Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bombardier Announces 13 Global Business Jet Orders


Bombardier Aerospace announced that it has received 2 seperate orders for a total of 13 Global business jets from an undisclosed customers. The first firm order for 8 Global Business jets consist of four Global 6000 aircraft and four Global 8000 aircraft. The transaction is valued at approximately US $500 million.
The second order is for a total of five Global business jets, also from an undisclosed customer. The firm orders consist of four Global 6000 aircraft and one Global 8000 aircraft. The deal is worth at approximately US $300 million.

GSAT-10 raised to Intermediate Orbit

In the first critical orbit-raising manoeuvre conducted this morning (September 30, 2012), the perigee (nearest point to Earth) of GSAT-10 satellite has successfully been raised from 250 km to 16,427 km by using the satellites on-board propulsion system. Besides, the inclination of GSAT-10 with respect to the equatorial plane has also been brought down to 1.7 deg from the earlier 5.998 deg. In this operation, the Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) was fired for duration of 1 hour 55 minutes. In the process, about 362 kg propellant was utilised.
This orbit raising operation began today at 0428 hrs IST by commanding the satellite from ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan, Karnataka. GSAT-10 is in good health. The currentorbital parameters of GSAT-10 are:
Parameter (Unit) Value
Perigee (km) 16,427
Apogee (km) 35,758.7
Inclination (deg) 1.7
Orbital Period 16 hours 3 minutes
It may be recalled that GSAT-10 satellite was launched on September 29, 2012 on-board Ariane-5 launch vehicle from Kourou, French Guyana.
The Second orbit-raising manoeuvre is planned inthe afternoon of October 1, 2012.

GSAT-10 Successfully Orbited

The launch of ISRO's 101st space mission, GSAT-10 satellite, has been a success. At 3400 kg, GSAT-10 is the heaviest Indian satellite that ISRO has built.
After a smooth countdown lasting 11 hours and 30 minutes, the Ariane-5 launch vehicle lifted off right on schedule at the opening of the launch window at 0248 hrs IST today (September 29,2012). After a flight of 30 minutes and 45 seconds, GSAT-10 was injected into an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), very close to the intended one. The orbital parameters of GSAT-10, as recorded, are:
Parameter Targeted Achieved
Perigee (km) 250.85 250.92
Apogee (km) 35,885 35,853
Orbital Inclination with respect to Equatorial plane (deg) 6.001 5.998
ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) took over the command and control of the GSAT-10 immediately after the injection. Preliminary health checks on the various subsystems of the satellite, namely, Power, Thermal, Command, Sensors, Controls, etc., were performed and all the parameters were found satisfactory. Following this, the satellite was oriented towards the Earth and the Sun using the onboard propulsion system. The satellite is in good health.
In the coming five days, orbit raising maneuvers will be performed to place the satellite in the Geostationary Orbit with required inclination with reference to the equator. The satellite will be moved to the Geostationary Orbit (36,000 km above the equator) by using the satellite propulsion system in a three step approach.
After the completion of orbit raising operations, the two solar panels and both the dual gridded antenna reflectors of GSAT-10 will be deployed for further tests and operations. It is planned to experimentally turn on the communication payloads in the second week of October 2012.
After the successful completion of all in-orbit tests, GSAT-10 will be ready for operational use by November 2012. GSAT-10 will be positioned at83deg East orbital location along with INSAT-4A and GSAT-12. The operational life of GSAT-10 is expected to be 15 years nominal.
GSAT-10 Satellite has 30 Communication Transponders [12 in Ku-band, 12 in C-band and 6 in Extended C-Band]. Besides, it has a Navigation payload "GAGAN" that would provide GPS signals of improved accuracy (of better than 7 meters) to be used by the Airports Authority of India for Civil Aviation requirements. GSAT-10 is the second satellite in INSAT/GSAT constellation with GAGAN payload after GSAT-8, launched in May 2011.

Ariane 5 liftoff Sucessfully

28 September 2012
Ariane 5 launcher lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on its mission to place two telecommunications satellites, Astra-2F and GSAT-10, into their planned geostationary transfer orbits.
Liftoff of flight VA209, the 65th Ariane 5 mission, came at 21:18 GMT (23:18 CEST; 18:18 French Guiana). The target injection orbit had a perigee altitude of 249.5 km, an apogee altitude of 35 937 km and an inclination of 6° relative to the equator.
The satellites were accurately injected into their transfer orbits about 27 minutes and 30 minutes after liftoff, respectively.
From this transfer orbit, the satellites’ own apogee booster motors circularise their orbits to attain geostationary orbit – where they keep pace with Earth’s own rotation, causing them to remain at fixed points in the sky.
Astra-2F will be positioned above the equator at 28.2°E. It will provide new-generation direct-to-home TV broadcast services to Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
GSAT-10, to be positioned at 83°E, will provide telecommunication, direct-to-home broadcasting and radio-navigation services to India.
The payload mass for this launch was 10 211 kg; the satellites totalled 9401 kg, with payload adapters and dispensers making up the additional 810 kg. This was a new record for Ariane 5 ECA performance.
VA209 flight timeline
Ariane 5’s cryogenic, liquid-propellant main engine was ignited first. Seven seconds later, after checking the functioning of the main engine, the solid-propellant boosters also fired, and the vehicle lifted off.
The solid boosters were jettisoned 2 min 21 sec after main engine ignition, and the fairing protecting the payload during the climb through Earth’s atmosphere was discarded at 3 min 17 sec.
The launcher’s main cryogenic engine shut down at 8 min 59 sec and separated from the upper stage and its payload six seconds later.
Four seconds after main stage separation, the engine of the cryogenic upper stage ignited to continue the journey. The engine shut down at 25min 20 sec into the flight, at which point the vehicle was travelling at 9350 m/s (33 660 km/h) at an altitude of 660.7 km. The conditions for geostationary transfer orbit injection had been achieved.
At 27 min 44 sec after main engine ignition, Astra-2F separated from the upper stage, followed by GSAT-10 at 30 min 45 sec. Ariane 5’s flight operations were completed 46 min 09sec after main engine ignition.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Northrop X-47B UCAS

The X-47B is a tailless, strike fighter-sized unmanned system currently under development by Northrop Grumman as part of the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) program.
The X-47B is a computer-controlled unmanned aircraft system that takes off, flies a preprogrammed mission, and then returns to base – all in response to mouse clicks from a mission operator. The operator actively monitors the X-47B air vehicle's operation using simple situational awareness displays, but does not fly it via remote control, as some unmanned systems are operated.
Under a contract awarded in 2007, the company has designed, developed and is currently producing two X-47B aircraft. In the 2013 timeframe, these aircraft will be used to demonstrate the first carrier-based launches and recoveries by an autonomous, low-observable relevant unmanned aircraft. The UCAS-D program will also be used to mature relevant carrier landing and integration technologies, and to demonstrate autonomous aerial refueling by the X-47B aircraft.
UCAS-D is designed to help the U.S. Navy explore the future of unmanned carrier aviation. A successful UCAS-D flight test program, including a series of successful carrier-based launches and recoveries, will help set the stage for the development of a more permanent, carrier-based fleet of unmanned aircraft

