Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ariane 5 ECA Orbits EUTELSAT 25B/Es'hail 1 and GSAT-7 Satellites

Ariane 5 ECA Liftoff

Arianespace’s heavy-lift workhorse Ariane 5 space launcher successfully orbited the EUTELSAT 25B/Es’hail 1 and GSAT-7 spacecraft on its 57th consecutive success for Ariane 5 ECA Launcher.
The mission was carried out from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff was on Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm local time in Kourou (4:30 pm in Washington, D.C., 20:30 UT, 10:30 pm in Paris, 11:30 pm in Doha, and on Friday, August 30 at 2:00 am in Bangalore).
The satellites were deployed into geostationary transfer orbit, with EUTELSAT 25B/Es’hail 1 released nearly 28 minutes after liftoff, and GSAT-7 separating approximately six minutes later to complete the flight sequence.
EUTELSAT 25B/Es'hail 1 was designed and built by Space Systems/Loral in California and weighed 6,310 kg at liftoff. The EUTELSAT 25B/Es'hail 1 satellite is a joint program of Es-hailSat and Eutelsat to operate a high-power satellite at 25.5 degrees East, an orbital position that has been used for many years.
This new satellite will serve booming markets in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. It will replace EUTELSAT 25C to bolster the power and coverage provided from this orbital position. In addition to ensuring Ku-band service continuity for Eutelsat and providing Ku-band capacity for Es'hailSat, the satellite will offer the two partners their initial Ka-band capacity, paving the way for new business development opportunities.
Indian GSAT-7 satellite, designed, developed and integrated by ISRO in Bangalore, southern India, is a dedicated to telecommunications services for the Indian Navy. It weighed 2,650 kg at launch and offers a design life exceeding seven years. GSAT-7 carries Ku, C, S and UHF band transponders. Positioned at 74 degrees East, its coverage zone encompasses the entire Indian subcontinent.
The EUTELSAT 25B/Es'hail 1 satellite is the first geostationary telecommunications satellite launched for Qatar, and the 23rd launched by Arianespace for customers in Africa and the Middle East.
It carries on the collaboration between Arianespace and Eutelsat that started in June 1983, and therefore marks its 30th anniversary this year.
GSAT-7 is the 17th ISRO satellite to use the European launcher since the Apple experimental satellite was launched on flight L03 in 1981. Arianespace has also launched two other satellites designed by India, for the operators Eutelsat and Avanti Communications.
The partnership between Arianespace and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) reaches back to the creation of Arianespace, and has allowed the two companies to define highly effective joint working methods, as shown by today's launch, just a month after the launch of Insat-3D, a meteorological satellite developed by ISRO, by an Ariane 5 ECA from the Guiana Space Center on July 25.
Ariane 5 delivered a total liftoff performance of 9,790 kg., including its two payloads and hardware for the launcher’s dual-payload deployment system. The mission represents the 215th launch of an Ariane-series vehicle, as well as the 71st liftoff for Ariane 5.
To date, Arianespace has lofted 20 payloads in 2013 on seven missions across its entire family. Ariane 5 has carried seven spacecraft into orbit on its four missions this year, with a combined total liftoff performance of more than 50,000 kg.
The medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega have been active as well, with one mission each from the Spaceport, in addition to a Soyuz flight from the Baikonur Cosmodrome conducted by Arianespace’s Starsem affiliate.
Arianespace’s next launch – Soyuz Flight VS06 – will orbit the second batch of four O3b Networks’spacecraft during late September, following the initial four lofted by Soyuz in June. Soyuz Flight VS07, the medium-lift vehicle’s subsequent mission from French Guiana, is to launch Europe’s Gaia “star-mapper” spacecraft in late November.

Aborted GSLV-D5 Mission In December With New Second Stage And Strap-on Motors

The aborted launch of India's GSLV-D5 satellite launch mission with an Indian Cryogenic Stage, on August 19, 2013, will now be carried out in December 2013, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a press release.
Based on current availability of hardware and components, the GSLV Vehicle assembly and checkout is expected to be completed at the Vehicle Assembly Building by the first week of December 2013 and the launch could take place by December 2013.
A new Liquid Second Stage (GS-2) is being assembled to replace the leaked-stage. All the four Liquid Strap-on Stages are being replaced with new ones. The First Stage (Solid) and core base shroud are being inspected and the elements that are affected will be replaced. The Satellite Assembly, Avionics Equipment Bay and the Cryogenic Stage will be preserved, following prescribed practices.
The mission was called off due to a leak observed in the UH25 Fuel system of the Liquid Second Stage, during the last lap of the countdown. At the time of calling off the Countdown, the GSLV Vehicle was loaded with 210 tons of liquid and cryogenic propellants.
About 750 kg of UH25 Fuel had leaked out, leading to contamination of the area around the launch pad. It took 6 days of round-the-clock operations before the contamination could be reduced to the safe level to enable movement of the GSLV-D5 back to the Vehicle Assembly Building. The GSLV-D5 Launch Vehicle has been safely moved back to the Vehicle Assembly Building on the early morning of August 26, 2013. The Vehicle has been de-stacked.
Chairman, ISRO constituted a High Level Task Team on August 20, 2013, chaired by Shri K. Narayana, (former Director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre) to identify the cause of the leak and to work out an action plan for quick restoration of the Mission, taking into account the safety, reliability and life of the Liquid Second Stage and the four Liquid Strap-on stages, which were wetted with liquid propellants.
The leak is suspected to be in the lower portion of the propellant tank or the fluid lines between the tank and fuel filling system of the Second stage. Detailed investigation of the leak is underway.

Britain Deploys 6 Eurofighters In Cyprus To Counter Possible Syrian Retaliation

Britain has deployed Six Royal AirForce Eurofighter Typhoon interceptor jets to Akrotiri in Cyprus, on Thursday, to guard against potential retaliation by the Syrian Assad regime in the event of a airstrikes against Syria.
A UK defence ministry press release stated this as a precautionary measure, specifically aimed at protecting UK interests and the defence of Sovereign Base Areas. This is a movement of defensive assets operating in an air-to-air role only. They are not deploying to take part in any military action against Syria.
Cyprus is a mere 100 km from the Syrian coast and the city of Latakia, Assad’s hometown and recently re-captured by government forces.
The Typhoons have been sent out in a defensive counter air (DCA) role, the RAF said, and are fitted with advanced medium range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM), advanced short range air-to-air missiles (ASRAAM), and a Mauser cannon for close combat.
Cyprus is an extremely busy Permanent Joint Operating Base with RAF personnel at Akrotiri. It supports ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as support for the Sovereign Base area on the Island. The RAF uses RAF Akrotiri as a forward mounting base for overseas operations in the Middle East and also for Fast Jet Weapons Training.

