Wednesday, October 31, 2012

200th Bombardier Challenger 605 Jet Enters Service

Bombardier’s Challenger program has reached a significant milestone with the entry-into-service of the 200th Challenger 605 business jet. The aircraft was handed over to its new owner (who wishes to remain anonymous) during a special ceremony at the Challenger facility in Dorval, Québec, in October 2012, with hundreds of proud employees in attendance.
“We are delighted to be celebrating the delivery of the 200th Challenger 605 aircraft” said Steve Ridolfi, President, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “The Challenger 600 aircraft series was a trailblazer in business aviation and is now the largest fleet in the category worldwide with over 850 aircraft in service. The Challenger 605 jet continues this legacy, delivering the quality, reliability and comfort that our customers expect.”
The Challenger program first took flight on November 8, 1978, when the Challenger 600 aircraft lifted off from Canadair’s plant in Saint-Laurent, Québec. The Challenger 601 and Challenger 604 aircraft variants followed, and in the 34 years since, continuous development and innovation have ensured that the Challenger 605 business jet remains a market leader and a customer favorite.
Challenger 605 jet: The Challenger 605 jet builds on the quality and reliability of its predecessor, the acclaimed Challenger 604 aircraft, leading its market share segment throughout the world. The Challenger 605 jet can whisk twelve passengers and three crew from New York City to London non-stop* in the widest stand-up cabin of any large category business jet available today. There are over 850 Challenger 600 jets in service worldwide, including 200 Challenger 605 jets, accounting for over 50 per cent market share worldwide for its segment category.

Boeing Open's System Intergration Lab For KC-46 Tanker Program

Boeing has opened the first KC-46 Tanker System Integration Laboratory (SIL) to support testing and reduce risk in the development of the U.S. Air Force's next-generation aerial refueling tanker.
"Opening this lab says a lot about Boeing's commitment to executing on this contract," said Maj. Gen. John Thompson, Air Force Tanker Program Executive Officer and KC-46 Program Director. "My congratulations to the entire team."
The lab, known as "SIL 0," opened on Sept. 12 -- three weeks ahead of schedule -- at Boeing Field in Seattle. It will be used to test commercial avionics and software for integration into the KC-46A Tanker. Three more SILs will open at Boeing Field and a fifth will open in Everett, Wash., by the end of 2013.
"Our five System Integration Labs will help keep us on track to deliver the first 18 KC-46A Tankers by 2017," said Maureen Dougherty, KC-46 vice president and program manager. "Accelerating system integration will drive out issues prior to flight testing and reduce risks to our schedule."
"The integration and test phase of the KC-46 program will draw on industry-leading expertise from across Boeing," said Dennis O'Donoghue, vice president, Boeing Test & Evaluation. "We have a strong and experienced team with an outstanding history of testing derivative aircraft."
Boeing Field also is home to the program's Boom Assembly Center, which opened on Oct. 16, and the Finishing Center, scheduled to open in late 2013, where military hardware and software will be installed onto the commercial 767 airframe on which the tanker is based.
Boeing is currently executing the KC-46 Engineering, Manufacturing and Design contract, which calls for the delivery of 18 combat-ready aerial refueling aircraft by 2017. The company anticipates building 179 KC-46A Tankers to support the U.S. Air Force requirement to replace its aging fleet of KC-135 tankers. The program remains on track for its next milestone, a Critical Design Review that will take place in mid-2013.

AgustaWestland’s Helicopters Star in Latest James Bond Film Skyfall

AgustaWestland's AW101 and AW159 Lynx Wildcat helicopters played star roles in Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond adventure, which had its world premiere in London on 23rd October 2012. Staring Daniel Craig as James Bond, Skyfall sees the AW101 helicopter performing several dramatic sequences in the film. Ray Edwards, Managing Director, AgustaWestland said “Quintessentially British, James Bond, is one of the world’s best known and most successful movie characters ever, so we are delighted to have partnered with this iconic brand in its 50th year. Our new technology and high performance AW101 and AW159 helicopters, that are built in Britain, fit perfectly with the Bond image.”
The dramatic flying sequences were flown by AgustaWestland test pilots and required very precise flying due to the proximity to the film set and camera helicopter. Almost 15 hours of flying was required to rehearse and film all the scenes. A team of AgustaWestland technicians also supported and modified the aircraft for filming at the various locations in the UK earlier this year. The AW101 is a new generation three-engine helicopter that is in service with nations around the world. It can be used for a wide range of military and government applications including Head of State transport. The most capable helicopter in its class the AW101 can carry up to 40 troops or 10 VIPs in ultimate luxury.
The AW159 Lynx Wildcat is the very latest helicopter to enter service with the UK Ministry of Defence for operation by the Army and Royal Navy. Bristling with the latest technology the AW159 is the successor to the world famous and record breaking Lynx helicopter. Sixty two of the new generation helicopters are now being built at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil factory in South West England for delivery to the UK Ministry of Defence. AgustaWestland and Eon Productions, the production company which produces the James Bond film series, are now exploring opportunities for AgustaWestland rotorcraft to feature in the 24th James Bond movie.
Photos: courtesy of Ian Harding

Taiwan's EVA Air Inducts First Airbus A321

EVA Air of Taiwan has become a new operator of Airbus single aisle aircraft following the delivery today of its first A321.
The aircraft is being leased from Aviation Capital Group (ACG) and is the first of 12 A321s ordered by the US lessor. The aircraft was handed over at a ceremony in Hamburg attended by Chang Kuo Wei, President of EVA Air.

EVA currently plans to introduce 12 leased A321s into its fleet between now and end-2014 for operation on regional routes.
The airline has specified a high comfort two class layout for the aircraft seating 184 passengers.
EVA’s A321 fleet will be powered by CFM International CFM56 engines.

Trident II D5 Missile Achieves 143 Successful Test Flights

The U.S. Navy supported the Oct. 23 launch of a U.K. Royal Navy Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) built by Lockheed Martin. The unarmed missile was launched from the submerged Royal Navy submarine HMS Vigilant in the Atlantic Ocean.

The test marked the 143 rd successful test flight of the Trident II D5 missile since design completion in 1989 – a reliability record unmatched by any other large ballistic missile or space launch vehicle.
The test, which was part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation that verified the integrity of the strategic weapon system following an overhaul of the submarine, was the 10 th consecutive successful Trident II D5 missile test flight by the U.K. since 1994. The missile was converted into a test configuration using a test missile kit produced by Lockheed Martin that contains range safety devices, tracking systems and flight telemetry instrumentation.

First deployed in 1990, the D5 missile is currently aboard U.S. Navy OHIO-class and Royal Navy VANGUARD-class submarines. The three-stage, solid-propellant, inertial-guided ballistic missile can travel a nominal range of 4,000 nautical miles and carries multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems has been the U.S. Navy’s prime strategic missile contractor since the inception of the Fleet Ballistic Missile program more than 50 years ago. Since 1968, Lockheed Martin has provided program support to the Royal Navy under the terms of the 1963 U.S.-U.K. Polaris Sales Agreement, which was modified in 1982 to provide for the Trident II D5 ballistic missile system. Lockheed Martin provides program management and engineering services for the United Kingdom’s Trident missile system through an annual contract funded by the U.K. Royal Navy, with work performed at facilities in the U.S. and the U.K.

Aeroflot Takes Delivery of its 100th Airbus Aircraft

Aeroflot, the Russian national carrier, has taken delivery of another A330-300, which will become the 100th Airbus aircraft to enter service with the airline.

Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, Aeroflot’s A330-300 features a spacious and comfortable two-class cabin layout seating 296 passengers (28 in business and 268 in economy class). Aeroflot plans to deploy the aircraft on numerous routes on its medium and long-haul network.

Aeroflot was the first airline in Russia to operate the A310, with an entry into service in 1992, as well as the first to operate the A320 Family (in 2003) and the A330 Family (in  2008). Currently the airline operates a fleet of 79 A320 Family aircraft and with today’s delivery 21 A330 Family aircraft.

