Monday, November 30, 2015

Arctic modified Mi-8 delivered to Russian armed forces

Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant of Russian Helicopters has delivered the first Mi-8AMTSh-VA helicopter modified to operate in very low temperature conditions, to Russian Defence Ministry’s Arctic groupings.

The first Arctic helicopter was developed specially for operation in the Russia's northern region that have temperatures lower than -40°С. With auxiliary fuel tanks, the helicopter has a range of over 1,300 km.

The helicopter will play a crucial role in development of transport infrastructure in Russia’s northern regions, and also to companies in the oil and gas sector to support offshore work.

Crew and cargo cabin heating systems, improved insulation and insulating shades, built-in systems to heat the powerplant and gears, Teflon hose incorporated into the hydraulics, and oil and fuel systems ensure that this helicopter can operate in very low temperatures.

The Mi-8AMTSh-VA helicopter is equipped with powerful Klimov-made VK-2500-03 engines and enhanced gears. It boasts a TA-14 auxiliary power unit delivering improved thrust and power output meeting the needs of the helicopter’s energy-intensive on-board systems.

The digital autopilot will help ease piloting and improve navigation accuracy on the Mi-8AMTSh-VA in areas of reduced visibility and Arctic polar night. The helicopter is also equipped with a range of navigation systems – duplicate satellite systems, digital avionics enhanced with built-in map generation and strapdown inertial reference systems enabling it to identify its current coordinates in the event that satellite signal is lost.

The helicopter’s weather radar identifies dangerous weather conditions in both horizontal and vertical profiles, scans the ground area, and identifies objects and shore-lines.

The Mi-8AMTSh-VA is also kitted out with airspace observation systems to warn of other aircraft in low visibility conditions and search directional radio that operates on all emergency frequencies, and which can be used in search and rescue operations.

A specialised communications suite ensures reliable, un-interrupted radio links over a wide range of frequencies. Additional features include night vision system to operate in polar nights, heating facility for food to improve crew comfort.

The Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant in its 75 years of existence, has produced over 8,000 aircraft. Today it specialises in producing Mi-8AMT (Mi-171), and the Mi-8AMTSh (Mi-171Sh) helicopters.

Airbus C295W completes Antartica debut

An Airbus C295W aircraft belonging to the Mexican Navy (SEMAR) and operated by a mixed crew from Airbus Defence and Space and SEMAR flew from Río Gallegos Airport in Argentina to the Marambio Base, the first flight ever by a C295 to Antarctica.

The C295W landed in Marambio at 11.45 on 27 November, returning to Río Gallegos nearly eight hours later. The Argentinian Marambio Base, in the Seymour Island in the North of Antarctica, frequently suffers temperatures below -30oC with extremely strong winds.

The flight was further proof of the outstanding versatility of the C295W, which in recent weeks has been subjected to the most diverse weather conditions. Before reaching Antarctica, the aircraft performed flights from El Alto Airport in La Paz, Bolivia, at an altitude of more than 4,000 metres with high temperatures. The new C295W version is equipped with winglets, which allow transport of more payload over larger distances in hot and high conditions such as these, and result in fuel savings of around 4%.

During its tour of the region, the C295W has already visited Bolivia and Chile and after the phase in Argentina will continue to Paraguay and Panama before completing the tour in Mexico in early December.

Last C-17 airlifter departs Boeing's Long Beach facility

The last C-17 Globemaster III military airlifter departed Boeing’s plant in Long Beach, California on Sunday, Nov. 29, marking the official end of its production.

The 279th airlifter flew over a crowd and the facility before heading to the company’s San Antonio location, where it will remain until delivery to the Qatar Emiri Air Force early in 2016.

With the completion of C-17 production, Boeing will continue the Globemaster III legacy, providing support, maintenance and upgrades to the worldwide C-17 fleet under the C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) Performance-Based Logistics agreement.

“This is truly the end of an era. It’s a sad day, but one that all of the Boeing employees and suppliers who have worked over the years building this great aircraft can be proud of,” said Nan Bouchard, vice president and C-17 program manager.

“Our team’s work and dedication and professionalism created one of the world’s leading airlifters, a plane that is at the forefront for providing humanitarian aid and has changed the way the U.S. Air Force and our international partners mobilize for operations and aeromedical support,” Bouchard said.

The decision to end production of the C-17 production program was announced in 2013. Since the first C-17 took to the air on Sept. 15, 1991, the C-17 fleets for the U.S. Air Force and international partners have amassed more than three million flying hours supporting airlift of troops and large cargo, precision airdrop of humanitarian supplies and lifesaving aeromedical missions.

Boeing has delivered 223 to the U.S. Air Force, and the remaining to Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.

With a payload of 164,900 pounds (70 ton) the C-17 can take off from a 7000 foot airfield, fly 2400 nautical miles and land in a 3000 ft austere airfield.

The 22.5 ft (6.86 m) wide fuselage enable to carry military vehicles in side by side configuration including the U.S. Army M1 Abrams tank.

Four Pratt & Whitney PW2040 (military designation F117-PW-100) turbofan engines with 40,440 pounds thrust each powers the 265 tonne max weight strategic airlifter.

A unique feature of the aircraft is a flap system developed by a team of researchers at NASA Langley Research Center in the mid-1950s. The "externally blown flap" or "powered-lift system" enables the airplane to make slow, steep approaches with heavy cargo loads.

The steep approach helps pilots make precision landings with the aircraft, touching down precisely in the spot desired on limited runway surfaces. This was accomplished by diverting engine exhaust downward, giving the wing more lift. In the flap system, the engine exhaust from pod-mounted engines impinges directly on conventional slotted flaps and is deflected downward to augment the wing lift.

The engine thrust reverser can also be used to reverse the aircraft.

More pictures at flickr

CS100 complete first phase of route proving trials

The route-proving CS100 aircraft bearing Canadian registration markings C-FFCO completed flights to over 30 city pairs across North America, concluding the first phase of the route proving activities.

The journey, which began on November 7, included 70 legs with the aircraft flying over 50,000 nautical miles (92,600 km) – the equivalent of over twice the Earth’s circumference.

The crews have been submitting the aircraft to airline-like conditions, on short to long range routes, day and night, and in various atmospheric conditions, airports and airport altitudes.

“This route-proving aircraft has been a real pleasure and impressive to watch. Performing above expectations, the CS100 is showing dispatch reliability and completion rates of 100% – a testimony to our well-prepared teams, the solid flight testing campaign, and the quality of the C Series aircraft design,” said Robert Dewar, Vice President, C Series Program.

Cities visited included Mirabel, QC; Toronto, ON; Montréal, QC; Windsor, ON; Thunder Bay, ON; Moncton, NB; Halifax, NS; St-John’s, NL; Calgary, AB; Regina, SK, and Vancouver, BC. In the U.S., the aircraft has visited Denver and Montrose, CO; Wichita, KS; Boise, ID; Chicago, IL; Minneapolis, MN; Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, FL; Dallas-Fort Worth, TX; New Orleans, LA; Nashville, TN; Seattle, WA; Raleigh/Durham, NC; San Francisco, CA; Tucson, AZ; Fort Wayne, IN and New York, NY.

