Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lockheed Delivers Last Three C-130J Airlifters to Iraqi Air Force

The Iraqi Air Force(IQAF) is set to receive its final three Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules airlifters.
Aircraft number 5721 was the first of these aircraft to be ferried from Lockheed Martin’s production facility here on April 23, 2013.All three C-130Js were ferried to U.S. Air Force bases prior to delivery to the IQAF.
The IQAF, a legacy C-130 operator, received its first C-130J in December 2012 and will have a total of six C-130Js in its new Hercules fleet.
The IQAF uses the airlifters for intra-theater support for its troops and to provide humanitarian relief operations in various locations.
The Iraqi air force's air transport fleet already included three older C-130Es, which were acquired from surplus US Air Force stocks.

FAA Certifies ATR 72-600 and ATR 42-600 Turboprop Aircrafts

US Federal Aviation Administration has certified ATR 72-600 and ATR 42-600 series turboprop aircrafts.
This certification, will enable the entry into service of these new aircrafts in countries requiring FAA rather than EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) certification.
Thanks to the cooperation between the two agencies, the FAA relied in part on the work done by EASA to grant certification to the two models of the ATR ‘-600 series’.
All of the tests done by EASA, supplemented by the flights conducted by the FAA test pilots, were used to validate proper operation of the new systems and equipment installed onboard the aircraft, notably its new avionics suite: a new “glass cockpit” with 5 LCD screens, as well as new communication, navigation and monitoring systems, flight management system (FMS), automatic pilot, alert management and multi-purpose computer (MPC), which integrates aircraft maintenance and protection functions in particular.
Since the new ATR 42-600 and ATR 72-600 program was launched in October 2007, ATR has received orders for more than 300 aircraft from this new series. At present, almost two thirds of the under-90-seat regional aircraft on order the world over are ATRs from the new “-600” series.
About the ATR 72-600:
Passenger capacity: 68 to 74 seats
Engines: Pratt & Whitney Canada PW 127M
Maximum take-off power: 2,750 horsepower per engine
Maximum take-off weight: 23,000 kg
Maximum payload: 7,500 kg
Maximum range when fully loaded: 900 nautical miles (1,665 km)
About the ATR 42-600:
Passenger capacity: 46 to 50 seats
Engines: Pratt & Whitney 127M
Maximum take-off power: 2,400 horsepower per engine
Maximum take-off weight: 18,600 kg
Maximum payload: 5,500 kg
Range when fully loaded: 800 nautical miles (1,483 km).
ATR is one of the world's leading aerospace companies and the largest manufacturer of regional aircrafts, headquartered in Toulouse, France.

United Airlines Places Firm Order for 30 Embraer 175 Jets

São José dos Campos, Brazil
United Express E175

Embraer has striked a deal with United Airlines for the sale of 30 EMBRAER 175 jets, with options for an additional 40 of the same model, taking the firm order and options to a total of up to 70 aircraft.
If all options are exercised, the combined order has an estimated value of USD 2.9 billion at current list prices.
The E175s will be operated under the United Express brand. The aircraft will be configured in a 76-seat layout. The first delivery is scheduled for the first quarter of 2014.
As the leader in the 70 to 120-seat jet segment, Embraer continues to invest in the E-Jets family, which is flown by over 60 airlines from more than 40 countries. The Company has begun implementing a series of enhancements to the E175, including new wingtips, systems optimization, and aerodynamic refinements that will lower fuel burn by as much as 5%.
Longer maintenance intervals and component improvements will increase aircraft productivity and bring maintenance costs down. All of the United Airlines deliveries will include these enhancements.
More than 150 E175s are currently in service with 12 carriers around the world. The aircraft offers a 2,000 nm (3,706 km) range, short-field performance, and superior hot-and-high capability.
The partnership between Embraer and United, which is the product of the 2010 merger of United Airlines and Continental Airlines, started with the sale of EMB 120 Brasilia turboprops to Continental Airlines in the 1980s. Subsequently, Continental was also the ERJ 145 jet launch customer, eventually acquiring 275 jets, the largest ERJ fleet in the world.
Currently, 38 E170s are flying with United’s regional partners under the United Express brand.

Monday, April 29, 2013

SpaceShip Two Goes Supersonic on its Maiden Rocket Powered Flight

MOJAVE , California.

SpaceShipTwo Rocket Powered Flight
Virgin Galactic completed its first rocket-powered flight of its space vehicle, SpaceShipTwo (SS2)today.
The test flight, conducted by teams from Scaled Composites (Scaled) and Virgin Galactic, officially marks Virgin Galactic’s entry into the final phase of vehicle testing prior to commercial service from Spaceport America in New Mexico.
The test began at 7.02am local time when SS2 took off from Mojave Air and Space Port mated to WhiteKnightTwo (WK2), Virgin Galactic’s carrier aircraft.
Piloting SS2 were Mark Stucky, pilot, and Mike Alsbury, co-pilot, who are test pilots for Scaled, which built SS2 for Virgin Galactic. At the WK2 controls were Virgin Galactic’s Chief Pilot Dave Mackay, assisted by Clint Nichols and Brian Maisler, co-pilot and flight test engineer, respectively, for Scaled.
Upon reaching 47,000 feet altitude and approximately 45 minutes into the flight, SS2 was released from WK2. After cross-checking data and verifying stable control, the pilots triggered ignition of the rocket motor, causing the main oxidizer valve to open and igniters to fire within the fuel case. At this point, SS2 was propelled forward and upward to a maximum altitude of 55,000 feet.
The entire engine burn lasted 16 seconds, as planned. During this time, SS2 went supersonic, achieving Mach 1.2.
The entire rocket-powered flight test lasted just over 10 minutes, culminating in a smooth landing for SS2 in Mojave at approximately 8am local time.
“The first powered flight of Virgin Spaceship Enterprise was without any doubt, our single most important flight test to date,” said Virgin Galactic Founder Sir Richard Branson, who was on the ground in Mojave to witness the occasion. “For the first time, we were able to prove the key components of the system, fully integrated and inflight. Today’s supersonic success opens the way for a rapid expansion of the spaceship’s powered flight envelope, with a very realistic goal of full space flight by the year’s end. We saw history in the making today and I couldn’t be more proud ofeveryone involved.”
In the coming months, the Virgin Galactic and Scaled test team will expand the spaceship’s powered flight envelope culminating in full space flight, which the companies anticipate will take place before the end of 2013.
The new spaceship (SpaceShipTwo, VSS Enterprise) and carrier craft (WhiteKnightTwo, VMS Eve) have both been developed for Virgin Galactic’s vehicle fleet by Mojave-based Scaled Composites.
Founded by Burt Rutan, Scaled developed SpaceShipOne, which in 2004 claimed the $10 million Ansari X Prize as the world’s first privately developed manned spacecraft.
Virgin Galactic’s new vehicles,which will be manufactured by Virgin Galactic in Mojave, share much of the same basic design, but are being built to carry six customers, or the equivalent scientific research payload, on suborbital space flights. The vehicles will allow an out-of-the-seat, zero-gravity experience with astounding views of the planet from the black sky of space for tourist astronauts and a unique microgravity platform for researchers.
Virgin Galactic, owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and aabar Investments PJC , is on track to be the world’s first commercial spaceline company.
To date, the company has accepted more than $70 million in deposits from approximately 580 individuals, which is approximately 10% more than the total number of people who have ever gone to space.

NAC Boeing 747-400 Freighter Crashes in Afghan

An National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400 freighter on behalf of US Mobility Command, has crashed shortly after takeoff from Bagram Air Base's runway 03 at 15:30 in Afghanistan.

The 747-400 , registration N949CA, was owned by Wells Fargo Bank, according to the US Federal Aviation Administration.

News reports indicate the seven-member crew died in the crash. The aircraft was 20 years old.
Several observers on the ground reported the Boeing 747-400 had just lifted off and was climbing through approximately 1200 feet when it's nose sharply rose, the aircraft appeared to have stalled and came down erupting in a blaze.

According to a listener on frequency the crew reported the aircraft stalled due to a possible load shift.
The flight, NCR 102, was carrying military vehicles out of Afghanistan.

