Jan 07, 2020 04:56 UTC
Three Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters
are being transported to Australia to help fight local bushfires. The helicopters will start their journey to Royal Australian Air Force Base Edinburgh from today and are expected to remain there till end of January. The NH90
helicopters will have 55 aircrew and support personnel from RNZAF Base Ohakea. They comprise of aircrew, and staff for maintenance, logistics, communications, medical needs, refueling, security, and analysts. The NH90 is a medium-sized, twin-engine, multi-role military helicopter. It has the distinction of being the first production helicopter to feature entirely fly-by-wire flight controls.
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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Jul 08, 2019 04:56 UTC
The French Navy will retire
its remaining Westland Lynx Mk 4(FN) helicopters in 2020. The retirement comes two years earlier than initially expected. The Lynx Mk 4(FN)
had been planned to retire in 2022, but with support costs rising the decision has now been made to bring forward the type's out of service date by two years as a savings measure. The Westland Lynx is a multi-purpose military helicopter. The British Lynx went into operational usage in 1977 and was later adopted by the Armed Forces of over a dozen nations. Early retirement of the Lynx will leave a capability gap as the type, equipped with the DUAV-4 active dipping sonar, constitutes the primary anti-submarine rotorcraft on board the French Navy's last two F70 Class
frigates, La Motte-Picquet (D645) and Latouche-Tréville (D646).
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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Oct 19, 2018 04:50 UTC
The UK Royal Air Force marks another milestone
in its F-35 JSF program. One of the RAF's B variant
was successfully refuelled by a Voyager
tanker aircraft. The refuelling took place earlier this week over the North Sea at 19,000 feet. Britain's Voyager, is an Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) that functions both as an aerial tanker and a transport aircraft. A F-35B pilot told Forces TV that "it’s fantastic to be able to link up the UK’s 5th generation asset with the RAF’s Voyager tanker in UK skies for the first time."
Voyager & friends
Back in 2005, Great Britain was considering a public-private partnership to buy, equip, and operate the RAF’s future aerial tanker fleet. The RAF would fly the 14 Airbus A330-MRTT aircraft on operational missions, and receive absolute preferential access to the planes. A private contractor would handle maintenance, receive payment from the RAF on a per-use basis – and operate them as passenger charter or transport aircraft when the RAF didn’t need them.
The deal became politically controversial, and negotiations on the 27-year, multi-billion pound deal charted new territory for both the government, and for private industry. Which may help to explain why a contract to move ahead on a “Private Financing Initiative” basis had yet to be issued, and procurement had yet to begin, over 7 years after the program began. In March 2008, however, Britain issued the world’s largest-ever Defence Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract. This FOCUS Article describes the current British fleet, the aircraft they chose to replace them, how the new fleet will compare, the innovative deal structure they’ve chosen, and ongoing FSTA developments.
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Apr 02, 2014 17:00 UTC
The USCG wants to buy 58 Fast Response Cutters (FRC), and these Sentinel Class boats are sorely needed by an overstretched US Coast Guard. An attempt to extend the lives of their aged Island Class cutters ended as an expensive failure in 2005, and string of blunders has delayed replacements. In February 2006, the Coast Guard’s Deepwater system-of-systems program ‘temporarily’ suspended design work on the FRC-A program due to technical risk. FRC-A was eventually canceled in favor of an off-the-shelf buy (FRC-B), and on March 14/07, the ICGS contractor consortium lost responsibility for the Deepwater FRC-B program as well. By then, even an off-the-shelf buy couldn’t get the Coast Guard any delivered replacements before April 2012.
When the Island Class refurbishment program was terminated in June 2005, 41 Island Class vessels like the USCGC Sanibel, above, still plied US and international waters. DID discusses the programs, their outcomes and controversies, the fate of the Island Class and FRC-A programs, and the work underway to replace them. The Island Class’ safe lifetime is running out fast, but by the end of 2013 FRC Sentinel Class deliveries were set to ramp up to full production pace. Will that be fast enough?
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