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Thursday, July 1, 2004

Farnborough 2004

Although not considered the major showcase for helicopters, this air show will still see the industry well represented.

Without a doubt, Farnborough is THE major air show for the international aerospace industry for any given even numbered year. It is not, however, THE major show for the world’s helicopter industry. That honor goes to HAI’s annual Heli-Expo. Nonetheless, the industry will be well represented this month when the gates open Monday, July 19 for the Farnborough International Exhibition and Flying Display, sponsored biennially by the Society of British Aerospace Companies.

AgustaWestland expects to have the largest helicopter display, with eight or nine on static display, according to Geoff Russell in its marketing division. The manufacturer, whose Italian owner plans to buy out its U.K. partner, will have the first EH101 scheduled for delivery to the Danish army, outfitted for the search and rescue/utility role. This aircraft will be the first EH101 to have the six-screen LCD display, replacing the cathode-ray tube screens on previous models, Russell said. The Danish aircraft first flew early this year and will be delivered after the show. The Westland side of the AgustaWestland group will display the new Super Lynx 300 and the Apache AH Mk1. The Apache AH Mk1 to be on static display is the last of 67 ordered by the British Army and will be delivered immediately after the show. From the Italian side, AgustaWestland will display a civil model of the A119 Koala and a military multi-role version of the A109 LUH (light utility helicopter). The company plans to start deliveries of the A109 LUH to Sweden and South Africa later this year.

All of the AgustaWestland products will be promoted in its “Capability Pavilion,” a large tent-structure next to the static display area. Russell said the pavilion will focus on the company’s training and other areas of customer support.

Bell/Agusta Aerospace will also have a pavilion, located next to AgustaWestland’s, with the new AB139 on display.

Eurocopter will exhibit under the umbrella of its parent, EADS, with a 1/5-scale mock-up of the NH90 and a 1/10 mockup of the EC145, the advanced version of the BK117. NH Industries will have the NH90 PT1 on static display.

U.S. manufacturers are downplaying Farnborough, saving their thunder for the primary helicopter shows.

A Bell Helicopter Textron official said that the company did not plan to have a V22 tilt-rotor aircraft at the show. The Team Osprey group of contractors will have an exhibit in Pavilion OE5, however. Bell also plans on promoting the Eagle Eye unmanned aerial vehicle with a mock-up at the show. Except for the AB139, no other Bell helicopters are planned to be on static display.

Boeing will be promoting both the advanced versions of the CH-47 and the AH-64D Longbow Apache. It will have Longbow Apache at the show, which will be used as part of the aerial display each day, as well as for customer demonstration flights. The U.S. Army will have one of its Chinooks at the show as part of the U.S. pavilion.

MD Helicopters does not plan to be at the show and Sikorsky said that it would be promoting its range of helicopters, but would not have an aircraft on display.

As always, a major part of the exhibits will be provided by aircraft vendors promoting their wares and services to the airframe manufacturers.

Rolls-Royce, along with celebrating its 100th anniversary and exhibiting its full range of turbine engines, will be promoting its LHTEC CTS-800-4N engine developed jointly with Honeywell for the new Super Lynx program, according to Alex Youngs, business development director for helicopters. That engine powers the Super Lynx currently going to Malaysia, Oman, South Africa and Thailand. It is also being aimed at a U.K. military Lynx upgrade program that would put the CTS-800 on 140–150 Lynx helicopters currently powered by Gem 42 engines.

The British engine manufacturer also will be heavily promoting engines for four long-range British programs. The biggest is the Support Amphibious Battlefield Rotorcraft, a multi-service program that will replace helicopters such as the Royal Air Force Pumas and Royal Navy SeaKing Mk4s. This could include up to 100 helicopters, including 30 large and 70 medium-sized aircraft, Youngs said. These would involve the RTM322 for helicopters such as the EH101 or NH90, and the AE1107 for an advanced Chinook. Other programs include the Battlefield Light Utility helicopter for the British Army and the Surface Combatant Maritime Rotorcraft for the Royal Navy. The fourth program, which is longer term, is a Franco/German requirement for a very large helicopter that could use the 13,000-shp. TP400 build jointly by Rolls-Royce, SNECMA, MTU and ITP. This engine currently powers the Airbus A400.

FlightSafety International’s major emphasis at the show will be pointing across the runway to the company’s new Farnborough Learning Center currently under construction. The center is expected to be completed and put into service during first quarter of next year. It will start with 12 bays for new simulators for both fixed- and rotary-wing training, and is planned to support customers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, he said.

Advanced avionics and electronic war-fighting systems will be represented by companies such as Honeywell, BAE Systems, ITT Industries, Rockwell Collins and Elisra Group.

Israeli-based Elisra said it will be promoting systems for intelligence gathering, helicopter protection (including missile detection and countermeasure systems), GPS-enhanced search and rescue, tactical video link for downloading video and telemetry data from UAVs as well as providing data links between helicopters and to fighter aircraft and ground forces. It also will show a Man-pack Receiving System that allows a ground soldier to receive real-time video and telemetry data directly from UAVs or helicopters.

Another Israeli-based company, Elbit Systems, Ltd., will be demonstrating its Advanced Technology Integrated Deck (ATID), a generic, advanced avionics and cockpit simulator for helicopters and transport aircraft. The system includes an advanced line-of-sight helmet with Aviator’s Night Vision Imaging System (ANVIS) HUD24 night-vision goggles, four 19-in. touch screens, voice recognition, 3D audio, enhanced command and control system and a 3D digital map. Elbit will also exhibiting its line of Skylark and Hermes unmanned aerial vehicles.

Lord Corp., based in Cary, N.C., will be at Farnborough to promote its range of components designed to monitor and control noise and vibration. Components such as rotor bearings, rotor dampers, main rotor frequency adapters and main rotor pitch link rod ends will be presented on aircraft ranging from the Boeing Apache, Eurocopter Tiger and NH90 to the AgustaWestland Lynx, A109 and Chinese Z-10 and Z-11. Demonstrated at the Lord stand will be EC725 and HAL active systems with a mock-up of the frahm actuator and controller.

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