Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sikorsky, Boeing Propose X-2™ Helicopter Design for US Army's Joint Multi-Role Future Vertical Lift Requirements

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., and Boeing will submit a joint proposal to build a demonstrator aircraft based on Sikorsky’s X2 ™ Technology rotorcraft design for the Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Technology Demonstrator (TD) Phase 1 program.
The JMR TD program supports the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) initiative to deliver the next generation of vertical lift utility and attack aircraft.
“The Sikorsky-Boeing proposal will demonstrate how X2 Technology with counter-rotating coaxial main rotors and a pusher propeller, and advanced fly-by-wire system, will deliver efficient 230-knot cruise airspeed, improved hover efficiency, and weight optimized design in an affordable package,” said Samir Mehta, president of Sikorsky Military Systems.
“By leveraging our proven design, we can offer the Army reduced risk, a 100-knot improvement in speed, a 60 percent improvement in combat radius and 50 percent better high-hot hover performance.”
“The Sikorsky-Boeing team for JMR TD is truly a team of equals,” said Leanne Caret, vice president and general manager of Boeing's Vertical Lift division. “Sikorsky will take the lead role in this JMR TD Phase 1 proposal, and Boeing will take a lead role for Phase 2, for the mission systems demonstrator program.
Proposals for JMR TD Phase 1 are due to the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate by March 6, 2013. The Army is expected to announce its selection of one or more winning bids in late 2013. Demonstrator aircraft are expected to fly in 2017.

Thales Alenia Space and ISS Reshnetsev Joint Venture to Make Satellite Equipments in Russia

Moscow,

Russian satellite maker ISS Reshetnev and French Thales Alenia Space has partnered together to make satellite components in Russia.
Jean Loïc Galle, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space, and Nikolay Testoedov, General Designer and General Director of ISS – Reshetnev Company,today signed the Agreement for the creation of a Joint Venture between their two companies.
The signature took place in Moscow, in a ceremony attended by leading authorities from France and Russia, including presidents François Hollande and Vladimir Putin, VladimirPopovkin, head of the Federal space agency (Roskosmos), and Jean de Gliniasty., French ambassador to Russia.
The new company, incorporated under Russian law and with ISS holding a majority stake, will be based in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. It marks the first phase of the bilateral collaboration targeted by the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two companies in November 2011, during the French-Russian intergovernmental conference in Moscow.
The jointly-owned company will initially focus on the production of equipment meeting the most demanding international standards for use on Russian telecommunications satellites. It will then work on the development of new products for satellites, enabling it to more completely address the requirements of both Russian and international markets in the future, where ISS, in collaboration with Thales Alenia Space, has already won several business opportunities.
Thales Alenia Space is a leader in satellite systems and a major player in orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%).
ISS-Reshetnev is leader in satellite manufacture for communication, navigation and geodesy purposes,

Thales-Raytheon to supply Ground Master 400 Radar to French Air Force

Massy, France,

The French defense procurement agency (DGA) has selected Thales Raytheon Systems (TRS) to supply the French Air Force with a third Ground Master 406 radar for the Lyon Mont-Verdun airbase. The order follows an earlier award announced on September 7, 2012 to provide an identical radar for the Nice Mont-Agel base.
The additional order, awarded on February 5, 2013, includes the supply and installation of a tower-mounted Ground Master 406 radar, associated civil engineering, through-life support for three years with guaranteed operational availability of 98%, and information system security for the radar base.
This new-generation radar, like the system ordered for Nice Mont-Agel, will be integratedwith the air defense network of the SCCOA air command and control system to provide airspace monitoring, which is a high-priority mission under the country's Permanent Security Posture (PSP).
The DGA had earlier acquired a radar base equipped with a Ground Master 406 to protect the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, and a GM 403 mobile radar. The new radars will provide the armed forces with a guaranteed threat detection capability at low and high altitudes,high operational availability and simplified maintenance.
The GM 406 radar will be coupled with the NATO ACCS C2 centers, the SCCOA system and C3M system (the deployable component of the French SCCOA program) centers as well asNavy and Army installations.
Like the installations at Nice Mont-Agel, the Lyon Mont-Verdun radar base will feature advanced security solutions to protect armedforces missions from potential threats to information systems and data integrity, ensuring that air command and control systems can continue to provide effective airdefense protection for an area, region or country under all circumstances.

Raytheon delivers first SM-6 Missile from new Alabama missile integration facility

SM-6 Missile
Raytheon Company delivered the first Standard Missile-6 all-up-round to the U.S. Navy from its new integration and testing facility in Huntsville, Alabama.
SM-6 defends naval vessels against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles.
"SM-6 is a game-changing, transformational fleet defense missile, and we're on track to reach initial operating capability this year," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems. "Our state-of-the-art production facility in Huntsville will play a significant role in delivering this asset to the U.S. Navy on time and on budget for years to come."
Raytheon opened the doors of its new $75 million, 70,000 square-foot, all-up-round production facility at Redstone Arsenal in November 2012. The facility features advanced tools and the latest processes for missile production, enabling Raytheon to streamline processes, reduce costs and add increased value for the warfighter.
During a September 2012 test, SM-6 destroyed a cruise missile target using a remote cue from Raytheon's JLENS . The test was a significant step toward further extending a ship's defended footprint.
The SM-6 uses both active and semi-active guidance modes and advanced fuzing techniques.It incorporates the advanced signal processing and guidance control capabilities from Raytheon's Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile-AMRAAM.
SM-6 has been selected to fulfill the U.S. Navy's sea-based terminal role, which provides defense against ballistic missiles in their terminal phase of flight.
SM-6 is a key component in the U.S. Navy’s Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air (NIFC-CA) providing the surface Navy with an increased battlespace against over-the-horizon anti-air warfare threats.

Pratt & Whitney Receives Engine Components for First Australian F-35 Lightning II

F135 Engine
Pratt & Whitney, announced that Levett Engineering has delivered their first engine components that will be installed into F135 engines for the fifth generation F-35 Lightning II aircraft.
Levett Engineering, a precision component manufacturer located in Adelaide, South Australia, was awarded a contract in 2008 to manufacture second and third-stage turbine vane tubes and covers for the F135 engine.
The second and third stage turbine vane tubes covers transfer air from the turbine vane to the rotor compartment, providing cooling air to the turbine disks and blades.
The installation of the first Australian-manufactured F135 engine components marks a significant milestone in the program.
Australia is an international partner in the F-35 Lightning II program. Delivery of the first Australian F-35 aircraft is anticipated in 2014 with the first engine delivery to Lockheed Martin planned for later this year.
The F-35 will replace aging fourth-generation aircraft for Australia and partner countries with an affordable, sustainable, and highly capable fifth-generation aircraft. The F-35 program includes partners from nine countries – Australia, Italy, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States – as well as two foreign military sales – Israel and Japan.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Royal Saudi Air Force Formally Inducts Airbus Military A330 MRTT

The Royal Saudi Air Force has formally inducted into service the Airbus Military A330 MRTT new generation tanker/transport aircraft.
Deputy Minister of Defense Prince Khaled bin Sultan dedicated the aircraft at a ceremony at Riyadh Airbase on 25 February.
The aircraft is the first of a batch of three that have now been contractually delivered. Deliveries of a second batch of three which were subsequently ordered will begin at the end of 2014.
They will be used to refuel RSAF fighters including the F-15, Typhoon and Tornado. A330 MRTTs have now been delivered to all four current customers – Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE and UK.