The crew members on NCR 102 were Brad Hasler, Pilot in Command, Trenton MI; Jeremy Lipka, Pilot in Command, Brooklyn MI; Jamie Brokaw, First Officer, Monroe MI; Rinku Summan, First Officer, Canton MI; Michael Sheets, Loadmaster, Ypsilanti MI; Timothy Garrett, Maintenance, Louisville KY; Gary Stockdale, Maintenance, Romulus MI.

Turbomeca Completes First Rotation of TECH800 Turboshaft Demonstrator Engine

Turbomeca Tech800 Demonstrator Engine
Turbomeca has completed first rotation of its TECH800 turboshaft demonstrator engine in Bordes, France.
An official celebration of the first rotation of TECH800 turboshaft demonstrator took place on Friday 26 April, in Bordes, in the presence of Siim Kallas, Commissioner for Transport and Vice-President of the European Commission, Eric Dautriat, Executive Director of Clean Sky, Jean-Paul Herteman, Chairman and CEO of Safran and Olivier Andries, Chairman and CEO of Turbomeca.
The engine demonstrator has been designed, manufactured and tested by Turbomeca for helicopters in the 800kW power class in future.
The innovative technologies used are related to the compressor architecture and performance, the combustion chamber enabling lower emissions, the turbine operating at a very elevated temperature and a high efficiency power turbine.
TECH800 demonstrator engine has been developed in cooperation with 34 partners from ten European countries including 18 SMEs and 12 universities and research centres.
The technologies demonstrated in TECH800 will deliver reduced emissions in-line with the goals of the Clean Sky programme.
The Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative is Europe’s largest aeronautics research programme ever with a budget of Euro 1,600 million (50% EU / 50% Industry) on 7 years.
It is dedicated to the demonstration of new technologies of the civil aircraft market, aiming at a dramatic reduction ofCO2, noise and NОx footprints.
TECH800 is one of the six engine demonstrators dedicated to propulsion in Clean Sky.
TECH800 engine offers a double digit benefit in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions as well as breakthrough in noise attenuation, weight (composite, Titanium Aluminide components), and control system (fuel pumps, electric actuator).

Northrop Grumman Marks 50 Years of Airborne Electronic Attack Expertise

EA-6A Prowler
With the first flight of the EA-6A on April 26, 1963, Grumman Aerospace, now Northrop Grumman Corporation, launched its long and successful legacy as a leader in airborne electronic attack key component of all military contingency operations, as well as combat operations including Vietnam, the Cold War, Grenada, Panama, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

The EA-6A "Electric Intruder" was a specialized electronic warfare derivative of the A-6 service with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

Equipped with an AN/ALQ-86 electronic warfare was phased out of active duty in the mid-1970s as its successor, the EA-6B Prowler, a more specialized aircraft, was introduced in 1971.

The primary mission of the EA-6B Prowler is to intercept and jam enemy radar and communications and perform electronic surveillance.

It has flown in almost every U.S. combat operation since being introduced in the 1970s. The most recent upgrade for the EA-6B, Navy, is the Improved Capability (ICAP) III system, which includes new cockpit displays, improved systems connectivity and improved system reliability.

EA-18 Growler
In 2009, the U.S. Navy began transitioning from the Prowler to the new EA-18G Growler, which enables warfighters to perform an array of airborne electronic attack missions, operating from either the deck of an aircraft carrier or land-based fields.

Featuring a derivative of Northrop Grumman's ICAP III system, the EA-18G integrates the capabilities of the most advanced airborne electronic attack system designed and produced by

Northrop Grumman. Additionally, as principal subcontractor to The Boeing Company, Northrop Grumman designs and produces the E/A-18G entire center/aft fuselages and center barrel replacement assemblies, integrates all associated subsystems including the electronic attack capabilities, and conducts after-delivery product support.

The EA-18G, currently being delivered to the U.S. Navy, is the cornerstone of the naval Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) mission. Derived from the combat proven F/A-18F hornet aircraft, the EA-18G incorporates advanced AEA avionics bringing transformational capability for suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) and non-traditional electronic attack operations.

In 2010, Northrop Grumman received a U.S. Navy contract to develop and mature technologies for the Next Generation Jammer airborne electronic attack system.

The Navy's Next Generation Jammer will operate on the EA-18G Growler as the newest, most advanced electronic attack aircraft in the world. It will provide U.S. forces with the ability to suppress and defeat enemy and disable enemy ground-based communications capabilities.

The EA-18G can counter enemy air defenses using both reactive and pre-emptive jamming techniques.The EA-18G is highly effective in the traditional stand-off jamming mission, but with the speed and agility of a Super Hornet, it will also be effective in the escort role.

Norway to Induct Six F-35A Fighters in 2017

Norwegian Minister of Defence Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen announced the Government's decision to procure 6 F-35As in 2017.
On Apr 26, Norwegian government submitted a formal request to the Norwegian parliament for authorization to procure six F-35 Lightning II aircraft for delivery in 2017.
The Norway also announced its revised procurement plan for the F-35, which will see Norway receiving six aircraft annually from 2017 until 2024. This comes in addition to the four aircraft for training purposes that will be delivered in 2015 and 2016, for a total of 52 aircraft.
The move will increase the total cost but reduce the annual burden on the defence budget as Norway will get six planes each year for eight years, instead of 12 planes each year for four years.
The plan accelerates the initial intended purchase date by one year but stretches the total delivery schedule out to 2024.
They are to be followed by up to 48 additional aircraft from 2017 that are to be based at Ørland Main Air Station in central Norway. A small forward operating base will also be based at Evenes in northern Norway to provide quick reaction alert (QRA) services in the high north. An estimated 10% of the overall force generation will also be carried out from the Evenes FOB.
The overall cost of the procurement phase of the project is estimated at USD 10.68 billion (2013 value) in real terms.
The requests sent to parliament have a total value of USD 2.18 billion. This includes both aircraft procurement as well as related investments such as integration work, training and simulators.
Strøm-Erichsen says Norway has also received a assurance for integrating Kongsberg's Joint Strike Missile (JSM) to its aircraft as part of a Block 4 software programme.
JSM is the only long-range anti-surface missile that is specifically designed to fit within the internal weapons bay of the F-35, and is being developed by the Norwegian company Kongsberg in partnership with the Norwegian Ministry of Defence.
stimate.U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the head of the F-35 joint program office, revealed during testimony in front of the Royal Dutch Parliament defense sub committee on April 18 that the F-35A's flying cost per hour would be 10% highter than F-16 fighter.
Norway participates in the F-35 program as a Level 3 partner in the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase.
In November 2008, the Norwegian government chose the F-35 as the replacement aircraft for its F-16 fleet which would be retired by 2020.
First delivered in 1979, Norway has received 74 of the fighter aircrafts.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

European Phased Adaptive Approach BMD Program

AEGIS Air Defense System

The European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) is designed to defend against existing and near-term ballistic missile threats to U.S. assets, personnel and allies in Europe. It is flexible, initially using mobile radars and interceptors mounted on Aegis-equipped Ticonderoga class cruisers and Arleigh Burke class destroyers.

