Saturday, July 25, 2015

More Iskander-M missiles join Russian forces

A new unit of Iskander-M tactical missile system was delivered to the Russian Eastern MD air-defence missile formation during a ceremony at Kapustin Yar firing ground on Wednesday.

The Eastern Military District is one of the four operational strategic commands of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

First Deputy Commander of the Eastern MD, Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Alexander Lapin and the Chief of missile and artillery troops of the Land Force Major General Mikhail Matveevsky, representatives of the defense industry took part in the ceremony.

The Eastern MD missile formation received missile launchers, transporter loaders and command vehicles, life support and maintenance equipment, as well as an information center.

This is the fifth missile formation and the second in Eastern MD, which has been fully equipped with modern guided missile system.

With a range of 500 km, Iskander-M flies a non-ballistic flight path and is controlled on all stages. Intense maneuvering during take off and homing makes the missile unpredictable and difficult to engage.

The crews has started to practicing to operate the missile systems at firing range located in the Astrakhan Region.

Training will finish in this September with combat exercise, after which all the formation personnel together with organic hardware will perform march by railroad transport to their permanent bases.

Saab to produce warhead for MBDA MMP missile

© MBDA / Isabelle Chapuis

Saab has signed a warhead production contract with MBDA France for the MMP medium-range missile. The order has been placed with Saab’s subsidiary Saab Bofors Dynamics Switzerland (SBDS), with deliveries scheduled for 2017.

The MMP (Missile Moyenne Portée, medium-range missile) is a high-technology, new-generation battlefield missile. It is established as one of the French MoD’s major new programmes, within its Military Planning Act 2014-2019, to modernise the French Army.

This versatile missile, conceived by MBDA France, is currently in its development phase following notification of a development contract by the French defence procurement agency, the DGA. Maiden firing of the missile was carried out in Feb 2015.

The warhead for the MMP has been developed by Saab Bofors Dynamics Switzerland (SBDS). With high precision, the MMP will enable armed forces to neutralise the many different target types that they might encounter.

Tests with the warhead against the latest generation of explosive reactive armour have been successfully completed. The warhead ensures that collateral damage is kept to a minimum while maximising the safety of the operator.

The man portable MMP, which has a range of 4 km can be fired in three operational modes, fire-and-forget, man-in-loop and lock-on-after-launch.

SBDS is an industry leader in the design, development and production of mortar rounds, warheads, less-lethal applications and other energetic products. The company is a specialist in total munitions life cycle management and provides servicing of different ammunition types, mainly for large-calibre products. SBDS operates as a subsidiary of Saab and is based in Thun, Switzerland where it maintains a start-of-the-art development and production site with advanced test and simulation facilities.

Lockheed awarded $1.5 billion Patriot missile contract

United States and allied military forces are set to upgrade key missile defense capabilities under a new $1.5 billion contract for production and delivery of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles and PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (PAC-3 MSE) missiles.

The contract includes PAC-3 and PAC-3 MSE interceptor deliveries for the U.S. Army, and Foreign Military Sales of PAC-3 interceptors, associated equipment and spares for the Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.

“The PAC-3 and the PAC-3 MSE interceptors are the most advanced, capable and reliable terminal air defense missiles in the world,” said Scott Arnold, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of PAC-3 programs. “As threats grow in complexity, these interceptors will continue to be in high demand to protect soldiers and citizens around the globe.”

The PAC-3 Missile is a high velocity interceptor that defends against incoming threats including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft using hit-to-kill technology. PAC-3 currently provides missile defense capabilities for six nations – the U.S., the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, United Arab Emirates and Taiwan; and Lockheed Martin is on contract with four additional nations – Kuwait, Qatar, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Building on the combat proven PAC-3, the PAC-3 MSE missile uses a two-pulse solid rocket motor that increases altitude and range to meet evolving threats.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Royal Navy pilot clocks 8000 flying hours

Crown Copyright
Royal Navy Pilot Lieutenant Commander Andrew ‘Tank’ Murray, who flies with 771 Naval Air Squadron (Search and Rescue) at RNAS Culdrose, has clocked a staggering 8000 hours in his flying career.

Having joined the Royal Navy in 1986, ‘Tank’ gained his flying “Wings” in September 1988 and in under a year was flying on the frontline with 814 Naval Air Squadron.

He has flown most of the Royal Navy’s aircraft during his long and distinguished career including Gazelles, Chipmunks (de Havilland dhc-1) and Bulldogs (Grob G115) but it is the ‘venerable Sea King’ that has proved to be his most loved aircraft.

Along with some impressive frontline operational service with the ‘Mighty King’ on 814, 820, 849 and 857 NAS’s, ‘Tank’ has also completed training tours with 810 & 706 NAS, and SAR duties with Gannet SAR Flight in Scotland and 771 NAS where he now serves.

He has been on operational frontline service in Iraq, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, where recently he supported coalition operations during Op Herrick, flying missions out of Camp Bastion in Helmand province.

He was awarded the prestigious Air Force Cross (AFC) for his bravery during a dramatic rescue in the Scottish Highlands and have flown over 360 SAR missions.

A flawed strut caused SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS-7 mission crash

On June 28, 2015, following a nominal liftoff, SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket experienced an over pressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank approximately 139 seconds into flight, resulting in loss of mission. This summary represents an initial assessment, but further investigation may reveal more over time.

Prior to the mishap, the first stage of the vehicle, including all nine Merlin 1D engines, operated nominally; the first stage actually continued to power through the overpressure event on the second stage for several seconds following the mishap. In addition, the Dragon spacecraft not only survived the second stage event, but also continued to communicate until the vehicle dropped below the horizon and out of range.

SpaceX has led the investigation efforts with oversight from the FAA and participation from NASA and the U.S. Air Force. Review of the flight data proved challenging both because of the volume of data —over 3,000 telemetry channels as well as video and physical debris—and because the key events happened very quickly.

From the first indication of an issue to loss of all telemetry was just 0.893 seconds. Over the last few weeks, engineering teams have spent thousands of hours going through the painstaking process of matching up data across rocket systems down to the millisecond to understand that final 0.893 seconds prior to loss of telemetry.

At this time, the investigation remains ongoing, as SpaceX and the investigation team continue analyzing significant amounts of data and conducting additional testing that must be completed in order to fully validate these conclusions. However, given the currently available data, we believe we have identified a potential cause.

Preliminary analysis suggests the overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank was initiated by a flawed piece of support hardware (a “strut”) inside the second stage. Several hundred struts fly on every Falcon 9 vehicle, with a cumulative flight history of several thousand. The strut that we believe failed was designed and material certified to handle 10,000 lbs of force, but failed at 2,000 lbs, a five-fold difference. Detailed close-out photos of stage construction show no visible flaws or damage of any kind.

In the case of the CRS-7 mission, it appears that one of these supporting pieces inside the second stage failed approximately 138 seconds into flight. The pressurization system itself was performing nominally, but with the failure of this strut, the helium system integrity was breached. This caused a high pressure event inside the second stage within less than one second and the stage was no longer able to maintain its structural integrity.

Despite the fact that these struts have been used on all previous Falcon 9 flights and are certified to withstand well beyond the expected loads during flight, SpaceX will no longer use these particular struts for flight applications. In addition, SpaceX will implement additional hardware quality audits throughout the vehicle to further ensure all parts received perform as expected per their certification documentation.

As noted above, these conclusions are preliminary. Our investigation is ongoing until we exonerate all other aspects of the vehicle, but at this time, we expect to return to flight this fall and fly all the customers we intended to fly in 2015 by end of year.

The Dragon spacecraft onboard the Falcon 9 was carrying supplies to the International Space Station, on a contract from NASA.