Northrop Acquires Qantas Defence Services

Australian subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, Northrop Grumman Australia Pty Limited, signed a definitive agreement with Qantas Airways to acquire Australia-based Qantas Defence Services Pty Limited (QDS).
Northrop in a press release said the acquisition is subject to various conditions and is expected to close in 2014. Terms of the transactions were also not disclosed.
QDS provides integrated logistics, sustainment and modernization support to Australian government and military customers.
With more than 300 employees in facilities throughout Australia, QDS provides through life support for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Multi Role Tanker Transport fleet, turn-key operational logistics services for the Australian Government's VIP aircrafts, and engine overhaul services for the P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft and BAE Hawk Lead-in Fighter.
In addition, Indonesia recently awarded QDS a contract to refurbish C-130H aircraft. QDS also provides engineering consultancy services to the Royal Australian Navy and other maritime customers.

Northrop Grumman is a leading US global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide.

MAKS 2013: Commercial Variant Of Ansat Helicopter Certified

Russian Helicopters, a subsidiary of Oboronprom, part of State Corporation Rostec, announced that the light multirole commercial Ansat helicopter with hydro-mechanical controls produced by Kazan Helicopters has obtained type certification from the Aviation Register of the Interstate Aviation Committee (AR IAC).

The certificate was presented at an official ceremony at the MAKS 2013 International Aviation and Space Salon, and was attended by officials from the Russian Industry and Trade Ministry, the IAC, Russian Helicopters and Kazan Helicopters. The certificate confirms that the Ansat meets aviation regulations and can enter commercial operation.

Kazan Helicopters, the Russian Helicopters company that designed and produces the Ansat, began work on certification of the commercial hydro-mechanical version of the helicopter in 2011.

Previously Kazan Helicopters produced a fly-by-wire version of the Ansat; however, no commercial fly-by-wire helicopter had obtained certification any where in the world, and there were no established requirements for such a helicopter. To bring the helicopter to market more quickly it was decided to adjust the Ansat programme accordingly by switching to a traditional hydro-mechanical system. The helicopter retains the same take-off weight and technical parameters with the new controls.

Experts say that the modernized Ansat has a number of important competitive advantages over other models in its class. It is reliable and easy to operate, can tolerate a wide range of climates and temperatures, and is suitable for outdoor storage. Russian Helicopters has already demonstrated the new Ansat in key markets including the CIS, South-East Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The fly-by-wire Ansat programme continues to make successful progress in the military sector. The Russian Defence Ministry is buying the Ansat-Utraining model for its flight-training schools. Institutes of the Russian Air Force’s Military Training Centre will also receive a consignment of Ansat-Us in November 2013 under the current contract.

The multi-purpose light helicopter Ansat is powered by PW 207K engine by Pratt & Whitney can be used for cargo and passengers transportation, observation, search and rescue and ambulance and evacuation operations.

GE Begun Testing On Its New Composite Fan Blades For GE9X Engine


Jet engine major GE Aviation has begun testing on its new composite fan blades for the GE9X, the next-generation GE90 engine that will power Boeing's 777X aircraft. This validation test is the first of several testing programs GE has planned this year for the GE9X fan module.

MAKS 2013: Delivery Contract For 41 Sukhoi Superjets Signed

During the ongoing МAKS 2013 Airshow at Zhukovsky in Russia, Sukhoi signed three major contracts for a total 41 SuperJet 100 airliners.

In the first deal, Sukhoi and Ilyushin Finance Co (IFC) signed two firm contracts for the delivery of 20 Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft.
The first contract included five SSJ100 LR aircraft in 103-seat configuration. An increased passenger capacity will be provided by means of slimmer seats installation and first deliveries expected at the end of 2015. The customer is still negotiated at the moment.
The second contract for customers in the South-East Asia and the Middle East region was concluded for fifteen Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft in its Basic version with deliveries expected in 2015.
The deliveries will be financed through the support of the Russian Government on financing Russian industrial exports and high-tech products. This support is provided by the Government to banks extending credits to customers buying Russian products.

Another deal was a three-party delivery contract for six Sukhoi Superjets between Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC), UTair Aviation and VEB-Leasing. The delivery of the aircraft is scheduled for 2014.
Pursuant to the contract VEB-Leasing purchases from SCAC six Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft totaling $ 217.2 million of the catalogue price for further delivery to UTair Aviation based on terms of financial leasing.
UTair is planning to operate Sukhoi Superjet 100 both in domestic routes: Western Siberia and European part of Russia, and to Europe.
Pilots, cabin crew and technical staff to be trained in the Training Centre located in Zhukovsky (Moscow Region).

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Boeing F/A-18 Advanced Super Hornet Demonstrates Stealth And Range Improvements

During the three weeks of flight testing that the F/A-18 Advanced Super Hornet prototype fighter underwent, Boeing and partner Northrop Grumman demonstrated the fighter can outperform threats for decades to come with improvements that make the jet much harder for radar to detect and give it significantly more combat range.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Boeing Rolls Out First Stretched 787-9 Dreamliner

photo: Boeing
Boeing rolled out its first streched 787-9 Dreamliner-the second member of its super-efficient 787 family to the flight line on Aug 24 from its Everett plant in Washington.
The 787-9 will complement and extend the 787 family, offering airlines the ability to grow routes opened with the 787-8.
At 20 feet (6 m) longer than the basic 787-8, the 787-9 will extend the 787 family in both capacity and range, carrying 40 more passengers an additional 300 nautical miles (555 km).
The prototype will now proceed to initial ground tests followed by first flight in September.
The vertical stabilizer on this 787-9 reflects the new Boeing Commercial Airplanes livery, a refreshed look for the Boeing family of airplanes that started with the 747-8 and evolved with the 737 MAX. Many features of the livery on the original 787 are reflected in the new design. The prominent number designator on the tail helps distinguish various models within the same product family.
The 787-9 leverages the visionary design of the 787-8 such as its exceptional environmental performance — 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than similarly sized airplanes — and passenger-pleasing features.
With the second and third airplanes in final assembly, Boeing and the 787-9 are on track.
Boeing is building the first three 787-9s on its Temporary Surge Line in Everett to allow for smoother integration of the 787-9 into the production system while continuing to ramp up production across the 787 program.
First delivery to launch customer Air New Zealand is set for mid-2014. 20 customers around the world have ordered 376 787-9s, accounting for 40 percent of all 787 orders.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Long Range Sukhoi SuperJet 100 Variant Certified

On August 22, 2013, Russian civil aviation authority-Aviation Register of the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC AR) issued a Supplement to the Type Certificate for RRJ100-95LR aircraft — Long Range version of Sukhoi Superjet 100.
IAC AR confirmed the SSJ100 LR’s compliance with the Interstate Aviation Committee’s current aviation regulations. This will allow Russian airlines to operate the SSJ100 long range version.
A Supplement to the Type Certificate for SSJ100 Long Range was issued upon successful completion of the certification test program.
On February 15, Sukhoi Superjet 100 LR prototype performed its ferry flight across Russia from Komsomolsk-on-Amur to the Flight Test Center in Zhukovsky to start certification program.
The program included testing for steadiness and control performance, high angle of attack and integrity limit conditions, buffeting and shimmy, testing of engines and automatic control equipment.
As part of the testing program, SSJ100LR aircraft with manufacture number 95032 operated 115 flight hours on more than 60 flights.
Sukhoi Superjet 100 LR version differs from the basic in several respects: it can reach 4578 km, and has an increased take-off weight — up to 49.45 tons compensated by the strengthened wing. SSJ100 LR is equipped with two SaM146 turbofan engines with a 5% increased thrust compared to SSJ100 basic version.
The first Sukhoi Superjet 100 LR delivery to the Russian airline Gazpromavia is planned for the third quarter of 2013. The aircraft features full-economy class for 90 passenger seats. In total, Gazpromavia ordered ten SSJ100 LR.

