Thursday, April 30, 2015

European MIDCAS demonstrate RPAS integration to civil airspace

MIDAS Demonstrator Sky-Y RPAS
The European MIDCAS (Mid Air Collision Avoidance System) consortium along with European Defence Agency (EDA) has completed flight test and simulation campaigns of the MIDCAS project aimed to integrate unmanned aircraft into civil airspace.

Raytheon receive DARPA contract to continue hypersonic missile development

DARPA Falcon HTV-2
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Raytheon a $20.5 million contract modification for the Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) program.

K-MAX demonstrate unmanned casualty evacuation

The unmanned K-MAX helicopter showcased its ability to safely transport a wounded warfighter during a demonstration in March 2015.

USAF reveals X-37B's next mission

U.S. Air Force photo
For the first time U.S. Air Force has revealed next mission of its secretive X-37B spaceplane, an unmanned reusable spacecraft developed by Boeing.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Korean Air Aerospace to supply A330neo sharklets

Airbus has selected Korean Air Aerospace Division (KAL-ASD), the aerospace manufacturing division of the Korean Air Group, to supply new Sharklet wingtip devices (winglets) including a wingspan extension for the A330neo – the new variant of A330 Family of widebody aircraft.

USAF fighters to thrill North Carolina audience

USAF Thunderbird aerobatic team flying F-16
The Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsbro, home to the US Air Force's 4th Fighter Wing equipped with multi-role F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets will host the "Wings Over Wayne Airshow" from May 16-17.

Russia to deploy Orlan-10 UAV in Arctic region

Russian MOD photo
Russia will deploy its new Orlan-10 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to monitor Russian territories in the Arctic from May 1.

Aerial refuelling F-35

KC-130J refuels a F-35
For long-range missions, aerial refueling is deemed critical for a fighter jet to complete its mission as internal fuel capacity enable only less than 1000 km range and external fuel tanks limit weapon carriage.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Boeing commercial airplanes report strong Q1 performance

Boeing's first-quarter revenue in 2015 increased 8 percent to $22.1 billion reflecting higher commercial deliveries. Core earnings per share (non-GAAP) increased 12 percent to $1.97.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

X-47B perform maiden autonomous aerial refueling

US Navy photo
 Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy successfully demonstrated fully autonomous aerial refueling (AAR) with the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft on April 22, marking the first time in history that an unmanned aircraft has refueled in-flight.

UTC to debut Active Side-sticks onboard Irkut MC-21 airliner

Irkut MC-21 cockpit with left hand side-stick control
 UTC Aerospace Systems has introduced the world's first active side-stick controller for large commercial aircraft developed by its Actuation & Propeller business unit.

UAV Turbines unveil new turboprop engines

Miami based UAV Turbines, Inc. (UAVT) has recently demonstrated a new generation of gas turbine engines designed for Group 3 and Group 4 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, in a range from 30 hp to 150 hp.

Draken to offer L-39NG upgrade in USA

In an exclusive partnership with Aero Vodochody and Williams International, Draken International is now offering next generation upgrades on L-39 aircraft in the Americas.

Based in Lakeland, Florida, Draken International is a leading provider of tactical flight support as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services.

The L-39 upgrade program, or L-39NG upgrade, enables owners of Aero Vodochody L-39 aircraft in the Americas to implement a number of powerful enhancements to deliver significant improvements in performance, technological capability, aircraft availability and safety.

The L-39NG upgrade adds many modern and advanced capabilities that are critical for 21st century aviation. The key new feature is the light and fuel-efficient Williams International FJ44-4M turbofan engine, which delivers improved performance at speed, range and endurance.

Drakern L-39NG upgrader

Further, a new electric starter allows the original APU to be removed with all its components, saving considerable weight. In the cockpit, new digital instruments are added as well as OEM overhauled ejection seats with fresh pyro. Additionally, a full IRAN of all major systems brings the aircraft up to current OEM compliance.