Boeing Phantom Eye Completes 2nd Flight

Boeing's liquid hydrogen-powered Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system completed its second flight Feb. 25, demonstrating capabilities that will allow it to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions for up to four days without refueling.
During the flight, at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Phantom Eye climbed above an altitude of 8,000 feet and remained aloft for 66 minutes at a cruising speed of 62 knots before landing. The aircraft exceeded what it achieved last year during its first flight when it flew at an altitude of 4,080 feet and remained aloft for 28 minutes.
Boeing is self-funding development of the environmentally responsible Phantom Eye, which generates only water as a byproduct of its propulsion system.
Following the first flight, Boeing upgraded the aircraft's software and hardware, including the landing gear. The upgrades paid off in the form of a picture-perfect landing.
The Phantom Eye demonstrator is capable of carrying a 450-pound payload while operating for up to four days at altitudes of up to 65,000 feet.

First Airbus A350 XWB Prototype Emerges




The first A350 XWB – MSN001 – now showing its completed wings, has moved to its next phase of ground testing, from Roger Béteille A350 XWB FAL “Station 30” to the Clément Ader area “Station 18” in Toulouse, France. The aircraft is structurally complete and shows the installed winglets, belly fairing panels, main landing gear doors.
The aircraft has recently completed successfully a series of indoor ground tests including stability tests on ‘movable’ elements such as rudder, elevators, ailerons and wing spoilers and landing gears extraction/retraction. The next steps which will take place outdoors at Station 18 will include three planned families of tests: Fuel tanks testing – including levels, flows, sealing and internal fuel transfer functions; pressure testing of the fuselage; and radio equipment testing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lockheed Martin Completes 400th MH-60 Digital Cockpit for Installation on First Australian Romeo Helicopter

MH-60

USAF CFM56-2 Engine Upgrade Would Save $2 Billion

CFM56-2
The U.S. Air Force (USAF)in now operating the first of a planned fleet of 1,440 CFM56-2 engines (military designation F108) upgraded as part of the CFM Performance Upgrade Program (C-PUP).
The engines power the USAF fleet of KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft and the program is expected to be completed over the next 12 years.
In addition, the U.S. Navy has also ordered upgrades for 75 engines in its
E-6B Mercury aircraft fleet.
“The improved fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs these upgrades will bring can save the USAF as much as $2 billion U.S. over the life of the program,” said Jeff Bauer,CFM56-2 Military Program manager.
The C-PUP configuration incorporates new high-pressure compressor airfoils designed using three-dimensional aerodynamic techniques to improve engine efficiency.
As a result, the upgrade will provide a 1.5 percent improvement in engine specific fuel consumption, which equates to as much as 3.8 million gallons of fleet fuel burn reduction by the end of the fifth year at projected upgrade rates.
In addition, new high-pressure turbine hardware that incorporates the latest materials technology will extend engine life by improving the EGT (exhaust gas temperature) margin by 15 degrees Celsius. Every degree of EGT margin equates to 1,000 more hours on wing.
This technology is used today in CFM’s highly successful commercial engines powering the Airbus A320 and Boeing Next-Generation 737 families.
CFM had a similar upgrade program with the CFM56-3 commercial engine that powers the Boeing 737 Classic.
The initial 15 engine upgrades are being performed by CFM parent company affiliate GE Aviation Services at its Strother, Kansas, facility.
By year-end 2013, the USAF will begin performing its own C-PUP upgrades at its Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex and plans are in place to eventually reach a capacity of 120 engines per year.
In addition to significant mission benefits, the upgraded engine is transparent to the flight and maintenance crews; there are no field-level technical change orders that drive training requirements for pilots or maintainers on the flight line. Upgraded engines can be intermixed on the wing with the older configuration, allowing the upgrade to take place based on normal attrition, a key factor in keeping installation costs to a minimum
The C-PUP was certified in 2012. The U.S. Navy provided the aircraft/engine combination for the flight test program, with the USAF sharing the costs.
The flight test engine performed so well, the Navy has kept it installed on the aircraft.
The first re-engined KC-135R tanker entered service in 1984 and nearly 2,000 CFM56-2 engines were delivered for the program. To date, more than 50 percent have yet to undergo a first shop visit.

Australian A330 MRTT Achieves Initial Operational Capability

KC-30A/A330 MRTT
The Australian Department of Defence has declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the Airbus Military KC-30A - its designation for the A330 MRTT.
The announcement was made on the opening day of the Australian International Airshow, Avalon, by Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Mike Kelly.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) accepted the fifth and final MRTT from Airbus Military on 30 November last year. The aircraft was delivered to RAAF Base Amberley in early December 2012. As well, the RAAF completed the first Australian pilot and Air Refuelling Operator courses at the MRTT training centre (RAAF Base Amberley) in December 2012.
In RAAF service the A330 MRTT is equipped with two underwing refuelling pods, the fly-by-wire Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), and a Universal Aerial Refuelling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) enabling it to be refuelled from another tanker. Powered by two General Electric CF6-80E engines, the aircraft equipped with a comprehensive defensive aids suite (DAS) and fitted with 270 passenger seats.
The Airbus Military A330 MRTT is the only new generation strategic tanker/transport aircraft flying and available today.
The large 111 tonnes/ 245,000 lb basic fuel capacity of the successful A330-200 airliner, from which it is derived, enables the A330 MRTT to excel in Air-to-Air Refuelling missions without the need for any additional fuel tank.
The A330 MRTT is offered with a choice of proven air-to-air refuelling systems including an advanced Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System, and/or a pair of under-wing hose and drogue pods, and/or a Fuselage Refuelling Unit.
Thanks to its true wide-body fuselage, the A330 MRTT can also be used as a pure transport aircraft able to carry 300 troops, or a payload of up to 45 tonnes/99,000 lb.
It can also easily be converted to accommodate up to 130 stretchers for Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC).
To-date, a total of 28 A330 MRTTs have been ordered by four customers (Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom), with one (Saudi Arabia) having already placed a repeat order.