The C Series aircraft will continue operating in all sorts of conditions such as: in hot and cold temperatures, in high altitude, with overseas procedures, humidity exposure and icing conditions, as well as with different passenger and baggage loadings and high workload approaches; ensuring its readiness for entry-into-service with SWISS in the first half of 2016. Expect to see the aircraft all around the world!

On November 17, Bombardier announced that the CS100 aircraft completed its certification flight testing, subject to Transport Canada’s final review and acceptance. Concurrently, Bombardier is finalizing the submission of the remaining Type Certificate documentation for Transport Canada approval. Bombardier is on track to have the aircraft certified this year with Transport Canada.

COMAC delivers first ARJ21 to Chengdu Airlines

Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) delivered the first ARJ21-700 regional passenger aircraft to launch customer Chengdu Airlines on Sunday, a major breakthrough for Chinese aviation industry.

Delivery of the ARJ21, which is the first indigenously developed jet engine powered passenger aircraft in China, demonstrates its capability to design, test and certify an commercial aircraft.

The delivery ceremony was hosted by VP Luo Ronghuai, the general director of the ARJ21 program and VP of COMAC, in the final assembly center of COMAC.

The aircraft with registration MSN 106 arrived at the Shuangliu International Airport in Shuangliu county, Sichuan following the delivery ceremony in Shanghai, after flying for around 3 hours.

Development of the ARJ21 began in 2002 and maiden flight was carried out in 2008. Type certification from Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) was achieved in December 2014. Lack of US FAA certification will limit the aircraft to non-western markets.

The short/medium range regional jet with a maximum range of 3,700 km, is designed to operate in hub-spoke routes, ie to connect central cities to neighboring medium and small cities and has a standard range of 2,225 km.

The maximum takeoff weight of the aircraft is 40,500 kg and can operate at a maximum altitude 11,900 m.

Two GE CF34-10A turbofan engines are mounted on the rear of the aircraft. There are 78 seats in a dual-class configuration and 90 seats in a full economy class configuration. Its economic life is designed to be 60000 flying hours/20 calendar years

COMAC has received more than 300 orders from 19 airlines, including three from the Republic of Congo.

The aircraft will enter service with Chengdu Airlines in roughly 90 days time. The airline, a subsidiary of COMAC and an all-Airbus operator until now, will initially take delivery of five of the 30 ARJ21-700s it has on order.

Those five regional jets are expected to operate domestic routes from Chengdu to Shanghai Pudong, Nanjing, Kunming, Xi’an, Guiyang, Beijing and Wuhan.

The experience in developing the ARJ21 enabled COMAC to develop the larger C919 single aisle jet, which was rolled out in November 2015. The C919 will compete with Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 airplanes, with maiden flight scheduled for early 2016.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Dassault debuts FalconEye CVS at NBAA 2015

© Dassault Aviation
Dassault Aviation introduced its proprietary Combined Vision System (CVS) at NBAA's Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (BACE) which was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, from November 17-19.

The system, dubbed FalconEye, was presented on a Falcon 2000LXS on display at the show. The aircraft is a production model due to be delivered by year's end.

FalconEye is the first Head Up Display (HUD) system to combine synthetic, database-driven terrain mapping and actual thermal and low-light camera images, providing an unprecedented level of situational awareness to flight crews. The fourth-generation, multi-sensor camera is composed of six different sensors, fusing images from both the visible and infrared spectrums.

Dassault's unique approach presents a synthesized view to the pilot clearly delineating between real, enhanced and synthetic worlds. The Enhanced Vision portion of the system will also permit approaches with operational credit and increased aircraft capabilities.

© Dassault Aviation
Dual HUDs – another industry first – will be a future option for customers. Dual HUDs will provide the same information and views heads-up to both pilots, harmonizing HUD utilization for the flying and non-flying pilot while improving crew coordination and facilitating pilot training.

Dassault has long been a forerunner in the development of modern HUD systems. The first HUD in operational use was installed on Dassault's Mirage IIIB fighter. The Mirage IIIB HUD paved the way for a long line of design improvements down to the advanced units on today's Mirage 2000 and Rafale fighter aircraft.

In the early 1970s, the Dassault Mercure, a 150 seat short/medium-range airliner, was the first civil aircraft to be fitted with a head-up display. Associated with a 'fail passive' auto-pilot, it allowed approaches in very low visibility conditions that had previously been off limits to civilian pilots.

In 1993, Dassault introduced the Falcon 2000, the first business jet equipped with a head-up guidance system which permitted hand-flown approaches down to CAT III conditions.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Barak-8/LRSAM test fired from ship

File Photo
The advanced Barak-8 air defense missile was successfully test fired from an Israeli Navy ship on Thursday, bringing the much needed system closer to induction.

Co-developed with India, the missile which can engage targets at a range of up to 70 km, successfully destroyed an incoming aerial target drone. The engagement which took less than two minute was a direct hit.

Barak-8 is designed to intercept aerial targets including missiles, rockets and aircraft with high kill rate. The Vertical Launch System (VLS) enable 360 degree engagement coverage. 

Jointly designed and developed by Israeli IAI and Indian DRDO, the flight test marks the first operational testing from a military platform.

The system consists of Missiles, Elta MFSTAR (AESA Radar), Weapon Control System, Vertical Launcher unit and Two- way data link. Initial target acquisition and guidance is provided by the AESA Radar, after which the on-board sensor takes over for the final engagement.

Dubbed Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) in India, DRDO has designed and developed Dual Pulse Propulsion System and other safe arm mechanisms for Solid Propulsion system for the first time.

Further Operational Flight Trials (O.F.T) will be conducted shortly from Indian Naval Platform before induction into the service.

The Barak-8 is planned to be operational with Indian and Israeli warships within 2 years. The system will be deployed by Israel to protects its offshore rigs.

A protracted development period saw Indian INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier inducted in 2013, and the recently commissioned Kolkata class INS Kochi Destroyer sailing without the system.

The INS Vikramaditya, which is the refurbished Russian Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, will be fitted with a canabilised Barak-1 missile, before being retrofitted with the Barak-8 air defense system.

Trent 7000 engine for A330neo begin testing

Rolls Royce has completed first run of its Trent 7000 demonstrator engine successfully on a test bed from its Derby, UK facility.

The demonstrator will be used to prove key technical features of the Trent 7000 engine that will exclusively power the re-engined Airbus A330neo widebody passenger jet.

The high bypass 68-72,000 lb thrust Trent 7000 will deliver significant performance benefits compared to the current version of the Trent 700. It will improve specific fuel consumption (SFC) by 10 percent, have twice the bypass ratio and reduce noise by 50 percent.

The Trent 7000 is the seventh member of the Trent family which has become the engine of choice in the wide body market over the last 20 years, and is scheduled to enter service in 2017.

The Trent 7000 brings together Rolls Royce's experience in the Trent 700, architecture from the Trent 1000 TEN engine and the latest technology from the Trent XWB engine that exclusively powers the Airbus A350.

The Trent 7000 was selected by Airbus for the A330neo aircraft at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2014.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Elbit awarded Swiss Hermes 900 UAS contract

Israeli Elbit Systems has been awarded an approximately $200 million contract from the Swiss Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS), for the supply of Hermes 900 HFE (Heavy Fuel Engine) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

Under the contract, Elbit will supply 15 Hermes UAS and an advanced ground segment for command, control and communications over a four-year period.