While the CRS-7 loss is regrettable, this review process invariably will, in the end, yield a safer and more reliable launch vehicle for all of our customers, including NASA, the United States Air Force, and commercial purchasers of launch services. Critically, the vehicle will be even safer as we begin to carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station in 2017.

Source: SpaceX PR

BAE Systems RIAT 2015 Images

Video: Royal Navy ship flies 3D printed uav

A 3D printed aircraft was successfully launched off the front of a Royal Navy warship and landed safely on a Dorset beach.

HMS Mersey provided the perfect platform for the University of Southampton to test out their SULSA unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Weighing 3kg and measuring 1.5m the airframe was created on a 3D printer using laser sintered nylon and catapulted off HMS Mersey into the Wyke Regis Training Facility in Weymouth, before landing on Chesil Beach.

The flight, which covered roughly 500 metres, lasted less than five minutes but demonstrated the potential use of small lightweight UAVs, which can be easily launched at sea, in a maritime environment.

The aircraft carried a small video camera to record its flight and Southampton researchers monitored the flight from their UAV control van with its on-board video-cameras.

AW169 achieve EASA Type Certification

AgustaWestland's new generation light-intermediate twin-engine helicopter AW169, has been issued with type certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on 15 July 2015.

 The AW169 is certified in accordance with EASA CS-29 / FAR Part 29 latest Amendments. FAA certification will follow in the next few months

The EASA type certification  was achieved in less than five years after program launch and pave way for customer delivery.

The AW169 4.6 tonne helicopter is the first all new aircraft in its weight category to enter the market in more than 30 years..

The first units will be delivered from the Vergiate final assembly line in Italy. A second AW169 final assembly line is being established at AgustaWestland’s Philadelphia plant in the USA. AW’s Yeovil plant in UK plays a key role in the production of rotor blades and the tail rotor transmission system.

A Flight Training Device (FTD) and a maintenance training simulator are already operational at AgustaWestland’s Sesto Calende Training Academy in Italy, while a Level D Full Flight Simulator will be available in 2016.

More than 150 AW169 helicopters have been ordered by customers around the world to date, including framework contracts and options, for a wide range of applications including executive/corporate transport, air ambulance, law enforcement, offshore transport and utility roles.

Designed with inherent dual-use capabilities, the AW169 is also ideally suited for the wide scope of parapublic and government applications and will be able to meet military and naval requirements.

The type incorporates several new technology features in the rotor system, engines, avionics, transmission and electric power generation and distribution systems. The AW169 can comfortably accommodate up to ten passengers in its large, unobstructed cabin, fitted with a range of customised equipment and entertainment systems.

The aircraft is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney PW210A turboshafts which also have an auxiliary power unit (APU) mode, ensuring the continued operation of the environmental control system, radios and medical equipment when the rotors are stopped.

The AW169’s avionic suite introduces state-of-the-art technology including a fully digital NVG compatible cockpit with three 8” x 10” large area (AMLCD) displays and touch screen technology with enhanced 3D graphics capability for maximum situational awareness.

A 4-axis digital automatic flight control system (DAFCS) with dual Flight Management System (FMS) minimises crew workload, allowing single/dual pilot VFR/IFR operations. The avionics suite also complies with satellite-based navigation, communication and surveillance requirements and has the capability to perform satellite-based IFR LPV (localizer performance with vertical guidance) approaches to maximize round-the-clock utilisation of the helicopter. Safety enhancing avionics such as Terrain Awareness Warning Systems, airborne collision avoidance systems can be added to the standard avionic configuration.

The AW169 features advanced variable speed main rotor which improves efficiency and reduces the external noise footprint. It is also the first helicopter in its category entering the market with an electric retractable landing gear which reduces complexity and maintenance requirements.

Furthermore, several advanced aerodynamic solutions have been incorporated into the AW169 airframe under the European Clean Sky Green Rotorcraft GRC2 Drag Reduction programme.

The AW169 is designed with inherent ease of maintenance, for reliable, intensive utilisation in the most demanding conditions with high time between overhauls (TBO) and minimal life-limited parts. Time between successive inspections has been optimised to maximise aircraft availability and reduce maintenance man hours per flight hour, adopting MSG-3 approach for the maintenance process.

Maintenance programmes can be tailored to meet operators’ specific requirements, making the AW169 an ideal platform for operators wanting to maximize aircraft utilisation.

The AW169 helicopter is part of AgustaWestland’s family of new generation helicopters that also includes the AW139 and AW189. These helicopters all possess the same high-performance flight characteristics and safety features whilst sharing the same common cockpit concept and design philosophy.

This approach facilitates synergies for operators of fleets across the 4 to 9 tonne categories in areas such as training, flight operations, maintenance and support.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

CFM delivers first production LEAP engine to power COMAC C919 airliner

In a special ceremony here, CFM International and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC) celebrated delivery of the first CFM LEAP-1C engine to the aircraft manufacturer. This engine will be installed on the first C919 airplane in preparation for airplane roll out and first flight.

Delivery of this engine paves the way for the final assembly and rollout of the first C919 aircraft later this year.

The LEAP engine was officially launched in December 2009 when COMAC selected the LEAP-1C as the sole Western powerplant for its 150-passenger C919 airplane. The engine incorporates a unique, industry-first fully integrated propulsion system (IPS). CFM provides the engine as well as the nacelle and thrust reverser developed by Nexcelle*. These elements, including the pylon provided by COMAC, were designed in conjunction with each other, resulting in a total system that provides improved aerodynamics, lower weight, and easier maintenance.

CFM is executing the most extensive ground and flight test certification program in its history. There are currently a total of more than 30 LEAP engines (all three models) on test or in final assembly and the program has logged a total of more than 4,730 certification ground and flight test hours and 7,900 cycles. The total program, which encompasses all three LEAP engine variants, includes 28 ground and CFM flight test engines, along with a total of 32 flight test engines for aircraft manufacturers.

The first LEAP-1C engine successfully completed a flight test program in late 2014 on a modified 747 flying testbed at GE facilities in Victorville, California. The flight-test program encompassed a comprehensive test schedule that gauged engine operability, stall margin, performance, emissions, and acoustics. It also validated the advanced technologies incorporated in the engine, including the woven carbon fiber composite fan, the Twin-Annular, Pre-Mixing Swirler (TAPS) combustor, ceramic matrix composite shrouds in the high-pressure turbine and titanium aluminide blades in the low-pressure turbine.

C919 airplane development has entered a critical phase and final assembly of the first airframe structure is nearly complete. The wind tunnel test, iron-bird test, avionics integration, and power system tests are all progressing well. With the delivery of the first LEAP-1C engine and the hydraulic systems, the installation of the airborne systems will begin soon. The first C919 is scheduled to roll out before the end of 2015.

Nexcelle is providing the Integrated Propulsion System (IPS) for the engine.

COMAC was formed on May 11, 2008 and is headquartered in Shanghai. The company functions as the main vehicle for implementing large passenger aircraft programs in China. It is also mandated with the overall planning of developing trunk liner and regional jet programs and realizing the industrialization of civil aircraft in China. COMAC is engaged in the research, manufacture and flight tests of civil aircraft and related products, as well as marketing, servicing, leasing and operations of civil aircraft.

CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran) and GE, the world's leading supplier of commercial aircraft engines, has delivered more than 28,000 engines to date. Through June 2015, the company had garnered orders and commitments for more than 9,500 LEAP engines.

Boeing finalize agreement with Japanese suppliers for 777X

Boeing and key Japanese partners signed a formal agreement for significant work on Boeing’s new 777X airplane.