DARPA Announces New VTOL X-Plane Program

American Dynamics AD-150 VTOL UAS in flight
The DARPA Tactical Technology Office is soliciting proposals on the design, development and demonstration of a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) experimental aircraft (X-Plane) with exceptional performance in vertical and cruise flight, andoperational capability through transition from vertical to forward flight.
The purpose of the program is to champion the design and development of sub-system technologies and integrated air vehicle configurations that will enable radical improvements in VTOL flight.
The program will demonstrate an aircraft capable of sustained flight at high speeds, improved hover and cruise efficiencies that are significantly greater than contemporary rotary-wing aircraft, and increased useful load fractions and aircraft functionality.
Specifications call for an aircraft capable of more than 300kt (555km/h) maximum airspeed; higher than conventional helicopters can achieve, and the ability to hover with greater efficiency than current rotorcraft.
The programme, budgeted at $150 million, will have three distinct phases: a first will involve maturing necessary technologies, while phases two and three will involve hardware proving and flight testing.
Further details, including whether the aircraftwill be manned or unmanned, were purposely left vague, which Bagai says is to allow bidders the most creative freedom in designing solutions.
The versatility of helicopters and other vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft make them ideal for a host of military operations. Currently, only helicopters can maneuver in tight areas, land in unprepared areas, move in all directions, and hover in midair while holding a position. This versatility often makes rotary-wing and other VTOL aircraft the right aerial platform for transporting troops, surveillance operations, special operations and search-and-rescue missions.
Compared to fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters are slower-leaving them more vulnerable to damage from enemy weapons. Special operations that rely on lightning-quick strikes and medical units that transport patients to care facilities need enhanced speed to shorten mission times, increase mission range, reduce the number of refueling events and, most important, reduce exposure to the adversary.
By their very design, rotary-wing aircraft that take off and land vertically have a disadvantage achieving speeds comparable to fixed-wing aircraft. Since its invention, engineers have attempted to overcome this design barrier but have encountered lower fuel efficiency and less lift capacity, controllability, simplicity, and reliability of design. While engineers have improved the speed of fixed-wing aircraft-achieving two and three times the speeds of jets designed since the 1960s-attempts to increase efficient VTOL aircraft speed have stalled.
Higher speeds, increased efficiency, elegant designs are the focus of new VTOL X-Plane.

Monday, February 25, 2013

U.S and Israel Tests Arrow-3 Anti-Ballistic Missile System

Arrow 3 Interceptor Missile

The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) completed a successful flight test of the Arrow-3 interceptor missile today.
This is the first flyout test of the Arrow-3 interceptor and was conducted at an Israeli test range over the Mediterranean Sea.
At 00:52:31 EST, the Arrow-3 interceptor successfully launched and flew an exo-atmospheric trajectory through space, according to the test plan.
The Arrow-3 interceptor was designed to provide another layer of defense against ballistic missiles, to add interception opportunities to Israel's Arrow Weapon System and to improve the active defense architecture of the State of Israel against the missile threats.
The Arrow system is being developed to protect against Iranian-made Shahab ballistic missiles.
The Arrow Weapon System is Israel's national missile defense system. The Arrow system uses the two-stage Arrow II interceptor to destroy an incoming target with a fragmentation warhead. Arrow 3, also a two-stage interceptor, will destroy an incoming target with an exo-atmospheric kill vehicle and provide additional defense capability for evolving threats. Other system elements are a launch control center, fire-control radar and battle management center.
The main contractor for the integration and the development of the Arrow Weapon System is MLM of the Israel Aerospace Industries in conjunction with Boeing.

U.S. Air Force Awards Lockheed Martin Contracts to Begin Work on Next Set of GPS III Satellites


The U.S. Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin two fixed-price contracts totaling $120 million to procure long lead parts for the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth next generation Global Positioning System satellites, known as GPS III .
The GPS III program will affordably replace aging GPS satellites while improving capability to meet the evolving demands of military, commercial and civilian users. GPS IIIsatellites will deliver better accuracy and improved anti-jamming power while enhancing the spacecraft’s design life and adding a new civil signal designed to be interoperable with international global navigation satellite systems.
Incorporating lessons learned from previous GPS programs, the Air Force initiated a “back-to-basics” acquisition approach for GPS III. The strategy emphasizes early investments in rigorous systems engineering, industry-leading parts standards, and the development of a full-size GPS III satellite prototype to significantly reduce risk, improve production predictability, increase mission assurance and lower overall program costs. These investments early in the GPS III program are designed to prevent the types of engineering issues discovered on other programs late in the manufacturing process or even on orbit.
Lockheed Martin is currently under contract for production of the first four GPS III satellites, and will now begin advanced procurement of long-lead components for the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth satellites. The Air Force plans to purchase up to 32 GPS III satellites.
The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. AirForce Space and Missile Systems Center. Lockheed Martin is the GPS III prime contractor with teammates ITT Exelis , General Dynamics, Infinity Systems Engineering, Honeywell, ATK and other subcontractors. Air Force Space Command's 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.

PSLV Orbits Indo-French SARAL Satellite


India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its twenty third flight (PSLV - C20), launched the Indo-French satellite SARAL along with six commercial payloads from Canada, Austria, Denmark and UK into a 785 km polar sun synchronous orbit inclined at an angle of 98.538 deg to the equator.
PSLV - C20 was launched today from the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota.

The 407 kg, SARAL is the 56 th satellite to be launched by PSLV. The six payloads from abroad together have a lift-off mass of 259.5 kg.
PSLV has an impeccable record of 21 consecutive successful flights. This is the ninth time ISRO is using the ‘core alone’ variant of the rocket.
The other six satellites the PSLV-C20 carried are two Canadian satellite NEOSSat (Near Earth Object Space Surveillance Satellite), the world’s first space telescope designed by Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and Sapphire satellite built by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), BRITE and UniBRITE (both Austria), STRaND-1 (Britain) and AAUSAT (Denmark).
The Satellite with ARGOS and ALTIKA (SARAL) is a joint Indo-French satellite mission for oceanographic studies. SARAL will perform altimetric measurements designed to study ocean circulation and sea surface elevation. The payloads of SARAL are:
Ka band Altimeter, ALTIKA - built by the French National Space Agency CNES. The payload is intended for oceanographic applications, operates at 35.75 Giga Hertz.
ARGOS Data Collection System - built by the French National Space Agency CNES. ARGOS contributes to the development and operational implementation of the global ARGOS Data Collection System. It will collect a variety of data from ocean buoys to transmit the same to the ARGOS Ground Segment for subsequent processing and distribution.
Solid State C-band Transponder (SCBT) is from ISRO and intended for ground RADAR calibration. It is a continuation of such suppport provided by C-Band Transponders flown in the earlier IRS-P3 and IRS-P5 missions.
The payloads of SARAL are accommodated in the Indian Mini Satellite-2 bus, which is built by ISRO.