To date, Northrop Grumman has designed and built two tailless, fighter-sized unmanned aircraft designated the X-47B. The company will use these aircraft to demonstrate two “firsts” for unmanned jet-powered aviation: autonomous carrier operations – including launch, recovery, and deck handling – and autonomous aerial refueling using both the U.S. Air Force “boom-receptacle” and Navy “probe and drogue” methods.
While testing at Edwards Air Force base, the X-47B aircraft reached altitudes exceeding 15,000 feet and demonstrated multiple maneuvers relevant to carrier operations, including extending and retracting a tail hook, completing an autonomous"touch-and-go" landing – an aviation first – and performing landings at a high sink rate and in a heavy weight configuration.
The Northrop Grumman team is currently finalizing the software that will be required to enter carrier suitability testing of the X-47B. That testing will include catapult launches, arrested landings and wireless remote deck handling of the aircraft.
The first X-47B was moved to Patuxent River in December 2011. The testing at Pax River is scheduled to begin in early 2012. It will include testing the X-47B's ability to conduct precision approaches to the carrier, and to perform arrested landings and"roll-out" catapult launches at land-based test facilities. The testing will also include flight testing precision navigation computers and new guidance, navigation and control software recently installed on both aircraft. The new suite of hardware and software will enable the X-47B to make precision landings on a moving carrier deck.
It is currently undergoing electromagnetic interference testing, which is designed to demonstrate that the X-47B is compatible with the electromagnetic signal environment of an aircraft carrier.
In August 2007, the U.S. Navy selected Northrop Grumman as the prime contractor for the Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) program. The program will demonstrate the first-ever carrier launches and recoveries, and autonomous aerial refueling by an autonomous, low-observable-representative unmanned aircraft

Lockheed Delivers 20th F-35 fighter

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FORT WORTH, Texas, September 27, 2012 – The 20th Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II was delivered today to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to support F-35 pilot and maintainer training taking place on the Emerald Coast. BF-15, piloted by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Mike Rountree, left Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base at 10:39 a.m. CDT en route for a 90 minute ferry flight to Eglin. The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) jet is the fourteenth F-35 to ferry there this year. BF-15 is now assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s Marine Fighter/Attack Training Squadron 501 with the host 33d Fighter Wing.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Engine failure caused crash of USAF F-15E in May


Catastrophic failure of the right engine caused an F-15E Strike Eagle to crash May 3, 2012, according to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released today. The aircraft crashed south of the host nation air base in Southwest Asia.
The mishap aircraft and air crew are forward deployed with the 391st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing. When the accident occurred, the mishap crew MCwas conducting a routine training sortie simulating enemy fighter tactics against friendly forces.
According to the investigation, the cause of the engine failure was a rare ignition of the titanium components within the engine, resulting in an extremely destructive fire. The fire led to associated failure of other critical hydraulic and electrical systems. The loss of the right engine and critical systems made the aircraft uncontrollable, resulting in the crash.
With the mishap aircraft at the prescribed bailout altitude and fire continuing to burn in the right engine compartment, the mishap pilot used hand signals to command bailout. The mishap crew safely ejected from the aircraft without injury and was quickly recovered by host nation search and rescue forces. Seconds after the crew ejected, the aircraft crashed in an unpopulated area and was destroyed upon impact. The loss is valued at approximately$45.5 million.

Eurocopter begins flight demonstration of AAS helicopters for U.S. Army

EADS North America has begun its voluntary flight demonstration (VFD) for the Army’s Armed Aerial Scout helicopter program, flying two aircraft at a high-altitude test site for a series of demonstrations that will showcase the superior performance of the company’s AAS-72X+ offering.
The AAS-72X+, an armed derivative of the Army’s UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter, will be manufactured by the company’s American Eurocopter business unit in Columbus, Miss. Lockheed Martin provides the mission computer and integrates the mission equipment.

The AAS-72X+ is cost-competitive with the upgrades planned for the Vietnam-era OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, and could be fielded with Army units as early as 2016. The aircraft would be built in the same facility as the Army’s UH-72A Lakota, 240 of which have been delivered by EADS North America.
EADS North America has previously developed, tested and flown three AAS-72X Technical Demonstrator Aircraft (TDA) using the company’s own research and development investment. Over the next two weeks, company pilots will be flying the VFD with one AAS-72X, as well as an EC145 T2 helicopter that demonstrates the performance enhancements offered in the AAS-72X+ configuration.
The EC145 T2 shares the same basic airframe as the UH-72A and AAS-72X, but incorporates the more powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines with dual channel FADEC, a Fenestron anti-torque system, an upgraded transmission, the Helionix glass cockpit and avionics suite, and a 4-axis autopilot system.
These elements of the AAS-72X+ will offer the Army greater power, range, endurance and payload capacity when operating in 6,000 foot altitude and 95 degree environments, commonly known as “6K/95 high/hot” conditions — the most demanding environment for rotary-wing operations.
EADS North America unveiled its Armed Aerial Scout 72X+ (AAS-72X+) April 2, 2012 at the annual Army Aviation Association of America convention

Upgraded Antonov An-70 Airlifter flies

An upgraded Antonov An-70 propfan tactical transport aircraft carried out a test flight on Thursday after a two-year delay, the company's president Dmytro Kyva announced.

He said the 32-minute flight at Ukraine's Aviasvit-XXI international airshow had been a success, and called this "the main event of the airshow."

Test flights were suspended for two years as the An-70 underwent vital modernization work following a number of technical malfunctions in previous flights.

The Ukrainian-designed An-70, built jointly with Russia, has had a long-running and troubled gestation period, with one prototype crashing in a collision in the 1990s, and a second crashing in 2001 in an accident during take-off in Omsk. It also had a history of problems related to its propfan engines.

Kyva said that the company had received orders for two planes from Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, and that they would also supply them to Russia.

Russia withdrew from the project in 2006, and Russian Air Force commander Vladimir Mikhailov was quoted as saying that it had no need for the aircraft and would prefer the modernized Il-76, but later rejoined the program.

The Russian military is on record as planning to purchase at least 60 An-70s by 2020.

THAI takes delivery of its first Airbus A380

Thai Airways International (THAI) has taken delivery of its first A380, becoming the ninth airline to operate the world’s largest and most eco-efficient airliner. The aircraft was handed over to Captain Montree Jumrieng, Executive Vice President Technical, THAI, by Kiran Rao,  Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing, Airbus, at a special ceremony in Toulouse today.

THAI has ordered six A380s, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines. The airline has specified a premium three class layout for its fleet, seating a total of 507 passengers. All classes feature new cabin designs, with 12 private suites in First Class, 60 fully flat sleeper seats in Royal Silk Class and 435 seats in Economy. All seats are equipped with the latest on-demand in-flight entertainment systems, communication outlets and individual power supply.
THAI will inaugurate commercial service with the A380 in early October on the Bangkok – Hong Kong and Bangkok – Singapore routes. As more aircraft are delivered, the airline will begin service to Frankfurt at the end of the year, followed by Tokyo and Paris early in 2013.

Since first entering service in 2007, the A380 has exceeded all expectations, flying more people further at lower cost and with less impact on the environment. The spacious, quiet cabin and smooth ride have also made the A380 a firm favourite with passengers, resulting in higher load factors and increased profitability on all routes where the aircraft is operated.