Airbus A380 marks its five-year service anniversary

Airbus’ A380 has earned its place as the airline industry’s new “queen of the skies,” with the first five years of service confirming this 21st century flagship jetliner’s passenger appeal and revenue-generating capabilities.

Since beginning commercial operations on 25 October 2007, the current total of 88 A380s in world airline fleets have accumulated nearly 800,000 flight hours, performing around 80,000 revenue flights.
With over 120 flights conducted daily by A380s at the top 10 airports they serve around the world, the A380 world fleet performs a takeoff or landing every seven minutes and carries more than a million passengers per month, with average daily utilization across the fleet above 13 flight hours per aircraft.

Airbus has delivered A380s to nine carriers so far: Air France, China Southern, Emirates, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways International.

Emirates continues as the largest A380 customer, having 90 jetliners on order and 26 of them already in use on a globe-circling route network.  Singapore Airlines – which was the first to implement A380 operations with the jetliner’s October 2007 introduction – now has 19 aircraft flying in its colours.

The list of top 10 airports in terms of A380 operations is led by Dubai, followed by Singapore, Frankfurt, London-Heathrow, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Sydney, Hong Kong, Seoul, New York-JFK and Tokyo-Narita. Up to five A380 operators serve some of these key gateways. One of the A380’s newest routes links China’s Guangzhou Baiyun Airport with Los Angeles International Airport on service instituted this month by China Southern Airlines.

Appropriately timed with Singapore Airline’s fifth anniversary date for the aircraft’s historic service start-up, the carrier announced yesterday that it was ordering A380s for a third time, bringing the total bookings to 24.  This takes overall A380 firm orders to 262 from 20 customers.

Boeing Delivers Last Peace Eye AEW&C Aircraft to South Korea

Boeing on Oct. 24 delivered the fourth and final 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft to the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Honda begins HondaJet Production

Honda Aircraft Company announced that it has commenced production on the much anticipated HondaJet, the world’s most advanced light jet. During a press conference at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) annual meeting and convention in Orlando, Fla., the company also highlighted key testing milestones that have been successfully accomplished with the HondaJet moving closer to certification and delivery. “An assembly line for HondaJet production is in place, major aircraft components including the fuselage and wing have been produced, and we have started assembly of the first customer aircraft,” said Honda Aircraft President and CEO Michimasa Fujino. “Commencing production is the most important milestone in the HondaJet program to date, with only the future Federal Aviation Administration Type Certification and first customer delivery ranking greater in significance.”

Production start with steady progress
Honda Aircraft commenced production of the HondaJet and continues to make steady progress toward delivery of the first customer aircraft. The Honda Aircraft production facility represents Honda’s expectation of high quality product delivery with lean activities designed to standardize production work and eliminate defects. The company has developed and implemented its own production process improvement device, focused on operator work instructions while on the assembly floor. Instructions are presented on a tablet device, allowing technicians to see a graphical interface that is easy to read and is specifically designed to the individual tasks. The device reduces the need for printed materials and ensures real-time change management on the floor. The production facility will also employ an innovative, on-site paint mixing system designed to achieve optimum color while reducing paint thickness in a controlled environment. At the push of a button, this advanced system allows for multiple aircraft to be coated with a single batch of paint, maintaining color consistency. The system also pre-heats the paint, which results in a superior aesthetic quality. Honda Aircraft has also implemented the Automatic Guided Cart (AGC). The AGC is similar to a mobile robot and is designed to pick up and deliver parts to the production facility’s unique assembly areas. The AGC will allow for safe, on-demand material delivery and coordinated parts flow to production technicians.

Testing milestones achieved
Over the past year, Honda Aircraft has completed various flight, systems and structural tests including: crew seat crash tests, speedbrake testing, ultimate load tests, EASA windshield bird strike testing, wind tunnel icing tests, night lighting testing, etc. The company recently completed the first in a series of remote testing to validate the HondaJet aircraft’s performance under extreme temperatures. Hot-weather flight tests were conducted in Yuma, Ariz., and included critical case tests for both aircraft systems and infrastructure. Recent tests included:
• Hot fuel testing – Fuel system operational tests were successfully conducted and demonstrated the HondaJet fuel system’s ability to supply fuel to the engine during elevated temperatures.
• Fuselage structure temperature validation – Static heat soak tests measured the environmental impact (e.g., air temperature and solar load) on the aircraft’s fuselage and interior. The HondaJet completed a simulated taxi and takeoff, and the aircraft’s exterior surface was examined to determine temperature profile.
• Powerplant cooling and electrical generator cooling – Engine and electrical system tests were successfully conducted at critical accessory loads and temperature environment.
To assist in remote location testing of the HondaJet, a 42-foot, custom telemetry vehicle entered service in October. The mobile telemetry truck was designed to duplicate the telemetry capabilities at Honda Aircraft’s world headquarters in Greensboro, N.C., and is a fully self-contained telemetry system used to monitor aircraft data during flight testing. The truck has six work stations for analysts to monitor real-time test data within a 200 nautical mile range of the aircraft and allows year-round operation at remote sites.

Test aircraft expansion
The company’s fifth FAA-conforming aircraft recently completed power-on electrical testing. This aircraft is on schedule to be released to flight test early next year. Now in final assembly, it will be the first HondaJet to have a full production interior. An additional structural test aircraft, the company’s sixth FAA-conforming aircraft, will also join the test fleet next year. Honda Aircraft’s test program currently includes four FAA-conforming HondaJet aircraft: three actively flying test aircraft and one ground test aircraft, which was exclusively used for structural testing and recently retired from the program after successfully completing ultimate load tests.

Established product support and customer service processes
For aircraft after-market support, the company recently broke ground on a new, 90,000-square-foot Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility. The MRO will provide a 24/7 support center and can simultaneously service up to 12 HondaJet aircraft. The facility, slated for occupancy the second half of 2013, will complement the existing network of HondaJet dealers with all locations delivering the same customer service experience. This expansion will bring the company’s total campus footprint to 600,000 square feet and more than 130 acres. In an effort to increase efficiency, Honda Aircraft is committed to integrating sophisticated information technology systems throughout all areas of its business. As part of the effort to enhance customer support, a comprehensive software package specifically designed for aerospace product support will integrate Honda Aircraft inventory, service and other critical functions. Honda Aircraft’s customer service team and Component Control of San Diego, Calif., are working jointly to configure, test and implement Quantum Control to coincide with the MRO facility’s opening next year. To facilitate pilot training as the HondaJet approaches entry into service, Honda Aircraft has partnered with FlightSafety® International, the world’s leading aviation training organization. The simulator is in production and will be installed in the simulator bay at the Honda Aircraft world headquarters campus in Greensboro, N.C.

Boeing Delivers B777-300 To Air China

Boeing delivered a 777-300ER (Extended Range) airplane to Air China, the flag carrier of the People's Republic of China. The airplane livery features a distinctive blended paint design of 40 smiling faces of Chinese people, to represent the critical role that the Chinese aviation industry has played in bringing China to the world.

The 40 people portrayed were selected from a social media campaign organized by Air China and Boeing in July 2012. People were invited through the most widely used social media platform in China to submit a smiling face with an inspiring message.

"We hope this special-livery airplane will bridge the connection to bring a smiling, confident and friendly China to the world," said Feng Run E, vice president of Air China. "With the airplane flying around the world, we hope more business travelers will experience the super flight comfort offered by Air China's 777-300ER."

The airplane is the 10th of 19 777-300ERs Air China has on order with Boeing. Air China will use the airplanes for route expansion, including direct routes to Frankfurt, London and Paris.

To date, 63 customers around the world have ordered 1380 777s.

Air China, a member of the Star Alliance, is the only flag carrier of People's Republic of China.

 It currently owns 167 Boeing airplanes, making up 55 percent of its fleet.

Air New Zealand receives its first ATR 72-600 airliner

Air New Zealand took delivery of its first ATR 72-600 aircraft, which is painted in striking all black livery, as part of the airline’s support for New Zealand’s national rugby team, the All Blacks. The airline and ATR announced in October 2011 a contract for seven firm 68-seat ATR 72-600 aircraft, plus options for another five, in a deal worth more than US $270 million.