SARAL Applications
SARAL data products will be useful for operational as well as research user communities in many fields like
*. Marine meteorology and sea state forecasting
*. Operational oceanography
*. Seasonal forecasting
*. Climate monitoring
*. Ocean, earth system and climate research
*. Continental ice studies
*. Protection of biodiversity
*. Managment and protection of marine ecosystem
*. Environmental monitoring
*. Improvement of maritime security

It is powered by a Solar Array generating 906 W and 46.8 Ampere-hour Lithium-ion battery.
It has a 32Gb data storage capacity. It has a 5 years mission life.
The STRaND-1 (Surrey Training, Research, and Nanosatellite Demonstrator) is the world’s first ‘smart phone satellite’ carrying Google Nexus One phone running on Android operating system.
The 6.5 kg satellite is a Britain mission, jointly developed by the University of Surrey’s Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL).
The phone will run several applications, including collection of data and take pictures of the earth with its camera.
Once all the satellites’ own operating systems have been checked out, key system functions will be transferred to the phone’s components to take control and operate the satellite, said SSTL on its website.
According to the CPA, the satellite NEOSSat will detect and track asteroids and satellites circling the globe every 100 minutes and scanning space near the Sun to pinpoint otherwise almost invisible asteroids.
The satellite will also be useful in tracking resident space objects, including space debris.
On the other hand, Sapphire will look for resident space objects that include functioning satellites and space debris circling between 6,000 km and 40,000 km above the earth.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Images: Indian Airforce Iron Fist 2013 Fire Power Demo









Images: LCA Tejus Maneuvers at AERO INDIA 2013


Second Commercial Resupply Mission to ISS on March 1

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida.
SpaceX, Dragon spacecraft stands inside a processing hangar at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Teams had just installed the spacecraft's solar array fairings. Image credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett 
The second SpaceX mission to the International Space Station under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch Friday, March 1, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The company's Falcon 9 rocket carrying its Dragon cargo capsule will lift off at
10:10 a.m. If needed, a backup launch opportunity is available on March 2 with launch time at 9:47 a.m.
The mission is the second of 12 SpaceX flights contracted by NASA to resupply the space station. It will mark the third trip by a Dragon capsule to the orbiting laboratory, following a demonstration flight in May 2012 and the first resupply mission in October 2012.
The capsule will be filled with more than 1,200 pounds of scientific experiments and cargo. It will remain attached to the space station's Harmony module for more than three weeks.
The Dragon capsule will splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California on March 25, returning more than 2,300 pounds of experiment samples and equipment, which will be recovered for examination by scientists and engineers.
The first CRS flight for SpaceX occurred last October and though successful, a malfunction shut down one of the Falcon rocket’s nine engines shortly after launch. For the past several months SpaceX engineers have been analyzing the data from the CRS-1 flight and the company says it’s found the cause of the engine shutdown.
The other eight engines were unaffected, highlighting one of the key features of the Falcon 9′s redundant design where a single engine failure does not end the mission.
Though because of the longer burn required of the eight engines to achieve a proper altitude, a restart of the second stage was deemed not possible for safety considerations involving the ISS, and a secondary payload satellite on the flight did not reach its proper orbit.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

UAE Orders Predator XP Unmanned Aircraft

Predator armed with Hellfire missiles
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), tactical reconnaissance radars, and electro-optic surveillance systems, announced the procurement of its first Predator® XP RPA system by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Predator XP is an updated version of the company’s flagship Predator RPA that has been licensed by the U.S. Government for sale to a broader customer base, including countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
The UAE Air Force & Air Defence has completed contract negotiations with International Golden Group (IGG), a leading supplier of integrated defense systems in theMiddle East and GA-ASI’s partner, to procure Predator XP to meet the surveillance needs ofthe UAE Government.
Following the expected near-term completion of negotiations between IGG and GA-ASI, and between GA-ASI and the Abu Dhabi-based Tawazun Economic Council to establish a Joint Venture (JV) for long-term service and support of Predator XP in the UAE, the procurement will be complete.
Offering improved Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, Predator XP exhibits the same physical dimensions, altitude, speed, and long endurance (up to 35 hours) as the proven “RQ-1” Predator A aircraft.
The aircraft also has been updated to include triple-redundant avionics, an Automatic Takeoff and Landing System (ATLS), GA-ASI’s Lynx® Multi-mode Radar with Maritime Wide Area Surveillance (MWAS), High-Definition Electro-optic video, an improved Claw® sensor control and image analysis software system, an Automatic Identification System (AIS), and a more efficient propulsion system.

Orbital Successfully Conducts First Stage Hot Fire Test of Antares Space Launch Vehicle


Orbital Sciences Corporation, one of the world’s leading space technology companies, successfully conducted an extended-duration “hot fire” test of the first stage propulsion system of its new Antares™ medium-class rocket. Developed over a four-plus-year period, Antares will be used to launch cargo supply missions to the International Space Station as part of a $1.9 billion contract with NASA.
The 29-second hot fire test took place at 6:00p.m. (EST) on February 22, 2013 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s (MARS) Pad 0A, which was designed and built over the last several years to accommodate liquid-fuelspace launch vehicles.
The primary goals of the test were to ensure that the launch complex’s fueling systems and the Antares stage one test article functioned properly in a fully operational environment, that engine ignition and shut down commands operated as designed, and that the dual AJ26 first stage engines and their control systems performed to specifications in the twin-engine configuration. The test included a full propellant loading sequence, launch countdown and engine ignition operation. The pad’s high-volume water deluge system flowed throughout the entire period of the test to protect the pad from damage and for noise suppression.
With the hot fire test complete, Orbital will purge and clean the engines of residual propellants and return the first stage test unit to the vehicle integration facility for full reconditioning.
Shortly after completing pad and fueling systems post-test inspections and performing any necessary reconditioning work, Orbital will roll out the first complete two-stage Antares rocket to prepare it for the test flight, which is expected to take place in approximately six weeks.
Orbital is scheduled to conduct two launches under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Space Act Agreement with NASA in 2013. In addition, the company will launch eight operational cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) using Antares vehicles from late 2013 through 2016 under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. The COTS and CRS flights will launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia, which is ideally suited for ISS missions, and can also accommodate launches to other orbits. In addition, Orbital is currently evaluating its options for development of a west coast launch site that would enable the Antares rocket to address an even wider range of customer missions.
The Antares medium-class launch system will provide a significant increase in the payload launch capability that Orbital can provide to NASA, the U.S. Air Force and other customers.
The Antares rocket will be able to launch 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-3 contracts.

All F-35 Fleet Grounded Following Engine Turbine Blade Cracks

F-35A

The entire F-35 fleet has been grounded after inspections revealed cracks in the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine turbine blade.
Crack on the 3rd stage low-pressure turbine turbine was found on Feb. 19 during an inspection of a conventional F-35A at Edwards AFB, California.
U.S.Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) said the grounding is to avoid a potential “catastrophic failure.”
The latest crack was discovered only days after the F-35B returned to flight following a 25-day grounding caused by a fueldraulics failure.
The crack was discovered by a borescope inspection on an F-35A and confirmed by an eddy current inspection, engine maker Pratt & Whitney said.
The engine has run a total of around 700 hours, of which 409 hours were flight hours, P&W says.
Though the issue was found in a single engine, there was no clear cause behind the crack. The engine's turbine module has been shipped to P&W's Connecticut test facility for closer inspection.
Two previous incidents with the third stage low pressure turbine blades have resulted in F-35 groundings in the past, once in 2007 and again in 2008.
Those incidents, which both occurred in the F-35B vertical-takeoff variant, were traced to high-cycle fatigue. Unexpected vibration levels were caused by interaction of the the blade with the wakes from vanes upstream of the third-stage turbine.