Friday, April 26, 2013

EADS North America Delivers 250th UH-72A Lakota LUH to US Army

UH-72A Lakota LUH

Eurocopter's American subsidiary EADS North America has delivered its 250th UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter(LUH) to US Army and National Guard units since 2006.
The Lakota is manufactured at EADS North America's new assembly and production facility at Columbus, Mississippi.
U.S. Army's rotary-wing inventory operates Lakota for homeland security operations, medical evacuation, passenger/logistics transportation and drug interdiction missions.
The 250th Army Lakota will be operated out of Oklahoma City by the Oklahoma National Guard. It is the latest of 54 Lakota's delivered with the Security and Support (S&S) Battalion mission equipment package, which expands the Lakota's capabilities for missions ranging from disaster response to border security operations.
The S&S configuration includes a moving map, EO/IR sensor, digital video recording capability, digital and analog downlink, and a searchlight.
US Army National Guard units currently operate Lakotas equipped with the S&S Battalion MEP, including extensive operations along the U.S. southwest border for border security and drug interdiction.
A combination of full contractor logistics support (CLS) for the active Army and hybrid CLS for the Army National Guard enables the units to operate the Lakota in accordance with their flying hour plan. The Army program office, military units, and the industry team of EADS North America, American Eurocopter and Helicopter Support International has provided tailored program logistics to the Army and Army National Guard since 2006.
Every Lakota including an additional five produced for the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School has been delivered on time and on budget.
The Lakota is a version of the technologically-advanced and operationally-proven EC145 multi-mission helicopter, which is used worldwide for law enforcement, emergency medical transportation, search and rescue, offshore and utility operations, and corporate transportation.
The Lakota's redundant hydraulic, electrical, and engine control systems – combined with its crashworthy airframe and energy-attenuating pilot and passenger seats – add a high level of flight safety and survivability to the type’s exceptional flight characteristics. Power from the aircraft’s reliable Arriel turboshafts is delivered through a proven hingeless rotor system to the UH-72A’s advanced technology composite rotor blades. Coupled with advanced blade design, this decreases vibration and noise, while enhancing aerodynamic efficiency and mission performance.
The UH-72A's unobstructed main cabin is easily re-configurable to maximize mission flexibility. The helicopter's sliding side and rear clamshell doors optimize access and effective space utilization, offering rapid troop deployment and substantial mission growth potential.
Lakota can carry up to nine troops on crashworthy seats, while two stretchers can be installed for MEDEVAC missions.
The UH-72A is a Defense Acquisition Category (ACAT) I major defense acquisition program, and was one of the most rapid introductions of a new aircraft in the U.S. Army's history. Deliveries of the aircraft to National Guard units allow aging OH-58 and UH-1 rotary-wing aircraft to be retired, while UH-72As assigned to the active component of the U.S. Army free up UH-60 Black Hawks for assignment to combat missions.
Following its competitive selection in mid-2006, deliveries of the UH-72A commenced in December of the same year, three months ahead of schedule.
U.S. Army program requirements total up to 345 UH-72As, with a potential life-cycle value of over $2 billion.
The Lakota fleet has averaged an operational availability rate greater than 90 percent for locations with full contractor logistics support, encompassing 21 different military units. Spare parts fill rate under the hybrid CLS concept supporting 33 units has averaged 97 percent.

USAF Retires MC-130E Combat Talon I Special Ops Aircrafts

MC-130H Combat Talons with unique drooped nose cone

US Airforce officially retired its MC-130E Combat Talons aircraft fleet in a ceremony at Duke Field on April 25.
April 25th commemorates the 33rd anniversary of the Operation Claw Eagle to free 52 Americans held captive at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on 24 April 1980.Several of the MC-130E's at Duke Field took part in the mission.
The MC-130 Combat Talons are highly-modified C-130 Hercules transport planes operated by USAF Special Operations.
The aircraft will be now flown to the "boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.
The MC-130E made its first Air Force flight in 1966 and has taken part in every major U.S. conflict since. The Talon's primary mission was to provide infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of special operations forces and equipment in hostile or denied territory.
Secondary missions include psychological operations and helicopter and vertical lift air refueling.
The Air Force's last four MC-130E flew their final mission from their home at Duke Field on April 15.
The four Talons took off as two 2-ships carrying more than 40 of the Wing's Airmen who had a long association with the Talon I's and wanted to be a part of the historic final flight.
The retired Combat Talon I are replaced by the MC-130J.
The final flight and the upcoming retirement of the Talons are large steps in the continuing transition to the new Aviation Foreign Internal Defense mission for Air Force Special Operations Command. More than five of the wing's new aircraft, the C-145A, already populate the Duke flightline.
The MC-130E Combat Talon I and MC-130H Combat Talon II features terrain-following and terrain-avoidance radars capable of operations as low as 250 feet in adverse weather conditions. Structural changes to a basic C-130 include the addition of an in-flight refueling receptacle and strengthening of the tail to allow high speed/low-signature airdrop. Their navigation suites include dual ring-laser gyros, mission computers, and integrated global positioning system.
They can locate and either land or airdrop on small, unmarked zones with pinpoint accuracy day or night.
An extensive electronic warfare suite enables the aircrew to detect and avoid potential threats. If engaged, the system will protect the aircraft from both radar and infrared-guided threats.
Both the MC-130E and MC-130H are equipped with aerial refueling pods to provide in-flight refueling of special operations forces and combat search and rescue helicopters and vertical lift assets.
The primary difference between the MC-130E and MC-130H involves the degree of integration of the mission computers and avionics suite.
The Combat Talon I was conceived originally and developed during the 1960s, and although extensively upgraded in the 1980-90s it still features analog instrumentation and does not fully integrate the sensors and communications suites.
The Combat Talon II, designed in the 1980s, features an integrated glass flight deck which improves crew coordination and reduces the crew complement by two.
In 1990, MC-130Es were employed in Operation Desert Storm, where they dropped 11 BLU-82 15,000-pound bombs and more than 23 million leaflets in a highly effective effort to encourage Iraqi soldiers to surrender. They also conducted numerous aerial refuelings of special operations helicopters with combat search and rescue operations.
According to Retired Col. Jerry L. Thigpen, the basis for the aircraft was the need for continued long-range, low-level missions that were required into hostile territories across the globe.
From 1965 to 2000, the weapons system was involved in virtually every major conflict or contingency, including the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm.
It has also operated in Afghanistan.Operation Iraqi Freedom was the last major contingency tasked to Combat Talon I.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

T-50/PAK-FA To Join Russian Airforce in 2016

Russian fifth generation stealth fighter Sukhoi T-50's induction have been delayed by one year.
"The T-50 fifth-generation jet should go into serial production and enter service in 2016," Russian president Vladimir Putin Said.
Earlier Russian Defense Ministry said T-50 would join country’s air force in 2015.
Putin also said the new aircraft will far exceed the American F-35 analogue.
Meanwhile, Sukhoi announced that, a Russian Air Force pilot from Chkalov Flight Test Center has completed a successfull maiden sortie in T-50. The 2 hour flight took off from the M.M.Gromov Flight Research Institute airfield in the city of Zhukovsky.
The flight test program involves six prototype airframes, four flying prototypes and 2 ground vehicles. Two ground aircrafts are engaged in ground experimental missions — one, a complex ground test stand and the other undergoes static tests.
The fifth T-50 prototype aircraft will join the flight test program in the second half of 2013. Construction of the plane at the Sukhoi’s aircraft plant — Y.A.Gagarin KnAAZ in Komsomolsk-on-Amur is almost complete.
The T-50, which will be the first fifth generation stealth fighter to enter Russian and Indian Airforces. The program is equally funded by Russia and India.
The fifth-generation multirole fighter aircraft employ's radar evading stealth technology, super-maneuverability, super-cruise capability (supersonic flight without use of afterburner), and an advanced avionics suite including an X-band active phased-array radar.

Embraer and AgustaWestland Drops Joint Venture Plans in Brazil

Brazilian plane maker Embraer and Italy’s helicopter maker AgustaWestland have dropped their joint-venture plans to produce the AW helicopters in Brazil.
A brief Embraer statement on Wednesday said the two companies jointly decided “to terminate negotiations without reaching an agreement for the establishment of a joint venture in Brazil.”
It gave no explanation for why the talks collapsed.
In January 2013 both companies signed MOU aiming at establishing a joint - venture.
With Embraer as a partner, AgustaWestland planned to offer its AW139 and AW189 medium and super-medium helicopters

Kazakhstan Grounds Mig-31 Fighter Fleet Following Crash

MIG-31 Interceptor
Kazakhstan Airforce have grounded its MiG-31 fighter jet fleet following a crash on wednesday that killed the pilot and injured the navigator, Kazakhstan’s air force chief said on Thursday.Kazakhstan Air Force Mikoyan MiG-31 interceptor crashed during a training flight in central Kazakhstan. The crew managed to eject from the plane before the crash, but the pilot died. A probe was ordered into the accident.
The air force said immediately after the crash that a technical problem was the likely cause of the incident.
In a statement on Thursday, it said the aircraft had been flying at 3,000 meters altitude (10,000 feet) when it suddenly entered an undemanded roll to the left and entered a steep spiral dive. The pilot tried to recover the aircraft but could not, and the crew ejected at 1000 meters altitude, with the navigator leaving the aircraft just before the pilot.
The aircraft was diving very rapidly as the crew ejected and the pilot's parachute did not have time to fully deploy, the air force said on its website.
The world's fastest military aircraft in service, the MiG-31 is designed to intercept enemy aircraft at long distances with a powerful radar and weapons system. It is operated only by Kazakhstan and Russia.
A graduate of a Russian academy, the pilot, Col. Marat Yedigeyev was trained to fly in all weather conditions, both day and night. He had atotal 1,600 hours flight time, including 450 on MiGs.
The Kazakhstan Defense Ministry said the aircraft which went down underwent a major overhaul at a Russian factory in December. The MiG-31 was performing its fifth flight that day, and had flown 42 hours since its overhaul.