The delivery of this very first ATR 72-600 to Air New Zealand has been witnessed by the former All Blacks rugby player Luke McAllister. Deliveries of the seven firm ATR 72-600s are due to be completed in 2016.
This first ATR 72-600, configured with 68 seats, is scheduled to enter service early in November, with a first flight between Christchurch and Wellington. The new aircraft features the brand new Armonia cabin interior, with improved seating and larger overhead luggage bins.
Air New Zealand currently has a fleet of eleven ATR 72-500 aircraft in service with its subsidiary Mount Cook. The arrival of the new fleet of ATR 72-600s will grow Mount Cook’s ATR fleet and will enable the airline to further expand its domestic operations with new destinations and frequencies. The airline will also optimize seat capacity offering on selected markets, by replacing smaller aircraft types on its regional network.
Air New Zealand has been operating ATR aircraft for nearly 20 years since the introduction of its first ATR -an ATR 72-200- in 1994.

Gulfstream Receives Approval For New Flight Management System For GIV Series Jets

G450 ©Gulfstream
Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced that it has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to begin installing updated flight management system (FMS) software, version 6.1, on GIV series business jets.  The new software will enhance aircraft safety, reduce fuel consumption, provide access to more airports and improve operational efficiency.
The upgrade, called FMS 6.1, adds Wide Area Augmentation System-Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance (WAAS-LPV) capability and prepares GIV, GIV-SP, G400 and G300 aircraft to fly Required Navigation Performance Special Aircraft and Aircrew Authorization Required (RNP-SAAAR) operations.
“FMS 6.1 advances Gulfstream GIV aircraft for the next generation of air navigation,” said Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream Product Support. “The benefits of this upgrade impact more than 500 Gulfstream aircraft worldwide.  Its increased functionality enables pilots to operate with lower approach minima, which allows more flights to land at airports in lower visibility conditions where LPV approaches exist. This saves both time and fuel.”
WAAS-LPV provides access to more than 2,980 approaches in the U.S. and enables a crew to use instrument flight rules for approach and landing down to a decision height as low as 200 feet above touchdown, with visibility as low as one half-mile, without the need of ground-based navigation aids.  The WAAS broadcast correction improves GPS signal accuracy from 100 meters to approximately 7 meters. WAAS-LPV can be used for other GPS-aided systems, including the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service.
The FMS 6.1 upgrade provides a building block for Future Air Navigation System (FANS) 1/A and comes with two GPS antennas, two WAAS GPS receivers and two cockpit annunciators.
Installation of FMS 6.1 can be performed at any Gulfstream service center.  The upgrade is done through Aircraft Service Change (ASC) 477. Installation time is five days.

Sukhoi SuperJet Getting Ready for Next Delivery to Sky Aviation

On October 26 2012 the first aircraft Sukhoi Superjet 100 (MSN 95022) for the first Indonesian customer – Sky Aviation airline – arrived from Komsomolsk-on-Amur to Ulyanovsk for painting and interior installation.
The aircraft, developed and built by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC) in partnership with Alenia Aermacchi, will be delivered to the customer by the end of this year. Sky Aviation signed a contract for the purchase of 12 Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100).
SuperJet International, in charge of Customer Services and Training, has already started training courses for Sky Aviation flight crews. By the end of November 8 pilots, 9 cabin attendants and 12 mechanics will complete the courses to grant the operations since the entry into service.

Russian Su-24 Fighter Crashes

A Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer fighter-bomber crashed on Tuesday during a training flight in the Chelyabinsk region when its nose cone came off, the Defense Ministry said.
“After an unsuccessful attempt to make an emergency landing, the pilots decided to steer the falling aircraft away from populated areas and ejected safely,” the ministry said in a statement.
The incident was caused by “failure of the aircraft control system,” it added.
All Su-24 aircraft at the Shagol Airbase in the Chelyabinsk region have been grounded after the crash, Col. Yaroslav Roshchupkin, aide to the Central Military District commander, said.

Northrop Inertial Navigation Systems for Cessna's 680 Citation Business Jets

Grumman Corporation has been selected by Cessna Aircraft Company to be a provider of gyro-compassing, hybrid inertial navigation systems as core components of the avionics system for the 680 Citation Sovereign business jet aircraft.
Northrop Grumman LITEF is supplying the fiber-optic, gyro-compassing LCR-100 Attitude and Heading Reference System as a standard feature on select Cessna business aircraft. Additionally, Northrop Grumman will supply the new LCR-100N Hybrid Navigator on other select Citation aircraft for customers wanting to meet more precise Required Navigation Performance standards. Certification of the new Citation Sovereign aircraft is planned for early 2013.

Developed by Northrop Grumman's navigation systems subsidiary, Northrop Grumman LITEF, the LCR-100 provides navigation information relating to the aircraft's position, heading, and attitude. The gyro-compass feature eliminates the need for a magnetic sensing unit, similar to an inertial reference system.

The LCR-100N offers extended coasting performance that enables the aircraft navigation system to maintain its accuracy and continue to provide navigation information in the event of GPS signal loss.

Northrop Grumman LITEF, based in Freiburg, Germany, is a leading supplier of inertial sensors, inertial reference, and inertial navigation systems and computers with products deployed in more than 30 countries in aircraft, marine vessels and ground mobile applications. The company has more than 15,000 fiber-optic gyro systems serving in aircraft worldwide.

Etihad Airways orders two Airbus A330 Aircrafts

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates has signed a firm order for two additional A330-200 passenger aircraft as part of the carrier’s continued growth plans.
This is the fifth repeat order from Etihad for A330s
These newly ordered aircraft, like Etihad’s current A330 fleet, will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.
Etihad Airways has also converted seven of its previously ordered A320s to the larger and increasingly popular A321 model.
The A330 Family, which spans 250 to 300 seats, and includes Freighter, VIP, and Military Transport/Tanker variants, has now attracted more than 1,200 orders and around 900 aircraft are flying with over 90 operators worldwide.
Ever since the original version of the A330-300 entered service, the hallmark has been its very efficient operating economics and benchmark reliability above 99 percent.

Boeing Receives $3 billion Order for 35 737 MAXs

Boeing and Aviation Capital Services LLC, a subsidiary of the State Corporation Russian Technologies (Rostech) announced today a commitment by Rostech to purchase 35 737 MAX airplanes. It is the first commitment for the 737 MAX from Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Boeing and Aviation Capital Services will work to finalize the details of the order, valued at more than $3 billion at current list prices.
"This is the first commitment for the 737 MAX from Russia and CIS, which is one of the commercial aviation industry's fastest-growing regions,"said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner."We are proud of the confidence that Aviation Capital Services has placed in the 737 MAX, which will deliver unsurpassed fuel efficiency to its customers in the single-aisle market as well as improved environmental performance."

The 737 MAX is a new-engine variant of the world's best-selling airplane and builds on the strengths of today's Next-Generation 737. The 737 MAX incorporates the latest-technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market. Airlines operating the 737 MAX will see a 13 percent fuel-use improvement over today's most fuel efficient single-aisle airplanes and an 8 percent operating cost per seat advantage over tomorrow's competition. Boeing has 858 orders for the 737 MAX.

Aviation Capital Services LLC is an aircraft leasing company established on Feb. 16, 2011 with 100 percent participation of the Russian Technologies State Corporation Company . Aviation Capital Services LLC is one of the leading aircraft leasing companies in Russia and CIS.

