Nov 21, 2017 04:58 UTC
General Electric Aviation (GEA) has been awarded a $143.4 million US Navy contract
to provide 22 low-rate initial production Lot 1 and 2 T408-GE-400 turboshaft engines for the CH-53K King Stallion
helicopter. In additional to the engines, the sale will also include associated engine and programmatic support, logistics support, peculiar support equipment, and spares. Work will take place in Lynn, Massachusetts, and is expected to be completed in July 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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Nov 21, 2017 04:56 UTC
Northrop Grumman has carried out the first flight
of the first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye
(AHE) early warning and surveillance aircraft it is building for Japan. Tokyo ordered an initial Hawkeye in 2014, followed by an additional example in August 2016, and will be added to a 13-strong E-2C fleet the Japanese Air Self Defense Forces have been operating since 1983. Both E-2Ds will be delivered next year and in the words of the company "further strengthens its ability to meet Japan’s evolving security and intelligence needs.”
Northrop Grumman’s E-2C Hawkeye is a carrier-capable “mini-AWACS” aircraft, designed to give long-range warning of incoming aerial threats. Secondary roles include strike command and control, land and maritime surveillance, search and rescue, communications relay, and even civil air traffic control during emergencies. E-2C Hawkeyes began replacing previous Hawkeye versions in 1973. They fly from USN and French carriers, from land bases in the militaries of Egypt, Japan, Mexico, and Taiwan; and in a drug interdiction role for the US Naval Reserve. Over 200 Hawkeyes have been produced.
The $17.5 billion E-2D Advanced Hawkeye program aims to build 75 new aircraft with significant radar, engine, and electronics upgrades in order to deal with a world of stealthier cruise missiles, saturation attacks, and a growing need for ground surveillance as well as aerial scans. It looks a lot like the last generation E-2C Hawkeye 2000 upgrade on the outside – but inside, and even outside to some extent, it’s a whole new aircraft.
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Nov 16, 2017 04:57 UTC
A US Department of Defense (DoD)contract
has tapped Bell-Boeing for "field representative and logistic support services" in support of Japanese V-22 Osprey
tiltrotor aircraft. Valued at just of $10 million, the cost-plus-fixed-fee contract will be mostly carried out at Camp Kisarazu, Japan, with other work taking place in Pennsylvania and Florida. Scheduled completion is set for December 2019. Japan received the first of its 19 ordered Ospreys in August.
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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Nov 15, 2017 04:55 UTC
Latest updates[?]: AH-64E Apache Guardian
helicopters from South Korea participated in their first live-firing
of AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles during exercises on Monday. Located at a range off the western coastal city of Gunsan, all helicopters completed a 60Km flight before launching their munitions from different distances and in different manners so that pilots can better familiarize themselves with the missile, and all Hellfires made their target. Four additional Apaches also joined the exercise as command and back-up planes. Seoul has been operating 36 E-model Apaches since January
of this year, with US Force Korea also operating 48 Apaches on the peninsula.
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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Oct 31, 2017 04:57 UTC
Saab's Gripen E
smart fighter flew its first supersonic flight
on October 18, the firm announced last Friday. During the flight, conducted over the Baltic Sea, the aircraft conducted maneuvers to demonstrate its aerodynamic design and powerful engine, and the data collected will go towards the ongoing flight trials for the fighter program. Saab said that the milestone had been preceded by over 20 flying hours since the jet's first flight back on June 15, 2017.
South African JAS-39D
As a neutral country with a long history of providing for its own defense against all comers, Sweden also has a long tradition of building excellent high-performance fighters with a distinctive look. From the long-serving Saab-35 Draken (“Dragon,” 1955-2005) to the Mach 2, canard-winged Saab-37 Viggen (“Thunderbolt,” 1971-2005), Swedish fighters have stressed short-field launch from dispersed/improvised air fields, world-class performance, and leading-edge design. This record of consistent project success is nothing short of amazing, especially for a country whose population over this period has ranged from 7-9 million people.
This is DID’s FOCUS Article for background, news, and contract awards related to the JAS-39 Gripen (“Griffon”), a canard-winged successor to the Viggen and one of the world’s first 4+ generation fighters. Gripen remains the only lightweight 4+ generation fighter type in service, its performance and operational economics are both world-class, and it has become one of the most recognized fighter aircraft on the planet. Unfortunately for its builders, that recognition has come from its appearance in Saab and Volvo TV commercials, rather than from hoped-for levels of military export success. With its 4+ generation competitors clustered in the $60-120+ million range vs. the Gripen’s claimed $40-60 million, is there a light at the end of the tunnel for Sweden’s lightweight fighter? In 2013 a win in Brazil started to answer that question.
