Thursday, October 28, 2010
Around the World
AgustaWestland announced that the second AW159 multi-role military helicopter successfully completed its maiden flight at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility yesterday. During its maiden flight a range of general handling checks were completed and it performed as expected. The aircraft, designated TI2, is the second of three test aircraft that will complete a 600 hour integrated flight test program. The third aircraft, TI3, is scheduled to join the flight test program in late October 2010. Aircraft TI1 continues to perform air vehicle and flight envelope testing while TI2 will undertake the flight testing of the aircraft’s core and mission avionics systems, the systems and software having already been developed and tested on AgustaWestland’s Full Systems Integration Rig (FSIR). TI3’s main task include undertaking load survey trials and naval development, including ship helicopter operating limit trials. AgustaWestland has now also established a new AW159 production facility at its Yeovil plant that introduces a pulse line production system to bring significant efficiencies to the final assembly process. The first production airframe was delivered to AgustaWestland by GKN Aerospace on schedule in July 2010. The first flight of the second AW159, known as Lynx Wildcat in UK military service, marks another major milestone in the development of this new six-ton multi-role military helicopter, 62 of which have been ordered by the UK Ministry of Defence. The first aircraft will be delivered at the end of 2011 with the aircraft becoming fully operational with the Army in 2014 and the Royal Navy in 2015. The British Army’s AW159 Lynx Wildcat will perform a wide range of tasks on the battlefield including reconnaissance, command and control, transportation of troops and materiel, and the provision of force protection. The Royal Navy variant will provide an agile maritime capability providing anti-surface warfare capability and force protection and will operate in support of amphibious operations and be an important element in defending ships against surface threats. There will be a high degree of commonality between the Army and Royal Navy helicopters that will mean that an aircraft can switch roles easily, principally through the changing of role equipment. The AW159 is powered by two new generation CTS800 engines, each capable of continuously producing 1281 shp giving the aircraft exceptional hot and high performance. The aircraft has an all up mass of 5790 kg with a built in capability to increase that to 6250 kg. The cockpit includes a fully integrated display system utilizing four 10x8 inch primary displays. Sensors include a nose mounted IR/TV imager with built in laser designator and for the maritime variant the Selex Galileo 7400E 360 degree active array radar. The AW159 also has a comprehensive integrated defensive aids suite comprising a missile warning system, radar warning receivers and a countermeasures dispensing system. Additionally the AW159 will be capable of carrying a range of weapons including machine guns, torpedoes, depth charges and the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW). The AW159 program for the UK MoD continues to be on time and on budget and was the first major project to be awarded under the Strategic Partnering Arrangement signed by the UK Ministry of Defence and AgustaWestland in June 2006. AgustaWestland has also signed partnering agreements with a number of key suppliers on the AW159 program including Selex Galileo, a Finmeccanica company; GKN Aerospace, LHTEC – a partnership between Rolls-Royce and Honeywell, General Dynamics UK, Thales UK and GE Aviation.
Apaches’ stay in Afghanistan extended
Five of the Dutch Apache attack helicopters deployed in Afghanistan that were to return by mid-October will now stay until mid-November. The helicopters will be used for giving air assistance to ISAF partners and the Dutch Redeployment Task Force, the unit tasked with retrieving Dutch materiel from the area of operations. The helicopters’ stay in Afghanistan was extended because some of the last large Dutch convoys were postponed as a result of damage to the road between Tarin Kowt and Kandahar. Moreover, the availability of air assistance in Uruzgan will soon be reduced as a consequence of operations elsewhere in southern Afghanistan. This would mean that air assistance available for the redeployment convoys would be insufficient. In addition, Australia has urgently requested the Netherlands to extend its deployment of Apaches, so that ISAF partners may also be guaranteed air assistance. This support will enable the Combined Team Uruzgan, the successor of the Dutch Task Force Uruzgan, to continue its work. The request also underscores the importance of the Apache helicopters, which have served in Afghanistan since 2004.
Sikorsky Innovations Completes Testing of Hub Mounted Vibration System
Sikorsky Innovations, the technology development organization of Sikorsky Aircraft, has completed rig testing of a Hub Mounted Vibration Suppression system (HMVS), designed to eliminate vibration and deliver a smoother helicopter ride. The effort is jointly funded by Sikorsky and the Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD). Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. “HMVS represents a significant improvement in the control of vibration at its source with less weight than conventional vibration treatments,” said Jim Kagdis, program manager for Sikorsky Advanced Programs. “Combined with our active flap technology, this makes the opportunity for a ‘jet-smooth’ ride a practical reality. Our plan is to install and test flight this vital technology on a Sikorsky helicopter in the next 12 months. We expect to drive this technology into all our products once its commercialization is complete.”
“Vibration, even at the low levels Sikorsky has been able to achieve, takes a toll on crew and passengers as well as the aircraft,” said Mark Miller, vice president, Research & Engineering. “With the HMVS breakthrough technology, occupants will experience less fatigue and enhanced safety. In addition, operating costs will decrease because equipment will last longer in a virtually zero-vibration environment.” The key development team member for the project is the LORD Corporation of Cary, N. C.
Elbit Systems Receives $68 Million ID/IQ Contract for HUD Units
Elbit Systems of America was awarded a 5-year, $68 million Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contract from the US Army Contracting Command in Huntsville, Alabama, to supply the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard with AN/AVS-7 Head-Up Display components including the latest Elbit Systems of America Flat Panel Day and Night Head-Up Display units. Initial delivery orders totaling $23M have been awarded under the new ID/IQ contract. This is a follow-on contract to a $75M ID/IQ contract awarded in September 2005. The new display units increase situational awareness and safety by allowing pilots to fly “head out of the cockpit” during day and night operations. They are a plug and play upgrade to the legacy SU-180/AVS-7 Display units. The SU-180/AVS-7 Display units have been in operational use by United States Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force rotary wing pilots since the mid-1990’s and is installed on most US military utility and cargo helicopter platforms, including the UH-60L, CH-53E, CH-47D, CH-46, H-1, V-22 and others.
Commenting on the award, Elbit Systems of America President and CEO, Raanan Horowitz noted, “This follow-on order attests to our customer’s satisfaction with our systems and performance track record. Elbit Systems of America is pleased to provide cutting-edge technology for the warfighter, delivering high quality Helmet Mounted Displays at an accelerated pace, supporting critical missions and needs. The AN/AVS-7 has proven itself by providing situational awareness and added safety to Army aviators on all U.S. Army helicopter platforms and we are proud we can provide now an upgrade to these systems.”