Russian Navy to Induct First Kamov Ka-52K Attack Helos in 2013

Source: Ria Novosti

The Russian Navy will receive the first batch of Kamov Ka-52K attack helicopters for Mistral class amphibious assault ships in 2013, Kamov General Designer Sergei Mikheyev said.
“The first serial Ka-52K will be assembled in 2013,” Mikheyev said on Monday. “By the time the first Mistral enters service in 2014, we are ready to make as many helicopters as the Defense Ministry will order.”
Prototypes of the naval version of the Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter are under construction at the Progress plant in Russia’s Far East, he said.
The naval variant will feature a modified version of Zhuk-A phased array radar, folding rotor blades and anti-corrosion treatment to fuselage and on-board systems, which is necessary for any helicopter designed to operate from a ship.
The Ka-52K will reportedly be capable of launching anti-ship missiles.
Russia and France signed a $1.2-billion contract for two French-built Mistral class ships, including the transfer of sensitive technology, in June 2011. Two more ships are expected to be 80% built in Russia, 20% in France.
A Mistral-class ship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 personnel.
An air wing aboard a Mistral warship is expected to comprise eight Ka-52Ks and eight Ka-29/31 Helix assault transport helicopters.
The latter has been originally designed for the Soviet Navy and does not require design changes or modernization, making its adaptation for Mistrals less time-consuming and costly, Mikheyev said.
The French-built ‘Vladivostok’ and ‘Sevastopol’ Mistral class ships are expected to be put in service with Russia’s Pacific Fleet in 2014-2015.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Embraer Legacy 500 Jet Nearing First Flight

As the first prototype of Legacy 500 midsize jet completes preparation for its first flight, expected in a matter of weeks, Embraer Executive Jets continues work to ensure the program will be mature when the aircraft enters service in 2014. Meanwhile, the second and third Legacy 500 prototypes continue ground testing.

“This is an exciting time for the program and we are moving forward as planned with confidence,” said Ernest Edwards, President, Embraer Executive Jets. “While we focus on the first flight and the certification program, we are already preparing for entry into service. We want to make sure customers have a smooth experience, and for that reason we have begun a maturity campaign, preparing for all eventualities.”

In May, Prototype #2 underwent power-on testing and is now in ground testing. Prototype #3, powered up in August, has completed lightning tests and is now undergoing High Intensity Radiated Fields (HIRF) tests.

“The Legacy 500 will have all product support in place worldwide before entry into service,” said Edson Carlos Mallaco, Vice President, Customer Support and Services, Embraer Executive Jets. “This is part of our effort to offer high level support to our customers. One of our goals is to have Embraer-Owned and Authorized Service Centers prepared to receive the Legacy 500 on its first day.”

Embraer Executive Jets has begun signing letters of intent for authorized service centers around the world, ensuring facilities will be prepared to service the Legacy 500 and Legacy 450 when they enter service. Seventeen facilities have already been selected.

In addition, during the maturity campaign each of the three prototypes will have all maintenance reports uploaded into the Aircraft Health Analysis and Diagnosis (AHEAD) system which collects maintenance data for more efficient, thorough and easier maintenance planning. The computational, web-based maintenance platform is designed to ensure maximum readiness by limiting down time. AHEAD accelerates fault identification, allowing maintenance technicians to plan troubleshooting responses while the aircraft is still in flight.

NetJets®'s First Bombardier Global 6000 Jet Unveiled at NBAA 2012

Bombardier and NetJets®,introduced NetJet's first Global 6000 jet at a special unveiling event at Orlando Executive Airport. The aircraft will be featured as part of the static display for NBAA 2012 before being officially handed over to NetJets in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Jordan Hansell, NetJets Chairman and CEO said: “We listened to our customers when we began looking at aircraft to add to our fleet. The Bombardier Global 6000 jet embodies the characteristics they were looking for - state-of-the-art, customized features and the finest craftsmanship.

The NetJets Signature Series Global 6000 aircraft will be an excellent addition to the NetJets worldwide fleet, which is part of our plan to add up to 670 new products with a total value of $17.6 billion over the next decade, and will open up new and better travel opportunities for our customers. We are proud to have worked with Bombardier to create this world-class aircraft.”

NetJets’ Signature Series™ Global 6000 jet is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and perfectly balances comfort, speed and range. The aircraft features a full-service galley located in the forward section creating a private and peaceful cabin environment for up to 13 passengers as well as a crew rest area that allows for extended flight segments.

The spacious, sophisticated and extremely quiet cabin features a private stateroom that is conducive to productivity and relaxation. Additionally, the aircraft features light coloured leather and ostrich embossed leather upholstery which is complemented with African Sapele wood surfaces and a brushed steel metallic trim.

On March 1 2011, NetJets placed a firm order for 50 Global business jets with options for an additional 70 Global aircraft. The transaction for the firm order is valued at up to  $2.8 billion US based on list prices.

The firm order includes 30 Global 5000 and Global 6000 aircraft, with final deliveries scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2012. The sale includes 20 firm orders for Bombardier’s newly launched Global 7000 and Global 8000 jets. Deliveries of these aircraft will begin in 2017.

At a total retail price exceeding $6.7 billion US, NetJets’ order  is the second largest aircraft purchase agreement in the history of private aviation, second only to NetJets’ unprecedented aircraft order in June of 2012 which included firm orders and options for upto 275 Challenger jets from Bombardier with a potential value of $9.6 billion US.

Cassidian Tannan 300 VTOL UAS

Cassidian unveiled its TANAN™ 300 new-generation compact VTOL Tactical UAS (Vertical Take-Off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial System) for maritime and land missions.

Quest Announces Sale of 12 KODIAK Utility Planes

Quest Aircraft Company announced the sale of 12 KODIAKs to Blue Eagle Aviation Investment Management Corp. of Beijing, China. The first aircraft will be delivered in November, with deliveries continuing through 2015. The agreement also calls for options for additional KODIAKs.
Blue Eagle Aviation was named an authorized KODIAK dealer in July as part of Quest’s growth strategy to partner with premier local organizations. The company has focused on regions of the world where the KODIAK is certified or pending certification, along with those areas with the most market potential. Work on receiving certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is well underway, and is expected by the end of the year.
The versatile KODIAK’s rugged aluminum construction combines superior STOL performance and high useful load. It offers proven turbine reliability with the Pratt & Whitney PT6 turbine engine, has the ability to land and take off from unimproved surfaces and is capable of working off floats without structural upgrades. The KODIAK can take off in under 1,000 feet at full gross takeoff weight of 7,255 lbs. and climb at over 1,300 feet per minute.
Quest Aircraft Company is the manufacturer of the KODIAK, a 10-place single engine turboprop utility airplane, designed for STOL use and float capability. Headquartered in Sandpoint, Idaho, the company was established in 2001 and begandeliveries of the KODIAK in December 2007.

ATK Composite Wing Cover Stringers for the Airbus A400M

Airbus Military, military division of Airbus has selected ATK for a contract in excess of $100 million to produce composite wing cover stringers for use on the A400M Military Transport Aircraft. The A400M is a new generation, four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed by Airbus Military, with its first aircraft delivery planned for the second trimester in 2013. This aircraft is already in full production and Airbus has selected ATK, a demonstrated expert in composite manufacturing, for this specific work package.
The A400M work package will be produced in the Aircraft Commercial Center of Excellence (ACCE) facility used for commercial aircraft and engine programs in Clearfield, Utah. The A400M work will use many of the same manufacturing processes already deployed within the ACCE facility.
The contract between ATK and Airbus includes 122 wing cover stringers per aircraft for 180 aircraft. Airbus has already achieved sales for 174 aircraft.

Gulfstream Announces Improved Performance Specifications of G650 Jet

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced today that its ultra-long-range, ultra-large-cabin G650 aircraft offers even better performance than originally announced.

The improvements affect the aircraft’s range at high speed and takeoff distance, giving operators increased flexibility for ultra-long-range missions.

The G650’s range at its high-speed cruise of Mach 0.90 is now 6,000 nautical miles (11,112 km), a 1,000-nm (1,852-km) increase over the original target of 5,000 nm (9,260 km). The additional capability makes city pairs such as Tokyo to New York, New York to Dubai, Shanghai to London and Moscow to Los Angeles possible at speeds faster than any other business jet.

The G650 can complete 6,000-nm missions in less than 12 hours.

