Saturday, March 30, 2013

XCOR Tests First Piston Pump Powered Rocket Engine for Lynx Suborbital Spacecraft

XCOR Aerospace today announced a first in aviation and space history, the firing of a full piston pump-powered rocket engine. This breakthrough is the foundation for fully reusable spacecraft that can fly multiple times per day, every day.
The initial portion of XCOR's pump test program culminated in a 67-second engine run with the propulsion system mated to the flight weight Lynx fuselage. After the installation of the flight sized liquid oxygen tank, the next test sequence will extend the engine run duration to the full powered flight duration of the Lynx Mark I suborbital vehicle.
“Through use of our proprietary rocket propellant piston pumps we deliver both kerosene and liquid oxygen to our rocket engines and eliminate the need for heavy, high-pressure fuel and oxidizer tanks. It also enables our propulsion system to fly multiple times per day and last for tens of thousands of flights,” said XCOR Chief Executive Officer Jeff Greason. “This is one more step toward a significant reduction in per-flight cost and turnaround time, while increasing overall flight safety.”
Boeing provided additional funding to complete the XCOR test sequence and advance low-cost rocket propulsion technology.
Unlike the expensive and finicky turbopumps on today’s rocket propulsion systems, XCOR’s piston pumps are designed to be as powerful in their thrust class as turbines, but as easy to manufacture, maintain and operate as an automotive engine,” said XCOR Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson. “This is the culmination of a 12 year program to develop this unique technology. The kerosene piston pump has been successfully flight-proven during our 40-flight test program on the X-Racer aircraft.
XCOR is building Lynx, a piloted, two-seat, fully reusable liquid rocket-powered vehicle that takes-off and lands horizontally.
XCOR’s proprietary piston pumps can pump like turbopumps but are able to stop and start quickly. They are also less expensive. A benefit of a piston-style design is that the pump is capable of pumping more fuel at a higher operational speed. Using this innovative pump design, drive gas to operate the pumps can be delivered by any of the three classical methods: staged combustion, gas generator, or expander. We have chosen a fourth, however, which is a proprietary thermodynamic cycle that is most similar to the expander. XCOR has patented this cycle, which has the advantage of not lowering the engine specific impulse, as a gas generator would.
The Lynx-family of vehicles serves three primary missions depending on their specific type including: research & scientific missions, private spaceflight, and micro satellite launch (only on the Lynx Mark III). Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-mission (research / scientific or private spaceflight) commercial vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day. Lynx vehicles are available to customers in the free world on a wet lease basis. XCOR also works with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems development. XCOR Aerospace is based in Mojave, California

Friday, March 29, 2013

BEL to supply sub-assemblies for F/A-18 Super Hornet jets

Boeing has awarded India's public sector defense electronics company Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) with a follow-on contract for the manufacture of sub-assemblies for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter jet.

Through the new contract BEL will produce Super Hornet subassemblies including the Ground Power Panel, Helmet Vehicle Interface Stowage and Switch assembly and Cockpit Console Panels. For the F/A-18, BEL also produces a stowage panel for the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System connector cable and an avionics cooling system fan test switch panel with a Night Vision Imaging System-compatible floodlight assembly.

It also provides the Identification Friend or Foe interrogators and Data Link II communications systems for the eight P-8I Maritime Surveilance Aircraft for the Indian Navy.

This contract, for Super Hornet sub-assemblies, expands work Boeing awarded BEL in 2011.
BEL is a partner with Boeing at the Analysis & Experimentation Centre in Bengaluru that opened in 2009.

Northrop Grumman Wins U.S. Navy PBL Contract for Carrier Aircraft Inertial Navigation System

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a follow-on performance-based logistics contract to provide logistics, material and technical support for the AN/ASN-139 Carrier Aircraft Inertial Navigation System (CAINS II) installed on various U.S. Navy and foreign aircraft.
and foreign aircraft.

The U.S. Naval Supply Systems Command granted the five-year, firm-fixed-price contract, which has a total value of $13.2 million, to Northrop Grumman.
Under the contract, Northrop Grumman is supplying material- and configuration-management services for the AN/ASN-139 CAINS II, which is used on the C-2A, E-2C, F/A-18, S-3 and AV-8B aircrafts.
The AN/ASN-139, which is also known as the LN-92, is a ring laser gyro strapdown inertial navigation system that provides better than one nautical mile per hour navigation performance. It was designed for carrier-based aircraft to offer low life-cycle and acquisition costs, low maintenance and calibration needs, and high reliability.

EASA Certifies Dassault's Latest Falcon Business Jet Variants

European Aviation Safety Agency(EASA) has certified the two latest variants of Dassault Falcon family of business jets, the 2000S and 2000LXS.
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-configuration cabin 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 super mid-size jets and even comparable to a typical turboprop aircraft.
The Falcon 2000S will begin deliveries in the second quarter of 2013.
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 field length of 4,675 ft(SL, ISA) at 42,800 lb of MTOW, and offers the same landing performance than 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. Upgraded Pratt & Whitney PW308C engines make both models economical to operate and environmentally friendly. The engine’s TALON II combustor will provide significantly fewer emissions.
Nearly 500 units have been delivered since the first Falcon 2000 took to the air on March 4, 1993.

EASA simultaneously approved use of Dassault’s proprietary, award-winning EASy II avionics suite on Falcon 2000 EASy series aircraft. All in-service versions of the Falcon 2000 equipped with EASy cockpits (EX, DX and LX) will eventually receive the EASy II upgrade once corresponding service bulletins are approved.
Among the new options and enhancements offered by EASy II are a Synthetic Vision System (SVS); improved display symbology; XM Weather; Flight Management System (7.1) improvements; dual Jeppesen charts; a Runway Awareness and Advisory System (RAAS); ADS-B out; and WAAS and EGNOS LPV approaches.

B-2 Stealth Bomber Conducts Deterrence Patrol Over South Korea

U.S. Strategic Command sent two B-2 Spirit Stealth bombers for a long-duration, round-trip deterrence mission from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, to South Korea on March 28 Thursday as part of the ongoing bilateral Foal Eagle training exercise.

This mission by two B-2 Spirit bombers assigned to 509th Bomb Wing, which demonstrated the United States' ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will, which involved flying more than 6,500 miles to the Korean Peninsula, dropping inert munitions on the Jik Do Range, and returning to the continental U.S. in a single, continuous mission.
The deployment of the stealth bombers was intended to send a potent message to North Korea about the U.S. commitment to defending South Korea against any aggression, as military tensions on the Korean peninsula escalates. It came shortly after the North severed its last-remaining military hotline with South Korea and put its rocket units on combat status with a threat to target U.S. bases in the Pacific region.
The B-2 Spirit is a multi-role radar evading bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Northrop Grumman AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR Radar System Demonstrates Ballistic Missile Defense Capability

Northrop Grumman Corporation's AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) successfully detected multiple rocket launches during company-funded testing.

Currently under development for the U.S. Marine Corps, G/ATOR is the first ground-based, multirole radar to be developed for the U.S. Department of Defense. With its ability to intelligently and adaptively allocate its myriad sensor capabilities,
G/ATOR is able to detect and track a wide variety of threats, including manned aircraft, cruise missiles and unmanned autonomous systems, as well as mortar, rocket and artillery rounds.
The G/ATOR system successfully detected multiple rockets launched by NASA from its Wallops Island, Virginia, test site, including three different rocket types.
Data collected from the testing will be used to verify potential future theater ballistic missile algorithms and ballistic missile defense capabilities.

Potential applications for the technology include the U.S. Air Force's Three Dimensional Expeditionary Long Range Radar, the U.S. Army's Patriot Fire Control Radar, the replacement for the Marine Corps' aging TPS-59 radar, and the U.S. Navy's Air and Missile Defense Radar.

German Tranche 3 Eurofighter Assembly Progressing

The Eurofighter Typhoon IPA 8 (Instrumented Production Aircraft 8) test aircraft has achieved an important production milestone at Cassidian in Manching, Germany: with the mounting of the right wing, the connection between the cockpit, vertical tail unit and wings with the fuselage has been completed.