Friday, February 22, 2013

HAL Signs $76M Contract for 20 Cheetal Helicopters for Indian Army

HAL Cheetal
HAL has signed contract worth $76 million (Rs. 418 crore) with the Ministry of Defense for supply of 20 Cheetal helicopters and associated equipments to the Indian Army over the next four years.

HAL will also provide training to the pilots and technical crew. This is the first contract for supply of Cheetal helicopters to the Indian Army. HAL had initial order for 10 Cheetal helicopters from Indian Air Force.

Cheetal is the re-engined variant (developed as company funded programme) of the proven Cheetah helicopter being manufactured by HAL for over four decades. Cheetal helicopter is equipped with a Turbomeca TM 333-2M2 free turbine turboshaft engine which is more fuel efficient and provides higher payload capability of 90 kgs at an altitude of 6 kms.

Cheetal helicopter can operate up to seven kms altitude and has a range of 640 kms with an endurance of 3.50 hrs. The Cheetal is fitted with a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system for engine control and an Electronic Backup Control Box (EBCB) system which automatically takes over engine control in the event of FADEC failure.

Cheetal incorporates features of modern cockpit instruments like electrically driven artificial horizon, directional gyro, Flight monitoring system, Cockpit Voice Recorder and Master Flasher Warning System.

The Cheetal helicopter is a multirole helicopter and is best suited for the missions such as personnel transport, casualty evacuation, reconnaissance and aerial survey, logistic air support, rescue operations and under slung loads (cargo).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Malaysia Airlines orders up to 36 ATR 72-600s


ATR and the flag carrier Malaysia Airlines today signed a purchase agreement for 20 firm ATR 72-600s, plus options for 16 additional aircraft.
The deal is valued at over US$ 840 million, including options. The signature of this new contract follows a Memorandum of Understanding announced by the airline in December 2012.
With today’s signature, Malaysia Airlines brings to 42 the total of firm ATR 72s purchased since the initial purchase agreement in 2007.
Malaysia Airlines currently has 22
ATR 72-500s, operated by booming business units Firefly (12) and MAS wings (10).
The introduction of these aircraft, which are the first ATR -600s to be selected for the growing Malaysian and regional market, will reinforce Firefly’s and MAS wings position on community markets and business routes and confirms Malaysia Airlines as a major operator of ATRs in Asia.Deliveries will start by mid 2013.
The new ATR 72-600 delivers the latest innovations in terms of passenger comfort, with the award-winning Armonia cabin designed by Giugiaroand equipped with new slim line seats, larger overhead bins and appealing LED lighting.
Besides the 22 ATR 72-500s operated by Firefly and MAS wings, Malaysia Airlines also has a fleet of over 100 medium and long-haul A330s, A380s, B737s, B747s and B777s.
Malaysia Airlines has just become a member of one world alliance, and operates flights to Asia, Australia/New Zealand, the Middle East, Europe and the US West coast.
About the ATR 72-600:
Passenger capacity: 68-74 seats
Engines: Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127M
Maximum power at take-off: 2,750 horse power per engine
Maximum weight at take-off: 23,000 Kg
Maximum load: 7,500 Kg
Maximum range with full passenger load: 900 nautical miles (1,665 Km)

Lockheed Martin Demonstrates DAGR Missile Ground Vehicle Launch Capability from JLTV


Lockheed Martin recently demonstrated the ability of its DAGR missile to launch from a ground vehicle during a series of flight tests at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
DAGR and two Hydra 70 rockets were launched from a pedestal launcher mounted in the bed of a Lockheed Martin prototype Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) .
DAGR locked onto the laser spot two seconds after launch, flew 5 km down range and impacted the target within
1 meter of the laser spot. The unguided Hydra 70 rockets were launched down the center of the range, and flew 521 and
2,600 meters, respectively.
Lockheed Martin’s pedestal launcher features four M299 launcher rails, associated cables and electronics, providing full compatibility with HELLFIRE ® II and DAGR missiles.
DAGR’s rail-mounted canister attaches to the pedestal launch rails as it would on a standard HELLFIRE launcher designed for aircraft.
DAGR incorporates proven HELLFIRE II technology into a 2.75-inch/70 millimeter guidance kit that integrates seamlessly with legacy Hydra-70 rockets. The result is a laser-guided missile that puts a 10-pound warhead within one meter of the laser spot, defeating high-value, non-armored or lightly-armored targets while minimizing collateral damage.
DAGR’s lock-on-before launch mode ensures the missile identifies the correct target prior to launch.
Lockheed Martin has conducted 40 DAGR flight tests from ranges of 1 to 5.1 kilometers.
DAGR has been launched from multiple HELLFIRE-equipped rotary-wing platforms, including the AH-64D Apache, AH-6Little Bird and OH-58 Kiowa Warrior. It has been launched from the pedestal launcher in three guided flight tests and five flights in total.

Pratt & Whitney F117 Engines Surpass 10 Million Flight Hours on C-17 Fleet


Pratt & Whitney's F117 engine , the exclusive power for the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlifter, recently exceeded 10 million engine flight hours. At the same time, the C-17 exceeded 2.5 million flight hours while supporting military and humanitarian mission in support of U.S. and allied troops around the globe.
Since 2006, Pratt & Whitney's F117 engines have accumulated more than six million flight hours in support of worldwide air mobility missions. To put this in perspective, it took 13 years of operational service for the engine to reach its first four million flight-hour milestone. This statistic reflects the C-17's increased workload over the past several years.
At the same time that the F117 has achieved 10 million flight hours, the company is also celebrating with Boeing 15 years of successful partnership on the performance-based logistics contract for the C-17.
The F117 engine can remain on-wing for up to eight years between servicing visits, which lowers maintenance costs and provides outstanding mission readiness for C-17 customers.
The C-17 Globemaster III – the world's premier heavy airlifter – is operated by four F117 engines, each rated at 40,440 pounds of thrust, enabling the C-17 transport to carry a payload of 164,900 pounds and fly 2,400 nautical miles without refueling.
The F117-PW-100 first entered service in 1993 and is a member of Pratt & Whitney PW2000 family of commercial engines. With more than 10 million hours of proven military service and 50 million hours in commercial use, the F117/PW2040 has consistently proven itself as a world-class dependable engine.
The significant maturity of the F117/PW2040 program and Pratt & Whitney's continual investment in product improvements has resulted in world class safety and reliability metrics for the F117. The engine is widely recognized as the most efficient engine in its class at all available thrust levels.
Fleet reliability and durability compliment the engine's efficiency and offer significant fuel burn advantages.
The U.S. Air Force – including active National Guard and Reserve units – has taken delivery of 218 C-17s.
Other customers include the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, the Qatar Emiri Air Force, the Canadian Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations, and the United Arab Emirates Air Force.
India has also ordered 10 of these airlifters.
In total 250 C-17s and more than 1,100 F117 engines have been delivered to customers worldwide.