The upgrade offers numerous benefits:
  • Decreased fuel consumptionby approx. 15%
  • Decreased maintenance costs– "Support by the hour" program fully covers scheduled maintenance, unscheduled maintenance, and foreign object damages
  • Improved acceleration time– 3-5 seconds from idle to max vs. 9-12 seconds on existing AI-25TL engine
  • Quicker maintenance turnaround– Major periodic inspections of FJ44-4M take 4 weeks vs. 4-6 months for overhaul of original AI-25TL engine
  • Decreased aircraft weightby approx. 330 lbs. due to lighter engine and removal of heavy APU and balance weight
Draken is officially launching the L-39NG upgrade program at the Sun N' Fun International Fly-In & Expo which began on April 21, 2015 in Lakeland, Florida.

Seaspray 5000E AESA radar to equip Australian Challenger CL-604 SAR aircraft

Selex Seaspray AESA radar

Selex ES has been awarded a multi-million Euro contract from Cobham Aviation Services in Australia to supply a number of Seaspray 5000E Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) surveillance radars.

Japanese coast guard orders Falcon 2000 MSA maritime surveillance jets

Photo: Dassault
Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) has selected the proposed Dassault Falcon 2000 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) to enhance its maritime surveillance capability.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Poland pre-selects Airbus H225M helicopter

Poland has pre-selected Airbus Helicopters’ H225M (formerly EC725) Caracal multi role heavy lift helicopter to equip its armed forces.

MQ-4C Triton complete MFAS maritime AESA radar integrated flight

U.S. Navy's MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft completed its maiden sensor integrated flight, with a new maritime search radar from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, on April 18.

Solar Impulse 2 takes off to Nanjing

Solar Impulse at Chongqinng
Solar Impulse took off for its sixth flight from Chongqing to Nanjing, China, at 06:06 local time (22:06 UTC) today.

Bertrand Piccard is flying the zero-fuel airplane on about 1190km (642NM) for an estimated time of 17 hours.
The airplane have been stuck in Chongqing for the last 20 days, following unfavourable weather conditions. From Nanjing the SI2 will proceed to Hawaii, US one of the longest duration flight.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

F-35 public debut at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

U.S. aviation enthusiasts will have their first glance at the U.S. military's second fifth generation stealth fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II at this year's EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, this summer.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

India may acquire Saab Gripen NG

After Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise move to buy 36 off the shelf Dassault Rafale fighters, bypassing an ongoing decade old competitive selection process for 126 fighters jets which was at its last leg, speculations are high about India considering single engined fighters to fill the gap.

X-47B prepares for maiden unmanned aerial refuelling

US Navy's Unmanned Combat Aircraft System (UCAS) demonstrator X-47B has entered its last flight test phase, the unmanned aerial refueling, before winding up the program which proved the basic concept of an unmanned naval stealth fighter jet.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Airbus A330 reach 1500 order milestone

Airbus' versatile A330 aircraft family has crossed the 1500 firm order milestone, making it one of successful widebody jetliner.

F-35 on track: Bogdan

Copyright © 2014 BAE Systems
Despite its numerous setbacks, the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter program is on the right track to meet aircraft delivery deadlines, the program’s executive officer told a House Armed Services Committee panel on April 14.

Rolls Royce wins biggest engine order for Trent 900

Rolls Royce Trent 900 assembly line
Rolls-Royce has won its largest ever order, worth $9.2bn, to provide Trent 900 engines and TotalCare®service support to Emirates Airline.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Embraer E-Jet E2 cabin wins Crystal Cabin award

The concept cabin interior for the Embraer's second generation of E-Jet airliner platform, the E-Jet E2 has received the prestigious Crystal Cabin Award in the “Industrial Design and Visionary Concepts” category.

New Antonov An-178 airlifter rolled out

Antonov rolled out the first flight test prototype of the AN-178 medium lift airlifter on April 15.

Seven cabin innovations at Aircraft Interior Expo 2015

This week the future aircraft cabin were revealed at the 2015 Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany. Seven of the world's smartest ideas for the aircraft cabin were awarded on Tuesday, April 14th with the "Cabin Oscar" - the Chrystal Cabin Award.

Transport Canada certify S-92 automated Rig Approach feature

Sikorsky S-92 helicopter has won certification by Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) for its automated Rig Approach™ feature.

ULA unveil Vulcan launch vehicle

United Launch Alliance (ULA) unveiled its Next Generation Launch System (NGLS), the Vulcan rocket at the 31st Space Symposium being held at Colo, U.S. from April 13-16.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Iranian S-300: A true gamechanger

S-300 Air Defense System
In a strategic move, Russia has decided to lift the ban on shipment of S-300 air defense system to Iran.