IPA 8 is based on the latest Eurofighter Tranche 3 construction standard and is further more equipped with state-of-the-art flight test instrumentation. That makes the aircraft the most advanced Eurofighter in the world," said Berndt Wuensche, Eurofighter Programme Manager at Cassidian.

After assembling the individual major structural components, the aircraft was transferred to the next production station on the final assembly linein Manching, where the test aircraft's hydraulic, defensive aids and electrical systems and its complex special cabling are being installed.

The specialists at Cassidian have equipped the modern Eurofighter with more than 110 km of cable in the past few months and additionally installed pressure, flow and electrical data sensors and the test flight instrumentation and computer into the aircraft. Equipped in that way, all the relevant aircraft parameters can be communicated in real time from the air to the flight test engineers on the ground.

All four of the Eurofighter programme's partner nations have test aircraft available, which they are using to test new capabilities on the basis of their development focuses. Cassidian is responsible primarily for the Eurofighter's flight control system, its flight behaviour, radar and fire control systems and infrared sensor.

Recently BAe announced, it has completed the assembly of first Tranche 3 Eurofighter for Royal Air Force.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is the latest and most capable multi-role combat aircraft presently available on the global market. Currently, seven nations (Austria, Germany, Italy, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Spain and the UK) have procured the Eurofighter.

To date, the Eurofighter fleet has completed more than 170,000 flight hours world-wide, thus making the aircraft the safest and one of the most reliable combat aircraft in operation. With 719 aircraft under contract, 571 orders and over 355 deliveries, the Eurofighter is currently the largest military procurement programme in Europe and, thanks to its advanced technology, strengthens the European aviation industry's position in international competition.

The programme also safeguards more than 100,000 jobs at 400 companies and is managed by Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH on behalf of the Eurofighter partner companies Alenia Aermacchi/Finmeccanica, BAE Systems and Cassidian in Germany and Spain.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

SpaceX Dragon Completes its Second ISS Resupply Mission

The SpaceX Dragon capsule returned to Earth on Tuesday with a full science load from the International Space Station.
The capsule successfully splashed down at Pacific ocean, off the coast of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, Tuesday after spending more than three weeks in ISS.
The capsule brought back more than 1 ton of science experiments and old station equipment. It's the only supply ship capable of two-way delivery.
The unmanned capsule will be shipped to Los Angeles - arriving Wednesday night - and then trucked to Texas for unloading.
This was the second commercial flight of Dragon, and the third delivery mission to ISS.
The resupply-and-cargo-return mission was under a $1.6-billion contract with NASA. The other official mission was in October; a demonstration mission took place in May.
After the capsule reentered Earth's atmosphere, its three main parachutes billowed open about five minutes before splashdown. The orange-and-white-striped parachutes, each 116 feet in diameter, slowed the craft's descent to 16 to 18 feet per second.
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule was launched on March 1 abroad a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral , Florida. The capsule was packed with more than 1,200 pounds of food, scientific experiments and other cargo for delivery to the six crew members aboard the space station.

UK's F-35B Fighters to be Stationed at RAF Marham Base

The UK's F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter aircraft will be based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced today.
The UK’s first 2 F-35 aircrafts are currently participating in the US flight test programme at Eglin AFB, Florida.
The first front line aircraft will be delivered from 2015 onwards with an initial operating capability(IOC) from land in 2018, followed by first flights from HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier later that year.
The original intention announced in 2005 was to base the aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth base.
A third F-35B for UK is expected to arrive this April at Eglin AFB. The aircraft will be the first F-35 stationed at the base to be equipped with the more advanced Block 2A software. Aircraft currently at the base are in the older Block 1A and 1B configuration.
F-35B will be jointly operated by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and the aircraft will operate from the Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers as well as from RAF Marham.
The first operational UK pilot selected to fly the Lockheed Martin F-35B undertook his first training sortie in the Joint Strike Fighter on 19 March at Eglin AFB, Florida.
It will supersede Tornado and now retired Sea Harrier fighter jet fleet of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.
The F-35B is a Short Take-off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant in the F-35 family.
The single-engined, fifth generation fighter aircraft is designed and developed by Lockheed Martin. It is the first aircraft to combine stealth technology with STOVL capabilities and supersonic speeds.
Fifteen per cent of Joint Strike Fighter work is carried out in the UK, and over 130 British companies contribute to the supply chain. It is worth over £1bn to UK industry each year and will support around 25,000 British jobs over the next 25 years.

Bristow Group Wins British Civilian Search and Rescue Contract

Bristow Group announced today that British Department for Transport has awarded its UK affiliate Bristow Helicopters Limited (Bristow Helicopters) a new contract to provide civilian Search and Rescue (SAR) services for all of the UK. The SAR services contract has a phased-in transition period beginning in April 2015 and continuing to July 2017 and a contract length of approximately ten years.
Under the terms of this contract, Bristow Helicopters will provide 11 Sikorsky S-92 and 11 AgustaWestland AW189 helicopters that will be located at ten bases across the UK. Each SAR base will operate either two S-92s or two AW189s.
In addition to the ten bases with 20 aircraft, there will be two fully SAR-equipped training aircraft that can be deployed to any base as needed.
In early 2012, Bristow Helicopters was awarded a Gap SAR services contract that commences in July 2013, utilizing four, latest technology S-92 helicopters based in Scotland at Stornoway and Sumburgh. The Gap SAR contract is expected to run for about four years until transition occurs for these two bases to the new longer-term contract announced today.
The total capital requirement for this project is expected to be approximately $1 billion, much of which is dedicated to the acquisition of 22 of the most technologically advanced, SAR-equipped S-92 and AW189 helicopters.
Bristow Helicopters anticipates earning approximately $2.5 billion in revenue through this SAR contract.
Affiliates of Bristow Group Inc. currently operate similar search and rescue services in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Dutch Antilles, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, and Trinidad.

Airbus Completes Engine Integration on First A350 XWB Prototype Aircraft

Airbus completed the integration of the two flight-ready Rolls-Royce Trent XWB jet engines on to its first A350 XWB prototype aircraft MSN001 at Airbus’ production facilities in Toulouse, France.
The new Trent engines were both received from UTC Aerospace Systems (formerly Goodrich) which had recently prepared the fully integrated powerplants prior to their installation on the aircraft’s pylons.
Last month the Trent XWB received Engine Type Certification from EASA, confirming that the engine had fulfilled EASA’s airworthiness requirements for flight.
The Trent XWB has already powered a series of test flights on Airbus’ A380 Flying Test Bed (FTB) aircraft since February 2012, demonstrating a high level of maturity.
In parallel to the mounting of the two Trent XWB engines in Toulouse, the A350 XWB is also this week being fitted with its new specially developed APU – the Honeywell HGT1700 which has greater power density and higher efficiency than the previous generation APUs.
With the installation of its engines and also the APU, the A350 XWB MSN001 becomes essentially a ‘completed’ aircraft. Following the ongoing ground tests, other preparations and also painting in the coming weeks, MSN001 will then be handed over to the Airbus Flight Test team to commence preparations for ground runs and maiden flight in the summer.

Boeing Delivers 7,500th 737 Airliner

Boeing delivered its 7,500th B737 airliner to Malaysia-based Malindo Air on 20 March. Malindo Air is a joint venture by Jakarta, Indonesia-based Lion Air and Malaysia's National Aerospace and Defence Industries.
Malindo Air will use the Next-Generation 737-900ER to launch its low-fares service.
The 737 family isthe best-selling commercial jet in history, with total orders exceeding 10,500 airplanes from 265 customers.
Malindo Air's 737-900ER (Extended Range) with the passenger-pleasing Boeing Sky Interior featuring new modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead stowage bins.
Boeing highlighted the critical role its global supply chain plays in production of the 737, as it celebrated the 7,500 th delivery of the world's most popular airplane.
The Next-Generation 737 has about 400,000 parts per airplane that are built by more than 325 suppliers in 30 countries, including the United States, Canada, China, France and South Korea. There are U.S. suppliers to the 737 program in 41 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.
737 has an incredible record of reliability, with 99.7 percent of flights ready to depart within 15 minutes of schedule.
Supplier partners contribute significantly to that reliability, providing the engines, landing gear, avionics, electrical systems and other mission-critical equipment.
Over the next 20 years, Boeing has projected global demand for 23,240 single-aisle airplanes valued at $2 trillion.
To meet that demand, Boeing is in the process of increasing 737 production from 38 to 42 airplanes per month in the first half of 2014.
On average, more than 2,000 737 airplanes are in the air at any given time, and a 737 takes off or lands every two seconds.
Starting with deliveries in 2017, the new 737 MAX will build on the Next-Generation 737's popularity and reliability while delivering unsurpassed fuel efficiency in the single-aisle market. Already a market success, the 737 MAX has accumulated more than 1,100 orders from 16 customers worldwide.