MAKS 2013: Sukhoi T-50 and Su-35S Aerobatics To Thrill Audience

Sukhoi T-50

The Russian 5th-generation T-50 fighter jet and Su-35S supermaneuverable fighter will demonstrate their flying capabilities during demonstration flights on August 27 at the MAKS-2013 International Aviation and Space show in the Moscow suburb of Zhukovsky.
Exhibitors and visitors will see complex and spectacular figures such as spatial barrels, somersaults, flat spin, the famous “Pugachev’s Cobra” and others stunning aerobatics.
The T-50 stealth fighter will be piloted by the Honored test pilot of the Russian Federation, the Hero of Russia Sergey Bogdan. The Hero of Russia, the Honored test pilot, Master of sports of international class aerobatics Yuri Vashchuk will pilot the Su-35S.
They are currently involved in the training flights at the air field of the M.M.Gromov Flight Research Institute in Zhukovsky.
The premiere flight program of the Su-35S was presented in Russia at the MAKS-2009 air show, its overseas debut — at the air show in Le Bourget-2013. The T-50 made its first public appearance at the MAKS-2011 air show in Zhukovsky.
Sukhoi Su-35

MAKS 2013: Russian Helicopters To Present Latest Mi-171 A2 Helo

Russian Helicopters, leading designer and manufacturer of helicopters, will present its new medium multirole Mi-171A2 at the MAKS 2013 International Aviation & Space Salon, which starts on August 27 in the Moscow Region town of Zhukovsky.

The helicopter has already arrived at the Gromov Flight Research Institute aerodrome where it will be based before going on static display as part of Russian Helicopters’ exhibition at MAKS.

The Mi-171A2 is one of the most eagerly anticipated new models of the Russian aviation industry. It has been created using the latest technologies, and builds on the many years of operating experience of theMi-8/17 series of helicopters in different climatic conditions around the world.

Thanks to a number of innovations the Mi-171A2 boasts substantially improved flight capabilities and technical parameters, as well as expanded functionality. The helicopter is fitted with a powerful and economical VK-2500PS-03 turboshaft engine, modified transmission and rotor system that prolong the helicopter’s operating life, and composite main rotors and a new X-shaped tail rotor.

The cabin can be quickly and easily reconfigured as a transport or passenger helicopter, and additional equipment can also be fitted as necessary.

The helicopter’s designers have achieved a high level of safety and reduced cost per flight hour. There is expected to be particular interest in the helicopter’s KBO-17 integrated glass-cockpit piloting and navigation system, which makes the helicopter more responsive and significantly reduces crew workload.

The avionics suite includes a PKV-171A digital autopilot. The producer of the integrated on-board systems, Concern Radioelectronic Technologies, will display at its pavilion a working prototype of an Mi-171A2 flight simulator for pilot training.

The medium multirole Mi-8/17 series is the world’s most popular helicopter, with more machines produced than any other in its class, and today is widely operated around the world.

By the end of 2013, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant plans to deliver a second prototype of the Mi-171A2 to Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant for improvements and testing.

Russian Helicopters plans to complete certification of the Mi-171A2 to the flightworthiness standards of the Aviation Register of the Interstate Aviation Committee in 2014, with deliveries to buyers scheduled to start in 2015.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Grounded Alenia M-346 Trainer Resumes Test Flights

The only Alenia M-346 advanced jet trainer has resumed flight test operations after it was grounded by Alenia following an crash of the company-owned, pre-series aircraft on 11 May 2013.
Alenia in a statement said its technical investigation has allowed to successfully identify the accident's causes and findings has been shared with air force customers, and the required aircraft modifications have been approved by the relevant authority, the Italian Direzione Armamenti Aeronautici (DAA).
It was the second crash of an M-346 pre-production aircraft; the first jet crashed off the coast of Dubai in November 2011 after appearing at the Dubai Air Show.

F-35C Completes First In-Flight Refuel With USAF KC-135 Tanker


On Aug. 20, an F-35 Lightning II carrier variant (CV) was successfully aerial refueled from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 tanker for the first time.
With the completion of this test, the F-35C joins the A and B models in proving that all three variants of the F-35 can be refueled from a common tanker platform, despite different methods.
The aircraft, known as CF-1, was piloted by Lt. Col. Patrick Moran. Earlier this month, the Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, the Navy's first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant aircraft squadron, completed its first flight at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps' carrier variant has larger wings and more robust landing gear than the other variants, making it suitable for catapult launches and fly-in arrestments aboard naval aircraft carriers. Its wingtips fold to allow for more room on the deck on the carriers while deployed.
The CV has the greatest internal fuel capacity of the F-35 variants, and, like the F-35B, the C-variant uses probe and drogue refueling.

General Dynamics VENOM Acoustic Processor Selected for South Korean P-3C Aircraft Upgrade Program

General Dynamics Canada has been awarded a multi-year contract to provide next-generation acoustic processing systems as part of the South Korean Navy (RoKN) P-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft upgrade program.
Under the contract, prime contractor Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd. will acquire 10 Vpx ENhanced Open architecture Multi-static (VENOM) sonobuoy processors to replace the existing acoustic systems under the “Lot I” P-3C aircraft upgrade program. In 2010, General Dynamics Canada completed delivery of acoustic processors for the Republic of Korea Navy’s “Lot II” P-3 upgrade program.
The VENOM system is an advanced acoustic processor designed to provide underwater acoustic signal acquisition and processing capabilities, automation and sophisticated tools that help acoustic operators to quickly and accurately detect, classify and track submarines in complex undersea environments.
The compact size and modularity of VENOM’s3U VPX form factor makes it ideal for new or retrofit airborne applications.
General Dynamics Canada has been providing acoustic processing systems to the Canadian government and international customers for more than 40 years.

More information at

Friday, August 23, 2013

General Dynamics Awarded US Army Hydra-70 Rocket Contract

US Army Apache with Hellfire and Hydra-70(blue) missiles

General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products recently has been awarded a $67.5 million contract by the U.S. Army for the production of Hydra-70 air-to-ground rockets.

PLAAF Aerobatic J-10 Jets To Perform At MAKS 2013

In its first overseas assignment, Bayi Aerobatic Team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force with its J-10 fighter jets arrived at the Ramenskoye Airport in Moscow on August 21 to attend the 11th Moscow International Aviation and Space Salon- MAKS 2013 airshow, from 27 Aug to Sept 1.
The team consists seven J-10 aerobatic planes and two Ilyushin Il-76 transport planes with its support crew. The team will stage three air shows from August 30 to September 1.
The Bayi Team will also carry out friendly exchanges with the Warriors Aerobatics Team of the Russian Air Force, so as to further enhance strategic mutual trust and pragmatic cooperation between the Chinese and Russian militaries.
The Bayi team was initially equipped with J-5 aircrafts, which were gradually upgraded to J-10 .