The A380 is capable of flying 8,500 nautical miles or 15,700 kilometres non-stop. From Bangkok this enables non-stop service with a full payload to any destination in Europe or one-stop service to anywhere in the US.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Russia To Field Kh-55 Raduga Cruise Missile by 2013

Raduga Kh-101 cruise missile
Source: / Ria Novosti

Russian Air Force will induct its new Raduga Kh-101 cruise missile, capable of delivering precision strikes with a conventional warhead at long-distance by 2013, an Air Force source told Izvestia on Wednesday.
The new missile, currently being flight-tested, will be able to hit targets with an accuracy of just 30 feet (10 meters) at ranges of up to 6,000 miles(10,000 km), giving Long-Range Aviation its first precision-strike long-range weapon, the paper says.
The Russian Air Force's bombers currently deploy the Kh-555 conventionally-armed cruise missile, which only has an accuracy of 75-90 feet (25-30 meters) accuracy.
The subsonic Kh-101 navigates primarily by using Russia's GLONASS satellite navigation system, but also has a backup intertial guidance mechanism which can take over if its SATNAV is jammed. It will also be capable of hitting small moving targets like vehicles, the paper said.
The new missile delivers a bigger payload - 880 pounds (400 kg) than its Kh-555 predecessor (440 pounds), and over a much longer range. A nuclear-armed variant, Kh-102, will also enter service.
The long-range capability is essential as Russia no longer has bases abroad and therefore cannot provide distant fighter escort for its bomber fleet, Alexander Konovalov of the Strategic Evaluation Institute told the paper.
The large size of the weapon means it can only be carried by Russia's biggest bombers, the Tupolev Tu-95MS and Tu-160, and not the Tu-22M3, which will continue in service with the Kh-555, the source told Izvestia.

Piper Delivers 500th Turboprop Meridian

Piper Aircraft delivered the 500th single-engine turboprop M-Class Meridian aircraft to a unnamed Florida-based owner.
This is a milestone delivery of the 500 th Piper Meridian, since first delivery in the year 2000.
Designed to meet the stringent requirements of scheduled business and personal transportation, the Piper Meridian combines advanced Garmin avionics with the reliable, proven Pratt & WhitneyCanada’s PT6A-42A turboprop engine. The Meridian provides turboprop power, 1,000 nm range, 260 ktas cruise speed and Flight Into Known Icing capability. Passengers enjoy the low vibration levels of the Meridian's turboprop engine, the comfort of a pressurized, air-conditioned cabin environment and seating comparable to that found in aircraft costing twice as much.

Second SU-30SM Fighter makes Debut Flight

The second Su-30SM aircraft has joined flight tests on September 25. The flight lasted for 1 hour 40 minutes and passed flawlessly.

The first Su-30SM aircraft performed its maiden flight on September 21.

Su-30SM multirole fighter is the further development of the Su-30MKI combat aircraft family. JSC Sukhoi Design Bureau specialists designed the fighter in accordance with the requirements of the Russian Air Force in terms of radar system, radio and recognition system, ejection seats and a number of support systems.

The weaponry configuration was changed as well. The contract on 30 multirole fighters delivery by 2015 was signed between the Russian Ministry of Defence and JSC IRKUT Corporation in March 2012.

Alenia delivers the first set of components for the Eurofighter Tranche 3

Wednesday, 26. September 2012
The first set of main components made by Alenia Aermacchi for the first Eurofighter Typhoon of Tranche 3a has been shipped from Alenia Aermacchi’s Caselle plant to the BAE Systems plant in Warton, UK; this first set includes wing and rear fuselage related to aircraft no. 116 (single seat) for the Royal Air Force.

The Tranche 3a is made of a total of 112 aircraft acquired by Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and Spain and split as follows: UK: 40, Germany. 31, Italy: 21 and Spain: 20.

In addition to the introduction of the update “Phase 1 Enhancements” (P1E) that will update also the Tranche 2 aircraft, from the structural point of view the Tranche 3 aircraft characteristics are the introduction of provisions for the future use of advanced equipments such as the E-SCAN radar, the conformal tanks and the dump fuel system, all of which make Eurofighter even more competitive, especially on the export markets.

Lockheed Successfully flight tests DAGR Missile

Lockheed Martin recently conducted two separate DAGR ® missile flight tests, successfully firing the missiles from a prototype pedestal launcher and hitting a stationary target.

The tests, which took place at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., demonstrated DAGR’s capability as a ground-based weapon. In each flight test, an inert DAGR missile locked onto the laser spot illuminating the target before launch. Upon launch, each missile flew 3.5 kilometers and hit the target within one foot of the laser spot.

“These tests demonstrated the DAGR missile is as accurate on the ground as it is in the air,” said Ken Musculus, director of air-to-ground missile system programs in Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control business. “The tests also verified the missile’s ability to acquire targets prior to launch, a capability that currently-fielded 2.75-inch guided rockets cannot deliver.”

Lockheed Martin’s pedestal launcher features four M299 launcher rails, associated cables and electronics, providing full compatibility with HELLFIRE ® II and DAGR missiles. DAGR’s canister mounts to the pedestal launch rails as it would on a standard HELLFIRE launcher designed for aircraft.

DAGR incorporates proven HELLFIRE II technology into a 2.75-inch/70 millimeter guidance kit that integrates seamlessly with legacy Hydra-70 rockets. The result is a laser-guided missile that puts a 10-pound warhead within one meter of the laser spot, defeating high-value, non-armored or lightly-armored targets while minimizing collateral damage.  DAGR’s lock-on-before launch mode ensures the missile identifies the correct target prior to launch.

Lockheed Martin has conducted more than 30 DAGR flight tests from ranges of 1 to 5.1 kilometers. DAGR has been launched from multiple HELLFIRE-equipped rotary-wing platforms, including the AH-64D Apache, AH-6 Little Bird and OH-58 Kiowa Warrior.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pratt & Whitney Delivers 500th F119 Engine

Jet Engine major Pratt & Whitney has delivered the 500th F119 engine, which powers the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, to the U.S. Air Force.

This delivery is accompanied by another significant milestone for the F119 program – more than 20 years of simulated operational service through Accelerated Mission Tests (AMTs), an achievement that further demonstrates the maturity and dependability of the world's first fifth-generation fighter engine.

An accelerated mission test compresses many years of operational service into a short duration test, which allows for a robust evaluation of engine durability. During the most recent period of testing, an F119 production engine ran for nearly 570 hours, accumulating more than 2,000 cycles or approximately four years of service.

Combined with previous testing, this engine has now surpassed 20 years of simulated operational service. Pratt & Whitney F119 engines have accumulated over 230,000 of actual operational flight hours powering the F-22 fleet.

With production of the F119 engine nearly complete, Pratt & Whitney continues to deliver F135 engines from the fifth generation production line, with 70 production engines delivered to date.

The F135 engine shares similar core components with the F119 engine and powers the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. The F135 engine has powered more than 2,300 flights, with over 3,700 flight hours and 336 vertical landings.

FINNAIR selects IAE Engine to power its Airbus A321 fleet.