Raytheon Awarded $115 Million for Airborne Low Frequency Sonar
Raytheon has received two contracts totaling $115.7 million for the AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS), the primary undersea warfare sensor for the U.S. Navy's MH-60R multi-mission helicopter. The contracts were awarded by Naval Air Systems Command and Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Strategic Acquisition. ALFS provides critical undersea warfare mission support capabilities, including submarine detection, tracking, localization, classification, acoustic intercept, underwater communication and environmental data collection. Under the first contract, valued at $59.7 million, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems will manufacture, integrate, test and deliver ALFS systems. The company will also provide data and weapons replaceable assemblies for systems under test as well as helicopter maintenance trainer assets. The second contract, for $56 million, provides for spares for fleet-deployed systems. "ALFS provides an essential capability, the centerpiece of our airborne anti-submarine warfare mission," said U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Steven R. Eastburg, program executive officer, Air ASW, Assault & Special Mission. "Working in tandem with our other battlegroup assets, the versatility and effectiveness of ALFS delivers our first line of defense against the threat of enemy submarines." The system's performance and capabilities were tested and proved during two recent U.S. Navy undersea warfare exercises. The first was conducted by the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group in the Western Pacific Ocean. ALFS was deployed as the primary anti-submarine warfare sensor onboard the MH-60R helicopter, charged with defending the surface ships before the submarines could come within range to launch an attack. According to Navy officials, the carrier strike group successfully detected all exercise submarines during the first deployment. The second exercise is currently underway with the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group.
DARPA Kicks Off Transformer (TX) Program
DARPA’s Transformer (TX) program seeks to combine the advantages of ground vehicles and helicopters into a single vehicle equipped with flexibility of movement. The concept is to provide options to avoid traditional and asymmetrical threats while avoiding road obstructions. With this type technology, transportation will no longer be restricted to trafficable terrain that tends to make movement predictable. Benefits of enhanced mobility are numerous. The capabilities TX plans to provide may allow for improved resupply operations, fire-team insertion and extraction, and reduced time for medical evacuation—increasing probability of survival. Key to the success of this technology is the ability for guidance, navigation and control of the TX to be conducted without a dedicated pilot—increasing flexibility. The TX program aims to develop a robust ground vehicle that can transform into an air vehicle with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability, while offering significant operational flexibility with the ability to efficiently travel 250 nautical miles on land and in the air, or any combination, while carrying up to 1,000 pounds. This payload requirement represents up to four Warfighters and their equipment, including a critical medical evacuation capability. It is envisioned that guidance and flight control systems will allow for semi-autonomous flight, permitting a non-pilot to perform VTOLs, transition into forward flight, and update the flight path in response to changing mission requirements or threats. During the program’s first phase, performers will conduct trade studies to develop and mature propulsion systems, adaptable wing structures, advanced lightweight materials, the advanced flight control system, the air/ground configuration designs, and energy distribution systems. The developers of critical enabling technologies will work with the prime system integrators, incorporating their technology for a possible second phase. These trade studies will allow for development of a detailed technology maturation plan to ensure a feasible design of the vehicle and its supporting technology. Results of this initial phase will be used by DARPA to inform future phases. DARPA has selected six vendors to participate in this 12-month effort: AAI Corporation and Lockheed Martin Company, prime system integrators; Carnegie Mellon University and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, developers of critical enabling technology; and Aurora Flight Sciences partnered with ThinGap, and Metis Design Corp, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) recipients.
Boeing to offer A160T Hummingbird to NAVAIR Request for Proposal
The Boeing Company is preparing to offer a solution based on the world record-setting A160T Hummingbird unmanned rotorcraft in response to the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command's Request for Proposal (RFP) for Cargo Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) Services. The RFP calls for government-owned, contractor-operated UAS services for the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan. In March, under contract from the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL), Boeing demonstrated the A160T's ability to deliver at least 2,500 pounds of cargo from one simulated forward-operating base to another base 75 nautical miles away in less than the required six hours. The simulated mission delivered 1,250-pound sling loads over two 150-nautical-mile round trips, with the A160T operating autonomously on a pre-programmed mission. "Based on Boeing's success in the MCWL demonstration, we are convinced we have the right solution to bring this important capability to the Marines in the field," said Vic Sweberg, Boeing director of Unmanned Airborne Systems. "We are prepared to offer the best response to the Marines to support their ongoing efforts in Afghanistan." The A160T has a 2,500-pound payload capacity. It features a unique optimum-speed-rotor technology that significantly improves overall performance efficiency by adjusting the rotor’s speed at different altitudes, gross weights and cruise speeds. The autonomous unmanned aircraft, measuring 35 feet long with a 36-foot rotor diameter, has hovered at 20,000 feet and cruised at more than 140 knots. The A160T established a world endurance record in its class in 2008 with an 18.7-hour un-refueled flight.
Boeing started its A160T production line at its plant in Mesa, Ariz., in March.
Eurocopter Launches Advanced Sim in Grand Prairie
American Eurocopter unveiled a technologically advanced, single-engine helicopter flight and mission simulator during a launch event in the company’s Training Center recently. More than 100 customers, industry personnel and media were on hand to view the new AS350 simulator and usher in a new era of training for helicopter pilots and crews. “Safety is our number one priority and to help ensure the safe operation of our aircraft, we have made a significant investment in the development of our simulators,” said Marc Paganini, president and CEO of American Eurocopter. “The efforts of our American Eurocopter team have culminated in the world’s most technologically advanced AS350 flight and mission simulator, which is now available to our customers.” Developed with Indra Systems, American Eurocopter’s full-motion, AS350 flight and mission simulator features a full AS350 cabin that provides an enhanced training environment for pilots and crews. In the United States alone, there are more than 750 AS350 helicopters in service and the aircraft has become the aircraft of choice for a variety of missions throughout the United States including law enforcement and emergency medical services. The new AS350 flight and mission simulator will provide options for complete aircraft emergency procedure training, Crew Resource Management (CRM) training, NVG training, Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) mission training, and Airborne Law Enforcement (ALE) training. The simulator is convertible from AS350 B2 to AS350 B3 and it is equipped with a full-motion platform, a full cabin for “true” CRM training, VEMD, NVG, auto pilot, FLIR Star Safire III (including hand controller, TV and IR mode), moving map functionality, and a SpecraLab S-16 slaved searchlight. ALE training packages are already available. Other missions, including HEMS, will be available soon.
