Mar 30, 2020 04:58 UTC
Sikorsky Aircraft won a $125.4 million for a firm-fixed-price advanced acquisition contract
to procure long lead items for low-rate initial production of the seven Lot 5 CH-53K
heavy-lift aircraft. The CH-53K is designed to transport US Marines, heavy equipment and supplies from amphibious assaults to destinations ashore. Work will take place in Stratford, Connecticut. Expected completion will be by August 2021.
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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Mar 16, 2020 04:52 UTC
Marshall Advanced Composites signed an $11.6 million contract
with Lockheed Martin to manufacture and supply cockpit trim panels for its C-130J Super Hercules
airlifter for the next five years. “We are delighted to have received this five-year contract from Lockheed Martin. It really is testament to the hard work of the team and strength of our partnership with Lockheed Martin“, said Advanced Composites General Manager, Carl Morse. He continued: “We’ve been supplying the panels for over 20 years and have historically been on a series of relatively short term contracts, however our proven ability to drive cost out of the supply, outstanding on-time delivery record and appetite to innovate our processes has given our customer the confidence to make another long-term commitment. The panels are manufactured at Marshall’s composites facility in North Yorkshire from phenolic glass fibre sandwich panels with a Nomex honeycomb core, followed by finishing operations such as painting, electrical assembly and integration to provide Lockheed Martin with lineside kits of plug and play parts to their Marietta facility.
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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Mar 11, 2020 04:54 UTC
Boeing won a $191.9 million deal for post-production support
services and warehouse management services for the United Kingdom AH-64E Apache
helicopter fleet of 50 aircraft and three Longbow crew trainers. The Longbow flight simulator is designed to help Apache operators train on how to manage procedures and perform missions with the aircraft. Foreign Military Sales funds to the UK in the full amount were obligated at the time of the award. Work will take place in Mesa, Arizona and estimated completion date is December 31.
AH-64 in Afghanistan
The AH-64 Apache will remain the US Army’s primary armed helicopter for several more decades, thanks to the collapse of the RAH-66 Comanche program, and the retirement sans replacement of the US Army’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH). Apaches also serve with a number of American allies, some of whom have already expressed interest in upgrading or expanding their fleets.
The AH-64E Guardian Block III (AB3) is the helicopter’s next big step forward. It incorporates 26 key new-technology insertions that cover flight performance, maintenance costs, sensors & electronics, and even the ability to control UAVs as part of manned-unmanned teaming (MUT). In July 2006, Boeing and U.S. Army officials signed the initial development contract for Block III upgrades to the current and future Apache fleet, via a virtual signing ceremony. By November 2011, the 1st production helicopter had been delivered. So… how many helicopters will be modified under the AH-64 Block III program, what do these modifications include, how is the program structured, and what has been happening since that 2006 award? The short answer is: a lot, including export interest and sales.
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Mar 10, 2020 04:56 UTC
Leonardo has unveiled its weapon wing system
that is to equip UK AW159 Wildcat
HMA2 maritime helicopters during the Royal Navy's Carrier Strike Group 2021 (CSG21) deployment. The UK-arm of the Italian company displayed one of the first production wings during the UK Naval Engineering Science & Technology (UKNEST) engagement activity aboard the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales on March 2 as part of its week-long visit to Liverpool. The aluminium alloy and carbon fibre composite weapon wings enable a mix of weapons to be carried for a variety of force protection scenarios. This includes a full load of 20 Thales Martlet air-to-surface and up to four MBDA Sea Venom anti-ship missiles, or a mix of two Sea Venoms and 10 Martlets.
Future Lynx naval
In 2006, Finmeccanica subsidiary AgustaWestland received a GBP 1 billion (about $1.9 billion at 02/07 rates) contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for 70 Future Lynx helicopters, and began a new chapter in a long-running success story. The Lynx is an extremely fast helicopter that entered service in the 1970s, and quickly carved out a niche for itself in the global land and naval markets. The base design has evolved into a number of upgrades and versions, which have been been widely exported around the world.
In Britain, Lynx helicopters are used in a number of British Army (AH7 & AH9) and Fleet Air Arm (Mk 8) roles: reconnaissance, attack, casualty evacuation & troop transport, ferrying supplies, anti-submarine operations, and even command post functions. The Future Lynx program reflects that, and British government and industry are both hoping that its versatility will help it keep or improve the Lynx family’s global market share. This is DID’s FOCUS Article for the AW159 Lynx Wildcat Program, describing its technical and industrial features, schedules, related contracts, and exports.