Lockheed Martin’s EAPS Completes Successful Miniature Hit-To-Kill Interceptor Flight Test

Lockheed Martin’s Extended Area Protection and Survivability (EAPS) program successfully conducted the first Guided Test Flight to characterize the seeker, guidance, navigation and control systems of its Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) interceptor.
The very small and agile interceptor is designed to defeat Rocket, Artillery and Mortar (RAM) targets at ranges greatly exceeding those of current systems.
The test was conducted on March 22 at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., in collaboration with the U.S. Army Research Development & Engineering Command/Aviation Missile Research Development & Engineering Center (RDECOM/AMRDEC).
The test closely replicated a tactical situation in which an enemy launches a mortar at an area protected by the MHTK intercept system. A radar successfully detected and tracked the threat in flight.
The tactically configured MHTK interceptor launched vertically and flew a trajectory positioning it to detect energy from a ground illuminator reflected off the mortar target. Responding to the reflected energy, the MHTK interceptor maneuvered to fly very close to the target and gather data through its seeker as it passed the mortar in flight.
Intercepting the target was not an objective of this flight test.
In addition to gathering data to characterize the interceptor’s performance, this test integrated and exercised the entire intercept system for the first time. The data collected will support an intercept flight test planned for later this year.
The MHTK interceptor is on track to meet the AMRDEC Average Unit Production Cost goal of
$16,000 per interceptor in 2006 dollars at specified quantities, making it much more affordable than systems it will replace.
At less than 1 meter long, less than 50 millimeters in diameter and less than 3 kilograms mass at launch,
The MHTK is extremely compact and very agile in flight. Paired with a fire control sensor capable of providing illumination, the MHTK provides robust defeat of RAM targets through body-to-body impact at tactically significant ranges, greatly increasing the protected volume in which our soldiers operate and offering commanders more flexibility than legacy and interim systems.
The EAPS ID is a science and technology program focused on developing and demonstrating critical technologies necessary to bridge the gap between the initial counter rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) capability and the enhanced protection envisioned in the future.

ThalesRaytheon Delivers First GM400 Air Defense Radar to Estonia

ThalesRaytheon delivered Ground Master 400 (GM 400) long range air defense radar to Estonian armed forces.
An official ceremony was held on March 26 on Muhu island in Estonia to mark the entry into service .The ceremony was presided by Estonia’s defense minister Urmas Reinsalu.
The system is the first of two radar systems ordered by the Estonian Air Force and is one of 14 radars of the same type ordered jointly by Finland and Estonia.
The GM 400 is designed for both fixed-site operation under a radome at the Muhu base and for rapid deployment in the field.
In a tactical, truck-mounted configuration with an independent power supply, it can be deployed in the field in less than two hours.
This GM 400 will be connected to the NATO network and can be interconnected with all the other air defense radars deployed across Europe.
The Ground Master 400 is a 3-D long-range Air Defense radar, offering detection from very high to very low altitudes.
It tracks a wide range of targets from highly maneuverable tactical aircraft flying below several hundred feet to the unconventional small radar cross section aircrafts like Unmanned Air Vehicles or cruise missiles.
The Ground Master (GM) family architecture is based on common building blocks and interfaces, a Stacked Beam Concept and Digital Beam Forming, providing complete range and altitude coverage.
For ease of maintenance, the GM radar scan be remotely monitored using a standard protocol underpinned by cyber solutions.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

USAF B-52 Bomber Gets Sniper Targeting Pod

Sniper Pod on B-52
Lockheed Martin has completed the integration of sniper targeting pod on to the USAF's aging B-52 bombers.
This upgrades imparts the more than 60 year-old B-52H Stratofortress better integration with ground forces and laser-guided bombs for precision strike capability.
US Air Force 2nd Bomb Wing successfully completed the first trial flight.
"This flight was the first time that the 2nd BW has used the sniper pod with live ordinance like the LGB," said Capt. Ryan Allen, a 20th Bomb Squadron radar navigation instructor.
"This pod gives a faster response time to our targets. What would normally take me 30 to 40 button presses in five minutes, now only takes me a few seconds to actually target and drop munitions."
This new capability also allows the aircrew to coordinate with ground forces in a new way that is beneficial to their safety and planning.
"With the pod we can integrate with the guys on the ground and let them see what we see. This way we are on the same page," Allen said.
"It also gives us a greater visibility range over that of the previous one."
With technology constantly moving forward this new pod gives its own set of challenges to the
"The way the pod can interact with our avionics system is state of the art," Allen said. "Most of the systems had to be radically improved to give us total interaction between the new and old."
The Sniper pod is the most widely deployed targeting system for fixed-wing aircraft in use by the U.S. Air Force.
Built by Lockheed Martin, Sniper pod provides long-range target detection/identification and continuous surveillance for all missions, including close air support of ground forces. Superior imagery, a video datalink and J-series weapons-quality coordinates enhance the warfighter’s ability to rapidly detect and analyze ground targets while keeping aircrews out of threat ranges.
B-52 is the backbone of the manned strategic bomber force for the United States. The B-52 is capable of dropping or launching the widest array of weapons in the U.S. inventory.
This includes gravity bombs, cluster bombs, precision guided missiles and joint direct attack munitions.
The bomber is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 50,000 feet (15,166.6 meters).
It has an unrefueled combat range in excess of 8,800 miles (14,080 kilometers).

Friday, March 22, 2013

AgustaWestland Details All Electric Tiltrotor Demonstrator Partners

Officially unveiled on March 4th, prior to the Heli-Expo 2013 in Las Vegas, USA, the revolutionary AgustaWestland “Project Zero” all-electric tiltrotor technology demonstrator is the result of close collaborations with Finmeccanica companies - Selex ES, Ansaldo Breda, and Ansaldo Energia - and partner companies from Italy, U.K., U.S.A. and Japan.

The tilt rotor technology demonstrator is completely electric powered; designed to hover like a helicopter and convert to a fixed wing aircraft in forward flight thanks to its two integrated rotors which can be tilted through more than 90 degrees.

The demonstrator’s rotors are driven by advanced electric motors powered by rechargeable batteries.
Stile Bertone of Italy worked closely with AgustaWestland in developing the aesthetically pleasing styling and aerodynamically unique tiltrotor configuration.

To maximize strength and minimize weight, the entire aircraft exterior surface is carbon graphite and it was produced by Lola Composite in the UK. Sistemi Dinamici is a high tech engineering company jointly owned by AgustaWestland and IDS of Pisa, Italy. Sistemi Dinamici was instrumental to "Project Zero" by working closely with the AgustaWestland Advanced Concept Group on Flight Control System and Rotor design.

The technologies developed by each partner are being fed into their various industrial sectors to bring value to each company.

Selex ES contributed with the High-Integrity Flight Control Computer and Actuator Control Unit using software provided by Wind River.

Ansaldo Breda drew on their vast expertise in designing and building high-speed electric trains to custom produce the electric motor inverter and motor control algorithm.

Ansaldo Energia specializes in manufacturing megawatts power generators has provided valuable expertise on the alternative hybrid electric-diesel solution.

Other partners and suppliers around the world that have contributed to “Project Zero”include Lucchi R. Elettromeccanica, a Rimini-based motor company, custom designed and built the axial flux permanent magnet electricmotors.