Sikorsky S-92 Fleet Achieves 250,000 Flight Hours at Record Pace
The S-92 fleet of medium-lift helicopters has surpassed 250,000 flight hours since the first aircraft entered service six years ago, establishing a record pace for a commercial fleet of Sikorsky helicopters. The first production S-92 entered service in September, 2004. Transport companies flying work crews to offshore oil and gas platforms account for 90 percent of those airtime hours. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. “Operators have achieved a quarter of a million flight hours at an unprecedented rate,” said Carey Bond, president of Sikorsky Global Helicopters. “During the first six months of 2010, the worldwide fleet added 50,000 flight hours, which speaks volumes to the efficiency of our customers’ operations, Sikorsky’s fleet management specialists, and the S-92 aircraft’s design and productivity during high operational tempos in challenging environmental conditions.” Eight offshore oil and gas transport companies fly 75 of the 117 in-service S-92 aircraft, serving platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, and the waters around Newfoundland, Brazil, Australia, Malaysia and China. Current mission availability across the fleet in 21 countries today stands at 94 percent and climbing. One of the heaviest users, Bristow Norway AS, flies nine S-92 aircraft to North Sea platforms operated by Shell, BP, Statoil, ConocoPhillips and Talisman Energy. In the seven months from January 2010 to July 31, each Bristow S-92 aircraft averaged 124.5 flight hours per month (1120 flight hours for the fleet). Bristow’s highest airtime S-92 helicopter — operational since February, 2005 — has flown 9,000 hours. The company’s second highest airtime S-92 aircraft is expected to reach 9,000 hours in the fourth quarter of 2010. Total airtime for the Bristow fleet is 74,000 hours. The S-92 helicopter has become a favorite of the offshore oil and gas industry because of its power, endurance and speed, low noise and vibration, a large 19-passenger stand-up cabin, a rear ramp that allows easy passenger entry/exit and fast baggage handling, and the ability to carry full loads to destinations up to 476 nautical miles. Safety attributes include a spacious cockpit with excellent exterior visibility, modern avionics with large NVG-compatible displays, and a crashworthy fuel system separated from the passenger compartment.
Sikorsky monitors operational S-92 aircraft from its Fleet Management Operations Center (FMOC) in Trumbull, Conn. Data analysis enables the FMOC to identify trends, predict material requirements, and recommend cost savings and maintenance reductions — ensuring that every S-92 helicopter benefits from the experience of the entire fleet. The S-92 helicopter was the first in its class certified to the latest and most stringent FAA/JAA standards, and remains the only aircraft in its class to meet those standards without exception or waiver. Outside the offshore oil and gas industry, the S-92 helicopter performs search and rescue off the coast of Scotland, utility missions in the Middle East, and VIP and head of state transport for the leaders of several nations. Additionally, Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin have proposed to the U.S. Government a militarized version to transport the president of the United States.
EADS North America receives $152 million U.S. Army Contract
The U.S. Army has awarded EADS North America a $67 million contract for the supply of Mission Equipment Packages (MEP) on UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters to be operated by Army National Guard Security and Support Battalions (S&S Battalions). This contract award is the first phase of a total contract value estimated to be approximately $152 million. Built at the company’s American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Miss., these system improvements will be outfitted on UH-72As deployed throughout the United States where the Army National Guard Lakota aircraft are stationed. The packages expand the Lakota’s use in reconnaissance, border protection, command and control and air movement operations that support U.S. homeland defense and security missions. “This contract underscores EADS North America’s ability to integrate complex mission systems that meet our warfighters’ needs,” said EADS North America Chairman Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. “It also marks a new milestone in the evolution of the UH-72A, as this capable helicopter is given increasingly diverse operational duties with the U.S. Army. Supporting the S&S mission is further evidence of our industry team’s commitment to delivering state-of-the art products that enable the Army to meet today’s demanding missions.” Deliveries of UH-72As with the S&S Battalion Mission Equipment Package are scheduled to begin in 2011. The contract announced today covers EADS North America’s supply of an initial 36 MEPs, with the U.S. Army expected to ultimately acquire systems to outfit a total of 99 Lakota helicopters. The UH-72A S&S Battalion configuration includes a forward centerline-mounted camera system with electro-optical and infrared sensors and laser pointer, a 30 million candlepower searchlight, operator console, cockpit and cabin touch-screen displays with moving map, a video management system, a digital video recorder and data downlink system, plus an external hoist and additional avionics and communications equipment. Located throughout the United States, the U.S. Army National Guard S&S Battalions provide a dispersed, readily available, light aviation capability for military missions and operations in support of civil authorities. These units currently operate aging Vietnam era rotary-wing aircraft, which will be replaced by the UH-72A. The UH-72A is produced in Columbus, Miss., by the American Eurocopter operating unit of EADS North America, which built a dedicated assembly line for the Light Utility Helicopter. A systems integration facility was created at this site to manage the development of UH-72A’s Mission Equipment Package for the Army National Guard S&S Battalion configuration. A total of 345 UH-72As are planned for acquisition by the U.S. Army through 2015, which includes the versions outfitted for operation by the S&S Battalions. To date, EADS North America has delivered a total of 134 UH-72As, all delivered on time and within budget. These aircraft are being used in missions across the U.S and Puerto Rico that include medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), search and rescue, drug interdiction, VIP transport and general aviation support. UH-72As have been deployed overseas as well, with aircraft now assigned to the U.S. Army’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in Germany for training and support operations, and based on the Pacific Ocean’s Kwajalein Atoll for transport and support missions at the Army’s Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site.
In another application for the Lakota, the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., operates five H-72A versions for the training of test pilots from the U.S. military and allied countries. The UH-72A is a Defense Acquisition Category (ACAT) I major defense acquisition program for the U.S. Defense Department, and it has marked one of the most rapid introductions of a new aircraft in the U.S. Army’s history. Deliveries of the aircraft to National Guard units allow aging OH-58 and UH-1 rotary-wing aircraft to be retired, while UH-72As assigned to the active component of the U.S. Army free up UH-60 Black Hawks for assignment to warfighting missions.