The agreement finalizes last year’s announcement by Boeing, Japan Aircraft Industries (JAI) and Japan Aircraft Development Corporation (JADC) of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to provide approximately 21 percent of the major airplane structure components for the 777X.

The contract includes fuselage sections; center wing sections; pressure bulkhead; main landing gear wells; passenger, cargo and main landing gear doors; wing components and wing-body fairings.

JAI consists of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), ShinMaywa Industries (SMIC) and NIPPI Corporation (NIPPI). JADC is a non-profit foundation established to enhance the competitiveness of the Japanese aircraft industry.

Boeing has partnered with Japanese aerospace companies for nearly five decades to develop and manufacture the Next-Generation 737, 737 MAX, 747, 757, 767, 777, 787 Dreamliner, and now the 777X.

In 2014, Boeing purchased more than $5 billion of goods and services in Japan, supporting tens of thousands of aerospace jobs. With this agreement in place, the company expects to purchase a total of approximately $36 billion of goods and services from Japan between 2014 and the end of the decade.

Building on the passenger-preferred and market-leading 777 family of airplanes, the 777X family includes the 777-8X and the 777-9X, both designed to respond to market needs and customer preferences. The 777X program currently has 306 firm orders from six customers. Production is set to begin in 2017, with first delivery targeted for 2020.

F-35A gun undergo ground testing

Courtesy photo/Darin Russell

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Test Force is in the process of testing the F-35A Lightning II’s newest munitions asset, a four-barrel Gatling gun that fires 25 mm rounds known as the GAU-22/A.

Unlike the Marine Corps and Navy variants, the GAU-22/A is integrated internally to the U.S. Air Force's F-35A. In the other variants, the gun is mounted to the outside as a pod. A similar weapon, GAU-12, has been used on the AV-8B Harrier.

The first phase of testing started June 9, when the first shots were fired on the ground at the Edwards Gun Harmonizing Range. The test team hopes to finish ground testing sometime during August and start the airborne phase in late September. An operational gun capability will be added with a future block of software, which is in the beginning stages of testing at Edwards AFB.

The tests are done using a target practice round, the PGU-23/U, which fires from the gun but does not explode on impact.

The tricky part about this test phase is that the gun will never operationally fire on the ground. To conduct the test, they have to use software to bypass interlocks to make the aircraft think it's in the air.

The GAU-22/A uses a 25 mm shell, which is significantly more powerful than what have been used in legacy aircraft, like the F-16 (Fighting Falcon), F-15E (Strike Eagle) (and) F-15C (Eagle)-- all those aircraft use a 20 mm shell.

Integrating a weapon into the aircraft is not in itself unique, but what does make this project special is that it's being integrated into a stealth platform. In legacy aircraft, the gun fires through a hole in the outer molding. In this case, to keep the jet hidden from radar signatures, the gun will be kept behind closed doors until the trigger is engaged.

The ground tests are designed to answer questions like: does the gun door open correctly? Does the gun spin up and down correctly? Does the air flow through the vent, and is it adequate to clear the flammable gasses?

Prior to testing the integration of the GAU-22/A into the F-35A, the gun itself was tested as a standalone. It was also flown during test points without firing to ensure that the flight envelope would not overstress the gun mounts. Preparing for the ground gun fire tests in the aircraft took roughly six months.

The testing airframe, tail number AF-2, a highly modified flight sciences aircraft, and underwent four months of instrumentation modifications and had a line production gun installed for this project.

Since AF-2 is a flight sciences aircraft, it does not have all the missionized systems of full-line production aircraft. The gun will be further tested with a line production jet sometime next year for full integration.

To evaluate the gun's performance, the test team is made up of personnel from the U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney and Northrop Grumman.

Source: U.S. Air Force

Lockheed U-2 demonstrate open mission system flights

Lockheed Martin Photo

Lockheed Martin successfully integrated and flight tested seven Open Mission Systems (OMS) payloads in a span of less than three months into a U-2 Dragon Lady, marking the corporation’s sixth demonstration flight in support of the U.S. Air Force’s OMS vision.

This demonstration focused on communications relay capabilities, dynamic weapon retargeting and methodology. Multiple radios and associated waveforms were integrated with the U-2, which served as a communications gateway between an F-22, F-18s and a Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) surrogate platform.

Furthermore, fifth and fourth generation fighter data and U-2 onboard Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare systems data were relayed to both a Rover ground terminal and the Common Mission Control Center, allowing the LRASM surrogate to be dynamically retargeted in midflight.

Additionally, the U.S. Air Force’s 76th Software Maintenance Group developed and flight tested a software application designed to operate in the Skunk Works® mission management software suite.

This flight test is part of a series of tests that demonstrate the power of the Lockheed Martin Open Architecture approach combined with the Air Force OMS standards. The stability of the entire OMS mission package was proven, as no software or subsystem resets were required during the flight.

The flight’s success is a significant step toward risk reduction for future system-of-systems hardware and software developed to follow OMS standards.

RAF Typhoons and IAF Flankers train together

RAF Tornado, Typhoon and Indian Su-30 MKI during Indra Dhanush I

The fourth edition of the bilateral Indra Dhanush air exercise between Indian Air Force and Royal Air Force has begun at RAF Coningsby, Linconshire on July 21.

The 10 day long exercise aims to enhance mutual operational understanding between the two Air Forces and will provide ample opportunity for exchange of ideas relating to concept of operations in a dynamic warfare environment.

Two formidable fighters, the Indian Sukhoi Su-30 MKI and RAF Eurofighter Typhoon jets will take part in large scale force employment in a number of realistic operational scenarios. The aircraft will be flown in mixed formations, enabling a degree of interoperability

IAF is deploying four of its Sukhoi Su-30 MKI frontline fighters along with a Lockheed Martin C-130 airlifter, Boeing C-17 strategic airlifter and a IL-78 aerial refueling tanker.

The Su-30MKI aircraft are part of No. 2 Sqn (Winged Arrows) a unit dedicated to close air support based at Kalaikunda Air Force Station, an Indian Air Force Base near Kharagpur. The Sqn has as its emblem an arrow with spread wings, with the number 2 attached to the shaft. On a scroll below this crest is inscribed "Amogh Lakshya" (Unwavering Aim).

Quick Comparision

Eurofighter Typhoon:

Length: 15.96 m
Wingspan: 11.09 m
Engines: 2 Eurojet Turbofan engines
Thrust: 20,000 lbs each with afterburner
Max speed: 2.0 Mach
Max altitude: 55,000ft
Payload: 7500 kg

Sukhoi Su-30:

Length: 21.9 m
Wingspan: 14.7 m
Engines: 2 x AL-31FP
Thrust: 27500 lbs each with afterburner
Max speed: 2.0 Mach
Max altitude: 56000 ft
Payload: 8000 kg

India tests High Thrust cryogenic rocket engine

India’s first indigenously designed and developed High Thrust cryogenic rocket engine generating a nominal thrust of 19 tonnes was successfully endurance hot tested for a duration of 800 seconds on July 16, 2015 at ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri.

This duration is approximately 25% more than the engine burn duration in flight. The engine will be used for powering the Cryogenic stage (C25), the upper stage of the next generation GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle of ISRO, capable of launching four tonne class satellites.

This cryogenic engine of C25 Stage operates on Gas Generator Cycle using extremely low temperature propellants – Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) at 20 Kelvin (-253 deg C) and Liquid Oxygen (LOX) at 80K (-193 deg C). The various subsystems of the engine are – regeneratively cooled Thrust Chamber, Gas Generator, LOX and LH2 high speed turbopump systems, flow control components, close loop mixture ratio control system, Pyrogen igniters, fluid systems, etc. The turbopump system rotates at a speed of 36,000 rpm with a power level of 2 MW.