Mitsubishi MRJ First Flight Delayed To 2015

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MITAC) on 22 Aug announced a revised schedule of its Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) program. According to the new schedule, the first flight of MRJ is slated for 2Q CY2015-delaying for more than a year with first delivery in 2Q CY2017.
Earlier the first flight was scheduled for 4Q CY2013, and first delivery between summer CY2015 and 1Q CY2016.
Mitsubishi in a statement said,
"In developing the MRJ with a focus on safety, unprecedented fuel efficiency, and passenger comfort, MITAC has simultaneously addressed processes in which design and development of aircraft system and component specifications are aligned with safety certification.
Design and respective certification, however, have taken greater resources than anticipated which, in turn, impacted component deliveries and aircraft fabrication".
"In step with program partners, MITAC has established this new schedule to take into account the fulfillment of respective safety certification standards."
"Assembly of the first test airframes is under way in preparation for respective ground and flight tests. Customer support's portfolio of services and providers are also taking shape, as is the preparation of facilities for realizing serial production at the earliest."
The MRJ is a family of 70- to 90-seat next-generation regional jets that will offer both top-class operational economy and outstanding cabin comfort.
The MRJ will have a four-abreast seat configuration, with large overhead bins, and also feature a slim seat that offers heightened comfort to passengers.
Mitsubishi has a backlog for 165 firm orders with 160 options.

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation is capitalized at 100 billion yen, with financing furnished by, among others, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation,Sumitomo Corporation and Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Boeing Begins Assembling 2nd KC-46A Tanker Aircraft

Boeing officially began assembling the second KC-46A Tanker prototype this week as workers loaded the aircraft’s wing spar into an Automated Spar Assembly Tool. The on-time milestone brings the program another step closer to delivering the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation aerial refueling tanker.
The event comes less than two months after the KC-46 program began to assemble the first of four Engineering, Manufacturing and Development test aircraft.
The wing spar, the main structural component of the wing, is 82 feet 5 inches long and provides critical support for flight loads and the weight of the wings. Assembly of 4 test aircraft is to be completed by July 2014

“Completing production of the four test aircraft on schedule is our priority as we prepare to enter the flight test phase of the program,” said Maj. Gen. John Thompson, U.S. Air Force Program Executive Officer for Tankers. “The program continues to meet or exceed all contract milestones.”
The first test aircraft is expected to roll out of the factory in January 2014, while the second is scheduled to leave the factory in March.
Boeing plans to fly the fully provisioned tanker for the first time in early 2015 and make the first delivery in 2016. The company expects to build and deliver the first 18 KC-46As by 2017 and a total of 179 by 2027 if all options under the contract are exercised.
The KC-46A is based on the proven Boeing 767 commercial jetliner airframe in service as an airliner, freighter and tanker which Boeing has delivered more than 1,050 767s worldwide.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

First Production Beechcraft AT-6 Makes Inaugural Flight

The first production Beechcraft AT-6 light attack aircraft made its inaugural flight on Aug 20 from its Wichita, Kansas plant. With more than 1,600 hours already logged in AT-6 test aircraft, Beechcraft is offering the AT-6 to U.S. partner nations in need of light attack air support for the most demanding scenarios.
The aircraft was loaded with a pair of 66 gal (250litres) drop tanks, two inert GBU-58 laser-guided bombs and two LAU-131 seven-shot rocket launchers.
Beechcraft is yet to secure orders for AT-6.
The AT-6 is a multi-role, multi-mission aircraft system designed to meet the spectrum of needs for the light attack mission. Leveraging a range of highly-specialized, but off-the-shelf capabilities, the AT-6 is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment such as Pratt and Whitney PT6A-68D engine, CMC Esterline’s mission modified Cockpit 4000, Lockheed Martin’s A-10C-based mission system and L-3 WESCAM’s MX-15Di sensor suite.
The aircraft has successfully demonstrated high-end net-centric and light attack capabilities and full compatibility with U.S. and NATO Joint Terminal Attack Controller systems during the ANG Operational Assessment and Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment in 2010.
The AT-6 leads the light attack market with purpose-built capability, affordability, sustainability and interoperability for the most demanding of scenarios.
Beechcraft Corporation designs, builds and supports versatile and globally renowned aircraft, including the King Air turboprops, piston-engine Baron and Bonanza, and the T-6 trainer and AT-6 light attack military aircraft.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Indian Air Force C-130J Super Herc Projects Power Near Chinese Border

In a significant strategic airlift capability demonstration move by the Indian Air Force (IAF), a C-130J Super Hercules airlifter landed at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), the highest airstrip in the world which is close to the Line of Actual Control with China, on Tuesday morning.
Flexing its muscles in eastern Ladakh, where the Indian and Chinese armies are having face-offs in recent months, IAF Commanding Officer Group Captain Tejbir Singh and the crew of the “Veiled Vipers” along with senior officer of Air Headquarters touched down on the DBO airstrip located at 16614 feet (5065 meters) in the Aksai Chin area after taking off from their home base at Hindon, New Delhi.
DBO is an important Army forward area post which links the ancient silk route to china. This base was built during the Indo-China conflict in 1962 and came into prominence when Packet aircraft of the IAF operated from DBO between 1962 and 1965. Once again this strategic base in the Northern Himalayas gained importance when it was resurrected and reactivated by the IAF along with the Indian Army andmade operational when a twin engine Antonov AN-32 airlifter from Chandigarh landed there after a gap of 43 years.
Considering the very limited load carrying capability of AN-32 and helicopters, a decision was taken by the IAF to land the C130J aircraft which is capable of lifting upto 20 tonnes of load. With this enhanced airlift capability the IAF will now be in a better position to meet the requirements of our land forces who are heavily dependent on the air bridge for sustainence in these higher and inhospitable areas.
The tactical airlift aircraft of the special operations squadron the “Veiled Vipers” which is capable of undertaking quick deployment of forces in all weather conditions, including airdrops and landings on unprepared or semi prepared surfaces created history today by landing at this altitude and hostile terrain conditions. This achievement qualifies for the world record for the highest landing by an aircraft of this class. Incidentally, this was the same aircraft and crew that undertook the “Op Rahat” during the recent massive flood relief operations in Uttarakhand.
The achievement will enable the forces to exploit the inherent advanced capabilities of the aircraft by increased capability to induct troops, improve communication network and also serve as a great morale booster for maintenance of troops positioned there. It is also a projection of the fact that the IAF is capable of operating in such inhospitable terrain in support of the Indian Army.
India purchased six Lockheed Martin built C-130J-30s in early 2008 at a cost of up to US$1.059 billion for its special operations forces in a package deal with the US government under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. In July 2012 a follow on contract for six more C-130Js was signed, through the FMS program.
India is also acquiring 10 C-17 Globemaster-III heavy lift aircrafts for $4.1 billion aimed at bolstering its swift power-projection capabilities to counter China's massive build-up of military infrastructure along the LAC.