Navy Recommends Bell’s AH-1Z for Full Fleet Introduction
Bell Helicopter announced recently that the U.S. Marine Corps' newest attack helicopter, the AH-1Z Cobra successfully completed Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL). On Sept. 24, the Navy's Aviation program office (NAVAIR) for H-1 Upgrades received official notification from the Navy's Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force that its AH-1Z helicopters were found to be "operationally effective and suitable" and were recommended for fleet introduction. "We are pleased and proud that the AH-1Z has completed its operational evaluation," said John Garrison, president of Bell Helicopter. "The AH-1Z is a remarkable aircraft that is only made stronger by the Marine aviators that fly them. We are excited that our warfighters will receive the full benefit of this awesome machine." The Marine Corps is replacing the two-bladed AH-1W with the AH-1Z, which features a new, four-bladed composite rotor system, performance-matched transmission, four-bladed tail rotor, upgraded landing gear and a fully integrated glass cockpit. A total of 189 new and remanufactured AH-1Z helicopters are anticipated, with deliveries expected to be complete by the end of 2019. The AH-1Z Cobra helicopters are part of the U.S. Marine Corps H-1 Upgrade Program. The program's goal is to replace AH-1W helicopters with new and remanufactured AH-1Zs which provide significantly greater performance, supportability and growth potential over their predecessors. The H-1 Upgrade Program offers 84 percent commonality of parts between the AH-1Z and UH-1Y utility helicopters. This commonality reduces lifecycle and training costs and decreases the expeditionary logistics footprint for both aircraft.
Northrop Grumman Partners With U.S. Navy to Advance Rotorcraft Development
Northrop Grumman Corporation has partnered with the U.S. Naval Aviation Center for Rotorcraft Advancement (NACRA) to provide its Digital Avionics Suite technology for retrofitting NACRA's UH-1N helicopter as an avionics test bed for future rotary wing hardware and software developments. Northrop Grumman is supplying NACRA with a stand-alone Digital Avionics Suite and integration support for installing the system in the back of a UH-1N helicopter that has been retired from active service by the U.S. Navy. The Digital Avionics Suite is half of the system currently installed on the AH-1Z helicopter, and will allow test integration with minimal changes to the systems avionics or the aircraft. The Digital Avionics Suite aboard the retrofitted UH-1N helicopter will include a Northrop Grumman mission computer that allows for easy system upgrades as new technology is developed. The AH-1Z mission computer will power the glass cockpit and integrate the components of the Digital Avionics Suite. Northrop Grumman will also supply an LN-251 embedded global positioning system/fiber-optic inertial navigation system to provide precise own ship positioning information for the digital system in the back of the helicopter. The Digital Avionics Suite also includes two 10.4" multi-functional displays, the same as those used by the U.S. Marine Corps on the AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters, which allow analysis of aircrew situational awareness by making critical mission data available to the flight test engineers. Once installation is complete, NACRA will utilize the retrofitted helicopter as an avionics test bed to develop and test new rotorcraft mission hardware and software.
"Northrop Grumman's Digital Avionics Suite is a perfect fit for NACRA's needs," said Ike Song, vice president of Situational Awareness Systems at Northrop Grumman's Navigation Systems Division. "In addition to providing the modern avionics needed to continue rotorcraft advancement, our open architecture solution is ideally suited to allow for hardware and software upgrades which can then be tested under operational conditions." Based at Patuxent River, Md., NACRA was mandated by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2005 and is charged with addressing and improving communication and coordination across the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps rotorcraft community. NACRA cross-platform initiatives include a common program roadmapping process and cross-platform leveraged efforts addressing condition-based maintenance and operations in degraded visual environments.
Bell Boeing V-22 Program Delivers 6th Osprey Trainer to U. S. Marines
The Bell Boeing V-22 Program, a strategic alliance between Boeing and Bell Helicopter, has delivered the sixth and final MV-22 Osprey Containerized Flight Training Device (CFTD) to the U.S. Marines. In the past year, the team has delivered five CFTDs to the Marines, as well as upgrades to two trainers delivered previously. The CFTD trains aircrew on basic aircraft familiarization and handling qualities. Additional training capabilities include systems/subsystems operation, communication, malfunctions, day and night flying, use of night-vision goggles, formation flying, aerial refueling and landing on ships. The device is intended to train crews for any task that might be performed in the aircraft, while limiting the monetary and environmental costs and safety risks of in-flight training. The sixth device was delivered to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River, N.C., on Aug. 16, six weeks early. MCAS New River has six devices, including the first CFTD -- delivered in 2007 -- plus three full-flight, motion-based simulators and one non-motion-based flight training device. MCAS Miramar, Calif., has four CFTDs. An upgrade delivered to Miramar this month brought all CFTDs to full concurrency with the Osprey aircraft. "The V-22 Integrated Product Team has made all of these early deliveries possible,” said Mark McGraw, vice president, Boeing Training Systems & Services. “They delivered three devices on this contract early, and all of them for the lowest per-unit cost our customer has seen." All CFTDs can be locally networked to allow for more robust training capabilities. The CFTDs at MCAS New River also are able to network with AV-8 Harriers at MCAS Cherry Point, N.C. The V-22 Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft manufactured by Boeing and Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company. Bell and Boeing are teamed in a Strategic Alliance Agreement for the design, production and sustainment of the V-22.
