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Monday, August 30, 2010

Insider’s Notebook

Andrew Drwiega

Hold the Front Page

Welcome to the first monthly Military Newsletter published by Rotor & Wing. The aim of the newsletter is to present a round-up of comment and interviews that are original and that you will not have seen elsewhere, supported by general information about military industrial complex and the military worldwide that you might have missed.
This first issue features an interview with Colonel Andrew MacNab of the Australian Defense Force and discusses Australian Army Aviation’s commitment of rotary resources to the fight in Afghanistan (this is part of a bigger article that is running in Rotor & Wing’s September issue and looks at the progress of the Army’s ARH Tiger and MRH90 programs. For more of my interview with Col. MacNab, see page 44 of the September issue).

Quotes from Farnborough

At Farnborough Airshow this year, we heard the following comments during presentations to the media:

“The company’s [AgustaWestland] commitment to the industrial base in the UK is real, Mr. Minister.”
Guiseppe Orsi, CEO, AgustaWestland - obliquely addressing UK Secretary of State Vince Cable who attended the grand launch of AW169.

“Military rotorcraft is a strong growth area internationally.”
“We are going to expand vertically in a few key technology areas.”
“The unmanned systems area is an attractive market and will grow and outpace the general defense market.”
Dennis Muilenburg, President & CEO, Boeing Defense, Space and Security

“This is not a paper airplane anymore.”
Capt Rick Muldoon, USN, PMA-261 Program Manager – talking about the ongoing development of the Sikorsky CH-53K

“We feel we have solved the issue of false alarm rate.”
Itzchak Gat, CEO, Elisra – at the launch of IR-Centric

“The OEMs ought to be focusing on technology and prototyping more.”
“A significant investment in the rotorcraft industry is needed to advance technology.”
Phil Dunford, VP/GM, Rotorcraft Systems, Boeing

“The MoD has advanced the concept of through life capability to the warfighter.”
Jim O’Neill, VP/GM Integrated Logistics, Boeing - talking of the MRO support structure behind the RAF’s Chinook fleet.

Rumor Mill

Helicopters Unlikely to Escape British Government Defense Cuts
On 13 August British newspapers reported that a leaked internal Ministry of Defense memo revealed that the Defense Secretary Liam Fox is demanding £3.96 billion in savings across the helicopter budget. According to reports, the new AW159 Wildcat fleet of 62 aircraft is at risk, as is the Puma upgrade. The Sea King fleet would be phased out too – but would this be enough. The Labor government had announced the purchase of an additional 22 CH-47 Chinooks together with replacements, and now these too must be at risk, if not in total then at least in part.

I hope you enjoy this first newsletter.

By Andrew Drwiega
Military Editor, Rotor & Wing

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