Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lockheed Successfully Tests Patriot Missile

Lockheed Martin’s  PAC-3 Missile successfully destroyed a tactical ballistic missile (TBM) target today at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., in an Operational Test conducted by the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command. 
The test involved three incoming targets; two Patriot-As-A-Target TBMs and one MQM-107 drone. A ripple launch of two PAC-3 Missiles successfully engaged the second TBM. Preliminary data indicate all test objectives were achieved.
“The PAC-3 Missile continues to perform as expected under very stressing conditions,” said Richard McDaniel, vice president of PAC-3 Missile programs in Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control business. “This was our third consecutive successful PAC-3 Missile flight test this year. With each successful test, the PAC-3 Missile adds to its legacy of proven performance.”
Three additional PAC-3 tests are scheduled for the second half of 2012, including flight tests that will demonstrate the Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) capability in both the Patriot and MEADS systems.
Lockheed Martin’s Dallas facility is the prime contractor on the PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade to the Patriot air defense system. The PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade consists of the highly agile, combat-proven PAC-3 Missile, the PAC-3 Missile canisters, the Fire Solution Computers and the Enhanced Launcher Electronics System.

Airbus Receives Orders for 50 A320 from China

China signed an agreement with Germany for 50 Airbus planes worth up to $4 billion during Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Beijing on Thursday
ICBC Financial Leasing Co. Ltd.  (ICBC Leasing), signed the agreement with Airbus for a total of 50 A320 Family aircraft, including 30 A320ceo and 20 A320neo
The aircraft purchase agreement was signed at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing by Li Xiaopeng, Senior Executive Vice President of ICBC and Chairman of ICBC Leasing, and Fabrice Bregier, President and CEO of Airbus. It was a part of a series of Europe-China agreements signed in the presence of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
“We decided to order more Airbus A320 Family aircraft, not only A320ceo but also A320neo, to enhance our portfolio in anticipation of increasing demand of the aviation markets in China, Asia Pacific region and the world as well. The order indicates that leasing companies are playing a more important role in the aviation sector,” said Li Xiaopeng, Senior Executive Vice President of ICBC and Chairman of ICBC Leasing.
“We are delighted to see ICBC Leasing placing another order for the world’s best selling single-aisle aircraft. In particular, the order for 20 A320neo makes ICBC Leasing the first Chinese customer for the fastest selling aircraft, which offers a 15 per cent fuel burn reduction. We are proud to support the growth of Chinese leasing companies with our eco-efficient aircraft,” added Fabrice Bregier, Airbus President and CEO.
By the end of July 2012, there were over 700 A320 Family aircraft in operation with 15 Chinese airlines.
As of today, more than 8,500 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold and more than 5,100 delivered to over 365 customers and operators worldwide, making it the world’s best selling commercial jetliner ever. With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single-aisle aircraft. The A320neo is a new engine option for the A320 Family entering into service from 2015 and incorporates latest generation engines and large "Sharklet" wing tip devices, which together will deliver 15 percent in fuel savings. The A320neo has over 95 percent airframe commonality making it an easy fit into existing fleets while offering up to 500 nautical miles (950 kilometres) more range or two tonnes more payload at a given range.

Airbus Clinches $7 Billion Philippine Order

Philippine Airlines (PAL) has placed a firm order with Airbus covering 34 A321ceo, 10 A321neo and 10 A330-300s. The aircraft are being purchased under a major fleet modernisation programme at the airline, with deliveries starting in 2013.
The single aisle A321 aircraft are being purchased to enhance the airline’s product offerings on domestic and regional routes, as well as to support alliances with its partner airlines. The widebody A330s will be operated on higher demand regional routes and longer range services to the Middle East and Australia. PAL will announce engine selections for all the aircraft at a later date.
“The orders we are placing with Airbus will play a key role in revitalising PAL  and growing trade and tourism in the country, said PAL Chairman Lucio Tan and PAL President Ramon S. Ang. “With these aircraft we will be able to offer more passengers the best the industry has to offer across our Asia-Pacific network. At the same time, we will benefit from the low operating costs associated with new generation aircraft and the reduced impact on the environment.”
“We are extremely pleased that Philippine Airlines has placed its confidence in our aircraft to meet its future requirements,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers, Airbus. “This announcement demonstrates once again the popularity of both the A320 Family and the A330, which remain the leaders in their size categories in terms of operating economics, reliability and passenger comfort.”
The A321 is the largest member of the best-selling A320 Family, which offers the lowest operating costs of any single aisle product line today. These costs will be reduced even further with the arrival of the new engine option (NEO), offering additional fuel savings of 15 per cent. To date, over 8,500 A320 Family aircraft have been ordered and more than 5,200 delivered to 365 customers and operators worldwide.
The A330 is one of the most widely-used widebody aircraft in service today. Airbus has recorded over 1,200 orders for the various versions of the aircraft, with some 900 now flying with 90 operators worldwide. In addition to passenger and freighter aircraft, the A330 is also available in VIP and military transport / tanker variants.

Boeing Receives Contract to Maintain AESA Radar of F-15

APG-63 AESA Radar
Boeing has received an $85 million Performance-Based Logistics (PBL) contract for continued support of U.S. Air Force F-15 mechanically scanned and Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars. The new PBL contract replaces three previous support contracts with one overarching agreement.
"The Boeing Global Services & Support team has years of experience in partnering with the U.S. Air Force to support the F-15 fleet," said Julie Praiss, Boeing vice president, Tactical Aircraft & Weapons Support. "Now, with this PBL agreement, government and industry are working together to provide the best-value sustainment solution for the warfighter and the taxpayer."
PBL contracts require contractors to meet a set level of readiness, ensuring that the customer's required level of support is met and that the aircraft, system or components are available when needed. This lowers life-cycle costs while increasing mission capability rates.
"The Boeing team provides over-and-above support to ensure mission success, combat-ready aircraft and combat-ready airmen," said U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Beers,commander, 18th Maintenance Group.
The new F-15 PBL contract integrates a Boeing ContractorLogistics Support team into the assigned Air Force wing. These logistics experts are considered active-duty civilians,deployable worldwide.
The AESA radar system gives warfighters the ability to detect and track multiple targets in multiple directions while providing jamming functions. The pilot gains greater situational awareness and decreased workload with increased survivability.