Pratt & Whitney PurePower Geared Turbofan™ Engine-PW1500G Certified in Canada

Bombardier Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney announced today that Pratt & Whitney has successfully achieved Transport Canada type certification for its first PurePower Geared Turbofan™ engine – the PW1500G engine that will power Bombardier's CSeries aircraft.
Pratt & Whitney has conducted over
4,000 hours of rigorous engine testing since the initial engine began testing in September 2010. The PW1500G engine test program included 340 hours of flight testing on P&W's experimental 747 Flight Test airplane.
"We have successfully demonstrated the durability and game-changing performance of our Geared Turbofan engine architecture,"said Bob Saia, vice president, Next Generation Product Family, Pratt & Whitney."To date we have conducted over 9,000 hours of testing on our Fan Drive Gear System, demonstrating the service readiness of our gearbox. We have also validated the improvement in fuel efficiency and noise reduction that we targeted in 2007, when we launched the PurePower PW1500G program."
The PW1500G engines were type certified through Transport Canada by Pratt & Whitney Canada and are assembled at Pratt &Whitney Canada's Mirabel Aerospace Centre in Mirabel, Quebec. UTC Aerospace Systems, formed after UTC's acquisition of Goodrich, provides the nacelle system.
Each CSeries aircraft is powered by two PurePower PW1500G series engines. The PurePower PW1500G engine uses an advanced gear system, allowing the engine's fan to operate at a different speed than the low-pressure compressor and turbine. The combination of the gear system and an all-new advanced core deliver double-digit improvements in fuel efficiency, environmental emissions and noise.
CSeries aircraft
Designed for the growing 100- to 149-seat market, the 100 per cent new CSeries aircraft family combines advanced materials, leading-edge technology and proven methods to meet commercial airline requirements in 2013 and beyond. Powered by Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1500G engines, the CSeries aircraft family will offer a 15 per cent cash operating cost advantage and a 20 per cent fuel burn advantage.
The CSeries aircraft's clean-sheet design is ensuring that the aircraft will achieve greatly reduced noise and emissions,as well as superior operational flexibility, exceptional airfield performance and a range of 2,950 nm (5,463 km).
The CSeries aircraft will be up to 12,000 lbs. (5,443 kg) lighter than other aircraft in the same seat category and will provide passengers with a best-in-class, widebody cabin environment in a single-aisle aircraft.

Rolls-Royce Completes T56 Turboprop Engine Enhancement Testing


Rolls-Royce and the United States Air Force (USAF) have completed the final element of testing for the Series 3.5 enhancement for the T56 engine, leading to military qualification and FAA certification later this year.

Accelerated Mission Testing (AMT) was successfully completed ahead of schedule last month and proved the durability of the new blades, vanes and other parts of the T56 turboprop engine over a period of 400 hours and 1,000 cycles. The enhanced engine is undergoing inspection by a Rolls-Royce and USAF technical team.

The engine enhancements would result in fuel savings of 9.7 percent, plus performance and reliability improvements.

Interest from US and international C-130 operators continues to grow and we look forward to US Air Force qualification and FAA certification by the end of the year.

Flight test results exceeded expectations for reduced fuel consumption and reliability improvements.
Using an installed Series 3.5 engine on a C-130, significant savings were made in fuel consumption as well as a significant reduction in turbine operating temperatures, which will translate into more than 22 per cent improvement in reliability.

The engine improvements can be installed as part of a conventional engine overhaul, and do not require any aircraft or engine control system modifications. Each C-130 aircraft has four Rolls-Royce T56 engines, with approximately 220 USAF C-130H models eligible for updating, as well as the fleet of international operators.

The Series 3.5 engine enhancement will enable the USAF to continue to operate its C-130H fleet until 2040 and a USAF analysis estimated its long-term savings from the program could exceed $2 billion.

The T56 is a single shaft, modular design, turboprop engine with a 14-stage axial flow compressor driven by a four-stage turbine unit. The gearbox has two stages of gear reduction, features a propeller brake and is connected to the power section by a torquemeter assembly. Other engine modules are the can-annular type combustor and the accessory drive housing.

The T56 military turboprop and its commercial version, the 501-D are the leading large turboprop engines in the world on the basis of the number of units sold and more than 200 million operating hours.

Since the engine entered production in 1954 over 18,000 T56/501-D turboprops have been installed on a wide variety of propeller-driven aircraft, including Lockheed Martin's ubiquitous C-130 Hercules and L-100 transports, Northrop Grumman's E-2 Hawkeye early warning aircraft and Lockheed's P-3 Orion anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Thales I-Master Radar Successfully Flight Tested on Schiebel CAMCOPTER S-100


Thales’s I-Master radar system has successfully completed flight trials onboard aSchiebel CAMCOPTER ® S-100 UAS (Unmanned Air System).

The flight trials on the CAMCOPTER ® S-100 took place on 7th February 2013 at the Schiebel test facility in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. The flights, each lasting several hours, successfully proved both sensor performance and the stability of data transfer between radar operator and the airborne I-Master.

I-Master is a high-performance radar, providing Ground Moving Target Indication (GMTI) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) capability for all-weather surveillance, detection and recognition of targets over large areas at long stand-off ranges. Schiebel’s CAMCOPTER ® S-100 is a proven vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) rotary wing UAS capable of carrying a range of sensors for military and civilian applications.

Weighing only 30kg, I-Master has been designed for easy installation with ‘plug & play’ integration. It is designed with the same footprint as a standard 15’’ EO/IR sensor turret, allowing simple air worthiness and certification.

The CAMCOPTER ® S-100 equipped with I-Master provides high-fidelity imagery for classification and positioning of various targets through 360º and can accurately detect and locate moving targets, from fast moving vehicles to individuals at walking pace.

This provides an effective asset in operations such as homeland security, border surveillance pipeline security and incident management.

