Thursday, January 30, 2014

FAA Downgrades Indian Aviation Safety Rating To Category 2

U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has degraded India's aviation safety rating to Category 2 under its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program, based on a recent reassessment.

Iraq Seek Apache Attack Helicopters

Iraq has requested U.S. a Foreign Military Sale of 24 Boeing AH-64E APACHE LONGBOW Attack Helicopters and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $4.8 billion.

This proposed sale of AH-64E APACHE helicopters will bolster its close air support, armed reconnaissance and anti-tank warfare capabilities. Iraq is upgrading its military by ordering more advanced military equipments after decade long sanctions and US led invasion ruined its military capabilities. Iraq has recently requested a deal for Hellfire missiles.

The deal also consists, 56 T700-GE-701D Turboshaft Engines, 27 AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight, 27 AN/AAR-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors, 12 AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars with Radar Electronics Unit (LONGBOW component), 28 AN/AAR-57(V)7 Common Missile Warning Systems, 28 AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Sets, 28 AN/APR-39A(V)4 or APR-39C(V)2 Radar Signal Detecting Sets, 28 AN/ALQ-136A(V)5 Radar Jammers, 52 AN/AVS-6, 90 Apache Aviator Integrated Helmets, 60 HELLFIRE Missile Launchers, and 480 AGM-114R HELLFIRE Missiles.

Also included are AN/APR-48 Modernized Radar Frequency Interferometers, AN/APX-117 Identification Friend-or-Foe Transponders, Embedded Global Positioning Systems with Inertial Navigation with Multi Mode Receiver, MXF-4027 UHF/VHF Radios, 30mm Automatic Chain Guns, Aircraft Ground Power Units, 2.75 in Hydra Rockets, 30mm rounds, M211 and M212 Advanced Infrared Countermeasure Munitions flares, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, site surveys, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, design and construction, and other related elements of logistics support.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A350 XWB Begins Cold Weather Trials In Canada

Airbus’ A350 XWB MSN3 development aircraft with a team of 48 Airbus specialists have arrived at Iqaluit, Canada for several days of cold weather trials. The various tests for the aircraft its engines and its systems include a ‘cold soak’ down to minus double-digit temperatures.

Boeing P-8A Poseidon Enter Full Rate Production Despite Deficiencies.

U.S. Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft has entered the full-rate production (FRP) phase of its development despite serious deficiencies found by Pentagon in hunting submarines and performing reconnaissance over large areas. FRP Milestone Decision Authority granted the approval on Jan 3, a navair press release said.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

RQ-21A Blackjack begins operational test phase

US Navy and Marine Corps' newest small unmanned aircraft system RQ-21A Blackjack began its initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) in early January at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California.

Beechcraft Sign Deal To Supply T-6C Trainers To RNZAF

T-6C in RNZAF Paint Scheme © Beechcraft

Beechcraft signed a $127 million contract to provide Beechcraft T-6C Texan II turboprop military training aircrafts for pilot training of Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) pilots, including spare parts, training, logistics and maintenance support. The contract includes 11 Beechcraft T-6C aircraft, two CAE operational flight training simulators, computer-based training courseware and customized RNZAF pilot training syllabus.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Virgin Galatcic Tests Liquid Rocket Engines For LauncherONE

Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, has began testing two new liquid rocket engines for its LauncherOne, small satellite launch vehicle, which is currently under development.

Maiden Dream Chaser ISS Mission In Nov 2016

Sierra Nevada Corporation(SNC) confirmed the first orbital flight of its reusable human rated Dream Chaser® spacecraft will occur on November 1, 2016.

Bombardier Delays CSeries Service Entry to 2015

Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier has delayed service entry of its new generation cseries airliner, as the flight test phase will require more time than originally anticipated, company said in a press release on Jan 16.

India Lifts Ban on Airbus A380 Flights

India has lifted restrictions on flights using Airbus A380 super jumbo airliners to India. A380 flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore airports will be allowed which has the required infrastructure for A380 operations. India banned A380 flights due to concerns that foreign carriers may affect international traffic on state run Air India airlines.