First Aeroloft installed Boeing 747-8 BBJ

 Boeing celebrated the delivery of the first Aeroloft™ installed on a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) 747-8.
The Aeroloft™, designed and built by Greenpoint Technologies of Kirkland, Wash., provides 393 square feet (36.5 square meters) of additional cabin space bringing the VIP-configured 747-8 to a total 5,179 square feet (481.2 square meters) of cabin space. It was installed by Boeing Global Transport & Executive Systems (GTES) in Wichita, Kansas.
Developed specifically for the BBJ 747-8, the Aeroloft™ is located above the main cabin between the upper deck and tail of the airplane. It boasts eight private sleeping berths and a changing room providing a comfortable rest area during flight.
Boeing and Greenpoint have worked together for more than a decade developing VIP interior solutions for private and Head-of-State customers.  Capt. Steve Taylor, BBJ President, said this project is a special one.
"The Aeroloft is one of the more innovative and exciting projects on which we've collaborated with Greenpoint," said Taylor. "We're certain all the BBJ 747-8 customers receiving the Aeroloft will be thrilled with this unique and comfortable space."
Two additional BBJ 747-8s with Greenpoint's Aeroloft™ are scheduled to deliver in 2012.
After a small ceremony in Wichita with the airplane's undisclosed customer, the BBJ 747-8 was flown by Capt. Taylor and BBJ chief pilot, Capt. Rene Gonzalez, to Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg, Germany for completion of its VIP interior.  It's scheduled to enter service in 2014.
To date, nine BBJ 747-8s have been sold to Head-of-State customers.

Boeing Apache Clocks 3.5 Million Flight Hours

 Boeing and Team Apache suppliers worldwide are applauding the news that the U.S. Army AH-64 Apache helicopter fleet has surpassed 3.5 million flight hours.
The Army's aviation program office said that the milestone of endurance and reliability was reached in June as Apache crews flew combat missions in Afghanistan, participated in exercises in South Korea, and trained with the new AH-64D Apache Block III. Apaches began operating in 1984.
"Achieving and surpassing 3.5 million flight hours is a very significant milestone for the Apache, and I am incredibly proud of the soldiers who fly and maintain this helicopter," said Col. Jeff Hager, Apache project manager for the Army. "I am also pleased for the opportunity to work with dedicated and diligent men and women in government service and industry who design, build and continue to modernize an aircraft that delivers proven capabilities and cutting-edge technologies."
Boeing assembles Apaches at its facility in Mesa. Since the first production aircraft was delivered two months ahead of contract schedule in September 1983, Apaches have effectively fulfilled the demands of battlefield commanders.
The newest and most advanced Apache, the AH-64D Apache Block III, features composite main rotor blades, a composite stabilator, 701D engines with an enhanced digital electronic control unit, and an improved drive system that enhances the rotorcraft's performance.
"The Boeing Apache team congratulates U.S. Army Aviation soldiers on achieving – and going beyond – the 3.5 million flight hour mark," said David Koopersmith, vice president of Boeing Attack Helicopter Programs. "Boeing is proud to provide its customers with helicopters that are relevant to their stated needs and ready to accomplish the mission."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Qantas cancels 35 B787 Orders

Boeing lost an order for 35 Dreamliners with a list price of $8.5 billion on last Thursday in the biggest cancellation for the 787 jet as Qantas Airways scrapped a contract after delivery delays and losses on international routes.
 Qantas’s decision underscores a slowdown in international travel that has caused carriers like Cathay Pacific Airways and Singapore Airlines to cut plans for expansion. “It’s going to bother people more because of what it says about growth in air travel than because of anything it says about the 787,” Howard Rubel, an analyst with Jefferies & Company. Qantas will receive $433 million from Boeing in compensation for delays and a refund of deposits for the canceled order, the airline’s chief financial officer, Gareth R. Evans, said.
 Boeing lost orders for 25 Dreamliners this year, including a lot of 24 scrapped by China Eastern Airlines in March.

French Air Force Chooses Cirrus SR20

Cirrus SR20
Cirrus Aircraft announced that Cirrus SR20s and SR22s have been selected by Cassidian Aviation Training Services (CATS) in a public tender for the French Air Force and Navy.

 A fleet of 13 Cirrus SR20s will be dedicated for training pilots at the French air force base of Salon de Provence. An additional fleet of seven Cirrus SR22s will be dedicated to training flights of navigating officers arm systems (NOSA) and liaison flights, in particular to accompany the French Air Force’s aerobatic team.

 Through the agreement with CATS, another fleet of three Cirrus SR20s will be dedicated to the students of the Ecole Navale at the naval air station of Lanvéoc Poulmic. CATS will be in charge of maintenance and airworthiness of all fleets.

Each aircraft delivered to the French Air Force will be equipped with the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System™ (CAPS), airbag seatbelts, Cirrus Perspective® by Garmin™ avionics and all the active and passive safety systems and features that are standard on all Cirrus aircraft. Specific options such as UHF and G-Meter will also be equipped in the entire fleet.

 The Cirrus SR20s and SR22s will be added to a fleet of 18 Grob 120 already owned by CATS in the outsourcing agreement of the French Air Force Flight School, in addition to 35 TB30 Epsilon managed by CATS for the French Air Force and the Xingy managed by CATS for AVORD, the French Air Force Transport Flight School.

 The first SR20 was delivered in Salon de Provence on August 9 and the first SR22 will be delivered in September. Delivery will continue through the end of 2012. Cirrus Aircraft is a recognized leader in general aviation.

Its all-composite line of personal aircraft – the SR20, SR22 and the turbocharged SR22T – incorporate innovative and advanced performance, electronic and safety technologies, including Cirrus Perspective™ by Garmin® avionics and the unique Cirrus Airframe Parachute System™ (CAPS). As of mid-2012, total time on the worldwide

BRS Emergency Parachute System
Cirrus Aircraft SR-series fleet surpassed five-and-a-half-million flight hours with 57 lives saved to date as a direct result of CAPS being a standard safety feature on all Cirrus aircraft. The Cirrus Vision SF50 jet, with over 500 production positions reserved, will provide a new personal and regional business transportation solution – the personal jet.