The Hermes 900 HFE to be supplied to the Swiss Air Force is an advanced adverse-weather unarmed reconnaissance Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) drone with endurance up to 36 hours.

It features over-the-horizon, persistent multi-mission, multi-payload capabilities with class leading payload carrying capacity of 350 kgs. It is capable of performing missions for area dominance, persistent intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR).

It has a maximum Take-off weight of 1,180 kg and can operate at a service ceiling of 30,000 ft.

Video: S-400 air defence system deployed in Syria

Russia has operationalised a battery of S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft weapon system in its Syrian airbase in Latakia.

The move comes following downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber aircraft by Turkish F-16s after it violated Turkish airspace briefly.

The S-400 is designed to destroy all types of airborne targets including aircraft, cruise missiles at ranges up to 400 km, and ballistic targets (flying at speeds up to 4,8 km/s) at ranges of up to 60 km, at altitudes from several meters to more than 30 kilometers.

Detection range of its radar system is upto 600 km and can engage simultaneously 80 targets with a ripple of 2 missiles at each traget for high kill probability.

Russian Navy has also deployed its 11500 tons Moskva guided missile cruiser ship to the coast of Latakia, which is equipped with the S-300F air defense system.

Additionally Russian Defense Ministry said to extend air defense cover to all its bombing/ ground attack missions using the Su-34, Su-25 and Su-24 bombers, it is deploying 10-12 additional Su-27/30 Flanker fighters to the Syrian base. Presently four Su-30SM fighter are deployed for the Combat Air Patrol missions.

These Russian deployment could potentially escalate the already tense situation in the region as it seriously degrade offensive capability of any aerial platforms in the region including that of U.S. fighter jets deployed in Turkey. As a knee jerk reaction U.S. may weigh options including deployment of the stealth fighters to region. If not diffused it would escalate to Cold War era like standoff between the two countries.

Engine stalling due to excessive ingestion of dust caused MV-22 crash in Bellows

Stalling of engine compressor due to excessive ingestion of dust particle while hovering for landing caused the fatal Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft crash on May 17, 2015, according to the Judge Advocate General Manual (JAGMAN) investigation statement released by U.S. Marine Corps Pacific Forces.

This tragic mishap occurred at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows during a training sortie and led to the death of two Marines and injuries to 20 other Marines onboard, destroying the aircraft.

The investigation found the main contributing factors to this mishap were pilot performance and an improper site survey of Landing Zone (LZ) Gull. The pilots did not violate any regulations or flight standards; however, pilot decision-making failed to take into account the contributory events that led to the mishap.

The first landing attempt indicated that the Reduced Visibility Landing (RVL) level of LZ Gull was much higher than anticipated. The investigation indicated that a proper risk assessment should have prompted the pilots to choose an alternate flight profile, path, or landing site that would have minimized or avoided the severe brownout conditions.

The investigation found that repeated, sustained flight time in brownout conditions (an in-flight visibility restriction due to dust or sand in the air) while attempting to land caused the left engine to stall, resulting in a loss of power that placed the aircraft in an unavoidable freefall to the ground.

Specifically, Engine Percent Power (EPP) decreased on both engines each time the aircraft entered a low-altitude hover over Landing Zone Gull as dust and sand particles increased in the air due to rotor wash.

The sand and dust ingestion caused a buildup of material on the turbine blades and vanes leading to a compressor stall in the left engine, which decreased lift and resulted in the hard landing.

Many of the recommendations from the investigation focus on aiding the pilot decision- making process, such as: displaying engine performance and stall margins on the Multi-Functional Display, more advanced brownout technology, advisories alerting pilots when engine power declines below 95%, and reconsideration of Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) recommendations regarding flight times in brownout conditions.

As a direct result of this mishap, a NATOPS Interim Change was published on 17 November, 2015, which reduced exposure time in Reduced Visibility Landing Profiles to a maximum of 30 seconds.

As a part of recommendation Marine Corps will also field an improved engine air filtration systems that is being developed for the CV-22 variant operated by U.S. Air Force.

The investigation recommendations also include the potential for disciplinary and administrative actions.

Furthermore, the investigation concluded that the mishap did not occur due to any misconduct or negligence of duties or training on the part of the air crew.

Unlike large rotors in helicopters, Osprey have small low inertia rotors which have poor autorotation ability, hence the sink rate during an engine failure is not reduced.

Dassualt delivers Falcon 2000LX Medevac aircraft


Dassault Aviation has delivered a fully outfitted Falcon 2000LX Medevac aircraft to the Beijing Red Cross Emergency Medical Center (999).

The widebody twinjet is the first fixed wing aircraft in China fully equipped to perform air medevac services. The conversion was performed by Dassault Aircraft Services in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Falcon 2000LX Medevac aircraft is equipped with an electrical patient loading system and a full medical suite, along with an electrical power supply sized for a complete medical module. The medical module includes a stretcher with dedicated lighting, a three-bottle oxygen supply, and monitoring and analysis equipment.

It is also able to accommodate special devices like defibrillators, electrocardiographs, echographs, a blood bank and an ECMO (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation).

Beijing Red Cross Emergency Medical Center, commonly known as 999, is an International Red Cross Association dedicated to providing critical pre-hospital medical services and has been among the pioneers in the Chinese air ambulance field.

Equipped with state of the art medical equipment, including a full digital command center, and staffed by more than 100 medical professionals, 999 was the first air medevac provider in China to launch a three-dimensional rescue package combining ambulances, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

In the decade it has been in operation, it has provided pre-hospital rescue and medical treatment service for over 3 million patients.

The combination of long range performance and exceptional airport flexibility make the 4,000 nm Falcon 2000LX perfectly suited to the 999 mission.

The 2000 remains the most popular business jet in its segment, with more than 550 units currently in service around the world.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Maiden flight for Burt Rutan's SkiGull seaplane

photo antenna films
The SkiGull seaplane designed by legendary American aircraft designer Burt Rutan flew for first time on Tuesday from the Coeur d’Alene airport in northern Idaho.

The maiden flight flown by test pilot Glenn Smith lasted one and half hours and tested basic stability and control of SkiGull. The pilot said the aircraft was very responsive, predictable and fun to fly. Speed was limited to 80 knots and the aircraft remained below 8,000 feet altitude.

The 47th aircraft from his stable, the SkiGull is a high wing amphibian with trimaran hull designed to seat two person in tandem and comfortably fly non-stop up to 2100 nm (3890 km) with the ability to operate from unimproved surfaces.

The aircraft is designed to address traditional seaplane shortcomings like rough water limitations, shorter range, slow cruise speed etc.

The SkiGull has a high aspect ratio strut braced wings having a 14.3 m (47 ft) wingspan which can be folded for ground transportation and fit in a garage.

The retractable shock absorber equipped flexible ski system which can survive a 10g impact enable to operate from any surface including rough sea, snow, dirt patch. Small wheels on ski enable hard surface landings, and a tail wheel help to steer.

photo antenna films

It can fly from California to Hawaii without ferry tanks and cruise at a speed of 140 knots. The single Rotax 912iS piston engine that runs on auto fuel, eliminates the need for an airport.

