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Monday, August 30, 2010

Around the World

Andrew Drwiega

European Air Group’s Annual Personnel CJPRS Course Heads For Germany
The next European Air Group Combined Joint Personnel Recovery Standardization (CJPRS) course will be conducted at Lechfeld airbase, southern Germany, from 15-30 September 2010. The German Air Force’s LTC Uwe Schleimer (JPR-1) is the man responsible for putting the two-week course and exercise together at the EAG’s headquarters in High Wycombe, UK.  

Schleimer says that the objectives of the course are to train NATO Personnel Recovery procedures in a combined environment. This allows multiple crews to practice Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) with an airborne command centre, fast jets, and different helicopter types and their individual capabilities. “It is a chance for crews to witness the strengths and limitations of aircraft that they may well be operating alongside in the future,” said Schleimer. The following assets are set to participate: 

2* AMX, 4* PA-200, 2* AS-342, 2* AB-212, 2* UH-1D, 2* HH3-F, 1* AS-330,
1* EC-725, 1* SD-3D, 1* EH-101, 1* E-3A

While Germany (the hosts), France and Italy will provide the largest contingents to the course, other nations expecting to send representatives include Sweden, Canada, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and the USA. 

The PR Course 2009 was conducted at CAZAUX Airbase (AB), France, from 9 to 23 September 2009. Representatives from 15 countries took part comprising 250 personnel and 15 air assets.
One extra day has been added into the flying program as an Area of Operations (AO) familiarization flight, says Scheimer. Feedback from crews attending last year’s course said that a brief familiarization exercise on arrival would mean that they could begin flying objectively sooner. A small task involving flying to a Forward Operating Base has therefore been included this year.

 Scheimer has planned for four days of academic study followed by seven days of flying. The academic study will cover most aspects of Personnel Recovery, while the flying phase will start with the introduction flight and continue with four-day missions and end with two night missions. 

Around 250 personnel are to deploy to conduct the course.

Canadian Forces’ Cormorants pass 40,000 Operating Hours
AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to congratulate the Canadian Forces on achieving the benchmark of 40,000 operating hours with its fleet of AW101 search and rescue mid/heavy helicopters. The Canadian Forces has 14 of the helicopters designated the CH-149 “Cormorant” which entered service between 2000 and 2002.
The Canadian Forces have a higher flying rate than any other AW101 fleet and Cormorant 901, currently flying out of Canadian Forces Base Comox with 442 Squadron, has the highest number of airframe hours on any of the AW101s anywhere in the world. To date, AgustaWestland has awarded 34 Cormorant crewmembers with 1,000 flight hour certificates and two crewmembers with 2,000-hour certificates.
During this time, Canadian Forces personnel have conducted thousands of missions and hundreds of rescues including:

• A 1,200 km. round-trip rescue off Newfoundland;
• A night time rescue from 30-metre deep crevasse 8,700’ up the side of an icy glacier;
• A 3,500 km trip to rescue a hunter stranded on an Arctic ice flow.

The Cormorant has a mission availability rate in excess of 98 per cent attesting to its reliability for emergency and critical mission deployment. The fact that the Cormorant can be relied upon to launch for rescue virtually anytime, anywhere, can also be credited to the hard work of the aerospace division at IMP Group Ltd., which is contracted by the Canadian Forces to provide the helicopter’s in-service support (ISS).
Over 190 AW101 helicopters have been built or sold to civil and military customers around the world in a wide variety of configurations. The worldwide fleet had achieved in excess of 200,000 flight hours in Canada, UK, Italy, Denmark, Portugal, and Japan providing exceptional performance and an extremely high degree of safety.

Lockheed Martin Delivers Topscene Tactical Terrain Visualization System to the United Kingdom
Lockheed Martin recently delivered the Topscene Tactical Terrain Visualization System, a mission planning and rehearsal software package, to the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) in support of operations in Afghanistan. U.K. helicopter forces based at RAF Odiham will use Topscene to perform mission rehearsal with greater realism than is possible with their existing system.  Topscene also will enable greater interoperability with U.S. forces, which have been using Topscene for more than 20 years. Topscene converts two-dimensional data from satellites and other sources into three-dimensional “fly through” and “walk through” battlefield visualization scenarios. “Using real-world images, Warfighters can plan and then repeatedly rehearse a mission, taking advantage of visually significant clues and aim points,” said John Metzger, senior program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.  “By knowing exactly what the terrain and built-up areas will look like during the real mission, the chance of a successful mission is greatly increased.” Topscene, with its embedded ability to stop, scale, slew and rotate the image, enables the Warfighter at all echelons to study their mission-operating environment in depth before actually entering a hostile area. The system provides photo-based imagery, 3-D terrain and culture, and sensor simulation, which provide a high-fidelity situational awareness in the tactical mission operating environment over large terrain databases. “Currently there are more than 3,500 Topscene systems deployed worldwide,” said Will Shores, Business Development director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Topscene has a highly responsive operational support system and we are very proud that the U.K. MoD has decided to use this outstanding product in support of their Warfighters in Afghanistan.”