Images: Indian Airforce Display Might During Republic Day

IAF Jaguar Fighter Flypast
IAF Su-30MKI Arrow Formation
Indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejus
IAF Boeing C-17 Airlifter and Su-30 MKI Fighters
9K33-1T OSA Air Defence System

Brahmos Cruise Missile System
Smerch MBRL System

Sunday, January 26, 2014

ESA's Rosetta Comet Chaser Probe Awake

Date: 04 December 2013
Satellite: Rosetta
Copyright: ESA–C. Carreau/ATG medialab
European Space Agency’s (ESA) comet-chasing Rosetta spacecraft woke up, after around two and a half years(957 days) in slumper, during which there was no contact with the probe. The four alarm clocks on board Rosetta woke up the probe from deep-space hibernation at the stroke of 10.00 (GMT) on 20 January 2014.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Dassault Flight Tests Heavily Armed Rafale Fighter

Saint-Cloud, France

© Dassault Aviation - V. Almansa
Dassault Aviation successfully completed maiden flight tests of its Rafale omni role fighter in a new heavily armed configuration with more weapons and larger fuel tanks.

F-35 Pilots To Fly Third Generation HMDS In 2014

This year F-35 fighter test pilots will fly a third-generation Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS), incorporating modifications to the second-generation display system currently used for training purposes.

Iraq Seeks Hellfire Missiles

© 2013 Lockheed Martin
Iraq has requested a deal with U.S. for AGM-114K/R Hellfire missiles to bolster its attack capabilities against the insurgent forces. The $82 million worth possible sale through Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route, consists 500 AGM-114K/R Hellfire missiles, Hellfire missile conversion, blast fragmentation sleeves, and installation kits, containers, transportation, and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support. Hellfire missiles will improve the Iraq Security Forces capability to support current on-going ground operations and future contingency operations.
The combat proven HELLFIRE missile is extensively used by U.S. Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan from its Apache attack helicopters and Predator UAVs for precision strikes. It can be launched from multiple air, sea, and ground platforms, offering multi–mission, multi-target capability and precision–strike lethality. The latest HELLFIRE II model is the AGM-114R multi–purpose missile consolidates the capabilities of all previous HELLFIRE II variants equipped with semi–active laser (SAL) seekers into a single missile that can defeats a broad range of targets.

Friday, January 24, 2014

New HAL Dhruv Variant To Map Indian Mineral Deposits

Indian built HAL Dhruv helicopter got a new role as an aerial mineral exploration and mapping platform on Jan 22, when Mr. Dinsha Patel, the Minister of Mines dedicated custom-made Advanced Light Helicopter-Dhruv named Garuda Vasudha to the nation.

Airbus A350 XWB Debut At Singapore Airshow

The new generation Airbus A350 XWB airliner will debut at the 2014 Singapore Airshow to be held at the Changi Exhibition Centre, from February 11th to 16th, marking the first full display of the aircraft at an international air show.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

French Mirage 2000D Tests Raytheon Paveway™ GBU-50 LGB

Raytheon and the French Air Force completed a demonstration of a penetrator variant of a Paveway™ GBU-50 laser guided bombs from a Mirage 2000D multirole fighter jet. The weapon met all flight objectives and scored a direct hit against a reinforced concrete slab.

Challenges In Redesigning Tejus To Naval Role

© Aeronautical Development Agency

The success of Tejas fighter programme for Indian Airforce, built the confidence of Indian Navy to entrust Aeronautical Developmental Agency (ADA) with the design and development of naval version of LCA Tejus for operation from aircraft carriers.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Eurofigher Begins Taurus Integrated Flight Trials

Eurofighter Typhoon Flight tests with Taurus KEPD 350 missile
Eurofighter Typhoon fighter has began  Taurus stand-off precision missiles integrated flight trials on Jan 15. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Raytheon Delivers 3000 Tomhawk Block IV Missiles

Raytheon delivered the 3000th Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile to the U.S. Navy. Tomahawk is the U.S. weapon of choice for standoff precision strikes into enemy territory.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

India Test Fires 4000 km Agni-IV Missile

India successfully test fired its advanced nuclear capable 4000 km range Agni-4 ballistic missile, off the coast of Odisha on Monday morning.

This was the third consecutive successful launch and the last in the series of development flight trials. The missile reached a height of over 850 km, covered the range in about 20 minutes, hit the target with two digit accuracy.

Agni-IV is lighter in weight and has two stages of solid fuel propulsion and a payload with re-entry heat shield. The re-entry heat shield withstood temperatures in the range of 4000 degree centigrade and made sure the avionics function normally with inside temperature reaching less than 50 degree centigrade. Compared to the 50 tonne Agni-3 with a range of 3000 km, Agni-4 weighs just 17 tonnes.
Agni-IV is equipped with modern and compact avionics with redundancy to provide high level of reliability, and fifth generation on board computer. It can correct and guide itself for inflight disturbances. The missile features a indigenous Ring Laser Gyros based high accuracy inertial navigation system (RINS) and Micro Navigation System (MINGS) complementing each other in redundant mode. The high performance onboard computer with distributed avionics architecture, high speed reliable communication bus and a full digital control system have controlled and guided the missile to the target.