USAF B-1B Bomber Crashes in Montana

A U.S. Airforce B-1B Lancer long-range bomber with the 28th Bomb Wing crashed near Broadus, Montana, during a routine training mission on Aug. 19.

A crew of two pilots and two weapon systems officers were on board. All four members of the aircrew safely ejected with some injuries.

"We are actively working to ensure the safety of the crew members and have sent first responders to secure the scene and work closely with local authorities at the crash site,” said Col. Kevin Kennedy, the 28th Bomb Wing commander. "Right now all of our thoughts and prayers are with the crews and their families,"
 Carrying the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory, the multi-mission B-1 is the backbone of America's long-range bomber force. It can rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time.
Air Force officials will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the accident.
The B-1B's blended wing/body configuration, variable-geometry wings and turbofan afterburning engines, combine to provide long range, maneuverability and high speed while enhancing survivability. Forward wing settings are used for takeoff, landings, air refueling and in some high-altitude weapons employment scenarios. Aft wing sweep settings - the main combat configuration -- are typically used during high subsonic and supersonic flight, enhancing the B-1B's maneuverability in the low- and high-altitude regimes. The B-1B's speed and superior handling characteristics allow it to seamlessly integrate in mixed force packages. These capabilities, when combined with its substantial payload, excellent radar targeting system, long loiter time and survivability, make the B-1B a key element of any joint/composite strike force. 

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Bombardier CSeries Begins Low Speed Taxi Trials

First Bombardier CSeries prototype aircraft (FTV1) has commenced a series of low-speed taxi runs, having recently completed thrust reverser runs and stationary high-powered engine runs. FTV1 also completed the “aircraft in the loop” testing or ACIL testing last week, whereby FTV1 was flown on the ground in a simulated flight environment to ensure it behaved in the same manner as “Aircraft 0”
Following the recent “shakedown” of the aircraft (check of the airframe along with all systems and flight controls), teams progressively started to add more power to the engines as FTV1 commenced low-speed taxi runs and other accompanying tests. FTV1 is slated to enter the paint shop soon as it readies to take to the skies for the first time in the coming weeks!

Monday, August 19, 2013

BDL Signs Contract For Invar Anti Tank Guided Missile Production

Indian Army T-90 Tank

Indian defense company, Bharat Dynamic Limited, Hyderabad (BDL), under Department of Defence Production signed a contract with Indian Ministry of Defence for supplying Russian origin Invar Anti Tank Guided Missiles to Indian Army.
The contract is valued about Rs. 3000 Cr. The deliveries are expected to be completed over next five years.
Invar is a laser beam rider Anti Tank Guided Missile capable of being fired from India's main battle tank T-90 acquired from Russia. It has a range of 5 km. The missile can neutralize adversaries tanks fitted with Explosive Reactive Armour Protection. BDL has been manufacturing these missiles under technical collaboration with M/s Rosoboronexport of Russia.The tandem-warhead Invar is closely derived from the Soviet laser beam riding 9M119 Refleks (T-90)/ Svir(T-72) family of missiles, and reportedly adds semi-active laser designation, which allows for more flexible tactical options.

GSLV-D5 Launch Mission Called-Off

Indian space agency ISRO has called off the launch of its GSLV-D5 launch vehicle scheduled for August 19, as a leak was observed in the UH25 fuel system of the liquid second stage during the pre-launch pressurisation phase on the vehicle just two hours before the scheduled lift-off.
The propellants has been now drained from the Cryogenic Stage, Liquid Second Stage and the four liquid Strap-ons of GSLV-D5. The vehicle will be moved back to the Vehicle Assembly Building for further actions.
The rocket featured a redesigned Indian cryogenic engine after a maiden failure in 2010.
This was the first mission of GSLV in the last three years, after two such rockets failed in 2010. One of the GSLV rockets flew with an Indian cryogenic engine, and the other one with a Russian engine.
The GSLV is a three stage/engine rocket. The first stage is fired with solid fuel, the second with liquid fuel and the third is the cryogenic engine.
The revised launch date will be announced after a detailed assessment.

US Navy Awards UCLASS Preliminary Design Review Contracts


U.S. Navy announced on Aug. 14 that four Preliminary Design Review (PDR) contracts were awarded for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) air vehicle program.
The four $15 million firm-fixed price contracts were awarded to Boeing Co., General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. The period of performance for the contracting efforts is approximately nine months.
UCLASS will be the first deployed carrier-based unmanned air system. It will provide persistent, unmanned, semi-autonomous, carrier-based Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting (ISR &T) with precision strike capability to support 24/7 carrier operational coverage.
“The PDRs are intended to inform the Navy of technical risk, cost and design maturity of the Air Segment (AS), and allows the industry teams to better understand the program’s requirements across the entire UCLASS system to expeditiously deliver the unmanned carrier-based system to the fleet,”said Charlie Nava, UCLASS program manager.
The UCLASS system will consist of an air segment, a connectivity and control segment, a Carrier Vessel-Nuclear (CVN) segment (launch and recovery), and a systems support segment.
Northrop Grumman is offering a design based on its X-47B demonstrator UCAS which had successfully completed autonomous landing and takeoffs from US Navy aircraft carriers.
Lockheed Martin is offering the Sea Ghost air vehicle concept which will integrate proven technologies from F-35C fighter, RQ-170 Sentinel stealth UAV.
Boeing is offering a design based on its Phantom Ray UAV.
General Atomics is offering the Sea Avenger, a naval version of their original land-based Avenger UAV.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Boeing EMARSS Aircraft Begin US Army Flight Tests

Two Boeing Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS) aircraft have arrived at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland for airborne testsof the target-tracking capabilities they will provide to the U.S. Army.
The extensively modified Beechcraft King Air 350 ER aircraft will undergo mission systems calibration and testing to certify them prior to delivery.
EMARSS aircraft are designed to detect, locate, identify and track surface targets, day or night, in almost any weather conditions. They will provide soldiers with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities as well as communications and targeting.
Boeing’s Engineering, Manufacturing and Development contract with the Army calls for four development aircraft as well as logistics services.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

First Airbus Military A400M for Turkish Air Force Makes Maiden Flight

The first production Airbus Military A400M new generation airlifter for the Turkish Air Force (TAF) has made its maiden flight, marking a key milestone towards its delivery on Monday.
The aircraft, known as MSN9, took off from Seville, Spain, at 13:56 local time (GMT+2) on 9 August and landed back in Seville 5 hours and 30 minutes later. The A400M programme for the TAF is also making good progress at the Airbus Military International Training Centre at Seville, where TAF pilots, loadmasters, and maintenance technicians have already begun their training. Turkey has ordered 10 A400Ms.

Lockheed Martin Receives $308 Million Contract Modification for Production of PAC-3 Missiles

Lockheed Martin has received a $308 million contract modification from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command for hardware and services associated with the combat-proven PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3(PAC-3) Missile Segment program.