The aerodynamic properties of the rotor blades were designed by AgustaWestland and Rotor Systems Research LLC of USA. The composite structure for the blades, shrouds and spokes were designed by the Advanced Concepts Group and AgustaWestland Japan Asia Technology Center, then manufactured by UCHIDA in Japan.

The high bandwidth electromechanical actuators (EMA) for the innovative swash plateless individual blade control system were specifically developed by Microtecnica for “Project Zero”. The entire aircraft uses no hydraulics; the retractable landing gear, nacelle tilting mechanism, and elevons are controlled by EMA.

ORAL Engineering developed an efficient diesel engine for the alternative electric-hybrid propulsion solution and provided rapid CNC machining for the rotor and drive system. MB Motorsport, Aerosviluppi and Marc’Ingegno customized the special motor cooling system, wiring harness and retractable landing gears, respectively. The"Project Zero" technology demonstrator was designed, built and tested in twelve months.

The demonstrator’s rotors when on the ground can be tilted forward and the aircraft pointed into wind to allow the rotors to windmill and recharge the aircraft’s electrical storage device.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

SpaceX Qualifies New Merlin 1D Engine for Falcon 9 Rocket

Space Exploration Technologies’ (SpaceX) Merlin 1D rocket engine has achieved flight qualification, a major milestone for the next generation Merlin engine. Through a 28 test qualification program, the Merlin 1D accumulated 1,970 seconds of total test time, the equivalent run time of over 10 full mission durations, and is now fully qualified to fly on the Falcon 9 rocket.
The program included four tests at or above the power (147,000 pounds of thrust) and duration (185 seconds) required for a Falcon 9 rocket launch.
The Merlin 1D engine was also tested at propellant inlet and operating conditions that were well outside the bounds of expected flight conditions.
SpaceX's testing program demonstrated a ratio of 4:1 for critical engine life parameters such as firing duration and restart capacity to the engine's expected flight requirements. The industry standard is 2:1.
The engine would power SpaceX's new Falcon 9 V1.1 rocket in June from the company’s new launch pad at Vandenberg AFB, California.
The Merlin 1D builds on the technology of the Merlin engines used on the first five flights of Falcon 9. With nine Merlin 1Ds on the first stage, the Falcon 9 rocket will produce nearly 1.5 million pounds of thrust in a vacuum.
The Merlin 1D has a vacuum thrust-to-weight ratio exceeding 150, the best of any liquid rocket engine in history. This enhanced design makes the Merlin 1D the most efficient booster engine ever built, while still maintaining the structural and thermal safety margins needed to carry astronauts.
Additionally, the new engine is designed for improved manufacturability by using higher efficiency processes, increased robotic construction and reduced parts count.
Testing took place at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.

Sagem to Study Next Generation Missile Inertial Guidance Systems

French defense procurement agency DGA has awarded Sagem (Safran) a design study contract concerning inertial navigation systems for new-generation tactical missiles.
According to the terms of this contract, Sagem is responsible for the design and construction of inertial reference units for these missiles.
Based on vibrating gyro technology, this work will eventually lead to the development and production of more cost-efficient inertial navigation systems for use on all types of missiles, including air-to-air, surface-to-air, anti tank and anti ship.
Sagem already develops and produces the Hammer AASM (Armement Air-Sol Modulaire) modular guided weapon for this market.
Working with prime contractor MBDA, Sagem also makes the sights and seeker for the Mistral air defense missile, and the seeker forthe infrared version of the Mica air-to-air/surface-to-air missile.
In addition, Sagem was selected to develop and produce the infrared seeker for the MMP medium-range missile and MBDA’s air-to-surface and light antiship missiles.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Raytheon Delivers 8th AN/TPY-2 Radar to Counter Ballistic Missiles

AN/TPY-2 Radar ©Raytheon
Raytheon delivered its eighth AN/TPY-2 radar to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in support of the U.S. combatant commands.
An integral capability of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS), AN/TPY-2 is a mobile, X-band phased-array radar that helps protect the U.S., deployed forces, and allies by searching, acquiring and tracking threat ballistic missiles and discriminating between threats and non-threats.
The AN/TPY-2 radar Raytheon delivered will serve in terminal mode as the fire control radar for the U.S. Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system.
AN/TPY-2 has performed flawlessly in both terminal and forward-based mode in all major tests.
Forward-based AN/TPY-2's in Japan, Israel and Turkey are currently enabling the protection of the U.S., deployed troops, and allies from the growing threat of short-, medium- and long-range missiles.
AN/TPY-2 is a high resolution, mobile, rapidly deployable X-band Radar capable of providing long-range acquisition, precision track and discrimination of all classes of ballistic missiles, from Short-Range Ballistic Missiles to Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.
Forward-Based Mode
When employed in a forward-based mode, the AN/TPY-2 will detect a ballistic missile close to the country of origin. The Forward-Based X-band Radar (FBX-T) tracks the object and its flight and reports the data to the Command and Control Battle Management Communications (C2BMC) element. If the threat is deemed hostile, the target is intercepted and destroyed by a Ground Based Interceptor (GBI) or Standard Missile.
Terminal-Based Mode
In the terminal mode, the AN/TPY-2 is part of the THAAD ( Terminal High Altitude Area Defense ) integrated weapon system. The THAAD weapon system consists of launchers,interceptors, fire control and communications, and the AN/TPY-2 radar. The radar communicates with the fire controland the interceptor to detect, track, discriminate and destroy the threatening missile.

India Successfully Launches BRAHMOS Missile from Underwater Pontoon


The submarine-launched version of Indo-Russian BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile was successfully test-fired at 1410 hrs on Wednesday (20th March 2013) from a submerged platform in Bay of Bengal off the coast of Visakhapatnam.
Creating history, the missile took off vertically from the submerged platform for its full range of 290 kms.
Following a pre-defined trajectory, the missile emerged from underwater, took a turn towards the designated target meeting all mission objectives. All the telemetry and tracking stations, including Indian naval ships positioned throughout the flight path, confirmed the pin-point accuracy of the mission.
This is the first time that any supersonic cruise missile is launched vertically from a submerged platform.
BRAHMOS vertically installed in a modular launcher in the pressure hull of the submarine will increase the 'offensive power' of the vessel without compromising on its 'defensive power' as the torpedo tubes can be fully utilised for defence.
Dr. A Sivathanu Pillai, CEO & MD, BrahMos Aerospace said that "BRAHMOS missile is fully ready for fitment in P75 (I) of Indian Navy in vertical launch configuration which will make the platform one of the most powerful weapon platform in the World."
BRAHMOS missile is capable of being launched from submarine from a depth of 40-50 metres. The missile is installed in a modular launcher vertically in the pressure hull of the submarine. The missile has identical configuration similar to the ship based system.
The naval variant of BRAHMOS missile has already proved its mettle in both vertical and inclined launch configurations from moving warships.
The missile has been successfully inducted in number of frontline Indian Navy warships and will be deployed in other future surface ships. They are capable of both maritime strike and land attack.
The canisterised missile is launched vertically, the nose cap prevents water from entering the 'air-intake' during the underwater flight. Once the missile emerges from the water, the sensors provide the “out of water command” and the nose cap is fired for turning the missile in the desired direction to hit the target.
BRAHMOS is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage which brings it to supersonic speed and thengets separated. The liquid ramjet or the second stage then takes the missile closer to 3 Mach speed in cruise phase.
Its cruising altitude could be up to 15 km andterminal altitude is as low as 10 meters. It carries a conventional warhead weighing 200 to 300 kgs.
BrahMos, set up in 1998, produces three variants of the BrahMos missile, based on the Russian NPO Mashinostroyenie 3M55 Yakhont (NATO SS-N-26) supersonic cruise missile.

Northrop Grumman Delivers 100th Center Fuselage for F-35 Lightning II

PALMDALE, California,
Northrop Grumman marked the delivery of its 100 th F-35 Lightning II center fuselage to Lockheed Martin during a ceremony at its manufacturing center on March 8.