Composites are used to resist corrosion and enable operation in saltwater. The aircraft features two 12 hp electric motors for docking. The motors can also provide additional power for take off if required and can power the plane about 8 miles in case the main engine fails.

Rutan designed and developed his last project from his garage in Coeur d'Alene. His designs popularized the canard configuration with his VariEze home built aircraft. Rutan's famous aircraft designs include the record breaking Voyager that flew non-stop round the world, the SpaceShipOne sub-orbital spaceplane and the Long-EZ.

*Second image shows the ski deployed in flight

Kaman receive order for K-MAX firefighters from China

Kaman has received orders for two manned K-MAX® heavy-lift utility helicopters from Lectern Aviation Supplies Co., Ltd. of China.

The fire fighting helicopters will be delivered to China Department of Forestry in 2017.

The single-engine, single-seat K-MAX is a rugged, low-maintenance aircraft featuring a unique intermeshing rotor system which eliminates the need for the tail rotor, saving power and reducing stress on the airframe.

The counter-rotating rotor system has each rotor mast mounted with a slight angle so that the blades intermesh without colliding each other.The design allows the helicopter to have high stability and powerful lifting capability making its suitable for firefighting, logging and other missions requiring repetitive aerial lift capabilities.

It is optimized for external sling load operation and designed specifically for vertical reference flight. It can lift over 6000 pounds (2722 kg), which is more than its own empty weight.

Kaman resumed K-MAX production in June, with the first new helicopter set to come off the production line in early 2017.

The new K-MAX helicopters will be powered by Honeywell T5317A-1 commercially certified engines that have been converted from former United States military engine cores and overhauled using new Honeywell components.

The engine conversion is being handled by Mint Turbines using kits provided by Honeywell Aerospace. Kaman already has secured buyers for six of the 10 helicopters in its initial production lot.

Development of the K-MAX was led by Kaman founder and former CEO, aviation pioneer Charles H. Kaman. The helicopter received Federal Aviation Administration certification in 1994.

The U.S. Marine Corps maintains two unmanned K-MAX® aircraft developed with Lockheed Martin. These aircraft successfully supported the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan for thirty-three months from 2011-2014 carrying more than 4.5 million pounds of cargo.

Additional unmanned firefighting and humanitarian missions for K-MAX® are also being developed and tested.

Blue Orgin successfully achieve controlled rocket landing

Blue Origin Photo

Jeff Bezo's Blue Origin successfully carried out controlled landing of an expended rocket back to earth on November 23, marking a milestone in the more than 100 years of expendable rocket launch history.

The rocket booster which comprise the Blue Origin's New Shepard vertical take off and landing (VTOL) space vehicle along with a crew capsule on top, initially took the crew space capsule to its planned test altitude of 329,839 feet (100.5 kilometers) before executing a historic landing back at the launch site in West Texas.

The booster descended under controlled flight to the landing pad. Just prior to landing, the booster re-ignited its BE-3 engine which slows the vehicle to 4.4 mph for a gentle, powered vertical landing.

Major sequence in the landing included the ring fin which shifted the center of pressure aft to help control reentry and descent; eight large drag brakes deployed and reduced the vehicle’s terminal speed to 387 mph; hydraulically actuated fins steered that vehicle through 119-mph high-altitude crosswinds to a location precisely aligned with and 5,000 feet above the landing pad; then the highly-throttleable BE-3 engine re-ignited to slow the booster as the landing gear deployed and the vehicle descended the last 100 feet at 4.4 mph to touchdown on the pad.

Named in honor of the first American in space, Alan Shepard, the fully reusable New Shepard will carry six astronauts to altitudes beyond 100 kilometers, the internationally-recognized boundary of space.

The vehicle is comprised of two elements—a crew capsule in which the astronauts ride and a rocket booster powered by a single American-made BE-3 liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen engine. At liftoff, the BE-3 delivers 110,000 pounds of thrust. During ascent, astronauts experience 3x the force of gravity as the spacecraft accelerates through the atmosphere.

Following powered flight, the crew capsule separates from the booster and coasts into space, providing several minutes of weightlessness. As the crew capsule descends, it reenters the atmosphere with astronauts experiencing about 5g force before deploying three main parachutes for landing.

Deployment of crew capsule drogue parachutes occurred at 20,045 feet above ground level.

Elon Musk's SpaceX has been pioneering the controlled landing of its Falcon 9 rocket's first stage. Tests conducted so far has been only partially successful, although the Falcon 9 is very big compared to the New Shephard.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Updated: Moscow to bolster air defense cover over Latakia

Russia said it will strengthen its air defense cover over Latakia region in Syria, were one of its Su-24 tactical bomber plane was shot down by Turkey on Tuesday after it briefly violated its airspace.

Moscow said all its future bombing missions will be carried out under air defense cover from fighter jets signaling more deployment of air to air fighter jets. Currently four Su-30SM fighter are deployed to the Hmmeyim airbase in Latakia for the Combat Air Patrol missions.

Russian Defense Ministry said the the country will deploy the S-400 air defense system to Hmeymim airbase in Syria, which is the most capable anti-aircraft/anti-missile air defense system in the world and a Moskva cruiser ship equipped with the potent S-300 air defense system to the shore of Latakia.

Russian MoD warned that all the potentially dangerous targets will be shot down.

The S-300 system will seriously undermine Turkish and U.S. offensive capability in the region. U.S. had deployed its F-15 fighters to the Incirilik airbase in Turkey since last month.

The S-400 is designed to destroy all types of  aerodynamic targets including aircraft, cruise missiles, at ranges up to 400 km, and ballistic targets (flying at speeds up to 4,8 km/s) at ranges of up to 60 km, at altitudes from several metres to several dozens of kilometres.

The Su-24 was shot down by one of the two Turkish F-16 fighters on combat air patrol mission using a short range sidewinder air to air missile.

The IR homing missile hit the Su-24's engine which is confirmed from the pictures, over Syrian territory while its was at aN altitude of 6000 m. The bomber crashed into mountainous region in Latakia, four kilometres far from Turkish borderline.

The Su-24M crew managed to eject, but one of the pilot was shot dead by Turkmen rebels loyal to Turkey, while he was parachuting. The second pilot was rescued and returned to the Hmeymim base.

Russian aircraft has been conducting a heavy bombardment against the Turkmen villages in the Bayırbucak Turkmen area near Türkmendağı (Jabal Al Turkman), in northwest of Syria, which is in the immediate vicinity of Turkey’s Yayladağ border crossing in recent days.

Turkey said it warned the pilot 10 times against entering its airspace and added the violation lasted just seventeen seconds during which the Su-24 traversed the 3km wide section of Turkey.

Russia claimed the aircraft has not violated Turkish airspace, according to its objective monitoring data. Moreover, radar reconnaissance data received from the Hmeymim airbase, registered Syrian airspace violation by the attacking Turkish F-16s.

Meanwhile one of the two Russian Mi-8 helicopters deployed for Combat Search and Rescue Mission to retrieve the pilots was forced to make a emergency landing in neutral area after it came under small arms fire killing one of its Marine.

The personnel onboard helicopter were safely evacuated to Hmeymim airbase. The helicopter was later destroyed by FSA (Free Syrian Army) using a U.S. supplied TOW anti tank missile, footage of which was released by them.