“The G650’s flight time for a 6,000-nm mission at Mach 0.90 would be 40 minutes less than the same mission flown on a G550,” said Pres Henne, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. “When every minute counts, a 40-minute savings is considerable.”

The G650’s takeoff balanced field length decreased to 5,858 feet (1,786 m) from the original 6,000 feet (1,829 m) at the aircraft’s maximum takeoff weight of 99,600 pounds (45,179 kg).

This improvement allows the G650 to fly farther from demanding, short runways.

The G650 has a maximum cruise speed of Mach 0.925, making it the fastest certified civilian aircraft in production.

Each of its two Rolls-Royce BR725 A1-12 engines provides 16,900 pounds of thrust, yet the aircraft burns less fuel and produces fewer emissions compared to other aircraft in the class.

The G650 received its type certification from the Federal Aviation Administration on Sept. 7, 2012. Deliveries of the aircraft are scheduled to begin before year-end.

Airbus introduces ACJ318 Enhanced Luxury Jet

Airbus has begun offering customers the ACJ318 Enhanced, a new version of the smallest member of the world’s most modern corporate jet family, which embodies new features and introduces a catalogue of optional extras.

Since its entry into service in 2007, when the Airbus ACJ318 introduced the widest and tallest cabin of any business jet to a broader market, the aircraft has set new standards in comfort, space and freedom of movement.

The Airbus ACJ318 Enhanced capitalises on this early success by introducing new elements as standard – such as a more elegant cabin decor, new seats and high-definition in-flight entertainment – as well as formalising options such as fuel-saving Sharklets, a shower and a cinema lounge.
New features that are standard on the Airbus ACJ318 Enhanced include domed ceilings and window-shades throughout the cabin, which provide a more comfortable feel and ambiance, new linings allowing a better integration of overhead lights and air supply outlets, and light-emitting diode (LED) illumination throughout.

Others include a wider choice of seats, including a new one with more comfortable curves and a more stylish shape, high-definition (HD) in-flight entertainment  with Blu-ray player, state-of-the-art displays and HDMI interfaces for external equipment, and a new passenger information system.

When it comes to options, Airbus ACJ318 Enhanced customers now have a more defined and wider choice. These include Sharklets on the wingtips, which make the aircraft look nicer, as well as saving fuel and extending range, a shower in the ensuite bathroom to allow a fresher arrival, the ability to transform the aft lounge into a cinema, and mood-lighting.

Other options include ipod and ipad interfaces, including for cabin management, wireless local area network (LAN), even greater soundproofing, and a humidifier.

As previously, customers will continue to have a wide choice of colours and fabrics, allowing them to adopt their preferred look and feel for the cabin.

Airbus corporate jets are derived from the world’s most modern aircraft family. They have won more than 170 orders to date, from companies, individuals and governments, and are flying on every continent, including Antarctica.

Launched in 2005 as the Airbus A318 Elite, the aircraft features a cabin created by Lufthansa Technik in partnership with Airbus.
The Airbus A318 Elite was renamed the ACJ318 in May 2011 to reflect the spirit of innovation and commonality which it shares with the rest of the family, as well as to have a consistent nomenclature throughout.

Boeing Business Jets to Offer the BBJ MAX

Boeing announced its intent to offer the BBJ MAX 8 and the BBJ MAX 9. The announcement was made today at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Conference in Orlando, Fla.

The BBJ MAX 8, based on the 737 MAX 8, will be the first member of the BBJ MAX family to take advantage of the efficiency of CFM International's new LEAP-1B engines and the Boeing developed Advanced Technology winglet. The new engine and Advanced Technology winglet will provide customers with a 13 percent fuel-use improvement. Together, these features will translate to a range of 6,325 nautical miles – a more than 14-percent increase over today's class-leading BBJ 2 that will be validated in final configuration and flight test.

The BBJ MAX 8 will share the same cabin size with today's BBJ 2, offering customers a 19-foot longer cabin and three times the cargo space of today's BBJ. The BBJ MAX 8 will also improve on its market leading range capability and maintain the BBJ advantages of lower cabin altitude, unmatched reliability and outstanding product support around the globe.

"We anticipate the BBJ MAX 8 will be a very strong seller as a VIP aircraft and will likely capture a larger share of the market because it's the right combination of performance, space and comfort,"said Captain Steve Taylor, BBJ president."For VIP customers, extended range and exceptional comfort are equally important. The BBJ MAX will ensure our customers get the best of both."     

Boeing also intends to develop the plan for the BBJ MAX 9 based on the 737 MAX 9. Similar performance improvements are anticipated, offering a 6,255 nm range with an even larger cabin than the BBJ MAX 8.  Plans for a BBJ MAX 7 are being studied.

Bell Boeing Receives US Marine Corps Contract for V-22 Training Platforms

V-22 Osprey at Dubai Air Show 2011©Boeing
The U.S. Marine Corps has awarded a $74 million contract to the Bell Boeing V-22 Program, a strategic alliance between Boeing and Bell Helicopter - Textron for seven Osprey ground-based trainers, which will reduce fuel usage and aircraft wear-and-tear, maximizing lifecycle cost savings.

The Sept. 25 contract award for Containerized Flight Training Devices (CFTD) also includes the option for the Marines to add one additional unit.
The CFTD is used to train aircrews on basic aircraft familiarization and handling qualities, day and night flying (including use of night vision goggles), formation flying, aerial refueling and landing on ships. All CFTDs can be locally networked to one another and to other aircraft trainers to allow for more robust simulations.

Bell Boeing has delivered, or is on contract to deliver, a total of 28 Osprey flight trainers. This includes the current CFTDs, earlier MV-22 trainers and those delivered to the U.S. Air Force.

The first two of the newly contracted trainers will be delivered to Marine Helicopter Squadron One at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., in May 2014 to support presidential transport activities. Other deliveries will follow in Hawaii, California and New Jersey starting in January 2015.

More than 145 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft are in operation today, including Marine Corps MV-22s deployed in Afghanistan and Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22s used in ongoing Special Operations missions.

DCNS Offers Innovative Air Defense for Submarines

At present, running away is the only way for submarines to defend themselves against torpedoes launched by helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft. The new anti-aircraft defence systems developed by DCNS in cooperation with MBDA will oblige aircrafts to keep their distance from submarines.
To meet the need for navies to protect their submarines against airborne threats, DCNS is now proposing a weapon system which will be available in two versions.
-Mast-mounted anti-aircraft self-defence system
Designed for incorporation into the fin of a submarine, it comprises a retractable mast supporting a turret containing several Mistral short-range missiles.
Mast version: Comprises a missile housing (that remains watertight throughout the submarine’s operating range and down to maximum diving depth) mounted on a hoistable mast and containing several short-range Mistral missiles that can be fire from periscope depth.

-Self-defence system with an undersea vehicle
An undersea vehicle (UUV), inside which is a Mica medium-range missile, is deployed from a torpedo tube.
UUV preparing for trials
Underwater vehicle version: Comprises a torpedo-like capsule containing a medium-range (20 km) Mica missile that is tube-launchable at any depth. The capsule is similar to the type developed for submarine-launched Exocet anti-ship missiles.
These weapon systems are integrated within the Subtics® combat system, thereby ensuring the submarine’s overall performance from target acquisition and missile launch to target reach.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

SpaceX Dragon Sucessfully Completes First Official Cargo Resupply Mission to Space Station

Dragon post-splashdown,

SpaceX'sDragon spacecraft returned to Earth from the International Space Station, safely splashing down approximately 250 miles off the coast of southern California.
The capsule parachuted into the water at 1922 GMT after an 18-day mission to resupply the space station .

