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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Program Insider: Program Updates

Attack — The Philippines National Defense Dept. scrapped a 12 billion peso ($29.3 million) contract for six night-capable attack MD-530Fs, accusing the contractors of altering the bid for the work. Asian Aerospace Corp., representative of Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Helicopters, had submitted the proposal, which will be re-bid. Poland’s PZL Swidnik and AgustaWestland had vied for the contract.

Attack — The Russian air force has taken delivery for testing of two new Mi-28N Night Hunter gunships from the Rostvertol plant in southern Russia. The latest variant of the Mi-28 is designed for hunter-killer missions against main battle tanks, helicopters, ground forces, and armor day or night in foul weather conditions. It is powered by two 2,200-shp turboshaft TV3-117VMAs and is reported to have a combat range with internal fuel tanks of 280 mi (450 km) and 680 mi (1,100 km) with external tanks. Russia’s defense ministry has said plans to purchase 67 Mi-28Ns in the next few years to fully replace its Mi-24 Hinds by 2015.

Attack — Turkey has asked the United States to sell it about a dozen attack helicopters to aid its fight against Kurdish separatist near its border with Iraq. It is interested in buying the Bell Helicopter AH-1W or another version in the Cobra family. The Turkish Army currently is operating seven AH-1W Super Cobras and some other earlier versions of the Cobra.

Utility — India plans to increase the size of its intended order of light utility helicopter when it reissues a request for bids. News reports quoted the head of India’s air force, Air Chief Marshal Fali Major, as saying that service has added its requirement for 115 of those multi-role aircraft to the army’s standing need for 197. India last year scrapped its selection of Eurocopter’s AS550C3 Fennec for the army, citing irregularities in the protracted bid process. That revived Bell Helicopter’s prospects of selling the army on a version of its 407 for the $600-million contract.

VIP — The Indian Air Force in January concluded trials of the AgustaWestland AW101 and Sikorsky S-92 as part of a tender for new medium-lift and VIP transport helicopters. The service is considering buying four 30-passenger medium-lift helicopters and eight 12-person VIP transports for the prime minister and others. The VIP aircraft would replace Russian Mi-8s. Air force officials anticipate signing a contract before March 2009.

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