All Cirrus aircraft are made in the USA with a direct sales force in North America and authorized sales centers covering export markets in more than 60 countries around the world. Cirrus Aircraft is wholly owned by China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., Ltd. (CAIGA)

Eurofighter Tranche 3 Front Fuselage Rolled off

The first Typhoon Tranche 3 Front Fuselage unit has rolled off the production line at BAE Systems’ Samlesbury site. Under the Tranche 3A contract signed in 2009, a total of 112 aircraft have been ordered for the four European partner nations, with 40 aircraft bound for the Royal Air Force.  Deliveries of Tranche 3 aircraft are expected to start in 2013. Building on the success of the Typhoons already proven in service, as demonstrated during Libyan Operations, Tranche 3 aircraft will be even more capable. The Tranche 3 front fuselage, part of the British single seat aircraft number 116, includes over 350 modified parts designed, engineered and assembled ready to incorporate the most advanced capability enhancements. Those enhancements include provision for conformal fuel tanks and a fuel dump system which will enable Typhoon to fly further and stay on mission longer.  Also included are extra electrical power and cooling to cater for an E-Scan radar which will enhance performance, reliability and availability whilst delivering lower support costs for Typhoon customers.  Extra computing power and high speed data network systems will give the aircraft capacity for even more capability in the future. Mark Bowman, BAE Systems’ Chief Test Pilot said: “This represents the next significant milestone in the evolution of this remarkable combat aircraft.  The new provisions including for example, conformal tanks and an ESCAN radar capability not only pave the way for more war-winning advantages such as range, detection and persistence, but ensure that the aircraft remains at the forefront of combat aviation for decades to come.  I look forward enormously to putting this exciting piece of cutting-edge technology through its paces when it takes to the skies in the near future”

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Embraer AWACS lands in India

Drdo press release:
First fully modified aircraft for indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems landed on Indian soil at Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), Bangalore, (a DRDO laboratory) at HAL airport yesterday. 

India's 100th Space Mission on Sept 9

source: The Hindu
ISRO to launch its 100th mission on  September 9 with the launch of a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C21) that will put French remote-sensing satellite SPOT-6 and Japanese micro-satellite PROITERES in orbit.

According to ISRO, if a satellite built by it is put in orbit by another country’s launch vehicle, it is counted as one mission. If India’s or other countries’ satellites are put in orbit by an ISRO-built rocket such as SLV-3 or PSLV from Sriharikota, it is counted as two missions.
The four stages of the PSLV have been assembled in the first launch pad on the seafront of the spindle-shaped island. The launch vehicle, weighing 230 tonnes and The launch will be the 100th mission of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).The launch will be the 100th mission of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).44 metres tall, will be a core-alone version without strap-on booster motors.
SPOT-6, weighing about 716 kg, is built by Astrium SAS, a subsidiary of EADS, France. PROITERES that weighs 16-kg “is basically a technology demonstrator for earth observation” and has a high-resolution camera.
A team of students and faculty of the Osaka Institute of Technology (OIT) developed PROITERES, which stands for Project of OIT Electric Rocket Engine Onboard Small Space Ship.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Iran Unveil Upgraded Fateh-110 Missile

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's president on Tuesday unveiled an upgraded version of a short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile just weeks after it was test-fired, the country's state-media reported.
At the ceremony for Fateh-110, or Conqueror, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a group of defense officials that Iran wants to advance its defense technology "not in an aggressive context, but as a deterrence."
"We do not seek it for conquest, domination of neighboring countries and the world. We do not want it because of defiance," said Ahmadinejad, according to state TV.
Iran considers both the United States and Israel as potential adversaries. Neither country has ruled out a military strike against Iran's nuclear program, which they claim is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes.
The official IRNA news agency reported Tuesday that the new version of Fateh-110 has a quicker launch capability, a longer life and can be used in adverse weather conditions, but gave no other details. The missile has been in service in Iran over the past decade.
Iran claimed earlier in August that it successfully test-fired the missile, saying at the time that Fateh-110 has an improved accuracy to strike land and naval targets within a 300 kilometer (185 mile) range.
Since 1992, Iran has tried to set up a self-sufficient military program. The country's military leaders have said they believe future wars will take place in the air and on sea, and Tehran has sought to upgrade its air defense systems and naval power in anticipation of such a possibility.
Iran has also been pushing to upgrade its missiles, which already can target Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East. The Pentagon released a report in June noting significant advances in Iranian missile technology, acknowledging that the Islamic Republic has improved the accuracy and firing capabilities of its missiles.
At Tuesday's ceremony marking the national day of Iran's defense industry, Ahmadinejad also unveiled several other new Iranian-made weapons, such as a naval diesel engine, a mortar launcher, a monitoring military intelligence system and tactical SUVs.
Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said Iran will commission a new generation of fighter jets, missiles, unmanned drones and submarines by the Iranian New Year, which falls in March 2013.
Iran's purported military advancements are impossible to independently verify because the country does not release technical details of its arsenals or rely on equipment from major international defense contractors.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Boeing Apache Outperforms Russian Mi-28 Helicopter

U.S. aerospace giant Boeing has won a $1.4 billion deal to supply India with 22 helicopter gunships, beating off competition from Russia's Mil Mi-28, the Times of India reported on Tuesday.
Only the Boeing AH-64 could meet all the Indian armed forces' air staff qualitative requirements, the paper said.
"It's just a matter of time before the contract is inked for the Apaches after final commercial negotiations. Most of the hurdles have been cleared,'' a defense ministry official told the paper.
The deal will also include advanced AN/APG-78 fire control radars for the Apaches as well as Hellfire anti-tank and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.
Russia is also facing stiff U.S. competition in a tender to supply 15 heavy-lift helicopters to the Indian forces. Russia is offering its Mil Mi-26, the world's largest rotary-wing machine, while Boeing is proposing its veteran CH-47 Chinook.

T-50 Completes Intial Flight Refuelling Approach

Russian fighter maker Sukhoi's T-50 fifth-generation stealth fighter has completed initial approach trials to a flight refuelling aircraft, the company said on Tuesday. The aircraft, T-50-2, made approaches to an Il-78 tanker in company with a Su-25UB trainer/strike aircraft.
The second prototype, T-50-2 is currently conducting a range of flight trials to test the new plane's flight envelope in subsonic and supersonic regimes and in different configurations.
The first prototype, T-50-1, is undertaking preparation for a flight test program involving flight at super-critical angles of attack and super-maneuverability.
In August, T-50-3 will start full tests of the aircraft's new active phased-array radar system and avionics, which the company says has already shown impressive results in air-to-air and air-to-ground tests.
The NII Tikhomirova radar will allow T-50 to attack targets at long-range in simultaneous air-to-air and air-to-surface modes, detect and classify group and single targets and simultaneously attack several targets at once with precision-guided weapons and also perform electronic warfare functions.
A fourth T-50 will join the test program later this year.
The T-50 is due to enter Russian Air Force service after 2015. A derivative of the aircraft is also due to enter service with the Indian Air Force at a slightly later date.