Finnair has selected IAE International Aero Engines AG to supply engines for its five new Airbus A321 extended range aircraft, entering the Finnair fleet from September 2013. The IAE V2533-A5 engines offer Finnair a significant advantage in fuel efficiency over the competition, saving about 300 tons of fuel per year per aircraft, according to aircraft supplier Airbus test data. The engines also operate well within noise limitations set by ICAO and the EU.
Finnair announced in June 2010 an order for five Airbus aircraft to replace the four Boeing 757s currently in the fleet. The new A321s will be quieter and more comfortable for passengers, aswell as about 5 per cent more fuel efficient. The move also enables more flexibility and interoperability between European scheduled and leisure flights, driving up aircraft utilisation and further reducing per-passenger emissions.

Airbus Deliver's 100th China Assembled A320 Aircraft

The 100th A320 Family aircraft assembled at Airbus’ A320 Family Final Assembly Line China (FALC) was handed over today to Air China. This delivery from the Airbus Tianjin Delivery Centre comes some three years after the first aircraft was delivered on 22nd June, 2009.

The new A320, powered by IAE V2500 engines, is configured in a typical two class layout with eight business class and 150 economy class seats. The aircraft will be deployed on domestic routes linking Shanghai to other cities in China. Air China now operates 93 A320 Family aircraft, one of the biggest A320 Family fleets in China.
On 31st August, visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao presided over a grand gathering of some 1,000 people in Tianjin to celebrate the completion of the 100th A320 Family aircraft assembled at the Airbus A320 Family Final Assembly Line China . 

To date, more than 700 Airbus A320 Family aircraft are in service in China. 11 Chinese customers have so far taken deliveries from the Airbus Tianjin Delivery Centre.

IAF formally inducts SU-30MKI to Western Air Command

India's frontline SU-30 MKI fighter aircraft was inducted into Western Air Command in a formal ceremony at Halwara Air Force base in Punjab, bordering Pakistan on 25 Sep. Air Marshal Arup Raha AVSM VM AOC-in-C Western Air Command IAF was the chief guest for the induction ceremony.

Boeing start's full rate production of JDAM for US Navy

Boeing recently received a $22.7 million modification to an existing U.S. Navy contract for more than 2,300 Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (Laser JDAM) sensors, starting full-rate production to meet the Navy’s Direct Attack Moving Target Capability (DAMTC) program requirement.

JDAM is a low-cost, modular guidance kit that converts unguided free-fall bombs into near precision-guided weapons. Laser functionality boosts the weapon's effectiveness against moving targets, maritime threats and other relocatable targets.
Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) awarded the firm-fixed price contract modification on July 17. Deliveries under this contract begin in spring 2013 and continue through spring 2014.

Boeing completed the development and testing cycle for Laser JDAM less than 17 months after the capability was identified as an urgent operational need in early 2007. The company delivered the first production laser sensor kits to the U.S. military in 2008, and the U.S. Air Force successfully employed them in combat in Iraq that same year.

Since starting JDAM production in 1998, Boeing has built more than 238,000 tail kits in its St. Charles, Mo., facility – on time and at cost – for use by the U.S. Defense Department and 26 international militaries.

Predator/Gray Eagle Aircraft Family Achieves Two Million Flight Hours

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. announced that its Predator®/Gray Eagle®-series aircraft family has reached a historic industry milestone: two million flight hours. The noteworthy achievement occurred on Sept. 9, with more than 150,000 total missions completed and nearly 90-percent of all missions flown in combat.
The identification of the specific aircraft and customer that achieved the milestone is unknown as every second of every day approximately 50 GA-ASI aircraft are airborne worldwide. On Sept. 9, 24 Predators, 15 Predator Bs, six Gray Eagles, and five Sky Warrior® Alphas were in operation. Flight hours have seen tremendous growth in recent years, with 500,000 flight hours achieved from 1993 to 2008, one million just two years later in 2010, and one-and-a-half million the following year in 2011. The aircraft family is currently logging more than 45,000 flight hours a month.
Predator/Gray Eagle-series aircraft are in constant daily operations supporting the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, NASA, the Italian Air Force, the Royal Air Force, and other customers in the execution of a wide variety of missions

Over 550 aircraft have been produced since the company’s first aircraft, the GNAT® 750, took flight in 1993. Today, GA-ASI is building six aircraft and five Ground Control Stations (GCS) per month, with the capacity to double production if needed.

Northrop Completes Radar Upgrade for B-2 Stealth Bombers

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo., Sept. 24, 2012 Northrop Grumman has successfully completed – ahead of schedule – all field installations of a new radar system for the U.S. Air Force's fleet of B-2 stealth bombers.

Every operational B-2 is now equipped with the new radar, which was developed for the Air Force's B-2 Radar Modernization Program (RMP). It takes advantage of technology advancements that have occurred since the bomber was originally designed in the early 1980s.

Northrop Grumman is the Air Force's prime contractor for the B-2, the flagship of the nation's long-range strike arsenal. The fleet of 20 B-2s is operated by the 509th Bomb Wing from its headquarters at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.
The Whiteman RMP installs occurred in two blocks: five were completed during 2009 as part of the program's system development and demonstration phase. Ten more were completed between the third quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2012 as part of the RMP production contract.
Northrop Grumman also used a second advanced procurement process with RMP called a Life of Type buy. Under this approach, the company worked out agreements with the government and RMP suppliers to purchase all the spare parts needed for the anticipated operational life of the system, thereby avoiding future parts obsolescence issues.

Raytheon Space&Airborne Systems, El Segundo, Calif., developed the new radar hardware under contract to Northrop Grumman. It includes an advanced electronically scanned array antenna, a power supply and a modified receiver/exciter.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lockheed Martin Delivers Propulsion Core for the First GPS III Satellite

The Lockheed Martin team developing the U.S. Air Force’s next generation Global Positioning System III satellites has delivered the first spacecraft’s propulsion core module to the company’s Denver-area GPS Processing Facility (GPF). The milestone represents the program’s first major hardware delivery for GPS III Space Vehicle 1 and highlights the satellite’s initial Assembly, Integration and Test activities in the GPF .

The propulsion core contains the integrated propulsion system and serves as the structural backbone of the satellite. Developed and tested at Lockheed Martin's Mississippi Space&Technology Center, the propulsion subsystem is essential for maneuvering the GPS III satellite during transfer orbit to its final location as well as conducting on-orbit repositioning maneuvers throughout its mission life.
The activity simplified plumbing routing and reduced welds by 25 percent compared to similar spacecraft, which results in  significantly reduced cycle time and cost for all GPS III production satellites.

To reduce risk and overall program costs for the government, the team is first fielding a full-sized satellite prototype, known as the GPS III Non-Flight Satellite Testbed (GNST). The approach is used to identify and solve development issues prior to integration and test of the first GPS III satellite.
The GPS III program will affordably replace aging GPS satellites while improving capability to meet the evolving demands of military, commercial and civilian users. GPS III satellites will deliver better accuracy and improved anti-jamming power while enhancing the spacecraft’s design life and adding a new civil signal designed to be interoperable with international global navigation satellite systems.

