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Friday, February 1, 2008

Program Insider: Program Updates

Attack — Eurocopter performed the first flight of the HAD, or ground support/attack, version of its Tiger helicopter on Dec. 14, 2007.

Attack — U.S. officials have begun fleshing out export policy for the U.S. Army/Bell Helicopter ARH-70A armed reconnaissance helicopter. They expect foreign sales could take total orders for the aircraft beyond 1,000. The Army plans to take 512.

Attack/UAV — L-3 Communications withdrew its protest to the U.S. General Accountability Office of the Army’s choice of Raytheon to provide the target acquisition sensor suite for the ARH-70A and the Extended-Range, Multi-Purpose unmanned aerial vehicle.

Search and Rescue — Canadian officials say delivery of Sikorsky Aircraft CH-148 Cyclones, slated for November 2008, may be delayed 30 months. The aircraft, based on the S-92, are intended to replace the Canadian Air Force’s aging fleet of Sea Kings.

Special Ops — The U.S. Air Force is going through the necessary budgeting steps to get Pentagon and congressional approval to increase its acquisition of Bell Helicopter-Boeing CV-22s to 72 from 50.

Utility — The U.S. Army expects to fly the prototype fly-by-wire upgrade to its Sikorsky Aircraft UH-60M Black Hawk by March 31. The new flight controls are part of a spiral upgrade package for the newest member of the Black Hawk family.

Utility — Canada is unlikely to get new Boeing CH-47 Chinook transports until 2011. The nation designated Boeing as its preferred bidder on the contract two years ago, but has yet to sign a contract with the manufacturer, according to press reports in Canada.

Utility — The Australian Defence Force accepted into service its first two of 46 MRH90 transports from NHIndustries on Dec. 18, 2007. They are to replace the Royal Australian Navy’s Sikorsky Aircraft Sea Kings, and the Army’s Sikorsky Black Hawks.

Utility — Boeing in 2007 delivered 36 Chinooks to U.S. Army and international customers. It delivered four special-ops MH-47Gs, 30 CH-47Fs, and two international aircraft, just 13 months after the first CH-47F rolled off the production line.

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