Eurocopter Demonstrates Optionally Piloted EC145 Flights

Eurocopter EC145 Demonstrator

Eurocopter successfully completed an unmanned EC145 demonstration flight at Istres, France demonstrating its ability to integrate unmanned flight capabilities into its helicopter family.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Turbomeca Acquires Rolls Royce's Share in RTM322 Helicopter Engine Program

RTM 322 with AW 101 Merlin Helo
Turbomeca has reached an agreement with Rolls-Royce to acquire Rolls-Royce’s 50% share in their joint RTM322 helicopter engine programme.
Rolls-Royce 's 50 per cent interest in the engine programme will be progressively transferred to Turbomeca, which will then hold 100 per cent of the RTM322 programme.
Rolls-Royce will receive a cash consideration of €293 million ($381m) for its shareholding and interest in the programme.The revenue related to the Rolls-Royce share of RTM322 amounts to approximately Euro 85 million per annum, a majority of which is generated by services.
Apart from Rolls-Royce’s 50% share in the RTM322 programme, the transaction also includes the intellectual property rights (IPR) related to this programme as well as Rolls-Royce’s 50% share in the RRTM (Rolls-Royce-Turbomeca) joint-venture. The Adour engine programme cooperation between Rolls-Royce and Turbomeca, which powers the Hawk and Jaguar aircraft, is unaffected by this transaction.
Turbomeca will assume full responsibility for the design, production and support of the RTM322 engine a 2,100-2,600 shp turboshaft engine family, which powers the Apache, EH101 Merlin and NH90 helicopters. Rolls-Royce will provide full assistance to Turbomeca during the multi-year transition period to ensure all RTM322 customers continue to receive effective support.
The sale is expected to complete before year end, subject to closing conditions.
Work is expected to be transferred to Turbomeca over three years.
This transaction will enable Turbomeca autonomously to further innovate and develop new engines, to the benefit of its customers in the more powerful 3,000 shp and beyond helicopter engine segment in which Turbomeca is not present now.
Several new heavy helicopter programmes are currently being planned or developed by various aircraft manufacturers worldwide for which Turbomeca will be able to provide future state-of-the-art and efficient propulsion solutions, in particular in the high power segment.
In the next 15 years, Turbomeca aims to supply about 3,500 engines, on existing military platforms as well as future civilian and military platforms in the 8-13 tons range, with continuous requirement for higher engine power.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Northrop Developed Multifunction Data Link for F-35 Program Achieves Successful Flight Test

The Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) waveform developed by Northrop Grumman was successfully demonstrated in a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter program flight test, validating an eight-year development effort to advance communication among fifth-generation aircraft.
MADL is a high-data-rate, directional communications link. It allows coordinated tactics and engagement to bring significant operational advantages to fifth-generation aircraft operating in high-threat environments. MADL is a key capability provided by Northrop's F-35 integrated communications, navigation and identification (CNI) avionics.
The F-35 CNI avionics flying onboard two Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft established the MADL link between two airborne platforms for the first time. Data passed between aircraft via MADL was correlated with data from other F-35 sensors by Lockheed Martin's fusion system to form a simplified situational awareness picture on the cockpit displays.
The MADL flight test is an important element of Lockheed Martin's F-35 Block 2 software release, which provides advanced mission systems capability at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and other training and operational locations. At Edwards, MADL joined the CNI Link-16 and Variable Message Format network waveforms already in flight test on F-35 aircraft.
Northrop Grumman's integrated CNI system provides to F-35 pilots the equivalent capability of more than 27 avionics subsystems. By using its industry-leading software-defined radio technology, Northrop Grumman's design allows the simultaneous operation of multiple critical functions while greatly reducing size, weightand power demands on the advanced fighter. These functions include Identification Friend or Foe, automatic acquisition of fly-to points, and various voice and data communications, including MADL, which was approved by the U.S. Department of Defense Joint Requirements Oversight Council for use on all low-observable platforms.
As a principal member of the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 industry team, Northrop Grumman performs a significant share of the work required to develop and produce the aircraft. In addition to developing and producing the CNI system, Northrop Grumman produces the center fuselage; designed and produces the aircraft's radar and electro-optical subsystem; develops mission systems and mission planning software; leads the team's development of pilot and maintenance training system courseware; and manages the team's use, support and maintenance of low-observable technologies.

British Airways Orders 18 Airbus A350 XWBs

A350 XWB
International Airline Group (IAG), and British Airways have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to buy 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft plus 18 options, as part of the airline’s on-going long-haul aircraft fleet renewal and modernisation strategy.
IAG, owner of both British Airways and Iberia, has also secured commercial terms and delivery slots that could lead to firm orders for Iberia. Firm orders will only be made when Iberia is in a position to grow profitably, having restructured and reduced its cost base.
These A350s will replace BAs 30 Boeing 747 between 2017 and 2023.
A350s primary rival is the Boeing 787. FAA has recently cleared a battery improvement, which would resume the now grounded 787 fleet shortly.
The A350-1000 aircraft is powered exclusively by the higher-thrust version of the Trent XWB. Rolls-Royce has won a $1.6bn order, at list prices, from International Airlines Group (IAG) for Trent XWB engines to power its 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. The order includes long-term TotalCare® service support.
The choice of the A350-1000 follows British Airways’ decision in 2007 to buy 12 Airbus A380s, the first of which will be delivered this summer. Operating the A380 and A350 together delivers real value to the world’s leading airlines because it allows them to match aircraft capacity to traffic demand on any route.
The A350-1000 is the largest member of the A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) Family seating up to 350 passengers in three classes, with a range capability of 8,400 nautical miles (15,500 km). The A350 XWB Family includes the A350-900 and A350-800 seating 314 and 270 passengers respectively, offering airlines the ability to match the aircraft to their network needs and thereby guaranteeing optimum revenue potential. Compared to its nearest established competitor, the A350 XWB Family reduces fuel burn by 25 per cent.
The Trent XWB engine, specifically designed for the A350 XWB, is the fastest selling Trent engine ever, with more than 1,200 already sold. It took to the skies for the first time in February 2012 on an A380 flying test bed.
The Trent XWB engine variant that will power the A350-800 and -900 was awarded European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) type certification in February and will power the first A350 XWB into service in 2014.
The announcement follows recent confirmation by IAG that Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines will power 18 Boeing 787 aircraft that it plans to convert from options to firm orders joining 24 that are already on order.
British Airways currently operates a total of 112 A320 Family aircraft. It is one of the world’s only airlines to operate all members of the A320 Family (A318, A319, A320 and A321). British Airways first became an Airbus operator in 1988, when it began flying A320s. The airline added the A319s to its fleet in 1999 and the A321 in 2004.

Indian Airforce Plans to Delay Mig-21 Retirement

Indian Air Force plans yet another life extension for its Mig-21 fighter fleet after delays in new inductions and modernization programs.

IAF Chief N K Browne has said during a commanders conference, that all the four variants of Mig-21 fighters will be phased out by 2019-20, against a earlier scheduled 2017 time frame.

Out of the four Mig-21 variants with IAF, the first, Type-77, would be phased out by 2014. The other three variants (Type-96, Type-75 and Bison) would be phased out between 2016 and 2019, Browne said.

IAFs present number of fighter squadron has dwindled to 34 against the sanctioned strength of 45 squadrons. Moreover, the number is likely to reduce further to 31 during 2012-2017.

IAF now aims to increase its combat squadron strength to 40-42 by the end of 2022-27 and eventually to 45 squadrons by 2027-2032 considering the threat perception from both China and Pakistan.