This high performance cryogenic engine was conceived, configured and realised by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), the lead centre of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) responsible for developing liquid propulsion systems for Indian Space Programme. The Engine design was totally in-house effort with experts from different fields like fluid dynamics, combustion, thermal, structural, metallurgy, fabrication, rotor dynamics, control components, etc., working together.

The fabrication of major subsystems of the engine was carried out through Indian Industries. Assembly and Integration of the engine and Testing were carried out in ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), a unit of ISRO.

LPSC has also developed a cryogenic upper stage of 12.5 tonne propellant loading and successfully flight tested it in GSLV Mk-II vehicle on January 05, 2014. Compared to this stage, the C25 stage has a higher propellant loading (27 tonnes versus 12.5 tonnes) and higher engine thrust (19 tonne versus 7.5 tonne).

The recent successful endurance hot test of the first high thrust cryogenic engine is the tenth test in a series of tests planned and executed as part of the development of the engine employing complex cryogenic technology. The performance of the engine closely matches with the pre-test prediction made using the in-house developed cryogenic engine mathematical modelling and simulation software.

Prior to engine realisation, a series of subsystem level tests were carried out to independently evaluate the design of major subsystems like the turbopumps, thrust chamber, gas generator, flow control components, etc. Based on the confidence gained, the integrated engine testing was initiated.

As part of the C25 Stage development, further tests are planned in High Altitude conditions and in Stage configuration, prior to the flight stage realisation.

Mastering this complex, high performance cryogenic propulsion technology will go a long way in building self reliance for the Indian Space Programme.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

CSeries clocks 2000 flight test hours

CS300 arrive in Belfast, UK

The Bombardier CSeries has clocked 2000 flight hours, a milestone for the Canadian single aisle airplane program, since flight test began in 2013 September.

Of this, more than 1000 flight hours were clocked this year, indicating good progress to a program which is late by 2 years, over budget by $2 billion and have undergone an uncontained engine failure during ground testing.

The six aircraft certification fleet consisting, five CS100 and one CS300 airliner, has to amass around 2500 combined flight hours to achieve certification, which is planned  towards the end of 2015 or early 2016.

SWISS airlines will be the first customer to take delivery and operate the CSeries when the CS100 aircraft enters service in the first half of 2016. Air Baltic will be the launch customer for the stretched CS300 in September 2016.

Bombardier during the Paris Air Show 2015 announced that, flight tests results showed the CSeries aircraft exceeding their original targets for fuel burn, payload, range and airfield performance.

The C Series aircraft’s maximum range has been confirmed to be up to 3,300 NM (6,112 km), some 350 NM (648 km) more than originally targeted. The aircraft is delivering more than a 20% fuel burn advantage compared to in-production aircraft, and a greater than 10% advantage compared to re-engined aircraft.

The program recorded its longest flight in June, when the fifth flight test vehicle (FTV5), a CS100,  returned to its Mirabel, Québec base following its demo in Zurich with SWISS Airlines. The non-stop, transatlantic trip, which covered 3,350 nautical miles (6,204 km) was completed with an air time of approximately 8.4 hours.

Catering to the 100-149 seat market, CSeries will compete with Boeing 737 series, the Airbus A320 family, Comac C919, and the Embraer 190 series regional jet. It is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PurePower® PW1500G geared turbofan engines, a key contributor to its fuel efficiency.

Raytheon develops composite airframe for MALD air-launched decoy

Raytheon Image
Raytheon in partnership with Fokker and Dallara, has developed a lower-cost carbon fiber airframe for the U.S. Air Force's Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD) by applying robotics and formula racing technologies.

The three companies reduced airframe production costs by 25 percent. The new innovative composite design will be included in this year's Lot 7 production.

MALD is a cost-efficient, modular system that can protect manned aircraft from the need to engage threats and make stand-off munitions even more lethal.

Raytheon Missile Systems partnered with industry leaders, using robotics and commercial racing car technologies to cut the cost of defense aerospace applications. Fokker Technologies, which develops and produces advanced structures and electrical systems for aerospace and defense, helped to adapt robots to wind the carbon fiber fuselage, rather than rely on the conventional, hand-built approach.

Dallara, which for 40 years has produced some of the fastest, safest racing cars in the world, applied the lightweight, very strong structural technologies used in Indy car racing to airframe accessories, including covers and air inlets.

MALD is a state-of-the-art, low-cost flight vehicle that is modular, air-launched and programmable. It weighs less than 300 pounds and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles.

MALD protects aircraft and their crews by confusing enemy air defenses by duplicating the combat flight profiles and signatures of U.S. and allied aircraft.

MALD-J adds radar-jamming capability to the basic MALD platform.

Terrafugia unveil improved TF-X VTOL flying car

Flying car maker Terrafugia, premiered the Outer Mold Line for the TF-X™, four-seat, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) hybrid electric aircraft concept at EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, United States.

The aircraft will succeed the company's present transition fly car and will feature fly by wire technology for highly autonomous control system with manual override.

Terrafugia also unveiled a one-tenth scale wind tunnel test model of the TF-X™, developed based on the new OML. The model will be tested at the MIT Wright Brothers wind tunnel, the same tunnel that was used to test models of Terrafugia’s Transition.

The wind tunnel test model will be used to measure drag, lift and thrust forces while simulating hovering flight, transitioning to forward flight and full forward flight.

TF-X's vertical take off and landing (VTOL) ability is provided by two electric powered propellers that can rotate 90 degree. During the cruising phase, ducted fan takes over from the wing tip mounted propellers. The wings and propeller folds into the body during the drive mode.

Power source for the 300 hp ducted fan is yet to be finalized, which could be a piston or turbine (APU) engine. Batteries to power the one megawatt rated electric motors is a big challenge to be solved.

The aircraft will have a backup full-vehicle parachute system which can be activated by the operator in an emergency.

It will be capable of manual or automatic VTOL in approved sites. Terrafugia claims an average driver could start flying TF-X with just five hour training.

Terrafugia is still working to certify its Transition, earlier slated for 2015, which is now slipped to 2017.

Second Rivet Joint to join RAF fleet early

In a boost to UK’s intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has confirmed that the second RC-135 Rivet Joint signals intelligence aircraft will be delivered to the RAF in September, seven months earlier than scheduled.

The first Rivet Joint delivered in 2013, is currently employed on operations, alongside a variety of other RAF units, in the fight against ISIL in the skies over Iraq and Syria.

The Rivet Joint aircraft has state of the art airborne electronic surveillance capability, allowing it to collect, analyse, and disseminate detailed signals intelligence information. In doing so it offers vital support to combat identification and targeting operations.

Under the Airseeker program, Royal Air Force purchased three RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft, which are based on the vintage KC-135R Stratotanker airframes. L3 Communications at its facility in Greenville, Texas converted the tanker platforms to the RC-135W standards.

The third aircraft delivery was expected in 2017. The Rivet Joint fleet will be based at RAF Waddington, replacing the retired Nimrod R1.

The fleet will form the No. 51 Squadron, along with RAF's other ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) assets, which includes E-3D Sentry, Shadow, Sentinel, Reaper UAV and Typhoon, Tornado GR4 based reconnaissance capabilities.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Boeing forecast strong demand for commercial airline pilots and technicians

Boeing released a new forecast showing continued strong demand for commercial airline pilots and maintenance technicians as the world's airlines add 38,000 airplanes to the global fleet over the next 20 years.

Boeing's 2015 Pilot and Technician Outlook projects that between 2015 and 2034, the world will require 558,000 new commercial airline pilots and 609,000 new commercial airline maintenance technicians.