A320neo achieve FAA and EASA certification

Re-engined and improved Airbus A320neo jetliner has received joint Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on 24th November 2015.

The certified aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney Pure Power PW1100G-JM geared turbofan engines.

The EASA A320neo type Certificate was signed by EASA’s Certification Director Trevor Woods and the FAA A320neo Type Certificate by Jeffrey Duven, FAA Manager of Transport Airplane Directorate - Aircraft Certification Service. The Type Certificates were handed over to Airbus’ Executive Vice President Engineering, Charles Champion and Airbus A320neo Chief Engineer Pierre-Henri Brousse.

The A320neo successfully completed a rigorous programme of certification which tested its airframe and systems well beyond their design limits to ensure the aircraft successfully met all airworthiness criteria.

The three flight test aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney engines successfully accumulated over 1,070 flight hours in some 350 flights. Of these 1,070 flight test hours, 300 were completed with the same aircraft in an airline like environment to ensure operational maturity at entry into service.

The A320neo with Pratt & Whitney engines is the first variant in the NEO (new engine option) Family to receive Type Certification. The A320neo with CFM engines will be certified in the coming months, the A321neo and A319neo in both engines variants will follow.

The A320neo Family incorporates latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklet wing tip devices, which together deliver more than 15 percent in fuel savings from day one and 20 percent by 2020 with further cabin innovations.

The A320’s advanced technology includes the extensive use of weight-saving composites, an optimised wing that is 20 per cent more efficient than previous designs, a centralised fault display for easier troubleshooting and lower maintenance costs, along with Airbus’ fly-by-wire flight controls.

 The A320neo has a range of more than 7000 km and can accommodates 165 passengers in two classes or up to 189 in a high-density configuration.

Launched on 1st December 2010, the A320neo offers airlines an engine choice between the Pratt & Whitney Pure Power PW1100G-JM and the CFM International LEAP 1A engines.

With more than 4,300 orders received from over 75 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent share of the market.

Launch customer for the type is Qatar Airways, with delivery expected in this year end or early 2016.

Turkey shoots down Russian Su-24 fighter

Turkey has reportedly shot down an Russian fighter jet identified to be the Su-24 Fencer fighter bomber, close to border with Syria.

Turkish Air Force F-16 fighters shot down the fighter after it violated Turkish airspace in the Kızıldağ region near Turkey's Hatay province.

The jet came down near the Turkman mount, near Turkey-Syrian border, with the two pilot reportedly ejected.
Russian Defense Ministry said the aircraft was flying at 6000 m when its was shot down  by gunfire and rejected Turkish claim. MoD said the fighter didn't violate turkish airspace was all time inside the Syrian airspace according to the objective monitoring data.

Russia had deployed 12 of these swing wing ground attack jets to Syrian airbase in Latakia to fight the ISIS, along with Su-25, Su-34 and Su-30 combat aircraft.

The incident marks the first combat loss for the Russian forces deployed to fight ISIS, since the mission began in September end.

Turkish F-16s had earlier shot down an Russian UAV intruded into its airspace in October.

An Su-24 taking off from Syrian base

First Israeli F-35A to be delivered in 2016

Israel will receive its first fifth generation Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in 2016, bolstering its offensive capability in region.

Northrop Grumman has delivered, on schedule, the center fuselage for the first Israeli F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant designated AS-1.

Israel has ordered 33 F-35As under the U.S. government's foreign military sales program. These jets are similar to the F-35As produced for F-35 international partner countries, except they will require minor software and hardware modifications to accommodate several Israel-provided avionics components.

A core structure of the F-35 aircraft, the center fuselage was produced on Northrop Grumman's highly automated F-35 Integrated Assembly Line at its Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence.

Northrop Grumman designed and produces the center fuselage for all three F-35 variants: the F-35A; the F-35B short takeoff vertical landing variant; and the F-35C carrier variant.

The company produced the AS-1 center fuselage as part of the eighth low rate initial production lot of F-35s. AS-1 is the 39th center delivered by Northrop Grumman from Palmdale this year.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics will perform final assembly and checkout of the F-35s in Fort Worth, Texas.

In addition to producing the jet's center fuselage, Northrop produces key F-35 radar, electro-optical, avionics and communications subsystems. It also develops mission systems and mission-planning software; develops and maintains pilot and maintainer training systems courseware; and manages the team's use, support and maintenance of low-observable technologies.

Monday, November 23, 2015

EVA orders 24 787-10 Dreamliners and two 777-300ER jetliners

Boeing and Taiwanese EVA Airways today finalized a historic order for up to 24 787-10 Dreamliners and two 777-300ER (Extended Range) jetliners.

The order, valued at more than $8 billion at current list prices, marks the largest single commercial airplane purchase in Taiwan aviation.

The purchase will help modernize its long-haul fleet to replace aging aircraft and plans to grow its fleet to more than 100 units by 2020.

The 26 new aircraft are scheduled to be delivered from 2017 to 2022. The new Boeing 787 Dreamliners will be deployed on medium-range and long-haul flights and used with the 777-300ERs to be the backbone of EVA’s fleet.

EVA Airways currently operates more than 40 Boeing airplanes and with today's order, the airline's backlog will increase to 37 airplanes, which includes fourteen 777-300ERs, five 777 Freighters and eighteen 787-10s.

EVA had participated in development of the Boeing 777-300ER and became its launch customer in 2005, with 22 of the type currently in fleet.

The 787-10 will be the third and longest member of the super-efficient 787 family. It will be 25 percent better in fuel and emissions than the airplanes it replaces and more than 10 percent better than anything offered by the competition for the future. All 787 will be powered by GE GEnx engines.

UK selects Boeing P-8A maritime patrol aircraft

UK will acquire nine Boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) to restart its much needed maritime surveillance and anti-surface warfare capability discarded in 2010.

The decision was announced by British Prime Minister David Cameron during the 5 year National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) in the House of Commons today. The SDSR analyses the full range of threats faced by UK and examines the capabilities needed to counter them

The acquisition will plug the capability gap arised after the retirement of RAF’s Nimrod MR2 fleet in 2010 and cancellation of its replacement Nimrod MRA4 program in the 2010 SDSR.

The review says the risks and threats faced by the UK have increased in scale, diversity and complexity since the last SDSR in 2010, siting Russia’s resurgence, instability in the Middle East and North Africa.

Earlier this year, UK was forced to call French and Canadian surveillance aircraft to track an suspected Russian submarine near Royal Navy's Faslane base.

The P-8A is the most advanced long-range anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft in the world, which entered service with US Navy in 2013.

These aircraft will be based in Scotland and will also have an overland surveillance capability

Based on Boeing’s Next-Generation 737-800 commercial aircraft, Poseidon is capable of broad-area maritime and littoral operations, and can self-deploy up to 4,500 miles from base without refueling.

On-board sensors include the Northrop Grumman AN/APY-10 maritime, littoral and overland surveillance radar and long-range electro-optical sensors.

With a service life of 25 years/25,000 hours, P-8 is designed to fly in the harshest maritime flight regimes, including extended operations in icing environments.

It can carry Mk 54 torpedoes, depth charges and sonobuoys in its internal bay and four Harpoon anti-ship missiles on under wing pylons.