The MiG 21 fleet was to be originally replaced by the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejus, but the fighter is still nowhere close to reaching full operational capabilities.

Mig-21 recently completed 50 years of service with IAF. The Soviet-made fighter played a key role in securing India’s advantage over Pakistan in the 1971 conflict. The Indian Air Force’s MiG-21s shot down four F-104s, two F-6s, one F-86 Sabre and one Lockheed C-130 Hercules of the Pakistan Air Force. The MiG-21s also ensured the Indian Air Force’s aerial advantage above the key combat areas in the Western theater.

By the end of the 1971 war, the MiGs had been recognized as clear winners of dogfights with the F-104 Starfighters.

They proved their worth again during the 1999 Kargil conflict, when the MiGs shot down the Pakistani Navy’s Breguet Atlantique with air-to-air R-60MK (AA-8 Aphid) missiles.

The agreement on the delivery of MiG-21 aircraft to India was signed in 1962, with deliveries commencing in 1963.

In 1967, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) delivered the first Indian built MiG-21 under license from the USSR to the IAF.

A total of 874 Mig-21s were inducted out of which 264 are still flying from 1963 onwards, with the last one rolled out in 1987.

Monday, April 22, 2013

F-35A Flying Cost 10% Higher Than F-16

Flying hours for the conventional-take-off-and-landing F-35A model will likely cost 10 percent more than that of an F-16, according to a US government estimate.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the head of the F-35 joint program office, revealed the figures during testimony in front of the Royal Dutch Parliament defense sub committee on April 18.
In his statement, Bogdan indicated that the cost per flying hour of an F-35A variant employed by the U.S. Air Force and Royal Netherlands Air Force is estimated to be $24,000 per hour; roughly 10 percent higher than F-16 cost per flying hour.
Pentagon had estimated earlier, about $30,000 per hour to operate the F-35, in large part due to the cost of fuel.
The Netherlands earlier planned to buy 85 of these fighters, which is under review now, officials said last month they may trim the order by 33.

Eurocopter Delivers First Improved Tiger HAD Attack Helo to France

Tiger HAD

Eurocopter's first production Tiger helicopter in the improved HAD (fire support and destruction) configuration was delivered to French DGA armament procurement agency for operation by French Army Aviation units.
DGA qualified the Tiger HAD version on April 10.
Tiger was deployed during military operations in Afghanistan, Libya and in Mali.
France has an order for 40 Tiger attack helicopters in HAD configuration for its French Army Aviation units. Another 24 helicopters has been ordered by the Spanish government to equip the Spanish Army (which includes six Tiger HAP support and escort versions retrofitted for fire support and attack missions).

The Tiger HAD has a maximum takeoff weight of 6.6 metric tons. Improvements include two enhanced MTR390 turboshaft engines that provide 14 percent more power, improved ballistic protection, a new optronic sighting system, the capability to target and launch Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, an evolved electronic warfare suite, and an IFF (identification, friend or foe) interrogation system.
Eurocopter has so far delivered 97 Tigers to France, Germany, Spain and Australia; which have ordered a total of 206 helicopters.

Raytheon awarded $81.7 million production contract for Miniature Air Launched Decoy - Jammer units

U.S. Air Force has awarded Raytheon a firm-fixed-price $81.7 million option for Lot 6 on the Lot 5 contract for the production and delivery of 202 MALD ® -J jammers and containers. The contract also includes a 10-year warranty.
The contract was awarded in Raytheon's first quarter of 2013.
"MALD-J adds a jamming capability to the current decoy function of the MALD that disrupts enemy integrated air defense systems using jamming and radar signature technology," said Harry Schulte, vice president of Air Warfare Systems for Raytheon Missile Systems. "This weapon will provide unprecedented capability and flexibility to the U.S. Air Force and improve the survivability of our Airmen and their aircraft."
Performance of the contract will take place primarily at the Raytheon Company facility located in Tucson, Arizona.

MALD is a state-of-the-art, low-cost flight vehicle that is modular, air-launched and programmable. It weighs less than 300 pounds and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles. MALD protects aircraft andtheir crews by duplicating the combat flight profiles and signatures of U.S. and allied aircraft. MALD-J adds radar-jamming capability to the basic MALD platform.
*. MALD confuses enemy air defenses by duplicating friendly aircraft flight profiles and radar signatures.
*. MALD-J maintains all capabilities of MALD and adds jamming capabilities.
*. Raytheon began delivery of MALD-Js in the fall of 2012.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Orbital Successfully Launches First Antares Rocket

Orbital Sciences Corporation, one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today completed a successful test launch of its new Antares™ rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) located at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facilityin eastern Virginia. Lift-off took place at 5:00 p.m. (EDT) followed by payload separation approximately 10 minutes later and mission completion at about 18 minutes after launch, once the rocket’s upper stage completed planned maneuvers to distance itself from the payload. The test flight demonstrated all operational aspects of the new Antares launcher, including the ascent to space and accurate delivery of a simulated payload to atarget orbit of approximately 150 by 160 miles, with an inclination of 51.6 degrees, the same launch profile it will use for Orbital’s upcoming cargo supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA.
The mission earlier scheduled for April 17, were repeatedly extended following a technical malfunction and weather.
Today’s test launch, dubbed the Antares A-ONE mission, was conducted under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Space Act Agreement Orbital entered into with NASA in 2008. Following a successful demonstration mission to the ISS of Orbital’s complete system in mid-2013, including the launch of thefirst Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft, Orbital will begin regular operational cargo delivery missions to the Space Station under its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. The $1.9 billion CRS contract calls for the delivery of up to 20,000 kilograms of essential supplies to the ISS over eight separate missions from 2013 to 2016.
In addition to supporting cargo missions to the ISS, the new Antares rocket will offer other commercial, civil government, and defense and intelligence customers affordable and reliable medium-class launch services for medium-class satellites that do not require the industry’s larger, more expensive launch vehicles.
Moving upward from its traditional focus on small-class rockets, Orbital’s Antares medium-class launcher will provide a major increase in the payload launch capability that the company can provide to NASA, the U.S. Air Force and other potential customers. It is designed to launch spacecraft weighing up to 14,000 lbs. into low-Earth orbit, as well as lighter-weight payloads into higher-energy orbits.
Orbital’s newest launcher is currently on-ramped to both the NASA Launch Services-2 and the U.S. Air Force’s Orbital/Suborbital Program-3 contracts, enabling the two largest U.S. government space launch customers to order Antares for “right-size and right-price” launch services formedium-class spacecraft.

Friday, April 19, 2013

FAA Approves Battery Improvements, 787 to Resume Flights Soon

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has approved the improvements made to the 787 battery systems by Boeing and battery maker GS Yuasa.
With this approval, the 787 Dreamliner will be back in service and soaring once again.
The approval clears the way for Boeing and its customers to install the approved modifications and will lead to resumption of flights and new production deliveries. 787 fleet has been grounded worldwide following the battery incident from Jan 2013.
The FAA's approval will permit the return to service of 787s in the United States upon installation of the improvements. For 787s based and modified outside the United States, local regulatory authorities provide the final approval on return to service.
Approval of the improved 787 battery system was granted by the FAA after the agency conducted an extensive review of certification tests. The tests were designed to validate that individual components of the battery, as well as its integration with the charging system and a new enclosure, all performed as expected during normal operation and under failure conditions. Testing was conducted under the supervision of the FAA over a month-long period beginning in early March.
Boeing, in collaboration with its supplier partners and in support of the investigations of the National Transportation Safety Board and the Japan Transport Safety Board, conducted extensive engineering analysis and testing to develop a thorough understanding of the factors that could have caused the 787's batteries to fail and overheat in two incidents last January. The team spent more than 100,000 hours developing test plans, building test rigs, conducting tests and analyzing the results to ensure the proposed solutions met all requirements.
The improved battery system includes design changes to both prevent and isolate a fault should it occur. In addition, improved production, operating and testing processes have been implemented. The new steel enclosure system is designed to keep any level of battery overheating from affecting the airplane or even being noticed by passengers.
Boeing has deployed teams to locations around the world to begin installing improved battery systems on 787s. Kits with the parts needed for the new battery systems are staged for shipment and new batteries also will be shipped immediately. Teams have been assigned to customer locations to install the new systems.
Airplanes will be modified in approximately the order they were delivered.
Boeing will also begin installing the changes on new airplanes at the company's two 787 final-assembly plants, with deliveries expected to resume in the weeks ahead. Despite the disruption in deliveries that began in January, Boeing expects to complete all planned and suspended deliveries in 2013 by the end of the year