In 2008, Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract for the design, development and production of the GNST and the first two GPS III satellites, with priced options for up to 10 additional satellites.
In early 2012, the Air Force exercised a $238 million option for production of the next two satellites, GPS III space vehicles three and four.
The Air Force plans to purchase up to 32 GPS III satellites.

Lockheed to Modernize Apache Helicopter Avionics

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $111 million Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor(M-TADS/PNVS) Performance Based Logistics (PBL) contract by U.S. Army.

The PBL contract is a firm-fixed price, comprehensive sustainment solution that enables mission readiness, reduces Operations and Support (O&S) costs and drives reliability and maintainability improvements.

The contract consists of a one-year base and three one-year options extending through December 2015. The total four-year contract value is $375 million.

M-TADS/PNVS modernizes the U.S. Army’s TADS/PNVS, known as the “eyes of the Apache,” by upgrading the infrared sensors and associated electronics.

M-TADS/PNVS provides Apache pilots with the most advanced long-range, electro-optical precision engagement and pilotage capabilities to ensure mission success and flight safety in day, night and adverse-weather missions.

U.S. Navy Orders 11 more P-8A Poseidon ASW Aircrafts

U.S. Navy on Sept. 21 awarded Boeing a $1.9 billion contract for 11 P-8A Poseidon aircraft, which will take the total fleet to 24 and bolster the service's anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

This third low-rate initial production award follows two last year that totaled 13 aircraft. Boeing has delivered three of the production P-8As, which are based on the company's Next-Generation 737-800 commercial airplane, and the Navy plans to purchase 117 to replace its P-3 fleet.
Boeing assembles the P-8A aircraft in the same facility where it builds all its 737 aircraft. The Poseidon team uses a first-in-industry in-line production process that draws on Boeing's Next-Generation 737 production system. All P-8A-unique modifications are made in sequence during fabrication and assembly.

After assembly, the aircraft enter Boeing's mission system installation and checkout facility for final modifications.

The Boeing-led team also has built and is testing six flight-test and two ground-test aircraft under a Navy System Development and Demonstration contract awarded in 2004. The test aircraft have completed more than 600 sorties and 2,500 flight hours to date.

Boeing's industry team includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems, BAE Systems and GE Aviation

United Airlines Inducts Dreamliner

Sept. 24, Boeing delivered first United Airlines 787 Dreamliner. United is the first airline in North America to take delivery of the 787.
This delivery marks the first of 50 Dreamliners that United has on order.
The airline's 787 cabin is configured with 36 seats in United BusinessFirst, 72 seats in United Economy Plus and 111 seats in United Economy. Customers will be more comfortable with improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and enhanced ventilation systems, among other features.

United's first Dreamliner is expected to arrive in Houston later this week to begin a month-long training and certification program including non-commercial flights to each of United's domestic hubs

FAA mandates Ultrasonic Inspection on all GE GEnx Engines

National aviation authority of the United States, Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) has issued Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2012-19-08, which requires that all GEnx engines undergo ultrasonic inspection of the Fan Mid-Shaft(FMS) before further flight. The AD also establishes that the FMS be subject to recurring inspections that must be accomplished not more than 90 days between inspections.
According to Boeing and GE, the immediate initial inspections on all affected engines in-service were completed as of September 19, 2012.
The directive comes after an “urgent recommendation” from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for immediate and repetitive inspections on the GE GEnx engine family, which powers the Boeing 787 and 747-8.
The NTSB request followed an initial investigation into a contained GEnx-1B engine failure on a 787 while in ground testing in July at Boeing’s final assembly facility in Charleston, S.C.
The failure involved cracks in the fan mid-shafts (FMS) of the engine’s low-pressure turbine. An inspection of a second GEnx-1B on-wing in August also showed FMS crack.
Engine maker GE says it has introduced changes in the production process that “address environmentally assisted cracking, including changes to the dry-film coating applied to the mid-shaft at the manufacturing stage, as well as changes to the assembly lubricant used when the retaining nut is clamped to the mid-shaft.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Terrafugia Transition®: The Flying Car

The Terrafugia Transition is roadable light sport aircraft, has two seats, four wheels and wings that fold up so it can be driven like a car.
The Transition® combines the unique convenience of being able to fold its wings with the ability to drive on any surface road in a modern personal airplane platform. Stowing the wings for road use and deploying them for flight at the airport is activated from inside the cockpit. The automated electomechanical wing fold and unfold in a touch of button.This unique functionality addresses head-on the issues faced by today’s Private and Sports pilots.

Transition can transform into a plane in about 20 seconds and can then fly up to 500 miles.
Powered by a 100hp Rotax 912ULS engine Transition can reach around 70 miles per hour on the road and 115 in the air. It flies using a 23-gallon(87L) tank of automotive fuel and burns 5 gallons(18.9L) per hour in the air. On the ground, it gets 35 (6.7L/100km)miles per gallon
It has a gross takeoff weight of1430 lbs (650 kg) and can carry a 460 lbs (210 kg) of useful load.
In case of an emergency on air a full vehicle parachute is provided for safe landing.
It also features a modern glass avionics and
latest automotive crash safety features.

Terrafugia says an owner would need to pass a test and complete 20 hours of flying time to be able to fly the Transition, a relatively low hurdle for pilots.
Carl Dietrich, the Transition's inventor, began developing Transition in 2006 at his company headquarters in Terrafugia, near Woburn, Massachusetts.
The first test flights took place in New York in 2009 and Dietrich expects to deliver a finished product to his first 10 customers by next year, with production "ramping up" in 2014.
Transition is priced at 279,000 dollars (pounds 177,000).

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ariane 5 to Launch GSAT-10 on Sept 29

Arianespace confirmed that the postponed flight of India's GSAT-10 communication satellite and ASTRA 2F satellite built by EADS Astrium will now be launched on September 29, from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.
The launch was postponed following a technical problem on board Ariane 5 ECA launcher.
Initially the launch was scheduled for September 21.
Liftoff of the Ariane 5 launcher is now scheduled for Friday, September 28, 2012, at:
6:18 p.m., local time in Kourou, French Guiana,
5:18 p.m., at Washington, D.C.
11:28 p.m., in Paris
2:48 a.m., at Bangalore, on Saturday, Sept 29.

On September 15, Arianespace found a “small snag”(leakage) on the upper side of the Ariane rocket and it carried out additional checks to see if one gram of dust particles that was not accounted for, has stuck to critical moving parts.

Iran Debuts New Air Defense System

Iran unveiled the country’s latest indigenously-manufactured air defense system.
Raad air defense system was displayed during the Friday parade of the Iranian Armed Forces in the capital city, Tehran, marking the 32nd anniversary of eight years of defense against Iraq's invasion of Iran.
The mid-range system which is equipped with Taer 2 missiles is capable of intercepting targets at a range of up to 50 kilometers and at the height of 75,000 feet.
Raad is the optimized version of the Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile system.
The Buk missile system is a family of self-propelled , medium-range surface-to-air missile systems developed by the former Soviet Union and Russian Federation designed to engage cruise missiles , fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft , and unmanned aerial vehicles .