Lockheed Martin Receives $223 Million M-TADS/PNVS Contract for South Korea Apache Helos

Lockheed Martin received a $223 million contract to provide South Korea with Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) systems for the nation’s AH-64E Apache helicopter.
South Korea is the 12th international customer to purchase the M-TADS/PNVS-equipped Apache attack helicopter. The contract includes 36 M-TADS/PNVS systems and spares, with production through 2018.
Electronics assembly of M-TADS/PNVS is performed at Lockheed Martin’s Ocala, Fla., facility. Final assembly is performed at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Orlando, Florida.
Fielded in 2005, M-TADS/PNVS is known as the eyes of the Apache. It provides pilots with long-range, precision engagement and pilotage capabilities for mission success and flight safety in day, night and adverse weather missions. Forward-looking infrared sensors provide enhanced image resolution that enables Apache aircrews to prosecute targets and provide situational awareness in support of ground troops outside detection ranges.

MQ-8B Fire Scout Unmanned Helicopter Passes 5,000 Flight Hours in Afghanistan

The Northrop Grumman Corporation built MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter surpassed 5,000 flight hours while providing critical surveillance capabilities to field commanders in Afghanistan.

Boeing Delivers First Next-Generation 737-800 to Iraqi Airways

Boeing delivered a Next-Generation 737-800 to Iraqi Airways, the first of 30 that the airline ordered in 2008, marking a milestone in its relationship with the airline.
With this delivery, Iraqi Airways currently has 39 Boeingairplanes on order, including 29 Next-Generation 737-800s and 10 787 Dreamliners.
"The Next-Generation 737-800 will play a key role in helping us modernize our fleet and integrate into the regional and international commercial aviation system," said H.E. Hadi Al Ameri, Iraq's Minister of Transportation."Boeing has played a pivotal role in our growth plan and the Next-Generation 737 has earned an excellent reputation for reliability and operational efficiency."
The Next-Generation 737 family has won orders for more than 6,500 airplanes, while the 737 family has surpassed 11,000 orders to date. Boeing has delivered more than 7,600 737s – including more than 4,500 Next-Generation 737s – and currently has more than 3,400 unfilled orders for 737s (through July 2013).

Bombardeir CSeries Maiden Flight Preperations

ATK To Built Stages For Stratolaunch ALV

ATK has received a contract from Orbital Sciences Corporation to provide first and second stage propulsion for the Air Launch Vehicle (ALV) that Orbital is designing and building for Stratolaunch Systems Corporation as part of a revolutionary air-launched space transportation system. The contract from Orbital includes the design, development and flight hardware for initial Stratolaunch missions.
ATK has manufactured more than 1600 commercial solid rocket motors to date for a wide variety of launch vehicles including Delta II and  Delta IV, as well as Orbital's Pegasus®, Taurus®, Minotaur® and Antares®tm space launch vehicles.  ATK first entered the commercial launch vehicle market back in 1987 when it developed its first commercial composite motor, the GEM-40, which is still being used today as part of the Delta II launch vehicle.  ATK's commercial product line includes GEM, CASTOR®, and Orion solid rocket motors.

About Stratolaunch Systems
Founded in 2011 by philanthropist and entrepreneur Paul G. Allen, Stratolaunch Systems is developing an air-launch system that will revolutionize space transportation by providing orbital access to space at lower costs, with greater safety and more flexibility. The system will allow for maximum operational flexibility and payload delivery from several possible operational sites, while minimizing mission constraints such as range availability and weather.
The system is made up of three primary elements: a carrier aircraft that is being designed by Scaled Composites, a multi-stage rocket system that is being developed by Orbital, and a payload to be delivered into orbit. Initial efforts will focus on unmanned payloads, with human flights following as safety, reliability and operability are demonstrated. Stratolaunch is based in Huntsville, Ala., with assembly facilities in Mojave, Calif. More information about Stratolaunch Systems can be found at

Monday, August 12, 2013

India Launches Its First Indigenous Aircraft Carrier-INS Vikrant

IAC Vikrant

Vikrant, India’s first aircraft carrier, decommissioned on 31 January 1997, was reborn today as Smt Elizabeth Antony, wife of the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony, christened India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) as ‘Vikrant’ meaning “courageous” or “victorious” in Sanskrit.
In a colourful ceremony filled with traditional pomp and fervour at the Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kochi, Smt Antony launched ‘Vikrant’ in the presence of Shri AK Antony, the Minister of Shipping, Shri GK Vasan, the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi, the F-O-C in C Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha, Commander-in-Chief Southern Naval Command Vice Admiral Satish Soni, Chairman and Managing Director, CSL, Commodore (Retd) K Subramaniam and other officials of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Shipping. In addition, a multitude of Naval officers, yard workers and a few members of the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), the manufacturers of the indigenous warship grade steel, were also present.
The launch, marks the end of Phase- I of the project, the imposing ramp of the 37,500 tonne Short Take off but Assisted Recovery (STOBAR) Carrier boasted the indigenous design and build capabilities of the country.
The carrier is designed with a very high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability.
The ship has a length of 260 m and max breadth of 60 m. The ship will be propelled by two shafts, each coupled to two GE LM2500 Gas Turbines developing a total power of 80 MW, sufficient to attain speeds in excess of 28 knots. The ship has an endurance of around 8,000 NM and complement of 1600. The ship will have two takeoff runways and a landing strip with 3 arrester wires.
The main landing strip is ready. Over 80% of the structure, containing about 2300 compartments has been fabricated, over 75% has been erected, all the major machinery, such as the two Gas Turbines, the diesel alternators capable of producing about 24 MW and the main gear box have been fitted. Soon after Vikrant floated perfectly upright, she was launched out into the Ernakulam Channel in a pontoon assisted precision manoeuvre. Vikrant was moved out of the building dock to be positioned in the refitting dock where the next Phase of outfitting will be completed.
Vikrant will now enter the second phase of construction which will see the outfitting of the ship, fitment of various weapons and sensors, integration of the gigantic propulsion system and integration of the aircraft complex (with the assistance of M/s NDB of Russia). The ship will then undergo extensive trials before she is handed over to the Indian Navy by around 2016-17.

Vikrant can carry a maximum of 30 aircrafts with adequate hangarage capacity, operating a squadrons (12 fighters) each of the Russian MiG-29K naval fighters and naval variant of LCA Tejus fighters being developed indigenously by HAL. Its helicopter component will include Kamov 31 for airborne early warning missions and the indigenously developed ALH Dhruv helicopters for anti submarine roles.

The ship’s ability to sense and control a large air space around it will be enabled by modern C/D band Early Air Warning Radar, V/UHF Tactical Air Navigational and Direction Finding systems, jamming capabilities over the expected Electro Magnetic (EM) environment and Carrier Control Approach Radars to aid air operations.
Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR SAM) systems being developed in collaboration with Israel, Multi-Function Radar (MFR) and Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) will form the protective suite of the ship. All weapon systems onboard the carrier will be integrated through an indigenous Combat Management System (CMS), being manufactured by Tata Power systems. The ship’s integration with Navy’s Network Centric Operations will provide force multiplication.
Design of this prestigious ship has been undertaken by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND) of the Indian Navy. Created in 1956 as the Corps of Naval Constructors, to realise the dream of being a builder’s Navy through indigenisation, DND has successfully designed over 17 different classes of warships, to which around 90 ships have already been built within the country. The Delhi class destroyers, with a displacement of about 7000 tonnes, were the biggest warships designed by DND so far.
Designing of the Vikrant, at almost 40,000 tonnes speaks of the maturing of the capabilities of DND and represents a feather in the cap of the designers particularly as it is the first aircraft carrier of its size in the world with some unique features such as Gas Turbine Propulsion.