Safran Selected for the Avionics Modernization of Brazilian Esquilo and Fennec Helicopters

Brazilian subsidiary of Eurocopter-Helibras, has selected Safran Engineering Services as the design authority to supply the installation design and full integration of multiple avionics communication and navigation systems, including a sophisticated new Glass Cockpit System from Sagem (Safran), as well as the integration of the auto-pilot system, for the modernization of 34 Esquilo and Fennec helicopters of the Brazilian Army. Safran will also support the DCTA certification.
Started in January 2012, the programme features installation of Becker Avionics DVCS6100 digital ICS system, glass cockpit system with three displays, an automatic flight control system (AFCS), new communication and navigation equipment onboard a total of 36 helicopters.
New flight crew seating with energy absorption and height adjustment capabilities, improved ballistic protection forgreater safety, as well as new weapon systems are also being integrated as part of the programme, which is expected to be compete in 2018.
Primarily used for utility transportation, the Fennec and Esquilo helicopters can also be equipped for anti-tank, air-to-air combat, ground support and training missions.

BAe 146 C.MK 3 Aircraft Delivered to the UK Royal Air Force

Scotland, UK
RAF BAe 146 C MK3 in Afganistan

BAE Systems Regional Aircraft has delivered the two BAe 146-200QC (Quick Change) short-medium-range transport aircraft that have been converted from commercial to military configuration for use by the Royal Air Force.
After a period of familiarisation and operational trials, both aircraft have now been declared as Released To Service (RTS) by the UK Ministry of Defence.
The modified transports were acquired from TNT Airways and will be used to move Britsh forces and equipments involved in operations in Afghanistan.
Known in RAF service as the BAe 146 C Mk.3, the two aircraft have been converted under a £15.5 million contract awarded to BAE Systems Regional Aircraft at Prestwick under an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) to augment tactical aircraft numbers, particularly the Lockheed C-130 Hercules force, during the upcoming extraction phase of Operation Herrick, in Afghanistan.
BAE Systems has been responsible for the design and integration of the equipment to befitted to the aircraft, the sourcing of the equipment and management of the supply chain and overall management of the conversion programme. The actual conversion was carried out at the Hawker Beechcraft Services, Chester facility under sub-contract to BAE Systems.
Among the military equipments fitted are a Defensive Aids System to enable these UOR aircraft to be protected to appropriate levels, at least equivalent to other UK aircraft operating in Afghanistan.
Also installed is a Successor Identification Friend or Foe (SIFF) system.
A number of other upgrades have also been installed including HF and UHF radio communications systems and a SATCOM satellite communications system. An armoured flight deck has been incorporated along with fuel tank inertion, air conditioning upgrades and a fire protection D-C system in the baggage bay.
The BAe 146 C Mk.3 is equipped with a large 131 inch wide and 76 inch high (3.33m x1.93m) rear upward-opening freight door giving a large aperture for the easy loading of pallets, containers and awkwardly-shaped cargo. The large cabin volume of the aircraft will allow up to 23,500 lbs (10.6 tonnes) of freight to be carried.
The cabin floor of the aircraft has a freight loading system which allows either palletised freight or passenger seating fixed to pallets tobe rapidly installed. The passenger layout of 94 seats is to full commercial aircraft standards with interior trim, carpeting, toilet and galleys available front and rear and overhead passenger service units for each seat row and overhead luggage bins. There are also two large underfloor baggage holds.
In order to further broaden the versatility of this aircraft BAE Systems has engineered two further interior options for the RAF. It has sourced and received Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approval for new cabin baggage platforms and containers and cargo pallets from VRR of The Netherlands.
When installed on the aircraft this gives an alternative layout of 54 seats and a significant amount of carry-on baggage allowance in storage containers that can carry Bergens and other bags.
The containers and their associated pallet are fork-liftable, even when loaded to their maximum weight, thus aiding rapid turnaround.
BAE Systems has also cleared a palletised freight layout for use on these aircraft, rather than the usual BAe 146QC freight igloos, to allow easier transhipment of loads between differing aircraft types in the RAF transport fleet.
Both aircraft are assigned to the RAF’s 32 (The Royal) Squadron which already operates two BAe 146 CC Mk 2 aircraft, primarily in the VIP transport role from RAF Northolt in north-west London.

Russia to Field Upgraded Yars-M ICBM

Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) will induct its first upgraded Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Yars-M later this year, RVSN Commander Col. Gen. Sergei Karavayev said on Thursday, Ria Novosti reported.

A defense industry source previously told RIA Novosti the Armed Forces will take delivery of a fifth-generation Yars-M missile before the end of the current year.
Karavayev declined to provide any details, including the missile’s specifications.

The existing RS-24 Yars (NATO reporting name, SS-29) has Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicle (MIRV) warheads and is heavier than the Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin) and can carry up to 10 independently targetable warheads.
The RVSN previously said that the Topol-M and RS-24 ballistic missiles will be the mainstay of the ground-based component of Russia's nuclear triad and would account for no less than 80 percent of the RVSN’s arsenal by 2016.
Karavayev also said the Tatishchevo RVSN Division, near the city of Saratov in south western Russia, at present has 60 Topol-M missile systems.
The Topol-M missile, with a range of about 7,000 miles (11,000 km), is said to be immune to any current and planned US antiballistic missile defense. It is capable of making evasive maneuvers, and carries targeting countermeasures and decoys.
By 2020, the RVSN are expected to be equipped with over 170 Topol-Ms (mobile and silo-based), as well as 30 SS-19 and 108 RS-24 missile defense systems in nine divisions.

Boeing Reduces 747-8 Production Rate

Boeing has reduced the production rate of its 747-8 program from two airplanes to 1.75 airplanes per month because of lower market demand for large passenger and freighter airplanes.
Boeing expects long-term average growth in the air cargo market to resume in 2014, and forecasts a demand for 790 large airplanes (such as the 747-8 Intercontinental) to be delivered worldwide over the next 20 years.
Boeing 747-8 family, includes the 747-8 Intercontinental passenger airplane and the 747-8 Freighter.
The 747-8 family provides airlines with double-digit improvements in fuel burn, operating costs and emissions, while being 30 percent quieter and adding more capacity.
The 747-8 fuselage is 250 feet 2 inches (76.3 meters) long, which is 18 feet 4 inches(5.6 meters) longer than the 747-400. The stretch provides space for 51 additional seats to accommodate 467 passengers in a typical three-class configuration and offers 26 percent more cargo volume.
To date, there are 110 orders for passenger and cargo versions of the 747-8, 46 of which have been delivered.
The first delivery of an airplane at the new production rate is expected in early 2014.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dassault Begins 50th Anniversary Celebration with a Restored Mystère 20 Jet