Bell UH-1N airframe clock 17000 flight hours

U.S. Army UH-1 Helicopter
US Air Force 36th Rescue Flight's Bell UH-1N Iroquois light helicopter 69-6648, has achieved a record 17,000 flight hour milestone on last Feb. 24 the most for that airframe in the USAF's inventory.

First Australian pilot flew P-8 Poseidon MPA

Royal Australian Air Force Flight (RAAF) Lieutenant James Pears became the first Australian pilot to fly the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, United States on 14 April US EDT, completing a four hour sortie.

Saab contract Selex Skyward IRST for Swedish Gripen E fighters

Selex ES has signed a contract with Saab for 60 Skyward-G infra-red search and track (IRST) systems to be installed on Swedish Air Force Saab Gripen E fighter aircraft.

ONR debuts LOCUST swarming UAV at SAS 2015

US Navy Office of Naval Research (ONR) is displaying a prototype, tube-launched swarming naval UAV, developed as a part of the Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) program at the annual Sea-Air-Space Exposition April 13-15, which takes place at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, Maryland.

Dynamatic to built Indian version of RQ-11 Raven

Dynamatic Technologies Limited has been selected to manufacture an Indian version of the AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven surveillance Unmanned Aerial System from its manufacturing facilities in Bangalore.

Dubbed the 'Cheel', the UAS program is a collaborative project under the India-United States Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), announced during US President Barack Obama's visit to India in Jan 2015.

The Cheel will be jointly developed and produced by pooling in Dynamatic's advanced Indian manufacturing and engineering capabilities along with AeroVironment's unique UAV design skills, application expertise and global support services.

In February a pilot production plant was inaugurated. The facility houses an advanced avionics and communications laboratory, payload development facility, composite facility as well as an assembly and testing facility for small Unmanned Aerial Systems.

The Cheel will be offered to Indian Armed Forces and will be equipped with surveillance sensors for ISR roles.

The RQ-11 Raven is a hand launched UAS introduced in 2003 with US military. More than 19000 has been built since then, and is now widely operated by other countries.

The RQ-11B Raven UAV weighs about 1.9 kg (4.2 lb), has a flight endurance of 60–90 minutes and an effective operational radius of approximately 10 km (6.2 miles).

UAV can provide day or night aerial intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance. Standard mission payloads include CCD color video cameras and an infrared night vision camera.

The Raven lands itself by auto-piloting to a pre-defined landing point and then performing a 45° slope (1 foot down for every 1 foot forward) controlled "Autoland" descent.

Incidently, India's National Aerospace Ltd has already built a Raven class UAV called the Slybird.

Rockwell delivers updated software for KC-390

Rockwell Collins has delivered the third incremental Pro Line Fusion flight test software for the Embraer KC-390 airlifter, featuring increased maturity and full functionality in support of the flight test campaign.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Saab-Embraer sign FX-2 management agreement

Saab Gripen Fighter
Embraer and Saab have signed an agreement that establishes a partnership for joint management of the Brazilian F-X2 fighter jet acquisition program for the Brazilian Air Force following the Memorandum of Understanding announced on July 11th, 2014.

Competition to design AW609 corporate cabin

AgustaWestland has launched the second edition of its “Flydeas for the City” competition, now aimed at developing an all new, advanced corporate cabin interior for the AW609- world's first commercial tiltrotor helicopter.

Boeing studies 737 BBJ with cargo capacity

Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) revealed that the company is studying offerability of a BBJ Combi, allowing customers to have a split configuration of both passengers and cargo at the same time, at the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE) in Shanghai.

Monday, April 13, 2015

First LEAP powered A320neo rolled out

Airbus today rolled out the first next generation CFM LEAP-1A turbofan engine powered A320neo from its final assembly line in Toulouse France, expanding the developmental fleet to three flight test aircraft.

The LEAP-1A is one of the two engine choices for the re-engined and improved A320neo (new engine option) along with the Pratt and Whitney PurePower PW1100 Geared Turbofan engine.

The PW1100 GTF powered A320neo achieved maiden flight in last September. The second Pratt & Whitney powered A320neo joined the fleet at the end of March. The LEAP powered A320neo will now proceed to ground tests ahead of first flight later this year.