Russia to Deliver 55 Mi-171E Helicopter to China

source: Ria Novosti
Russian Helicopters’ Ulan Ude factory will build Mi-171E multipurpose helicopters under a recent contract with China, a high-ranking defense industry source said on Tuesday.
Moscow and Beijing signed a contract in late July on the delivery of 55 Mi-171E helicopters to China. The cost of one unit in its basic configuration is estimated at $10-12 million.
“One of the largest helicopter export contracts on the delivery of Mi-171E helicopters to China will be carried out by the Ulan Ude aircraft plant,” the source told RIA Novosti.
Mi-171E is an advanced export version of the famed Mi-8 transport helicopter capable of transporting 37 passengers to a distance of 610 km (380 miles) at a speed of 250 km/h. Its loading capacity is four metric tons.
Mi-171E was specifically designed for operations in Middle East and Asian countries, the source said.

MV-22 Osprey crash in April due to pilot error

Pilots from throughout the Marine Corps are already applying lessons learned from the investigation of an MV-22 Osprey crash in Morocco in April, the chief of Marine aviation said here today.

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert E. Schmidle Jr. said the recently concluded investigation found no mechanical or material failures.

“There were no issues with the safety of the aircraft,” he told reporters at a Pentagon news conference. He attributed the crash to “an extraordinarily complex set of circumstances.”

Two Marines – Cpl. Robby A. Reyes and Cpl. Derek A. Kerns – were killed in the incident and the pilot and co-pilot were injured.

The Marines were part of Marine Medium Tilt-rotor Squadron 231. The aircraft and Marines were part of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS Iwo Jima. They were participating in Exercise African Lion, a military exercise with Morocco, and had just delivered 12 Marines to the Moroccan training area.

Schmidle told reporters the aircraft took off with its nose pointed into the wind. Typically, the aircraft would move nose into the wind and fly off, he said. But rather than fly over troops and equipment, the pilots hovered the aircraft and rotated right. With the wind behind them, the pilots then shifted the aircraft propellers toward fixed wing flight. This caused the plane’s center of gravity to shift forward, pushing the nose down. That, plus a strong tailwind, caused it to crash, Schmidle said.

The aircraft could have flown as a helicopter and avoided the accident, he said. The crew also could have flown over the troops and equipment with no ill effects aside from downdrafts.

The Marine Corps will apply information from the accident investigation where it makes sense to do so, the general said. “There are some things we are going to do right away,” he said. “We are briefing all the MV-22 pilots and aircrew on this mishap … so they all understand what occurred and what caused this to happen with the tail wind component.”

The Marines will also make changes in simulation training to recreate the effect in Morocco so pilots can recognize the situation and take appropriate steps when they encounter it, he said. “In training, we are going to look and see what we can do in the academic syllabus,” Schmidle added.

More than half of the reporters attending today’s Pentagon news conference represented media from Japan, where there has been concern about the plane’s safety. Twelve Ospreys arrived in Japan in late July, and will eventually operate out of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on the island of Okinawa. Many Japanese oppose the move and anti-Osprey groups say the aircraft is inherently unsafe. But Schmidle called the plane “solid and safe,” noting it has a 1.94 mishap rate per 100,000 flight hours – well below the rate for rotary wing aircraft.

Marine Corps officials have said their service chose the MV-22 to replace the 1950s vintage CH-46 helicopter because of its revolutionary capabilities. It takes off and lands like a helicopter but flies like a fixed-wing plane. It is twice as fast as the CH-46, can carry three times the payload and has approximately four times the combat radius.

 On Apr 11, 2012, an MV-22 Osprey operating from the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) crashed in a Royal Moroccan military training area southwest of Agadir, Morocco, while participating in the bilateral Exercise African Lion.

Four U.S. Marine Corps personnel were on the aircraft at the time of the incident. Two personnel died as a result of their injuries sustained in the crash. The two other personnel were severely injured in the crash and are being medically evacuated for further treatment.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

MSL Curiosity Sky Crane System

For several reasons, a different landing system was chosen for Mars Science Laboratory compared to previous Mars landers and rovers. Curiosity was considered too heavy to use the airbag landing system as used on the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Exploration. A legged lander approach would have caused several design problems. It would have needed to have engines high enough above the ground when landing not to form a dust cloud that could damage the rover's instruments. This would have required long landing legs that would need to have significant width to keep the center of gravity low. A legged lander would have also required ramps so the rover could drive down to the surface, which would have incurred extra risk to the mission on the chance rocks or tilt would prevent Curiosity from being able to drive off the lander successfully. Faced with these challenges, the MSL engineers came up with a novel alternative solution: the sky crane. The sky crane system lowered the rover with a 7.6 m (25 ft) tether to a soft landing—wheels down—on the surface of Mars. This system consists of a bridle lowering the rover on three nylon tethers and an electrical cable carrying information and power between the descent stage and rover. As the support and data cables unreeled, the rover's six motorized wheels snapped into position. At roughly 7.5 m (25 ft) below the descent stage the sky crane system slowed to a halt and the rover touched down. After the rover touched down, it waited 2 seconds to confirm that it was on solid ground by detecting the weight on the wheels and fired several pyros (small explosive devices) activating cable cutters on the bridle and umbilical cords to free itself from the descent stage. The descent stage flew away to a crash landing 650 m (2,100 ft) away. The sky crane powered descent landing system had never been used in missions before.[86]

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Russian Mi-28N Attack Helicopter Crashes

A Russian Army Mil Mi-28N, one of the force's newest machines, crashed on Thursday at its base in Mozdok, North Ossetia.
The two-man crew was not injured according to preliminary information.
"An Mi-28N made a heavy landing while on a training flight," a source in the Southern Military District said. "The crew was not hurt and neither was anyone on the ground. The cause is being investigated."
Two other Mi-28Ns have been lost in accidents in recent years. The crew of an Mi-28 was injured in February 2011 when the aircraft suffered a gearbox failure. Another Mi-28N was lost in June 2009 when it suffered an engine failure after ingesting gases from rockets it was firing at low-level on a range.