The design and construction of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier was sanctioned by the government in January 2003. The keel of the ship was laid on 28 Feb 2009 by Shri AK Antony. Vikrant marks a special feather in indigenous defence capabilities- this being the first ever aircraft carrier to be designed by the Directorate of Naval Design of the Indian Navy, the first warship to be built by Cochin Shipyard Limited and the first warship to be built entirely using indigenously produced steel. The construction of the ship is a truly pan Indian effort with active participation of private and public enterprises. The steel has come from SAIL’s plants in Raurkela in Orissa, Bokaro in Jharkand and Bhilai in Chattisgarh; the Main Switch Board, steering gear and water tight hatches have been manufactured by Larsen and Toubro in its plants in Mumbai and Talegaon; the high capacity air conditioning and refrigeration systems have been manufactured in Kirloskar’s plants in Pune; most pumps have been supplied by Best and Crompton, Chennai; Bharat Heavy Engineering Limited (BHEL) is supplying the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS); the massive gear box is supplied by Elecon in Gujarat; the tens of thousands of electrical cable is supplied by Nicco industries in Kokatta; Kolkatta is also where the ship’s anchor chain cable is manufactured.
The seamless hull and smooth lines of the ship stand as testimony to the high production standards of Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL). CSL, a mini Ratna PSU, has earned a reputation for quality construction and timely delivery. Till now, CSL had the distinction of building the largest ship in India i.e., 93,500 tonne Aframax tankers. However, this complex integrated construction project enabled by a Rs 200 Crores infrastructure augmentation plan involving large cranes, workshops and heavy duty machinery has seen the shipyard maturing into a competent warship builder.
INS Vikrant, India’s first aircraft carrier was acquired from Great Britain and commissioned on 04 Mar 1961. In its 36 years of glorious service INS Vikrant was at the centre of action in the 1971 operations for liberation of Bangladesh. Having seen many years of service as a CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Take Off but Arrested Recovery) carrier working an angled deck and operating SeaHawks, Alizes and Seakings, INS Vikrant was transformed into a STOVL carrier to operate Sea Harrier jump jets. INS Vikrant was decommissioned on 31 Jan 1997, after 36 years of glorious service under the Indian ensign. With the launch of IAC, ‘Vikrant’ the Indian Navy is well on its way to demonstrate its comfort with the practiced art of trapped landings and angled deck operations.

INS Vikramaditya (formerly the Admiral Gorshkov), which is completing its sea trials in Russia would be delivered this year. Until the Vikrant is commissioned in 2018, the Vikramaditya and the older INS Viraat would be the Indian Navy’s two aircraft carriers.

First Turkish Airbus A400M Engine Run

The first Airbus Military A400M new generation airlifter for the Turkish Air Force has begun final tests towards its delivery. The four engines on the aircraft were successfully run simultaneously for the first time on 29th July at the Airbus Military facility in Seville, Spain. The aircraft will be transferred to the Airbus Military delivery centre in September.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

BAE Systems Wins Contract to Sustain U.S. Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles

The U.S. Air Force has awarded BAE Systems an eight-year, $534 million contract to maintain the readiness of the US intercontinental ballistic missiles. The company will provide systems engineering, integration, testing, logistics and other services to support the missile, ground and launch systems for 450 deployed Boeing Minuteman III missiles.
The work, managed by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, will be performed primarily at three locations: Hill Air Force Base in Utah, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and in Shreveport, Louisiana, near Barksdale Air Force Base. BAE Systems will be actively recruiting from the existing skilled workforce at each site.
For more than 50 years, BAE Systems has provided engineering and integration for the U.S. Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs, supporting submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
Minuteman was the first solid fuelled ICBM the U.S. Air Force ever made operational, the Minuteman could stand dormant and unmanned for days, weeks, months and now decades on end, with limited maintenance and upkeep.
Remotely controlled from underground launch control center's miles away from the silos, it was a hair trigger launch response. From the time keys were turned to execute a positive launch command, until the missile left the silo, only took about a minute.
It is capable of carrying single or multiple nuclear warheads to more than 6,000 miles with a speed of 15000 mph.

Mi-28UB Combat Trainer Helicopter Debut at MAKS 2013

Helicopter major Russian Helicopters, will unveil its new combat training helicopter Mi-28UB at the International Aviation and Space Salon - MAKS 2013 at Zhukovsky, Russia from Aug 27 - Sept 1.
The helo is based on the Mi-28NE Night Hunter combat helicopter manufactured by Rostvertol.
The new Mi-28UB helicopter will improve significantly and render more effective training to pilots of Mi-28NE Night Hunter helicopters, which are supplied to the Russian air force, and may be offered for export. The Mi-28UB retains the full potential of an attack helicopter and offers the same level of service as the Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopters.
The major difference between the new Mi-28UB and the Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopter is the dual hydromechanical flight control system. Thanks to this innovation, the helicopter can be operated both from the pilot’s cockpit and the flight instructor’s cockpit. The area of the flight instructor’s cockpit has been increased, with an expansion in the pilot canopy and change to the configuration of the energy-absorbing seats.
On 9 August the Mi-28UB performed its maiden demonstration flight at the flight test centre of Rostvertol, which is part of Russian Helicopters. It is worth nothing that the Mi-28NE, Mi-26 (T) and Mi-35M helicopters are also manufactured at this plant. Soon the Mi-28UB will be delivered to the Zhukovsky airfield in Moscow suburb where MAKS 2013 will be held. This will be the first time that this helicopter model is presented to the public: the Mi-28UB will be located on a static stand of Russian Helicopters.