Restored Mystere 20
Dassaults Falcon Business Jet family will complete 50 years of operation on May.As a part of celebrations Dassault has restored its first business jet- Mystere. 
 The restored Mystère 20 s/n 1 was unveiled last week at the third annual Air & Space Museum Airshow, held at Le Bourget Airport, near Paris. It will next be shown at this year’s Paris Air Show, scheduled for June 17-23, before returning to its permanent home at the Air & Space Museum.
The presentations at Le Bourget marks the 50th anniversary of the Mystère 20’s first flight on May 4, 1963. Certificated on June 9, 1965, the aircraft - renamed the Fan Jet Falcon 20 at the request of its first customer, Pan Am – helped usher in a new generation of executive jets designed specifically for business aviation use.
 S/n 1 is being presented in its flight test livery, together with a banner commemorating the world speed record set on June 10, 1965 by famed test pilot Jacqueline Auriol. Flying the first production aircraft, Auriol covered a distance of 1,000 km (600 miles) at an average speed of 859 km/hr (534 mph), underscoring the Falcon 20’s exceptional flight performance.
The historic plane was carefully restored by a team of enthusiasts, IT Mercure, who had earlier refurbished the last active Mercure airliner, also exhibited at the French Air & Space Museum. The project, first conceived in 2010, consisted primarily of repairing or replacing metal parts that had begun to rust away over time - the wing, air brakes, engine pylons, cowlings, aircraft interior – much of it by hand.
The Falcon 20’s advanced wing and flight control system - adapted from the Mystère IV fighter – combined with its aft-mounted Pratt & Whitney JT-12 engines and spacious cabin, provided an ideal combination of speed, flying efficiency and comfort. Performance that prompted Pan Am to order 40 of the 8-10 seaters, plus 120 on option, just days after the inaugural flight.
The airplane proved ideal for special applications, too, helping establish the Falcon line’s reputation as a premier multi utility aircraft. Among notable early customers were FedEx founder Fred Smith, who acquired the Falcon 20 for his then-nascent air express service; the U.S. Coast Guard; and Europe-Assistance, which adapted it for air ambulance service.
Latest Falcon LXS
As of today, over 2,250 Falcons have been delivered, all featuring the sleek aerodynamics, outstanding comfort, technological sophistication and unmatched handling qualities and performance that have come to characterize the Falcon family. Among the aircraft in the active fleet are some 300 Falcon 20s – ample testimony to the sound design and craftsmanship that go into each and every Dassault aircraft.

AgustaWestland Delivers First of the Two AW101 VVIP Helicopters to Turkmenistan

AW 101
AgustaWestland, delivered the first AW101 VVIP helicopter to Turkmenistan Airlines.
The contract for two AW101 VVIP helicopters was signed at the 2010 Farnborough International Air Show. Assembly of the aircraft took place at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility in South West England. AgustaWestland has also provided pilot and maintainer training and an initial spares package under the contract.
The aircraft departed Yeovil on 29th March, fully loaded for the 5 day ferry flight across Europe to Turkmenistan. The journey included stop-overs in Germany, Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan prior to transiting to Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. After over 30 hours of flight time the aircraft arrived serviceable to the main operational base. Almost 200 AW101 helicopters have been ordered by customers around the world so far to perform a wide range of government, public service and military missions.
The AW101 has logged over 280,000 flight hours in service in Italy, UK, Denmark, Portugal, Japan, Canada.

FAA Certifies Dassault's Falcon 2000S and 2000LXS Business Jets

Falcon LXS
The Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) has certified Dassault's two newest members of the Falcon family of business jets, the Falcon 2000S and Falcon 2000LXS. EASA certification was awarded to these jets last month.
Unveiled in May 2011, the Falcon 2000S is the new entry level jet in the Falcon family. Equipped with a full slate of standard features, including upgraded EASy II avionics, Falcon Cabin HD+ entertainment system and a brand new fixed-configurationcabin designed by BMW Group DesignworksUSA, the Falcon 2000S brings large cabin comfort to the super mid-size segment.
At M.80, the Falcon 2000S has a range of 3,350 nm (standard aircraft, 6 pax, NBAA IFR reserves, 85% Boeing Annual Winds). The balanced field length is 4,325 ft (SL, ISA) at a MTOW of 41,000 lb; it climbs directly to 41,000 feet in 19 minutes, reaches a mid-cruise altitude of 45,000 feet and offers a certified ceiling of 47,000 feet. The aircraft can also land at 95% of its MTOW, or about 39,300 lb, enabling it to tanker more fuel.
Additionally, with an approach speed of only 107 knots, the Falcon 2000S is capable of landing at airports with challenging, steep approaches and short runways. At a typical end-of-flight profile, the Falcon 2000S needs just 2,315 feet of runway - better than supermid-size jets and even comparable to a typical turboprop aircraft.
The first Falcon 2000S has been delivered today to a Turkish customer.
The 4,000 nm Falcon 2000LXS, announced in October 2012, combines the short field performance of the 2000S with the longer range capabilities of the 2000LX. Featuring the same inboard slats and winglets as the 2000S model, the aircraft has a balanced fieldlength of 4,675 ft (SL, ISA) at 42,800 lb of MTOW, and offers the same exceptional landing performance as the Falcon 2000S.
The airplane will come standard with the EASy II avionics suite and FalconCabin HD+ entertainment system and customers can specify the interior of their choice. The Falcon 2000LXS will replace the 2000LX by the end of 2013.
The two-year-long flight test campaign for the two new models demonstrated short-field and low-speed performance substantially better than targeted figures, greatly expanding the number of airports the two aircraft can serve. Each will be certified to land at London City Airport, one of the world's most challenging airfields.
Upgraded Pratt & Whitney PW308C engines make both models economical to operate and environmentally friendly. Thanks to the engine's TALON II combustor, the Falcon 2000S and 2000LXS will generate significantly lower emissions than previous aircraft models and meet the most exacting future emissions standards with margin to spare.

Russian Sukhoi Su-35 Fighter

Su-35 is a profound modernized variant of the Su-27 fighter aimed to enhance the aircraft combat efficiency when attacking aerial, ground and sea targets. The Su-35 design incorporated the best engineering solutions worked through on the Su-27/Su-30 family fighters.

Rockwell Awarded Two Service and Support Contracts for KC-135 Tanker

KC-135 Refuelling F-16

Rockwell Collins has been awarded two contracts to provide service and support for the KC-135 Pacer CRAG (Compass, Radar and GPS) program.
The scope of the avionics repair package consists of nearly 4,000 line replaceable units across the fleet of 417 KC-135 aircraft and will be one of the largest repair contracts in terms of volume for Rockwell Collins in its 80-year history. This U.S. Air Force contract is a one-year base with three one-year options that solely covers the Rockwell Collins Multimode Weather Radar and is a step towards a collaborative, flexible longer-term sustainment solution.

Additionally, Rockwell Collins has been awarded a three-year, $4.8 million contract by the U.S. Air Force Air National Guard for service and support of its KC-135 Pacer CRAG avionics equipment.
The Pacer CRAG program represents the Air Force’s commitment to modernizing the KC-135 fleet to extend its functional life to 2040, which is when the airframe is scheduled to be decommissioned. The Pacer CRAG avionics upgrade to the KC-135 fleet is a commercial, off-the-shelf modification program that eliminates the need for a navigator on most missions.
Rockwell Collins was selected in 1995 as the prime contractor on the Pacer CRAG program to upgrade the KC-135 with compass, radar and GPS technology.
Subsequently in 1999, the company was selected as the prime contractor for the KC-135 Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) program, which enabled the aircraft to meet airspace mandates while addressing critical obsolescence issues. The Rockwell Collins KC-135 GATM system is fielded and operational, with 417 aircraft delivered on time and on budget, meeting 100 percent of the program’s documented systems requirements.
Recently U.S Airforce has started upgrading its KC-135 Tanker aircraft's fuel guzzling engines with fuel efficient F108 engines made by CFM. 

Rockwell Collins Inks F-22 Displays Sustainment Contract with Lockheed Martin

F-22 Cockpit
Rockwell Collins has been awarded a four-year, $14.3 million contract to provide Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force with sustainment services for cockpit displays on 184 F-22 aircraft.
F-22s cockpit features six full colour multifunction displays, including the 8x8" primary display from Rockwell Collins. The projection primary multifunction display provides a plan view of the air and ground tactical situation including threat identity, threat priority and tracking information.
As part of the sustainment program, Rockwell Collins will train U.S. Department of Defense personnel to perform maintenance, repair and overhaul on the F-22 displays. The work will take place at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah, and at the company’s repair facility in Atlanta.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Airbus & EADS Demonstrates New Stealthy Airport Building Design

C65 panel installation closeup
An Airbus cooperative effort with its EADS parent company has developed a highly effective technology that enables the construction of buildings nearer to airport runways without hindering the vital landing systems that guide aircraft to a safe touchdown.
Patented by EADS’ corporate research and technology arm – EADS Innovation Works – and Airbus, this design applies specially-shaped aluminium “diffraction grating” panels to prevent a building from scattering signals broadcast by the airport’s Instrument Landing System (ILS), used during aircraft arrivals in reduced visibility conditions.
A software simulation tool called ELISE determines how these aluminium panels should be applied, and confirms their effectiveness in making a building stealthy in relation to the ILS signals. ELISE results from a collaboration of Airbus, EADS Innovation Works and the French ENAC aviation university, with this software tool taking into account such factors as a building’s size, orientation and location relative to the ILS installation.