Boeing H-47 Chinook Celeberates 50th Anniversary

H-47 Chinook

RIDLEY TOWNSHIP, Pa., Aug. 16, 2012 -- Boeing marks the 50th anniversary of delivering the first H-47 Chinook military helicopter, the company is nearing completion of a $130 million renovation of its production line near Philadelphia that will help it meet global demand for the latest model, the CH-47F.
"The Chinook has served as the backbone of U.S. Army aviation since the Vietnam era, revolutionizing how we move troops and supplies in combat, and save lives and deliver aid in times of need," said Col. Bob Marion, U.S. Army Cargo Helicopter program manager. "The latest F-model has ushered in a new era of heavy-lift capability for the U.S. Army. With continued technology insertions, I fully expect that 50 years from now there will be a centennial celebration for Chinooks still in service."
Boeing has delivered more than 1,200 Chinooks to 18 operators around the world since delivering the first to the U.S. Army on Aug. 16, 1962. More than 800 are in operation today, conducting combat, cargo transport and humanitarian relief missions.
"Chinook is Boeing’s longest continuously running production program, and it’s in greater demand today than ever before," said Leanne Caret, vice president, Vertical Lift and H-47 Programs. "Chinooks are being delivered on schedule and operating at a higher rate than any time in history, thanks to our team's innovation, efficiency, and focus on meeting our customers' needs."
The production line updates will enable Boeing to continue to affordably increase Chinook production rates. Boeing is scheduled to deliver nearly 60 Chinooks this year and has submitted a multiyear, firm fixed-price proposal to the Department of Defense to provide 155 CH-47Fs to the U.S. Army with deliveries beginning in 2015.

X-51A Waverider Fails During Hypersonic Flight

X-51 onboard B-52 Bomber

LOS ANGELES — An unmanned experimental aircraft failed during an attempt to fly at six times the speed of sound in the latest setback for hypersonic flight.
The X-51A Waverider was designed to reach Mach 6, or about 6,000 km/h, after being dropped by a B-52 bomber off the Southern California coast on Tuesday. Engineers hoped it would sustain its top speed for five minutes, twice as long as an X-51A has gone before.
But the Air Force said Wednesday that a faulty control fin prevented it from starting its exotic scramjet engine and it was lost.
“It is unfortunate that a problem with this subsystem caused a termination before we could light the scramjet engine,” Charlie Brink of the Air Force Research Laboratory at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, said in a statement.
The Waverider successfully detached from the B-52 and fired the rocket booster as planned. Then its scramjet engine was supposed to take over as it attempted to climb to Mach 6. But that never happened. Fifteen seconds after separating from the rocket booster, the Waverider lost control, preventing a test of the s
“All our data showed we had created the right conditions for engine ignition and we were very hopeful to meet our test objectives,” Brink said.
The Pentagon has been testing hypersonic technologies in hopes of delivering strikes around the globe within minutes.
 A control fin that had functioned correctly on two previous flights malfunctioned on the Aug. 14 third flight of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Boeing X-51A Waverider, causing the hypersonic demonstrator to lose control before its scramjet engine could be ignited.
It was the latest failure for the waverider program. A test flight last year ended prematurely with an X-15A trying to restart its engine until it plunged into the Pacific Ocean.During the first flight of an X-51A in 2010, it reached near five times the speed of sound for three minutes.

The Boeing X-51 (also known as X-51 WaveRider) is an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft for hypersonic (Mach 6, approximately 4,000 miles per hour (6,400 km/h) at altitude) flight testing. It successfully completed its first free-flight on 26 May 2010 and also achieved the longest duration flight at speeds over Mach 5.
The X-51 is named "WaveRider" because it uses its shockwaves to add lift. The program is run as a cooperative effort of the United States Air Force, DARPA, NASA, Boeing, and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. The program is managed by the Propulsion Directorate within the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).The X-51 had its first captive flight attached to a B-52 in December 2009.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Airbus ACJ318 Corporate Jet at LABACE

Airbus ACJ318
Airbus’ ACJ318 will be the highlight of LABACE in Sao Paulo later this month, showcasing a wider and taller cabin than any other business jet, in what is the largest market for them  in Latin America.

The Airbus ACJ318 on display is offered for  VVIP charter  by Globaljet of Switzerland, and fits into the same ramp space as other large business jets. It carries up to 19 passengers, features a private office that converts to a bedroom, and has club seating in several spacious lounge areas.

“When it comes to business jets, it’s what you offer in the cabin that counts and, with the world’s broadest and most modern aircraft family, Airbus can offer everything from 19 seaters with intercontinental range, to VIP widebodies capable of flying government delegations nonstop to most of the world,” comments Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers, John Leahy.

Luxurious Interiors
Airbus has sold some 170 corporate jets to date, and its aircraft are the only ones flying on every continent, including Antarctica, highlighting their versatility. Its customers comprise companies, individuals and governments, in roughly equal measure.

All of Airbus’ corporate jet customers are united in their need for rapid and reliable transport, whether in running a multinational business or leading a country,  and their ability to serve as business tools is both proven and widespread in many different markets.

In offering corporate jet versions of all of its modern aircraft family, Airbus gives customers the ability to carry more people than traditional business jets, which are limited in size, as well as giving them greater comfort and workspace in which to travel.

Like all Airbus corporate jets, the Airbus ACJ318 features intercontinental range, allowing it to serve most destinations in North and South America nonstop – as well as to reach much of the world with a single stop.

Boeing Deliver's First Ethopian Airlines 787

SEATTLE, Aug. 14, 2012,Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines celebrated Tuesday, the delivery of the airline's first 787 Dreamliner.
"Today begins the first day in a new era of flying for our passengers and brings us even closer to our vision for the future, Vision 2025," said Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. "We are pleased to be the first airline in the world outside Japan to receive this technologically advanced aircraft. We have been waiting for this airplane and now that we officially have it and will show it to the world, I can say with pride, it was worth the wait. This airplane is going to move Ethiopian Airlines to the forefront of aviation leadership around the globe."
The 787 Dreamliner is composed of light-weight composites and features numerous system, engine and aerodynamic advancements making it more efficient to operate compared with its competition. It is the first mid-sized airplane capable of flying long-range routes, enabling airlines to open new, non-stop routes preferred by passengers.
"Today marks not just another milestone for Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines, but a new beginning in our 65-year partnership," said Van Rex Gallard, vice president of Sales for Africa, Latin America, & Caribbean, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.  "Ethiopian Airlines continues to show their strong leadership in African aviation and their growing presence around the globe. Being the first in Africa and one of the first in the world further confirms their position globally."
After taking delivery, Ethiopian will fly its Dreamliner to Washington D.C. where the aircraft will be on display and is expected to be visited by VIP guests and media.
The aircraft will then make its inaugural trip to Africa with its first revenue flight from Dulles International Airport to Bole Addis Ababa International Airport.
Ethiopian Airways has nine more 787 Dreamliners remaining on order. The airline was the first African airline to operate the 777-200LR, the first to order the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and the first to order the 777 Freighter. Ethiopian Airlines currently operates an all-Boeing fleet of 737, 757, 767 and 777, and now 787 airplanes in passenger service and a 757, MD11 and 747 in cargo operations.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sukhoi To Dominate Russian Air Force

