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Progress on F-35 Ejection Seat Safety Issue | IAF Testing Self-Protection on LM C-130Js | Airbus Successfully Refuels H225M Caracel with C295W

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Americas * Tuesday saw Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg sit down with soon-to-be-President Donald Trump, to discuss matters including Air Force One and the F-18 Super Hornet. In relation to AF1, Muilenburg cited “great progress” on the simplifying of requirements, process, and certification for the new presidential aircraft. Talk surrounding the Super Hornet stemmed from suggestions made by Trump that extra procurements of an upgraded version of the fighter could compete with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. * A 62-page report by the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester has released sort of good news in relation to the F-35: that there has been progress toward fixing a safety issue with the aircraft’s ejection seat. The Martin-Baker manufactured US16E seat and escape system was found to pose a significant risk of neck damage or death during ejection of pilots in the lowest weight range, resulting in pilots weighing under 136 lb being barred from flying the aircraft. But a three-part solution posed by the company to protect a lightweight pilot’s head and neck during ejection is currently being tested with light-weight pilots. This includes a lighter helmet to ease strain on the neck during the first phase of an ejection, a lightweight switch […]
Americas

* Tuesday saw Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg sit down with soon-to-be-President Donald Trump, to discuss matters including Air Force One and the F-18 Super Hornet. In relation to AF1, Muilenburg cited “great progress” on the simplifying of requirements, process, and certification for the new presidential aircraft. Talk surrounding the Super Hornet stemmed from suggestions made by Trump that extra procurements of an upgraded version of the fighter could compete with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

* A 62-page report by the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester has released sort of good news in relation to the F-35: that there has been progress toward fixing a safety issue with the aircraft’s ejection seat. The Martin-Baker manufactured US16E seat and escape system was found to pose a significant risk of neck damage or death during ejection of pilots in the lowest weight range, resulting in pilots weighing under 136 lb being barred from flying the aircraft. But a three-part solution posed by the company to protect a lightweight pilot’s head and neck during ejection is currently being tested with light-weight pilots. This includes a lighter helmet to ease strain on the neck during the first phase of an ejection, a lightweight switch on the seat to delay deployment of the main parachute, and a fabric panel sewn between the parachute risers that will protect the pilot’s head from moving backward during the parachute opening, called a “head support panel” or HSP.

Middle East North Africa

* C-130 aircraft operated by Egypt will be fitted with electronic intelligence (ELINT) systems. Sierra Nevada Corp. won a Pentagon contract to provide the capability on one of the Egyptian Air Force’s 22 C-130H or three C-130H-30 Hercules aircraft, and could do so by either fitting integrated mission equipment or with a roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) mission compartment. It is possible that some C-130 aircraft have already been fitted with similar ELINT equipment following a US DSCA notification to Congress in 2003, however it remains unknown whether the plan was officially implemented.

* The Israeli Air Force has tested a new self-protection system on its Lockheed Martin C-130Js to protect from surface-to-air missiles. Once equipped with the updated self-protection package, the air force’s new transporters will be able to operate in areas where terrorist groups have ready access to shoulder-launched heat-seeking missiles. At present, Israel operates four C-130Js, with plans to purchase three more.

Europe

* Airbus announced the successful refueling of an H225M Caracel helicopter with the help of two C295W medium transports. Contacts during the test were executed at speeds of 105 to 115 knots, with the company reporting that all crews reported a smooth operation. Air-to-air refueling of the multi-role combat helicopter can be performed during forward flight or while hovering.

* Russia has test-fired a Topol-M ICBM, one of the first ballistic missiles to be developed after the fall of the Soviet Union. Capable of being deployed from missile silos or APU launchers mounted on the 16-wheeled MZKT-79221 universal transporter-erector-launcher, the test was carried out to confirm the weapon’s stability. The weapon’s developers claim their product is able to bypass any current or planned US missile defense system, and can make evasive maneuvers to avoid missile interceptors during flight.

* Leonardo has been contracted to provide new jet trainer aircraft to the Italian Air Force as well as develop a new helicopter for the Italian Army. The company stated that the two contracts with the Italian National Armaments Directorate of the Italian Defense Ministry have a combined value of more than $530 million. Under the first award, Leonardo is to deliver five M-345A trainers to the air force and will work alongside the fleet of 18 twin-engine M-346s already ordered and currently used by the Italian air force for the advanced phase of pilot training. The second contract is for the development, production and testing of three reconnaissance and escort helicopter prototypes, of which 48 units will be eventually produced to replace the current fleet of AW129s.

Asia Pacific

* South Korea is shopping for 12 new naval helicopters as its Defense Acquisition Program Administration earmarks $768 million for the acquisition. A decision will be made by the end of 2018 with AgustaWestland’s AW-159, the Sikorsky MH-60R, and NHIndustries’ NH-90 are all in the running. Deliveries will take place between 2020-2022 and the choppers will be deployed on next-generation frigates to counter North Korean submarines and surface vessels.

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Refueling the C295:

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