Boeing's 2015 Outlook projects continued increases in pilot demand, up more than 4 percent compared to the 2014 Outlook. For maintenance technicians, demand increased approximately 5 percent.

Overall global demand for these skilled resources will be driven by continued economic expansion, resulting in an average requirement for about 28,000 new pilots and more than 30,000 new technicians every year.

The 20-year projected demand for new pilots and technicians by region is:
  • Asia Pacific – 226,000 pilots and 238,000 technicians
  • Europe – 95,000 pilots and 101,000 technicians
  • North America – 95,000 pilots and 113,000 technicians
  • Latin America – 47,000 pilots and 47,000 technicians
  • Middle East – 60,000 pilots and 66,000 technicians
  • Africa – 18,000 pilots and 22,000 technicians
  • Russia / CIS – 17,000 pilots and 22,000 technicians
The Pilot and Technician Outlook is Boeing's long-term forecast of the demand for pilots and technicians and its estimate of personnel needed to fly and maintain the tens of thousands of new commercial jetliners expected to be produced over the next 20 years. The forecast is published annually to factor in changing market forces affecting the industry. Boeing shares the outlook with the public to inform airlines, suppliers and the financial community of trends in the industry.

Eurofighter clocks 300,000 flight hours

Eurofighter Typhoon has clocked more than 300,000 flying hours since the entry-into-service in August 20003 with German Air Force. Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH confirmed the milestone adding that, with 571 aircraft ordered and 438 delivered, the program has “delivered unprecedented levels of reliability”.

The performance of the Eurofighter Typhoon was confirmed by a recent Whitehall Report published by the Royal United Services Institute which said: “The Eurofighter’s combination of high thrust-to-weight ratio, manoeuvrability at all speeds, 65,000-foot service ceiling, supercruise capability, powerful radar and large missile load ensures that it outclasses any currently operational fighter aircraft in the world with the exception of the US F-22 Raptor.”

The first 5,000 flying hours were achieved in November 2005. 10,000 hours came in August 2006 and 20,000 in May 2007. By August 2008, the Eurofighter Typhoon fleet had surpassed 50,000 hours and 100,000 flying hours was reached in January 2011.

In July 2014 the consortia announced that the 250,000 flying hour milestone had been reached while, at the same time, Eurojet, the makers of the Typhoon’s EJ200 engines, celebrated half a million flying hours on the aircraft.

With a length of 16 m and span of 11m, the canard-delta wing, the Eurofighter Typhoon multi role fighter can fly at Mach 2 speed , with its two eurojet engines rated at 90 kN each.

Backbone of European defense, the Eurofighter Typhoon is a highly agile aircraft, designed to be a supremely effective dogfighter when in combat with other aircraft, and has been described as second only to the F-22 Raptor even though the Raptor is nearly twice the cost.

It is operated by UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia and Austria.

Icon delivers first A5 amphibian twin seater aircraft

Icon aircraft delivered the first customer Icon A5 Light Sport Amphibian aircraft at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in Wisconsin.

Icon Aircraft CEO and Founder Kirk Hawkins handed the keys to EAA Young Eagles Chairman and aerobatic pilot Sean Tucker, who accepted the aircraft on behalf of the organization, alongside EAA Chairman Jack Pelton.

The aircraft, Aircraft Serial Number 001 (ASN-001), will participate in Young Eagles flights that allow children to experience aviation, often for the first time, to give them exposure to and inspire their interest in flying.

The ASN-001 was part of the three flight test aircraft and participated in ICON's FAA audit in June and was the first A5 to receive an S-LSA airworthiness certificate. ICON is currently ramping up A5 production at their new facility in Vacaville, California.

The A5 is a high-wing flying boat-type amphibious monoplane with a carbon fiber airframe and retractable undercarriage. Sponsons provide hydrodynamic stability, housing the retracted main landing gear, and act as a step for crew and passenger. The wings can be folded aft for ground transport and storage.

ICON Aircraft is a consumer sport plane manufacturer founded in response to a new classification of easy-to-fly and affordable two-person airplanes called Light Sport Aircraft category created by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2004.

The airplane enable a new classification of Sport Pilots to fly in lower-altitude, uncongested airspace, during the daytime, and in good weather. The Sport Pilot License focuses on the fundamentals of flying and requires a minimum of 20 hours of in-flight training, undercutting the time and cost of a traditional Private Pilot License by about 50 percent.

The aircraft features taxi/landing lights, high visibility canopy, removable side windows and cockpit layout designed to resemble an automobile dashboard.

The two seater with a maximum takeoff weight of 1510 lbs (686.4 kg) can carry a useful load of 430-550 lbs (195-249 kg), and a maximum baggage weight of 60 lbs (27.2 kg).

A5 has a wingspan of 34.8 ft (10.61 m), length of 23 ft (7.01 m) and height of 8.1 ft (2.47 m) and is powered by a 100 hp Rotax 912 engine, driving a three-bladed pusher propeller. The engine can run on 91 Octane auto or 100LL aviation gas.

Maximum speed is 109 mph (176 kph) with a range of 427 nm (45 min reserve).

Parachute recovery system
Safety features include a Spin-Resistant Airframe (SRA), Angle of Attack Indicator (AoA), complete airplane parachute, planing wingtips and low stall speed.

Takeoff and landing distance on runway is 710 feet and 530 feet respectively, and on water is 920 feet and 840 feet respectively.

Icon A5 successfully completed its first flight on 7 July 2014 in Tehachapi, California.

To meet the 1250 orders, Icon plans to build 500 aircraft per year by 2017

As a sales promotion, Icon has reduced the deposit for an aircraft priced at $189,000 USD, from $5,000 to $2,000 until 26 July.

At the event, the company also debuted a new video, which is available online here:

NASA developing engine diagnostic technologies under VIPR program

 (NASA AFRC photo by Tom Tschida)

Damages due to sucking foreign objects into aircraft engines during flight and on ground continue to pose a serious threat to safety of commercial airliners and military jets. Often, the foreign object damage result in engine power loss and surging.

NASA is testing and evaluating new engine diagnostic technologies designed to provide early warning about engine problems, including the effect of volcanic ash.

The objective of Vehicle Integrated Propulsion Research (VIPR) is to demonstrate engine advanced health management and diagnose potential engine faults before they happen.

Since 2011, NASA has partnered with the U.S. Air Force 412th Test Wing, Air Force Research Laboratory, Federal Aviation Administration, Boeing Research & Technology, Pratt and Whitney, General Electric Aviation and Rolls-Royce Liberty Works, to test and evaluate new engine health management technologies through the implementation of the VIPR.

The VIPR project started in 2010, have completed three tests since then. The first test occurred in December 2011, second test was in July 2013 and the penultimate test in July 2015.

In the July 9 test carried out at Edwards AFB, Volcanic ash was sprayed into one of the P&W F117 engines of a Boeing C-17 provided by the AFRL, to assess how the health monitoring sensors and their associated software can detect and report a problem.

This phase of VIPR at Edwards AFB will mark the third and final round of testing with three objectives: incorporate smart sensors designed to improve flying safety and reduce costs, detect potential engine faults and evaluate advances in engine diagnostics. The application is expected to benefit both the Air Force and civilian air travel.

The team will identify and diagnose the issues using multiple sensors located throughout the engine. A vibration sensor that originally researched for utilization on the space shuttle's main engine, a unique high-temperature fiber optic thin film temperature sensor which go into the high temperature compressor, a Microwave Tip Clearances sensor to measure the gap between the outer wall of the turbine and the tips of the turbine blades and emissions sensors built behind the engine in order to give the team an idea of what's going on with the combustion process are used.

