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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Program Insider: Program Updates

Attack/Observation — GKN Aerospace in May began assembling the center module "bathtub" structure of the lower center fuselage section for the AgustaWestland Future Lynx at its Yeovil, United Kingdom plant. Two years ago, AW awarded GKN Aerospace a £50 million ($97 million-plus) contract to supply complete, assembled airframes for 70 Future Lynx for the U.K. Royal Navy and Army. GKN shortly will begin assembly of the first sponson structure for the aircraft.

Heavy Lift — Germany’s Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement has hired Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH to retrofit six more Sikorsky Aircraft CH-53Gs operated by the German Army. It will fit them with ballistic protection and mission equipment, including an EloKa electronic warfare defense system, under the €24 million ($37 million) contract, which calls for delivery of the aircraft between May and November 2009. Eurocopter also is to extend their service life by 4,000 flight hr.

Transport — The U.S. Army’s C-27J Joint Cargo Aircraft made its first flight June 16. Alenia North America performed the 40-min maiden flight at Alenia Aeronautica’s Turin, Italy facility. Plans call for 180 hr of ground tests and 70 hr of flight tests.

Unmanned — AeroVironment has won a $7.7 million contract from the Netherlands Defence Ministry for RQ-11B Raven small unmanned aircraft systems. The order includes new aircraft systems as well as training, logistics support and airworthiness certification. Each Raven system typically consists of three of the hand-launched aircraft, a ground control station, a remote video terminal, system spares and related services. The Netherlands contract reportedly is fully funded.

Utility — The U.S. Army National Guard received its first two EADS North America UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopters June 7. Army plans call for 345 UH-72As to be acquired through 2017, of which 200 will be delivered to National Guard units. Based on Eurocopter’s EC145, the aircraft delivered to the Mississippi Guard were the 28th and 29th fielded by EADS North America.

Utility — Malta’s army says it will be the first outside the United States to receive the EADS North America UH-72A Lakota, with the U.S. government paying about half the €6 million (more than $9 million) price of the aircraft. Malta plans to use the aircraft for maritime patrols.

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