AgustaWestland Congratulates 2010 Cormorant Trophy Winners
AgustaWestland announced that the crew of “Rescue 912” from Canadian Forces Squadron 103 in Gander, Newfoundland has been selected as the winner of the 2010 Cormorant Trophy for Helicopter Rescue. The winning search and rescue crew comprising Major Steve Reid of Centreville, Nova Scotia; Captain Priscilla Jobin of Ste-Foy, Quebec; Sergeants Brad Lawrence of Gander, Newfoundland, and Morgan Biderman of Penticton, B.C.; and Sergeant Kent Gulliford of Kamloops, B.C. The award was presented Friday night at the annual SAREX competition in Whitehorse, Yukon by Jeremy Tracy, AgustaWestland Head of Region – Canada and Chief Test Pilot. The Cormorant Trophy for Helicopter Rescue recognizes the Canadian civilian, government or military crew that has performed the most demanding helicopter rescue of the year. “This rescue stood as this year’s top example of the selfless dedication of the professionals who risk their lives daily for the safety of Canadians and others across Canada and offshore,” said Mr. Tracy. “All of this year’s nominees exemplified the bravery and capabilities of the search and rescue community, particularly those invariably flying into the most treacherous weather conditions imaginable, the most inhospitable terrain or seas, dangling from the end of a line hanging from a helicopter or some other physically demanding task that virtually no other Canadian would imagine.” On October 24, 2009, a CH-148 Cormorant helicopter from 103 SAR Squadron (Rescue 912) responded to a Mayday call from the shrimp vessel Seafaring Legend. The distress call indicated that the vessel had taken an unexpected wave at its stern and was rapidly taking on water. The four-person crew was forced to abandon ship into the open ocean approximately 90 nautical miles (167 km.) north of Fogo Island, Newfoundland. Three of the four people on board were able to don immersion suits and, with great difficulty, eventually climbed into two separate life rafts. The fourth person was unable to don his survival suit before the vessel went down, and tragically, did not survive. Rescue 912 arrived on scene after flying 130 nautical miles (240 km.) from Gander to the incident location. Upon arrival, the crew of Rescue 912 were faced with never-before-seen circumstances. Every available tool and experience would be required to recover the three survivors from the two life rafts given the tremendous sea state and gale force winds. As confirmed by the Captain of a nearby Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel, the waves were averaging six meters, while the displays in the cockpit indicated that the wind speed was sustained at 35 knots with gusts up to 50 knots (93 km/h). A hoist sequence to a life raft can be very difficult under benign circumstances as the target is neither stationary, nor is it visible from the cockpit making an accurate hover virtually impossible. On this day, the life rafts were subject to immense swells and significant drift such that the rafts would fall into the troughs and then accelerate both down the front and the backside of each approaching or passing wave. This was an in incredibly difficult scenario which falls well outside the limits the search and rescue community would consider safe for training. Faced with these conditions, Flight Engineer Sergeant Brad Lawrence experienced great difficulty managing the cable such that the SAR Techs, Sergeants Morgan Biderman and Kent Gulliford, would remain just above the undulating surface as he provided directional voice commands to Major Steve Davis and Captain Priscilla Jobin at the controls of the AW101 helicopter. Not surprisingly, there were a few instances when the SAR Techs were dunked well under water and then catapulted back into the air as the wave passed by. A concentrated team effort between the cockpit crew, the Flight Engineer in the rescue door (providing voice direction, hover trim control manipulation and hoist cable management) and the SAR Techs on the hook (using hand signals and then swimming with all they were worth while still attached to the cable) resulted in all three survivors being hoisted to safety. They also recovered the body of the fourth crew member. The other rescues nominated this year were:
On October 13, 2009, a helicopter from Canadian Forces 442 Squadron in Comox, B.C., dispatched for a medical evacuation of member of a kayaking group who stranded during bad weather near Bella Coola, B.C. One of the kayakers tried to hike back and was injured when he fell three meters. The mission required the crew to operate in high winds, with deploying almost 50 meters down a hoist cable into a tiny clearing through trees reaching 24 meters into the air on the side of a steep slope with winds gusting into them at 40 km/h .
On January 22, 2010, a helicopter was dispatched from 413 Squadron in Greenwood, Nova Scotia to rescue a man stranded on an ice floe near Resolute Bay, Nunavut. The mission involved a 1,800 nm (3,330 km.) transit to the extreme North of Canada in the most challenging environmental conditions one can imagine. Through weather delays, emergency repairs and more, the man was successfully hoisted off the ice and taken to safety.
On April 15, 2010, a helicopter owned by VIH Helicopters, under contract to the Canadian Forces during the military’s 17-day annual sovereignty exercise in the Arctic called Operation Nunavulit, was pressed into emergency service to rescue an Australian adventurer who had fallen through the thin ice during a solo trek to raise money for charity. The civilian crew and two Canadian Forces search and rescue technicians flew 250 nautical miles (460 km.) further north, successfully located the adventurer from his emergency beacon and flew him to safety.
The Cormorant Trophy is named after the AW101 (former EH101) “Cormorant” medium-heavy lift helicopter used as the Canadian Forces’ primary search and rescue helicopter. 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.
For past winners of the Cormorant Trophy, please visit www.agustawestland.ca.
Flight Testing of Eurocopter’s X3 High-Speed Hybrid Helicopter Eurocopter Has Begun
Test flights of the X3 demonstrator for its innovative High-speed, long-range Hybrid Helicopter (H3) concept, which combines excellent vertical takeoff and landing capabilities with fast cruise speeds of more than 220 kts. The X3 demonstrator is equipped with two turboshaft engines that power a five-blade main rotor system and two propellers installed on short-span fixed wings. This creates an advanced transportation system offering the speed of a turboprop-powered aircraft and the full hover flight capabilities of a helicopter. The concept is tailored to applications where operational costs, flight duration and mission success depend directly on the maximum cruising speed. A wide range of utilizations are envisaged for the H3 configuration, including long-distance search and rescue (SAR) missions, coast guard duties, border patrol missions, passenger transport and inter-city shuttle services. It also may be well-suited for military missions in special forces operations, troop transport, combat SAR and medical evacuation – benefitting from the hybrid aircraft’s combination of higher cruise speeds with excellent vertical takeoff/landing performance. “Innovation is at the core of Eurocopter’s strategy to continue its leadership in the global helicopter sector, and the X3 demonstrator represents a key element of our innovation roadmap,” said Lutz Bertling, Eurocopter’s President & CEO. “The teams at Eurocopter took this hybrid helicopter from concept to first flight in less than three years, which demonstrates their skills, capabilities and dedication to defining the future of rotary-wing aircraft.” The X3 demonstrator’s first flight occurred September 6 in southern France at the Istres Center of “DGA Flight Testing”, which is operated by the French DGA government agency and ensures a secure and controlled environment. Initial testing will continue through December with reduced power, progressively opening the flight envelope to speeds of approximately 180 kts. After a three-month upgrade, X3 flights will resume in March 2011 with the goal of reaching sustained cruise speeds in excess of 220 kts.
RAF PILOT AWARDED DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS
It was announced today that heroic helicopter pilot Flight Lieutenant Ian Fortune (28) from Kingston upon Thames in Surrey, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) whilst on operations in Afghanistan. Flight Lieutenant Fortune was nominated for the award after showing courage under fire and great skill in handling a badly damaged Chinook helicopter during an emergency rescue mission in Helmand Province earlier this year. He was in charge of the UK helicopter force’s Immediate Response Team which had been called out to evacuate six casualties with gunshot wounds. Two of these were critical and their condition was worsening, including that of the ground controller who would normally coordinate the rescue from the ground. Flight Lieutenant Fortune maneuvered his aircraft into an emergency landing site under insurgent fire and held his position until the casualties were safely on board. On departure the aircraft came under enemy fire. One round hit the front of Flight Lieutenant Fortune’s helmet, shattering his visor and causing deep lacerations to his face. Despite his injuries and impairment to his vision he showed outstanding courage and skill to keep control of the aircraft and take evasive action. The aircraft was hit by small arms fire many times resulting in a series of system failures including a disabled flight stabilization system, making it much harder to control. In addition, there was a Discovery Channel film crew on board filming a documentary, who recorded the event. Despite these difficult circumstances Flight Lieutenant Fortune remained calm and kept the aircraft stable, allowing the medical team to work on the casualties. The mission ended well with all the casualties surviving and no other injuries. On hearing the news of his award Flight Lieutenant Fortune said:
“I feel truly honored to have been awarded a DFC and am filled with a sense of immense pride. I am humbled by the thought that I join a remarkable band of men and women in the annals of history who, through exceptional feats in the air, have inspired me since I was a boy. However, similar deeds occur unnoticed on an almost daily basis in Afghanistan and it is my privilege to serve and operate with fellow military aircrew and ground troops to whom this award is also a tribute.” Flight Lieutenant Fortune will receive his award at an investiture at Buckingham Palace in the autumn.