Dragon departed the station early this morning with 1,673 pounds of return cargo including hardware, supplies, and a GLACIER freezer packedwith scientific samples. Dragon is the only craft capable of returning a significant amount of supplies to Earth, and this mission marks the first time since the space shuttle that NASA has been able to return research samples for analysis.
The SpaceX recovery team is now transporting Dragon by boat to a port near Los Angeles, where early cargo will be delivered to NASA. Dragon then will be transported to SpaceX's facility in McGregor, Texas for processing. There, the remaining cargo will be delivered to NASA.
The mission, called CRS-1, began October 7, when the Falcon 9 rocket launched Dragon from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SpaceX and NASA are currently investigating an anomaly that occurred with one of Falcon 9's first-stage engines during the launch. Analysis to date supports initial findings: the engine experienced a rapid loss of pressure and Falcon 9's flight computer immediately commanded shutdown, as it is designed to do in such cases. The team will continue to meticulously analyze all data in an effort to determine root cause and will apply those findings to future flights.
This mission is the first of at least 12 to the International Space Station that SpaceX will fly under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.
The crew released Dragon, at approximately 6:25 a.m. PT Sunday.
Dragon then began a series of thruster firings to carry it away from the space station, closed its GNC door, and began its deorbit burn. Ready to reenter the atmosphere, Dragon jettisoned its trunk and solar arrays, positioned itself so that its PICA-X heat shield faces the Earth, and proceeded into the Earth’s atmosphere.
When Dragon reached 13,700 meters (45,000 feet) above sea level, it will deployed two drogue parachutes to slow its descent. At 3,000 meters (10,000 feet), it deployed its three main parachutes and drifted slowly toward the splashdown site.

After Apache, Boeing Clinches Chinook Deal from India

Boeing's CH-47F Chinook tandem rotor medium lift helicopter has emerged as the winner against Russian Mi-26T2 heavy lift helicopter to meet an Indian Air Force requirement for 15 heavy-lift multirole helicopters.

The Chinook has emerged as the lowest bidder in comparison to the Mi-26 after both the helicopters passed the extensive technical evaluation and field trials conducted by Indian Air Force (IAF).

The Chinook's bid was lower both in terms of initial direct acquisition cost as well as life cycle costs.

The Boeing Chinook meets tactical and combat support mission requirements for military forces around the world.

The Chinook is capable of handling useful loads up to 24,000 pounds (10,886 kg) and a maximum gross weight of up to 50,000 pounds (22,668 kg).

Its tandem rotor configuration also provides exceptional handling qualities that enable the CH-47 to operate in climatic, altitude and crosswind conditions that typically keep other helicopters from flying.

The Chinook has been in U.S. Army service since 1962. The 50 year old chinook platform has evolved into a reliable multi role helicopter, with the 50 years legacy reducing its production and lifecycle costs.

Recently Boeing Apache Longbow helicopter cleared a deal for 22 helicopters for Indian Air Force which outperformed the Russian Mi-28 Havoc. The deal is worth $1.4 billion.

SpaceX Dragon Departs Space Station

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft is expected to complete the CRS-1 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station on Sunday,
October 28.
In California, SpaceX crew have already headed to the Pacific Ocean splashdown zone to await Dragon’s arrival, while at the station, Expedition 33 crew members are readying Dragon’s return cargo, including biological samples that have been stored in the station’s freezers since the retirement of the space shuttle.
The crew’s first task on Sunday will be to depressurize the vestibule between Dragon and the station so that the spacecraft can be released.The spacecraft will then be detached from the space station and eased out to release position by way of the station’s robotic arm.
When the station astronauts are ready, SpaceX gives a go, NASA gives a go, and the crew releases Dragon, expected to take place at approximately 6:25 a.m. PT Sunday.
Dragon then begins a series of thruster firings to carry it away from the space station, closes its GNC door, and begins its deorbit burn. Ready to reenter the atmosphere, Dragon jettisons its trunk and solar arrays, positions itself so that its PICA-X heat shield faces the Earth, and proceeds into the Earth’s atmosphere.
When Dragon reaches 13,700 meters (45,000 feet) above sea level, it will deploy two drogue parachutes to slow its descent. At 3,000 meters (10,000 feet), it will deploy its three main parachutes and drift slowly toward the splashdown site. Splashdown is expected to take place at approximately 12:20 p.m. PT.
After Dragon is secured, the SpaceX team will then place the vehicle on the deck of a 100-foot boat for the journey back to shore. Early-arrival cargo will be delivered to NASA within 48 hours of splashdown. Dragon will then travel from Southern California to SpaceX’s facility in McGregor, Texas, where the remaining cargo will be unloaded, processed, and delivered to NASA.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pratt & Whitney Completes First PW1100G-JM Engine for Airbus A320neo

Pratt & Whitney has completed assembly of its first engine to test (FETT) for its PurePower® PW1100G-JM engine – the first engine to power the Airbus A320neo aircraft. Company leadership,Airbus, MTU, JAEC and employees celebrated the program milestone with a Last Bolt Ceremony at Pratt & Whitney’s West Palm Beach facility , where the full engine is scheduled to begin testing soon. The engine, rated at 33,000 pounds of thrust, is the third member of the PurePower PW1000G family of engines to begin testing.
“The PurePower engine is an integral part of the Airbus A320neo family of aircraft,” Airbus Senior Vice President A320neo Family, Klaus Roewe, toldPratt & Whitney employees and partners at the ceremony today. “We continue to work closely with Pratt & Whitney to integrate the engine withthe airframe, and we look forward to reviewing the initial test results from this first engine to test.”
The PW1100G-JM engine test program will run a total of eight test engines over the next 24 months. Test engines will be built both at Pratt & Whitney’s West Palm Beach and Middletown facilities. Entry into service is scheduled for October 2015. To date, Pratt & Whitney has firm orders for 1,136 PW1100G-JM engines to power the Airbus A320neo family of aircraft.
“Pratt & Whitney’s Geared Turbofan™ architecture is revolutionizing the single aisle marketplace with game changing benefits – reduced fuel burn, emissions, noise, and operating cost. We are confident the Geared Turbofan is the best value proposition for our airline customers,” said Paul Adams, senior vice president, Operations & Engineering, Pratt & Whitney. “Our technology readiness execution forthis engine family is robust. We’ve proven its benefits with extensive rig, ground, and flight testing; and, we are excited to begin the A320neo test program.”
“Pratt & Whitney is very proud to have the lead engine to enter service on the Airbus A320neo aircraft,” said Greg Gernhardt, vice president, PW1100G-JM engine program, Pratt & Whitney. “We have achieved excellent market acceptance of our Geared Turbofan engine with announced orders for more than 1,100 firm PW1100G-JM engines with 11 customers. The PW1100G-JM engine for the A320neo family reduces fuel burn by about 15% compared to today’s A320ceo family, and it is well positioned to support Airbus in this market segment.”
The PurePower engine uses an advanced gear system allowing the engine’s fan to operate at a different speed than the low-pressure compressor and turbine. The combination of the gear system and an all-new advanced core delivers fuel efficiency and environmental benefits. Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower engine family testing recently exceeded 3,700 hours and 11,000 cycles of full engine testing.
In September, 2011, Pratt & Whitney, Japan Aero Engines Corporation (JAEC) and MTU Aero EnginesAG announced they will collaborate to provide the PurePower PW1100G-JM engine for the A320neo program. The “JM” designation in the engine name recognizes JAEC and MTU’s participation. Under the collaboration agreement,MTU is responsible for the low pressure turbine (LPT) and participates jointly with Pratt & Whitney in the high pressure compressor (HPC). JAEC is responsible for the fan, low pressure compressor (LPC) and combustor/diffuser. Pratt & Whitney is responsible for the remainder of the engine and systems integration.
Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines.

Airbus A320neo program reaches significant milestone

Airbus’ A320neo programme has moved a step closer to the real aircraft with the assembly of the first engine-to-test – the Pratt&Whitney (P&W) PurePower PW1100G-JM engine. This engine is due to begin testing very soon at P&W’s facilities in Florida, USA.

The PurePower engine uses an advanced gear system for the fan. This configuration was validated in Toulouse on Airbus’ A340 flying-testbed aircraft in 2008 during P&W’s ‘geared-turbofan’ conceptual phase. The gear allows the engine’s fan to operate at a different speed than the low-pressure compressor and turbine. The combination of the gear system and an all-new advanced core is a solution which delivers fuel efficiency and environmental benefits.