Japanese HTV4 Resupply Craft Docks ISS

The fourth Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's H-II Transfer Vehicle, or HTV-4 was installed on its berthing port on the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station’s Harmony node at 11:38 a.m. EDT Friday, delivering 3.6 tons of science experiments, equipment and supplies to the orbiting complex.
Flight Engineer Karen Nyberg, with the assistance of Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy, initially grappled the HTV-4 with the Canadian Space Agency-provided arm at 7:22 a.m. as the Japanese space freighter flew within about 30 feet of the complex. Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency joined the two NASA astronauts in the cupola to monitor the systems of the Japanese space freighter during its approach.
At the time of capture, the station was orbiting 260 miles just to the south of South Africa.
With HTV-4 securely in the grasp of Canadarm 2, the robotics team at the Johnson Space Center’s Mission Control Center remotely commanded the arm to guide HTV-4 to a ready-to-latch position on the Earth-facing port of the Harmony node. Nyberg and Cassidy then used a laptop computer to conduct the initial bolting and first stage capture of Harmony’s Active Common Berthing Mechanism (ACBM) with HTV-4’s Passive Common Berthing Mechanism (PCBM). Once that was done,the ground team completed the bolting process through second stage capture.
Also known as Kounotori – Japanese for “white stork” because it is emblematic of an important delivery – the HTV is a unmanned cargo transfer spacecraft capable of delivering both internal and external supplies and hardware to the station. HTV-4 was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan on Aug.3 at 3:48 p.m. (Aug. 4 at 4:48 a.m., Japan time).
After equalizing pressures between the cargo craft and the station, the crew opened the hatches Saturday and began the process of removing the supplies from the Kounotori’s pressurized logistics carrier.
Among the items within Kounotori’s pressurized section are test samples for research experiments inside the Kibo laboratory, a new freezer capable of preserving materials at temperatures below -90 F, four small CubeSat satellites to be deployed from Kibo’s airlock as well as food, water and other supplies for the station’s crew. The pressurized section also is delivering new hardware for the Robotic Refueling Mission to demonstrate robotic satellite-servicing tools, technologies and techniques.
HTV-4 is a 33-foot-long, 13-foot-diameter (10 meter by 4 meter) unmanned cargo transfer spacecraft with both pressurized and unpressurized sections to deliver supplies destined for inside and outside the station.
The HTV-4’s unpressurized section is delivering two orbital replacement units (ORUs) – a spare Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) and a spare Utility Transfer Assembly (UTA) – to keep the space station’s electrical system operating smoothly. The UTA maintains electrical continuity through the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint, passing electrical power generated by the complex’s huge solar arrays to station elements and payloads, while the MBSU provides switching capabilities for the various power channels and sources. ORUs are modular station components designed to be replaced periodically.
Also inside HTV’s unpressurized cargo hold is the Space Test Program – Houston 4 (STP-H4) payload, which is a suite of seven experiments for investigating space communications, Earth monitoring and materials science.
The exposed pallet to which all the unpressurized cargo is mounted will be removed from Kounotori by Canadarm2, handed off to the Japanese Experiment Module robotic arm and attached to a platform on the Kibo module’s Exposed Facility over the weekend.
In early September, the cargo vehicle will be filled with trash, detached from the station and sent to burn up in Earth's atmosphere.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Raytheon Awarded $218 Million Contract For Advanced Standard Missile-3

Raytheon has been awarded a $218,530,196 contract by the US Missile Defense Agency to complete the assembly and delivery of 29 Standard Missile-3 Block IB missiles.
Launched off U.S. Navy ships, SM-3 interceptors protect the U.S. and its allies by destroying incoming short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missile threats by colliding with them in space.
Final assembly will take place in Raytheon's new, state-of-the-art Redstone Missile Integration Facility in Huntsville, Alabama. Guidance sections and guidance units will be built at the Raytheon Missile Systems Space Factory in Tucson, Arizona.
The SM-3 does not contain an explosive warhead, but instead destroys the threats using sheer impact, equivalent to a 10-ton truck traveling at 600 mph.
"The three back-to-back successful SM-3 Block IB flight tests have demonstrated the missile's advanced capabilities and reliability against various threats in a variety of mission scenarios," said Dr. Taylor Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president."Combatant commanders around the world are eager to build up their inventories in support of Phase 2 of the Phased Adaptive Approach starting in 2015."


Fokker Awarded Contract For Airbus A350-1000 Composite Outboard Flap

Fokker Aerostructures has signed an contract with Airbus for the development and manufacturing of the Outboard Flap for the A350-1000, the largest variant of the A350 XWB family of aircraft.

US Navy Demo New Targeting and Data Systems on EA-18G Growler

The U.S. Navy recently flew Boeing EA-18G Growler aircraft with sensor system upgrades and its newest data network, demonstrating how the enhanced technologies would allow aircrews to locate threats more quickly and accurately.
Ultimately, the secure, high-speed network will allow aircrews to share targeting data in real time. The technology will be incorporated into deployed Growler electronic attack aircraft in 2018, sooner than all Navy aircraft other than the E-2D Hawkeye surveillance airplane.
The demonstration occurred July 15-19 during the Navy's fleet experimentation campaign at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland.
Integrating the technology on to the Growler involved a series of upgrades that provide"an affordable, low-risk approach to adding capability that allows us to deliver advanced technologies to the fleet more quickly," said Mike Gibbons, Boeing F/A-18 and EA-18 Programs vice president.
The upgrades are planned to be retrofitted into existing Growlers and included as a standard offering for future new aircraft sales. Boeing and the Navy will work closely with supplier partners Northrop Grumman, Harris Corporation, L-3 Communications and Rockwell Collins to add system upgrades to the fleet.
The Growler is derived from the combat-proven F/A-18F Super Hornet. It's the United States' newest and most advanced airborne electronic attack platform, providing electronic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data to other aircraft. It has been combat deployed since 2010 by U.S. and allied forces around the world.

PTAE-7: India's First Flight Worthy Turbojet Engine

The Pilotless Target Aircraft Engine PTAE-7 is the first ever flight worthy gas turbine engine designed and developed in India.

LCA Tejus Program Cost Rs 7965 Crore

Initial Operational Clearance (IOC-1) for Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has already been obtained in January 2011. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) are working towards meeting planned schedules for IOC-2 by end of 2013 and Final Operational Clearance (FOC) by end of 2014 to make Tejas fully combat worthy.
Project Definition Phase (PDP) for development of LCA was sanctioned in August 1983 at a cost of Rs. 560 Crore. After completion of PDP, Full Scale Engineering Development (FSED) Programme Phase-I was sanctioned in April 1993 at a cost of Rs. 2188 Cr (including PDP cost Rs. 560 Cr) with increased scope. FSED Programme Phase-I was successfully completed in March 2004 and technology was demonstrated. FSED Programme Phase-II was sanctioned in November 2001 at a cost of Rs. 3301.78 Cr to build 3 prototypes, 8 Limited Series Production (LSP) aircraft and establish infrastructure for producing 8 aircraft per year. Additional sanction of Rs. 2475.78 Cr was given to meet the financial requirements of FSED Programme Phase-II for induction into Indian Air Force by obtaining IOC and FOC. The total sanctioned cost for development of LCA, Tejas (PDP + FSED Phase-I + FSED Phase-II) is Rs. 7965.56 Cr.

Snecma Morocco Engine Services Certified For CFM56-5B Engine Testing

Snecma Morocco Engine Services (SMES), a subsidiary of Snecma (Safran) and Royal Air Maroc airlines, received certification in mid-July from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), authorizing use of its test stand for CFM56-5B engines. These engines power the Airbus A320 aircraft family. First engine equipping an aircraft operated by Aeroflot successfully completed testing on July 15.
Until now, CFM56-5B repaired by SMES in Casablanca were subsequently tested at the Snecma test stand in Villaroche, near Paris. In early 2012, when facilities for CFM56-5B engine repairs were first deployed in Casablanca, SMES began to adapt its existing test stand, which was previously used for CFM56-7B and CFM56 -3. These adjustments enable the stand to accommodate 5B engines, reducing Turn Around Time (TAT) to roughly seven days in order to meet growing customer demand.
SMES plans to test a dozen CFM56-5B engines on the newly certified test stand in 2013.
RAM is the flag carrier of Morocco, as well as the country's largest airline which is fully owned by the government of Morocco.