 Souce: Sukhoi
Moscow, August 9. The Russian Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (the AST-Centre) conducted market research of Russian combat aircraft. The Centre’s experts believe that the Sukhoi-type fighters, which currently account for about two thirds of the fleet of tactical aircraft of the Russian Air Force, will form the core of the national air force as a result of the implementation of the ongoing Armaments Program for the period up to 2020.
Currently, the aircraft developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau, make up more than 40% of the Russian air force fighters’ park. These are the Su-27s, including 12 Su-27SM3 of the new production and Su-27SM, which underwent avionics’ upgrade and now are able to engage ground targets and have the so-called “glass” cockpit. In addition, the air force also received in recent years two-seated Su-30M2 fighters and a few advanced multifunctional Su-35 fighters.
With regard to the attack and ground assault aviation, all its fleet consists now of Su-type aircraft only. These are the Su-25s, Su-24 front-line bombers and the newest Su-34s, which began coming into service under the contract of the year 2008 for procurement of bombers. Thus, today the Su-type fighters make up about 65% of military tactical aviation in Russia.
According to the study of the AST-Center the Russian air force also focuses on procurement of mainly Su-type aircraft in the framework of the State Armaments Program-2020. This judgment can be confirmed, in particular, by the large orders signed by the Russian Air Force in recent years: 2008 — a contract to supply Su-34 frontline bombers. 2009 — a contract to supply Su-35S, Su-27SM3 and Su-30M2, 2012 — contracts for Su-34 and Su-30CM.

AESA Radar For Sukhoi T-50

 Russia’s Sukhoi aircraft maker has started tests of a new onboard radar system for its 5th generation T-50 fighter jet, the company said on Wednesday.
The new X-band active phased array radar has been installed on the third prototype of the T-50 fighter and showed a stable and effective performance comparable with the most advanced existing radar systems.It is an AESA(Active Electronically Scanned Array) Radar which is the latest radar design which
by spreading their signal emissions out across a band of frequencies,makes it very difficult to detect over background noise.It has an extended target acquisition range, works simultaneously in “air-to-air” and “air-to-ground” modes, allows attacking multiple targets, and provides electronic countermeasures capabilities.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sukhoi Fighters Replaces MIGs in Russian Aircraft Exports

Indian Air Force Su-30Mki 


More than 2,500 Su-7, Su-17, Su-20, Su-22, Su-24, Su-25, Su-27, Su-30 aircraft and their modifications were delivered to the Air Forces of more than 30 countries since 1964 according to Sukhoi. The aircrafts were delivered to different countries of Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. They are still in service in many armies of these countries. The Su-family aircraft have proved to be reliable and effective combat systems capable of performing a wide range of combat missions.
Over the past decades, as from 1996, the main export potential of the Su-family aircraft is centered on various modifications of the Su-30 — type multipurpose fighters. Sales of these machines together with contracts for airborne weapons and related equipment account for up to half of all foreign military supplies of the “Rosoboronexport”. In the years 2000s with the advent of the Su-30MKK and its further modification Su-30MK2 — a significant increase in exports can be noted. This is a multi-purpose two-seat fighter able to strike air, land and sea targets.
A large amount of foreign supplies is associated with the implementation of the Indian program of development and production of the Su-30MKI multi-purpose strike fighter with the latest onboard avionics complex. Modifications of the Su-30 fighter are supplied to other countries as well. Currently the multi-purpose Su-35 fighter undergoes tests. The aircraft has a large number of 5 th generation technologies and advanced technical solutions. Its radar with an unprecedented operating range (up to 400 km), the engine with a thrust of 14.5 tons with thrust vector control, an early warning system for irradiation, an optical radar station, missile launch detection sensors and laser irradiation sensors give the aircraft superiority over all the other fighters of the 4 th generation and the 4+ generation aircraft and make it ready for any combat conditions.
Production Su-35s for the Russian Air Force are manufactured at the Sukhoi’s KnAAPO factory in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. At present the Su-35 possible deliveries are discussed with foreign customers. This aircraft must ensure preservation of the Sukhoi Company’s competitiveness on the world market till the start of serial production of the PAK FA 5 th generation fighter aircraft. Work on the export version of the 5 th generation fighter — a prospective multi-functional fighter (PMI) is in progress together with the Republic of India. This aircraft also has a considerable export potential. In order to ensure an efficient operation of the delivered aircraft the Sukhoi company provides for their after-sales service including spare parts supplies, aircraft systems and components repairs, technical assistance and supplies of necessary equipment to the foreign customers’ service centers.

Russian Airforce Centenary Celebrations

An air show in the city of Zhukovsky near Moscow will continue on Sunday as Russia’s Air Force celebrates its 100th anniversary . The show’s first day was held on Saturday. It was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, top Defense Ministry top officials, foreign military attaches and some 80 foreign air force commanders. The event will be open to public on Sunday. The show comprises a static aircraft display and an extensive demonstration flight program. The flight program consists of two parts - the Legends of the World’s Aviation, which involves overhauled World War I and World War II aircraft, and the Common Skies show representing modern combat aircraft, a Defense Ministry spokesman said. A demonstration flight of Russia’s fifth-generation T-50 fighter is one of the key features of the show, which involves over 110 aircraft and helicopters. Seven aerobatics groups from Britain, Italy, Turkey, France, Poland, Finland and Latvia will also take part in the show. The show will culminate with the performance of Russia’s famed Russkiye Vityazi (Russian Knights) and Strizhi (Swifts) aerobatics teams.