CH-53K Helicopter Program Achieves Successful Critical Design Review
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation announced today the successful completion of the CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter Program Critical Design Review (CDR) event, signaling the program is ready to proceed to assembly, test and evaluation. The joint Sikorsky/Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) CH-53K helicopter program team hosted a weeklong meeting in late July to gather stakeholders and key collaborators from government and industry for an in-depth aircraft design review. At the review, the CH-53K team successfully demonstrated that the design meets the system requirements, setting the stage for the next phase of the program. Review participants included members of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, NAVAIR, Sikorsky Aircraft, and 21 major industrial partners who displayed component exhibits that augmented technical presentations. Over the past four years, the CH-53K helicopter team has successfully completed numerous major reviews, including the System Requirements Review (SRR), System Functional Review (SFR), System Preliminary Design Review (PDR), 77 supplier-level Critical Design Reviews (CDR’s), 64 supplier and internal software reviews, and 16 sub-system CDRs. David Cohen, chairman of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Technical Review Board (TRB) emphasized the Board’s approval with a “resounding yes,” adding that “the CH-53K helicopter program is ready for full-scale development and manufacture of the test aircraft.” Completion of the System CDR event demonstrates that the CH-53K Helicopter Program continues to build on its strong design foundation. NAVAIR CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter Integrated Product Team Co-lead, Lt. Col. Hank Vanderborght noted, “We have a program that sits squarely on solid technical ground, and our team continues to work diligently as we mitigate all schedule and cost risks.” Over 93% of the design has been released for manufacturing. System-level performance projections indicate all seven Key Performance Parameters (KPPs) will be achieved with adequate risk mitigation margin built-in for subsequent phases of the program. The team is ready to move into fabrication and assembly of test articles, component qualification, and flight test. “This successful CDR confirms the program is on the right track and is a significant step forward for the CH-53K helicopter program,” said John Johnson, Sikorsky Program Manager for the CH-53K helicopter program. “Sikorsky and NAVAIR are well aligned in this collaborative effort, and this CDR brings us closer to delivering a vital tool to the U.S. Marine Corps’ future heavy lift mission.”
Sikorsky has been building CH-53 helicopters for the Marine Corps since the CH-53A aircraft was introduced in 1963. The heavy lift mission is currently performed by the Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter and CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter models that have logged a cumulative total of 1.37 million flight hours in over 40 years. Sikorsky Aircraft received a $3 billion System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract on April 5, 2006 to develop a replacement for the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E heavy lift helicopter. The new aircraft program is planned to include production of more than 200 aircraft. Currently, the CH-53K helicopter is in the SDD phase with all of the major subcontracts awarded and valued at over $1.1B. “This milestone is a turning point for our program,” said Mike Torok, Sikorsky Vice-President and Chief Engineer for Marine Corps Programs, and Chief Engineer for the CH-53K.  “The final design definition, which meets NAVAIR and USMC requirements, is concluding, and now we move on to the test and verification part of the program. “Parts are being made throughout the supply base and at our new Precision Component Technology Center; test facilities are being fabricated and prepped for installation in our recently opened ground test facility; the integrated simulation facility is marching toward a late 2010 opening, already having received the first increment of software for the aircraft; and the final assembly facility in West Palm Beach is being prepared to start building the ground and flight vehicles early next year. It’s time now to prove out our design and show that this helicopter system will indeed meet the war fighting requirements of the USMC and give them exceptional mission performance from a platform that is affordable and supportable for many years to come,” Torok added. The CH-53K helicopter will maintain virtually the same footprint as its predecessor, the three-engine CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, but will nearly triple the payload to 27,000 pounds over 110 nautical miles under “hot/high” ambient conditions. The CH-53E helicopter is currently the largest, most powerful marinized helicopter in the world. It is deployed from Marine Corps amphibious assault ships to transport personnel and equipment and to carry external (sling) cargo loads. The CH-53K helicopter’s maximum gross weight (MGW) with internal loads is 74,000 pounds compared to 69,750 pounds for the CH-53E aircraft. The CH-53K’s MGW with external loads is 88,000 pounds as compared to 73,500 for the CH-53E helicopter. Features of the CH-53K helicopter include: a modern glass cockpit; fly-by-wire flight controls; fourth generation rotor blades with anhedral tips; a low-maintenance elastomeric rotor head; upgraded engines; a locking cargo rail system; external cargo handling improvements; survivability enhancements; and improved reliability, maintainability and supportability. The program is expected to achieve the Initial Operational Capability milestone in FY18.