Indian Agni series consists 5 ballistic missiles- Agni I (750km), Agni II (2500 km), Agni III (3000 km), Agni IV (4000 km) and Agni V (5000 km). Agni-I, II, III and Prithvi series (150-300 km ) missiles are already inducted into Indian armed forces. The Agni V missile has completed two successful test firings in 2012-13.

Friday, January 17, 2014

U.S. Details Israeli V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor Deal

Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andy M. Kin

U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified U.S Congress on January 13 of the possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Israel for V-22B Block C Aircraft and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $1.13 billion.

Iconic British Spitfires At Bahrain Intl Airshow

Manama, Bahrain

BAE Systems and the RAF Museum is showcasing the iconic British fighter of the Second World War- Supermarine Spitfire fighter at the Bahrain International Airshow which began on Thursday (16-18 January).

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Airbus Deliver Record Airplanes in 2013

Airbus exceeded its commercial aircraft delivery targets in 2013,with a record 626 aircraft deliveries.

Thales Awarded PDL NG Laser Targeting Pod Development Contract

© Thales

The French defence procurement agency DGA has awarded Thales with the contract to develop the New Generation Laser Designation Pod (PDL NG). The series production is expected to begin in 2018.

Airbus Ups Aircraft Prices by 2.6 percent

Airbus has increased the average list prices of its aircraft by 2.6 per cent across the product line. The new pricing is effective from January 1st 2014. The 2.6 per cent price increase has been calculated according to Airbus’ standard escalation formula over the January 2013 to January 2014 period.

Airbus Aircraft         Average list prices (mio USD)

A318                               71.9

A319                               85.8

A320                               93.9

A321                               110.1

A319neo                        94.4

A320neo                        102.8

A321neo                        120.5

A330-200                       221.7

A330-200 Freighter     224.8

A330-300                       245.6

A350-800                       260.9

A350-900                       295.2

A350-1000                     340.7

A380                               414.4

US Army Hunter UAV Fleet Clocks 100000 Flight Hours

U.S. Army fleet of Northrop Grumman Hunter Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), recently surpassed 100,000 combat flight hours since 1996.

The MQ-5B Hunter, which is currently deployed supporting contingency operations across the globe, provides warfighters with state-of-the-art reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition (RSTA), communications relay and weapons delivery.

The MQ-5B Hunter is distinguished by its heavy fuel engines, its "wet" (fuel-carrying) extended center wing with weapons-capable hard points and a modern avionics suite. The MQ-5B Hunter system uses the Army's One System ground control station and remote video terminal.

It also carries a communications relay package to extend the radio range of warfighters. Hunter is also equipped with a differential GPS automatic takeoff and landing system.

The MQ-5B features a robust, fixed-wing, twin tail-boom design with redundant control systems powered by two heavy fuel engines – one engine to "push" and another to "pull" the air vehicle.

Another Hunter capability is its relay mode that allows one Hunter to be controlled by another UAV at extended ranges or over terrain obstacles typical of those found in the Balkans and Afghanistan.

Airbus A350 Passes Maximum Wing Bending Test

Airbus successfully completed the ultimate wing load test on its next-generation  A350 XWB jetliner prototypes in December 2013, applying loads up to 1.5 times higher than those the aircraft would ever encounter in its entire in-service life.

Friday, January 10, 2014

France Sign Contract For Tranche 4 Rafale F3R Fighter Development

France has given Dassault Aviation the go ahead, to develop the fourth tranche Rafale fighter to the “F3 R” standard.

Lockheed Martin Receives JASSM® Contract For Finnish Air Force F-18 Fighters

© 2013 Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin received a $13.3 million Foreign Military Sales contract in November from the U.S. Air Force to support additional integration of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile(JASSM) onto the Finnish Air Force F-18C/D fighter aircraft.

World's Largest An-225 Airlifter Completes 25 Years

Antonov An−225 Mriya (Dream), the world’s biggest transport aircraft marked its 25th anniversary of first flight on 21 Dec 2013.

Currently it is the largest and heaviest aircraft in the world performing outsized commercial cargo transportation, carrying payloads weighing up to 250 tons with a 640 tons maximum take off weight.