NTSB update on Boeing 787 GEnx engine failure

GEnx onboard 787
WASHINGTON - The National Transportation Safety Board continues its investigation of the July 28, 2012 contained engine failure that occurred on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner during a pre-delivery taxi test in Charleston, South Carolina. A contained engine failure is a specific engine design feature in which components might separate inside the engine but either remain within the engine's cases or exit the engine through the tail pipe. This design feature generally does not pose immediate safety risks. Last week, the NTSB sent an investigator to the scene to gather information on the incident and subsequently launched a full investigation into the cause of the failure, led by NTSB Investigator-in-Charge, Mr. David Helson. On August 1, 2012, a team of experts from the NTSB, FAA, Boeing and GE Aviation specializing in engine systems and metallurgy traveled to a GE facility in Cincinnati, OH to disassemble and examine the failed GEnx engine. GE is the manufacturer of the GEnx engine. The parties to the investigation have been extremely cooperative in assisting NTSB personnel in its review and assessment. As a result of the investigative work to date, the NTSB hasdetermined that a fan mid-shaft on the failed GEnx enginefractured at the forward end of the shaft, rear of the threads where the retaining nut is installed. The fan mid-shaft is undergoing several detailed examinations including dimensional and metallurgical inspections. The GEnx engine is a newly designed aircraft engine. It is a"dual shaft" engine, meaning that one shaft connects the compressor spool at one end to the high pressure turbinespool at the other end. A longer "fan shaft" connects the fan and booster in the front of the engine to the low pressure turbine in the back. The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, which is a combined unit on the 787 Dreamliner, was transported to the agency's Recorders Laboratory in Washington, DC for processing and readout. Both recordings captured the event and analysis is ongoing. Moving forward, investigators will continue the detailed examination of the engine and metallurgical analysis of itscomponents. The investigators have also begun reviewingthe engine manufacturing and assembly records. This investigation is ongoing. The information released today is factual in nature and does not include any analysis. Additional factual information may be released as it is developed.

Indian PSLV to Launch Astrium's SPOT-6 Satellite

India's ISRO plans to launch 720-kg SPOT-6 remote sensing satellite from France on board the home-grown Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C21) in the second week of September. SPOT 6, the Earth observation satellite built by Astrium, has been transferred from the Astrium Satellites facility in Toulouse (France) to the Satish Dhawan Space Center in India where it will be integrated with the PSLV launcher that will carry it into orbit.   SPOT 6 is a high resolution optical Earth observation satellite. Like its twin SPOT 7, which is slated for launch early 2014, SPOT 6 will have a 60-km swath width and produce imagery products with a resolution down to 1.5 metres. SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 will ensure service continuity from the SPOT 4 and SPOT 5 satellites, which have been operating since 1998 and 2002 respectively. Both ground and space segments have been designed for improved performance compared with previous SPOT missions, especially in terms of responsiveness - from satellite tasking to product delivery - and collection capacity. Moreover, SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 are “agile” as they can quickly be aimed at any point within 1500km of their position. The constellation SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 will actually provide a daily revisit everywhere on Earth with a total coverage of 6 million km² per day. As soon as they are validated in orbit, SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 will be operated by Astrium Services in coordination with the two Pléiades satellites which will be in the same orbit.

Astrium SPOT-6
 The constellation will offer unique applications, in an unrivalled delivery time, to Astrium Services’ customers. Every point on the globe will be able to be seen every day, once in high resolution and also in very high resolution. In addition while SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 will provide a wide view over a large area, Pléiades 1A and Pléiades 1B will be able to offer, for the same zone, products with a narrower field of view but with an increased level of detail (50cm). Based on the newly designed Astrium Astrosat 500 MklI platform, SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 offer enhanced performance compared with their predecessors and are also lighter (weighing 720kg against SPOT 5’s 3 tonnes), thanks to the use of latest-generation technologies including silicon carbide, a brand-new detector for the instrument, and new avionics for the satellite. Both satellites will have a service life of 10 years. In addition to the satellites, Astrium has complete responsibility for the design and manufacture of the ground segment, the launch of the satellites, qualification and maintenance of the system, and the satellite command and control operations. The overall lead time for the whole system, 3.5 years, demonstrates that Astrium’s improvement programs have delivered results, reaching benchmark efficiency, putting technology at the service of quality, speeding up manufacture and reducing the level of project risk. All these improvements have contributed to the success of SPOT 6, from instruments to platforms and satellite assembly, integration and test (AIT), and from ground segment to data processing techniques

A Recap: Space Shuttle Cost $1.5 billion per flight

NASA's space shuttle fleet began setting records with its first launch on April 12, 1981 and continued to set high marks of achievement and endurance through 30 years of missions. Starting with Columbia and continuing with Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour, the spacecraft has carried people into orbit repeatedly, launched, recovered and repaired satellites, conducted cutting-edge research and built the largest structure in space, the International Space Station. The final space shuttle mission, STS-135, ended July 21, 2011 when Atlantis rolled to a stop at its home port, NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As humanity's first reusable spacecraft, the space shuttle pushed the bounds of discovery ever farther, requiring not only advanced technologies but the tremendous effort of a vast workforce. All the 5 space shuttles has accumulated a total of 135 flights, 1300 days in space,traversed 550 million miles and delivered more than 3 million pounds of payload to orbit. The space shuttle is an engineering marvel, a testament of the ingenuity and perserverance of its designs and builders. The goal of the shuttle program was to create a reusable vehicle that could reduce the cost of delivering humans and large payloads into space. A fully reusable system was going to be expensive to design, with initial estimates running at $10 billion. A reusable system would have higher developmental costs, but the per launch cost would be less because of hardware reuse. The no of launches that would justify the developmental cost over an expected life of 15 years ranges between 500 to 900, or a maximum of more than one flight per week. But in reality the shuttle is an incredibly complex machine that requires a massive support infrastructure and people to maintain it, even in 1985 its best year, it never achieved more than nine flights. It has been estimated that the entire shuttle program cost $209 billion, averaging $1.5 billion per flight. There is no doubt that the designers of space shuttle oversold its capabilities and underestimated its costs, but actually they had nothing to base their estimates, except on concepts. A reusable space launch system didnt exist, and they were tasked to create it. Through their innovation, persistence and dedication these engineers created and sustained an incredible vehicle that carried 500-plus astronauts , launched more than 100 payloads and made possible the construction of ISS.

Russian Air Force To Induct 180 Planes

The Russian Air Force will receive some 180 brand new planes and helicopters by the end of the year, the Air Force Commander in Chief Major General Viktor Bondarev said.

Russian air force has already received several new Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback warplanes and will get another 12, along with Kamov Ka-52 Alligator and Mil Mi-28 Havoc helicopters, as well as trainer jets including 15 Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten aircraft, Bondarev said in an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station published on its website on Friday.