Maiden flight of Russian Su-30SM Fighter

Su-30SM fighter, developed by JSC Sukhoi Design Bureau and designed for the Russian Ministry of Defence, performed its maiden flight on Friday.
“The flight lasted for two hours and went smoothly,” the Irkut corporation said.
The Su-30SM is a localised version of the thrust-vectoring Indian Su-30MKI for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions.
Thrust-vectoring engines enhance manueverability.
The Defense Ministry and Irkut signed a contract in March for delivery of 30 of the multirole fighters by 2015.

HAL Delivers Mars Orbiter Mission Satellite Structure to ISRO

Dr. Jeyakar Vedamanickam, GM, Aerospace Division, HAL (centre-right), handing over the Quality documents to Dr. Mylswamy Annadurai, Programme Director, Mars Orbiter Mission, ISRO Satellite Center (ISAC).
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has handed over the Mars Orbiter Mission Satellite Structure to ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) here recently. The mission is aimed at studying the climate, geology, origin and evolution of the red planet. 
“The satellite structure is an assembly of composite and metallic honeycomb sandwich panels with a central composite cylinder”, says Mr. R.K. Tyagi, Chairman, HAL. The assembly work was carried out at HAL’s Aerospace Division in Bangalore. ISRO will build the other satellite subsystems and scientific payload onto this structure. The completed satellite will ultimately embark on a nine month voyage to orbit planet Mars. During its orbit the satellite will be at a distance of 54.6 million kms away from Earth: the farthest any Indian satellite would have travelled.

General Dynamics to Support Canadian CH-147F

Boeing has completed its selection of in-country providers to support Canadian Forces CH-147F helicopters by awarding an Engineering Support Services contract to General Dynamics Canada.
The In-Service Support program contracts -- five others were announced in January and July -- are an integral part of Boeing's support of Canada's Industrial and Regional Benefits policy for the CH-147F Chinook. The six contracts are tied to Boeing's CH-147F Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) program, which will generate benefits of approximately US$2 billion for Canada over a 20-year period.
Under the CH-147F Engineering Support Services program, Ottawa-based General Dynamics Canada will work with Boeing on projects that include reliability, availability and maintainability support; systems and support engineering; integrated logistics; and structural integrity engineering services. The company received a CH-147F maintenance training suite/contractor maintenance support contract from Boeing in July.
Life-cycle support of the CH-147F will be delivered through a long-term PBL program that includes full system logistics and training services. Boeing is an industry leader in performance-incentivized, integrated logistics solutions, with numerous PBL contracts with customers around the world and across multiple platforms

Nippon Airways Orders 11 more Dreamliners

 Boeing confirmed today that the ANA Group exercised options for 11 787-9 Dreamliners. The exercised options, valued at $2.7 billion at current list prices, bring the total number of 787s ANA has ordered to 66 airplanes consisting of 36 787-8s and 30 787-9s.
ANA, the launch customer for the 787 Dreamliner, will use the 787s to help support the expansion of the airline’s international and domestic routes. The airline has announced plans to launch a new route from Narita to San Jose starting January 2013 using the 787, while the current Narita to Seattle service will switch to 787 operations on October 1, 2012 and Haneda to Beijing to the 787 on October 28, 2012.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Agni III Successfully test fired Fourth time

India today test fired its nuclear-capable Agni-III ballistic missile with a range of 3000km from a base in Odisha.
The DRDO and the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), a specially raised missile-handling unit of the Indian Army carried out the test from the Wheeler Island test range off the Odisha coast.
The latest test comes two days after the second successful launch of the 4,000-km range Agni-IV missile from the same base.
Agni-III is capable of carrying warheads weighing up to 1.5 tonnes. It is16 metres tall and weighs 48 tonnes.
This missile has a two-stage solid propellant system. Agni-III is a Rail Mobile System capable and can be launched from anywhere in India.
DRDO has already carried out three consecutive successful trials of Agni-III in 2007, 2008 and 2010 thus making it full proof and a proven missile.

Sikorsky to Develop Improved Black Hawk Helicopter

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. was awarded the Combat Tempered Platform Demonstration (CTPD) contract from the U.S. Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD). This program will build upon and improve the BLACK HAWK platform’s already high operational durability and survivability by developing and integrating a suite of advanced new technologies and establishing their benefits before transitioning them to the platform and eventual use by the nation’s soldiers.

This project builds upon previous work by Sikorsky Innovations, the technology development organization for Sikorsky Aircraft, by advancing key technologies including a zero-vibration system, adaptive flight control laws, advanced fire management, durable main rotor, full-spectrum crashworthiness, and damage tolerant airframe.
The work scope of the new contract involves establishing the benefits of these technologies as a complete system through realistic ground and flight testing. Sikorsky Innovations is joined by a strong team of more than 15 partnering companies including Lord Corporation, Phyre Technologies, and Firetrace Aerospace
"As Sikorsky modernizes the BLACK HAWK fleet and prepares for the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) helicopter competition for the future replacement of the fleet, it is imperative that we continue to develop and integrate the latest technologies into flight solutions that give our soldiers the protection they deserve,” said Chris Van Buiten, Vice President of Sikorsky Innovations.

GE's CF34-3 Engines Celebrate 20 Years of Regional Jet Service

#GE #Aviation’s CF34 #engine on a #Bombardier Challenger 604. #technology #avgeek  (Taken with Instagram)
In 1992, GE Aviation's CF34-3 engines helped launch a new era in aviation when it entered service on Bombardier's CRJ100 aircraft, spawning the beginning of regional jet segment in commercial aviation. Twenty years later, the CF34 engines continue to set the standard for performance, durability and reliability for regional jets around the world.

"GE has invested more than $2 billion in technologies and material in the CF34 engine since it entered service 20 years ago," said Allen Paxson, general manager of the CF34 Engine Program at GE Aviation. "More than 5,600 engines are in service on regional jets today with 200 operators in more than 70 countries around the world. During the past 12 months, GE has already received more than 100 orders for CF34 engines as the regional jet engine fleet continues to grow.
GE continues to develop new technologies that will benefit the CF34 program. The NG34 technology program for the next-generation CF34 engine is leveraging advanced technology from GE’s fuel-efficient low-emission eCore, such as advanced material, unique cooling technologies and 3-D aerodynamic design airfoils. The advanced technologies and material will enable the next-gen CF34 engine to be 15-20 percent more fuel efficient than the current CF34-10E engines in service today, with 35 percent margin on NOx emission to CAEP/6 and 15 EPNdb margin to Stage 4 noise regulations.

CF34 Engine Highlights:

CF34-10E: The CF34-10E engine is the highest thrust rating for the CF34 engine family at 20,000 pounds of thrust, with more than 1,100 CF34-10E engines in service with 50 operators. The engine continues to perform well in the field, accumulating more than 7.5 million flight-hours and 5 million cycles. The CF34-10E includes many advanced technologies, including a single-stage high-pressure turbine, advanced wide chord fan blades, advanced 3-D aero compressor and turbine airfoils and a chevron exhaust nozzle. The CF34-10E engine powers the EMBRAER 190/195.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Northrop Awarded Navigation System Prototyping Contract by Boeing

F-18 Super Hornet
Northrop Grumman has been awarded a competitive prototyping contract by The Boeing Company to develop an embedded global positioning/inertial navigation system (EGI) for the U.S. Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft.
Under the contract, Northrop Grumman will produce a prototype inertial navigation system demonstrating fiber-optic gyro performance suitability for F/A-18 E/F and EA-18G Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) needs. JPALS is a next-generation aircraft landing system that will utilize Global Positioning System (GPS) data and replace radar-based systems.
Boeing is expected to down-select to a single supplier for system production. The chosen company will conduct a five-year Engineering and Manufacturing Development program and provide the inertial navigation system for all Super Hornet and Growler aircraft, with an estimated 500 EGIs to be produced for the program.
JPALS is an all-weather, anti-jam approach and landing system based on local area differential GPS. Developed by the Navy, JPALS works with GPS to provide accurate, reliable landing guidance for fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft and supports fixed-base, tactical and shipboard applications. Northrop Grumman provides the inertial measurement unit for the shipboard-relative GPS set in the JPALS program.