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Oct 26, 2017 04:58 UTC
Israeli military authorities have lifted
the remaining restrictions on AH-64 Apache flights following an accident this summer. The IAF Apache fleet
had been temporarily grounded in the immediate aftermath of the August 7 crash—which resulted in the death of one crew member—but flights were later resumed under heavy restrictions while a final report on the incident was being compiled. The final report found that the crash at Ramon air base was caused by incorrect installation of a tail rotor control rod after a preliminary report
ruled out a previously identified problem of tail rotor blade cracks which caused a temporary halt to operations in July.
Israel’s attack helicopter fleet still flies AH-1 Cobras, but larger and more heavily armored AH-64 Apache helicopters began arriving in 1990, and have distinguished themselves in a number of war since. The country received 44 AH-64A helicopters from 1990 – 1993. Additional buys, conversions, and losses placed the fleet at 45 helicopters as of Flight Global’s World Air Forces 2013 report, split between AH-64As and more modern AH-64D Longbows.
The AH-64D Longbow’s sophisticated mast-mounted radar can quickly pick up tanks and other dangerous targets, but isn’t designed to distinguish civilians from combatants, or to hover close over the deck in highly populated areas. Confronted by asymmetrical urban warfare and budget priority issues, and faced with a lack of cooperation from the Obama administration, the IAF decided in 2010 to forego AH-64D upgrades for their remaining helicopters. On the other hand, the type’s consistent usefulness has led Israeli to make extensive improvements of their own, to the point where Israel has effectively created their own improved AH-64A configuration…
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Oct 25, 2017 04:55 UTC
The US State Department's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress
of the potential foreign military sale of 12 Bell UH-1Y
twin-engine, medium-sized utility helicopters to the Czech Republic. If approved, the Central European nation will be the first foreign operator of the rotorcraft. Valued at an estimated $575 million, the package includes 25 T-700 GE 401C engines, 13 Honeywell Embedded GPS/INS systems and 12 7.62mm M240 Machine Guns. Other items requested by Prague include the Brite Star II FLIR system, aircraft survivability equipment, the AN/AAR-47 missile warning and laser detection system, AN/ALE-47 counter-measure dispensing systems, and joint mission planning systems. Bell Helicopter, Textron and General Electric Company will act as principal contractors on the deal.
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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Oct 03, 2017 23:58 UTC
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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Sep 27, 2017 04:58 UTC
S&K Aerospace will provide supply, maintenance and facility services for the Royal Saudi Air Force's (RSAF) F-15 fighter fleet
, after winning a $559 million US Air Force contract
on Friday. The agreement, which falls under foreign military sales to the Gulf kingdom, covers the provision of consumables, parts and maintenance of print on demand parts facilities for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's F-15 program, including all F-15 C/D/S/SA fleets. Work will be carried out in Saudi Arabia and is expected to run through March 31, 2023. The F-15 Eagle is one of the main fighter aircraft operated by the RSAF, and is currently receiving delivery of its most advanced version, the F-15SA, which features upgraded avionics, electronics warfare systems and a greater payload.
F-15S & weapons
In October 2010, talks that Saudi Arabia was negotiating a $30-60 billion arms package with the USA were made official with a full multi-billion request that included 84 F-15 Strike Eagles to replace the Kingdom’s Tornado strike aircraft and/or F-15A-D fighters, upgrades for another 70 planes, about 132 UH-60 Black Hawk utility and AH-64 attack helicopters, and armaments to equip them.
This article looks at those requests, their tie-ins, the issues that are part of these potential deals, and related follow-on requests. As is often the case with DSCA announcements, years can pass between the requests and the signed contracts, but these contracts have started to roll in, alongside other significant buys.
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Sep 12, 2017 04:58 UTC
Next » Latest updates[?]:
Lockheed Martin has received a $27 million modification
to an existing US Navy contract for the supply of retrofitting kits for the 60 Automatic Radar Periscope Detect and Discrimination (ARPDD) program. The firm will deliver 11 standard and 5 SEED kits for the program, which will provide a series of radar upgrades for use on MH-60 Seahawk
helicopters to help spot and discriminate enemy submarine periscopes. Work will primarily take place in Farmingdale, NY and Oswego, NY, with completion by October 2020. ARPDD has been in use with the Navy since 2009 and upgraded several times since then. It is one of the few systems available that are capable of identifying and tracking submarine periscopes.
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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