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Sunday, October 1, 2006

Program Insider

Program Updates

Attack- Russian manufacturer Rosvertol is likely to offer the Mi-24PN upgraded version of the Hind to militaries in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, India and Poland. The new aircraft features weight-saving features such as fixed landing gear and shortened stub wings, a Russian-made thermal imaging system, and an integral stores loading system.

VIP- Zambia has taken delivery of an AgustaWestland AW139 for the head-of-state transport mission. The aircraft is not expected to start carrying that nation's president until after Sept. 28 elections, when a new one will be chosen.

Special Ops- The U.S. Air Force's 412th Test Wing Electronic Warfare Group conducted an electronic-warfare integrated assessment test of the CV-22 in August, involving 12-15 hr of flight tests using two different ranges at Edwards AFB, Calif.

Attack/Utility- Bell Helicopter/U.S. Marine Corps AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters conducted shipboard suitability tests aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard in the Pacific Ocean Aug. 31.Sept. 2. The U.S. Navy 's Air Test and Evaluation Sqdn. Nine (VX-9) "Vampires, " based out of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif., conducted the tests.

Coast Guard- Australia's federal customs minister has issued tenders for a helicopter to be based at Gove on the Gulf of Carpentaria to respond to illegal boat landings. The Australian $25-million initiative would provide a helicopter for a rapid response to illegal activity in Australia's north.

Patrol- Spain has approved is agriculture department 's plans to purchase two new medium helicopters for fisheries patrols.

Search and Rescue- A CH-149 Cormorant of the Canadian Air Force's 442 Transport and Rescue Sqdn. has become the first AgustaWestland EH101 variant in the world to surpass 2,000 flight hours. The squadron is based in Lazo, British Columbia, and covers 355,000 sq mi (920,000 sq km) of mainly mountainous terrain, 216,000 sq mi (560,000 sq km) of the Pacific Ocean and 14,600 nm (27,000 km) of rugged British Columbia coastline.

Program Insider: Australia’s Super Seasprite Faces Life-or-Death Decision

Australia’s defense minister should this month be reviewing recommendations from the Royal Australian Navy and the Defence Material Organization on whether to scuttle or salvage its $1-billion SH-2G(A) Super Seasprite anti-surface warfare helicopter program.

Australia signed a fixed-price contract with Kaman Aerospace to upgrade 11 SH-2 airframes to the advanced -2G(A) configuration, whose primary objectives include reducing aircrew requirements from three or four to two for anti-surface missions and to provide the capability to deliver two Kongsberg Penguin anti-ship missiles over the horizon from the Anzac-class frigates on which the aircraft are to be based.

But the program is five years behind schedule, in large part because of difficulties involved with the development and certification of the aircraft’s Integrated Tactical Avionics System (ITAS) software—including the replacement of Litton as the software developer.

After an in-flight anomaly prompted the Navy to ground the aircraft temporarily in May, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson ordered a review of the program. Specifically, he asked for recommendations and cost estimates for fixing and continuing with program, scaling it back or scrapping it. The recommendations are to include how to achieve the desired anti-surface warfare capability if the program is scrapped. They were due at the end of September.

Meanwhile, Kaman and the Navy have been progressing with testing on the ITAS software, whose objective is to improve weapons management capability and enable a crew of two to perform complex missions.

CONTRACTS

Bell Helicopter has won a $31.7-million ceiling priced modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price U.S. Navy contract for Fiscal 2006 Lot 3 procurement of initial spare parts for the UH-1Y. Work will be performed in Hurst, Texas and is expected to be completed in December 2008.

Saab Avitronics has received a £7-million ($13-million) order from Lockheed- Martin UK for the mass data storage and recording system for the U.K. Royal Navy’s Merlin Capability Sustainment Plus upgrade for Merlin helicopters.

CAE has been awarded a contract valued at Canadian $50 million ($45 million) by Lockheed Martin UK to perform a range of upgrades on the CAE-built UK Royal Navy’s EH101 Merlin Training System as part of the Merlin Capability Sustainment Program. CAE will upgrade the Merlin Cockpit Dynamic (full-mission) Simulator, cockpit procedures trainer, and two rear crew trainers stationed at Royal Navy Air Station Culdrose.

Novosibirsk aircraft overhaul plant has signed contract for overhaul of two Peru police-owned Mi-171Bs. The work will be carried out by Novosibirsk specialists directly in Lima, at a national police-owned maintenance base; all parts and assembles will be dismantled and sent two Russia for repair.

Rolls-Royce Corp. received a $12.2-million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract from the U.S. Navy for the procurement of six MV-22 AE-1107C gas turbine engines to complete the Fiscal 2006 option. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Ind., and is expected to be completed in January 2008.

Doncasters has been selected by AgustaWestland to produce exhaust kits for the US101 helicopter. The kit includes pipes and ducting in nickel and titanium alloys. The U.K.-based metal component manufacturer is manufacturing such kits for the EH101, of which the US101 is the U.S. presidential transport version.

Binghamton Simulator Co., Inc. has won a not-to-exceed, $25-million Phase 3, small-business innovative research program contract for an aircrew virtual environment trainer for the U.S. Navy HH-60H and MH- 60S. The contract covers an exploratory study of application, further research and development, analysis for system integration, customizing prototype to specific platform needs, test and evaluation, production buys, support and training, as necessary. Work will be performed in Binghamton, N.Y. and is expected to be completed in July 2011.

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