Australian Aerospace MRH90 Helicopters on Track, on Time
Australian Aerospace Limited, says it is on track to meet its 2010 schedule for deliveries of NH90 MRH multi-role helicopters to the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Australian Aerospace, which produces the MRH90s at its final assembly facility on Brisbane Airport, delivered its 13th MRH90 on 3 September 2010. Another three helicopters are scheduled to be delivered by the end of the year. A total of 46 MRH90s have been ordered by the Army and Navy to replace existing Black Hawk and Sea King helicopters. Dr Jens Goennemann, CEO Australian Aerospace, reported that the delivery program is progressing well despite a temporary cessation of flying operations earlier this year when an MRH90 experienced a shutdown of one of its two engines. Australian Aerospace is on track to deliver all MRH90s during 2010 as contracted in the schedule. “The engine manufacturer, Rolls Royce -Turbomeca, is currently working with the ADF on the root cause, and, in the meantime, the MRH90s have resumed flying operations,” Dr Goennemann said. “Two helicopters have been accepted since the resumption of flying and the MRH90 delivery, testing and training program is now building momentum.” These first 13 deliveries comprise aircraft assembled to Product Base Line (PBL) 01 and 02 standard. The remaining 33 aircraft will be assembled to PBL 03 standard incorporating enhanced avionics and other systems designed to ease and lighten crew workload. Eventually, the initial 13 MRH90s will be returned to Australian Aerospace and upgraded to PBL 03 standard. Dr Goennemann said he was also pleased to report that work on a strengthened floor being developed for the Australian MRHs was progressing smoothly and on track for serialized production in 2011. The new floor, which was not part of the original Defence specification, also provides additional equipment tie-down points. It will be incorporated in the yet-to-be assembled PBL 03 MRHs and, later, retrofitted to the PBL 01 and PBL 02 aircraft. “In a huge program such as this one, involving complex and advanced technologies, one is often confronted with unexpected engineering challenges”, Dr Goennemann said, “and while we have had our share of them we have never doubted our ability to resolve them together with our customer.”
Capable of carrying two pilots, two loadmasters and 18 combat troops up to 900km at speeds in excess of 300km/hr, the MRH90 is a fly-by-wire, all-composite construction, medium-lift helicopter with the highest crash-worthiness standards. Chosen by Australia over competing types as part of a program to modernise and rationalize its military helicopter fleet, the MRH90 is the world’s most advanced helicopter in the ten-tonne class.
The Mexican MoD Orders Six Additional Eurocopter EC725
The Mexican Ministry of Defense has signed an agreement with Eurocopter for the purchase of six EC725 helicopters. Together with the same number of rotary-wing aircraft ordered in March of last year, Eurocopter will now be supplying a total of 12 EC725s to Mexico’s SEDENA (Secretaría de La Defensa Nacional) beginning in the second quarter of 2011 for use in transport and civil security missions. The signature ceremony, held this week in Mexico City, was attended by Guillermo Galván Galván, the Secretary of National Defense; the Commander of the Mexican Air Force, Division General Leonardo González García; the Director General of Administration, Brigadier General Augusto Moisés Garcia Ochoa, who represented the Ministry of Defense; Ernesto Cordero Arroyo, the Secretary of Finance and Public Credit; and Joseph Saporito, Eurocopter’s Executive Vice President – Commercial Helicopters. This contract represents a further consolidation of Eurocopter’s presence in Mexico, which is managed by its Eurocopter de Mexico S.A. de C.V. subsidiary. A majority of the country's government departments have been operating Eurocopter helicopters for decades, which are utilized in supporting the airlift and transportation needs of the Mexican President, the Navy Secretariat, the Ministry of Defense and other users. “Such an important follow-on order underscores the confidence that Mexico’s government has placed in Eurocopter, which builds on our subsidiary’s 28 years of experience and investment in the country,” said Saporito. Eurocopter de México is based at Mexico City International Airport, providing maintenance services for helicopters located in the region. Eurocopter rotary-wing aircraft have been operating in the country since 1964, with over 350 of the company’s helicopters currently in service in this region – representing a market share of more than 50 percent. Staffed by nearly 200 employees, Eurocopter de México offers aircraft assembly, maintenance and painting services at its Mexico City International Airport facilities. It also provides professional training for helicopter pilots and technicians through partnership agreements with educational institutions such as the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), Mexico’s National Technical Professional School (CONALEP), the country’s Pilot Training Academy and Heliescuela. In addition to its Mexican market responsibilities, Eurocopter de México also covers Central America, northern South America and the Caribbean. The EC725 is the latest member of Eurocopter’s Cougar family. This 11-ton class medium-lift, twin-engine helicopter is equipped with five main rotor blades. With its impressive fuel capacity, the EC725 offers a flight endurance of 5.30 hours. It can carry up to 29 passengers in addition to the flight crew, and was designed to perform a wide range of missions – including search and rescue, personnel transport, the airlift of medical supplies and food, and logistics support. Its multi-purpose capabilities make it the ideal choice to meet the needs of the Mexican Ministry of Defense.
U.S. State Department Orders 11 More Upgraded S-6 Helicopters
Sikorsky Aerospace Services has announced the U.S. State Department has ordered 11 additional upgraded S-61 utility helicopters for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS) is the aftermarket division of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.