This center fuselage will be integrated into the 100th aircraft, a conventional takeoff and landing variant of the F-35, and will be designated AF-41. The jet will be delivered to the U.S. Air Force and is slated for pilot training at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.
Northrop Grumman began production on the AF-41 center fuselage in March 2012 and completed work on Feb. 26. It was shipped to Lockheed Martin on March 5. Northrop Grumman has been producing F-35 center fuselages since May 2004.
The Integrated Assembly Line (IAL) maximizes robotics and automation, providing additional capacity and assembly capability while meeting engineering tolerances that are not easily achieved using manual methods. The IAL is central in producing the F-35's center fuselage as well as increasing the program's affordability, quality and efficiency. The IAL design uses a system-engineering approach to integrate tooling and structure transport, system automation, automated drilling cells and tooling mechanization coordinated across multiple build centers.
The IAL was developed and designed with the help of the Detroit-based KUKA Robotics Aerospace Division, a commercial automation integrator, and was inspired by automation systems used by American automakers.
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 producing the F-35 center fuselage, Northrop Grumman designed and produces the aircraft's radar and other key avionics including electro-optical and communications subsystems; 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. In 2012, the company delivered 32 center fuselages and is on track to exceed 2012 delivery quantities in 2013.
Northrop Grumman's Palmdale site is a world-class facility that provides assembly, integration, testing and long-term maintenance capabilities for the F-35 and some of the world's other most advanced aircraft, including the B-2 Spirit and RQ-4 Global Hawk.

U.S Air Force Successfully Launches SBIRS Surveillance Satellite

U.S. Air Force’s second Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO-2) spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin, was successfully launched today at 5:21 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The SBIRS program delivers timely, reliable and accurate missile warning and infrared surveillance information to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, combatant commanders, the intelligence community and other key decision makers. The system enhances global missile launch detection capability, supports the nation's ballistic missile defense system, expands the country’s technical intelligence gathering capacity and bolsters situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield.
"We are proud to partner with the U.S. Air Force on the SBIRS program to deliver highly reliable infrared surveillance capabilities for strategic and tactical users across the defense and intelligence community,” said Jeff Smith, Lockheed Martin's vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) mission area. “Thanks to the unmatched expertise of the entire government and industry SBIRS team, we are confident this satellite will meet or exceed expectations and play a pivotal role in our national security for years to come.”
The SBIRS architecture includes a resilient mix of satellites in geosynchronous orbit, hosted payloads in highly elliptical earth (HEO) orbit, and ground hardware and software. The first two GEO satellites and HEO payloads have now launched.
SBIRS GEO-2 includes highly sophisticated scanning and staring sensors that will deliver improved infrared sensitivity and a reduction in area revisit times over the current constellation. The scanning sensor will provide a wide area surveillance of missile launches and natural phenomena across the earth, while the staring sensor will be used to observe smaller areas of interest with superior sensitivity.
The SBIRS team is led by the Infrared Space Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Lockheed Martin is the SBIRS prime contractor, Northrop Grumman is the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system. Lockheed Martin’s SBIRS contracts include four HEO payloads, four GEO satellites, and ground assets to receive, process, and disseminate the infrared mission data.  The team has also begun initial work on the fifth and sixth GEO satellites. 

Nellis Air Base Inducts F-35A

FORT WORTH, Texas, March 19, 2013
Three Lockheed Martin F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft were officially welcomed by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. during a commemorative ceremony today. The jets are assigned to the 422 Test and Evaluation Squadron of the 53rd Test and Evaluation Group.
“For more than 50 years, it’s been our privilege to support the Air Force mission, and we’re honored to deliver the first three F-35A CTOL aircraft to Air Force Warfare Center,” said Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “The work done by the Nellis team will forge the F-35 into the fighter of the future and test it to its limits. Their skilled pilots and maintainers will take the F-35’s performance to new heights and define the tactics the F-35 will one day use to defend freedom around the world.”
The first three operational-coded 5th generation F-35A CTOL fighters to Nellis marks the beginning of operational testing and evaluation at the base. To date, 24 CTOL aircraft have been delivered to the Air Force and 58 aircraft to the Department of Defense.
The 422nd TES is a composite squadron that executes Operational Test & Evaluation for the F-35.  The squadron conducts tactics development, foreign materiel exploitation, and special access programs to optimize system combat capability. By 2019, a total of 12 F-35As will be assigned to the base for testing and evaluation.
Nellis is scheduled to receive 36 F-35A Lightning IIs by 2020.
The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.
Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least ten other countries.
Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ryanair commits for 175 Boeing 737 NG Jets

Boeing secured a order from Ireland-based low cost carrier Ryanair, one of the few remaining all-Boeing airlines, for 175 Next-Generation 737-800s for the airline's fleet expansion.
When finalized, the agreement will be worth $15.6 billion.
The deal, signed in New York on Tuesday, will allow Ryanair to increase its fleet to 400 planes from 300 at present, as old planes are retired.
The 737NG family includes the -600, -700, -800 and -900 series of Boeing’s 737 short-to-medium range, narrow-body airliners. Its main competitor is the Airbus A320.
Ryanair has also opted CFM56-7BE jet engines to power its Boeing 737-800 airplanes. Pending shareholder approval, the engine order is valued at $3.7 billion U.S. at list price.
Lion Air of Indonesia dealt a blow to Boeing by switching to rival Airbus in a $24 billion order for 234 Airbus A320 jets, announced yesterday.

Embraer to Assemble A-29 Tucano LAS in Florida

​Jacksonville, Florida.
Embraer Aircraft Holding, Inc. has signed a 10-year lease for a 40,000-square-foot hangar in which the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft for the U.S . Air Force Light Air Support (LAS) program will be assembled. Preparation of the facility is currently underway. The LAS aircraft are urgently needed to support the successful withdrawal of U.S . troops from Afghanistan.
The facility at the Jacksonville International Airport already is undergoing modifications. The facility will perform pre-equipping, mechanical assembly , structural assembly , systems installation and testing, and flight testing of A-29 aircraft.
U.S Department of Defense on Feb. 27 awarded, for a second time, a $427 million contract to Embraer and Sierra Nevada Corp. of Sparks, Nevada, its general contractor, to supply 20 Super Tucano light air support turboprop aircrafts.
The aircraft will help the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan by providing the Afghan army with the weapons and technology it needs to fight Taliban insurgents.
As the aircraft selected for the LAS program, the A-29 Super Tucano will be used to provide light air support, reconnaissance and training capabilities to the Afghanistan military. As such, it is a vital element of the United States Afghan withdrawal strategy and central to maintaining security in the region.
More than 170 A-29 Super Ts are in use with armed forces around the world. It has clocked more than 180,000 flight hours and 28,000 combat hours, with no combat losses, and it is certified for more than 130 weapon configurations.
The Super Tucano was also tested and requested by the U.S. Navy for Imminent Fury.
In 2011 Embraer opened a production facility for its Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 jets and a Global Customer Center in Melbourne, and in 2012, the company broke ground on a new Engineering and Technology Center, also in Melbourne, that will employ 200 engineers. Some 1,400 additional jobs will be supported through the LAS contract.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Airbus A320 Family Books 450 Orders in a Week

Airbus secured a total of 450 orders for its A320 single aisle family aircrafts within days.
Indonesia’s Lion Air has placed a firm order with Airbus for 234 A320 Family aircraft, comprising 109 A320neo, 65 A321neo and 60 A320ceo.
The order was finalised today at a special ceremony at the Elysée Palace in Paris in the presence of President François Hollande of France, who witnessed the signing of documents by Rusdi Kirana, Co-Founder and CEO of Lion Air Group and Fabrice Brégier, President & CEO, Airbus.