The A320neo gives operators a choice of two new engines – the PurePower PW1100G-JM from Pratt&Whitney and CFM International’s LEAP-1A turbofan, each with a fully optimised fan diameter and advanced core. Moreover, coupled with Airbus’ Sharklet large wing tip devices, these enhancements together ensure that the best-selling A320 Family will retain its market leading position as the most capable and cost-efficient single-aisle airliner for the foreseeable future.

Overall the A320neo Family will deliver fuel savings of 15 percent and an additional flight distance of 500 nautical miles (950 kilometres), or the ability to carry two tonnes more payload at a given range. For the environment, the A320neo’s fuel savings translate into some 3,600 tonnes less CO2 per aircraft per year (the equivalent of taking 1,000 mid-size cars off the roads). Additionally, the A320neo NOx emissions are 50 percent below CAEP/6, and this aircraft also has a considerably smaller noise footprint.

The A320neo, with almost 1,500 firm orders from 30 customers since its launch, is the fastest selling commercial aircraft ever and is on track to enter service from 2015. For the A320 Family as a whole, over 8,600 aircraft have been ordered and almost 5,300 delivered to about 350 customers and operators worldwide reaffirming its position as the world’s best selling single-aisle aircraft Family. The A320neo has over 95 percent airframe commonality making it an easy fit into existing fleets.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Youngest Boeing B-52 Bomber Achieves 50 Years of Service

Boeing today marks 50 years since the company delivered its last B-52 Stratofortress to the U.S. Air Force. H-model bomber 61-040 was assigned to Minot Air Force Base, N.D., where it remains in active service.

Boeing built 744 B-52s, in eight different models, from 1952 to 1962. The Air Force fleet today comprises 76 H-models -- two test aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and 74 operational aircraft that are assigned to Minot and to Barksdale Air Force Base, La. All the H-models were built in Wichita.

The Boeing B-52 has been the backbone of the United States'manned strategic bomber force for nearly 60 years. Modern engineering analyses show the B-52's expected life span extending beyond 2040.
The B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, strategic heavy bomber capable of dropping or launching the widest array of weapons in the U.S. inventory. The latest version, the B-52H, can carry up to 20 air-launched cruise missiles.

Used for strategic attack, air interdiction, offensive counter-air and maritime operations, its capabilities include:
Carrying nuclear or precision-guided conventional ordnance, including gravity bombs, cluster bombs, precision guided missiles and joint direct attack munitions
Delivering approximately 70,000 pounds of mixed payload, both internally and on external pylons
Combat range exceeding 8,800 miles (7,652 nautical miles) unrefueled -- can be refueled aerially
High subsonic speeds up to 650 miles per hour, or Mach 0.86.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blue Origin Completes Pad Escape Test for Shepard Capsule

NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) partner Blue Origin conducted a successful pad escape test Oct. 19 at the company's West Texas launch site in Van Horn, firing its pusher-escape motor and launching a full-scale suborbital crew capsule from a simulated propulsion module.
The test was part of Blue Origin's work supporting its funded Space Act Agreement with NASA during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2). Through initiatives like CCDev2, NASA is fostering the development of a U.S. commercial crew space transportation capability with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit. After the capability is matured and available to the government and other customers, NASA could contract to purchase commercial services to meet its station crew transportation needs.
"The progress Blue Origin has made on its suborbital and orbital capabilities really is encouraging for the overall future of human spaceflight," CCP Manager Ed Mango said. "It was awesome to see a spacecraft NASA played arole in developing take flight."
The suborbital crew capsule traveled to an altitude of 2,307 feet (703 meters) during the flight test before descending safely by parachute to a soft landing 1,630 feet (497 meters) away.
The pusher escape system was designed and developed by Blue Origin to allow crew escape in the event of an emergency during any phase of ascent for its suborbital New Shepard system. As part of an incremental development program,the results of this test will shape the design of the escape system for the company's orbital biconic-shaped Space Vehicle. The system is expected to enable full reusability of the launch vehicle, which is different from NASA's previous launch escape systems that would pull a spacecraft away from its rocket before reaching orbit.
"The use of a pusher configuration marks a significant departure from the traditional towed-tractor escape tower concepts of Mercury and Apollo," said Rob Meyerson, president and program manager of Blue Origin. "Providing crew escape without the need to jettison the unused escape system gets us closer to our goal of safe and affordable human spaceflight."
All of NASA's industry partners, including Blue Origin, continue to meet their established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities.
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 into the solar system.

More Phalanx systems for British Navy

The Royal Navy is to receive a further five highly-advanced, radar-controlled defence systems to protect Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ships.
The Phalanx Close-In Weapon System, a rapid-fire, radar and electro-optical guided gun, is designed to defeat anti-ship missiles and a range of surface threats.
It features a 20mm gun capable of firing armour-piercing bullets at up to 4,500 rounds per minute.
The Ministry of Defence has ordered the upgraded Phalanx 1B systems, which are plannedto be fitted onto RFA vessels, under a £40m contract with Raytheon.
Steve Ranyard, Team Leader for the MOD's International Guns, Missiles and Rockets Project Team, said:
"This contract will help provide these Royal Navy vessels with the best possible ship self-defence 24-hours-a-day.
"The Phalanx system can defend against all typesof air and surface threats in the naval environment and has proved to be a reliable system on other Royal Navy ships."
Phalanx is an all-weather, day-and-night, fully automatic, self-contained weapon system that targets and engages threats under the operation of a trained Royal Navy Phalanx operator.
Phalanx 1B boasts even greater targeting ability, with an additional electro-optic infrared sensor and redesigned gun barrels.
In addition to the capability to destroy anti-ship missiles and fast jets, it can defend the ship against other threats such as helicopters and high-speed groups of gun boats.
The Phalanx system is currently installed on 14 Royal Navy vessels including the latest Type 45 destroyers.

AgustaWestland Unveils New AW119Kx Single Engine Helicopter

AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, announced the launch of the AW119Kx, the latest evolution of the proven and successful AW119 single engine helicopter, which features the Garmin G1000H glass integrated flight deck system and the very latest avionics, including synthetic vision, moving map, highway in the sky and obstacle/terrain avoidance systems, to improve situational awareness and increase safety.
Certification of the AW119Kx is scheduled in the first quarter of 2013. The new aircraft was officially unveiled today at the Air Medical Transport Conference in Seattle, USA, which is being held from 22nd to 24th October. The AW119Kx is provided with state-of-the-art integrated avionics bringing this model to a new digital era while keeping the outstanding performance, cabin space and payload characteristics of the rugged AW119Ke.
The first customer for the AW119Kx is Life Flight Network, which is set to receive all of the 15 units ordered for its air medical helicopter transportation requirement during 2013. These helicopters, provided with an customised EMS interior with two stretchers, will be based in the states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
Bruno Spagnolini, CEO, AgustaWestland said “The launch of the new AW119Kx highlights AgustaWestland’s commitment to the continued enhancement of its product range, both through the development of brand new models and installing the very latest technology into its existing products.
He added “With the AW119Kx we are introducing greater capability into the single-engine market, thanks to an unequalled combination of advanced avionics and best-in-class performance and capacity. We are delightedthat Life Flight Network, one of the world’s leading air medical transport providers, will be using the AW119Kx’s unique capabilities to help it save lives every day.” Michael Griffiths, Life Flight Network’s CEO adds, “Life Flight Network has become the largest not-for-profit air medical transport service in the Western United States. We were looking for a helicopter designed to provide exceptional speed and performance, proven safety, and a fully-equipped medical cabin supporting up to two patients. Our new AW119Kx helicopters, with the Garmin G1000H avionics package, including synthetic vision, met our high standards and will greatly support Life Flight Network’s lifesaving mission with the most modern, well-equipped fleet in the nation.”
The AW119Kx’s new avionics features the Garmin G1000H glass integrated flight deck system with two large 10.4’’ LCD units to provide both primary flight display and multi function display information. With synthetic vision, moving map, highway in the sky and obstacle/terrain avoidance system technology embedded, the pilot is provided with new levels of situational awareness and flight information, thereby reducing workload and increasing safety. The new avionics are also optimized for diagnostics and data analysis for maintenance purposes. The AW119Kx EMS helicopter configuration will include Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS) lighting and operation of Night Vision Goggles (NVGs).
The AW119Kx is the top-of-the-range helicopter in the single engine market. The helicopter, with a maximum gross weight of 2,850 kg (6,9283 lb), is powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6B-37A engine that is rated at 1002 shp (747 kW) for take-off, delivering exceptional performance in hot and high conditions as well asa class leading maximum speed of 152 knots (282km/h). The AW119Kx has the most spacious cabin in its category and with its separate cabin and cockpit areas provides true cabin class comfort. Critical systems redundancies similar to twin-engine helicopters provide high levels of safety. Over 200
AW119 helicopters have been ordered to date in more than 30 countries by almost 100 customers. The new AW119Kx, like the AW119Ke, is perfectly suited to perform manyroles including EMS, utility, fire-fighting, VIP/corporate transport, offshore transport, law enforcement and government duties.