The CFM LEAP family represents the engines of choice for the next-generation single-aisle aircraft. The LEAP-1A is an option on the Airbus A320neo; the LEAP-1B is the exclusive powerplant for the Boeing 737 MAX; and the LEAP-1C is the sole Western powerplant for the COMAC C919.

The 24,500-32,900 pounds thrust class LEAP-1A boasts up to 15% improvement in fuel efficiency compared to today's best CFM56 engines along with improved dispatchability and low maintenance.

Two engine families have contributed significantly to the design of the LEAP engine, the CFM56 and the GE90/GEnx series of engines. The GE90/GEnx contributed the high-efficiency core architecture to minimize fuel consumption, while the CFM56 legacy drove reliability and maintenance cost design practices.

The LEAP features lighter fan blades made of composite materials using proprietary woven 3D RTM (Resin Transfer Molding) process. These new composites on fan blades and other componenets reduce weight of each aircraft by about 1000 pounds (450 kg).

The new engines along with other improvements will result in a per seat fuel burn saving of 20 per cent compared to current engine option (CEO) A320 jetliners, along with additional range, reduced engine noise and lower emissions.

The LEAP is expected to enter revenue service in 2016 on the Airbus A320neo. CFM is 50-50 joint venture between GE and French Snecma.

Russia inducts upgraded Mig-31BMs

The first 24 modernized MiG-31BM long range interceptor jets have been delivered to the Russian Armed Forces.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

GE developing Sixth Gen combat fighter engine

Image Credit:GE Aviation
US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and General Electric Aviation is developing a sixth generation high performance, fuel-efficient engine to demonstrate adaptive cycle engine technologies for powering sixth generation combat aircraft.

The new engine design called ADVENT (Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology), can switch between high power and high efficiency modes, operating effectively and efficiently over a wide range of flight conditions, from subsonic to supersonic speeds.

Present fighter jets use sleek and narrow supersonic engines called low-bypass turbofans to generate enormous thrust by compromising fuel efficiency. They are called low bypass because over 90 percent engine air inlet goes through the engine core. However commercial passenger jets use bigger high-bypass turbofans, which are fuel efficient and low noise due to high bypassing of inlet air.

The ADVENT engine combines both the high bypass and low bypass architecture into one , through a innovative architecture that shifts air flow between the core, the main bypass, and a third stream to achieve thrust, optimal performance, and fuel efficiency.

Animation showing GE ADVENT switching between high bypass and low bypass engine
The engine can automatically flip between the two modes and gives fighter pilots the speed they need during dogfights, and the fuel savings when they are flying patrols or in cruise.

One of the key technologies behind the adaptive-cycle engine is the adaptive fan, which allows the engine to vary its bypass ratio depending on its altitude and speed.

At cruising speeds, the third air intake pathway is used to increase the amount of bypass air around the engine’s core, which boosts propulsive efficiency.

The Adaptive Engine program aims to achieve a 25 percent fuel efficiency improvement with the extra fuel enough to provide a 30 percent increase in operating range, and a five-to-ten percent improvement in thrust compared to today's fixed-cycle engines.

The idea dates back to the 1960s, when German jet engine pioneer Gerhard Neumann realized that he could manage jet engine performance by controlling the amount of air that flows through the engine core. More flow yields more thrust and speed (that’s good for fighter jets); less flow saves fuel.

The new adaptive cycle engine is building on the YF120, GE’s first variable cycle engine prototype built and flight tested in the 1990s. The engine lost to what became the Pratt & Whitney F119 that powers the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.

USAF selected GE for the ADVENT program in 2012. GE began testing the ADVENT demonstrator engine in November 2013, six years after development began in 2007.

The team last year achieved the highest temperature ever recorded inside a jet engine core, surpassing engine target temperatures by more than 130 degrees Fahrenheit. To take the heat, GE has developed new heat resistant materials called ceramic matrix composites(CMCs).

The AFRL’s follow-on Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) program is intended to bring the technologies developed under ADVENT into a flight-worthy design.

The AETD program will build off these and other demonstrations to mature these technologies in preparation for eventual low-risk transition into combat aircraft in the 2020 timeframe.

GE will continue to mature the ADVENT technologies through the AETD program, which will conclude in 2016 following fan rig testing and a core engine test.