The volcanic ash used is Mazama ash, a compound that is made largely of glass which comes from Oregon, but is also native to California. It is mined on an old, dry riverbed. The volcanic ash was selected for its is very abrasive, highly angular features. It has another feature in the sense that if it gets above a certain temperature it will melt and stick to the blades,.

Researchers from four NASA centers will also be involved in various aspects of research and testing - Armstrong, Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

With approximately 1,500 potentially active volcanoes worldwide, more than 80 commercial aircraft have unexpectedly encountered volcanic ash in flight and at airports in the past 15 years, according to the United States Geological Survey. Seven of these encounters caused in-flight loss of jet engine power, which nearly resulted in the crash of the airplane.

Eurofighter prepares for Storm Shadow flight trials

Eurofighter Image
A series of ground-based tests have been completed at Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi in Turin-Caselle and at BAE Systems in Warton, Lancashire, in readiness for Eurofighter Typhoon’s flight trials with MBDA’s Storm Shadow cruise missile. The trials are due to take place in the UK later this year.

The first set of ground trials saw Italian Instrumented Production Aircraft 2 (IPA2) and UK production Typhoon aircraft BS111, fitted with two of MBDA’s Storm Shadow cruise missiles undergo Electro Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) tests. EMC testing ensures the integrity of the electrical systems onboard the aircraft and the missile. Following these tests, the missiles have been prepared for flight by positioning a series of laser tracking points which allow engineers to accurately analyse the trajectory of the weapon when released from the aircraft.

Italian aerospace and defence company Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi is leading the programme to integrate Storm Shadow onto Typhoon with the support of MBDA engineers, and will also be leading the UK-based flight trials, supported by engineers from BAE Systems. The flight trials will build upon previous trials in Italy last year which saw the first successful release of a Storm Shadow from a Typhoon.

The UK-based trials will see the missile being released from Italian IPA2 aircraft in order to collect safe weapons separation trajectory data and to verify the correct release sequence of the missile.

MBDA’s Storm Shadow is a combat proven cruise missile, already in service with the Italian Air Force and Royal Air Force Tornados. It is a conventionally armed, stealthy, long-range stand-off precision weapon. Storm Shadow will add new capability to strike in all-weather conditions well-defended infrastructure targets such as port facilities, control centres, bunkers, missile sites, airfields and bridges which might otherwise require several aircraft and missions. This will form a new addition to the Eurofighter Typhoon’s potent simultaneous multi-/swing-role capabilities.

Northrop demonstrates Open Mission Systems Architecture across manned and unmanned aircraft

Northrop Grumman demonstrated in recent test flights that the U.S. Air Force's Open Mission Systems (OMS) architecture standards can be successfully integrated across multiple systems and platforms. These flights have paved the way for new capabilities to be integrated rapidly and affordably across advanced manned and unmanned aircraft.

In June, at Edwards Air Force Base, multiple test flights demonstrated the ability to rapidly integrate subsystems onto the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and NASA's Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) using OMS-compliant computing architecture.

The most recent demonstration included the B-2 Spirit, the company's fully OMS-compliant Gulfstream G550 test bed aircraft configured as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) asset, and an OMS-compliant battle management command and control (BMC2) ground node.

"This demonstration paves the way for the B-2 weapon system to provide new operational capability well into the future at an affordable cost," said Brig. Gen. Eric Fick, Program Executive Officer for Fighters and Bombers, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Force Materiel Command.

In the latest test scenario, the G550 ISR aircraft detected a new ground threat and broadcast the threat's location across an OMS-compliant line-of-sight (LOS) Link-16 data link. The BMC2 node received the threat information via this link and assigned a nearby B-2 to engage the target. The B-2 then used its onboard OMS-compliant auto-routing function to replan its mission to prosecute and destroy the target in a simulated attack.

"The team's ability to rapidly demonstrate OMS has been nothing short of amazing and shows the speed at which capabilities can be developed when the Air Force and industry partner together," said Col. Rob Strasser, U.S. Air Force B-2 System Program Manager. "The collaboration and innovation required by the team to rapidly plan, integrate and demonstrate OMS on the B-2 has illustrated the ability to reduce cost while significantly increasing mission effectiveness."

Northrop Grumman demonstrated how OMS-compliant architectures are feasible on legacy platforms and can enable the rapid integration of new mission capabilities, such as an onboard mission planning auto-router.

"Northrop Grumman is committed to OMS and modular open architectures," said Tom Vice, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "OMS provides us the ability to rapidly incorporate new innovative, affordable and adaptable capability into our products. Our recent OMS demonstrations on the Global Hawk UAS and the B-2 long-range strike bomber have proved to be very successful."

Developed through industry collaboration, OMS architectures use a common message interface for subsystems such as radar and communication systems, and services such as auto-routing and battle management. This standardized approach allows OMS-compliant mission systems and services to be reused across multiple aircraft. It also simplifies the development process for new mission capabilities, significantly shortens integration time with the platform and enables affordable insertion of new capabilities.

The entire OMS infrastructure for the B-2 was defined and integrated by Northrop Grumman in approximately six weeks. It took advantage of company capabilities and products at several locations across the country. Northrop Grumman funded the OMS development and integration, while the test activities were supported by both the company and the Air Force B-2 System Program Office.

Pilot's incapacitation caused fatal USAF F-15C crash in Virginia

Pilot's incapacitation and subsequent inability to recover from a rapid descent caused the fatal crash of an F-15C Eagle in the George Washington National Forest near Deerfield, Va., on Aug. 27, 2014, according to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released.

Lt. Col. Morris Fontenot, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard's 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Mass., was killed in the crash. According to the results of the investigation, the pilot was incapacitated during a rapid descent rendering him unable to recover from the descent or eject from the aircraft.

The investigation board did not find sufficient evidence to conclude the specific reason for the pilot's incapacitation.

At the time of the mishap, Fontenot was performing a cross-country flight from his home station base to Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans, La., so the aircraft could receive a radar upgrade.

No other individuals were injured in the crash. The aircraft, valued at approximately $45.2 million, was destroyed.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Boeing, EVA Air finalize order for five 777 Freighters

Boeing and Taiwanese EVA Air have finalized an order for five 777 Freighters, valued at more than $1.5 billion at list prices.

Boeing first announced EVA Air's intent to order the five 777 Freighters at the 2015 Paris Air Show last month.

EVA Air plans to use the new freighters to bolster its fleet on trans-Pacific and Asian routes in an effort to meet growing demand in the air cargo market, and will represent the first 777 Freighters to join its's fleet, and the first to be delivered to a Taiwanese airline.

EVA Air currently operates more than 35 Boeing airplanes, including 20 777-300ERs. With 13 additional 777-300ERs on order – both direct purchased and leased – EVA will become one of the largest 777 operators in the world. The carrier plans to grow its operational twin-aisle fleet to more than 60 airplanes by the end of 2025.

"We are pleased to be the first airline in Taiwan to introduce Boeing 777 freighters," EVA President Austin Cheng said in his remarks. "EVA participated in development of the Boeing 777-300ER and became a launch customer. We now fly 21 Boeing 777-300ERs and have 13 more on order. We have made the right choice as our experience with this aircraft's advanced technology and excellent performance indicates what we can expect from the Boeing 777 freighters. These freighters will be the backbone of our air cargo service for the next decade."

The 777 Freighter is the world's largest and longest range twin-engine freighter, capable of flying 4,900 nautical miles (9,070 kilometers) with a full payload at general cargo market densities. The airplane's range capability translates into significant savings for cargo operators: fewer stops and associated landing fees, less congestion at transfer hubs, lower cargo handling costs and shorter cargo delivery times.

According to the Boeing World Air Cargo Forecast, global air freight traffic is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 4.7 percent, doubling the cargo traffic over the next 20 years.