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Mar 05, 2020 04:56 UTC
Airbus Helicopters won a $122.7 million contract modification
for procurement of 15 UH-72
Aircraft. The UH-72A Lakota is a light utility helicopter specifically designed to meet the requirements of the US Army. Based on the EC 145 multirole helicopter, the UH-72A serves the army principally for logistics and support missions within the US. Work will take place in Columbus, Mississippi and estimated completion date is August 31, 2022. Army funds in the full amount were obligated at the time of the award.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This is DID’s FOCUS Article regarding the US Army’s Light Utility Helicopter program, covering the program and its objectives, the winning bid team and industrial arrangements, and contracts.
The US Army’s LUH program will finish as a 325 helicopter acquisition program that will be worth about $2.3 billion when all is said and done. It aimed to replace existing UH-1 Hueys and OH-58 Kiowa utility variants in non-combat roles, freeing up larger and more expensive UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for front-line duty. In June 2006, a variant of Eurocopter’s EC145 beat AgustaWestland’s AB139, Bell-Textron’s 412EP Twin Huey, and MD Helicopters’ 902 Explorer NOTAR (No Tail Rotor) design. The win marked EADS’ 1st serious military win in the American market, and their “UH-145” became the “UH-72A Lakota” at an official December 2006 naming ceremony.
Eurocopter has continued to field new mission kits and deliver helicopters from its Mississippi production line, while trying to build on their LUH breakthrough. A training helicopter win will keep the line going for a couple more years…
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Mar 03, 2020 04:56 UTC
Bell Helicopter Textron won an $8.4 million contract modification
, which provides for the production and delivery of a fully assembled flight training device for an AH-1Z attack helicopter, excluding software integration, for the government of Bahrain. Foreign military sales funds in the amount of $6,259,796 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Based on the Vietnam War-era AH-1 Cobra, the AH-1Z Viper is the Marine Corps’ primary rotor-wing ground attack aircraft. The AH-1Z
attack helicopter provides rotary wing close air support, anti-armor, armed escort, armed/visual reconnaissance and fire support coordination capabilities under day/night and adverse weather conditions. Work will take place in Texas and is expected to be finished in December 2020.
UH-1Y and AH-1Z
by Neville Dawson
The US Marines’ helicopter force is aging at all levels, from banana-shaped CH-46 Sea Knight transports that are far older than their pilots, to the 1980s-era UH-1N Hueys and AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters that make up the Corps’ helicopter assault force. While the tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey program has staggered along for almost 2 decades under accidents, technical delays, and cost issues, replacement of the USMC’s backbone helicopter assets has languished. Given the high-demand scenarios inherent in the current war, other efforts are clearly required.
Enter the H-1 program, the USMC’s plan to remanufacture older helicopters into new and improved UH-1Y utility and AH-1Z attack helicopters. The new versions would discard the signature 2-bladed rotors for modern 4-bladed improvements, redo the aircraft’s electronics, and add improved engines and weapons to offer a new level of performance. It seemed simple, but hasn’t quite worked out that way. The H-1 program has encountered its share of delays and issues, but the program survived its review, and continued on into production and deployment.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This article covers the H-1 helicopter programs’ rationales and changes, the upgrades involved in each model, program developments and annual budgets, the full timeline of contracts and key program developments, and related research sources.
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Feb 28, 2020 04:54 UTC
The French military has indicated
that it intends to lease some CH-47s
before it acquires a heavy lift helicopter from 2025. Combat experience in Central Africa has exposed the need for a heavy lift rotorcraft to support French special forces. It currently relies on three British CH-47s in Mali. France is one of a handful of European countries that do not operate heavy lift helicopters, instead relying on types like the NHIndustries NH90, the Airbus H225M Caracal and Super Puma for troop lift and battlefield support operations. But France’s recent experience in Central Africa has prompted the need for a logistics heavy lifter.
CH-47Fs take off
DII FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record; this FOCUS Article covers the CH-47F/MH-47G Chinook helicopter programs, in the USA and abroad. These helicopters’ distinctive “flying banana” twin-rotor design stems from the brilliant work of aviation pioneer Frank Piasecki. It gives Chinooks the ability to adjust their positioning very precisely, while carrying a large airframe whose load capacity has made it the world’s most popular heavy-lift helicopter. The USA expects to be operating Chinooks in their heavy-lift role past 2030.