Afghan Air Force Desperate to Have Attack Aircrafts

AAF Mi-17
Air power is crucial in the rugged country where a poor road network is often mined by insurgents, and the Afghan government is pressing hard for the US to boost its air capability before it pulls out next year.
“We will face huge and complicated challenges if the Americans do not provide us with these planes,” Major General Abdul Wahab Wardak told AFP, listing a range of attack and transport aircraft he says Afghanistan needs.
Last week in Washington, President Barack Obama announced that 34,000 US troops will withdraw from the country by the end of 2013, with the remaining half leaving by the end of 2014, taking with them their far superior firepower.
For the past 11 years Nato’s vast fleet of fighter jets, attack helicopters, unmanned drones and transport aircraft have supported ground troops in operations against the Taliban.
Last year coalition aircraft in Afghanistan flew 28,640 close air support sorties, firing weapons 4,082 times, according to official figures. Drones fired 494 times.
They also flew tens of thousands of surveillance sorties and flights carrying troops and cargo.
The US is negotiating leaving a small residual force in Afghanistan after 2014, but the overwhelming air power will all but disappear.
As part of its exit strategy Washington is helping rebuild the Afghan Air Force (AAF) —which currently has no fixed-wing attack planes — but the government has complained that the process is too slow.
The air force chief, a stocky former MIG-21 fighter pilot under Soviet occupation in the 1980s, harks back to the old days when the Afghan air force was a regional power to be reckoned with.
“To clarify the comparison of the air force we had in the past with now, I will give you this example,” he said.
“Back then it was as if you were riding an armored vehicle. Today it is as if you are riding a bicycle.” The air force of old disappeared in clouds of smoke during the civil war that followed the withdrawal of the Soviets in 1989, after 10 years of occupation.
“There was disunity among us, we started fighting each other, we fought among ourselves and destroyed our air force,” Wardak said.
“But we have learned, we know we need unity to build the military and the country.”
The words are spoken in Wardak’s office in alarge, US-funded air force compound adjacent to Kabul’s international airport, but like many new things in Afghanistan it is more chimera than substance.
“We have lots of pilots, but no planes,” an officer confided ahead of the interview.
Operational aircraft currently in use by the AAF include 43 helicopters — mainly Russian Mi-17 transports plus six Mi-35 gunships — a spokeswoman for Nato’s air training command in Kabul said.
The air force also has fixed-wing transports including 16 Italian C-27s, but they were grounded for several months last year and are to be withdrawn from service.
AAF also operates a Cessna 208 turboprop light transport aircraft configured for battlefield casualty evacuation.
“The US has promised to give us four C-130s (large transporters), and also promised to give 20 AT-6 light attack aircrafts,” Wardak said.
The US Air Force (USAF) announced last year that it was reopening a contest for a contract to build 20 light attack aircraft for Afghanistan after the cancellation of an award to Brazil’s Embraer.
A final decision on the contract has not been announced, though the first planes are expected to be delivered in the second half of 2014.
“The Air Force is working to fill the request from the Afghan Ministry of Defense for four C-130Hs,” USAF spokesman Ed Gulick told AFP.
“Additionally, the USAF is working source selection for a light air support (LAS) aircraft for the Afghan Air Force.” The C-27 transporters, also known as G222s, were expected to serve as the AAF medium airlift aircraft for up to 10 years after the first one was delivered in 2009.
But “aircraft and contract performance limitations have caused the USG to pursue the G222′s replacement system at a much more rapid pace”, Gulick said.
“The date flying operations will cease is yet to be determined.” President Hamid Karzai told a news conference last month the US had also agreed to provide drones for intelligence gathering, but the move has not been confirmed.
Wardak said that to defend itself against regional threats in one of the world’s most unstable areas, the country also needs fighter jets, along with anti-aircraft and radar systems.
Nato and Western governments, keen to exit a conflict increasingly unpopular at home, constantly talk up the capability of the Afghan security forces to take on the fight alone.
But Afghan soldiers and police are already dying at five times the rate of Nato forces and without air support will be even more vulnerable.

Airbus Military A400M Successfully Completes Cold Weather Tests

As the countdown to first customer delivery progresses, the Airbus Military A400M new generation airlifter has successfully passed a renewed series of cold weather tests in a production-representative configuration.
During a week-long deployment to Iqaluit, Canada, the flight test-team demonstrated the capability of equipment such as the cargo system and production-standard engines which were not available during earlier tests in Sweden.Tests conducted over 5 days on Grizzly 5 / msn6 included engine runs after a 24-hour cold-soak to -32°C, use of all the cargo bay equipment, taxying, and a development flight.
Recently France and Airbus Military have signed the initial In-Service Support (ISS) contract providing an 18-month A400M support services package to the French Air Force. This is a key milestone in preparation for the delivery of the first A400M to the French Air Force.

Indian Air Force Orders Indigenously Developed Sudarshan LGB Kits

IAF Jaguar Fighter Releases the LGB

After a series of flight trials, the Indian Air Force has asked the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) to make 50 laser-guided bombs (LGBs). These bump bombs called Sudarshan, hitherto part of IAF’s vintage ammunition, are getting a life-extension with an improvised range and strike capabilities.
The ADE won the project for developing an LGB seven years ago and successfully demonstrated the capabilities during trials in 2010.
“Our mission was to develop an advanced laser guidance kit for 1000 lb class dumb bombs so as to improve the accuracy. We demonstrated the same and now the IAF has asked us to make 50 Sudarshans,” ADE director P S Krishnan told Indian Express on Tuesday.
Krishnan said the laser-guidance seeker, fitted on the nose of the LGB, is the most critical Indian component on board. “It’s developed jointly by IIT Delhi and ADE, while BEL is the production agency.
The guidance kit directs the bomb towards a target, which has been illuminated by laser energy using a laser designator system. The laser energy is reflected from the target and detected by the laser seeker unit on the LGB kit. The seeker provides information on the deviation of the laser sport from the centre line of the detector,” he explained the features of the bomb.
Sudarshan has on board a flight control computer with microelectromechanical systems-based rate gyros. It also has high-precision linear ball-lead-screw actuators.

A next-generation bomb (NG-LGB) is in the pipeline, but the scientists need to address the problem of rolling of the bomb, after its release. “The range of Sudrashan now is around 9 km if dropped from a normal altitude, and for the NG-LGB we hope to increase the range to 50 km,” he said.

Boeing Receives US Air Force Contract for Integrated C4ISR Targeting Solution

Boeing will provide the U.S. Air Force with a lightweight, compact laser targeting system designed to improve the effectiveness of battlefield airmen on Close Air Support missions.

The $3 million contract award includes design, development, delivery, training and sustainment for the Line of Sight – Short (LOS-S) integrated targeting system, as well as priced options for production systems. With all options exercised, the contract has a potential total value of more than $100 million.

LOS-S, an evolution of a previous acquisition, offers improved target detection, recognition, laser designation and friendly-fire avoidance capabilities in a single lightweight unit.

LOS-S supports the Air Force's Battlefield Air Operations Kit Program and its goal of upgrading the battlefield airman's equipment suite.

Integrated C4ISR systems are one of Boeing's many C4ISR capabilities that provide a seamless flow of information -- from collection to aggregation to analysis -- for customers' enduring need for situational awareness.

Insitu completes RQ-21A Block II UAV Maiden flight

RQ-21A
Insitu has completed the first flight of the RQ-21A Integrator Block II unmanned air vehicle at the company's Oregon flight test range.
The twin-boomed Integrator has been selected to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services for the US Navy.
The first aircraft is due for delivery in late 2013, with initial operating capability to be achieved in 2014.
The nearly two-hour flight was conducted using Insitu's Common Open-mission Management Command and Control (ICOMC2 ) ground control station.
ICOMC2 enables flight of multiple heterogeneous UAS and enables U.S. and NATO member nations to jointly support military operations through a STANAG 4586 compliant system.
The flight completed with the current Mark 4 Launcher and SkyHook recovery systems that supports expeditionary missions and rapid troop movement.
This technology configuration offers a suite of upgrades for superior intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
Integrator Block 2 allows customers to expand operations with an extended upward temperature limit of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Integrator Block 2 also implements multiple system reliability improvements, including the option to power with either JP8 or JP5 fuel.
An improved sensor turret, which includes the latest mid-wave infrared sensor with onboard image stabilization, helps imagery analysts see objects of interest more clearly during day and night missions.
Insitu Inc., located in Bingen, Washington, is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company.
Insitu designs, develops and manufactures UAS and provides associated services for commercial, civil and defense applications.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Indian Su-30 MKI Fighter Crashes

A Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jet of the Indian Air Force crashed in the Pokhran range in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district on Tuesday. Both the pilots ejected safely.
Defence spokesperson Col. SD Goswami said that the aircraft crashed at about 7.20 pm.
“The aircraft was on a night-flying training mission,” Goswami told IANS. He said there was no reported damage to life or civil property.
The spokesperson said a court of inquiry had been ordered into the crash.
Sources said the aircraft was to participate in IAF’s day-night exercise ‘Iron Fist’ on Feb 22. They said the aircraft was on a rehersal sortie.
This is the fourth crash involving IAF Su-30 MKI fighter jet.
Crash has raised serious concerns about the reliability of these twin engined jets as these are relatively new.
The Sukhoi Su-30MKI is the most potent frontline fighter jet in service with the Indian Air Force.
The IAF has 157 Su-30MKIs in service as of January 2013, it plans to have a fleet of 272.

