thrust-vectoring super-maneuverability… and a ridiculously lopsided kill record in exercises against the best American fighters. On the other hand, critics charged that it was too expensive, too limited, and cripples the USAF’s overall force structure.
Meanwhile, close American allies like Australia, Japan and Israel, and other allies like Korea, were pressing the USA to abandon its “no export” policy. Most already fly F-15s, but several were interested in an export version of the F-22 in order to help them deal with advanced – and advancing – Russian-designed aircraft, air-to-air missiles, and surface-to-air missile systems. That would have broadened the F-22 fleet in several important ways, but the US political system would not or could not respond.
This DID FOCUS Article tracks continuing maintenance and fleet upgrade programs, contracts, and timely news. A separate public-access feature offers a profile of the USAF’s most advanced fighter, and covers both sides of the F-22 Raptor program’s controversies.
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Dec 04, 2017 04:55 UTC
Japan will conclude
its Mitsubishi X-2
technology demonstrator aircraft program in March 2018. First flown in April 2016, the first two flights were conducted by manufacturer Mitsubishi before being handed over to the Future Fighter Program (FFP) at Japan's Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA). Manger at the FFP, Hirofumi Doi, confirmed that 34 sorties have so far been conducted, and all issues regarding propulsion, the fuel system, and integration had been ironed out prior to the maiden flight. Doi did not confirm is the demonstrator aircraft will complete the 50 test flights originally scheduled, or what will happen to the aircraft once the program concludes. Tokyo will then assess the merits of its future fighter acquisition strategy. Options included developing a new fighter called the F-3 on its own, or developing a fighter with a foreign partner.
In December 2011, Japan picked Lockheed Martin’s new F-35A stealth fighter as its next fighter aircraft, to replace its aging F-4 “Kai” Phantom fleet. The F-35 was actually their 2nd choice.
Back in February 2006, Inside The Air Force (ITAF) reported that momentum was building within the USAF to sell the ultra-advanced F-22A Raptor abroad to trusted US allies, as a way of increasing numbers and production. Japan clearly wanted them, and the Raptor was a topic of diplomatic discussions in several venues, including a 2007 summit meeting. In the end, however, US politics denied export permission for downgraded export variants of the F-22, and its production line was terminated. That left Japan looking at other foreign “F-X” fighter options in the short term, while they considered a domestic stealth fighter design as their long-term project.
In the ensuing F-X competition, the F-35 Lightning II beat BAE’s Eurofighter Typhoon, as well as an upgraded F/A-18E Super Hornet from Boeing. Now Lockheed Martin has to deliver, and so will its Japanese partners. Will the F-35A’s price and program delays create problems in Japan? This article looks at the JASDF’s current force, its future options, and ongoing F-X developments.
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Oct 03, 2017 23:58 UTC
Next » Latest updates[?]:
Following a five-month grounding, the US Navy has allowed the resumption of flights
of its T-45 Goshawk
fleet after issues arose with the system that generates and supplies oxygen to the trainer aircraft. Under the new flight regime, student pilots can continue training only on aircraft outfitted with a digital upgrade to the CRU-99 oxygen monitor, called the solid-state oxygen monitor (CRU-123), which provides information on temperature and oxygen pressure. The Navy plans to have all of its T-45 aircraft to be fitted with the CRU-123 by the end of the second quarter of 2018.
Do you feel lucky…?
The T-45 Training System includes T-45 Goshawk aircraft, advanced flight simulators, computer-assisted instructional programs, a computerized training integration system, and a contractor logistics support package. The integration of all 5 elements is designed to produce a superior pilot in less time and at lower cost than previous training systems.
The US Navy uses the Hawk-based T-45TS system to train its pilots for the transition from T-6A Texan II/ JPATS aircraft to modern jet fighters – and carrier landings. This is not a risk-free assignment, by any means. Nevertheless, it is a critical link in the naval aviation chain. This DID FOCUS article covers the T-45TS, and associated contracts to buy and maintain these systems, from 2006 to the end of FY 2014.
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