Cargo Resupply Mission to ISS on Oct 7

The Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, Falcon 9 rocket is in position for a wet dress rehearsal (WDR) at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. During the rehearsal, the rocket will be fully fueled and launch controllers will perform a countdown demonstration. Photo credit: NASA
NASA managers, Space Exploration TechnologiesCorp. (SpaceX) officials and international partner representatives Thursday announced Sunday, Oct. 7, as the target launch date for the first contracted cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.
International Space Station Program managers confirmed the status and readiness of the Falcon9 rocket and its Dragon cargo spacecraft for the SpaceX CRS-1 mission, as well as the space station's readiness to receive Dragon.
Launch is scheduled for 8:34 p.m. EDT from SpaceLaunch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The launch of the Dragon spacecraft will be the first of 12 contracted flights by SpaceX to resupply the space station and marks the secondtrip by a Dragon to the station, following a successful demonstration mission in May. SpaceXservices under the CRS contract will restore an American capability to deliver and return significant amounts of cargo, including science experiments, to the orbiting laboratory -- a feat not achievable since the retirement of the space shuttle.
The Dragon will be filled with about 1,000 pounds of supplies. This includes critical materials to support the 166 investigations planned for the station's Expedition 33 crew, including 63 new investigations. The Dragon will return about 734 pounds of scientific materials, including results from human research, biotechnology, materials and educational experiments, as well as about 504 pounds of space station hardware.
Materials being launched on Dragon will support experiments in plant cell biology, human biotechnology and various materials technology demonstrations, among others. One experiment, called Micro 6, will examine the effects of microgravity on the opportunistic yeast Candida albicans, which is present on all humans. Another experiment, called Resist Tubule, will evaluate how microgravity affects the growth ofcell walls in a plant called Arabidopsis. About 50 percent of the energy expended by terrestrial-bound plants is dedicated to structural support to overcome gravity. Understanding how the genes that control this energy expenditure operate in microgravity could have implications for future genetically modified plants and food supply. Both Micro 6 and Resist Tubule will return with the Dragon at the end of its mission.
Expedition 33 Commander Sunita Williams of NASA and Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will use a robot arm to grapple the Dragon following its rendezvous with the station on Wednesday, Oct. 10. They will attach the Dragon to the Earth-facing port ofthe station's Harmony module for a few weeks while crew members unload cargo and load experiment samples for return to Earth.
Dragon is scheduled to return in late October for a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California.
While NASA works with U.S. industry partners to develop commercial spaceflight capabilities, the agency also is developing the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS), a crew capsule and heavy-lift rocket to provide an entirely new capability for human exploration. Designed to be flexible for launching spacecraft for crew and cargo missions, SLS and Orion will expand human presence beyond low Earth orbit and enable new missions of exploration across the solar system

Boeing Delivers 777F frieghter to Ethopian Airlines

Boeing delivered the first 777 Freighter to Ethiopian Airlines marking the first 777F to be operated by an African carrier. B777F is being leased to Ethiopian Airlines from GECAS.
The 777 Freighter, the world's longest-range twin-engine freighter, is based on the technologically advanced 777-200LR (Longer Range) passenger airplane and can fly 4,900 nautical miles (9,070 kilometers) with a full payload of 112 tons (102 metric tonnes or 149 kg). With high-cargo density and 10-foot (3.1-meter) interior height capability, the 777 Freighter provides a cargo capacity normally associated with larger airplanes and features the lowest trip cost of any large freighter.

AviancaTaca Inducts Ninth Airbus A330

AviancaTaca took delivery of its ninth A330-200 on September 17 at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France. The aircraft is powered by Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines.

The highly efficient, modern A330-200 widebody aircraft is configured to seat 252 passengers - 30 in business class and 222 in economy. The A330-200 has the versatility to cover all ranges from short-haul to true long haul, ideal for point-to-point operations.
Additional economic benefits include operational commonality with the A330-200 Freighter, of which the airline has ordered four, exceptional operational reliability and superb fuel efficiency. Across all its aircraft families Airbus’ unique approach ensures that aircraft share the highest commonality in airframes, on-board systems, cockpits and handling characteristics. This significantly reduces operating costs for airlines.

The A330-200 offers a higher takeoff weight (TOW) capability of 238 metric tonnes achieved with no OEW increase. This translates into around 330nm more range, giving the aircraft 7,250nm endurance, or an extra 3.4 tonnes of payload. With more than 1,220 orders to date and more than 900 aircraft delivered to over 90 operators, the A330 Family is achieving average dispatch reliability above 99 percent.

With nearly an all-Airbus fleet, AviancaTaca has combined orders for 190 aircraft and now operates 100 Airbus aircraft, including 91 A320 Family and nine A330 aircraft. AviancaTaca has a backlog of more than 80 Airbus aircraft.

With more than 700 aircraft sold and a backlog of nearly than 350, over 450 Airbus aircraft are in operation throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Global Hawk Spy Plane on Humanitarian Mission

Now deployed to the U.S. East coast, Northrop Grumman built unmanned NASA Global Hawks will be able to better support environmental scientists during Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) missions.
The HS3 missions aim to study the processes of hurricane formation and intensity change in the Atlantic Ocean.

The 2012 HS3 missions began earlier this month, marking the first time the unmanned aircraft were employed from NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, not from their regular base of operations at the Dryden Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Additionally, this is the first time pilots have controlled the aircraft from two locations, from ground stations at both Edwards Air Force Base and NASA Wallops.

"This year, we're utilizing two unmanned Global Hawk aircraft and flying them from the U.S. east coast rather than one Global Hawk flying from the west coast, as we did during previous NASA hurricane field campaigns,"said NASA Scientist Dr. Scott Braun, HS3 mission principal investigator and a research meteorologist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Md."We're also flying new instrument payloads this year, which will sample the large-scale environment of storms to see if conditions are favorable for storm formation and intensification."

NASA Wallops was selected as a deployment site because the area of scientific interest is the Atlantic Ocean, especially the eastern Atlantic where hurricanes begin to form. Although Global Hawks have flown over hurricanes in the Atlantic from NASA Dryden in California, flights from Wallops will travel further out over the Atlantic and collect data for a longer period of time. The long range, endurance and high altitude capability of the aircraft provide access to storms forming off the coast of Africa, and the aircraft can track the storms far into the Caribbean.