The aircraft to be supplied to the air forces will carry advanced navigation and other equipment and weapons “of significantly higher quality,” he said. Last year, some 120 new aircraft have been supplied to the air forces, he added.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

M-346 Trainer for RSAF Rolled Out

 7 August 2012 – The first M-346 advanced trainer for the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) was rolled out in a ceremony held at Alenia Aermacchi’s plant in Venegono Superiore, Italy.

In September 2010, ST Aerospace, as the prime contractor, teaming with Alenia Aermacchi
(a Finmeccanica company) and The Boeing Company, was awarded a contract to supply 12 M-346 aircraft and ground based training system for the RSAF’s Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) programme.

The roll-out ceremony was attended by officials from the RSAF, key representatives from
ST Aerospace, The Boeing Company and Alenia Aermacchi, as well as staff representatives involved in the programme.

“We signed the contract less than two years ago and today we have rolled out the first of twelve
M-346 aircraft for the RSAF’s Advanced Jet Trainer programme. This is a particularly important moment for our company, a great team job has been achieved in strict collaboration with our industrial counterpart, ST Aerospace, and we are proud to celebrate together with them”.
~ Giuseppe GIORDO, Alenia Aermacchi’s CEO
“The successful rollout of the first M-346 illustrates the firm commitment by ST Aerospace and Alenia Aermacchi, in support of the RSAF’s next generation training needs. Together with our partners we will continue to marry the strengths of one another to deliver an outstanding solution to our customer.”
~ CHANG Cheow Teck, President, ST Aerospace

The rollout follows the obtaining of the type certificate and the first flight made by this aircraft in July 2012. The delivery of the first M-346 is scheduled for the end of 2012.


The M-346 is the ideal platform for a latest-generation integrated training system. The versatility of the M-346 allows for its configuration as an affordable advanced combat aircraft. The innovative technical characteristics of the M-346 provide for a high degree of safety and low acquisition and operating costs. The M-346 has been designed using the latest “design-to-cost” and “design-to-maintain” concepts, with an avionics system modeled on those used in new-generation fighter aircraft, such as Eurofighter, Gripen, Rafale, F-22 and the F-35.

The M-346 received its Military Type Qualification Certificate from the Italian Ministry of Defence - National Armaments Directorate in June 2011, an essential requirement to certify the full correspondence to aircraft specifications and to international military requirements.

In September 2010, the Singapore Government signed the contract for 12 M-346 and ground-based training systems under the AJT replacement programme. This contract was signed with the consortium, formed by ST Aerospace (prime contractor), Alenia Aermacchi and Boeing. The first aircraft is scheduled for delivery this year. Alenia Aermacchi also finalised contracts in June 2011 with ST Aerospace to provide logistics support to the RSAF’s fleet of M-346.


Green Supersonic Machine

This future aircraft design concept for supersonic flight over land comes from the team led by the Lockheed Martin Corporation.

The team used simulation tools to show it was possible to achieve over-land flight by dramatically lowering the level of sonic booms through the use of an "inverted-V" engine-under wing configuration. Other revolutionary technologies help achieve range, payload and environmental goals.

Flying Wing 

Northrop Grumman's concept is based on the extremely aerodynamic "flying wing" design. The four Rolls Royce engines are embedded in the upper surface of the wing to achieve maximum noise shielding. The company used its expertise in building military planes without a stabilizing tail to propose this design for the commercial aviation market.

The Double Bubble D8

One of the advanced design concepts – the D8 or "double bubble" – is now a subscale model being tested in a wind tunnel at MIT. The design, developed for NASA by a team led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has a very wide fuselage to provide extra lift, low-swept wings to reduce drag and weight, and engines sitting above the fuselage and aft of the wings to block some noise from reaching the ground.

Boxed-Wing Reduces Drag

This artist's concept shows a possible future subsonic aircraft using a boxed- or joined-wing configuration to reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency. This design of an aircraft that could enter service in the 2020 timeframe is one of a number of designs being explored by NASA with teams of researchers from industry and universities.

AMELIA Climbs High

This computer rendering shows AMELIA (Advanced Model for Extreme Lift and Improved Aeroacoustics), a possible future hybrid wing body-type subsonic vehicle with short takeoff and landing capabilities. Produced through a three-year NASA Research Announcement grant with the California Polytechnic State Institute, AMELIA's ability for steeper ascents and descents could reduce community noise levels on takeoff and landing. A model of this configuration is scheduled for testing in a NASA wind tunnel in the fall of 2011.

Variation on a Theme

Boeing's advanced vehicle concept centers around the familiar blended wing body design like the X-48. What makes this design different is the placement of its Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan engines on the top of the plane's back end, flanked by two vertical tails to shield people on the ground from engine noise. The design also uses other technologies to reduce noise and drag, and long-span wings to improve fuel efficiency.


The Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research, or SUGAR, Volt future aircraft design comes from the research team led by The Boeing Company.

The Volt is a twin-engine concept with a hybrid propulsion system that combines gas turbine and battery technology, a tube-shaped body and a truss-braced wing mounted to the top of the aircraft. This aircraft is designed to fly at Mach 0.79 carrying 154 passengers 3,500 nautical miles.


Lockheed Martin's advanced vehicle concept proposes a box wing design, which is now feasible thanks to modern lightweight composite (nonmetallic) materials, landing gear technologies and other advancements. Its Rolls Royce Liberty Works Ultra Fan Engine achieves a bypass ratio (flow of air around engine compared to through the engine) nearly five times greater than current engines, pushing the limits of turbofan technology to maximize efficiency.

Flying Wing a Regular Sight

This computer-generated image shows a possible future "flying wing" aircraft, very efficiently and quietly in flight over populated areas. This kind of design, produced by Northrop Grumman, would most likely carry cargo at first and then also carry passenge

The Double Bubble D8

The "double bubble" D8 Series future aircraft design concept comes from the research team led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Based on a modified tube and wing with a very wide fuselage to provide extra lift, its low sweep wing reduces drag and weight; the embedded engines sit aft of the wings. The D8 series aircraft would be used for domestic flights and is designed to fly at Mach 0.74 carrying 180 passengers 3,000 nautical miles in a coach cabin roomier than that of a Boeing 737-800.

The D8 is among the designs presented in April 2010 to the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate for its NASA Research Announcement-funded studies into advanced aircraft that could enter service in the 2030-2035 timeframe.