Boeing is the undisputed air cargo market leader, providing over 90 percent of the total worldwide dedicated freighter capacity.

Lockheed Martin acquires Sikorsky for $9 billion

Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopter
Lockheed Martin has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Sikorsky Aircraft, a world leader in military and commercial rotary-wing aircraft from United Technologies Corporation (UTC), for $9.0 billion.

The price is effectively reduced to approximately $7.1 billion, after taking into account tax benefits resulting from the transaction.The acquisition is subject to customary conditions, including securing regulatory approvals, and is expected to close by late fourth quarter 2015 or early first quarter 2016.

Lockheed Martin and United Technologies Corporation have agreed to make a joint election under Section 338(h)(10) of the Internal Revenue Code, which treats the transaction as an asset purchase for tax purposes. The election generates a tax benefit with an estimated present value of $1.9 billion for Lockheed Martin and its shareholders.

UTC says, removing Sikorsky from the portfolio will better position it to focus on providing high-technology systems and services to the aerospace and building industries. UTC also owns the jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney, Carrier and Otis elevators.

Lockheed plans to align Sikorsky under the Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training (MST) business segment. MST and Stratford, Conn., based Sikorsky currently partner on a number of critical programs, including the VH-92 Presidential Helicopter, Combat Rescue Helicopter and the Naval MH-60 Helicopter.

The acquisition marks the largest for Lockheed, since acquiring Martin Marietta in 1995 to form Lockheed Martin. Sikorsky will add to Lockheed's already world's largest aerospace business that produces fighter jets, military transport aircraft, missiles, satellites

Sikorsky is famous for the Black Hawk tactical troop transport helicopter operated extensively by US armed forces. Black Hawk is also part of the U.S. Presidential helicopter fleet Marine One.

Dassault delivers three Rafale fighters to Egypt


Dassault officially delivered the first three Rafale ominrole fighter jets to Egypt today at the Dassault Aviation flight test center in Istres, under the patronage of His Excellency Mr. Ehab Badawy, Egyptian Ambassador to France, and in the presence of Dassault Aviation Chairman & CEO Eric Trappier.

This first delivery comes just five months after the Egyptian decision to acquire 24 Rafales (16 two-seaters and 8 single-seaters) to bolster its Air Force.

Dassault has trained an initial group of technicians to maintain the formidable jets. Egyptian pilots, trained by the French Air Force, will fly the first three Rafales to Cairo on the day after the ceremony.

The Rafale is the fourth Dassault aircraft to fly in Egyptian colors after Mirage 5, the Alpha Jet and the Mirage 2000. Egypt is also the first export customer for the Rafale, as it was for the Mirage 2000.

The deal was crucial for Dassault, as its production line was going to halt after completing French Air Force and Navy orders. Qatar and India followed to buy 24 and 36 Rafale fighters respectively.

OSPH first customer for U.S. made Airbus Helicopters H125 helcicoper

The first U.S. made Airbus Helicopters H125 single engined helicopter will be flown by Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) for low enforcement missions.

Produced on the new final assembly line at Airbus’s production facility in Columbus, Miss, the H125, locally known as the “AStar” is America’s most popular single-engine turbine helicopter.

OSHP currently operates two AS350 B2 AStars to conduct a wide variety of law enforcement missions including patrol, aerial searches with thermal imagers, photo missions and marijuana eradication. The highway patrol has been operating AStars for more than 20 years to protect and serve the citizens of Ohio.

Airbus Helicopters Inc. had partially assembled AS350B2 and AS350B3 AStar helicopters in Columbus since 2005. Production of the H125 (formerly AS350 B3e) on the full final assembly line began in late 2014. The OSHP aircraft is the first H125 produced from the Columbus assembly line and certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Airbus Helicopters installed the Columbus final assembly line to allow shorter delivery times, increased aircraft customization and the ability for customers to see their aircraft being manufactured, and to offer enhanced customer support.

The H125 assembly line is part of Airbus Helicopters Inc.’s 40-acre facility in Northeastern Mississippi that also produces the UH-72A Lakota for the U.S. Army. The plant has delivered more than 340 Lakotas to date, all of them on time, on budget and meeting Army quality requirements.

The OHSP will take delivery of its new H125 at Airbus Helicopters Inc. headquarters in Grand Prairie, Texas, later this year.

Airbus Helicopters Inc. has been the U.S. airborne law enforcement helicopter sales leader for more than a decade and the AStar is the top selling helicopter in the market. More than 220 are now in operation with U.S. law enforcement agencies, including more than 75 delivered in the last five years.

The H125 provides law enforcement operators with high cruise speed, long range and high altitude capability. It has a spacious cabin and modern safety features, including energy-attenuating seats and fuel tank.

The H125 also features dual hydraulics, dual channel engine FADEC, 30-minute take-off power and an advanced glass cockpit Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display that lowers pilot workload. With a Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine, the H125 boasts a significant power reserve, along with unmatched tail rotor authority and hot and high performance. The H125 is the ideal platform for a wide variety of law enforcement missions in varied operating environments.

Airbus Helicopters Inc. is the U.S. affiliate of Airbus Helicopters, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world, and a subsidiary of the Airbus Group, with headquarters and main facility in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Detailed NTSB Preliminary Report of F-16 Cessna midair collision

Source: NTSB Report

Engine nozzle of the F-16

On July 7, 2015, at 1100 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 150M, N3601V, and a Lockheed-Martin F-16CM, operated by the U.S. Air Force (USAF), collided in midair near Moncks Corner, South Carolina.

The Cessna was destroyed during the collision, and both the private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The damaged F-16 continued to fly for an additional 3 minutes until the pilot activated the airplane's ejection system.

The F-16 was destroyed following the subsequent collision with terrain and post-impact fire, while the pilot landed safely and was uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the Cessna, while the F-16 was operating on an instrument flight rules flight plan.

The Cessna departed from Berkley County Airport (MKS), Moncks Corner, South Carolina, at 1057, and was destined for Grand Strand Airport (CRE), North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; the personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The F-16 had departed from Shaw Air Force Base (SSC), Sumter, South Carolina about 1020.

According to the USAF, after departing from SSC, the F-16 proceeded to Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR), Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where the pilot conducted two practice instrument approaches before continuing the flight to Charleston Air Force Base/International Airport (CHS), Charleston, South Carolina.

According to preliminary air traffic control (ATC) radar and voice communication data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the F-16 pilot contacted the approach controller at CHS about 1052 and requested to perform a practice tactical air navigation system (TACAN) instrument approach to runway 15.

The controller subsequently instructed the F-16 pilot to fly a heading of 260 degrees to intercept the final approach course. At 1055, the controller instructed the F-16 pilot to descend from his present altitude of 6,000 feet to 1,600 feet. About that time, the F-16 was located about 34 nautical miles northeast of CHS.

At 1057:41, a radar target displaying a visual flight rules transponder code of 1200, and later correlated to be the accident Cessna, appeared in the vicinity of the departure end of runway 23 at MKS, at an indicated altitude of 200 feet.

The Cessna continued its climb, and began tracking generally southeast over the next 3 minutes. For the duration of its flight, the pilot of the Cessna did not contact CHS approach control, nor was he required to do so. At 1100:18, the controller advised the pilot of the F-16, "traffic 12 o'clock, 2 miles, opposite direction, 1,200 [feet altitude] indicated, type unknown.

" The F-16 pilot responded and advised the controller that he was "looking" for the traffic. At 1100:26, the controller advised the F-16 pilot, "turn left heading 180 if you don't have that traffic in sight." The pilot responded by asking, "confirm 2 miles?" Eight seconds later, the controller stated, "if you don't have that traffic in sight turn left heading 180 immediately." Over the next 18 seconds, the track of the F-16 began turning southerly.