Northrop Grumman is contributing pilots, mission planners, maintenance and engineering support at both Wallops Island and NASA Dryden for these important science missions. By operating as an integrated team with NASA, the flight operations have been controlled from both locations during these flights.
NASA Global Hawk AV-6 has supported flights and collected data over two hurricanes: Sept. 6-7 over Hurricane Leslie and Sept. 11-12 over Nadine. Flights will continue over tropical storms forming in the Atlantic and will employ the second aircraft later in the month.
Global Hawk can fly as high as 65,000 feet for periods up to 31 hours.
In 2010, NASA Global Hawk completed the first science research campaign called GloPac, studying the atmosphere over the Pacific and Arctic. Later that year, the aircraft was used in the Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) hurricane surveillance missions that provided extended monitoring of changes in hurricane intensity during five different storms in the southern Caribbean and western Atlantic. In the spring of 2011, NASA flew winter storm missions over the Pacific and Arctic, observing among other weather phenomena, an"atmospheric river,"which sometimes causes flooding on the West Coast. In fall 2011, Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment flights over the Pacific studied the composition of the tropopause by climbing and descending between 65,000 feet and 45,000 feet.

Northrop to supply additional 44 STARLite radars for Grey Eagle UAS

Scan Eagle UAV
Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded to supply an additional 44 STARLite wide area surveillance radars for the U.S. Army's MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system.
STARLite features synthetic aperture radar, ground moving target indicator and dismount moving target indicator capabilities.

Under the terms of the contract option, radar deliveries will begin in April 2013 and conclude in March 2014. This order will bring the total number of systems under contract to 174.
Northrop Grumman's AN/ZPY-1 STARLite (Small Tactical Radar – Lightweight) is the Army radar for the MQ-1C Gray Eagle, and has also been demonstrated on the Army's Persistent Threat Detection Systems aerostat.
STARLite has taken part in digital interoperability demonstrations at Camp Roberts in California, showcasing its ability to share data across a network and cue non-collated sensors.
Weighing just 65 pounds, the radar system is ideal for equipping a variety of manned and unmanned aircraft system platforms for mission-critical tactical reconnaissance. The system is capable of conducting all-weather, wide-area surveillance and detecting stationary, dismounted and moving targets.

Avolon places firm order for 25 Boeing 737

Boeing and Avolon, the international airplane leasing company, finalized a firm order for 10 737 MAX 8s, 5 737 MAX 9s and 10 Next-Generation 737-800s.

Rolls Royce Developing Fuel Efficient Jet Engine

Rolls-Royce, has initiated testing on a new, advanced technology engine compressor focusing on reducing fuel consumption.

Rolls-Royce was selected for the HEETE (Highly Energy Efficient Turbine Engine) advanced technology program to design next-generation propulsion systems for the US Air Force. The development work is being carried out by the company's LibertyWorks research unit in Indianapolis, Indiana, US. In 2007, the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) awarded the program to Rolls-Royce in a contract that is valued at $24.3 million.

HEETE is a technology development program that pursues high temperature, high pressure ratio compressor technologies and their related thermal management features. While HEETE is currently focused on an advanced compressor demonstration, the goal is to define the next generation engine architecture for subsonic missions, such as Transports, Tankers, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), and Subsonic Strike Vehicles.
LibertyWorks has successfully designed and tested propulsion technology through the ADVENT program, as well as research conducted for NASA and the major US airframe companies.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Airbus delivers Two C295 Airlifters to Indonesia

Indonesia took delivery of two Airbus Military C295 transport aircraft ordered in February this year. The aircraft are the first of nine to be delivered to the Indonesian Ministry of Defence under the terms of a contract signed by Airbus Military and PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI).
The delivery took place in the Airbus Military SanPablo site in Seville, where the C295 final assembly line is located, at a ceremony attended by the Indonesian Vice Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. (ret) Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, and Airbus Military Vice President Head of Programmes Light & Medium and Derivatives, Rafael Tentor.
The aircraft will be operated by the Indonesian Air Force.
It will perform a wide variety of roles including military, logistical, humanitarian and medical evacuation missions throughout the huge territory of Indonesia, which includes around 17,000 islands.
The delivery of the ninth and last aircraft ordered is scheduled for summer 2014.
To date, Airbus Military has sold 114 C295s. After the entry in service of these aircraft there will be 88 C295s in operation in 15 countries all over the world.

India Successfully Test Fired Agni-IV IRBM

DRDO Press release:
DRDO developed, 4000 kms range Nuclear Capable Ballistic Missile AGNI-IV, was successfully flight tested from Wheeler’s Island around 11:35hrs on 19 Sep 2012.
This long range missile propelled by composite rocket motor technology, was tested for its full capability. The AGNI-IV missile launched from the road mobile launcher, reached the pre-defined target in about 20 minutes. The missile equipped with state of the art Avionics, 5 th generation On Board Computer and with distributed architecture has the latest features to correct and guide for inflight disturbances. The most accurate Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and supported by highly reliable redundant Micro Navigation System (MINGS), ensured the vehicle reach the target within two digit accuracy.
The re-entry heat shield withstood temperatures of more than 3000 degree centigrade and made sure the avionics function normally with inside temperature less than 50 degree centigrade.

All Electro-Optical Tracking systems (EOTS), Radars located all along the coast have tracked and monitored all the parameters throughout the flight.
Two ships located near the target point tracked the vehicle and witnessed the final event.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

GE to develop Futuristic Jet Engine for USAF


The United States Air Force (USAF) has selected GE Aviation for negotiations to mature a suite of technologies to include variable cycle technology for the Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) program.

Beechcraft AT-6 Completes Phase III of Weapons Testing

Hawker Beechcraft Defense Company (HBDC) on Monday announced it has completed Phase III of a weapons assessment of AT-6 light attack aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida after successfully employing more than 265 bombs and rockets, and firing 3,000 rounds from the AT-6’s 50-caliber guns.

This week, during the Air Force Association’s 2012 Air&Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C., the company shares the complete list of U.S. and NATO Standard weapons that have been integrated and tested to further demonstrate why the AT-6 is the most capable light attack aircraft in production.

During Phase III, the AT-6 became the first ever fixed-wing aircraft to successfully launch GATR, TALON and APKWS 2.75” laser-guided rockets and also achieved a direct hit with the AGM-114 Hellfire II P+ air-to-surface missile. Phases I and II of the weapons assessment included computer-aided deliveries of general purpose and laser-guided bombs, as well as air-to-ground and air-to-air gunnery using the aircraft’s two 50-caliber guns. All weapons testing was accomplished with oversight from the United States Air Force Air Armament Center and the Air National Guard and Air Reserve Command Test Center.
The following weapons have been integrated and tested on the AT-6:

AGM-114 Hellfire II P+ Laser-Guided Missiles
APKWS 2.75” Laser-Guided Rockets
TALON 2.75” Laser-Guided Rockets
GATR 2.75” Laser-Guided Rockets
GBU-12 (500 lb.) Paveway II Laser-Guided Bomb
GBU-58 (250 lb.) Paveway II Laser-Guided Bomb
Mk-81 (250 lb.) General Purpose Bomb
Mk-82 (500 lb.) General Purpose Bomb
50 Caliber Guns

The AT-6 is a multi-role, multi-mission aircraft system designed to meet the spectrum of needs for the emergent Light Attack mission