Earlier this year, the State Department entered into a five-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract for up to 110 upgraded S-61 aircraft for passenger and cargo transport missions in support of its worldwide operations. Under the IDIQ agreement, the first four aircraft purchased in February are currently in completion and are scheduled for deployment in Afghanistan this fall. “Sikorsky’s upgraded S-61 helicopter provides a capable solution for any customer looking to procure a utility aircraft with a proven record of endurance and reliability. Our S-61 helicopter is the best value proposition in the industry,” said David Adler, president of Sikorsky Aerospace Services. “Increasing the U.S. State Department’s current fleet to 15 S-61 aircraft marks a significant milestone for the Sikorsky S-61 program,” added Anthony Serksnas, director, S-61 Programs. The S-61 helicopter is known as an industry workhorse, and for more than 50 years has reliably and safely performed missions for U.S. and foreign allied militaries. The upgraded S-61 helicopter incorporates key components including composite main rotor blades (CMRB), a state-of-the-art glass cockpit and modular wiring harness – all of which dramatically improve aircraft supportability. Additional features have been incorporated to reduce pilot fatigue and maintenance requirements for increased safety. An open IDIQ purchase agreement serves as the contracting vehicle for any U.S. Government agency to purchase upgraded S-61 aircraft. The first delivery of the 11 upgraded S-61 helicopters for Iraq and Afghanistan is scheduled to occur in mid-2011.
Flight Tests Begin for Eurocopter’s Tiger HAD in Spain
The first HAD support and attack version of Eurocopter’s Tiger helicopter has initiated its flight test program at the company’s Albacete facility in Spain.
During the next 15 months, a full program of tests and development flights will be carried out to obtain the first qualification step (Block 1), which is scheduled for December 2011. These evaluations will include firing campaigns of the Mistral and Spike missiles planned before the end of this year. “This is the first time that Eurocopter Spain has taken on the responsibility for testing a helicopter prototype,” said Liberto Negral, who is responsible for Eurocopter’s Governmental Programs in Spain. “We are extremely proud to be performing the Tiger HAD’s flight tests, which are proceeding very well and are on time. This represents a great technical achievement for Eurocopter in Spain.” The first production Tiger HAD helicopters are scheduled for delivery early 2012. Two countries already have placed orders for this version of the Eurocopter Tiger combat helicopter family, 24 ordered by Spain and 40 ordered by France. The HAD version also is being offered for export. During the last four months, Eurocopter’s Albacete facility has adapted the configuration of the aircraft for its HAD version, which is a derivative of the Tiger HAP support and escort helicopter variant. This activity included integration of the new MTR390 turboshaft engines, which have been specially designed for the HAD version, along with installation of new versions of the basic and mission software. The Eurocopter Tiger is the newest and best-performing attack helicopter on the world market. For the different Tiger versions available, France has ordered 80 helicopters, Germany 80, Australia 22 and Spain 24. A total of 57 Tigers have entered service so far. The HAD version offers numerous improvements over the HAP version currently deployed in Afghanistan by the French army. New features include a more powerful engine and increased payload-carrying weight, an improved optical sighting system, launchers for Hellfire and Spike air-to-ground missiles, an identification friend or foe (IFF) interrogator, optimized ballistic protection, and a new electronic warfare and countermeasures system.
Eurocopter & ATE Begin Firing Tests on Weapons System
Eurocopter and Advanced Technologies & Engineering (ATE) have begun flight test firing a new Stand Alone Weapons System (SAWS) for light and medium helicopters. Initial test flights with the SAWS-equipped Eurocopter EC635 have taken place at the Murray Hill Test Range, a South African weapons test facility near Pretoria. The trials follow Eurocopter and ATE’s decision to jointly design, develop, manufacture and support a modern SAWS that can be installed on any of Eurocopter’s light and medium helicopter products. Eurocopter and ATE described the firing trials as the successful completion of the initial phase of the system’s flight test and development program. The EC635 participating in the flight test program is fitted with a Belgian FN Herstal HMP–400 12.7mm machine gun and a French Nexter NC-621 20mm cannon. The first phase of the trials involved firing the Herstal machine gun. This was followed closely by firing of the Nexter cannon. The initial EC635 SAWS configuration for International Customers will also feature Denel’s Ingwe Anti-Tank Missile. Integration of the missile is currently in its design and development phase at ATE’s state-of the art facilities in Midrand. Future weapons to be integrated on these helicopters include missiles and guided rockets of various international suppliers. “Eurocopter’s partnership with ATE on SAWS is a joint response to an increasing market demand for helicopters equipped with a suitably credible weapon system able to counter evolving threats and both current and future conflict mission scenarios. While we have proven capabilities producing multi-role military helicopters, ATE is unrivalled in weapon system development and sub-systems integration on fixed and rotary wing aircraft. This venture and our partnership make perfect sense,” explained Olivier Lambert, Eurocopter’s senior vice president Sales & Customers Relations. “The successful completion of this major international project will position ATE and South Africa as the world’s leading integrator of a variety of weapons on foreign aircraft. It also has the potential to place ATE and its South African suppliers as part of an international supply chain at systems level with the world’s number one helicopter manufacturer,” Jean-Marc Pizano, ATE CEO, said describing the SAWS program’s significance. The SAWS will allow light and medium helicopters to perform in a range of missions, including:
• Surveillance and armed reconnaissance
• Airborne Command and Control
• Close Air Support
• Maritime patrol, littoral warfare (anti piracy), Coast Guard
• Counter insurgency
• Potential for light ASuW and ASW
The SAWS typically comprises:
• A core element including a Mission & Firing Control Computer, together with controls and components to interface the crew and the platform.
• A choice of sensors: FLIR, TV, HUD, HMSD.
• A choice of guided weapons providing the necessary flexibility for a given mission.
• A choice of unguided weapons.
Sikorsky X2 Achieves 250-Knots and Company Plans Prototypes
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.’s X2 Technology demonstrator successfully achieved a speed of 250 knots true air speed in level flight at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center on September 15, 2010, accomplishing the program’s ultimate speed milestone. The speed, reached during a 1.1-hour flight, is an unofficial speed record for a helicopter. The demonstrator also reached 260 knots in a very shallow dive during the flight. “The aerospace industry today has a new horizon,” said Sikorsky President Jeffrey P. Pino. “The X2 Technology demonstrator continues to prove its potential as a game-changer, and Sikorsky Aircraft is proud to be advancing this innovative technology and to continue our company’s pioneering legacy.” “Our primary key performance parameter has been met,” said Jim Kagdis, program manager for Sikorsky Advanced Programs. “The 250-knot milestone was established as the goal of the demonstrator from its inception. It’s exciting to imagine how our customers will use this capability.” Kevin Bredenbeck, Sikorsky’s director of flight operations and chief pilot for the company and for its X2 Technology program, manned the milestone flight. Bredenbeck said the demonstrator has been performing well, meeting expectations of performance predictions and progressing with every test flight. Several weeks later Rotor & Wing attended a demonstration flight for X2 after which Pino unveiled the S-97 “Raider,” a light tactical helicopter based on the coaxial X2 design. Pino said Sikorsky will build two S-97 prototypes with the U.S. Army’s light armed reconnaissance mission in mind but with no federal funding. The manufacturer submitted an X2 design for the Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) in March. Preliminary design review for the S-97 Raider is scheduled to take place in 2011, with first flight projected in late 2014.