The CFM-56B commercial engines each rated at 27,000 pounds of thrust, enable to reach up to 41,000 feet and travel up to 490 knots speed, greatly enhancing climb and flight characteristics over turboprop equipped aircraft.

Each engine is equipped with a 180KVA engine driven generator. Combined with the 90 KVA commercial APU, provides  an excess 450 KVA to power its onboard sensors and workstations.

The P-8A has a Maximum Takeoff Gross Weight of 189,200 lbs (85,820 kg).

Video: Czech L-159 fighter sustain birdstrike

A Czech Air Force Aero L-159 light combat aircraft had sustained a bird strike during a training sortie in Spain last month.

The bird hit the aircraft's right wing puncturing a hole, damaging the wing leading edge and wingtip fuel tank.

The pilot Lt Abel Zbynek immediately declared emergency and prepared for any emergency situation as the wingtip tank has started to flutter. He later made a safe landing without any further incidents.

The L-159A is a single-seat light multi-role combat aircraft designed for a variety of air-to-air, air-to-ground and reconnaissance missions developed by Czech aircraft manufacture Aero Vodochody.

Powered by a single Honeywell F124-GA-100 turbofan, rated at 28.2 kN (6,330 lbf), L-159A can carry a wide range of NATO standard stores weighing up to 2300 kg, including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and laser guided bombs.

Czech and Iraqi Air Force operates single seat combat and twin seat trainer variants of L-159. The aircraft was later transported to Czech on road.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jump jets join fight agianst ISIL

U.S. Navy photo

U.S. naval aviation has rejoined the fight against ISIL with the deployment of  U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jump jets in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) on November 19.

The last Naval Aviation missions in support of OIR were Oct. 17, from USS Essex (LHD 2).

The Harriers from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM)162 (Reinforced) were launched from the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) to conduct their first missions over Iraq.

The Harrier was the first VSTOL-capable (vertical/short takeoff and landing) jet in the Marine inventory. 

Even though limited in payload and speed due to its VSTOL ability, the aircraft is used for multiple missions, which include attacking and destroying surface and air targets, escorting helicopters, engaging in air-to-air defense, providing reconnaissance and applying offensive and defensive support with its arsenal of missiles, bombs and an on board 25mm cannon.

Developed in the 1960s by BAE Systems, the Harrier is an ingenious design due to its ability to hover like a helicopter and fly like a fighter jet with near supersonic speed.

The 22000 pound thrust jet engine pumps air through four nozzles, two on each side of the fuselage, right under the wings. They rotate to propel the plane forward or straight up, allowing for very short takeoffs and vertical landings.

The U.S. Marine Corps will phase out its more than 100 Boeing built AV-8B Harrier II fleet by 2025, about five years earlier than planned, which is being replaced by the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B from 2015.

Experimental X-56A UAV crashes

NASA Photo

One of the two experimental X-56A unmanned air vehicle operated by NASA has crashed on Nov. 19 at approximately 9:30 Pacific Daylight Time on Rogers Dry Lakebed test range at Edwards AFB, California.

The mishap occurred shortly after takeoff and the vehicle has been severely damaged.

 The X-56A multi-utility technology test-bed (MUTT) is designed to demonstrate active flutter suppression and gust load alleviation in flight to advance aeroservoelastic technology.

An accident investigation team has been established to investigate the incident.

The remotely piloted aircraft was developed by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works for U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

The subscale aircraft is 7.5 feet long, has a 28-foot wingspan, weighs about 480 pounds, and is powered by two small 90-pound thrust JetCat P400 turbojet engines.

The knowledge gained about flutter and gust suppression will be used in designing the proposed supersonic X-54, an aircraft that will demonstrate sonic boom-quieting technologies that could someday alleviate the noise concerns currently preventing supersonic commercial flight over land in the United States.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Second and Third G500 prototype join flight test

Gulfstream Photo

The second and third Gulfstream G500 aircraft (T2 and T3) prototypes has joined the flight test campaign with successful completion of their initial flights.

T2 focuses on flight loads validation, while T3 is the main test bed for the G500 avionics systems.

T2 took off at 9:07 a.m. from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport on Friday, Nov. 20. Flight Test pilots Kevin Claffy and Todd Abler were at the controls, and Flight Test engineers Tim Spackman and Craig Ziolkowski provided test conductor and on-board data analysis support.

Operating within the flight envelope cleared by the first G500 test aircraft (T1), T2 climbed to a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet/13,106 meters and reached a maximum airspeed of 300 KCAS/Mach 0.85. During the 3-hour-and-3-minute flight, the crew exercised all primary flight control systems, performed functional checks of the air data and cabin pressurization systems and completed a series of engine performance measurements. The aircraft landed back in Savannah at 12:10 p.m. local time.

T3 departed Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport at 2:55 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20. At the controls were Flight Test pilots Tom Horne and Colin Miller. Flight Test engineers Grant Schoonover and Greg Vallone provided on-board support and data analysis. During the 2-hour-and-25-minute flight, the aircraft reached a maximum airspeed of 300 KCAS/Mach 0.85 and a top altitude of 45,000 ft/13,716 m. T3 landed in Savannah at 5:20 p.m. local time.

The G500 is part of Gulfstream's new family of clean-sheet aircraft, the G500 and G600, and the first of the two to begin flight tests. T1 is focused on flight performance and controls and has achieved a number of milestones since its initial flight on May 18. Its most notable achievement occurred on Nov. 12, when it reached a speed of Mach 0.995 while flying at 50,000 ft/15,240 m. So far, T1 has flown more than 168 hours and completed 47 missions. Flutter and envelope expansion testing is progressing and initial testing of the aircraft's handling qualities and performance characteristics have also taken place.

Along with flight loads validation, T2 is concentrating on aircraft performance and systems testing. T3 is testing most of the features in the all-new, cutting-edge Symmetry Flight Deck™ and evaluating the ice-protection system performance, landing gear and nosewheel steering operation, Environmental Control System performance and various other mechanical systems.

The G500 can fly 5,000 nautical miles/9,260 kilometers at Mach 0.85 or 3,800 nm/7,038 km at Mach 0.90. The aircraft is powered by the new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW814GA engine, which delivers excellent fuel efficiency, fewer emissions and less noise.

In addition to the revolutionary Symmetry Flight Deck, the G500 and G600 cabins maximize passenger comfort and aircraft performance and can carry up to 19 passengers. The optimized wide cabin also features an industry-leading cabin altitude of 4,850 ft/1,478 m at FL510 and 100 percent fresh air that boosts mental alertness and productivity while reducing fatigue.

The G500 is expected to receive type certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency in 2017. It is scheduled to enter service in 2018.

Spirit launches first RAAF P-8A aircraft production

Spirit AeroSystems Inc. has begun production of the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) first production Boeing P-8A maritime patrol aircraft.

Spirit started production on the 737 military derivative in October. With major assembly now underway, the first unit is scheduled to deliver to Boeing in early 2016.

"Spirit is proud to be on the P-8A program providing this important capability to the Royal Australian Air Force," said Duane Hawkins, Spirit senior vice president of Boeing, Defense & Regional Jet Programs. "Spirit has a unique capability to build military specific aircraft in the same 737 commercial production line that is producing 42 airplanes a month. We are able to use decades of experience building the 737 on military derivative programs, which makes the P-8A more affordable and the highest quality possible."