At 1100:49, the radar target of the F-16 was located 1/2 nautical mile northeast of the Cessna, at an indicated altitude of 1,500 feet, and was on an approximate track of 215 degrees. At that time, the Cessna reported an indicated altitude of 1,400 feet, and was established on an approximate track of 110 degrees.

At 1100:52 the controller advised the F-16 pilot, "traffic passing below you 1,400 feet." At 1100:54, the radar reported altitude of the F-16 remained at 1,500 feet and no valid altitude information was returned for the radar target associated with the Cessna. At that point the targets were laterally separated by about 1,000 feet. No further radar targets were received from the Cessna, and the next radar target for the F-16 was not received until 1101:13.

At 1101:19, the F-16 pilot transmitted a distress call, and no subsequent transmissions were received. Air traffic control radar continued to track the F-16 as it proceeded on a roughly southerly track, and after descending to an indicated altitude of 300 feet, radar contact was lost at 1103:17 in the vicinity of the F-16 crash site.

The wreckage of the Cessna was recovered in the vicinity of its last observed radar target, over the west branch of the Cooper River. Components from both airplanes were spread over an area to the north and west of that point, extending for approximately 1,200 feet.

The largest portions of the Cessna's airframe included a relatively intact portion of the fuselage aft of the main landing gear, and the separate left and right wings, all of which were within 500 feet northwest of the airplane's final radar-observed position.

Portions of the cabin interior, instrument panel, fuel system, and engine firewall were found distributed throughout the site. The engine, propeller, and nose landing gear assembly were not recovered. The lower aft engine cowling of the F-16 was also recovered in the immediate vicinity of the Cessna's aft fuselage, while the F-16's engine augmenter was recovered about 1,500 feet southwest. Small pieces of the F-16's airframe were also distributed throughout the accident site.

Both of the Cessna's wings displayed uniform leading edge crush damage throughout their spans that was oriented aft and upward. Paint transfer and rub markings oriented in a direction from the airplane's left to right were observed on the upper forward surfaces of both wings.

 Both fuel tanks were ruptured, and evidence of heat damage and paint blistering were observed on the upper surface of the right wing. Flight control continuity was traced through overload-type cable separations from the cabin area to each flight control surface.

Measurement of the pitch trim actuator showed a position consistent with a 3 to 4-degree deflection of the tab in the nose down direction, and measurement of the flap actuator showed a position consistent with the flaps having been in the retracted position.

The F-16 wreckage site was located about 6 nautical miles south of the Cessna wreckage site. The F-16 wreckage path was about 700 feet long and oriented roughly 215 degrees, with portions of the airframe distributed along the wreckage path.

The wreckage displayed significant ground impact and post-impact fire-related damage. A crash-survivable memory unit (CSMU) was recovered from the wreckage, and the digital flight control system seat data recorder (DFLCS SDR) was recovered from the airplane's ejection seat.

Both memory units were forwarded to the airframe manufacturer for data extraction under the supervision of an NTSB Vehicle Recorder Specialist.

The weather conditions reported at MKS at 1055 included calm winds, 10 statute miles visibility, scattered clouds at 2,600 feet agl, a temperature of 30 degrees C, a dew point of 22 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.15 inches of mercury.

ROPS certified for Airbus A330 family

Airbus has achieved EASA certification of its innovative Runway Overrun Prevention System (ROPS) technology on A330 Family aircraft. This on-board cockpit technology, which Airbus has pioneered over several years, is now certified and available on all Airbus Families.

ROPS is an alerting system which reduces exposure to runway overrun risk, and if necessary, provides active protection.

Korean Air will become the first A330 operator to implement ROPS on its A330s in service in the coming months.

This EASA certification of ROPS on the A330 marks a key milestone in making ROPS available for line-fit and retrofit to all Airbus models. ROPS was first approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on the A380 in October 2009 and to date is currently in service or ordered on most of the A380 fleet. ROPS is also part of the A350 XWB’s basic configuration, and in August 2013 was also certified for the A320 Family.

Runway excursion – meaning either an aircraft veering off the side of the runway, or overrunning at the very end – remains the primary cause of civil airliner hull losses, particularly as other formerly prevalent categories of aircraft accidents have now largely been eliminated. Furthermore, various industry bodies including the EASA, NTSB, Eurocontrol and FAA recognize this and are fully behind the introduction of effective measures by commercial aviation stakeholders to eliminate the risk of runway excursions.

The Airbus-patented ROPS, certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), computes minimum realistic in-flight landing and on-ground stopping distances while comparing them to available landing distances in real time. The analyses take into account factors such as runway topography, runway condition, aircraft weight and configuration, wind and temperature.

The resulting outcome produces audio callouts and alerts for pilots, making ROPS an alerting system which assists the crew to take ‎go around decision or apply retardation means in a timely manner, reducing the risk of overrun. Notably, the benefits of ROPS are reflected favourably by insurance companies in terms of reduced premiums.

The A330 is one of the most popular widebody aircraft and has won over 1,500 orders, with over 1,200 delivered to some 110 operators worldwide, with an average operational reliability of 99.4 percent.

Inadequately restrained cargo caused Bagram NAC Boeing 747 frieghter crash

The stalled NAC 747 freighter seconds before crash

The National Transportation Safety Board has found that the National Airlines Boeing 747 freighter that crashed on takeoff from Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan on April 29, 2013, because the five large military vehicles it was carrying were inadequately restrained.

This led to at least one vehicle moving rearward, crippling key hydraulic systems and damaging the horizontal stabilizer components, which rendered the airplane uncontrollable. All seven crew members were killed in the crash.

The airplane attained a very steep nose-up attitude shortly after takeoff, before descending into the ground near the end of the runway.

Contributing to the accident was the Federal Aviation Administration’s inadequate oversight of National Airlines’ (NAL’s) handling of special cargo loads, such as that being carried on the accident flight.

The Boeing 747-400 freighter was carrying five mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles.

“The crew took on an important mission to support American forces abroad and lost their lives not to enemy fire, but to an accident,’’ said NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart at the outset of the Board meeting. “We cannot change what happened, but in fully investigating this accident, we hope to find ways to prevent such an accident from happening again.”

The investigation found that National Airlines’ cargo operations manual not only omitted critical information from Boeing and from the cargo handling system manufacturer about properly securing cargo, but it also contained incorrect restraining methods for special cargo loads.

The Board recommended that the FAA create a certification process for personnel responsible for the loading, restraint, and documentation of special cargo loads on transport-category airplanes. Other recommendations call on the FAA to improve its ability to inspect cargo aircraft operations, specifically those involving special cargo loads.

All seven crewmembers—the captain, first officer, loadmaster, augmented captain and first officer, and two mechanics—died, and the airplane was destroyed from impact forces and postcrash fire.

The cargo flight was destined for Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

To view the findings, the probable cause, and all recommendations, click on the following link:

Video: Tom Cruise stunt onboard Airbus A400M

Hollywood action king, Tom Cruise's incredible behind the scene stunt video onboard the Airbus A400M new generation airlifter, for his upcoming action spy film "Rogue Nation", fifth of the Mission Impossible series.

The stunt which was performed before the maiden crash of a A400M in Spain, on May 9, is a big marketing tool for Airbus to reiterate safety of its four engined military transport.

Viewers will see Cruise run across the aircraft’s wing as it taxies for take-off and then cling on as it climbs away from the runway – special panels on the side of the aircraft that normally serve to cut air turbulence around the paratroopers playing an unexpected role as handholds for the actor.

The incredible sequence was shot eight times at RAF Wittering airbase in the UK and Cruise has declared it his most dangerous stunt ever.