Pratt & Whitney's AETD program will lead to demonstration testing of an advanced high-pressure ratio core in early 2016, to be followed later in 2016 by full engine testing of a three-stream adaptive fan and three-stream compatible augmentor and exhaust system.

Major benefit of the adaptive cycle engine will be the reduced demand for deployed fuel and tanker aircraft support, hence reducing operational cost.

While US Air Force has its ADVENT, AETD and NextGen programs to develop next generation engine technology, the Navy has its Variable Cycle Advanced Technology (VCAT) program looking to adapt these technology for naval aviation.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Australia announce additional C-17 order

Australia officially announced its decision to acquire two additional Boeing C-17A Globemaster III aircraft to bolster the Royal Australian Air Force’s existing fleet of six strategic lift aircraft.

India to buy 36 Rafale off the shelf

In a surprise deal, India has asked France to supply 36 Dassault Rafale fighter jets in fly away condition to arrest the dwindling Indain Air Force fighter fleet.

Maiden flight of MRJ in Oct-Sept 2015

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp confirmed that its MRJ regional jet's maiden flight will be delayed to the third quarter of 2015 from second quarter.

The company says to fully incorporate the verification results of the various ground tests and related feedback into the first flight test aircraft, the first flight has to be scheduled for September or October.

The engine runs of the first prototype has begun in last January. Presently static strength testing and manufacture of the second and subsequent flight test aircraft are all proceeding smoothly.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp jointly released their latest status report on Friday, concerning progress in developing the MRJ (Mitsubishi Regional Jet).

Effective from April 1 MHI and Mitsubishi Aircraft launched a new management structure to facilitate transition of the MRJ project from the development stage to the manufacturing phase, and under the new framework initiatives are moving forward towards more unified operations. Prior to inauguration of the new structure, in January Mitsubishi Aircraft relocated its complete Head Office functions to the Nagoya Airport Terminal Building (Toyoyama-cho, Aichi Prefecture) next to where the MRJ’s final assembly, ground testing and flight test are performed.

MHI and Mitsubishi Aircraft will implement intensive flight test after the first flight and accelerate manufacture of the aircraft towards first delivery, as scheduled, during the second quarter of 2017.
MHI's Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works will integrally produce parts for wings, which will be brought to the Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works' Tobishima Plant (Ama District, Aichi Prefecture) for fabrication on dedicated assembly lines being newly constructed.

In tandem with these initiatives, a production collaboration association to produce aircraft parts will be established, and a cluster is in the process of being formed at the Matsusaka Plant in Mie Prefecture, to undertake integrated production of parts for commercial aircraft in a collaborative manner.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Aero Engines, Ltd. in Komaki, Aichi Prefecture, a group company of MHI, will perform final assembly of the MRJ's Pratt and Whitney PurePower PW1200 Geared Turbofan engines.

To control and manage the physical distribution of the vast number of items involved, a real-time network linking all production facilities in Japan and worldwide suppliers will be established.
The MRJ is a family of 70- to 90-seat next-generation regional jets which has won orders for 407 units, including 223 firm. The MRJ's rollout ceremony was held last October.

Earlier MRJ's maiden flight was first scheduled for 2013 third quarter and first delivery this year.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

USAF deploys AIM-120D, US Navy AIM-120D achieve IOC

Raytheon recently completed two milestones for the newest variant of the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile(AMRAAM®), the AIM-120D.

Raytheon-Kongsberg team on Naval Strike Missile

Raytheon and Norwegian Kongsberg have formed a teaming agreement for the Naval Strike Missile (NSM). The pact represents a second step in the companies' efforts to offer world-class Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare (OASuW) solutions to the many governments interested in this warfare mission.

Indian An-32s safe in Ukraine

The recent rumors about the untraceability of last five Indian Air Force Antonov An-32 airlifters send to Ukraine for overhaul and modernization has been rejected by Ukraine and India.

Eurojet EJ200 integrated Bloodhound SSC 1000 mph test in 2016

The British attempt at setting 1000 MPH land-speed record with the Bloodhound SSC jet and rocket powered car  took a step closer to completion with the integration of the supersonic Eurojet EJ200 jet engine, that powers the Eurofighter Typhoon multi role fighter jet into the chassis of the world’s fastest car.