IAF to Conduct First Ever Day Night Firepower Display-Iron Fist

The Indian Air Force (IAF) will conduct its largest “day-dusk-night” firepower demonstration in the the Rajasthan desert starting February 22 that will feature frontline planes and mark the debut of the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) and Light Combat Helicopter(LCH) at the event.
Exercise “Iron Fist” at the Pokhran ranges will see the participation of 230 aircraft, incluidng the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, MiG-21, MiG-27, MiG-29 and the Hawk advanced jsset trainer (AJT).
Also seen will be the C130J Super Hercules and AN-32 transports, the Mi-8 and Mi-17 medium-lift helicopters and the Mi-35 attack helicopters. “A demonstration of this magnitude is being carried out for the first time by day, dusk and night. Very few air forces in the world can achieve this feat,” IAF spokesman Wing Commander Gerard Galway told reporters.
“This firepower demonstration, aptly called ‘Iron Fist’, is aimed at showcasing the operational strength of Indian Air Force by demonstrating its wide array of combat weaponry and assuring the nation that the safety of its sovereign skies lie in very capable hands,” he added.
LCA Tejus fighter will demonstrate its ‘swing-role’ capability by firing both missiles and laser-guided munitions.
Galway said the demonstration would highlight the IAF’s capability to operate in a network-centric environment round the clock, emphasizing the lethality and precision of its air and ground based weapon systems as well as its special forces.
The IAF would showcase its surface-to-air missile systems for the first time and its latest acquisition – the Pilatus PC-7 Mk II trainer.
The exercise will showcase more than 30 types of platforms and weapon systems tasked for air defence operations, countering surface operations, urban warfare and combat search rescue operations.
Galway said the exercise will enable commanders and planners gain better insights into the potential and deployment capabilities of aerial weapons.

India Developing New Expendable Target Drone-Abhyas

Abyas Drone During Trials
Abhyas, a high-speed expendable aerial target (HEAT) drone, is taking definite shape at the hangars of Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE). The scientists are now working on the propulsion and control systems to be fitted onboard ‘Abhyas’, taking the project closer to its final configuration.
Kept under wraps till Aero India-2013, ‘Abhyas’ is tipped as the younger brother of ‘Lakshya’, a pilot-less target aircraft (PTA), now being extensively used by the three wings of Services.
In an interview to Indian Express daily, ADE Director P S Krishnan confirmed that ‘Abhyas’ had already undergone a proof of the concept, pre-project trial at the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s new test-range in Chitradurga.
“The first experimental launch (minus the engine) of ‘Abhyas’ was held last year at the Chitradurga range. It was the first ground-based trial held at the new range. We are now working on a small gas turbine engine weighing 19 kg having a thrust of 25 kg to be fitted on to ‘Abhyas’,” Krishnan said.
He said, in order to put the project on a fast-track, ADE scientists have used the same toe-body of ‘Lakshya’.
“We have sized the wings and tail plane in proportionate to that of Lakshya so that we are able to get the final product at the earliest. We have conceived a launcher and also identified two 68-mm rockets for ‘Abhyas’.
The first experimental flight successfully demonstrated the launch and configuration capabilities,” Krishnan said. With an endurance of 25 to 30 minutes, ‘Abhyas’ will be fitted with sensors and is GPS-enabled.
It will have onboard actuators, a flight control computer and a miss-distance indicator.
The project was sanctioned with an initial DRDO funding of `15 crore and ADE will roll out 15 ‘Abhyas’ technology demonstrators (TDs) in the next two years.
The Services have floated a combined global tender projecting the requirement of 225 HEAT drones and ADE said it would not be bidding for the same.
The Navy wants HEAT platforms so that it can do away with the post-launch recovery modes, which are time-consuming and difficult in a huge scenario like the sea.

India Asks Russia to Induct BrahMos Cruise Missile

Indian Defence Minister A K Antony asked Russia to Induct the BrahMos cruise missile, which was developed in a Indo-Russian joint venture in to its fleet.
“Russia should induct BrahMos in their fleet so that the success achieved in the joint venture will be fully appreciated,” he said here.
The missile is yet to be inducted into the Russian armed forces.
BrahMos has been pushing for the induction of the missile on under-construction Russian warships which are similar to Indian Navy’s Talwar Class frigates built by Russia.
The Minister was addressing a gathering on the ‘Partnership Day” marking the 15th anniversary of the signing of Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) between India and Russia for the setting up of the BrahMos joint venture.
Antony said Indian Air Force(IAF) will soon have BrahMos both,on land and air platforms, making it a real force multiplier for all the wings of the Indian armed forces.
“Army, Navy and Air Force consider BrahMos to be an important weapon due to its speed, precision and power. The government has also decided to expand the infrastructure at multiple centres to cater to larger production requirement of BrahMos missiles and systems,” he said.
Antony said cooperation between the scientists and scientific expertise of DRDO and NPOM and many other organisations from India and Russia have proved that there is a way to do things faster and take the lead in the world.
BRAHMOS is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage which brings it to supersonic speed and then gets separated. The liquid ramjet or the second stage then takes the missile closer to 3 Mach speed in cruise phase. Stealth technology and guidance system with advanced embedded software provides the missile with special features.
The missile has flight range of up to 290-kmwith supersonic speed all through the flight, leading to shorter flight time, consequently ensuring lower dispersion of targets, quicker engagement time and non-interception by any known weapon system in the world.
Its cruising altitude could be up to 15 km and terminal altitude is as low as 10 meters. It carries a conventional warhead weighing 200 to 300 kgs.

Saab to Upgrade Swedish Gripen Fleet

Saab has received an order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to upgrade the current Gripen C\D fleet. The order amounts to $22 million(140 MSEK) over 2013-2014.
The upgrades and adjustments of the Swedish Armed Forces’ existing Gripen fleet will ensure the multi-role fighter aircraft remains modern and capable of operating efficiently over the next 40 years.
”The order includes equipment which will increase the efficiency and lower the costs ofoperating the Gripen system for the Swedish Armed Forces,” says Lennart Sindahl, Head of business area Aeronautics.
The order also includes the administration of return and improvement processes, work to improve durability as well as several studies.