The P-8A program is using a first-in-industry production process and its existing Next-Generation 737 production system to efficiently design and build P-8 aircraft. Spirit is responsible for building 70 percent of the 737 aircraft.

The 737-800 fuselage receives military specific in-line modifications before it is sent to Boeing's final assembly facility in Renton, Wash., where all aircraft structural features unique to the P-8A are incorporated in sequence during fabrication and assembly.

 RAAF Air Commodore Adam Brown visited Spirit to see the in-line modifications on the first Australian P-8A.

Australia has agreed to purchase eight P-8A aircraft. The U.S. Navy is currently under contract with Boeing for 62 P-8As to replace its P-3 fleet and has delivered 31 aircraft to date.

Boeing has also completed its initial contract with India to provide eight P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft to the Indian Navy.

Latest Harpoon Block II+ missile begin flight trials

US Navy Photo

The U.S. Navy and Boeing completed a free-flight test of the new network-enabled Harpoon anti-ship missile on Nov. 18 at the Sea Range at Point Mugu, California.

Building on the nearly 40-year legacy of the Harpoon, the upgraded missile, known as Block II+, will have the ability to receive in-flight updates that improve the targeting and engagement of moving maritime targets.

capability to the fleet in 2017, giving the U.S. Navy a significant advantage in anti-surface warfare.”

The free-flight missile event was the first end-to-end functionality test of an inert Harpoon Block II+ from pre-flight to target impact. The test proved that the missile could receive target location updates from an F/A-18 while in-flight through its network-enabled datalink.

It then successfully acquired a moving ship target using its active radar seeker and guided itself autonomously to impact the target.

This test, the culmination of 152 lab-test sessions, 15 aircraft ground tests and 16 flight tests, will be followed by another more demanding developmental test in fiscal year 2016.

The AGM-84N Harpoon Block II+ will also have a new GPS guidance kit that will enhance the weapon’s navigation.

Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon weapon designed to execute both land-strike and anti-ship missions against a range of targets. Since introduction to the fleet in 1977, a total of 7,500 missiles have been delivered to the U.S. Navy and its 29 foreign partners.

Video: Russian airstrikes against ISIS

Friday, November 20, 2015

US Navy begin LRASM developmental flight tests

US Navy has begun developmental trials of the next generation LRASM anti ship missile.

An F/A-18E/F Super Hornet carried a model of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) during initial flight testing Nov. 3 at NAS Patuxent River.

The program's flight test team is conducting the first phase of airworthiness testing using this mass simulator vehicle to evaluate inflight structural loads of the LRASM on the F/A-18 E/F.

The LRASM will provide flexible, long-range, advanced, anti-surface capability against high-threat maritime targets. The precision guided anti-ship standoff missile is built by Lockheed Martin.

The weapon reduces dependency on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms, network links, and GPS navigation in electronic warfare environments. Semi-autonomous guidance algorithms will allow it to use less-precise target cueing data to pinpoint specific targets in the contested domain.

Early operational capability for the LRASM is slated for 2018 on the U.S. Air Force B-1 Lancer supersonic strategic bomber and 2019 on the U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter.

Japanese RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV deal cleared

U.S. State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Japan for RQ-4 Block 30 (I) Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on November 19, 2015.

The Government of Japan has requested a possible sale oF 3 RQ-4 Block 30 (I) Global Hawk Remotely Piloted Aircraft with Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite (EISS) including 8 Kearfott Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System (INS/GPS) units.

Also included with this request are operational-level sensor and aircraft test equipment, ground support equipment, operational flight test support, communications equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support.

The Northrop Grumman RQ-4 will significantly enhance Japan’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities and help ensure that Japan is able to continue to monitor and deter regional threats.

The purchaser requested offsets but at this time agreements are undetermined and will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and contractor.

The Global hawk will provide Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) with near real time high resolution imagery, all day and night in all weather conditions. It provides broadveiw surveillance using AESA technology based Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and long-range electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors.

With a gross weight around 15 ton, the RQ-4 can reach a maximum altitude of 18.3 km (60,000 ft) with a payload of 1360 kg. With a astonishing ferry range of 22,780 km the Global Hawk can continuously fly for 32 hours.

The 130.9 ft (39.9 m) wingspan enables a loiter velocity of 310 knots and is powered by a single Rolls Royce F137 turbofan engine rated at 34 kN thrust.

It can survey as much as 40,000 square miles of terrain a day. The aircraft is presently not armed.

CFM LEAP-1A achieve FAA and EASA certification

CFM Photo
CFM International’s advanced LEAP-1A engine was today simultaneously awarded Type Certificates by both the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), paving the way for entry into commercial service in 2016.

The LEAP-1A flew for the first time on the Airbus A320neo on May 19, 2015. A second aircraft added to the test program in September and, to date, the two airplanes have logged a combined total of more than 140 flights and 360 hours of flight testing.

A total of 34 engines have been tested to date, logging more than 6,500 hours and 13,450 cycles. Test highlights include fan blade-out; bird ingestion tests, including medium, large, and flocking bird; ice slab ingestion; hail stone and hail storm ingestion; cross wind; icing; acoustics; emissions; triple-redline (maximum fan speed, maximum core speed, and maximum exhaust gas temperature) endurance test; and more than 700 hours of flight testing on modified 747 flying testbeds.

The 24,500-32,900 pounds thrust LEAP-1A, will power the Airbus A319neo, A320neo, and the A321neo aircraft and features some of the industry’s most advanced technology, including 3-D woven carbon fiber composite fan blades and fan case; a unique debris rejection system; 4th generation three dimensional aerodynamic designs; the Twin-Annular, Pre-Swirl (TAPS) combustor featuring additively manufactured fuel nozzles; ceramics matrix composite shrouds in the high-pressure turbine; and titanium alumide (Ti-Al) blades in the low-pressure turbine.

The engine will provide operators with double-digit improvements in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to today’s best CFM CF56.

The LEAP engine is a product of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran) and GE. This engine has experienced the fastest order ramp up in commercial aviation history and the LEAP-1A had been selected to power 1,327 A320neo aircraft through October 2015.

These orders represent 53 percent of the total aircraft orders for which an engine selection has been made. Overall, CFM has received orders for a total of 9,660 LEAP engines across all three models.

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. 

Ukraine delivers last Indian upgraded An-32RE airlifters

Ukraine has handed over the last batch of five Indian Air Force An-32 airlifters that has undergone life extension and upgrade in the country.

Designated the An-32RE, the repair and upgrade was carried out at Ukrainian “Plant 410 Civil Aviation”  in Kiev, under a $400 million deal signed in 2009.

According to the agreement, the remaining 64 aircraft will be upgraded in India, at IAF's BRD-1 aircraft repair facility in Kanpur with all the required technology transfer.

The mid-life upgrade will extend service life of the aircraft by another 15 years, extending the 25 year life to 40. The An-32RE features modified cockpit layout, upgraded avionics, reduced noise and vibration, and improved reliability and maintainability.

The upgraded aircraft is equipped with Honeywell supplied Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), satellite navigation system, aircraft rangefinders, modernized height finders, weather radar, new oxygen equipment, and modernized crew seats.  