Turkish Airlines, the largest airline in Turkey, has signed a contract for up to 117 Airbus A320 Family aircraft, on last Friday.
The deal comprises an order for 25 A321ceo, 4 A320neo, 53 A321neo and options for 35 additional A321neo aircrafts.
This order is the largest ever placed by a Turkish carrier.
Turkish Airlines already operates 75 A320 Family aircraft. The new order will help Turkish Airlines expand their short to medium-haul routes from their Istanbul hub.
German flag carrier Lufthansa has got its Supervisory Board approval for the acquisition of 100 Airbus A320 Family aircraft.
It includes 35 A320neo, 35 A321neo and 30 A320ceo with Sharklets and two A380 jumbo jets worth approximately US$ 11.2 billion at list prices.
Lufthansa has the biggest Airbus fleet worldwide, with 385 Airbus aircraft currently in service.
Incorporating new engines and large Sharklet wing tip devices, the A320neo Family will deliver fuel savings of 15 percent. A320neo(new engine option) is a rengined version of the A320. It will be powered by the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engine- PW1100G-JM.
While the CEO with Sharklets will deliver a four per cent fuel burn reduction.
In addition, the A320neo Family will provide a double-digit reduction in NOx emissions and reduced engine noise.
The A320neo will enter into service from late 2015, followed by the A319neo and A321neo in 2016.
Airbus A320 will celebrate its 25th anniversary on March 22 2013.
A320 launch in 1987 represented revolution in commercial aviation, with debut digital fly-by-wire flight control systems and side stick control.
More than 9,600 A320 Family aircraft have been ordered and more than 5,450 delivered to more than 385 customers and operators worldwide reaffirming its position as the world’s best-selling single-aisle aircraft Family.
The A320neo has over 95 percent airframe commonality making it an easy fit into existing fleets while offering up to 500 nautical miles (950 kilometres) more range or two tonnes more payload at a given range.

Lion Air orders 234 A320 Family aircrafts

Indonesia’s Lion Air has placed a firm order with Airbus for 234 A320 Family aircraft, comprising 109 A320neo, 65 A321neo and 60 A320ceo.
The order was finalised today at a special ceremony at the Elysée Palace in Paris in the presence of President François Hollande of France, who witnessed the signing of documents by Rusdi Kirana, Co-Founder and CEO of Lion Air Group and Fabrice Brégier, President & CEO, Airbus.
Aircrafts will be delivered over 2014-26. Airbus values the agreement at $24 billion at catalogue prices.
In a single class layout the A320 can seat up to 180 passengers, while the A321 can carry up to 236 with the latest cabin configuration options.
Lion Air Group will use the aircraft to its expanding domestic and regional route network. The carrier will announce engine selections for the aircraft in the near future.
Offering the lowest operating costs in its class, the A320 Family is the world's best-selling single-aisle product line. To date,some 9,400 aircraft have been ordered and more than 5.400 delivered to over 380 customers and operators worldwide. The A320ceo and A320neo share over 95 percent airframe commonality, enabling seamless operation of the various models ina single fleet.
Since taking to the skies in 2000, Jakarta-based Lion Air has become one of Asia’s fastest-growing airlines. Today the Group operates an extensive network covering over 70 destinations in Indonesia and SouthEast Asia

Saturday, March 16, 2013

F-15SA for Saudi Air Force Makes Maiden Flight

F-15SA During Maiden Flight ©USAF
The U.S. Air Force and Boeing have completed a successful first flight of the new F-15SA advanced fighter aircraft for the Royal Saudi Air Force.
The F-15SA's maiden flight took place on Feb. 20 at the Boeing facilities in St. Louis. The flight went as planned, meeting all test objectives to support the aircraft's on-schedule development.
The new aircraft is the centerpiece of the Royal Saudi Air Force F-15 Fleet Modernization Program, a wide-ranging $29.4 billion effort that stands as the largest foreign military sale in U.S. history.
The F-15SA brings improved performance, enhanced situational awareness and increased survivability at a lower total life-cycle cost.
Avionics advancements include a Digital Electronic Warfare Suite, Fly-By-Wire flight control system, an Infrared Search and Track system and Active Electronically Scanned Array radar.
Forward and aft cockpits feature advanced displays and Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems. Two additional weapon stations provide increased payload capacity.
The F-15SA flight test program will include three instrumented F-15SAs operating from Boeing facilities in St. Louis and Palmdale, California.
F-15SA new aircraft deliveries to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are scheduled to begin in 2015 and conclude by 2019.
Boeing will equip the F-15SA with General Electric made F-110- GE -129 engines, instead of the 'traditional' Pratt&Whitney F100-PW-220 series engines.
The F-15SA will be equipped with the APG-63(V)3 radar , the newest of the AESA radar developed by Raytheon.
Recently Lockheed Martin was awarded a $253 million contract agreement to begin work on F-15SA pilot and maintenance training systems for the Royal Saudi Air Force.

First Tranche 3 Eurofighter Assembly Completed

Eurofighter Tranche 3 ©BAe
BAe has completed the assembly of the first Tranche 3 Eurofighter Typhoon jets, destined for delivery to the British Royal Air Force.
The aircraft, British single seat no 116, has now entered electromagnetic testing.
Deliveries of Tranche 3 Typhoons are expected to start later this year.
A range of Typhoon systems such as the armament, fuel and flight controls could be susceptible to radio frequency transmissions such as ground radars or TV and radio transmission masts. To ensure the aircraft will operate correctly and safely in flight when exposed to these threats, the aircraft is undergoing Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) testing through a technique known as Direct Current Injection. This means the aircraft is injected with simulated threat signals directly into specially designed points on the nose, tail and wing tips.
EMC testing will last around eight weeks, after which the aircraft will undergo avionics testing before progressing to engine ground runs.
Under the Tranche 3A contract signed in 2009,a total of 112 aircraft have been ordered for the four European partner nations of Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, with 40 aircraft bound for the Royal Air Force.

P&W Auxilary Power Unit Selected for Embraer's Second Generation E-Jet

Pratt & Whitney AeroPower's APS2600[E] auxiliary power unit (APU) has been selected by Embraer for its second generation E-Jet.
APUs provide aircraft with secondary power in the form of high pressure air for main engine starting, cabin air conditioning and electric power while on the ground. APUs can also provide backup electric power during in-flight operation.
In addition to the APS2600[E] APU, Pratt & Whitney AeroPower APUs can be found on Embraer's ERJ-145, E170/175 and E190/195 fleets.
Pratt & Whitney AeroPower APU was also recently selected for Embraer's KC-390 military cargo tanker for the Brazilian Air Force.
The second generation Embraer E-Jets will also be equipped with Pratt & Whitney's PurePower® PW1700G and PW1900G engines, which will offer significant reductions in fuel burn, emissions, noise and operating costs compared to today's aircraft.

Pratt & Whitney, USAF Completes First Depot Overhaul of F119 Engine

F-119 Engine
Jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney, and U.S. Air Force at the F119 Heavy Maintenance Center (HMC) at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, completed the first depot overhaul for the lead-the-fleet "Compass Vector" engine which powers the USAF F-22 Raptor stealth fighter fleet.
The F119 HMC is an award-winning overhaul facility dedicated to the maintenance of F119-PW-100 engines for the fifth generation Raptor.
P&W manages the engine and module repair, technical support and overhaul processes, while Tinker personnel perform overhaul and repair activities, including cleaning and inspection services.
Each F119-PW-100 engine is scheduled for depot induction for major inspection and overhaul maintenance at the HMC facility. The HMC has been supporting unscheduled maintenance for the F119 fleet since its doors opened for business in 2004. The partnership work load increased beginning in 2010 when early production F119 engines began to be inducted into the HMC.
The F119-PW-100 turbofan is the only operational fifth generation fighter engine today, and is the most advanced production engine combining stealth technologies and vectored thrust with high thrust-to-weight performance to provide unprecedented maneuverability and survivability.
Two Pratt & Whitney F119 engines power the F-22 Raptor. Supercruise, the ability to operate supersonically without afterburning, gives the F-22 exceptional combat performance without compromising mission range.
Its three-stage integrally bladed fan is powered by a single-stage low-pressure turbine. The engine’s counterrotating core has an aerodynamically efficient six-stage compressor driven by a single-stage high-pressure turbine featuring the latest single-crystal superalloy blades and advanced cooling technologies.
The robust, yet compact, high-pressure compressor features the most advanced airfoil aerodynamics and integrally bladed rotor disks for ensured durability.
The F119 engine delivers unparalleled aircraft maneuverability with its unique two-dimensional pitch vectoring exhaust nozzle. This convergent/divergent nozzle vectors thrust as much as 20 degrees up or down. Nozzle position management is integrated with the F-22 flight control systemand is automatically regulated by the Full-Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC), as are hundreds of other engine andaircraft operating parameters. The FADEC also features advanced diagnostics and on-condition management capability for maintenance awareness, autonomic logistics support and automatic field and test data processing.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Airbus Military A400M Airlifter Receives Civil Certification from EASA

