The Bell 412EP (Enhanced Performance) is a “twin Huey” with a 4-bladed rotor; while it lists as a commercial product on Bell’s site, over 30 militaries around the world employ it as a utility helicopter. Including Pakistan, which has operated 26 Bell 412s since 2007.
The USA has been sending more as “security assistance” aid for the government of Pakistan, and in the wake of huge national floods, a September 2010 DSCA request looks set to turn the 412EP into the mainstay of Pakistan’s utility helicopter fleet…
Big Enough Umbrella: US Secretary of State Clinton and NATO Secretary General Rasmussen call for cooperation between the Western alliance and Russia on a missile defense shield.
‘Intersleek’ Paint Job: BAE Systems completes GBP 17.5 million overhaul of the Type 42 Sheffield class destroyer HMS Edinburgh; the ship has been fitted with a new underwater spoiler and a coat of new “intersleek” paint that will cut fuel consumption by up to 15%.
Slimey Solution: US DoD awards a $29.5 million contract to Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Trius Therapeutics to develop antibiotics from bacteria on the ocean floor for defense against biological weapon agents.
L-3 acquires 3Di Technologies, a provider of secure satellite communications for forward-deployed US special ops forces and in-theater personnel.
US DoD explores use of mobile solar and wind generators to produce energy in combat zones.
Rheinmetall recently announced a EUR 33 million contract to modernize 65 of the German Bundeswehr’s Fuchs/Fox 6×6 wheeled armored vehicles. The Fuchs is currently the Bundeswehr’s best-protected vehicle in Afghanistan. Under this contract, 43 APC(Armored Personnel Carrier), C2 command, and MEDEVAC (MEDical EVACuation – ambulance) variants will be upgraded to the Fuchs 1A8 standard, with improved drive systems like axles, suspensions, and running gear; and better protection from IED land mines. Another 22 Fuchs vehicles will also be reconfigured under this contract for new roles such as fire fighting, bomb disposal, and mine clearing, by adding protection and specialized equipment.
The Bundeswehr already operates 21 Fuchs 1A8 vehicles, bought in a EUR 13.8 million immediate operational requirement contract. That was followed by a EUR 36.6 million 2009 contract, to retrofit another 40. This contract will bring the number of upgraded Fuchs vehicles to 126, out of Germany’s stated requirement for 134 Fuchs/Fox 1A8s. The other 8 are very specialized Fuchs Nuclear, Biological & Chemical reconnaissance vehicles, which are to be upgraded at a later date.
Sweden signs a contract to begin production of MBDA’s Meteor air-to-air missile, with a significantly longer reach than available Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAMs. The UK MoD manages the Meteor project, on behalf of 6 nations.
Iron Dome Plans: Israel could deploy IAI’s Iron Dome rocket/artillery defense systems in north of country when they become operational in November, says IDF chief.
Caterpillar gets contract [PDF] worth up to $641.2 million to supply 621G wheeled tractor scrapers, used in building roads and airfields, to the US Marine Corps and US Army – the largest military contract ever secured by the Peoria, IL-based company.
Kaman, a Bloomfield, CT-based supplier of aircraft and missile and bomb components, raises up to $350 million through an “accordion” revolving credit line.
“RESET of the US Army’s Vehicle Fleet Continues” covers the USA’s HMMWV RECAP program, while noting that the extra weight of the add-on armor was wearing out Humvees to the point where even RESET/RECAP programs may not be able to extend their life much. One solution is to turn them over to Iraqi forces, who are often driving unarmored pickup trucks.
On Jan 17/08, a ceremony in Taji, Iraq marked the beginning of a program to refurbish and transfer more than 4,244 up-armored Humvees from US inventory to the government of Iraq by the end of 2008, and reach more than 8,000 Hummers transferred by the end of 2009. So, how are they doing?
Known and Unknown: Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld discusses his career and tenure at the Pentagon in his memoir titled Known and Unknown due out in January.
Eurocopter begins flight testing its new Tiger HAD scout and attack helicopter.
Nice Paint Job: North Korean military manual allegedly smuggled out of the country indicates military uses radar-absorbing paint to disguise jet fighters, warships, and tanks. Nothing like that fairy dust…
In March 2009, Mexico became the EC725 Cougar’s 2nd export customer, thanks to a Mexican Ministry of Defense order for 6 helicopters. Mexico followed Brazil, who became the EC725’s first export customer with a $1.1 billion order for 50 machines to equip its Army, Air Force, and Navy.
Mexico’s medium-lift helicopters be used for transport and civil security missions as well. Despite the understated terms, these are primarily military helicopters that will address a military problem. In 2010, the order was doubled…
Overseas Flight: Taiwan’s Army Aviation Special Forces Command recently flew a fleet of Army helicopters – including CH-47SD, AH-1W, OH-58D and UH-1H models – to the outlying Penghu Islands, 30 miles off Taiwan’s southwestern coast, the first ever cross-sea helicopter drill performed by the command.
Renewed Interest: UK Defense Secretary appoints Lord Philip to head independent review of the 1994 crash of an RAF CH-47C Chinook helicopter on the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland, after discovery of a controversial pre-crash UK MoD internal document describing problems with engine software.
Chemring Group, a UK maker of countermeasures and IED detection and disposal systems, is bullish on its FY 2011 outlook after it reported surging revenue and order-book growth, which it attributed to diversification outside Europe; the firm also reported a fire at its Kilgore Flares plant in Tennessee.
More US bases should be shut down to save money, says Gen. Brady, US Air Force commander in Europe.
Phase 2 contract for Boeing/ QinetiQ’s SolarEagle. (Sept 15/10)
In April 2008, 3 teams received Phase 1 contracts to begin developing develop a radical new aircraft, under a US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program known as “Vulture.” DARPA’s goals for Vulture are not trivial: 5 years on station with a 450kg/ 1,000lb payload, 5kW of onboard power, and sufficient loiter speed to stay on station for 99% of the time against winds encountered at 60,000-90,000 feet.
So, what is the significance of a platform like that, who is competing, and what is happening now? Well, Phase 1 is done, and Phase 2 has been awarded.