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Libya’s MANPADs Legacy
It has always been surprising that American, British and other International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) nations operating in Afghanistan have not come under greater surface-to-air (SAM) missile attacks. As improvised explosive devices (IEDs) became successful in Iraq then became the major threat to the movement of ground troops in Afghanistan, ISAF coalition forces took to the air for troop movement and re-supply wherever possible.
Direct fire support from the air has become relied upon and is provided by attack helicopters and fast-jets. But the engagement of coalition aircraft by man portable air defense systems (MANPADS) has, at least publicly, been a rarity. This is almost a taboo subject in open discussion: senior commanders and those flying the missions in-country don’t talk about it much and virtually all the reports of aircraft downed by insurgents are the result of rocket propelled grenade (RPG) hits or small arms fire.
There is an understanding that government agencies have been working very hard behind the scenes to ensure that this kind of weapon does not make it into the hands of the Taliban or al-Qaeda. There have been a variety of ‘sting’ operations to take these weapons out of the hands of arms dealers.
Difference Between Chalk and Fromage
My observations this month surround two different assembly lines that I’ve witnessed recently. In November I visited Eurocopter’s Marignane sprawling headquarters complex outside of Marseilles in the south of France. A month before I’d been to Boeing’s Ridley Park facility outside of Philadelphia. The immediate impression that was made upon me was the difference in assembly method between the two lines, due largely to volume of order and customer profile of each aircraft type.
Around the World
Boeing Expands AH-64 Apache Block III Market
Boeing is close to signing a deal with another international defense force as a new customer for the AH-64D Block III, although it is a little premature to say which one, when or how many, according Mike Burke, director of business development for attack helicopter programs. During presentations at the Dubai Air Show in November, Burke said the company is also in discussions with another Middle Eastern armed forces to upgrade its Block II Apaches to the Block III level.
Bell Aims 407 at Foreign Militaries
Bell Helicopter Textron displayed its militarized 407AH at the Dubai Air Show, promoting it and the IA407 being developed for the Iraqi Armed Forces. Both aircraft use the civilian-certified Bell 407 modified to carry an array of aerial weapons.
India Receives First Batch of Mi-17s
The Indian Air Force has a fleet of more than 200 Mi-8s and Mi-17s, and will add 80 additional Mi-17s. Russian Helicopters The Indian Air Force has a fleet of more than 200 Mi-8s and Mi-17s, and will add 80 additional Mi-17s.
First NH90 Lands in Norway
AgustaWestland has handed over the first NH90 NFH to the Norwegian Armed Forces as part of a 14-helicopter order. The helicopters are set to replace the Norwegian Coast Guard’s fleet of AgustaWestland Lynx helicopters.
Sikorsky Supplies Brunei with S-70i Black Hawks
The Ministry of Defence of Brunei Darussalam in Southeast Asia has contracted Sikorsky to revamp its helicopter fleet with a dozen S-70i Black Hawks. Royal Brunei Armed Forces Support Helicopter Project oversees replacement of its current fleet of Bell 212s and Eurocopter BO105s with the new Black Hawks starting in 2013.
Transport Secretary: UK Civilian SAR Sought
UK Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening, announced Monday that the government intends to procure a new search and rescue (SAR) helicopter service using civilian crews. Following the cancellation of the SAR-H private finance initiative in February 2011, the Department of Transport decided to re-bid the 10-year contract with civilian crews.
UK Royal Air Force SAR Turns 70
This is a landmark year for the Royal Air Force (RAF) in that it is celebrating 70 years of conducting search and rescue (SAR) operations over land and sea around the UK (1941–2011). Disappointingly, it is also facing up to the potential end of its involvement in this activity.
Also in the News
AgustaWestland Takes 609 Controls
Bell Helicopter has finalized the sale of the BA609 tiltrotor (now AW609) to AgustaWestland. The transaction marks the end of a months-long regulatory approvals process, with AgustaWestland announcing its intent to take over the program in March 2011.
V-22 Tests Middle East Waters
Bell Boeing showcased the V-22 at the Dubai Air Show for the first time in November, promoting the advantages of the tiltrotor concept to governments in the Middle East.
Around the World: Diamond in the Rough
Under the umbrella of NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan works a small but highly effective group assigned to NATO Air Training Command, or NATC for short. This group’s truly coalition composition is made up of forces from the U.S., Croatia, Mongolia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Canada, Jordan and the UK.
Feb. 11–14: HAI Heli-Expo 2012, Dallas, Texas. Contact HAI, 1-703-683-4646 or visit www.rotor.com
Feb. 22–24: Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Winter Symposium, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Contact AUSA, 1-703-841-4300, toll free 1-800-336-4570 or visit www.ausa.org
May 1–3: AHS Intl 68th Annual Forum and Technology Display, Fort Worth, Texas. Contact AHS Intl, phone 1-703-684-6777 or visit www.vtol.org
May 23–24: Heli & UV Pacific 2012, Queensland, Australia. Contact Shephard Group, phone +44 (0) 1753 727015 or visit www.shephard.co.uk
Sept. 11–16: ILA Berlin Air Show, Berlin, Germany. Contact ILA, +49 (0) 30 3038-2170 or visit www.ila-berlin.de
Randy Jones • +1 972 713 9612 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Parker • +1 301 354 1832 • email@example.com
Andrew Drwiega • + 44 (0) 1494 765245 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Sheppard • + 1 301 354 1759 • email@example.com
North America: Carol Mata +1 512 426 1579 • firstname.lastname@example.org
EMEA/Asia: James McAuley +34 952 118 018 • email@example.com
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