European Aviation Safety Agency(EASA) has awarded Airbus Military A400M airlifter with full Type Civil Certification, marking a critical step towards delivery of the first aircraft to the French Air Force.
Award of the Type Certificate makes the A400M the world’s first large military transport to be designed and certified to civil standards from its inception.
Military Initial Operating Clearance is ongoing, paving the way towards first delivery.
The Type Certificate, was presented to Airbus Military by EASA Certification Director Dr. Norbert Lohl.
During the certification programme the A400M has undergone exhaustive testing of its handling qualities throughout the flight envelope in normal and failure conditions; demonstrated outstanding performance in the heat of the Gulf, cold of Sweden and Canada, and at the high altitude of La Paz, Bolivia; and satisfactorily completed more than 300 hours of function and reliability testing to demonstrate the robustness of its Europrop TP400 engines and systems.
Additionally it has begun tests of more advanced military functions such as air-to-air refuelling, air dropping of supplies and paratroopers, and low-level flight – all with highly encouraging results. The five-strong fleet of “Grizzly” development aircraft has now completed some 4,800 hours in the air during more than 1,600 flights and will continue intensively to expand the A400M’s military capabilities.
Recently the first production prototype of A400M for French air force made its maiden flight.

Boeing Details 787 Battery Improvements

Boeing today detailed a comprehensive set of improvements that will add several layers of additional safety features to the lithium-ion batteries on 787 commercial jetliners are in production and could be ready for initial installation within the next few weeks.
New enclosures for 787 batteries also are being built and will be installed in airplanes in the weeks ahead.
These improvements, which continue to undergo extensive certification testing, will allow operators to resume commercial flights with their 787s as soon as testing is complete and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other international regulators grant their final approval.
The improvements include enhanced production and operating processes, improved battery design features and a new battery enclosure.
Earlier this week the FAA approved Boeing's certification plan, which lays out the discrete testing to be done to demonstrate that the battery improvements address the conditions laid out in the Airworthiness Directive that has suspended 787 commercial operations.

The enhancements to the battery system address causal factors identified by the Boeing technical team as possible causes of battery failure. The technical team's findings also were verified by an independent group of lithium-ion battery experts from a number of industries,universities and national laboratories.

Enhanced Production Controls and Operating Processes
The first layer of improvements is taking place during the manufacture of the batteries in Japan. Boeing teamed with Thales, the provider of the integrated power conversion system, and battery maker GS Yuasa to develop and institute enhanced production standards and tests to further reduce any possibility for variation in the production of the individual cells as well as the overall battery.
Four new or revised tests have been added to screen cell production, which now includes 10 distinct tests. Each cell will go through more rigorous testing in the month following its manufacture including a 14-day test during which readings of discharge rates are being taken every hour.
This new procedure started in early February and the first cells through the process are already complete. There are more than a dozen production acceptance tests that must be completed for each battery.
Boeing, Thales and GS Yuasa have also decided to narrow the acceptable level of charge for the battery, both by lowering the highest charge allowed and raising the lower level allowed for discharge.
Two pieces of equipment in the battery system – the battery monitoring unit and the charger are being redesigned to the narrower definition. The battery charger will also be adapted to soften the charging cycle to put less stress on the battery during charging.
Improved Battery Design Features
Changes inside the battery will help to reduce the chances of a battery fault developing and help to furtherisolate any fault that does occur so that it won't cause issues with other parts of the battery.
To better insulate each of the cells in the battery from one another and from the battery box, two kinds of insulation will be added. An electrical insulator is being wrapped around each battery cell to electrically isolate cells from each other and from the battery case, even in the event of a failure.
Electrical and thermal insulation installed above, below and between the cells will help keep the heat of the cells from impacting each other.
Wire sleeving and the wiring inside the battery will be upgraded to be more resistant to heat and chafing and new fasteners will attach the metallic bars that connect the eight cells of the battery. These fasteners include a locking mechanism.
Finally, a set of changes is being made to the battery case that contains the battery cells and the battery management unit.
Small holes at the bottom will allow moisture to drain away from the battery and larger holes on the sides will allow a failed battery to vent with less impact to other parts of the battery.
New Battery Enclosure
The battery case will sit in a new enclosure made of stainless steel. This enclosure will isolate the battery from the rest of the equipment in the electronic equipment bays.
It also will ensure there can be no fire inside the enclosure, thus adding another layer of protection to the battery system. The enclosure features a direct vent to carry battery vapors outside the airplane.
New titanium fixtures are being installed in the electronics equipment bays to ensure the housing is properly supported.
Testing Status
Testing to gain FAA approval of the battery enhancements has already started, with the FAA's permission.
During engineering testing, which occurs prior to certification testing, the team demonstrated that the new housing could safely contain a battery failure that included the failure of all eight cells within the battery.
The "ultimate" load is the equivalent of 1.5 times the maximum force ever expected to be encountered during a battery failure. The housing easily withstood this pressure and did not fail until the pressure was more than three times the ultimate load.
Through another test, the team demonstrated that fire cannot occur within the new enclosure. Its design eliminates oxygen, making the containment unit self-inerting.
Inerting is a step above fire detection and extinguishing as it prevents a fire from ever occurring. The design also vents all vapors by venting directly outside of the airplane rather than into the equipment bay.

Turkish Airlines Orders 117 Airbus A320 Jets

Turkish Airlines, the largest airline in Turkey, has signed a contract for up to 117 Airbus A320 Family aircraft (25 A321ceo, 4 A320neo, 53 A321neo and options for 35 additional A321neo aircraft).
This order is the largest ever placed by a Turkish carrier. The engine selection will be made at a later date.
Turkish Airlines already operates 75 A320 Family aircraft. The new order will help Turkish Airlines expand their short to medium-haul routes from their Istanbul hub, while the aircraft’s commonality with their existing Airbus fleet will generate additional cost-savings.
Incorporating new engines and large Sharklet wing tip devices, the A320neo Family will deliver fuel savings of 15 percent. In addition, the A320neo Family will provide a double-digit reduction in NOx emissions and reduced engine noise.
The A320neo will enter into service from late 2015, followed by the A319neo and A321neo in 2016.
More than 9,150 A320 Family aircraft have been ordered and more than 5,450 delivered to more than 385 customers and operators worldwide reaffirming its position as the world’s best-selling single-aisle aircraft Family.
The A320neo has over 95 percent airframe commonality making it an easy fit into existing fleets while offering up to 500 nautical miles (950 kilometres) more range or two tonnes more payload at a given range.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Swiss Space Systems Unveils Low Cost Satellite Launch Capability

Flight Plan ©S3

Swiss Space Systems (S3) unveiled its space shuttle project for placing small satellites (up to 250 kg) into low Earth orbit(altitudes of 600-800 km) at a cost well below current market rates. The company aims to have, the first test launch by 2017.
S3 aims to develop, manufacture, certify and operate unmanned suborbital spaceplanes for small satellite deployment.
Spaceplane onboard Airbus A330 ©S3
The Spaceplane will be launched from a Zero-G certified Airbus A300 jetliner. After detaching from the aircraft at desired speed and height, the onboard engines would be fired to reach the specified orbit, where the satellite would be deployed.
The spaceplane will use standard fuels, with no fuel required during landing after a suborbital flight.
Spaceplane S3
The main components used during the flight are re-usable and S3 would develop ground operations known from aviation such as inspection, repair and equipment replacement activities.
The S3 project is based on the VEHRA concept (Véhicule Hypersonique Réutilisable Aéroporté - airborne reusable hypersonic vehicle) developed by Dassault Aviation and equipped with a rocket engine and equipment from modern aircraft such as the Rafale or the Falcon business jets.