The first use of this technology is on Airbus’ own C65 hangar, which has been built in theA330 final assembly area at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France. Without the diffraction grating panels, the hangar wouldscatter signals from the ILS at the airport’s nearby Runway 14R/32R, potentially making the landing system unreliable.
By using ELISE to determine the diffraction grating panels’ installation, the C65 hangar has become “stealthy” in relation to the ILS signals. In addition, the ELISE software simulations determined that only the building’s upper 10 metres needed to be covered with the aluminium panels for the necessary effectiveness.
With this technology now demonstrated, it is being made available through the Airbus ProSky subsidiary, thereby opening opportunities for airports worldwide to build on land that – until now – has remained empty because of potential interference with the Instrument Landing Systems.

India Seeks FAA Certification for ALH Dhruv

Inaugurating the FAA - Asia Pacific bilateral partners’ meeting hosted by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Indian Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has said efforts will be made to get HAL’s Advance Light Helicopter (ALH-Dhruv) to be certified by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
FAA is the national aviation authority of United States. FAA certification is the world's highest and toughest aircraft certification process.
FAA certification ensures the aircraft meets the highest safety standards, from initial design to retirement.
The three-day meet organized by Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) with the main focus on the aircraft certification, provides an opportunity for partner Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs) from 11 countries to share methods for strengthening bilateral airworthiness relationships through enhanced resource sharing, communications and procedural improvements. It also seeks future direction for aircraft certification and international collaboration.
Apart from the delegates from the USA, the participating Asia-Pacific countries include Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and hosts India.
The indigenously built ALH is a multi-role, multi-mission helicopter in 5.5 ton class, fully designed and developed by HAL. Built to FAR 29 specifications, Dhruv is designed to meet the requirement of both military and civil operators.
ALH incorporates a number of advanced technologies like Integrated Dynamic System (IDS) , Anti-resonance Vibration Isolation System (ARIS) , Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC) , Hingeless Main Rotor, Bearing less Tail Rotor and Automatic Flight Control System.
It has been exported to Israel, Nepal and Ecuador. HAL unveiled the armed variant of Dhruv named Rudra at Aero India 2013.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Airbus Military C295 Demonstrates Marte Missile Release

Airbus Military and MBDA have successfully demonstrated the release of an instrumented Marte MK2/S anti-ship inert missile installed under the wing of the C295 maritime patrol aircraft.
This flight was the last of a series of trials performed in a joint Airbus Military – MBDA collaboration to validate the aerodynamic integration of Marte on C295, its handling qualities and performance tests.
The installation of weapons under the wings provides new operational capabilities to the C295 MPA allowing the aircraft to perform new missions demanded by customers.
In the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role, the C295 is already in-service carrying the MK46 torpedo.
This successful trial provides further proof of the operational versatility of the Marte missile and clearly establishes it as the benchmark weapon in the medium weight anti-ship missile sector.
The Marte Mk2/S is already integrated on the AW-101 and the NFH (Naval NH90) helicopters in service with the Italian Navy and integration activities for the Marte ER on the Eurofighter Typhoon are currently underway.
The MBDA Marte MK2/S missile is a fire-and-forget, all-weather, medium-range sea-skimming anti-ship weapon system, equipped with inertial mid-course guidance and radar homing terminal guidance, and capable of destroying small vessels and heavily damaging major vessels.
The missile has a weight of 310 Kg and is 3.85 m long.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Maiden Flight of First Chinook Mk6 for RAF

Boeing recently completed the first flight of the newest CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopter for the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force.

The March 15 flight, at the Boeing helicopter facility near Philadelphia, happened ahead of schedule and confirmed initial airworthiness for the Mk6 Chinook.

The Mk6 Chinook features advanced technology including UK-specific avionics, a forward-looking infrared system, and inter operable communication and navigation equipment. It is undergoing comprehensive testing in Mesa, Arizona, before delivery to the UK later this year.

The RAF operates the largest fleet of Chinook Support Helicopters after the US Army, with a total of 34 HC2s, 6 HC2As and 8 HC3s (the HC3 has yet to enter operational service).

The Chinook Wing, which forms the heavy-lift element of the Joint Helicopter Command (JHC), is based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire. Odiham supports three operational squadrons, No 7 Squadron, No 18 Squadron and No 27 Squadron, and the Operational Conversion Flight.

In Aug 2011, UK MoD signed a $1.64 billion contract with Boeing for 14 CH-47 Mk6 Chinook helicopters, plus associated support for the first 5 years.

The HC2 and HC2A aircraft are used primarily for trooping and for carrying internal and/or under slung loads and can carry up to 55 troops or 10 tonnes of freight. The cabin is large enough to accommodate two Land Rovers, while the three under slung load hooks allow a huge flexibility in the type and number of loads that can be carried externally.

Secondary roles include search and rescue and casualty evacuation, in which role a total of 24 stretchers can be carried.

The crew consists of either two pilots, or a pilot and a weapon systems officer (WSO), and two air loadmasters. The pilot captain is responsible for the safe operation of the aircraft and completion of the mission, while the co-pilot or WSO operates the mission-management systems, navigation, communications and the self-defence suite.

In the cabin are two air loadmasters who are responsible for passenger safety, load or cargo restraint, weapons operation and voice marshalling of the aircraft.

The aircraft are well equipped for their varied roles and are fitted with a satellite Global Positioning System, an Instrument Landing System, comprehensive avionics that enable them to fly in airways, and an extensive radio suite.

The aircraft cockpit has a full night-time capability when operated with night-vision goggles, thus allowing low-level night operations in a hostile environment. The aircraft also carries dual-mode landing lights that can be switched between white and infrared light, which are supported by infrared searchlights operated by the two crewmen.

The Chinook is well equipped with defensive aids and has a Radar Warning Receiver, an Ultraviolet and Doppler Missile Approach Warning System, infrared jammers and chaff and flare dispensers, which can be manually or automatically fired. The aircraft can be armed with two M134 six-barrelled Miniguns, one in each front side window, and an M60D machine gun on the ramp.

The Chinook is a very capable and versatile support helicopter that can be operated in many diverse environments ranging from cold weather ‘arctic’ conditions to desert warfare operations. It has been involved in most of the recent UK operations such as the Falklands Conflict, Northern Ireland, the Gulf War, peace keeping in Bosnia, Kosovo operations, evacuation of Sierra Leone, operations in Iraq and more recently, in Afghanistan

India to Test Winged Reusable Launch Vehicle

Indian Space Research Organisation is designing its spaceplane which can be reused like the retired NASA Space Shuttles.

The winged Re-usable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) has been configured to act as a flying test bed to evaluate various technologies, namely, hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air breathing propulsion towards realising a Two Stage to Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable launch vehicle.

Major highlights of RLV-TD during the year include mission analysis based on static test propulsion performance, updating of autopilot design in RLV-TD ascent phase and Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (TDV) descent phase, 6D simulations through COMETS & SITARA to validate Navigation and Guidance Control (NGC) design, liftoff studies and wind turbulence studies. Guidance and Autopilot designs were modified based on simulation results.

Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (TDV) structural model was realised. Fuselage and inter stage assemblies are realised for structural testing. Flush Air Data System (FADS) test article realised and integration procedure, FADS algorithm, avionics and leak tightness for pressure pick up assembly were validated through 1:1 FADS wind tunnel test at IIT, Kanpur.

Radar Altimeter Testing
Qualification model of Radar Altimeter was realised and balloon test conducted at TIFR, Hyderabad. Carbon-carbon (C/C) laminates for nose cap were realised through a new route. Functional qualification test of Launch Hold and Release System (LHRS) with dual pyro initiation carried out with simulated interfaces.

The testing of HS9 booster stage separation system along with hydraulic line separation system was completed successfully. High altitude test of the 2 kN retro rocket developed for jettisoning spent HS9 motor was successfully conducted at SDSC SHAR.

The Integrated Technical Review (ITR) of RLV-TD by the National Review Committee in October 2012 has concluded that launch of RLV-TD HEX-01 mission in September 2013 is feasible.