S-70i BLACK HAWK Helicopter Debuts at MSPO Exhibition
The S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter, the international variant of the BLACK HAWK helicopter, is on public display for the first time. Built at PZL Mielec, Sikorsky Aircraft’s company in Poland, the aircraft will be on static display at the MSPO exhibition through Sept. 9. Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. The display aircraft is the second to be produced at PZL Mielec. The first S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter built at PZL Mielec is nearing completion of flight testing in the U.S. A production flight hangar at PZL Mielec is expected to be ready for flight test operations by the end of 2010.
“This begins a new chapter for the S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter being offered on the international market,” said Debra A. Zampano, S-70i Program Manager, International Military Programs. “From its inception, the S-70i helicopter program has moved forward smoothly, consistently achieving all of its key milestones. This is a global product for a global marketplace, and we are pleased that the public is able to view this new S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter at the MSPO.” Production flight tests will be conducted at the flight hangar at PZL Mielec beginning with the second aircraft. Since its initial flight at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA, the first S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter has flown approximately 38 hours in test flight. It is expected to complete production flight testing in the fourth quarter. “In test flight, the S-70i helicopter is light and has been flying remarkably fast,” said chief test pilot Rick Becker. “It has been performing very well. It’s just a joy to fly.” Delivery of the first S-70i BLACK HAWK aircraft to the S-70i helicopter program launch customer is scheduled for early 2011. “The S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter will support the global demand for the advanced technology available in this aircraft,” said Janusz Zakrecki, president of PZL Mielec. “Built in Poland, this aircraft exemplifies Polish craftsmanship and American technology, but more importantly, it is ready for the missions to come.” The S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter is the first BLACK HAWK aircraft designed specifically for international customers, and utilizes a global supply chain. It is the first BLACK HAWK helicopter to be assembled in Europe as well as the first helicopter to be produced by PZL Mielec in Poland. The S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter incorporates the latest technology with advanced features such as a fully integrated digital cockpit with a dual digital automatic flight control system and coupled flight director. It also features an active vibration control system that will smooth the overall ride of the aircraft. The dual GPS/INS system with digital map provides accurate and redundant navigation for the most demanding of tactical environments. Customers around the world will benefit from the aircraft’s modern, robust aircraft configuration and ability to leverage existing interoperability with Sikorsky’s worldwide fleet of BLACK HAWK helicopters. Plans call for at least 20 S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopters to be produced per year, beginning in 2012.
GKN Aerospace delivers 1st major assembly for the Sikorsky CH-53K
GKN Aerospace has delivered the first major structural assembly for the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter to Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. The CH-53K helicopter's aft transition fuselage section measures approximately 20 feet long by 9 feet wide and 9 feet high and features an advanced hybrid composite, aluminium and titanium structure covered with external composite skins. The work is being undertaken as part of a multi-year System Design & Development (SDD) contract in which GKN Aerospace was accorded full design authority and manufacturing responsibility for the CH-53K helicopter aft transition fuselage section, cargo ramp, and overhead door structural assemblies. GKN Aerospace was awarded the contract in 2007 and will deliver seven development ship sets to Sikorsky by 2012. Structural design was carried out by the GKN Aerospace Engineering Development Center in Nashville, TN, whilst manufacturing takes place at the Company's plant in St. Louis, MO. Full production of 156 ship sets is expected to commence in 2013 and continue through 2022. To meet demanding CH-53K helicopter program weight, durability and affordability objectives, GKN Aerospace is employing the latest design and manufacturing technologies including automated fiber placement (AFP), automated trim and drill and digital inspection. In total, more than 1,000 separate metallic and composite detailed parts per aircraft are manufactured and assembled by the GKN Aerospace team. Kevin Cummings, president and CEO, GKN Aerospace - Aerostructures North America commented: "We are proud to be a part of the team on this critical platform and to deliver the first developmental version of what is a major element of the advanced structure of the helicopter. We are in no doubt that our work with Sikorsky on this program represents a significant step forward in the application of state of the art processes to improve rotary wing design and manufacture."
Boeing Military Aircraft Realigns to Position for Future Growth
The Boeing Company recently announced changes within its Boeing Military Aircraft (BMA) business, including consolidating the organization from six divisions to four, to continue to position the company for growth in the current business environment. The realignment of the organization will take effect on Oct. 1. The four new divisions are Global Strike, based in St. Louis, to be led by Shelley Lavender; Mobility, based in Ridley Park, Pa., to be led by Jean Chamberlin; Surveillance and Engagement, based in Seattle, to be led by Bob Feldmann; and Missiles and Unmanned Airborne Systems, based in St. Charles, Mo., to be led by Debbie Rub. In announcing the changes, Boeing Military Aircraft President Chris Chadwick said the new organization will allow BMA to meet domestic and global defense requirements for the next 10 years and beyond. "This new structure supports BMA's progression from a product-based business to a capabilities-based business, focusing on supporting our customers in the United States and increasingly important international markets," Chadwick said. "It is consistent with initiatives under way throughout the entire Boeing defense business that will allow us to remain competitive and grow.
"Importantly, our new structure also aligns Boeing resources with our 'BMA 2020' strategic plan to position our military aircraft business for growth over the next decade," Chadwick added. "This alignment is a reflection of our commitment to execution, functional excellence and customer satisfaction."
Chadwick also announced a new BMA leadership team position: Operating Executive. This position, to be filled by Phil Dunford, will be responsible for managing BMA's Engineering, Supplier Management and Production Operations functions. "This reorganization, coupled with our productivity goals, will reduce organizational complexity and allow us to be more efficient," Chadwick said. Efficiency improvements achieved through this organizational realignment will result in some work force reductions, beginning with approximately 10 percent of BMA executive positions. Additional reductions across all levels of the organization are anticipated in coming months. "All staffing decisions will be made carefully and in accordance with current and anticipated customer requirements," Chadwick said.