The CH-47F looks similar to earlier models, but offers a wide range of improvements in almost every aspect of design and performance. While the related HH-47’s $10-15 billion CSAR-X program win was terminated, delivery orders continue for CH-47Fs and for MH-47G Special Forces configuration helicopters. International orders or formal requests have also come in from Australia, Britain, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the UAE, with India and other countries expected to follow.
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Feb 21, 2020 04:52 UTC
The Cabinet Committee on Security of India has reportedly
approved the procurement of 24 MH-60R
multi-role helicopters from the US. The $2.6 billion worth helicopter acquisition is for the Indian Navy and will be done through the US Foreign Military Sales program. In April 2018, the procurement was cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council, while the sale was also approved by the DoS in April last year. US Congress has also been notified about the possible sale. Lockheed Martin was selected to serve as the sale’s principal contractor. The helicopters will replace the Sea King helicopters that were phased out in 2000. According to US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the MH-60R Seahawk helicopters will enhance India’s capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions.
USN Heli Plan
The US Army’s UH-60 Black Hawks have always had a naval counterpart. SH-60B/F Seahawk/ LAMPS helicopters were outfitted with maritime radar, sonobuoys, and other specialized equipment that let them perform a wide variety of roles, from supply and transport, to anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, medical evacuation, and even surface attack with torpedoes or Kongsberg’s AGM-119 Penguin missiles. Like their land-based counterparts, however, the Seahawks are getting older. The Reagan defense build-up is receding into history, and its products are wearing out.
European countries chose to build new designs like the medium-heavy EH101 and the NH90 medium helicopter. They’re larger than the H-60s, make heavy use of corrosion-proof composites, and add new features like rear ramps. The USA, in contrast, decided to upgrade existing H-60 designs for the Army and Navy. Hence the MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopter (aka. “Romeo”) and MH-60S (aka. “Sierra”) Seahawks. MH-60Rs and MH-60Ss will eventually replace all SH-60B/F & HH-60H Seahawks, HH-1N Hueys, UH-3H Sea Kings, and CH-46D Sea Knight helicopters currently in the US Navy’s inventory. Both programs are underway, and will be covered in this DID FOCUS Article.
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Feb 19, 2020 04:58 UTC
Helicopter Flight Training Systems (HFTS),of which German defense company Rheinmetall
is a part, has entered into an agreement to modernize flight simulators for the German Army Aviation Corps’ NH90
helicopters. A contract to this effect was signed at the end of December 2019. Awarded to HFTS, the complete contract encompasses operation, service and maintenance of the simulators through to 2027, with a contractually guaranteed availability rate of at least 98%. The modernization project involves upgrade of simulators to the latest helicopter standard called MR-1. This upgrade is accompanied by a renovation of the computer configurations, the replacement of the instructor station and the tactical situation animation software (CGF) and includes Level C certification with the European authority EASA.
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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Feb 04, 2020 04:50 UTC
Next » Latest updates[?]:
Lockheed Martin won a $185.9 million contract
, which provides program management, various levels of maintenance, training and logistics support to sustain the operational capability of 24 Royal Australian Navy MH-60 Romeo aircraft. The Australian Navy became the second operator of of the MH-60R
Romeo helicopter in 2013. Its acquisition program was structured in such a way to allow it to have a say on what new capabilities are added. The Australian MH-60R is equipped with a highly sophisticated combat systems designed to employ Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and the Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedo. The primary missions of the Romeo is anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare. Secondary missions include search and rescue, logistics support, personnel transport and medical evacuation. Lockheed Martin will perform work in Australia as well a New York, Connecticut and Florida. Estimated completion will be in January 2024.
MH-60Rs fire Hellfire
Australia’s AIR 9000, Phase 8 project aimed to buy 24 modern naval helicopters to 16 existing S-70B-2 Seahawks, along with the disastrous A$1.1 billion, 11-helicopter SH-2G “Super Seasprite” acquisition attempt. With a total sales and support value of over A$ 3 billion, it was a highly coveted award.
The finalists were familiar, and both had roots in Australia. Sikorsky’s MH-60R is a modernized descendant of the RAN’s existing S-70B anti-submarine helicopters, and Australia’s army operates the S-70A utility helicopter. On the other hand, a multi-billion dollar 2006 order made the European NH90-TTH (“MRH-90”) the Army’s future helicopter, and some MRH-90s will even serve as Navy utility helicopters. NHI/Eurocopter’s NH90-NFH naval variant builds on that base. So why did the MH-60R make Australia its 1st export win?
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