Boeing CH-47F Chinook Fielded By US Army’s 10th Mountain Division
The Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopter was fielded July 30 by the U.S. Army's B Company, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y. The 10th Mountain Division is the sixth Army unit to be trained and equipped with the aircraft. "I am extremely excited that Boeing and the New Equipment Training Team were able to field and train the company on the F model Chinook so quickly," said Capt. Michael Farrell, Company B commander. "With such a short period of time between deployments, this really helped us focus on collective training." With fielding complete, the unit will begin advanced mission training in the new aircraft, conducting simulated assault, troop-transport and cargo-movement exercises. The 10th also will practice high mountain operations that use the advanced features of the CH-47F. 

"Fielding and training the 10th Mountain Division is a proud moment for all of us at Boeing," said Leanne Caret, vice president, Boeing H-47 Programs. "Everyone on the program is focused on the needs of the warfighter, and that is reflected in the aircraft we build and deliver every day." The Chinook is built at Boeing’s Ridley Township, Pa., facility and features a newly designed, modernized airframe, Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) cockpit and Digital Automatic Flight Control System (DAFCS). The CAAS greatly improves aircrew situational awareness, and DAFCS provides dramatically improved flight-control capabilities through the entire flight envelope, significantly improved performance, and safety in the harshest of environments.

Tiger Helicopter: 1,000 Flight Hours in Operations in Afghanistan
The EC665 Tiger HAP (combat support) helicopter received its operational certification from NATO for the Afghan theater of operations in August 2009, just seven months after the final operational standard qualification was issued by government agencies in December 2008.  The fleet of three EC665 Tiger HAPs, operated by the French Army's 5th Combat Helicopter Regiment, has now logged more than 1,000 flight hours in Afghanistan in less than a year. With an availability rate of 90% in extremely harsh operating conditions, the Tiger has once again demonstrated excellent performance and operability levels for both reconnaissance missions and combat support operations for joint tactical groups (GTIA), which have been unanimous in their praise. A key to this success has been the excellent cooperation between the French Army, the French Armament Procurement Agency (DGA), the OCCAR (Organization for Joint Armaments Co-operation) and Eurocopter, which has deployed a dedicated work structure since the beginning of the operations. In this framework, Eurocopter has been providing the French Army with nonstop support to meet the specific operational needs of the Afghan theater and guarantee the required availability levels. A team of three Eurocopter technicians is on assignment in Afghanistan to assist the mechanics of the French Army Air Corps (ALAT). In addition, a customized logistics support service has been set up to respond at any time to any request and to quickly supply any necessary spare parts.

AATD Intends to Award Lockheed Martin Unmanned Air Systems (ATUAS) Contract
The Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) intends to award an Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity, cost plus fixed fee (IDIQ/CPFF) type contract under the authority of FAR 6.302-1, Only One Responsible Source, to Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Sensors (LM-MS2) for the Autonomous Technologies for Unmanned Air Systems (ATUAS) program in support of the CENCOM JUONS and USMC Immediate Cargo UAS. LM-MS2 has the knowledge and the resources readily available to meet the compressed timeline and aggressive test schedule. A mature and robust demonstration platform will be required to demonstrate the ATUAS technologies in operationally relevent conditions. The airframe maturity (TRL 8), cargo carrying capabilities (mulitple instride deliveries totaling upto 6,000 lbs), proven history and the ablity to be optionally piloted are essential to the success of the program. LM-MS2 is the only provider of both mature autonomous technolgy and a robust airframe and is therefore is the only contractor with the requisite knowledge, experience, and technical data that can meet the Governments requirements on a timely basis.

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