European Galileo Navigation System Partially Operationalised

Galileo Satellite
European satellite navigation system-Galileo has passed a historic milestone, with the first determination of a ground location using the four Galileo satellites currently in orbit together with their ground facilities.

A minimum of four satellites is required to make a position fix in three dimensions. The first two were launched in October 2011, with two more following a year on.
This first position fix of longitude, latitude and altitude took place at the Navigation Laboratory at ESA’s technical heart ESTEC, in Noordwijk, the Netherlands on the morning of 12 March, with an accuracy between 10 and 15 metres – which is expected taking into account the limited infrastructure deployed so far.
The €5 billion project is named after the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei. The system consists of a network of 30-satellite with 27 operational and three active spares.
This fix relies on an entirely new European infrastructure, from the satellites in space to the two control centres in Italy and Germany linked to a global network of ground stations on European territory.
With only four satellites for the time being, the present Galileo constellation is visible at the same time for a maximum two to three hours daily. This frequency will increase as more satellites join them, along with extra ground stations coming online, for Galileo’s early servicest o start at the end of 2014.
With the validation testing activities under way, users might experience breaks in the content of the navigation messages being broadcast. In the coming months the messages will be further elaborated to define the ‘offset’ between Galileo System Time and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), enabling Galileo to be relied on for precision timing applications, as well as the Galileo to GPS Time Offset, ensuring interoperability with GPS. In addition, the ionospheric parameters for single frequency users will be broadcast at a later stage.
Aim of Galileo is to provide a high-precision positioning system upon which European nations can rely, independently from the Russian GLONASS , US GPS , and Chinese Compass systems, which can be disabled in times of war or conflict.
Galileo is intended to provide horizontal and vertical position measurements within 1 meter precision, and better positioning services at high latitudes than other positioning systems.

Roscosmos Partners ESA for ExoMars Mars Mission

European Space Agency(ESA) and the Russian federal space agency, Roscosmos, have signed a formal agreement to work in partnership on the ExoMars Mars mission in search of life.
Programme aims to have two launch tmissions in 2016 and 2018.
Both sides have agreed a balanced sharing of responsibilities for the different mission elements. ESA will provide the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM) in 2016, and the carrier and rover in 2018.
Roscosmos will be responsible for the 2018 descent module and surface platform, and will provide launchers for both missions. Both partners will supply scientific instruments and will cooperate closely in the scientific exploitation of the missions.
ExoMars will also demonstrate core technologies under development by European industry such as landing, roving, drilling and sample preparation that are an essential part of paving the way for the next big step in the robotic exploration of Mars: a sample-return mission.
The 2016 mission has two major ESA elements: TGO and EDM. TGO will search for evidence of methane and other atmospheric gases that could be signatures of active biological or geological processes. It will also serve as a data relay for the2018 mission.
EDM will land on Mars to prove key technologies for the 2018 mission.
In 2018, the ExoMars rover, to be provided by ESA,will search the planet’s surface for signs of life, past and present. It will be the first Mars rover able to drill to depths of 2 m, collecting samples that have been shielded from the harsh conditions of the surface, where radiation and oxidants can destroy organic materials.
The rover will be delivered by a Russian descent module that includes a surface platform equipped with additional scientific instruments.
NASA will also deliver important contributions to ExoMars, including the Electra UHF radio package for TGO, and Mars Proximity Link telecom and engineering support to EDM.

Lufthansa Orders 102 Airbus Jets Worth $11.2b

German flag carrier Lufthansa will acquire a total of 102 Airbus aircrafts. Lufthansa's Supervisory Board has approved the acquisition of 100 Airbus A320 Family aircraft (35 A320neo, 35 A321neo and 30 A320ceo with Sharklets) and two A380 jumbo jets worth approximately US$ 11.2 billion at list prices. The engine choices will be announced by the airline at a later date.
This latest acquisition reconfirms the Lufthansa Group as Airbus’ largest airline customer, with a total of 532 aircraft ordered.
Lufthansa has the biggest Airbus fleet worldwide, with 385 Airbus aircraft currently in service.
These include: 271 A320 Family, 41 A330s, 63 A340s, and 10 A380s.
‘The A320neo and A320ceo Family aircraft will be used for Lufthansa Groups’ network development and fleet modernisation. While the CEO with Sharklets will deliver a four per cent fuel burn reduction, the NEO will contribute to cutting Lufthansa’s fuel burn by another 15 per cent. On top the A380 demonstrates a 12 per cent fuel burn reduction compared to its nearest competitor.

Airbus Delivers 100 A380 Jumbo

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Airbus together marked a major achievement, with the hand-over of the 100th A380 to MAS at Airbus’ Henri Ziegler Delivery Centre in Toulouse, France. The aircraft is the sixth A380 for MAS.
Now in its sixth year of commercial service, the A380 is flying with nine world class airlines. To date, the worldwide fleet has carried some 36 million passengers in 100,000 flights. Previous generation Very Large Aircraft (VLA 400 seats and above) would have required 140,000 flights. This reduction in flights brings essential relief to airport-congestion and the environment. The corresponding saving of 5.7 million tonnes of CO2, demonstrates the A380 generates more revenue whilst minimizing emissions and noise. 
The A380 fleet performs over 140 flights per day and carries over one and a half million people each month. Passengers can hop on board one of the A380s which are either taking off or landing every six minutes at one of the 32 international airports where it operates to date. On top of these, more than 50 other airports are getting prepared to accommodate the A380 and answer the airlines’ need for more A380 destinations.
Over the next 20 years, more than 1,700 VLA such as the A380 will have been delivered. Asia Pacific leads demand (45 percent) for these high capacity aircraft, followed by the Middle East (23 percent) and Europe (19 percent).
Typically seating 525 passengers in three classes, the aircraft is capable of flying 8,500 nautical miles or 15,700 kilometers non-stop, carrying more people at lower cost and with less impact on the environment. The spacious, quiet cabin and smooth ride have made the A380 a firm favorite with passengers, resulting in higher load factors wherever it flies. 
Since 2006 the A380 has registered repeat orders by satisfied customers every year, bringing the total order book to date to 262 from 20 customers.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

UTC Aerospace Systems to provide the Nacelle Systems to Pratt & Whitney’s Geared Turbofan™ Engines For Embraer E-Jets.

UTC Aerospace Systems has been chosen by Pratt & Whitney as the exclusive nacelle provider for both engine models for Embraer’s new Second Generation E-Jet aircraft.
The nacelle systems will be provided by the Aerostructures business unit headquartered in Chula Vista, California.
The Embraer Second Generation E-Jets will be equipped with Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower® Geared Turbofan™ PW1700G and PW1900G engines.
Designed and manufactured to leverage the latest in composite technology, the nacelle systems will directly contribute to the significant reductions in fuel burn, emissions, noise and operating costs that Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower engines will provide compared to today’s aircraft.
The PurePower engine uses an advanced gear system and an all-new advanced core that delivers double-digit improvements in fuel efficiency and environmental emissions, as well as a 50 percent reduction in noise.
The nacelles for the Embraer Second Generation E-Jets feature a 360-degree acoustically smooth inlet that we developed, which is a major contributor to reductions in engine noise.
The Aerostructures business currently supplies the APU tailcone for the EMBRAER 170 and the EMBRAER 175, APU tailcone and GE CF34-10 nacelle system for the EMBRAER 190 and the EMBRAER 195.
Based on forecasts for aircraft orders, UTC Aerospace Systems estimates that this latest selection by Pratt & Whitney will generate approximately $12 billion in sales over the life of the aircraft program.
The new Second Generation E-Jets are expected to enter into service in 2018.
The Aerostructures business is also providing the nacelle system for additional applications of PurePower engines, including the PW1100G-JM, PW1200G and PW1500G engines.