US Ballistic Missile Defense System Engages Five Targets Simultaneously

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Army soldiers from the 94th and 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC); U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS FITZGERALD (DDG 62); and airmen from the 613th Air and Space Operations Center successfully conducted the largest, most complex missile defense flight test ever attempted resulting in the simultaneous engagement of five ballistic missile and cruise missile targets. An integrated air and ballistic missile defense architecture used multiple sensors and missile defense systems to engage multiple targets at the same time.
All targets were successfully launched and initial indications are that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system successfully intercepted its first Medium Range Ballistic target in history, and PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) near simultaneously destroyed a Short Range Ballistic Missile and a low flying cruise missile target over water.
The live-fire demonstration, conducted at U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll/Reagan Test Site, Hickam AFB, and surrounding areas in the western Pacific, stressed the performance of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD), THAAD, and PATRIOT weapon systems.
An Extended Long Range Air Launch Target (E-LRALT) missile was airdropped over the broad ocean area north of Wake Island from a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft, staged from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The AN/TPY-2 X-band radar, located with the THAAD system on Meck Island, tracked the E-LRALT and a THAAD interceptor successfully intercepted the Medium-Range Ballistic Missile. THAAD was operated by Soldiers from the 32nd AAMDC.
Another short-range ballistic missile was launched from a mobile launch platform located in the broad ocean area northeast of Kwajalein Atoll. The PATRIOT system, manned by soldiers of the 94th AAMDC, detected, tracked and successfully intercepted the target with a PAC-3 interceptor.
The USS FITZGERALD successfully engaged a low flying cruise missile over water. The Aegis system also tracked and launched an SM-3 Block 1A interceptor against a Short-Range Ballistic Missile. However, despite indication of a nominal flight of the SM-3 Block 1A interceptor, there was no indication of an intercept of the SRBM.
FTI-01 was a combined developmental and operational test. Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen from multiple Combatant Commands operated the systems and were provided a unique opportunity to refine operational doctrine and tactics. Program officials continue to assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.
Ballistic Missile Defense System programs have completed 56 successful hit-to-kill intercepts in 71 flight test attempts since 2001.

Declassified document shows'real'flying saucer: Avrocar

    by Airman 1st Class R. Alex Durbin
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The grainy film showed a round ship floating out of a hangar. Its silver, aluminum exterior glinted in the sun as it hovered a few feet off the ground. As it glided over a pool of water, it kicked debris into the air and the glass canopies of the two cockpits were showered with grass and gravel as the saucer flew forward.

It may seem like a scene out of a classic Hollywood blockbuster, but the footage is documentation of testing held by the U.S. government on an experimental aircraft. This prototype, and fascinating piece of American history, sits on display at the National U.S. Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and another resides at U.S. Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis, Va., where plans are underway for its restoration.

With its round design standing at nearly five feet tall and 18 feet wide, the Avro Canada VZ-9AV Avrocar looks like something out of a 1950s science-fiction film. While it may look like something a martian would fly, the Avrocar is anything but science fiction.

Newly declassified documents concerning the Avrocar project were released Oct. 8, when they were published by the U.S. National Archives. Information about the aircraft has been available for years, but the documents now include diagrams that clearly demonstrate the scope of the project.

"The Avrocar was a good start, and the first step on a long road to discovering technology we use today,"said Jeff Underwood, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force historian."Although the project was never implemented, it serves a successful teaching tool."

The Avrocar was the result of a Canadian effort to develop a supersonic fighter-bomber, capable of vertical takeoff and landing, in the early 1950s. The Idea of what was to become the Avrocar was originally envisioned by British Aircraft designer, Jack Carver Meadows Frost.

A.V. Roe, a Canadian aircraft manufacturing company, along with Frost, based its design concept for the Avrocar on using the exhaust from turbojet engines to drive a circular rotor to produce thrust. By directing this thrust downward, it was believed the turbo-rotor could create a cushion of air under the aircraft, allowing it to float a few feet off the ground, as well as accelerate to high speeds at higher altitudes.

The Canadian government provided initial funding for the prototype, but dropped the project when it became too expensive. Avro offered the project to the U.S. government, and the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force took over testing in 1955. Although the project primarily remained in Canada, it was owned and controlled by the U.S. government.

While testing was a combined effort, both services were interested in the project for different reasons. The Army was interested in a durable and adaptable, all-terrain transport and reconnaissance aircraft. The Army Intended the Avrocar to replace their light observation craft and helicopters.

The Air Force was interested in the Avrocar's vertical take-off and landing capabilities, which could potentially hover below enemy radar and accelerate to supersonic speed.

Research data originally indicated that a circular design may have satisfied both service's requirements. A.V. Roe built two, small test models to prove the concept.

"Engineers predicted the Avrocar would be able to reach heights of nearly 10,000 feet,"said Marc Sammis, U.S. Army Transportation Museum curator."Unfortunately, it was soon discovered that the aircraft wouldn't be able to perform as well as predicted."

Tests with scale models at Wright-Patterson AFB indicated the cushion of air under the Avrocar would become unstable when the aircraft passed roughly three feet off the ground. It was determined the aircraft was not incapable of reaching supersonic speeds, nor would the circular shape of the craft allow the Avrocar to have stealth capabilities. Although the aircraft did not meet the expectations of the Air Force, testing was continued to examine if a suitable model could be developed to fit the Army's needs.

The first prototype was sent to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. Wind-tunnel tests proved the aircraft had insufficient control for high speed flight and was aerodynamically unstable. Although engineers attempted to perfect the design, the project was marred with problems.

"Once engineers would fix a problem, another would arise because of the modification,"said Sammis.

The second Avrocar prototype underwent flight tests. Project engineers discovered once the craft rose beyond three feet above the ground, it displayed uncontrollable pitch and roll motions. The lack of computer technology and design flaws required pilots to control each engine separately, making it very difficult even for two pilots to properly control.

In December 1961, project leaders discovered the Avrocar could not reach a maximum speed higher than 35 mph. This, along with the crafts other shortcomings, led them to cancel testing permanently.

"This project was far ahead of its time,"said Underwood."It was a perfect concept, but the technology of the time wasn't advanced enough."

Although the testing was deemed a failure by the engineers and pilots who spearheaded the experimentation, the implications of the Avrocar's technology had far reaching results.

"Just because the tests weren't successful, doesn't mean it was a failure,"said Underwood."This experiment started engineers down a path to more innovative concepts based on what was learned."

Technology used by many aircraft, like the AV-8B Harrier II, V-22 Osprey and the F-22 Raptor, can trace its history back to the Avrocar.

Concepts gleaned from the Avrocar testing are still being implemented today with the development of the U.S. Marine's variant of the F-35 Lightning II. The F-35B will offer the capability to land vertically, making it the first aircraft in history to combine both stealth and vertical landing capabilities.

"Aircraft with capabilities to take-off and land vertically have their roots in this experiment,"said Sammis."These capabilities come from a long line of experimentation which started with the Avrocar."