The AI-20 turboprop engine is also being upgraded under a parallel contract signed with Motor Sich JSC worth $110 million.

The An-32RE will be able to land on an ICAO category II approach. Whereas, fuel consumption and the mass of the empty upgraded aircraft will be lower than earlier model. The payload will be increased from the 6700 kg to 7500 kg.

The An-32 has been the backbone IAF's tactical transport fleet, and entered service in 1984. The fleet has clocked more than 8,00,000 flying hours during various military and humanitarian missions.

The program was conceived in 2005, to overcome maintenance issues due to ageing and obsolesce of fleet, while the airframe had considerable life left and  less no of landings.

The An-32 military transport is an improved variant of the Soviet era An-26 optimized for operation in high altitude and hot conditions, featuring a powerful 5100 hp engine.

IAF's An-32 fleet is supplemented by the tactical Lockheed Martin C-130J airlifter and IL-76 and Boeing C-17 Strategic airlifters.

U.S. approve sub-launched Harpoon missiles for South Korea

U.S. State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale of Submarine launched UGM-84L Harpoon Block II anti ship missiles and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $110 million to South Korea.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on November 17, 2015.

The Republic of Korea (ROK) has requested sale of 19 UGM-84L Harpoon Block II All-Up-Round Missiles and 13 Block II upgrade kits.

The Harpoon Block II missiles will supplement ROK Navy's existing Harpoon missile capability. The acquisition of the Harpoon Block II missiles and support will supplement current weapon inventories and bring the ROK Navy's Anti-Surface Warfare performance up to existing regional baselines.

The proposed sale will provide a defensive capability while enhancing interoperability with the United States and other allied forces. Sub-launched Harpoon missiles have been used by the ROK since the 1990s. The ROK will have no difficulty absorbing these additional missiles into its armed forces.

The prime contractor will be the Boeing Company in St. Louis, Missouri. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Developed by McDonnell Douglas, the Harpoon first deployed in 1977, is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile system. It has a low-level, sea-skimming cruise trajectory, active radar guidance.

The Harpoon is capable of executing both land-strike and anti-ship missions. The 500-pound blast warhead delivers lethal firepower against a wide variety of land-based targets, including coastal defense sites, surface-to-air missile sites.

With a range in excess of 67 nautical miles, Harpoon is powered by a air-breathing turbojet engine in cruise phase and a solid-propellant booster during launch.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fokker receive F-35 composite door order

Fokker Technologies, now a division of GKN Aerospace, signed an agreement with Northrop Grumman for the delivery of the in-flight opening doors for the F-35 Lightning II (JSF). The contract is valued at approximately €100 million.

Under this agreement, Fokker will be responsible for the manufacture of the in-flight opening doors for the next batch of aircraft in low rate initial production lots 10 and 11.

Earlier this month Fokker Technologies received from UTAS (United Technologies Aerospace Systems) the follow-on contract for the continuation of the design and development for the qualification of the polymer matrix composite (PMC) landing gear drag brace for the F-35 Lightning II landing gear.

UTAS is the exclusive landing gear system supplier and integrator for the F-35 aircraft.

Under the follow-on development contract, UTAS and Fokker Technologies will continue to work together to qualify and produce developmental hardware for qualification of the PMC drag brace that could be incorporated into the main landing gear for F-35 conventional take-off/landing (CTOL) and short take-off/vertical landing (STOVL) variants.

Fokker Technologies role will encompass component design, development, qualification and hardware manufacture; these efforts will be conducted by a specialist Fokker Technologies team in Helmond, the Netherlands. UTAS will perform system-level design and integration in its Cleveland, Ohio and Ft. Worth, Texas landing gear facilities.

Compared to the metallic brace equivalent, using PMC materials will result in reduced weight, and lower costs over the life of the F-35. The new design will qualify the common PMC brace used on both the CTOL and STOVL variants.

Fokker Technologies has been actively engaged in the development of technologies for the application of thick-walled polymer matrix composites (PMC) in flight critical primary structural components for landing gears for over twenty years.

Several partners, among which the Dutch National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR), have joined in a composite knowledge network that contributed to this technology development. In March 2015 Fokker Technologies and NLR have opened a pilot plant in Marknesse (NL) where the composite drag brace qualification hardware will be produced in a fully automated facility.

Fokker Technologies has been a part of the F-35 program since 2002 and has produced and delivered electrical wiring interconnection systems, flaperons, in-flight opening doors, engine parts, arresting gear for F-35 aircraft that are currently flying and in production.

Additional F-15 fighters deployed to Turkey

U.S. Air Force has deployed the second group of F-15 fighters to the 39th Air Base Wing based at Incirlik air base in Turkey on November, 12, 2015.

The F-15E Strike Eagles from the 48th Fighter Wing, based at RAF Lakenheath, UK, arrived at approximately 5 p.m local time. These aircraft are deployed to conduct counter-ISIL missions in Iraq and Syria in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

The F-15E is a twin-engine, all weather fighter that gains and maintains air superiority through air-to-air and air-to-ground combat operations.

The F-15Es join six F-15C Eagles from the 493rd Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, UK, which arrived Nov. 6, 2015. The F-15C is a tactical fighter that specializes in gaining and maintaining air superiority through extreme maneuverability and acceleration.

In support of the Government of Turkey's request for support in securing the sovereignty of Turkish airspace, the F-15Cs will conduct combat air patrols in Turkey.

Since August 2015, Turkey has opened its bases to the U.S., giving aircraft and support personnel a forward location to conduct counter-ISIL missions in support of OIR.

The 39th ABW received a deployment of 12 A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft Oct. 15, 2015. The A-10s, a highly accurate and survivable weapons-delivery platform, can employ a wide variety of conventional munitions, and is capable of firing 3,900 rounds per minute to defeat a wide variety of targets including tanks.

The A-10s replaced six F-16s from Aviano Air Base, Italy, that we're conducting counter-ISIL operations.

NBAA: Eclipse 550 achieve EASA certification

New Mexico based ONE Aviation announced that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has awarded type certification for the Eclipse 550 twin-engine jet.

The Eclipse can carry three or four passengers to more than thousand nautical miles.

ONE Aviation currently has two European distributors who have been anxiously awaiting this development, Aeris Aviation, located in Lane Forest, Guernsey (EGJB), and Jetlounge in Schönhagen, Germany (EDAZ) and Eelde, The Netherlands (EHGG).

Modifactions on the aircraft in order to comply with EASA regulations are minimal and can be completed in less than a day.

The Eclipse 550 can fly at altitudes up to 41,000 feet at a max cruise of 430 mph, all while consuming a mere 59 gallons of fuel per hour, making it the most efficient twin-engine jet on the planet.

The Eclipse 550 comes standard with a dual (redundant) FMS system, anti-skid brakes, a standby display unit, and new, high resolution displays with faster processing speeds that allow for the addition of safety features such as auto throttles, synthetic vision, TAS, TAWS, and more.

Built with six forward facing seats and designed to be flown single pilot, the 550 also comes with a standard 3-year Eclipse Factory Warranty.

One Aviation is also developing eight seater Kestrel K350 single-engine turboprop. One Aviation was formed by merging Eclipse Aerospace and Kestral Aircraft in 2015.