Designed by the erstwhile Soviet Union's Antonov Design Bureau in the 1980s, An-225 was an enlargment of the An−124 Ruslan heavy transport, to airlift the Energia rocket's boosters and the Buran space shuttle for the Soviet space program.

The An-225 has become the workhorse to transport outsized cargoes worldwide, once thought impossible to move by air such as locomotives and 150-ton generators. It is also used to airlift huge quantities of emergency supplies during disaster relief operations.

Less than six months from its maiden flight in 1988, the An-225 made its maiden flight from Baikonour with its first cargo – Buran spaceship weighing more than 60 tons piggybacked. Together with Buran, An-225 performed 14 flights with total duration of 28 hours and 27 minutes.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the following cancellation of the Buran space program, the only operational An-225 was placed in storage in 1994 and the second partially completed An-225 airframe was also stored.

In 2000, modernization of the flyable An-225 was intiated to use the airplane for transportation of commercial cargoes heavier than An-124-100 Ruslan’s payload. The only airplane is now operated by Antonov Airlines.

The An−225 holds 240 world records including transportation of the heaviest cargo weighing 253.8 tons, the heaviest mono cargo at 187 tons as well as a cargo with length 42.1m.

The aircraft has a spacious pressurized cargo compartment with a length of 43.32 m, width of 6.4 m and height of 4.4 m. It is powered by six Ivchenko Progress D-18T turbofan engines with 229.5 kN (51,600 lbf) thrust each.

In 2009, maintenance was carried out on An-225 to extend its operational life to 20000 flight hours or 4000 flights, equal to 45 years of operation, extending it opertional life through 2033.

BAE Systems Develops 3D Printed Parts For RAF Tornado Fighters

BAE system engineers have successfully flight tested metal parts produced through 3D printing, for the first time on-board a RAF Tornado GR4 fighter jet. The 3D metal camera bracket was test flown from BAE's airfield at Warton in Lancashire. BAE say's some of the parts cost less than £100 per piece to manufacture, and has already resulted in savings of more than £300,000 and will offer further potential cost savings of more than £1.2 million by 2017.
 BAE is also designing and producing 3D printed functional components at RAF Marham airbase to support the Tornado when it is being maintained on the ground. The parts are made from a plastic material and include protective covers for Tornado cockpit radios, support struts on the air intake door and protective guards for Power Take-off shafts. Watch 3D printing machine video here

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Lockheed Receives Contracts for JASSM® Cruise Missile Production

USAF B-1B Bomber release JASSM © 2013 Lockheed Martin

U.S. Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin, two contracts for continued production of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) and the Extended Range (ER) variant totaling $449 million.

A350 In Bolivia For High Altitude Tests

The third Airbus A350 XWB prototype aircraft- MSN3, arrived in Bolivia to undergo a series of high altitude tests at Cochabamba and La Paz airfields.

Orbital Antares Rocket Orbits First Cygnus ISS Resupply Spacecraft

The Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus cargo spacecraft launches from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. 
 Image Credit:
NASA/Bill Ingalls

Leading U.S. Space technology company Orbital Sciences Corporation successfully launched its Antares™ medium-class rocket carrying the first of eight Cygnus™ cargo logistics spacecraft missions to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of its $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Engine Fire Damaged USAF B-2 Stealth Bomber Returned To Service

The “Spirit of Washington” lands at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Dec. 16, 2013.(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte/Released)

After three years and nine months of maintenance, US Air Force and Northrop Grumman restored the B-2 Stealth Bomber "Spirit of Washington" to full mission ready status, after an engine fire in 2010 badly damaged the aircraft. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Raytheon Awarded Global ASNT Contract

USAF B-2 Stealth Bomber

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Raytheon a $13.4 million contract to design and develop the Global Aircrew Strategic Network Terminal Increment I (Global ASNT), which sends and receives alert messages to bomber, tanker and reconnaissance air crews during nuclear and non-nuclear missions.

Boeing Record Highest Commercial Aircraft Deliveries in 2013

Boeing 787-9                                    ©Boeing

Boeing recorded its highest no of commercial airplane deliveries in a single year at 648 in 2013. Company's unfilled commercial orders in 2013 stood at 5,080 – also a new Boeing record.

Northorp MQ-4C Triton UAS Expands Flight Envelope

photo courtesy: Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman and U.S. Navy have completed nine initial flight tests of the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS), marking the half-way point in a process called envelope expansion.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

GSLV-D5 Successfully Lifts Off

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Development 5 (GSLV-D5) Mk II from its spaceport at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at 4.06 pm Sunday.